Horse Shaming/Loving

When I read the No Shame in Our Game: Horse Loving Signs post from The Plaid Horse a while back, I was inspired. When I read the final one with the sign in front of a beautiful bay horse saying, “I carried my Mom when she was too sad to go alone <3” I may have shed a tear. OK, I may have ugly cried just a little. That one hit me right in the feels and then some.

A while back Horse Shaming was a thing, dog shaming too! And while it’s hilarious and I’m sure I could make an endless amount of signs for my mare. In a world where there is so much negativity going around, it’s nice to focus on the positive for once.

I have openly documented the trials and triumphs over the last two years of bringing along a young horse, but it got me wondering am I focusing too much on the negative? Not just online but in my head too. Fire has been tough sure, but equally as rewarding. You attract what you put out there, so I am making a conscious decision to be aware of what I am putting out there and to try and guide it only towards positivity.

It also got me to thinking of what my positive sign would be for my horse. That wasn’t so easy. There are so many I could make… both for Horse Shaming and Horse Loving. But here is the one I came up with taking a page from Lauren Mauldin.

Positive Pants.jpg

Not pictured with my horse because apparently, she is scared of paper and ain’t nobody got time for that.

No matter how bad a day I am having, or how much I am struggling. I know my horse is always waiting for me with a kiss and a cuddle. She doesn’t hold a grudge, even if I have a terrible ride, or forget to bring cookies. For a horse that is as ever-changing as mercury, she is also solid as a rock when it comes to time spent in her stall and the love she so freely doles out. That in itself is worth more than any ribbons or championships out there.

❤ Apes

Get in Loser, We’re Going Shopping (E. 7)

Ah, September. I think it’s that “back-to-school” vibe that always leaves us feeling like it’s a new year, and time to turn over a new leaf. We’ve tried to be more conservative in our spending, but that always leaves us wanting more.

As part of our fresh start, we’re taking on new ventures! We have our website updated now to allow for you to shop our closets, for when we simply can’t cram anything in there anymore! We are just a group of friends trying to make room and live our dreams, so feel free to visit our website and contact us if you like something, but want to make an offer, or if you have questions on sizing, fit, colour, etc. We don’t bite, and we really do want to hear from you.

Here’s a list of things that we just can’t live without for the month of September.

HAVE IT

SEPT CELERIS 2Oh. Baby. HL ordered these back in July, and could barely contain her excitement to share this with you all! She decided to wait and make sure they fit, but now that they’re here OMFG THEY’RE BRILLIANT! To be fair, they haven’t been ridden in yet, but they are just as described, and best of all is the fit. Celeris are a FULL CUSTOM boot. Heather ordered hers from a shop in Australia (very International in our shopping efforts!), and had to measure herself (with the help of a very understanding boyfriend). She felt confident as she had self-measured before for a different brand of boots, and these measurements were even more specific. 12 different measurements were taken, along with a drawn outline of each foot, to be sent along with the measurements. After doing measurements was the grueling task of determining exactly which details to choose (you can literally have whatever you want!), HL chose a conservative pair of boots, with a bit of faux-iguana for flare. They are beautiful, and exactly as described. Give them a try, or feel free to email us (the.mane.girls.are@gmail.com) to ask Heather about her experience! Prices vary on these – again, ask Heather if you have questions.

SEPT CELERIS

IMG_9296_2048x2048  So, it’s not summer anymore, and that makes us sad.  But, a fun new cozy scarf makes us happy again.   These beauties were purchased from a local merchant (shop local babes!) Pony and Pear, and are to die for.  Super soft and cozy, and perfect to wear either to the barn or out on the town.

 

 

 

 

 

image1Oops I did it again! Technically Apes isn’t supposed to be shopping right now but when she saw Pony Up had Tailored Sportsman belts on sale it was impossible to resist. Someone once said a good sale was like finding money so it had to be done. These belts are beautifully made, come in a variety of colours and are wider than most belts so look super stylish. Apes opted for the Grey Garden one and it paired beautifully with her TS Clarets and will go with so many other colours too!

 

NEED IT, WANT IT, GOTTA HAVE IT

SEPT ASMAR 1This jacket is all that and everything. Out here on the SEPT ASMAR 2west coast, our winter weather is best described as “chilly and wet.” If chilly and wet is the question, the Asmar All Weather is the answer. This jacket can zip open at the back so you can wear it while riding, though we feel this is more of an “around the barn” jacket. As we all know, most of the time spent “at the barn” isn’t really on a horse, so this is a great solution to keep yourself warm and dry. We especially love the length because when you’re wearing breeches it’s so tough to keep your thighs and toosh warm! We’re all counting pennies so we can snag one of these puppies. $348 USD

 

Tiffy_du_Vogel_Jacket_Dark_Blue_1801-0528-0067_01Winter is coming (or so they say) and it is not cool to be freezing your butt off.  Enter the Naketano Tiffy Du Vogel bomber jacket.  Made of a light canvas this coat is not too bulky for riding but will also keep you warm and dry while you watch your fellow manebabes from the sidelines.   You need to hurry though because these are going offline 12/31/18.   Christmas presents anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEPT MG ARMY PANTS

On Sundays We Wear White

For someone who has been riding for thirty years and competing on and off for most of those years, you might be surprised to know that I had yet to compete in the jumper ring in white breeches. Something I considered to be a badge of honour and also something I’ve really striven for. So, I preemptively purchased a pair of second-hand whites from H for the upcoming show at Thunderbird, hopeful I might get a chance to finally show in whites.

The week went well. We moved from the 0.9m’s to the 1.0m’s and I felt like both Fire and I handled that leap well, especially considering we did the Baby Greens for most of the year. I do feel a bit like in the last year I have ridden eight different horses while in the process of bringing Fire along and am currently struggling to try to figure out how to ride this cool new horse I seem to have under me. That’s the great thing about young horses – they’re never boring! Or at least mine certainly isn’t.

On the last day of the show, dressed in my new-to-me white breeches, we warmed up well and I loved the way Fire felt. I was feeling confident, even if the first two fences were oxers, (admittedly not my fave). We walked in the ring and all the sudden that horse under me was gone and instead I had one that was backed off and I had to fight just to get to the end of the ring. I found a long distance (my biggest weakness) to the first oxer. I was desperately trying to put her together around the end of the ring to the second oxer and when I put my leg on and there was no response I got desperate. Old habits die hard, and this one is dying a slow and painful death. I pushed coming out of the corner for a ridiculously long distance to a substantial oxer and while Fire tried to jump initially, we did not make it.

I hit the dirt and was up as soon as I could, worried my horse was going to go for a victory lap around the ring. The jump crew very kindly caught her as she ambled away from me and the jump, likely wondering what the heck was wrong with me and why on earth was I laying in the dirt? I determined I wasn’t hurt enough to need a medic unless they could repair my pride. Talked to my coach, got back on and jumped a couple jumps in the warm-up ring. We talked about what went wrong, how we needed to fix it and then our show was done, and it was time to rush home for the ferry.

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PC Totem Photographics

It wasn’t the best way to finish a show, there may have been a few tears shed on the drive home but that might have been in part because of the exhaustion and looking at the state of my bank account after paying my entries for the week. It was and still is a good wake-up call as to what we need to work on at home. When I put my leg on to go forward the answering machine cannot be on! We have since had about a month back to work and the issues we had at the show are still here but we’re working towards fixing them. While I wish we could have finished our season on a higher note this year, I am truly looking forward to the fall and winter of boot camp to get ready for 2019 Show Season and another chance to show in white breeches again. Maybe next time I’ll make it over more than one jump 😉

Some days good, some days “bad”, all days successful

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Did you know that every ride could be a “win”?  Yep, even the rides that suck can be a success.

This last week the 3 of us and our gang of 5 year olds ventured off to Thunderbird for a week of fun in the sun at the show (or so we thought).   Don’t get me wrong, over all we  had a blast, even when the rain came.   However, we (especially me) encountered some of the growing pains that can come with young horses.

We had had a great season so far, and I felt we had done all the necessary preparation to be there, but as we all know “the best laid plans……”   I had a few rides early in the week that royally SUCKED, and I’m not being a whiner here.  I mean sucked as in falling off twice in one day (at the same fence no less), a pretty scary crash and a lot of questions with no answers   It would have been easy to say that this was my horse’s fault, and that he “was bad” but it wasn’t and he wasn’t, it was an accident, plain and simple, so, I dusted myself off, made sure my horse was okay and decided tomorrow was a new day.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy.  The next day was another day on the struggle bus with my horse too scared from his fall to compete.   I had to make a decision on where to go from here.  Was I frustrated?  You betcha!  Would it have been easy to blame my horse?  Of course!  But, really what I needed to do was take a step back and recognize what was my chance to turn this bus around.   To turn the SUCK into SUCCESS.

Every time you ride it’s your chance to pick up the reins and turn what sucked last time into a success, but I have found that in a mistake – not mistake binary thought process it’s hard to see the small gains.   As with most competitive endeavors it’s pretty black and white, you won or you didn’t, you beat your PB or you didn’t, you made the play or it was an error.  But, in this sport where our partner is a living breathing animal and not an inanimate object there is an entire spectrum of grey and grey is where most of the work is done.

Think about it this way; if you are at the bottom of a cliff and you have to climb to the top, and you only think about how much work it’s going to be to get to the top, you will a) become overwhelmed and b) think about how much it’s going to suck to have to climb up that whole way.  But, if you break it down into smaller steps i.e.:  climbed it to the first ledge – Success!   Climbed half way – Success! And so forth until you have built up success after success until you are at the top.

And this is how I needed to approach this; jump one small jump – Success!   Jump down a line –   Success!  Put a small pattern together – Success!  Jump a course at height – Success!   Get into the show ring the next day and complete the course – Success!  And after we rebuilt ourselves on all these small gains, we ended the show on a positive note with solid rounds and even a couple good ribbons.  The suck was turned into success.

So, the next time you find yourself piloting the struggle bus,  know that you can take what isn’t going well and turn it into something great, and also that you ain’t on that bus alone!

~Ranchero

Get in Loser, We’re Going Shopping (E. 6)

August was a big month for us! We made it through Thunderbird, and we may have snagged a few things at the vendors row. We love being able to support small businesses, and this was a fabulous way to do it. Not only did we get some great finds, but we had a ton of fun doing it! Here’s your guide to things that we know you need this month.

 

Shop Local
from our friends at maregoods.com

 

AUG One K Helmet

Ooooooh la la, how pretty is this helmet?   Ranchero spied this beauty on The Carrington Shoppe’s Instagram on her way to Thunderbird and decided this was a must have.   Picture this with a navy hunt coat and navy wool in a really cute chestnut’s mane, ahhhhhmazing right?

These ONE K Defender Avance Wide Brim helmets are super comfortable and fit true to size.  I am a 6 7/8 and as per their size chart would fit a medium shell, with the 6 7/8 liner, which when I tried it on was perfect.  If you aren’t as daring, these are also available in matte black plain, and with rose gold, and the price point as far as helmets go is very reasonable.

 

 

Another rad purch from The Carrington Shoppe (while looking at the aforementioned helmet) were these “equestrian” shirts from The Blissful Equestrian.  Ranchero bought the t-shirt in pink (obvs) while H-Love opted for the tank top in charcoal. There were also many other super cute shirts from The Blissful Equestrian that we wanted but, it turns out money doesn’t grow in trees (who knew?) so we had to settle on just one. This time. Stay tuned to see this in an up coming #ROOTD post on our Instagram!

 

 

While I, (Apes) was supposed to be part of the “No Buyers Club” at tbird I am a total AUG Equiline Breeches 2sucker for a good deal. On the first day a fellow Coastal team member spotted the Equiline breeches on the sale rack at Dog & Pony and when she opted not to buy them it planted a seed in my brain that just wouldn’t go away… they were my size and I always feel like I need more beige breeches for show season. Being a master at justifying any purchase I figured since I was doing fewer classes than I planned I could certainly afford to buy new pants RIGHT?! It was all over when I tried them on, even in the heat and being a sweaty mess after showing and sweating it out in the barn all day, they were super comfortable and very flattering. With navy details and pockets in the back they were sold the moment I looked at my butt in the mirror. Equiline is an Italian brand that’s been around as long as I have (since the early 80’s) and have a great line of men’s and women’s technical riding wear. You can see more of their goodies at: http://en.equiline.it/rider-category/general-catalogue/

 

AUG Veredus Boots

Confession: these have been low key on the list for a long time. I (H-love, hello!) have been oogling them for a while… and finally they are a reality. I have a set of well-loved Veredus boots for schooling at home, and honestly, the fit is amazing. The contour on the leg is amazing. For now, I only bought the front boots because I wanted to use these for Carma’s young horse class, and we have to follow FEI booting rules for the hind boots, for which the hind boots in this set would not qualify. However, I watched the video from our round that day and they sure do look sharp! These boots are especially good if you have a horse with sensitive skin, or with allergies as the sheepskin is non-allergenic. Purchased from Calgary Saddlery, a fun new kid on the block that has amazing consignment offerings in addition to new product lines!

 

HL already has a set of FH breeches, and was so pleased with them she got another pair, this time: the “Remie.” HL picked up these babies in white, and our coach also grabbed a set in beige. Honestly, these are the lightest weight breeches ever. It always seems like you’re wearing whites during shows in the heat of the summer and there’s nothing worse than sweating you’re a$$ off through your old pair of cotton Tailored’s. White is always so unforgiving, and these are actually lovely. Many people don’t like to blow a lot of money on whites since they only get worn maybe 8 times per year, but we’d argue having a nice quality pair means you won’t have to re-buy for a long time. The other beautiful thing about this pair is that they have very few stylistic elements, save for a cute little button on the leg. This means that they are very likely to become outmoded in a hurry, which is another motivating factor in buying these classic looking breeches. If you don’t need whites, the beige colour is beautiful sandy beige, and they also make them in a bunch of other nice, conservative colours (as is the way with FH!). HL picked these up at Equi-Products, which has been her shop of choice since she was 6 years old! Check them out – they have all the best of everything, they’re amazing to deal with, and they have a RAD loyalty program.

AUG FH Remie FrontAUG FH Remie Back

 

Thanks for reading! As always, shop wisely!

 

AUG MG ARMY PANTS

 

 

MG Community: Work, Eat, Ride, Repeat

As you all know, ManeGirls was created on the foundation of finding commonality and community in our difficult and all-consuming sport, by coming the realization that the three of us were struggling with the same things at the same time, and there was no sense in tackling these things alone. For us, this adventure is just as much about sharing with you, as having you share with us! One of the ways we thought we could connect with you ManeBabes a little better was to open the doors for you to ask questions! On the home page of our website we’ve give you the ability to connect with us. What would you like to hear from us?

One of our lovely Babes sent us this email, and we’re super duper excited to respond to it because it’s not only a great question (or series of questions), but it is also extremely relevant for us, and therefore we believe it will be relevant for you all too!

Laura writes:
“I would love to hear your views on the important of a “program” – both for horse and rider. As an ammy with a desk job with a too-smart mare who finds all sorts of fun (read: demonic) training evasions, I am forever trying to balance my own career, fitness and saddle time. Add in trying to balance my mare’s workload with my lessons and shows and trying to make sure she gets occasional training rides but also some more low-key days, and things can get complicated. Would also love to see a “typical week” program for each of you, and your lovely unicorns! Maybe it will give me ideas and/or inspo to get my ass in gear!”

To answer this, we’ve decided to respond separately, since we all have different lifestyles and schedules to manage.

 

H-Love says:

I can tell from your email that you’re on the right track, because the answer to your question is right there: PROGRAM! I think a lot of people shy away from rigorous scheduling, because it can often feel like failure if you can’t meet an obligation, but I’m a fundamental believer in organization and scheduling both in the short and long term.

My story is that I have a desk job that revolves around a different time zone (eastern), so my days start early and often end early too. This gives me freedom and flexibility for the afternoons, but man is it hard to find any motivation at 3:30pm. This is where my scheduling comes in. If I have specific places I need to be (especially if there are people to see in those places!) it helps me a lot to keep moving. I’ve always found that the busier a person is, the better they become at time management.

The things I need to balance are my work, riding, fitness, responsibilities at home, and my “me” time (so important!). My schedule is allowed to be flexible and things are allowed to come and go from that schedule, but it remains organized, and I always give things a go for a week or two before I decide if they fit or not. I also lean on others for help. This comes in the form of our coach doing a training ride on my young horse, or having a (trusted) friend take her for a hack.

The most frustrating part of my day is my commute. I live a 15 minute walk to my work, but I live a 35 minute drive (that becomes 50 minutes at 4pm!) from the barn. I’ve been trying to find a way to use my commute as some of my “me” time, whether I listen to some new music or just try to relax and enjoy the time alone, rather than being mad at the F**KING TRAFFIC! This is not perfected, and remains a source of frustration for me as it feels wasteful and unproductive.

Here’s a snapshot of my week:

 
Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
Office 7:00-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma 4:30(ish) PM
Gym (solo) 5:45-6:30 AM
Tuesday
Office 6:30-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma
My friend or coach will ride this day
Gym (with trainer) 4:00-5:00 PM
Wednesday
Office 6:30-3:00(ish)
Jumping lesson – Carma 5:30(ish) PM
OFF
Thursday
Office 7:00-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma 4:30(ish) PM
Gym (solo) 5:45-6:30 AM
Friday
Office 6:30-2:30
Jumping lesson – Carma 5:30(ish) PM
Gym (with trainer) 3:00-4:00 PM
Saturday
OFF
OFF
I try to do something active Saturday or Sunday, but it can be anything! No specific plan.
Sunday
OFF
Flat – Carma 11:00(ish)

Polo practice 2:00(ish)

Now, this isn’t foolproof. Things change. People get sick. Horse shows happen. Special events come up. Work runs late. But, it’s a pretty easy place to start!

 

Ranchero says: 

I love routine and I generally follow mine to a T. I basically have the same list of things to manage as H-Love (work, riding, fitness, responsibilities at home, and my “me” time) but I do it slightly differently.

I also have a desk job that I must answer to, however being my own boss allows me to have the flexibility to make my own hours. Having said that, I must be a glutton for punishment because my days start at 5:00am (gross). For me part of my “me time” is working out, I really find that I am a better person overall when I have either hit the gym or hit the road for a run, and what I have found through some trial and error is that working out in the mornings is what I have to do. After the gym I usually head to the barn (unless there is a pressing work task) and ride either one or both of my horses. After that it’s back home to my desk for the balance of the day. Taking the time in the morning to do what I love sometimes means that my work day doesn’t end until well after dinner, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. There are times when work responsibilities or a social engagement will throw a wrench in my plans and in those moments, I try to lean on a friend or our coach to lighten the load. It’s important to recognize when you need help and not to be ashamed to ask for it!

Along with this I find meal planning especially helpful; sometimes I’m running around from the gym to the barn, home to change, out to a client meeting without a moment to think and if I don’t have something easy to grab I will either not eat (NOT GOOD) or end up at Starbucks 3 times a day (NOT GOOD EITHER).

Here is an example of my week:

 
Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
10:30 – when I’m done
CBX – jump school
Aloha – Off
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Tuesday
Work at client office
CBX – lunge in pessoa
Aloha – lunge in pessoa
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Wednesday
11:00 – when I’m done
CBX – Hack
Aloha – Jump school
Run – 5:30 to 6:30(ish)
Thursday
10:30 – when I’m done
CBX – jump school
Aloha – Off
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Friday
11:00 – when I’m done
CBX – light hack or trail ride
Aloha – Hack
Swim or Run 6:00 – 7:00
Saturday
OFF
CBX – Hack
Aloha – Hack
Off
Yoga
Sunday
Any catch up that needs to be done
CBX – light hack or trail ride
Aloha – light hack or trail ride
Run or Hike

Looking at this you will notice that CBX doesn’t really get much for days off, and this is because that is what works for him – I don’t think most horses need to go 7 days a week but at this stage in this life he needs to go out and do something (even just a walk) every day to not turn into a holy terror. Aloha however is much less energetic and can get away with a couple days off.

As H-Love said, this isn’t set in stone as things happen, but having a plan like this really helps me to keep the ball rolling 🙂

 

Apes says:          

OK, so my reply to this question may read like a little convoluted but bear with me here. I work full time with some flexibility for hours as long as I am in the office by 9 am and work an eight hour day. I also teach and train on the side to help support my horse, and my unfortunate champagne tastes on a beer budget. Recently I also decided I needed to get back into running and am currently signed up for a half marathon this fall. You know, cause who needs sleep anyway? I use the Nike Run Club app for my run training and love it. You can design your program based on your fitness level and goals, and it is so helpful to stay focused. My current program also incorporates Nike Training Club workouts that can be done anywhere with little to no equipment making it attainable even with a crazy schedule and especially for someone like me who is pretty much allergic to gyms.

I find for me I always have the best intentions when planning my week and days, but things happen, including sleepy Apes turning off her alarm clock in the morning. Something like that can throw my entire day off and make me feel pretty bad about things. But we’re only human right? So I try to do the best that I can for my clients, my horse, and myself. Often Fire will be the last one I get to in a long day, and that’s not always ideal with a young horse. I have learned, (the hard way) that some days just lunging is OK. Or even just a light hack or an extra day off if things go sideways is better than a fight. I do need to incorporate more fun times for Fire though, like trail rides and adventures.

Here is a look at what a “typical” week looks like for me, although it seems to change on the regular. Allowing some flexibility in my schedule is huge for me when working around so many different variables and people.

Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
Office 8am-4pmish, No Teaching
Fire – Jumping Lesson
Short Run
Tuesday
Office 7am-3pm, Teach/Ride 3:45-6/7pm
Fire – Hack
Nike Workout
Wednesday
Office between 7/9am-3/5pm, Teach 6:30-8pm
Fire – Lunge/Hack
Run
Thursday
Office 7am-3pm, Teach/Ride 3:30-8pm
Fire – Day Off
Rest Day
Friday
Office between 7/9am-3/5pm, No Teaching
Fire – Jumping Lesson
Short Run
Saturday
OFF
Fire – Hack
Rest Day
Sunday
Teach/Ride 8:30am-1pm give or take
Fire – Hack
Long Run 10K+

 
~until next time, Babes. xoxo, MG

(Cautious)Optimism

I think if you go back through a number of our blog posts, we encourage our readers to not be discouraged by negativity, in whichever form it presents itself. But that in itself is a tad negative, isn’t it? Equestrians are such an aggressive bunch of perfection-seeking, competitive weirdos, and we ManeGirls are oh so terribly guilty of it. We have spent a lot of time working our minds around to the opposite thing, which is often helpful when you’re managing a complex, new, stressful situations with wild young horses. We figure if we just keep our bar low, we won’t be too disappointed when things don’t go perfectly.

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We all find success in different ways. For me, jumping a good clear round has always felt more like winning than jumping a crappy round with a red. This is surely not true for all, and yes, I do love to win.

This past weekend, two of the three of us enjoyed one of our local horse shows with three of the four young horses in tow. What was a low-key show was made more stressful for Ranchero, as she had two young horses to wrangle, plus she had to play Uber for the two of them. I was a bit nervous too, as my employer was a sponsor of the show, and competing on a young horse in front of your colleagues and clients is *gulp* stressful. But you know what? It was a fabulous show. Aloha stepped up a level and had some four-year-old moments, followed by some amazing progress. Cowboy competed in his first ever hunter derby against some seriously fancy ($$$) hunters and finished just out of the ribbons. Carma won a class, and came 7th in the “work-sponsored” class, a reasonable sized field, despite her nervous jockey worried about making a good impression.

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After the last day of the show, Ranchero and I were packing up (while Apes galavanted at a music festival – whatever!) and we both said aloud… “I’m really excited for Thunderbird.” I say those words with such caution. Like the second they pass my lips I think… shit. Now I’m doomed.

I don’t think we are doomed! We have been working our (nice) asses off all year. Sure, we’ve had ups and downs, but that’s training. So, TBird bound we are. Is it going to be super fun? Yes! Do we have big goals? Obv. Do we have reason to believe we can achieve them? Sure do. Is the show going to be perfect? No. But I can’t wait! 

~H