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.

bumpy-road-300x282

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.

IMG_2675

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

Get in Loser, We’re Going Shopping. (E. 5)

Happy July-mas, Babes! So, okay. We know we’re right in the middle of our summer season and funds are wearing a bit thin. We know we can’t have it all, but we can have a little. Here are our best finds and deepest desires for this month!

HAVE IT

 

 

Ranchero recently got this super pretty limited series eggplant sunshirt with floral vents from It’s a Haggerty’s, and it’s just as beautiful in real life! It hasn’t had it’s formal debut in public yet but seems to fit true to size from the try on at home. Go check them out for their beautiful unique pre-made sunshirts, or design your own!

 

 

 

JULY DB TANK

This was a bit of an impulse purchase (HL, get control of yourself!), but it’s actually adorable. It hasn’t actually arrived yet, but since it’s been paid for we feel like it’s already part of the wardrobe! We’ve had a heat wave in our neck of the woods for the past few weeks and it’s been so amazingly beautiful that this tank top is perfectly fitting. Woot, summer! Dapple Bay also offer free shipping on your first purchase (such a tease!).

 

 

NEED IT, WANT IT, GOTTA HAVE IT

 

 

These towels are toooo cute and if you are anything like us, towels are life when you are helping your bestie enter the ring looking bomb AF! They even have a handy dandy ring so you can hang them off your backpack (see our last edition for a recommendation on which backpack we like!) or your belt!

 

 

 

As an owner of sometimes (literally) the baddest bay on the block, Apes NEEDS this saddle pad. Available in pony, all purpose, and dressage you can customize in white, navy, or black and add a note to your order to choose what colour you want the embroidery done in. Machine washable and dryer safe means you can wash all the sweat and tears off of it after your baddest of rides.

 

Shout-Out!

IMG_3604Our shopping feature is always about our flavour of the month – things we’ve scored, and things we would love to call our own. One thing we don’t always feature are things we couldn’t possibly live without. With this in mind, we wanted to make a special shout out to Ogilvy Equestrian for never letting us down! We have their half pads, baby pads, and polo wraps, and we wouldn’t have itIMG_0530 any other way. The great folks there went out of their way to ensure beautiful embroidery for logo pads, and Heather has ordered them for sponsorship prizes as well. They never disappoint, and we are consistently blown away by the quality and durability of the products. If you need a saddle pad, check with Ogilvy. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Thanks for your support babes! Enjoy your summer, and shop wisely!

 

20180731 MG ARMY PANTS.jpg

Tried & True (#TipTuesday v.4)

So, riding clothes are super expensive (why is that though – like really, it’s just stretch pants). While that is a mystery we will never solve, we can satisfy our endless list of needs (okay… wants) by shopping around online.

Heather & Riki recently received an order from Tried Equestrian, as H has had really good success ordering from them in the past. With the order came a lovely post card, with some real food for thought on the back (see below). So our tip for this Tuesday is to buy used! Not only can shopping pre-loved mean that we can be more budget friendly, but it also is a positive impact for our community, and the environment. #WINNING

IMG_2529

Now, there are a few caveats. Shopping online can be really tough, especially with all the different sizes out there (European, UK, Italian, French, American – these are the ones we encounter the most!). Our best advice is to do your homework. Certain brands fit smaller or larger, and use different sizing depending on where they are manufactured. We would recommend looking up sizing charts for the specific brand you want to buy (usually available on their own websites), and then reach out to the community for more info! Check out some online forums (COTH has great ones!), or even use Facebook to ask your compatriots about their experiences with different brands. You can feel free to contact us too! We’ve tried a lot of different brands and can give some insight as to how they fit, if you’re curious.

Some size charts will provide specific measurements – it is worth it to have a cloth measuring tape to see what your size will be (also useful if you ever decide to fit your own custom boots!). Otherwise, we find your best bet is to find an item you have that fits well, find its measurements and then use that information to inform your choices. Here’s a good example:

Heather has a Gersemi Idun coat, and the inside tag reads 38D (um… what?). To the internet! The search tells her that German sizing is the same as European sizing, and Gersemi uses European sizing. I guess that’s why the “D” makes sense (Deutschland!). So, Heather wanted a Cavalleria Toscana coat, which is made in Italy. So, more internet searches reveal the following:

XS S M L XL XXL XXXL
Italy 38 40 42 44 46 48 50
UK 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Germany 32 34 36 38 40 42 44
US 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
France 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Spain 36 38 40 42 44 46 48

The chart above is by no means exhaustive, and it also does not reveal brand-specific sizing. For example, we have heard that Cavalleria Toscana fits small, so one would do well to size up. When Heather ordered her CT coat, she found the exact one she wanted, but it only was available in a 44. Checking the size chart, it was clear that this would match with the sizing of her Gersemi coat, but given the brand’s reputation for a snug fit, this was going to be a risk. The coat arrived, and true to form, it was a bit snug. Lesson learned. One thing to always keep in mind, it’s always possible to take something in, but it can be very challenging to let it out! So, part two of our Tip Tuesday will be: when in doubt, size up!

Happy shopping, babes! Remember: shop local, be a responsible consumer, and shine bright like the beautiful diamond that you are!

 

~H

 

 

Get in Loser, We’re Going Shopping. (E. 4)

They say money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you stuff and that’s pretty much the same thing.

HAVE IT

Arianna---Navy---Rear-Close-Up--RGBx900

Riki recently purchased these from Halter Ego and was surprised at how quickly they came. They are super comfortable, great for those who prefer a higher rise but may need extra room for the booty. If you follow the size chart to find your size you’re golden. The details are beautiful and great quality for a great price point.

 

 

 

 

Not only does this backpack look great but it’s also super practical. Made of durable 600 denier canvas it’s heavy duty and water resistant. They really thought of everything including a vented helmet compartment, a fleece lined pocket for sunglasses or cell phones, and stretch pockets for whip/crops. H picked one of these bad boys up and can’t wait to stash all of her ringside goodies (let’s be honest there may be a bottle of wine in there) in it at the next horse show. PS Noble has a full line of matching luggage available, H also has the 6.3 liter duffel #matchinggoals

 

 

NEED IT, WANT IT, GOTTA HAVE IT

 

Every single one of us wants, needs, gotta have this shirt… Too many great features to list including a surprisingly slim cut (tbh who doesn’t want/need that?!), quick dry fabric (because I’m not sweaty, you’re sweaty!), and beautiful colours to choose from… did you know that #OnWednesdaysWeWearPink Considering how fabulous this shirt is, it’s still machine wash and wear with little to no ironing needed, cause who has time for that?

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously we are obsessed with these unicorn earrings, because unicorns. Not only does Dogwood Bling make the most beautiful and yummy treats for horses AND dogs but she also has been getting the most fun accessories to boot. These stud earrings are 18k gold plated with a high-polish finish and secure friction back clasps.

 

 

 

 

 

These breeches are Black Heart’s answer to Lululemon! These beauties will make people want to “touch the heinie!” with a super flattering cut and signature heart details. These are definitely next on the Mane Girls shopping list. Black Heart also has a line of base layers, with a great UPF rating, great for riding or the gym.

 

 

 

 

Until next time babes!

2d5ri8

#TipTuesday v.3 – SCRATCHES!

So… it’s that time of year again. We’re starting to see people living with the struggle of scratches! It’s #TipTuesday, so we figured we’d give you some of our tips to prevent scratches, and how to deal with them once they’ve landed.

First, some biology: what the heck are “scratches?” Scratches can be caused by any of a bacteria, virus, or fungus, though I’d say generally it’s most commonly considered to be a fungal infection. Scratches is also commonly referred to as mud fever. Fungal infections are notoriously communicable, so it’s important if there is one horse in the barn with scratches that everyone becomes diligent from that point to avoid the spread. This also, of course, means the horse show is going to be a breeding ground for the fungus, and it can get on your horse’s legs anywhere from stall to ring.

scratches 1
Carma doesn’t want scratches either! She’s trying to see if she can spy them in the grass!

Prevention 101

Listen, no one wants scratches. They’re such a pain. And if you think you won’t get them, then BOOM. Stove-pipe legs! Prevention, as usual, is the best medicine.

Keep those legs dry, folks! This is the biggest thing. Now, sometimes this can’t be avoided. We live on the beautiful west coast, which tends to deliver some wet weather from time to time, which means that we are going to have horses with wet legs. To help you keep the legs dry, keep your horse’s lower limbs clipped! This is especially important on the pink skin (i.e white markings), however in general we’d recommend you clip the whole lower leg. This also has the added benefit of keeping your horse looking neat and tidy! If your horse already has scratches, do not clip the legs! It will cause further irritation to the affected area. When you wash your horse, make sure you use a gentle cleanser – one with anti-fungal properties will be a bonus! Tea tree oil and distilled white vinegar are our favourite natural anti-fungals. Lots of shampoos and grooming sprays can be found with these ingredients. After washing, towel dry the legs, and have a bit of patience. Let them dry. If you want to cheat a little, use medicated foot powder to help draw out and absorb the moisture, and kill any remaining fungus on the surface. If your horse already has scratches, we would recommend using something like baby powder instead, as the medicated ingredients in the foot powder can cause further irritation.

Good equipment maintenance and barn hygiene says you should keep your equipment clean, but this is particularly important when dealing with scratches. If there is a horse in your barn that has scratches, make sure any sharing of communal brushes stops immediately! Keep your brushes, saddles pads, boots, and polos clean. This will give you a head start on scratches prevention.

scratches 2
Wylie is the queen of scratches! She’s patiently tolerating her treatment/scrub down!

Treatment

So now, you’ve taken all the preventative steps and still your horse has been afflicted with scratches. I always joke that I have scratches because I feel like I’m constantly dealing with them! My last horse was an all white sensitive mare. She got scratches every year, without fail. My current horse, Carma, arrived in our barn with a bit of scratches and I dealt with it all summer!

When treating scratches, it will depend a bit on the source of the infection. As I mentioned above, this can be bacterial, fungal, or viral, so the treatment will differ in each case. I have taken the same approach year over year to treatment, and the answer is to be relentless and diligent. If you slip up, the infection will come right back. You’ll notice scratches first by the little scabs on the hind legs (usually). My first course of action is to clean them the best I can. I use a chlorhexidine scrub which can be purchased from most pharmacies (often labelled hibitaine scrub or stanhexidine). You can also use an iodine prep scrub, however I find this is a bit too drying on the horse’s skin, and sometimes can cause further problems. I scrub the area and do what I can to pull the scabs off. Remember: scratches are quite uncomfortable for your horse! Be very careful and wary of their legs as you scrub, as they may kick out in discomfort if you aggravate the scabs too much. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the area and worked off any scabs that will come off, dry the legs. This is still SO important. Make sure the legs are thoroughly dry. Many vets will have a scratches or mud fever cream that they can provide for you to put on the area, if not, an anti-fungal silver cream will work pretty well in most cases.

Same as the prevention section, make sure you keep your brushes and boots clean and dry, so that you’re always using clean equipment on the horse. This will prevent the spread of the fungus. Nothing worse than clearing your scratches and giving it back to your horse via dirty boots! Sometimes you can use a bit of peroxide or chlorhexidine in your water when you clean your brushes to make sure you kill any superficial fungus.

Now, in some cases, scratches will cause swelling in your horse’s legs and make them very, very sore. In this case, a course of antibiotics will be required from your vet. Keep an eye out for swelling while you are treating scratches, and if you start to notice the legs swelling, contact your vet to save your horse the discomfort.

 

In summary…

Scratches can be a major pain in the butt for you, but can be extremely uncomfortable for your horse as well. Be mindful of how these can affect you, particularly if your horse has sensitive skin, lots of white markings, if you live in a wet or muggy climate, or if you show on big circuits with horses from all over. As always, prevention is the best medicine, but we hope these tips can help you if you have to deal with the dreaded scratches. Just remember, CLEAN AND DRY!

 

Until next time!

~H

Ice, Ice Baby (#TipTuesday v.2)

Yo VIP, let’s kick it!

Sadly, this blog post is not about early nineties hip-hop (too bad because that is one of my favorite jams!)

This blog post is about the many benefits of ice (or cold) therapy for your beloved unicorn’s legs.

As the old saying goes “no hoof, no horse” it should really be more like “no leg, no horse”, since all our riding endeavours hinge upon our horses being sound and comfortable.  Whether you are show jumping, doing dressage or pleasure riding injuries can happen at any time.

The goal with using cold therapy is the reduce inflammation and minimize any tissue damage to our horse’s legs.   This could be applied to new injuries, an injury that is healing, or as preventive maintenance for a hard worker.   The methods for applying it range from simple to high tech, the simplest being cold hosing – running a stream of cold water directly over the area for 15 to 30 minutes.

C cold hose
Supermodel “Carma”

 

A large bucket filled with ice or ice water is also an easy way to apply ice and in our humble opinion the most effective way to ice your horse’s feet.  This comes in handy if you have a horse with coffin bone or sole sensitivities.   It may take some time to get your horse used to standing in a bucket of ice but most of them seem to get used to it after a few times.

V
Supermodel and ice bucket professional “Victor McDreamy”

 

Cold packs can also work, these would be secured to the leg with a polo wrap or stable bandage.  These are handy as they can be put back in the freezer for reuse (disclaimer:  don’t be a fool like me and think your horse is mature enough to go back into his paddock and not rip said wraps and ice packs off his legs and make a giant mess of blue goo) *eye-roll*

C ice wrap
Supermodel “Carma” wearing Equifit wraps

 

Alternatively (and a bit more expensive) there are ice boots or ice wraps that have pockets you can put ice into, or come with the ice packs already sewn in.

A
Supermodel “Aloha V” wearing Finn Tack ice boots

 

The timing for these applications is about 20 minutes at a time, you will not have any better results if you leave the ice on all day and in fact this can cause further damage to the tissues.  For icing a specific area more intensely you can take an ice cube and apply it directly to the area, moving in a circular motion.  Since this is the most intense form of cold therapy it is recommended to only do this for about 9 minutes.

As with anything you will have to experiment and see what works best for you and your unicorn but hopefully this can help you get started in the right direction!

Word to your mother,

~Ranchero