The new Softshell Jacket from myMareCo is perfect for those days that require lightweight layering. I wore mine over a sweatshirt on a chilly morning, as well as over a long sleeve mock turtleneck. I predict I will wear it often comfortably over a t-shirt in the cooler Summer mornings, particularly at the horse shows. The color is referred to as “Sage Green”, however, I found that depending on the lighting, it would oscillate between sage green and grey blue. The jacket has two large zip pockets on both sides that easily fit your hands, or a large cell phone and small wallet. I like that it is a full zip, making it easy to take off after you are warmed up while riding. It is made of 95% polyester spandex which allows for a range of physical activity but also retains shape to accent your figure. It also is wind and water resistant. The outside material of the jacket brushes clean easily, which is important if you are wearing it at the barn! The inside is a soft brushed fleece. Pictured in a size Medium, however, I think I would get myself a Small next time. Currently priced at $68, which qualifies for free shipping!
Hamster is the most in your pocket, curious (a.k.a. nosy) and orally fixated horse. If you need to blame a horse for “eating your homework”, Hamster is your guy. Sidenote: that is actually a true story. When Hamster is on the cross-ties, if he isn’t trying to eat them, he has been known to paw the ground incessantly for attention or for treats. When bridled, he immediately makes a play for those tasty leather reins when you slip them over his head. It was getting to the point that I would let him chew on his lead rope while I groomed him because he just wanted something in his mouth.
When I first saw the Busy Buddy from ThineLine Global, I thought it had Ham’s name all over it. We had joked so often about making him a horse-sized pacifier and this was essentially one! The Busy Buddy is simple to use. It clips onto the sides of the halter with plastic clips and an elastic nylon rope. The thick, hospital-grade Latex tubing runs through the mouth, similar to a bit, and has bit guards on both sides. When we first used it, Hamster chewed and chewed and even tried to bite it. It was pretty slobbery, which I took as a good sign – similar to a frothy mouth when they are on the bit. We had a great ride afterwards, but I didn’t want to attribute that solely to the Busy Buddy. To be quite honest, I had wanted the Busy Buddy just to entertain him; I never really gave much thought to it impacting our rides. We then decided to keep it on his halter so we could use it for approximately 25 minutes prior to every ride and for the last 4 weeks we have not missed an opportunity to use it. We even took it to the horse show and kept with the routine. He would use it before tacking up and even while being washed in the wash stall.
I am the first to admit there are so many variables when it comes to horse training. After a month of using the Busy Buddy, however, Jackie and I have definitely noticed that he feels more relaxed when you get on. The whole concept really makes sense. While standing there, he gently licks or plays with the Latex tubing, stimulating relaxation through his body and brain. You can actually see it. When he is using it, he has a sleepy and softer look to his face and the pawing and grabs for the cross ties subside.
I haven’t had a bad ride since using it, and frankly, that is reason enough for me to keep it on my grooming and show routine! It is definitely worth a try for $25! Click here to check it out.
Setting up your RingSide Pro account. I have 4,578 videos on my iPhone. Most are probably of Chloe, Hamster and my two young children (in that order!). RingSide Pro is a new equestrian tech company that among other things, helps you itemize your riding goals and arranges a storage system for all of your horsey videos. Not only does this free up some GB’s on your phone, but it also helps you track your progress and continue to reassess your riding or training goals. It is very simple to set up your account and get started. Simply click HERE and start filling out your information. I found the “About Me” profile helpful because it provides a space for you to verbalize your riding objectives, and on the flip side, makes you think of your limitations. For me, I need to push myself more to jump Hamster at home. I get stuck worrying about what could go wrong – I could fall off or I could ruin Jackie’s prize baby green possession – you know the usual amateur concerns! After you are done with your account profile, you are ready to add your videos. To add your videos, go to “Video Library” and add a video. It lets you rename the video once you add it, helping to keep your courses organized. Now you have all of your horsey videos in once place, making it super easy to track your progress.
Virtual Clinics for as little as $18. RingSide Pro has partnered with USEF licensed Hunter/Jumper/Equitation clinicians to provide feedback on videos you submit from your account’s archive. With Coronavirus cancelling many of our equestrian events, as well as the obvious geographic and financial constraints of attending live clinics, this unique virtual space gives you access to clinicians that you might otherwise never have access to. And it’s so easy to use, especially since you already have the videos in your account. You simply go to your dashboard, select which video you want to submit, provide any description you want to accompany the video, and then select the judge or judges you want to receive feedback from. Prices are currently $18 to $25. Videos can be from a cell phone, shot at home or at a show and should be the length of a course, or under 3 minutes long.
Detailed clinician responses within approximately 7 days. Since all of my personal videos riding Hamster consist of a maximum of 5 consecutive jumps (and then me celebrating), I did not have a full course-long video of myself that I could send. However, I did use one from Hamster’s last show with Jackie. The videos do not have to be professional-grade. Like most barns, we can usually count on a member of our barn family to be videoing rounds at the show, making it relatively easy to come up with material if you are an avid horse shower (which I am not). I decided to submit Hamster’s handy round from his Green Hunter division. It was Hamster’s second time in the show ring since March, a note I included in my submission description.
This is the video submitted. Underneath is the description I submitted with the video, giving the clinician some background on Hamster.
Within 7 days, I got the following feedback from Winn Alden, a Hunter R and Hunter/Jumper Seat Equitation R judge. The feedback was split into 4 categories: technical, stylistic, turnout and other.
Technical Feedback. He looks like a very sweet horse and quiet. He does want to jump well and yes, just green at the trot jump. For this round, I would just suggest slowing it all down a bit. He looks like you have to keep him going and again just green, but I’d suggest just a tiny bit slower. Keep the impulsion but slow it all down just the tiniest bit at the jump to allow him to jump a little slower. Like the oxer just before the trot jump is lovely. If you take away the trot jump, it’s quite a nice round. I would suggest doing a lot of trotting jumps; this will not only help the trot jump in handy but also get him to use his hind end more over all the jumps as he wants to suck his hind end in over the jump just slightly rather than it following through. I would say you are right on that he has a lot of talent and needs a little work ethic and continue to smooth out the changes. If possible, a lot of riding out in big open spaces and anywhere with hills going forward and coming back will get him stronger and also keep him interested in his job. He doesn’t seem to spook at jumps so he probably doesn’t need to do a lot of courses but lots of riding outside ring and then gymnastics. Doing a lot of counter canter and simple changes through the walk will improve the lead changes as well.
Style Feedback. He does have a nice jump. Like I said earlier, doing a lot of trot jumps will teach him to push off behind and follow through, landing and staying in 2 point so he moves away from the jump. Also a landing rail 10’ from the back side of vertical is a good idea to encourage him to center his arc and land with a stretch with head and neck (fluidly get away from the jump).
Turnout Feedback. The horse and rider are beautifully turned out for this horse show. He looks happy and healthy and just continue building his muscle with flat work including many and constant transitions in various arenas.
Other Feedback. Remember that courses are just an extension of flat work with obstacles along the way so having him carrying himself and looking for the next jump is the key. If he does courses over and over, he will get bored; so change it up a lot. Like I said, he doesn’t appear spooky at the jumps so you don’t want to jump too much but do different things. You can make a circle of 4 jumps at 12,3,6,9 and canter several times around those 4 jumps in a two point each direction will get him looking to next jump while staying out on the bend – you can start with poles while your trainer does actual jumps or cavalettis. Don’t be afraid to jump him yourself, he looks quite kind and while your trainer is there to continue his education, he can learn to have a little self preservation while you practice some courses on him. The jumps can stay low. Your trainer will have him set up to do the bigger jumps as you go while you and he learn each other over the smaller ones.
Wow, there is really so much great things to process there, with the exception of Ms. Alden telling me that I need to trust myself to do more jumping on Hamster :). I love the fantastic reminder that course work is not the end all. Flatwork is so important and the good news is, that is something that I can help Jackie with. We definitely plan to start doing more simple exercises and gymnastics, as we do not want him to get bored with his job. We have a lot of green space at our barn, so I want to get back into the habit of one day a week doing work outside of the arena, as Ms. Alden suggests. The circle exercise example was really helpful. I love the idea of providing obstacles for him to be searching for next, helping him to learn to carry himself a bit more.
Jackie and I were really happy with the critique. We are obsessed with Hamster and basically dote over him all day long, so it was so nice to have a fresh set of eyes on him. I think we are both excited to get back to work, using all of Ms. Alden’s suggestions and tips. And maybe I will be in the saddle for the next video. 🙂
Real talk right here. Sometimes when I am shopping I get overwhelmed by the number of choices and then choose… nothing. When I first saw the Caracol website, specifically the “Equestrian” section, I had no idea where to start my selection. There was just so many beautiful jewelry items- rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces. Sterling silver, gold, leather. Where do I start?! In fact, I ended up just telling them to choose for me! When the “Horse Glam Stack” arrived and I put the 3 bracelets on my arm, I have never been so pleasantly surprised!
The first bracelet I unwrapped was the Shakespearean Quote bracelet. Stamped on the sterling silver cuff is the famous quote from the play Hamlet, “Above all else: To thine own self be true…” I cannot tell you what perfect timing it was to see those words. I love when I look down and see that quote. It really encompasses what I believe (and what I am always preaching to my friends). YOU deserve to be happy and the only one that can guaranty this happiness is YOU. Stay true to yourself, and the rest will fall into place how it should. I like pairing this bracelet with others, especially something chunky! The cuff design allows you to easily tighten or loosen the bracelet around your wrist. (Great for stick arms like mine!)
The Equus Hook bracelet is probably my favorite. The half bit detail is undeniably equestrian, but to the mainstream world it just looks like a hook closure. I love the size…it is substantial but does not overwhelm my small wrists. It looks great alone and even better stacked. Most important is that it is comfortable, so you can do anything while wearing it (including riding). It comes in multiple sizes which guarantees you the perfect close fit. Mine is sterling silver, but there is a version with 18k gold accents here.
Last but not least is the sterling silver Hook Loop Bangle bracelet. This bracelet is a bit more narrow than the Equus Hook described above and looks great stacked with your other favorite pieces. It also comes in 3 sizes for a perfect fit.
I should point out that you do not have to buy these beauties as a stack, but it would be cheaper than buying them individually. By scrolling down the page linked above, you can see individual links for each bracelet. Use discount HORSE GLAM for 15% off! Be sure to browse the Caracol website. You will see lots of other jewelry options, as well as a wide range of apparel and accessories. Happy shopping!
I know some of you smarty pants are already keeping your heads cool while riding thanks to myMareCo’s moisture wicking headbands. If you don’t know, now you know (click here). Now hook yourself up pre and post rides with myMareCo’s newest product launch: the quick dry baseball hat. Made out of polyester microfiber, with a fully mesh lined interior that helps circulate air flow and allows your head to “breathe”, this hat will dry quickly, rain or sweat. This is perfect timing for the still hot September weeks ahead, as well as the daily thunderstorms that inevitably accompany those hot days. Another feature that deserves a mention is how easily the hats can fold up for storage in your handbag or tack trunk. This also means there is zero extra bulk, giving your head a more streamlined look. I have a hat in my aforementioned tack trunk at the barn and one folded up in the interior door of my car. I try try try to keep my face out of the sun and this way, I have no excuses.
Currently comes in two colors: black and grey. The hats are low profile and adjustable but they also come in two sizes for a more custom looking fit.
Priced right now at $15.99, you can buy yours HERE!
Equestrians know a thing or two about leather goods. We outfit our horses in expensive leather tack and equipment. We ride in leather gloves, chaps and boots. We have high expectations when it comes to leather quality and durability, and equally high expectations when it comes to its aesthetics. When Jessie Lochrie founded Blake Goods, she knew exactly the sort of equestrian-inspired leather belt she wanted to bring to both the mainstream and equestrian markets. A crucial component of bringing her vision to life is key business partnerships. Blake Goods has joined forces with a master tannery that has been producing old-world bridle leather for over 150 years and an expert equestrian leatherwork American factory that can bring her modern design visions to life. The result is a “durable, beautiful leather good” that is strong enough for your horse, but stylish enough for you.
I received the Center Bar Belt in jet (black) and brass. It also comes in a caramel leather, with brass buckle. The belt is 1″ wide, which means it fits all the different size belt loops on my breeches and jeans. It also is the perfect size for one of my equestrian belt bags (as pictured) so I was pretty excited about that! The belt design is clean and modern, and the leather is high quality, as promised. The black color has remained true and has not bled onto my tan breeches. One reviewer mentioned the leather was stiff for a few days, but I did not notice this at all. I have only had this belt for a month, but I have worn it many times to the barn and I have also worn it out to dinner with friends. It pairs nicely with jeans and heels. This belt is currently priced at $85.
Also worth mentioning is the Circle Belt. It is currently the most popular item on the website. The belt is fully adjustable and does not have any traditional belt holes. It is a slightly wider than my belt, at 1.5″. It also comes in jet and caramel leather, as well as a nickel option for the circle hardware. I think this belt would look really cute around a maxi dress.
Some worthwhile notes! 1. Sizing. Pay attention to the sizing guide. Size up, especially if you are on the fence. These belts will not stretch significantly over time. My belt is a size 32 for reference. 2. All belts are made from vegetable tanned leather and are eco-friendly. Yay! 3. There are sample sizes on the website here selling for $55! Don’t miss out!
You might remember myMareCo from the previous blog posts I have written on their moisture wicking headbands. Recently, they have expanded their product line to include equestrian inspired silk scarves. I received a beautiful cream colored scarf with grays and light blue that features an original equestrian painting by artist, Anna Noelle Rockwell. The scarf, titled, “Of Sky and Sea” is made of 100% chiffon silk and feels as soft as it sounds. It is a 35″ x 35″ square, giving it more versatility in terms of ways to wear it. Tied smartly in a knot or draped casually over shoulders, silk scarves have a unique way of upgrading any outfit. Priced at $150 it is a reasonable investment, but it will be a classic mainstay of wearable art in your closet for years (possibly generations) to come. Pro tip: To get rid of any creases, I use a hand steamer. Don’t have a steamer? Hang it near your shower! The material is so fine, the creases will fall out.
Amanda Dowie is a life-long, avid equestrian. She lives in the UK and owns four horses. I think it is safe to assume that if you own and ride four horses you need all that saddle time to be as comfortable as possible. In 2018, Amanda launched her brand, Georgian Dollar, named after her daughter’s pony. Her dream was to design equestrian jeans that are stylish, comfortable and technically functional. I’d say mission accomplished.
The Sieta Equestrian Jeans are noticeably soft. The denim is so inviting that I wondered if it would be durable. I received my pair in November and so far, so good!. The second thing your eye will be drawn to is the black Lycra that starts at the ankle and travels up the front of the shins. At first I thought this was random but the Lycra material (instead of denim) helps streamline the leg and prevent bulk under your tall boots or chaps. Note that the back of the leg does not have Lycra. The Sieta has sillicone grip patches around the inner thigh/seat area that are small and blue in color, blending into the denim well. I also really liked that there are pockets in the back. I always think back pockets are flattering on breeches, helping them bridge the gap to street style, and also, let’s face it, it’s a nice place to put your phone when you are not riding!
I own two other pairs of denim breeches and I will say these feel the most like my favorite pair of mainstream jeans, which is what I imagine Amanda was really striving for. Today, so many of us find ourselves wearing our riding breeches for hours after we have been at the barn (running errands, picking up the kids, cooking dinner) and so it is really appreciated when your comfort doesn’t require you changing your outfit immediately. My only other comment would pertain to the unique button flap. It caused me to double check my zipper on occasion.
Georgian Dollar also has a white denim breech called the Regalita for sale, which I think would be a nice addition to a Spring/Summer equestrian wardrobe. The Georgian Dollar jeans can be thrown into the wash with your other clothes, so don’t be afraid to try white. Note: I like to hang dry mine and then put into the dryer for a few minutes.
Be sure to follow Georgian Dollar on Instagram so you can keep up with their growing brand!
Love this outfit? Visit my Instagram page at HORSEGLAM (CLICK HERE) to enter the easiest giveaway ever. Just follow Horse Glam and Kerrits, tag two friends and tell me which item you are most excited to win!
Well, my back is less sore now because she is sitting more balanced, which is clearly a positive side effect (for me), but I also have less reason to buck her, which is obviously a negative side effect (for me). Don’t look so surprised. She’s owned me for 10 years. She should know by now that if she is going to sit on me unbalanced, I am going to buck her. If she is going to drop her eyes, then her shoulders and lean up my neck, I am going to spook, fart and crow hop (not necessarily in that order, but most likely in that order). Since riding with EQright, these aforementioned equitation “no-no’s” have decreased in occurrence and sometimes she doesn’t even get to the part where she leans up my neck. Now, when her helmet brim dips down further than where she calibrated as the acceptable level, EQright will alert her with a soft vibration until she adjusts her riding position appropriately. Sometimes she fixes her position so quickly that I don’t even have time to “react”.
Basically, EQright has taken my job from me. For just that reason alone, I am a fan of EQright. A decade worth of crow hopping really can get boring…and frankly, tiring. If EQright wants to take over the reins, that is totally fine with me. I still have plenty of other mare-ish activities to keep myself busy, like perfectly timed tail swats into the eyeballs. Now, if only EQright could do something about her inability to count strides…
To learn more click here. Use code Horseglam for free shipping!
What if I told you that with just one ride you could improve your equitation? EQright help with just this through the use of real time equitation feedback. It’s as simple as clipping the EQright device onto the brim of your riding helmet. This lightweight device is discreet and securely stays well out of your eyesight. In fact, sometimes I forget it is there. Well, until I feel a soft vibrate of course. The EQright vibrates and buzzes when it detects your helmet alignment moving too far south…aka you are looking down at the jump or you are leaning forward. I get buzzed in my canter departures when I am legging on a lazy 5 yr old. EQright has reminded me to not forego my equitation in the transition, but to stay balanced and not round my shoulders.
Think about it, when your head tips downward (usually, in my case, following the eyes), it causes your entire body to move forward and out of proper positioning. The simple and quick vibrate from EQright keeps you from looking down, stops you from rounding the shoulders, aids in proper body alignment and overall balance, and stops you from leaning forward. In other words, you get your equitation right.
Lessons with a professional trainer are without question the best training tool, but of course it is not something you can afford to do every ride. When you ride solo often (me), the EQright is such a great device to have handy. The immediate feedback helps you break bad habits as they are occurring. I have noticed that when I am using EQright, I try harder, which means my rides are more effective for both myself and the horse. I love to see how long I can go without a buzz. Some days are better than others! A junior rider at my barn likes to use EQright during her lessons – two trainers for the price of one!
Using the device is pretty easy. Like I said, you slip it onto the brim of your helmet, with the display pointed down so you can easily reach it while your helmet is on. Once mounted, turn the device on and begin calibration. To calibrate, move your head to the desired chin positioning. Now purposely drop your chin below this imaginary line and hold the large green button. You are now ready to ride. If your chin drops to, or below, this level you will get a notification vibration until you readjust your head to the correct level!
A few things you should know. You can mute the device when you are not mounted. I didn’t realize this at first but it is handy to know, otherwise you will get buzzed putting on your spurs or fishing a peppermint out of your trunk (true stories). You can select the vibration strength to low or high. I have it on low and have no problem knowing when it is alerting me. I also have never had a horse react to it, although the directions do suggest that on the first use to let the horse hear it a few times before mounting.
As mentioned earlier, I like to see how long I can go each ride without getting alerted. As I improve my time, I can actually make the “game” more difficult. The “time adjust” button on the device allows you to select how many seconds (2, 4 or 6) pass before you are alerted that your chin has dropped below the calibrated level. When I can go an entire ride without a vibrate on the 2 second time adjust I will let you know!
Learn more about EQright and how easy it is to improve your overall riding by clicking HERE. It is available NOW for PREORDER!! Use code Horseglam for free shipping!!! Be sure to follow EQright on Instagram!
Dapplebay has updated their lifestyle collection with new Fall inspired pieces. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of the everyday horse girl pieces and wanted to share them with you. Use code HORSEGLAM10 to get 10% off your purchase for a limited time this holiday season.
When the cropped trend began, I thought it was cute but I really didn’t anticipate wearing the look as much as I have been. It is pretty hard to ignore how comfortable these hoodies are though. They are lined with fleece and the dropped shoulder with longer sleeves feels like you are snuggled in a blanket. The raw hemline makes it seem like you aren’t trying, a facade that I dig. The flowy, cropped t-shirt material is just as comfy – it feels like satin against your skin. I loved the color of this one pictured!
The “Dream Chaser” t-shirt is one of my fall favorites as I cannot have too many long sleeves this time of year. The fit is tailored so it is easy to wear alone or underneath something else, like the cropped sweatshirt. I am a firm believer in layering when the temperatures drop! I also appreciate that the design is on the back. It’s more subtle. Sometimes I feel like big designs on the front of a shirt can be obnoxious.
The bomber jacket was really popular on my Instagram feed. The fit is more of a boyfriend style, which is perfect for equestrian needs as it fits easily over your clothes to keep you warm while at the barn. Ribbed sleeves, waistband and crewneck areas finish the look.
Visit DappleBay to see more of these looks Don’t forget the HORSEGLAM10 code!
All pictures by Shannen Smyth. 🙂
Oops, we did it again! I teamed up with a new set of influencer friends for the 2019 Horse Glam + Friends Holiday Gift Guide. Together we came up with ideas for your own personal wishlist, as well as some great gift giving ideas for those special peeps in your life. Scroll through the pages below and if you see something that interests you, click anywhere on the page and you will be re-directed to the brand’s website. If there are multiple brands listed on one page, click the links at the bottom of that page to jump to the respective websites. As always, thank you for following me on my Horse Glam journey! Happiest of holidays! xo Andrea and Chloe (and Ham)
Before I became familiar with the brand IBKUL, it never dawned on me to wear sun shirts in any other facet of my life other than horse back riding. Spending time at the barn generally always means time in the sun, so I try to keep my neck and arms covered as much as possible by wearing sun shirts. When I step outside my equestrian bubble, it is pretty clear how versatile the IBKUL sun shirts really are. Golf, tennis, running and even relaxing pool-side are all activities that could benefit from IBKUL. The shirts are made with Icefill fabric technology that converts your sweat into cooling energy to help keep you cool, even when the temperatures outside are anything but. The long sleeve shirts have mesh underneath for optimum ventilation, something I always appreciate in the middle of the summer. Also important is that the fabric is UPF50+, which offers superior sun protection for your skin.
The first thing I noticed about IBKUL was the vast amount of colors and patterns to choose from. If you like color and patterns then this is your place! IBKUL is not foremost an equestrian brand, but they definitely had us equestrians on their mind with the introduction of the Promenade “Bitty” Top. This same pattern comes in a short sleeve option, as well as 2 other colors (navy/pink and orange). I am wearing the black/red color option, which features interwoven gold bits and curb chains. When zipped, the half zip mock neck gives it a polished look, perfect for a riding lesson. Unzipped makes for a more casual feel. I paired this long sleeve sun shirt with black breeches and vintage tan knee patches.
Also pictured is the Short Sleeve Zip Mock Neck in solid Navy. This style comes in numerous other colors, from Black to Seafoam. Like the long sleeve sun shirt, the shirt sleeve has built in moisture-wicking and anti-microbial properties, making it an ideal choice for any outdoor athleisure activity. One of the reviews mentioned they wore theirs frequently for gardening! I paired mine with rust colored breeches.
Be sure to visit the IBKUL website to see all of the many color choices and detailed patterns they offer. I often times get questions from Instagram followers asking for help with matching their breeches and “what color would I wear with this”. IBKUL would be a great place to start when looking for pattern ideas!
When I was asked to do a blog review on The Height of the Storm, the third book in The Triple Crown Trilogy by Kimberly Campbell, I thought I would be able to read the book and write a review. I read the book summary and found myself interested, despite the book being classified as “YA” or Young Adult. It had all the elements I look for in a good book: a tragedy, relatable family drama and well, horses. To better educate myself on the whole picture, I read the summaries of the first two books, The Calm Before the Storm and The Eye of the Storm. I suddenly found that I was invested in the storyline. I wanted to read more about how the universe first aligned Genuine Storm, a horse that needed a second chance at life, with Charlie, a widowed mom of two young kids who found herself starting over whether she was ready to or not. The Height of the Storm begins right after long-shot Genuine Storm has two back-to-back wins at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Weeks before the last leg of the Triple Crown, the stable suffers a devastating fire where much is lost, secrets are unraveled and relationships are broken. The third book centers around whether the group can rally together to clench the first Triple Crown win in thirty-seven years.
Like I said, after reading the official summaries of each book, I felt I was invested in the storyline and I wanted to know more about all the characters and read about their path to the Kentucky Derby. I knew I had to start at the beginning with The Calm Before the Storm. Luckily all the books are available on Amazon so it won’t be too difficult to catch up. In the meantime, I thought it would be a great opportunity to interview Kimberly Campbell about the Series and her own personal connection with Thoroughbreds.
HG: Thanks so much Kimberly for chatting with me. I loved the Thoroughbred Series as a kid and I feel like The Triple Crown Trilogy is an adult version of those, so I am really looking forward to reading the books! I learned that you have always had a soft spot for Off The Track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) and have given a forever home to many retired OTTBs. Can you tell me about your first OTTB?
KC: My love for the Thoroughbred started when I was a teenager, when I got my first Thoroughbred off the track. Smokey was grey, hence my love for a grey horse, and was quite the character. He would stand in the middle of the field gazing around at the horses pleasantly eating around him and decide it was time to rile the rest of the herd up and start chasing them around. He wasn’t the easiest to ride and was quite uncomfortable, but he would do whatever I asked, including jump as high as I could stomach. And as a young kid, I thought I could jump the moon! The thoroughbred has a heart and mind that I don’t think you find in other breeds, they will try to do the best they can and they certainly know how to exhibit enthusiasm when they are successful!
HG: Many rescued OTTB stories have left scars in my mind and I am sure you know firsthand how people in the industry can cast the “old” racehorses or the “losers” aside. Is it sometimes hard to still love the sport knowing the things you know or do you think the industry unfairly gets a bad reputation?
KC: I try and look at things from an outside perspective. The racing industry is at a cross-roads and at times is losing public interest due to mis-communication and mis-understanding. I think it would be best served by talking in layman terms to the general public so they can understand why certain things are the way they are. There are extremes in all sports and I think with social media and everyone being able to put their opinion out for all to read, things can get misconstrued. The industry needs to be more relatable to the average person – sometimes all people see on TV or read about is the wealth owners and trainers that are involved in the Triple Crown races. What about following a one-racehorse owner like me and focus on all the tidbits I am learning about as I try to understand the industry better?
HG: Have you ever owned an active racehorse? Can you describe the amount of, and intensity of, training that it takes to be competitive?
KC: My first and only racehorse is Height of the Storm, named after my third book. I purchased her as a yearling in early 2017 with dreams of her racing career coinciding with my books and dreams of reaching the Kentucky Derby. It was not to be, but it has been a whirlwind of fun. Storm is definitely a competitor, but she got really sick and almost died right before she was going to run in her first race as a two-year old. A team of great doctors at the equine hospital nursed her back to health, but they weren’t sure she would get back to the track. After six months of rehab and weight gain, she returned to the track and continued her path to her first race. To date, her best finish was a second at Pimlico, a few weeks after the Preakness. It was exciting to watch her come down the homestretch where so many great racehorses have run with the tents in the infield as the backdrop.
My trainer does a great job with Storm, but he is also educating me on what level races she could be successful at. Since her second place finish, Storm usually finishes mid-herd. She is a consistent runner, but doesn’t exhibit that “kick” to finish strong. There is so much that goes into getting a horse to the race, both physically and mentally. You also need to figure out what surface they like to run on, dirt or turf, as well as what would be the best distance.
Given that I don’t want to risk Storm getting claimed, our race options for her are limited. The majority of the races at the track are different levels of claiming races, where horses have the potential to change hands, and you can’t prevent it. Although I have been told the risk is small, I couldn’t stomach putting Storm in a claiming race and having someone claim her away from me. Although the competing argument is that these races would be a better match for her potential and get her in a winning mindset – hence the mental side of preparing a horse to race. They do know when they win. Right now she is quite comfortable with finishing with her friends around her.
I will give her another race this year and then give her a few months off at a farm to continue to mature and develop physically. Then, if as a four-year-old she doesn’t succeed, then I will find a new job for her such as being a show horse. Storm will always have a home with me.
HG: What do you think it would be like to sit in the owner’s box of the Kentucky Derby? Would you be able to enjoy it or be wrecked with nerves? I think I would be bouncing back between those two emotions!
KC: Oh boy, that would be the best! I was fortunate to be invited into the Paddock of this past Kentucky Derby for a race earlier in the day and it was such a treat. No matter what, my mind would be on having a safe trip – which I say to Storm’s jockey every time they get up on her for a race. Believe me, watching your horse run down the homestretch at Laurel Park is just as exciting as watching the horses come down the stretch at Churchill Downs. The one emotion I look forward to experiencing is coming in first – it wouldn’t matter what track I was at.
HG: Did you ever anticipate that you would be an author of an equestrian novel? What was the most challenging part of writing the last book, The Height of the Storm?
KC: Never in my life did I envision being a writer. I am an accountant by trade and have written the books in my “spare time” while managing several businesses and a houseful of kids and all their activities. But I was passionate about the topic and have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about each of the races, as well as meeting so many great people who provided me details that I have weaved into the story. There are so many people to thank for taking the time to answer my questions. Early on before the first book was written, there were the ones who helped me frame my ideas and storyline – from the receptionist at a breeding farm in Casanova, Virginia after the owner passed away to the owner breeder who introduced me to the details of Keeneland and its historic auction to the historian at Sagamore Farm outside of Baltimore. And then subsequently, the tours of Pimlico and Belmont by individuals willing to hear what I was trying to write about, introductions to vets that specialized in various aspects that I incorporated into the books, along with inspirational chats with industry insiders at various conferences I attended.
The challenge of writing book three was that I wasn’t sure where the story should go. When I started out writing the trilogy, I knew what the main topics and stories were going to be in Calm Before the Storm and Eye of the Storm. I didn’t have a strong sense of where I wanted the last book to go. My editor Lauren Kanne was instrumental in asking questions and helping with the research as we worked together to develop the last book and wrap up the storyline of each character.
HG: What’s next? Can we look forward to a new equestrian series from you or a potential spinoff series?
KC: I have been asked about more books and for now, my goal is to take a breather while my kids are still at home. I have one in college, one ready to head to college and my daughter is a freshman in high school. I have ideas on where I could go with follow on stories as I love educating myself as well as the reader in different areas of the horse industry. And maybe it just isn’t within horse racing, but maybe some of Storm’s offspring venture into other disciplines, like eventing or showjumping. I will have to see where my heart (and Storm, both fictional and real-life) takes me.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Kimberly! Excited to see what is in store for you next!! Chloe votes that Storm’s offspring enter the showjumping stadium!
You might recall my post a few months ago about a company called myMareCo. myMareCo sells sweat wicking headbands that fit over your hairnet and under your helmet, designed to keep the sweat out of your eyes. They quickly became a barn favorite! For a quick refresh on this new company and to read my review of their headbands, follow the link HERE.
The initial launch of myMareCo came with 6 colors of headbands in varying solid and patterned colors. Since it was during the spring/summer, some of the colors were bright and cheery, like hot pink and a marbled purple. After a successful product launch, myMareCo is back with new color designs to choose from. Colors in this grouping range from warm solids to conservative patterns. I am more of a solid color kind of girl, but I do love the neutral undertones in the patterns. The hunter green solid is also one of my all time favorites. I think it really compliments both Chloe and Hamster!
It’s important to note that nothing about the size or fit has changed and the headbands can still be used for any athletic activity. You can also still purchase the original colors as well.
All headbands available now at myMareCo. Shop NOW!
Saddlebox promises to be a box of happiness for your horse. Therefore, it was only natural that they asked me, Chloe, the world’s premiere horse blogger, to review their subscription box. After my minion, Andrea, opened the box for me (I’m all hooves), I got to work and quickly accessed the goods.
Noms. There were two bags of quality horse treats. TWO! And they were both full size bags – not the little sample bags that typically come in other boxes. Thanks to Saddlebox, Andrea’s tack trunk now has 1lb of bite-sized Apple Nuggets and her grooming tote is well stocked with Claeys peppermint candies. These treats are so delicious that I don’t mind doing 100 neck stretches for them.
Grooming. There were a few items in the box related to horse grooming. I am pretty clean most of the time, but have you seen some of those gross geldings? Yikes! I was happy to see the Epona grooming mitt in the box. Andrea misplaced my old one and these mitts are great for removing sweat marks. Not that I sweat of course. The mitts also help stimulate my natural sheen and can be used wet or dry. The box also came with a very soft palm-sized face brush made by Decker. I really appreciated this because I detest when Andrea uses a stiff brush on my face! Would she like me to use a stiff brush on her face? I don’t think so! A fancy (as far as hoof picks can be fancy) wooden hoof pick by Epona was also included. It has a leather tag that makes it easy to hang up in the grooming stall so that everyone has a hoof pick handy. Lastly, the Tough-1 Shedding Blade is sure to give Andrea delight this time of year, as my winter coat is in and the dull dander on my romp gives her heart palpitations.
Owner Gifts. Andrea is never going to purchase a subscription box that doesn’t benefit her in some way (hmph) so Saddlebox correctly assumed they have to include a few owner gifts in there. Heaven forbid that the majestic animal that carts you around weekly is pampered! Anyway, this box came with a horse patterned light weight scarf, which Andrea loved, and a decorative Western boot that would apparently (according to Andrea) look cute in a book case.
Details. For a one-time box the price is $45 total. Sign-up for 3 consecutive monthly boxes and the price drops to $40 total per box. For a year membership, the boxes decrease by 33%. I am not a mathematician but it sounds like a pretty good deal to me, if you like getting monthly surprises in the mail and you like giving back to your horse, the one that works tirelessly to carry you around and make it look effortless… 🙂
Sign up for your box here and it will ship for FREE, TODAY!!!! You heard that right. It ships today, and then each subsequent box will ship on the 15th of every month. And there are no shipping fees, ever! You’re welcome!
xo Chloe the horse.
Original Sun Hats for An Original You.
I had the most fun working with Jill Slater, the creative genius behind RIATA. Somehow I spent the last 5 years without a RIATA, but luckily, through Instagram referrals, Jill came to my rescue. For those that do not yet know, a RIATA is a custom straw hat, made of vintage and designer fabrics, and hand-crafted by Jill. I am fancy, so I adorned both my RIATAS with embellished brooches. I call RIATAS custom because you work personally with Jill throughout the entire creative design process.
Starting is simple. You simply go to the Order page here and fill out the Contact Me form at the bottom of the page. Jill will email you with a list of questions in an effort to get a better understanding of your personality and personal style. I encourage you to browse some of the pictures on her website, or even Instagram, to get some inspiration. Once your answers are received, Jill will then email or text you with different fabric selections based on your answers. This is the fun part! There are so many unique designs and colors to select from. You continue to communicate back and forth with Jill until your personal fabric choice has been made and then Jill will send you a picture of your pinned RIATA for your approval.
RIATAS are perfect for protecting your face from the harsh sun and keeping yourself cool around the barn and at horse shows. I have taken my RIATA visor to the beach too. The fabric and optional embellishments allow you to remain your stylish self wherever you are, while simultaneously protecting your pretty face and neck.
I would be shirking my blogger duties if I didn’t also add that Jill is the nicest and most humble person, which honestly adds to the entire process. I quickly selected my visor design…the skull and bones design and sparkly brooch really spoke to me. I must have been going through something at the time! For my larger RIATA, however, I was stumped. Jill gave me so many perfect options that I just could not decide. So I presented the fabrics to my Instagram followers and they made the final fabric decision for me. The fabric has a vintage feel, with a soft baby blue color, and Jill finished it off with some vintage bling, based on my ” ALWAYS YES TO BLING” questionnaire answer. The final result was pretty much perfection and I quietly packed away all my other sun hats :).
For your own RIATA, use my code HORSEGLAM to get 10% off. BE YOU and have so much fun in the process! Shop HERE.
Have you ever been to a social gathering and wondered where the host or hostess found such fabulous serving pieces and home decor? Well, the secret is out. Vagabond House specializes in fine tableware, serveware and giftware. The pieces are stylish without sacrificing an ounce of tradition, and they seamlessly transition from casual to formal settings. Handcrafted from natural materials, with many touches of the highest quality pewter, almost every piece looks like a family heirloom… but one you are happy to inherit!
Be sure to take some time to explore Vagabond House in its entirety, but definitely don’t miss out on the new Equestrian Collection. Among other goodies, you will find pewter and wood serving trays, a stone and pewter sugar/creamer set, lots of pewter flatware, and a porcelain/pewter stirrup dessert stand. Seriously, if you can browse this Equestrian Collection and not feel like you want to host an afternoon tea (after a foxhunt in the English countryside) I will be impressed!
I like to host simple birthday parties or small get togethers, so for me, the cheese/dessert stand was perfect. This stand is made from hand-blown, sturdy glass with a horse bit attached to the glass top. A hand-crafted leather knob handle sits on top so you can easily move the glass dome without creating fingerprint smudges on the glass. In this particular set, there are three different heights to choose from. One stand is fun, but having two or more at staggered heights would also be eye catching.
The holidays are coming up which makes it a great time to update your dinerware and home decor. I know I am going to be ordering some special pieces for Thanksgiving from Vagabond House. The addition of the Equestrian Collection will make it hard to stop at just one item in my shopping cart!
Introducing Corro, a fresh new equestrian retailer and one-stop shop for all your horsey and stable needs. With fantastic customer service and goods promised “at the best prices guaranteed,” you might just have a new favorite online tack store. And honestly, it just feels good to shop somewhere different from the “big” guys, if you know what I mean!
The next show I am going to is in October and I plan to do a division on Hamster, as well as help groom for Charlottetowne Stable. At a big show, it is super easy to misplace things and feel disorganized by the 4th day, especially if everyone is sharing supplies! This time, I wanted to create my own Hamster-friendly show supplies in an effort to feel more organized and help calm my show nerves. Luckily, Corro was there to help me get started. The website was very easy to use and simple to search for specific items. I also saw new brands that I hadn’t heard of before and I really appreciated that. I sent a few questions to one of the shop consultants and she was quick to answer and offer suggestions. It really was a great first experience.
Look inside my order and you can see that it is pretty diverse!
- Jolly Stall Snack. Hamster is 5 and wants constant attention at his stall, especially at shows when there is extra aisle foot traffic. This Jolly Snack will hopefully make him more content having alone time!
- To help brighten his light coat and enhance his dapples, I got the Vetrolin White ‘N Brite Shampoo. Don’t let the word “white” scare you, it works just as well on darker coats too, without bleaching them out.
- My favorite tail detangler recently switched manufacturers, so I was up for trying a common barn favorite: Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine. Poor Hamster’s tail needs all the help it can get!
- Knotty Horse Apricot Oil Highlighting Coat Shine. Knotty Horse is a brand I am not familiar with but Corro had great things to say about them. I was looking for a finishing spray, something I could use as a groom minutes before show prep. I really look forward to giving this product a try on both Ham and Chloe. It will be interesting to see how it does on two different colored coats.
- Sole Pack Medicated Hoof Packing. I probably should have gotten the individual use “paddies” for easier show use, but this large quantity is great to have on the trailer in case you need it. We have definitely been to a few show venues here in the South where the footing hasn’t been the best, so sometimes we have to stay ahead of potential sore feet.
- Poor little Hamster was getting a rub from one of his older bell boots, so I thought these Centaur Fleece Cuff Bell Boots would do the trick and help prevent two things we definitely do not want to see at the horse show: an ugly rub and a missing shoe!
- To keep tack and my tall boots looking show ready, Corro suggested the Effax Leather Combination Cleaner. I like it because it does not leave a greasy residue behind.
- Hamster is not going to like this one, but the Slow Hay Feeder will help slow his hay chomping down and hopefully not only help the barn’s hay bill, but will also curb some of that stall boredom I referred to above.
Whether you ride English or Western, all of your horse and stable shopping needs are just a click away. Also worth noting is the guaranteed prices. If you find an item for cheaper elsewhere, they will match it or better. Corro also guarantees receipt of purchases within 5 business days and shipping is free when you spend over $99. In essence, your complete satisfication is guaranteed when you shop Corro.
Use code HORSEGLAM at checkout and receive an additional 10% off your total order! Visit CORRO to get started now!
The Rider’s Wristlet from Black Knight Accessories is just what it sounds like. It is a leather wristlet, with zip compartments that can hold multiple items (like keys, phone, treats, chapstick, money). It can also be worn four different ways, but more on that later. Without hesitation, The Rider’s Wristlet, or “RW,” is one of my most loved items in my closet. Oh, let me count the ways…
Safety. I often ride alone. Chloe, even at 19, is unpredictable. It’s nice to know that if I did fall off, I could call for help because my phone would be by my side. I imagine it would be invaluable for those of us that like to ride on the trails or do cross country!
Convenience. It is sooo nice to have all your must-haves on your person, hands-free. No more looking for my phone at the barn. At horseshows, it is even more of a blessing. Now it is easier for those last minute phone calls or texts from the show ring, back to the barn, looking for a number or an extra ear plug. If I need to grab something to eat, my credit card is already on me and I don’t have to trek back to the barn or car to get money.
Versatility. My RW can be worn four different ways. So basically you get four different options for the price of one. Winning! Are you ready? 1. It can be used as a regular, mainstream wristlet. It comes with a snazzy strap that attaches when needed. 2. Add a youthful crosstie body chain when you want to use your RW as a crossbody. I love this feature and I love the chain aesthetics. My RW has accompanied me to concerts, girls’ nights out and shopping trips. 3. Leave your RW naked (strapless) and drop it in your bigger bag or show trunk as a wallet or organizer. 4. As previously discussed, attach to a belt for hands free storage and convenience. The RW can attach to any belt with its simple snap closure or you can take your purchase to the next level by ordering a belt like this one from Black Knight Accessories.
Put your name on it. I wouldn’t be a true equestrian if I didn’t want to monogram everything. Black Knight also gives you the option of including a “name plate” and of course I wanted to put “Horse Glam” on there. The color of the plate and type of font is fully customizable.
Stylish. I can honestly say I have never seen a RW that I haven’t liked. The color combinations are endless, the leather textures are numerous. I already have my eyes on this one, and I just received mine this summer!
Join the Round Table and get your Black Knight RW here. Use code HORSEGLAM for 10% off!! If you have any questions, drop her an email – her customer service is great!
This beautiful, fancy stitched, square-raised bridle and matching fancy stitched reins will cost you only $205. Yes! That is not a typo. Bridle + Reins = $205. You = happy.
In a sport where almost every big purchase requires you to eat a week’s worth of Ramen, finding good and quality deals is a game changer. Especially for something as important as your tack. Pure Harmony Equine Apparel offers you beautiful leather pieces at prices you can afford and they also have customer service you won’t find at the bigger stores. Owner, Lisa Updike, is not only knowledgable and responsive but she is adamant about helping you find near custom-like pieces for your horse. She treats every purchase like it is $1,000 and she takes great pride in outfitting your horse correctly. When I was placing Hamster’s bridle order, she requested me to do multiple measurements to his current bridle, in an effort to get the best fit. After she received the numbers, she suggested that Hamster have a bridle that was part Horse size and part Cob size. The result was a perfect fit. My trainer was so impressed, she immediately ordered a second bridle for a new horse at the barn. Note that when you mix sizing, it can cost up to $1o more.
Pure Harmony Equine Apparel is the exclusive dealer in the US of White Medallion Italian leather. Lisa even visited the leather factory to make sure the facility and the product was up to her standards. This level of care and pride in her store is a reflection of the quality tack and customer service you will receive. In fact, prior to receiving the bridle, I also received a leather show halter for Hamster. After it arrived and we put it on him, I thought that it would be better in the smaller Cob size. I messaged Lisa, with pictures, and she agreed. The exchange was easy and fast.
Before I sent the Horse sized Fancy Stitch and Padded halter back, we borrowed a larger horse, Aracino, and snapped this picture below. Like the bridles, the halters come in numerous styles, leather and hardware colors and even price points. This particular halter is priced at $135, but the Standard halter is almost half that price if you are not in the market for a show halter.
I am so pleased to have met Lisa, and to have learned more about the various products she provides through Pure Harmony Equine Apparel. It is nice to know that quality tack and equipment does not have to break the bank.
Both my kids have always loved the idea of my horse, Chloe. They talk about Chloe nonstop at home and we pretty much have the Netflix cartoon Spirit Riding Free on the TV on repeat. As soon as we get to the barn, however, they freeze up around the horses. Ask them if they want to sit on Chloe and they run the other direction.
I am not entirely sure what was the catalyst in this change of heart, but one day after my lesson when I was walking Chloe, Logan said she wanted to ride too. We put a helmet on her, she sat on my lap holding the reins and Jackie led us around the barn together. We got in the car and she immediately asked to do it again the next day. Naturally Tanner, not to be outdone by his little sister, wanted to ride next time too.
A week later we were at a friend’s barn so that the kids could visit with something a little less intimidating (sorry Chloe): a medium pony named Chase. Chase is adorable and friendly. He is black and white. Logan did shed a tear the night before when I confirmed he wasn’t pink. However, Chase also loves powdered donuts, a fact that made the aforementioned fake tears stop immediately.
The kids took turns riding Chas lead-line style in the field in the most adorable and comfortable looking small western saddle. Logan took it very seriously, sitting straight and center, holding the reins and concentrating. Tanner, in typical boy style, wanted to go faster. Afterwards, they brushed and fed Chase the promised powdered donuts, moving around him with an ease I’ve never seen from them before in regards to horses. Of course it is understandable. To them, Chloe is massive and they only come to her belly. As adults, we forget how imposing horses really are and honestly It was sort of a good reminder for myself that any horse is inherently dangerous.
Once Chase was back in his stall, we surprised Logan and Tanner with another barn resident: a miniature paint pony named “Little T”. They both took turns leading him around the barn and grooming him. I thought Logan was going to burst with excitement. The smile on her face when she was holding the lead rope and letting him graze was priceless. I cannot say the same for the pony I see in my near future, though! I think it is safe to say they caught the riding bug! Must be genetic! 🙂
This blog was first published for Ramm Fence: Your Horse Farm on August 13, 2019