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

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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

 

 

#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.

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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.

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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

LET’S ALL GO TO THE HORSE SHOW!

Show season is upon us, Mane Babes! If you read Apes last blog, ALL of the Feelings, you’ll know that us horse people are all about worry and fuss, and you’ll also know (because you’re one of us) that the worst thing that happens at the show is when you reach into your trunk and…

“OMG. I forgot my (insert name of crucial piece of equipment here)!!!”

There are a lot of different show packing lists out there, and I’ve tried to use some of them in the past. Generally what I find is that it’s always missing something that is specific to my horse, or it’s overly specific and there are a bunch of things I don’t need. To clarify, if you’re at a local show, you likely aren’t going to have to be so stressed about your packing, so this is more geared towards going away… but I always like to take everything… including the tack room sink. As I like to say “a full tack trunk means no room for error!” (Disclaimer: Actually, I just made that up now. I’ve never said it out loud.)

Below you will see a PDF link for our ManeGirls Super High-Maintenance Organizational Wizard (MG SHOW!), and we hope you will find this helpful. Please feel free to download, print, and share as you wish! We’re happy to keep this up to date as we realize we need more stuff, and if you think there’s anything we’re missing please let us know in the comments!

ManeGirls SHOW Packing List

Now, babes. Let’s be serious here for a minute: we are notoriously horrible at taking care of ourselves. In the spirit of everything MG stands for, please raise your right hand, place your left hand on the bible (Hunt Seat Equitation by GHM. Duh!), and repeat after me:

I (your name here), promise to love myself as much as I love my horse(s). While competing at this show, I vow to get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, eat nutritious meals, and I will not skip breakfast. I will wear a hat and SPF in the heat, and keep myself dry and warm on the wet days. I will polish my show boots with boot polish, not leather cream. I will dress well because I respect myself and my team, and hold my head high, because I love what I do, and I love how I do it.

Let’s get showing, ladies (and gents)! We will be featuring our horse show adventures on our Instagram story all year so that you can join us! If you’d like us to feature you, please DM us on Instagram, or send us an email.

~H

#TipTuesday v.1

Happy Tuesday to our Mane Babes!

Welcome to #TipTuesday where we tell you all about our best tips, tricks, hacks, and fixes!

For volume one, we’re going to talk about POO STAINS.

Heather previously owned a (gorgeous, athletic, delicate, powerful) unicorn named Wylie. She was glorious in every way, loved to win, and earned her nickname “Wild White.” However, one of our honorary Mane Babes once referred to her as a “Poo Dalmatian.” Well, yup!

Thankfully, after many years of joyous ownership, Heather learned some serious #protips on how to deal with this:

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So you can get to that:

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We all know the secrets to a clean grey horse: lots of elbow grease, and a good blue/purple shampoo. Every show morning, Wylie always went for her bath. *Important! After you bath your horse on the show grounds, you must dry them before you put them away. Wylie would stand in the cross tie, legs towel dried, with medicated foot powder on her legs and ankles. Not only is this bright white, but it will prevent the incidence of scratches (a wretched fungal infection, if you’ve never dealt with it before).

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’ll come get your horse ready for their class to find them flat out in their own poop. Don’t panic! But, do be prepared. What you need in this case is a small bucket, rubbing alcohol, water, and a stiff brush. Mix the alcohol and water, roughly 1:7 in ratio, but this doesn’t have to be perfect. Clean the “affected area” as best you can using traditional measures (curry comb & brush), and then take your very clean, very stiff brush and dip it in your water mixture and brush the whole stain. You’ll need to apply a fair bit of pressure, and a good “flick” (similar to how you’d use a dandy brush). The area may not look perfect, but once dry, you will have a white horse to head to the ring with.

Best of luck with your greys, they’re magical!

~H