I’ve been tracking my rides with the Equilab app for almost a year now. Why? I started because it was fun, but its also nice to see how my rating of my own performance and my horse’s performance ebbs and flows. The app also tracks things such as workout length, calorie burn and turn distribution, which is very useful since Leo has a favorite lead and it happens to be mine, too! How does it work? Your location is tracked by your phone, so yes, you have to wear your phone on you, and the app analyzes your location pinging to determine if you’re walking, trotting or cantering as well as recording your path.
The picture at right is a screenshot of the main screen of a completed workout. It measured the length of the workout with a breakdown of each gait, the distance traveled and the average speed.
You can also view your ride displayed as a colorful aerial view summary diagram (see screenshots above) or you can even display a satellite view (see screenshot at bottom). Walk is displayed as blue, trot as yellow and canter as pink.
The screenshot at right is from a hack I did the first night the temperature was over 90 degrees, in April of course. My goal for this ride was to have an easy hack with a good warm-up, but nothing too strenuous. Well, he was visibly sweaty all over his neck and shoulder by the time we had cantered a few times around the arena so we quit there. He still had plenty of energy so I rated his Performance as a 5/5.
Note: The Performance section, rides notes, surface (soft, medium, hard, mixed) and the type of ride (ie jumping, hacking, cardio, competition, etc.) are the only possible inputs. The rest of the statistics recorded are all generated from your GPS pings.
Once you click the down arrow under Details, it expands the window and you can see what details are displayed in the screenshots below.
This is my personal favorite graph that displays the transitions and rest breaks that we took during this ride. And yes, we purposely took trot breaks!
I’m not entirely sure how accurate the beat and stride graphs are, I assume a purchase product like Hylofit would be the most accurate if measuring stats like that are important to you.
However, I’m going to go ahead and believe the speed graph! I really love looking at this because I can see just how forward and energetic Leo was that night! His trot was super forward (even sans spurs!), and his canter very floaty and relaxed! Though I kind of thought we were galloping and apparently the average horses canter is anywhere from 10 to 17 miles per hour, so #WESLOW.
I know Leo has a longer stride than most horses and if I recall correctly, most courses are set at a 12 foot stride? He was extra extend-y that night so there’s no way that 9.9 ft is correct. I’m curious if there’s a way to calibrate it to the correct distance like you had to way back in the day with the Nike+ shoe tracker?
Okay so maybe that’s not the most useful part of the app, but it does have one last really awesome feature! You enable SAFETY TRACKING so that your “safety contacts” can following you along on your ride, and know when you’ve returned. I’m definitely going to be utilizing this more and having my husband install Equilab so he knows when I’m safe and done riding.
I think the best use for this app is being able to track your ratios of gaits. When I first started using this for my rides outside of lessons, I found it felt like my warm-ups were super long and I barely got to canter. This isn’t to go into theories of how long you need to warm up or if you need to trot more than you canter, or whatever, but however I felt was not reflected by the app. My walk warm-ups were way too short and I was working at the canter much too long. The app has helped me regulate my warm-up and cool down and also ensure I’m cutting the work-out short.
For the Horse:
I use baby wipes for ear crud, general face clean-up and they are also great for hand cleaning without damaging my skin like a Lysol wipe would! I make sure to get the unscented ones so I have a non-irritating disposable clean up cloth. They are also amazing for cleaning matte helmets (also, windex is great for removing grease marks!). They’re also good for cleaning up a post-walkie poopy dog butt, which is the original reason I was in possession of many packages of baby wipes.
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cloths
I worked at Starbucks for something like 4 years and ever since I’ve been obsessed with using microfibers rags for kitchen clean-up. I’m somewhat of a clean freak and going through two rolls of paper towels a week is just not viable. After getting back into horses, I realized how useful having a catch-all cloth around can be. Horse snot? Got it. Extra mud on legs? Wipe it up. Horse sensitive on the face? Groom with the cloth. As a person who meticulously washes their hands ten times a day, being at the barn can drive me crazy if I don’t have a place to wipe my hands too, so I make sure to always have a cloth on hand. The Amazon basics brand are well priced, super soft, wash nicely and last a long time. (pictured below in blue)
Witch Hazel is not just a common human skincare option, but is also touted for horse use. It’s been recommended as a homemade liniment or to cut a pre-made liniment without compromising effectiveness. It’s said to relive itchiness and help remove stains. Opinions vary, but it’s not recommended for internal use so I would avoid use on wounds though it does have a disinfecting nature, which still makes good for preventing fungus issues.
These soup containers found on Amazon are the perfect size for prepping supplements, either for your home feeding schedule or taking on the road. I know a lot of people like the convenience of SmartPaks but not the price or the waste, and having your own reuseable containers can improve efficiency and reduce your guilt! And hopefully make your barn owner’s job easier in the process.
For Your Stuff:
If you’re really into monograms like me, or really into keeping your stuff yours, some vinyl labels might be for you. These can be applied to any non-porous surface, some ideas: feed buckets, brushes, hoof pick, wash buckets, your plastic/blanket trunk, helmet, horse boots, crops, phone, water bottle, coffee cup, trailer, car, golf cart, your dog, your horse, anything, everything. They’re not reusable, but they are long-lasting and should be non-damaging. Be sure to clean with Windex prior to application.
I know guns and leather sound like an odd cross of hobbies, but when I first got my saddle and did “extensive” research… on COTH forums, I found that some of the top leather cleaning experts recommended sheepskin over tack cleaning sponges. The specific type of sheepskin needed is rarely found except sold as gun cleaning cloth, so no, you won’t be using your sheepskin rugs. I find that the sheepskin picks up dirt or dust on the saddle but does not hold the dirt at the ends of the hairs, so either when applying conditioner or just dusting your saddle, you’re not scraping the dirt over the leather like you might if you had a sponge or cloth. The sheepskin can also be cut down into much smaller pieces to separate for general cleaning, conditioning and deep cleaning. I usually cut one piece into about 9 pieces.
If you have a saddle pad (or overall horse-accessory) problem like I do, you likely need some storage for your items besides your trunk and your car and your garage and your dining table. My favorite simple purchase is my wreath storage bag, perfectly sized for laying saddle pads flat. They’re perfect for under bed storage, and the handles offer easy access so I’m not digging around under there. I found some other, more structured options like this one or this one if your collection exceeds mine.
Whether you need a lightweight trunk for travelling, or some blanket storage if your horse’s stall front is not protected from the weather, the Container Store has some awesome options. Many people opt for Husky or Stanley trunks, but I always thought the non-flat lid would bug me. This one looks like it would be nice to sit on and sturdy enough to stand on. I don’t know why you’d be standing on it but I digress.
I’d be a little unsure about leaving saddle at showgrounds after the theft fiascos at Thermal and WEF, so toting your saddle around in your car has become somewhat necessary. Anticipating my future off-property shows, I recently attempted to order a Stubbs Saddle Mate and got so much flack from my husband (because I can just lay it down like I’ve been doing for the past two years, right?) that I cancelled the order. Around the same time, I saw a post for a similar product on the Sporthorse Apothecary Facebook feed. It just happened to be a garbage can. I found mine at a Target for $10, and it works perfectly! I back in into a corner of my car’s trunk so it doesn’t move around when holding my saddle, but when not in use, I keep extra horse treats, towels for when I get my car washed and my extra reusable grocery bags! For the price and utility, I would HIGHLY recommend.
I use OxiClean in most of my loads of laundry, but on top of that, it is incredible to use on gross, stinky gloves. I dissolve a tiny scoop (of the powdered form) in a large bowl of hot water and just let them sit. See the left picture for the amount of dirt and nastiness that comes out after a few minutes of soaking. Rinse well and the gloves are good as new. Nothing else I’ve tried, especially not putting them in my regular laundry, works. OxiClean is also super effective at getting dirt stains out of my saddle pads and prized white polos.
Sterilite Latch Boxes
THESE BOXES ARE INCREDIBLE. Storage for everything. The tiny ones hold my extra spurs. I have a box for extra reins, my martingale and bits. There’s a larger box that I keep my clippers and accessories in. The largest box I keep open at the bottom of my trunk for boots so the dirty ones don’t get everything else sandy. One box holds a set of my favorite polos organized. I also have a ton of these boxes around my apartment, some for skincare products, important papers, my leather cleaning stuff. KonMari-ing my life did not save money on the storage box front.
I make sure to keep a few common sense items in my trunk just for extra preparedness: sunscreen, deodorant, extra scarf or vest, spare belt and boot socks, checkbook (which I recently learned is v. important), sharpie, phone holster, etc.
If I came off prepper-level crazy about always having what I need at hand, it’s because I am.
Thank you for reading and hoped you got some good ideas on how to save money on non-equestrian branded items!
The Best Time of Year always comes with one of my favorite activities – gift giving! Why? I like the challenge. How? I’m not sure – most of the time I just give people things that I would probably want to receive myself, things that are useful but not so necessary that someone would purchase it themselves. Basic criteria. Obviously I can’t share my gift list for all my loved ones, that would spoil the surprise, but I can provide some ideas for the equestrian in your life.
So, let’s get to it! This guide is perfect for “naive” (meaning they haven’t already received your own Wish List) horse husbands or SOs, parents of horse crazy girls, adult amateurs looking for gifts for their fellow riders or trainer or for your very own steed.
When girls become horse girls, suddenly their entire shopping fund is refocused towards horses. Treat her to something that she can use to pull together an everyday outfit that still has a subtle nod to their equine obsession. TT bags are high quality and timeless, which is great because she won’t have any funds to allocate to a purse budget for at least another year.
Another super useful gift that may be slightly more expensive than one would prefer to purchase for themselves. Got a hunter gift recipient? Grab those in black or a neutral bronze or slate color. Jumper or eventer? Snatch up a pair in their matching competition color!
Obviously this is not in everyone’s price range, but how cool is this thing!? How much do you think your barnmates would love to share a selfie drone?? Forget asking anyone to video your lesson ever again! Alternatives: the Soloshot for the ground view or a GoPro for a first person point of view. If you’re still hopeful for the drone, just remember that six years ago a 4K TV was $20,000, and now you can pick one up for around $650. There’s hope! #mooreslaworsomething
Back on Track has a whole range of therapeutic warming products for you and your horse. The quarter sheet would make an awesome gift for your horse because it’s just a little extra, and probably wouldn’t be a normal purchase. And if your climate is anything like Northern California’s, Real Winter has only just begun, so you’ve got a few more even colder months to get through and why not help your horse get through them in comfort?
These gloves are so gorgeous! Roeckl, always with a quality product, offers this sportier design with a bunch of super cool color combinations. My personal favorite is the black and gold, but there are plenty of options for everyone’s style and riding wardrobe color palette (that’s a thing, right?).
Hunt Club Show Shirt
Hunt Club is one of my favorite equestrian brands and their entrance to the show apparel is very exciting! These shirts are beautifully designed, and, if they’re the same quality as their other riding clothing, will a great addition to anyone’s show wardrobe. Plus, show clothes, while not utilized right away, are always greatly appreciated as they prevent the recipient from scrambling to order a few show shirts days before a summer show!
The tiger tongue is a grooming tool/sponge that’s taking the equestrian world by storm, or something. Use wet or dry, on sensitive areas or to remove dust and dirt from a thick coat. Seems like a cool idea, has mostly rave reviews and a great price point as a stocking stuffer.
My current favorite brand for cold weather barn wear isn’t Asmar, it isn’t Patagonia, not even Ariat or Joulles. It’s all about Uniqlo. Their down jackets are warm, but also cheap enough that I don’t freak over horse snot and slobber or treat crumbs. They wash up easily and retain their warmth and down, and also come in so many more neutral colors than any other down-wear I can think of!
SHE is an awesome up and coming all natural brand that manufactures grooming sprays and salves, and gifts often end up being a great way to try out a new brand. It’s both useful and something you wouldn’t normally purchase yourself since you’re stuck in a brand-loyalty rut.
While brainstorming ideas for my 2018 Gift Guide, I knew I wanted something strictly for Christmas-use and ornaments are always a great gift to give, at least in my opinion. I went searching for a custom horse ornament and stumbled upon Hamer & Clay and Kelsey’s adorable designs! Her Etsy shop has since been shut down, so you can’t order from her but they were too cute to not include in my list. I even tried to message her on Instagram to no avail.
This is actually an item I already own, but I could totally see working out as a prize at a barn party, white elephant or secret Santa. Pair it with a cute nameplate and you’ve got a super cute and thoughtful gift that will last for years.
Okay, so I definitely already have a set of these polos, but I’m SO obsessed!! They are super easy to wrap, never slip, look super classy in every color and with SmartPak’s embroidery options, you can customize them with your loved one’s name or monogram. Just be sure to order early if you do get them embroidered!
Sterling Essentials Leather Conditioner
I first saw this brand in an Instagram advertisement. So, advertising works... though I hate to admit it. After looking them up and seeing a few independent reviews, I thought I'd give them a try. After all, I do have somewhat of an obsession with cleaning and shining my boots.
I ended up ordering the Floral Citrus scent and it smells incredible! Not as good as the Effax Lederbalsam which smells like wax and honey, sooo good, but I still appreciate being able to make my boots smell like something other than dirt and shavings.
I start by letting my boots dry completely, especially if they are sweaty from riding in the heat. Our apartment gets so humid that we actually have a dehumidifier so I'll sometimes plop the boots in front of that. Once they're dry, I'll take a damp microfiber cloth to them, and a shoe shining brush to the cracks and crevices where dirt tends to hide. Let dry again. Add generous amounts of the leather conditioner with separate microfiber cloth. Let stand for a few minutes. Use the same cloth to rub in, and/or take excess conditioner off, and then polish with my favorite Effax speedy shine sponge. Works well!
I would absolutely buy Sterling Essentials again, it definitely works better than any black boot polish I've used and I don't feel like I'm making a mess or ruining all my microfiber cloths using it either. 10/10. Might need to get the lavender leather cleaner next.
Wine Down Hoof Pick
As my favorite @adultammystrong saying goes, Whinnies and Wine make me feel fine! I've been attempting to incorporate more equine-themed décor in our home lately, and this bottle opener seemed like the perfect fit while also being useful. I had just lost our best wine opener ever, a hand-me-down from my grandparents I’m sure they picked up in Maui sometime about 2000. My replacement hoof pick/corkscrew combo is a great value for the price and looks quite nice hung in our kitchen. Plus, the hoof pick end is great for getting bottle caps off as well. I have Big Plans for future wine picnics at the barn and/or shows.
8/10 because I could live without it, but it's damn cute. I feel like these would be amazing gifts with a little nameplate or engraving??
Honestly? These stirrups were life-changing. If I had to nail down a single thing that most improved my riding in the last six months, it would be these. Not to hate on MDC, but I just can't do the flexible foot bed, IMHO, I think it makes it easier for your heel to be down, but even easier for it to come back up. There's no putting your heels down and having your leg 'lock' in the correct position.
The combination of the wide foot bed, cheese grater pads, and the slight incline really just make them so supportive and my feet are never sore! The Lorenzini have helped my heel come down so much that it stays down (more the most part) over the jump *gasp* and my boots even started rubbing in new places because of the changed position.
9/10. Might need a pink pair.
Professional Choice Girth
I didn't really need to buy a girth. But I don't really ever need to buy anything.
My barn provides girths. There are multiple sizes, types, etc. and there was a favorite super nice shaped leather Antares that Leo and I both loved for a while… buuuut it would go missing when everyone traveled to shows, and eventually I couldn't find it altogether and just decided to treat myself and grab a synthetic girth.
Everyone has a PC girth. There is a reason. They are awesome, and the price is right. It's easy to get on, plenty stretchy. It's easy to tighten on the ground and in the saddle. The color works. It’s very easy to clean. I think it helps with saddle slippage too.
10/10 would absolutely buy again!
Literally cannot dream up a classier looking sunshirt.
Just kidding, this is clearly the classier sunshirt. Tennis racket print? Wow, can I stop by the country club before my lesson for a mimosa? I feel like I would have to with this shirt.
3. [another pair of] ManeJane Spur Straps
At the top of my current want-list is the four leaf clover, Oh La Latte, or Rose Fox on the Rox. Or maybe I'll buy them all. Plus, I have to say it's awesome to purchase horsie items from a small business who stands behind their products. Did I mention they overnighted my last order to arrive in time for my last horse show? They're amazing!
Okay, so I already ordered these in the Storm (blue) color and I'm so glad they ended up on my wishlist. I had a few pairs of the Ice Fil Tech Tights last summer and they were A. Mistake. These, thankfully, are SO flattering, even more so than a Tailored Sportsman. Perfect rise and smoothes every dimple. I do wish they had other, better colors. I might get the Colt (brown) next. But look forward to a product review coming soon!
So this 'hoof pick' doesn't have much to do with horses, but I figure I can use it to start yet another conversation about horses. Or possibly bring it to the barn to keep in my tack trunk for Barn Whinnies & Wine (probably @adultammystrong copyrighted) Nights, which I'm still trying to get going...
6. Eqwine White Tee
I love all of Eqwine Co's sweatshirts and hope to collect them all, just closer to winter when I can actually wear them! Until then, hopefully this fitted white shirt can tide me over. I love nothing more than cute equestrian inspired clothing that doesn't overtly scream OMG I LOVE HORSIES. Add an additional nod to wine? I'm all in.
I'm honestly not yet in the place in my life where I'm regularly purchasing $150 belts, but 17 Hands Equestrian has been making me strongly consider it! Luckily for my wallet they're out of my size in the Rose Gold Blush belt. It will probably stay on my wishlist through Christmas and possibly until my next birthday. Not to mention, their cute brand stickers also make me that much more inclined to purchase!
Northern California summers are scorchers. I can't live without gloves and my regular Roeckls only dry so much between rides. I don't need vented gloves, but damn do I want some.
Leo's getting older and, as a worrier-by-nature, I really want to make sure I'm reducing the wear and tear on his body as much as possible. I've heard great things about Back on Track and this pad would be great for him especially since he really needs a good warm up before he's loose in his stride and back. I love a crisp, white saddle pad, and it would reflect some summer sun. And yes I will be getting it monogrammed in white!
10. with matching White Back on Track Polo Wraps
I've wanted a set of classic white polos for a while, and again, I think I would go with Back on Track over other products to help with circulation for my favorite old man.
None of the images in this post are property of The Two H Blog.