The Donna B Brand: Wrap Yourself In Art

The Donna B Brand: Wrap Yourself In Art

A scarf just might be the best fashion accessory you don’t realize you are missing. A pretty silk scarf can add instant sophistication to any look.  Make it the star of the show by using it with an all black outfit or a conservative suit, both easy ways to add a pop of color or show your personality.

For this reason, I was really excited to receive a set of luxurious silk scarves from Donna Bernstein, the owner of the Donna B Brand. Donna Bernstein is a NY based artist that mixes mediums and materials in unconventional ways to create equine images that are simultaneously powerful and peaceful. Her artwork is breathtaking. My (current) favorite piece of her art is called “Gold Lightning“. The metallic gold gets me every time! As much as I would love to hang her pieces in my home entryway, it is not currently in the budget and I want to stay married! Luckily, Donna Bernstein has transferred some of her drawings to silk scarves so that we can wrap ourselves in her artwork instead.

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PC: Shannen Smyth Photography

The “Checkmate Pink & Black” scarf is 100% pure silk charmeuse (15″ x 60″) and is a reflection of the “Checkmate” painting. I love the boldness of the pink/black/white together. I chose to really put the scarf on display by wearing an all black riding outfit, as you can see from the two pictures above. Simply adding the scarf took these Botori breeches and plain black pocket t-shirt to the next level. It also is an easy, yet fashionable, way to protect your neck from the intense summer sun.

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PC: Shannen Smyth Photography

I used the Run for The Roses scarf, also 100% pure silk charmeuse (15″ x 60″), as a belt to again show how you can easily transform an average look. I love white t-shirts and have quite a few that I wear with jeans or linen shorts, like here pictured. In the 5 seconds it took me to loop the scarf through the belt loops, I had a casual yet chic look. The Run for The Roses scarf was inspired by the blanket of roses draped over horses in the winner’s circle. The green, red, and yellow colors are very soft and work well with neutral colors. I took the same scarf and tied it onto my LV handbag, instantly mixing up my daily look.

I highly suggest adding a scarf like these to your wardrobe. At the very least, take a few minutes to be inspired by Donna B. You won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bibimbap (BEE-bim-bap)

bibimbap (BEE-bim-bap)

I have been wanting to test out Bimbimbap since the company first popped up on social media.  The owner, Lynn, is a lifelong equestrian, so she totally gets how we equestrians abuse our skin. Due to the nature of the sport, our skin takes a harsh beating from the sun, the cold, the wind and the dust/dirt. The constant long hours in the outdoors is a easy recipe for sunburns, wrinkles and early age spots. It’s actually kind of hard to believe that there aren’t more skincare lines out there for, and by, equestrians. Bibimbap is definitely on to something!

Lynn was nice enough to send me the entire Bibimbap skincare line and I have spent the last 4 weeks using the majority of the products every day. I wanted to give myself (and my skin) some time with the products before I gave an opinion. The skincare line currently consists of a face cleanser, serum, face moisturizer, healing salve and a lip treatment.

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The face cleanser is probably my favorite of the line. The first time I used it was a Sunday night after a horse show and I was so excited to lather my entire face and neck with the product. It is a gel to foam, which I love, because I like seeing and feeling the suds. It rinses off easily and does not leave your skin feeling dry or tight. In fact, the cleaner contains glycerin, which helps to hydrate your skin. Also important, even though the cleanser is labeled as “mild” in strength, it is strong enough to remove full makeup. I used the cleanser with a washcloth after a photoshoot and was able to easily remove my eye makeup.

The serum is my second favorite. With a pea size amount of liquid, you can cover your entire face and neck with the serum, which means the 30ml bottle will last you quite a while. Many people are unfamiliar with serums, but they pack a powerful punch for needing such a small dose. Bibimbap’s serum delivers antioxidants to your skin, which help to fight against damaging free radicals that prematurely ages skin. The serum not only helps to fight premature aging and wrinkles, but it also brightens the skin, which gives you a youthful and fresh glow. I have used my serum on my face and neck almost every day, right after I wash and dry my face. I like how easily it spreads on. This is something that you can use at night and in the morning, underneath your lotion/makeup.

The moisturizer has a clean scent to it and spreads on very easily. It is not greasy or heavy, and absorbs very fast.  Fresh basil, raspberry, and rosehip oils help to give the skin a refreshed look, which is something I can appreciate as a mother of two little ones! I really wanted to love this one, but there were days that I had to use too much of it for my face not to feel dry. I have very dry skin and it is hard for me to find face moisturizers that leave me feeling dewy. My friend tried the moisturizer for 3 days and she loved it, so like I said, it probably is best for people that do not have super dry skin, like me. I know, I need to drink more water!! I did appreciate that this lotion did not contain SPF because I use my face lotions at night too, so I typically stay away from lotions with SPF, opting instead to put sunscreen over top during the day.

The Healing Salve helped me out at the beach when my family got annoying bug bites. Instead of using cortisone (which I actually didn’t have), I used Bibimbap’s Healing Salve instead. The soothing cream helped to decrease the inflammation and redness quickly, as well as combat the itchiness. I also used it once on a cooking burn on my finger, which I am not sure if this was an appropriate use of the product, but the cooling action felt so good! Luckily these were the only times I had to use the salve, but the salve can be used to fight all kinds of dermatological issues, like eczema, rashes, hives and dermatitis, so it is great to have on hand.

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The lip treatment is a “protective emollient balm that hydrates, smooths, and protects delicate lips”. I wish Bibimbap would sell these suckers in packs of 3 or 5! I have been keeping mine in my breeches so I can reapply multiple times at the barn. I am going to a horse show this weekend so my lip treatment will definitely be coming with me! The only way to improve on this product is if it had SPF in it.

Overall I was really happy with this new equestrian skincare line and liked how my skin felt and looked after 4 weeks of use. I am really excited to see what Lynn has in store for us in the future. For a 40% discount on your bimbimbap skincare use code : GETGLAM40.

 

 

 

 

 

Riding “Sombrero” Review

 

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PC: Riding Warehouse; Soless Visor

Everyone makes fun of me at the barn for my helmet visor(s) (or my “sombrero” as they like to call it). That’s fine. I like to think that all that laughing will just add to the wrinkles they are going to have from all their sun damage! But seriously, we all know that the skin of an equestrian takes a brutal beating from the weather. We are outside a lot: in the sun, in the wind, in the cold…usually without much shelter and for hours upon hours at any one time. I typically always have a baseball hat on when I am going to the barn or horse show, but sometimes you have to be wearing your helmet. The helmet visor fits onto your helmet so you can continue to protect your face from the sun.

Karina from The Hunt Eq knew I was searching for a new visor (mine was over 5 yrs old and had lost its velcro abilities) and she suggested the Soless Visor. This visor provides shade for the front and sides of your face/neck and is transparent, providing the rider with an unobstructed view. My last visor was straw and my view was way more limited. The transparent material also blocks 92% of UV rays, protecting much more of your skin than a typical straw or fabric visor.

The Soless is lightweight –  about half the weight of my last visor. It has the same velcro design that I am used to and wraps around your helmet snuggly. However, the Soless comes with a little S- shaped clip that clips onto your helmet. This is definitely something my last visor was missing. I had to google a YouTube video demonstrating how use the clip because the first time I used it at my lesson, the visor flew off as soon as I started jumping! After watching the video and reattaching my helmet, it hasn’t flown off my head again. Ps: The clip is supposed to work with any brand of helmet (mine is Charles Owen).

Additionally, something I didn’t even know until I started to write this blog post, is that the visor can be worn directly on your head. I gave it a try and it was sort of big and flimsy, so I wouldn’t recommend using it without the helmet, but of course if it were your only option you could make it work (and protect your face). Or maybe my head is just very small!

I purchased the $45 version, but there is a more expensive version (that only works on your helmet) at $75. I actually didn’t know about the latter when I bought mine, but so far I am happy with mine. I will be sure to do an update!

If You Lead a Horse to Water…by Chloe

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I see the bucket. I don’t need my nose dipped in, thank you. We all have been here. Whether it is at a horse show, recovering from an illness, going through a change in weather, at a rest stop while traveling, during a new barn or change in atmosphere, our owners will try to force a bucket of water on us.

You may know that Andrea and I were back in the show ring together after a 4 year hiatus. We went to a show in Camden, SC where it was nearly 90 degrees and muggy. This time, however, instead of trying to dunk my nose in the water like it was the first time I had ever seen someone fill a bucket, Andrea mixed Horse Quencher in my water. After a taste, I actually hoped she would dunk my head in like old times. I drank 3/4 of the bucket in a matter of minutes.

Horse Quencher is a mix of all natural grains and flavorings that taste amazing when added to water. The all natural ingredients are found in most all horse feeds, so it is competition safe. All the horses at my show barn use this at shows daily to make sure that they get enough water to avoid dehydration and aid in recovery of muscles. Horse Quencher is also safe to use in conjunction with electrolytes, and in fact, it is highly recommended.

Horse Quencher boasts a 99% success rate in terms of getting horses to drink their water, so if you are up for a challenge, tell your owner to give it a try HERE. Single dose servings are also available if you want to test it out first. For a sample, click HERE.

For answers to commonly asked questions, CLICK HERE.

xo, Chloe

 

My Myst Review by Chloe

My Myst Review by Chloe

Since I am 65% unicorn, it made complete sense that I would review Myst Equine Products. I am pretty sure they used my exact unicorn horn on their fancy product labels anyway. Speaking of which, if I hear Andrea say one more time how perfect their product packaging is, I might colic. I mean, you’ve seen one rainbow hologram, you’ve seen them all, you know?

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You may already know that I dislike being groomed. Some humans find this odd. They just assume that it should “feel good”. Well, it doesn’t. Let me curry your butt as hard as I can and see how you like it. Myst Equine’s Dry Shampoo understands this common horse misconception, and it not only gives you super shiny results, but it CUTS YOUR GROOMING TIME IN HALF!! This means that Andrea can go back to Instagramming (a whole other story) and I can be back in front of my hay, faster. A win-win for all! Even more fantastic is that NO WATER IS INVOLVED. As much as I love dancing around the wash stall and soaking Andrea in my bathing process, I love not having a full bath even more. The Dry Shampoo can be rubbed in with a hand towel, gently removing stains, dust, dander and unsightly bridle sweat marks. The results are a clean coat, with extra shine and luster, all without turning on the hose. The dry shampoo is gentle enough to be used every day and has become a staple in my grooming process.

North Carolina skipped the season of Spring and is in full-blown Summer, with temperatures in the mid-90s already. After my lessons, I have been pretty sweaty (mainly because we have to repeat simple combinations because Andrea cannot count) and I have been fully rinsed down afterwards. I don’t so much mind this (compared to  full-blown bathtime) because the cool water feels good and sweat is itchy. About twice a week Andrea has been adding Myst Coat Elixir to my rinse off. She just adds a very small amount to a gallon of water and sponges it on me. There is no need to further rinse it off. The results are a beautiful coat with added shine. If it was an especially long jumping lesson (see aforementioned counting problem) she will even add my Vetrolin Liniment to the bucket to help sooth my muscles/prevent stiffness – this does not affect the coat elixir’s results at all. Like the Dry Shampoo, the Coat Elixir is gentle enough for every day use, but I have been hoarding mine. At the time of writing this, I have used nearly all of the 32 ounce container, but before these pictures I used 7 “doses” and saw obvious results after only 2.

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Also worth mentioning is that all Myst products contains Anti-Itch Herbal Infusion to help prevent fungus and skin irritations. This is particularly nice in the spring/summer when the morning dew has been known to cause me a few irritating scratches, especially on my white ankle.

If you are looking for an affordable and time efficient way to “up” your grooming game, then I highly suggest giving Myst Equine a try. Tell them Chloe sent you! In fact, if you put CHLOESQUAD in the coupon code at checkout you get 10% off!! This offer lasts only 30 days, so hurry up fellow unicorns!

Reminder: Before using either product, be sure to SHAKE the containers. The first time I used the Coat Elixir I forgot to do this (pesky hooves) and I was very shiny, but it felt like I had a product on (it wasn’t sticky). After shaking the product thoroughly before each use, this never happened again.

#unicornsquad

All Chloe pictures taking by Shannen Smyth Photography.

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Tara Kiwi Kids

Tara Kiwi Kids

I have been a fan of Tara Kiwi t-shirts for many years now. The brand has a modern Californian feel with a strong nod to classic equestrian images, two descriptions that do not typically get said in the same sentence.  Tara Kiwi seamlessly, and quite effortlessly, pulls of the style combination. The color palettes are soft and cheerful, easily pared with jeans, gym shorts or breeches. I also really appreciate that Tara Kiwi has a large kids selection. Now that I have a 2 year old daughter I am always on the lookout for cute kid-sized equestrian clothing. Surprisingly, it is harder to find than I thought it would be and it is even harder to find kids clothes that are not obnoxious or cheesy. Tara Kiwi is neither.

The “Helmet and Boot Wreath” is one of my favorites – I actually have this same print in adult size for myself (navy). The helmet/boot image is as traditional english as you can get but the hot pink t-shirt gives it a playfulness that is perfect for ages 2-14. I should add that the t-shirt is more of muted hot pink, as you can see from the pictures. Claudia is wearing a size 8. This t-shirt also comes in grey.

The “Roman Horse” is inspired by vintage stock pins and equestrian jewelry. I swear I had a ratcatcher pin exactly like this when I did Walk-Trot as a kid! The horse head is pictured over a riding whip. Jenna is wearing a size 10 in Cancun Blue. T-shirt also comes in grey.

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Why have just one horse when you can have 16 horses? “Gaits of a Horse” is one of the best selling designs and depicts all 4 gaits of the horse. This was the first design collaboration with talented artist Danielle Demers (who you may know from Dapplebay, Inc.) and Tara Leu, the owner of Tara Kiwi. This shirt also comes in hot pink and cancun blue.

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One thing I really appreciate about the t-shirts is they are long enough to easily tuck in, with no worries about them coming untucked over the lonnnng spot fence or when your pony is dragging you over to the clovers! All shirts are pre-shrunk and made from 100% cotton (or organic cotton). Each design is made and screen printed in California.

Free shipping on all orders over $75.

 

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It’s all in the deTails

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I have seen a few different horsehair bracelets over the last decade and I can 100% tell you that the bracelet I received from deTails Horsehair Jewelry is the NICEST one I have ever seen. The horse hair is interwoven so tightly and securely that I can’t ever imagine seeing a stray strand sticking out. The hand braiding is top notch. The sterling silver mini heart charm is a subtle and small detail that compliments the braiding pattern without distracting from it. I went with the square bracelet but there are other styles to choose from, as well as other charm options.

Don’t be worried about the amount of tail that you need to snip off your horse. I know this is something that gives people anxiety, but for the bracelet the amount you need is quite minimal. You need 12 inches of tail length but only a pinkie width of tail diameter. I usually see that much of Chloe’s tail hanging on her water bucket, after a late night scratch, LOL, so it really is an inconsequential amount.

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Timing was extremely reasonable, taking just under 2 weeks to arrive after mailing. And be sure to take their advice and measure the length of your favorite bracelet to ensure that you get a custom fit. The last thing you want is for the bracelet not to fit you and then cutting a piece of your horse’s tail would have been for nothing!

deTails Horsehair Jewelry also has horsehair necklaces, earrings, tree ornaments and keychains. I thought the horsehair keychains were pretty unique, I have never seen those before and they are almost half the cost of the bracelets. Whichever product you chose, details Horsehair Jewelry provides you with some great ways to keep a forever memento of your horse BFF.

To buy your own click HERE. Photographer: Shannen Smyth.

Special thanks to Morgan Lieske and her horse Belle for modeling!

I am in love with Nora.

Out with the old and in with the Nora. The “Nora” softshell jacket, by R.J. Classics, presents a modern fitted, performance enhanced show coat, without sacrificing the traditional hunt look. Gone are the days of the heavy wool-blends. Show coats now are all about performance, fit and convenience.

PERFORMANCE. The half-lined mesh interior is less restrictive when you are riding, promotes better ventilation and helps to streamline the overall shape of the jacket. No more extra bulk wearing you down, preventing full range of motion or making you over-heated.

FIT. The Nora has a hidden interior zipper (I had no clue until I borrowed one for a picture before purchasing my own!) that provides a tailored look and prevents any unsightly gapping. There are 3 exterior buttons, maintaining the traditional hunter/jumper look.

CONVENIENCE.  The jacket can be machine washed (be sure to read care instructions first!), which is so much more convenient than going to the dry cleaner (and cheaper!). The fabric also has antimicrobial properties that help tp prevent odors and it easily wipes off, so you have a better chance of getting more than 1 day out of it at the show. According to the website, the the softshell is moisture wicking and has UPF 50 protection.

I would say the fit is true to the size chart. Also comes in Black, Green and Grey. Navy is pictured. Click HERE to buy.

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MaeLort Bag Review

The pictures do not lie. This bag from MaeLort is gorgeous. The black and tan colors, combined with the gold zippers and gold hardware, instantly got my immediate attention on social media. Honestly, in person the bag is just as drool worthy and it is true that it has pockets, zippered sections and D-rings galore. There are the typical places to store your laptop, cell phone, wallet, water bottle, makeup/chapstick, but there are also thoughtful touches for extra equestrian items, like a hidden helmet pocket, crop holder, and D-rings for spurs and other clip on items.

It is made of waterproof nylon, which makes sense if you are going to use it at shows or outside in general. It is soft and flexible, easily adapting to what you stuff in there without feeling stiff when you are wearing it. The version I got has magnetic buttons for quick top entry which is convenient for me. I also think the flap gives it a more polished and mature look than the typical zippered bookbag. The bag is pretty lightweight, but I did feel like it was a little long in length for my personal taste. Maybe I am just short. 🙂

The endless compartments and trendy design make this bag PERFECT as a travel backpack, school bookbag or even diaper bag. I would have totally loved using this bag in law school or even as a diaper bag when my kids were younger. Unfortunately, however, I don’t really see it as a good ringside backpack, which is super disappointing to me. I think this would work as a ringside bag IF you are at a full service facility, meaning that you meet your horse at the ring, hop on to school/show, and then dirtbike it over to lunch (I say this with no sarcasm or judgment – full service is fabulous and like anything else has its pros/cons). In this aforementioned situation, it would be perfect acting as a bag that contains your helmet and other personal equestrian effects.  If you wanted it as a true ringside bag that carries everything you or your groom may need ring side for your horse (brushes, hoof pick, towels, flyspray, hoof dressing) then this bag maybe is not for you.

Truthfully, I probably should have investigated it a bit more before I ordered it, and in retrospect I feel silly, but I don’t think I am alone in thinking that ringside bags could carry your horse’s immediate show effects too (in addition to yours). I did an Instagram poll asking what people carried in their ring bags and only 2 of people who responded did not pack flyspray, stiff brush, hoof pick and towels, meaning that a majority carry their horse’s gear with them. Additionally, 81% of over 300 pollers said they were NOT at a full service barn when at shows, which means that they are in charge of having everything they or their horse may need easily accessible from the schooling ring or show ring. Perhaps this bag is used for that, but for me personally it wouldn’t work. Not to mention, it really is so nice – I would hate to cover it in Chloe’s show slime. 🙂

What do you use at the shows for a horse + personal ring side bag? Let me know!

 

Born To Ride with BOTORI

Born To Ride with BOTORI

Chances are good that you have heard about BOTORI. BOTORI is short for Born To Ride and is a new company created by two avid equestrian friends who wanted more from their riding attire. The founders, PJ and Angela, are very relatable. They are amateur riders that are passionate about their sport. They also are working professionals, with demanding careers and schedules, juggling riding, work, families, pets, errands and favorite Netflix shows just like the rest of us. They needed a riding pant that would seamlessly transition with them throughout their busy days. BOTORI’s first riding pant named “Gina” was released this Winter and I was one of the first lucky customers.

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Comfortable, Flexible, Retains shape. Each day I have worn the Gina pants I have had them on for more than 8 hrs. This includes all day long at a horse show, but more typically I have worn them to ride in the AM and then to run around doing errands afterwards. The fit is like a second skin and the material is very soft and breathable. It is basically like wearing Lululemon with suede knee patches. They are very flexible but they retain their shape. There isn’t any stretching out, which I LOVE because I feel like everything I own pants-wise stretches so much that Chloe can get in there with me by the end of the day. In fact, since they don’t stretch and they never look dirty (see below), I have worn them multiple times before washing.

Easily Wipes Off. You might have caught some of my Instagram stories on this, but Chloe challenged BOTORI to a duel and well, BOTORI won. After an intense Chloe grooming session, filled with dander and short horse hairs, my BOTORI easily brushed clean, much to Chloe’s dismay. In fact, even at the horse show (as mentioned above) the dust did not stick.

Pocket Perfection. There are two cell phone sized pockets on either size of the pants. Made of breathable mesh, they are not obvious (unless being used). I love the pockets because when I am at the barn, I usually only bring my phone with me, leaving everything else in the car. Now, I won’t misplace my phone 10 times and I can have it on me when I am riding, so I can listen to music, check the time, answer any important messages and/or take pics of Chloe’s cute ears. There is also an obvious safety aspect to it if you are riding alone, which I do most frequently. At the horse show, I even carried cash in them, but typically I just have my phone in there.

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Not see through. Enough said.

Breathable fabric, versatile in different temperatures. The first day I had them on, I wore them to a horse show, where the weather fluctuated from 40s to high 60’s and then back to chilly.  Despite the variation in temperatures, I was always comfortable in the pants.  The inside is lined with a thin layer of thermal material to help keep you warm in the chilly weather, so it will not be suitable for the NC hot summers, just FYI. BUT, they are coming out with a Summer pant!!

I have the BLACK pants, but they come in a dark grey as well. I wear a size SMALL and I would say they are true to size. Sizes range from XS – XL. The waistband is high and ribbed, which I really like. I was pulling it up more than I wanted to, but I think that is more of a nervous habit of mine rather than a fit issue, as I didn’t notice I was doing it until someone commented about it. I also really liked the ankle cuffs, which are also ribbed and snug, but still comfortable. They easily fit under chaps or boots, and look great with non-equestrian shoes when you are running errands.

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Final note: If you are looking for an affordable, modern and comfortable riding pant that you can wear to the barn, and all the hours in between, you should give BOTORI a try. The Gina is currently on sale for $95. Click HERE to check it out.

Boho Equestrian Chic

When I am asked to describe my style I have no idea how to label myself. The only thing I can ever think to say is that I really like to “appear” effortless and casual. I love layers and oversized or unrestrictive tops. For this reason, I was really excited to try a few pieces from an Australian company called HORSELY.  HORSELY has an entire page dedicated to Boho style, and it is there that I found two of my new layering pieces for Winter/Spring.

The Baha Boutique Knitted Pullover is the perfect accessory to any outfit. It is embroidered with large and intricately designed flowers that nearly pop right off the sweater. The flowers are colorful (red, blue, yellow, green) but they are set in a warm gray tone that help pull the look into a more neutral palette. I wore mine with hunter green riding breeches in the pictures, but it goes great with dark skinny jeans and heels too. The website has it paired with white jeans, which is a fun idea for Spring/Summer, especially for cooler nights when you may be eating/hanging outside.

The Baha’s fit is best described as slouchy. The sleeves are very long and flowy and the overall width of the sweater is loose and unrestrictive. It is shorter in the front and looks best when it is halfway tucked in. The quality of the sweater is very good – it isn’t thin – it really will act as a layering piece and help keep you warm, all the while looking cute.

I stepped out of my comfort zone of neutrals when I tried the Tribal Print Bohemian Jacket. IT WAS SO FUN! Again, this is another HORSELY piece that you do not have to worry with accessorizing because it is the accessory! I wore mine with breeches and a pocket tank underneath for the pictures, but once it warms up I am definitely going to try layering it over a dress. It really can be dressed up (maxi dress) or dressed down (black t-shirt and jeans) depending on what you are doing. These versatile pieces, like the jacket, are the BEST to have – they give you so many options.

The fit was tailored around the shoulders and then flowed more loosely as it went down. The arms are not tight and are 3/4 sleeve, making it more casual and playful. There are no buttons and so it stays open for a modern look.  A fantastic addition to your wardrobe for $30!

NOTE: FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING AND FREE RETURNS.

HORSELY has other items besides apparel: equestrian decor, equestrian inspired jewelry, bags, and belts. The FREE shipping is huge – it is so expensive to ship international that I am shocked they offer this free shipping option. Note that it is coming from Australia so you need to give it 2 weeks or more to arrive. The customer service is great too. I am really excited that I found this company and can share it with you all!

Dreamin’ & Schemin’: What’s NEW?

First, thanks to everyone that voted for ME as their favorite social media “influencer” in the Dreamers & Schemers Instagram questionnaire! Your votes resulted in me receiving a package of boot socks from the D&S NEW spring collection! As you can imagine, the sock prints are just as creative, silly and unexpected as they have always been. We are talking ninjas, whales, ombre’ colored ponies, and my personal favorite, and true-life representation of my financial situation, images of stacks of dollar bills flying away. I am sure this is something every horse owner can understand!

I have been wearing D&S since its beginning and have even interviewed Kristy Lake (the CEO) previously on Horse Glam (see HERE). In 2018, the design still packs the same humorous punch, but the function is noticeably improved. Perhaps the most obvious improvement is the addition of light padding in the heel, toe and bottom of the foot areas. Not only does this provide your foot more comfort, but the durability of your sock is positively impacted. The cuffs (top of the sock) are now knit with black thread so if your boots slouch, your socks will not be noticeable, as the black will blend right in with your tall boots. This same black thread is throughout the new padded areas I previously mentioned, keeping your foot game looking fresh when you take your boots off after nailing your class. The top of the foot and calf area is now made with material that is slightly thicker than your normal nylon, which means better snugness (is this a word?) and no more falling down your leg.

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Front and back of the new D&S Boot Socks

So, as you can see, D&S has made a number of changes to improve their already awesome socks. I will be sure to report back in 60+ days with a follow-up report. I really look forward to letting you guys know if the change in material in the calf/top of foot areas will continue to help my socks from slipping down.  So far, so good though!

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Millbrook Leathers & The Stirrup Leather Revolution

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I confess I was not familiar with Millbrook Leathers until a junior rider at my barn was talking about Millbrook Stirrup Leathers on her social media. The website states that these much wider stirrup leathers provide better leg stability and give you a smoother ride. If you have been following my online riding diary you know that as a re-rider (someone who is coming back after much, much, much time off), you need all the extra leg stability you can get! I was pretty much willing to try anything to potentially make my long road ahead easier.

Do the leathers provide more leg stability? Honestly, I am not sure. My leg definitely feels more secure, but I can’t promise that is from the stirrup leathers alone.  I do know that I really like how they feel around my calves. I feel like I have something extra and substantial to grip and wrap my leg around. The ride does feels smoother to me and I really can’t explain it better than using those exact words. I read that your weight is better distributed due to the wider stirrup leathers and maybe that is in fact what makes it feel smoother. That also may be why my right ankle doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I had injured it years ago and it has always been sore after a few days of riding, but I haven’t noticed it since I started using these leathers TEN weeks ago.

I can also tell you that when I rode in another saddle, one that did not have the Millbrook Leathers, it felt all wrong. Sort of like when you ride for weeks in tall boots and then go back to half-chaps. Or maybe I am just weird with things like that? In fact, when I went to put my right foot in the stirrup after mounting in my friend’s saddle, the leather was  twisted! I had been riding in my Millbrook Leathers for about 7 weeks at that point and totally forgot that twisting was even a possibility because with the Millbrook Stirrup Leathers twisting is virtually impossible.

Bottom line is, I am not sure what is going on, whether I feel more secure in the saddle because I am riding more OR if it is because of the leathers, or a combination of both, but regardless, I am keeping the leathers! I really did NOT like how it felt when I did not have them a few weeks ago when borrowing the saddle.

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Things you should know: 1). I think they run large. I took the advice on the website and measured my previous leathers. I was sort of in the middle of the sizing so I went the shorter route (on the recommendation of the MB owner) and I am glad that I did. They fit perfectly and I have many inches of lengthening to spare. 2). It will take about 2 rides for the leathers to settle and flatten at the buckle. The first ride I was sort of concerned because you feel the buckle rubbing your inner thigh. I promise that goes away after 1 full ride. 3. Check with your trainer. My previous trainer was visiting me one day and she could not get over the look. However, if you look at the picture of my leg in the saddle, you can’t even see the wider part of the stirrup. Regardless, if you are a junior equitation rider you may want to double-check with your trainer because the stirrups are non-returnable if used, due to stretching.

Speaking of stretching, I have not had any stretching issues. These leathers are so much more substantial than my previous leathers that I cannot imagine having to replace them for many years. If you are on the fence about making the transition or have any questions, I really encourage you to reach out to Millbrook Leathers directly because their customer service was very helpful. Let me know if you join the stirrup revolution too. I’d love to hear what you think!

Join the revolution HERE.

Use code GLAM at checkout to get 10% off!!

Artist Lara Kaller

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There is something so whimsical about Lara’s work that I was moved enough to reach out to her a month ago on Instagram. Within hours she sent me this fun drawing, despite the fact that she doesn’t do portraits! I loved how she captured Chloe – she looks like her regal self. Her ears are her perfect pony ears, her forehead swirl is noticeable and her muzzle even has the infamous Chloe wrinkle in it. I showed Chloe the picture and she was pleased, although she thought Lara could have helped a girl out and added a few more forelock strands. I tried to explain to Chloe that it was supposed to be lifelike, which did not go over well. The giveaway for me, is the eyes. When I look at Lara’s picture, I notice Chloe’s eyes immediately and it really makes me happy. I will always treasure this picture! I cannot wait to get it printed and hung somewhere!

Lara has been passionate about horses her entire life and went to riding schools in Israel, and her home country, Ukraine, where she dabbled in dressage, show jumping and western. While she doesn’t own a horse, she does live nearby a ranch that provides a constant source of inspiration and a place to occasionally ride.

Lara is a professional illustrator, animator and graphic designer and has been working in the gaming industry for over a decade. Recently, at the urging of her husband, Lara decided to offer her private equestrian inspired drawings for sale. You can buy her various drawings and designs as art prints and/or on different lifestyle products, such as apparel, home decor items and tech accessories.

You can currently view these, and some more of her products for sale, on the following two sites:

www.redbubble.com/people/LaraKaller
www.society6.com/larakaller

Want Lara to email you a sketch of your horse for FREE? Enter our contest by following the simple rules below:

  1. Follow “Larakaller” on Instagram.
  2. Sign up to receive email notifications from Horse Glam by entering your email at the bottom of THIS PAGE

Good Vibes Only

Two things I can totally get behind are: good vibes and pullover sweatshirts. Put the two together and I am sold. We are in the midst of winter and so the pullover is out in full force, whether it is used as a layer on the coldest of days, or brought along just in case you may need it. Luckily Shop ECE totally gets the value of a good layering option and if you are familiar with the brand, you know that they do not do boring. All of the pullovers are embroidered with fun and cute sayings or images. This particular pullover I selected is embroidered with “good vibes” – which I love because it is something that is soooo important when I am riding. If I am in a negative mood, Chloe feeds off of it and we generally have a horrible ride together. It also is a good reminder for daily life. Spread happiness and positivity where you go – you never know when someone may need it and it always comes right back to you in the end. I personally also have the “magical AF” pullover and I wear it at least 2 times a week!!

Get your pullover HERE and hurry, each style is a limited edition and they go super fast! In fact, “magical AF” is gone! Current pricing is $45.00. Runs small so size up.

Meet C&C Signature

C&C Signature (“C&C”) is an equestrian company based out of Virginia that has two divisions, Filly Finery (custom-made fly bonnets, embroidered goods, vinyl decals and other similar accessories) and Cheval Classique (tack and leather goods). Owners Chloe and Carly began C&C officially in 2016, but have been working on the concept and designs since 2014. Chloe and Carly strive to bring you A-circuit quality and classical style, with modern trends, at a price point affordable for every rider.

If you need a new bridle, look no further. In fact, even if you don’t need a new bridle but you are tired of changing out bits, or cleaning your everyday bridle for the show ring, then seriously, you need to keep reading this review.  YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER BRIDLE FOR THIS PRICE. My previous bridle was more than double this price and there is no difference (to my eyes) in the quality or stitching. I promise you I will always look to C&C first for leather tack going forward. In fact, Chloe is in desperate need of a new leather halter and I plan to purchase this one !

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Chloe has been using the Cheval Classique fancy stitch traditional bridle with removable flash, as pictured herein. When I first opened the package, I was blown away by how nice the bridle was. Truly, the bridle is so reasonably priced that I just wasn’t expecting to find such attention to detail with an obvious emphasis on the horse’s comfort.  The leather is gorgeous and soft and the fancy stitching on the browband and noseband is beautiful. There is ample padding where your horse appreciates it most: crownpiece, browband, noseband, and noseband buckle guard. The crownpiece is anatomically contoured and there are ear cut outs to help with the release of pressure from your horse’s head, neck and poll. I appreciated that the leather was already dark (2 colors to choose from; I chose Havana) and I didn’t have to soak it in warm neatsfoot oil like I did my last bridle. I also liked how supple it was – I put it together in record time (for me). I am the worst at swapping bits out – seriously it takes me forever to work the leather. This leather, however, is like butter. I am not sure that is something that most people comment on normally, but I imagine that Chloe, my horse, appreciates the softness since it is wrapped all around her pretty face.

The first few weeks that I had the bridle at the barn, I had so many compliments and questions about it. People inquired about it and when I told them the price, they were blown away. In fact, my trainer purchased the same bridle for her new prospect! You can scoop this bridle AND the reins for $140. Yes, that price includes the reins. You can choose between leather or rubber. I chose the rubber reins because I had been contemplating buying a pair for rainy jumper days anyway. Like the bridle, the reins were super nice, with fancy raised leather stitching at the base and built-in leather martingale stoppers. I honestly haven’t owned a pair of rubber reins with fancy stitching before so I was super impressed. It really is the little things!

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As mentioned, there is a clear focus on the horse in C&C’s bridle designs with the extra padding and anatomical monocrown with ear cutouts. Additionally, the leather goes through a more natural process for tanning, without the use of chromium and other harsh chemicals. The rider shouldn’t feel left out, however, because the affordability of these leather goods, without loss in overall quality, is a major win and something you don’t often find in the equestrian world. I LOVE that this bridle is from a small company and I look forward to continue to support C&C.

To browse more C&C, click HERE.

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Rubber reins, yet still so fancy!

 

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The Polished Rider: The Maya Jacket

I am loving The Polished Rider – an online equestrian retail boutique that offers everything you need to look fashionable and ride functionally.  Winter is finally here in NC with temperatures dipping into the 20s! To be honest, I was sort of excited to try out my new winter riding jacket from The Polished Rider: The Maya Jacket by Horseware Ireland.

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FASHION:

  1. The color is lovely. Olive green jacket, with brass zipper and brown suede trim.
  2. Padding lines and darts are on trend and slimming.
  3. High neckline is flattering and super cozy.
  4. Love the subtle sheen to the jacket. I could easily see myself wearing this with jeans too. AND because it is machine washable (see below) I can easily wear it outside of the barn.

FUNCTION:

  1. Machine washable! Bye-Bye horse hair!
  2. Water-repellent.
  3. Two-way zipper for riding comfortably.
  4. High collar to block the wind and other weather.
  5. Hidden hood in neckline.
  6. Pockets outside and inside. Large enough for phone and carrots.

This jacket is only $110 and ships free from The Polished Rider! Be on the lookout for more photos from one of my recent photoshoots! 🙂

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Don’t let them tame you

Don’t let them tame you

“Don’t let them tame you” is a simple phrase, but if you ask 10 different people what that phrase means to them, you’ll get 10 varying answers. Each day I have a different reaction myself but perhaps this is what makes those 5 words so enchanting. Sometimes, it stirs in me motivation. Sometimes, determination or grit. Sometimes, it reminds me to be true to myself. Other times I see it as playful, and I fondly think of my headstrong mare, Chloe.  One thing is for sure, when I look down at my AtelierCG bracelet or matching ring I get instantaneous good vibes. And who isn’t all about good vibes?

I love everything about this set. I love the gold with the black. I love that the engraving isn’t flashy, but you know it is there. I love how even though the bracelet is elegant, it feels substantial. I love how the bracelet can easily be stacked with other pieces, but it is strong enough to hold its own solo on your wrist. I love that the ring is classic and is all you need on your fingers. It also fits under riding gloves and can be worn to the barn without issue, which is great when you are heading straight to the barn from your job or school.  Clearly, I was pretty much obsessed with this matching pair from the get go. However, when the owner, Cindy, shared with me her deeply personal story, I ended up loving the pieces even more. Cindy is so inviting that I soon felt comfortable enough to ask her why she came up with the inscription and brand motto, “Don’t let them tame you”. She laughed warmly and told me “to grab a glass of wine”. She wasn’t exaggerating. Seriously, go grab a bottle.

 

Before there was AtelierCG, Cindy and her husband owned a company together, where Cindy did all the design work. Unfortunately, their relationship fell apart and they separated. Unable to continue working with her husband, Cindy walked away from their company and her financial security.  She moved into a new place with her two small children and because she needed help with the rent, took on a roommate.  The rest of her family lives in Europe so Cindy was very much alone, wondering what she was going to do next to make ends meet.  For so long Cindy had felt like she had lost herself and her unhappiness was draining. Now, she had the additional anxiety of supporting herself and children. She knew she had to pick up the pieces and move forward. She made big plans to launch her own equestrian inspired luxury company where she would be the sole owner and her own boss, and have total artistic freedom.  However, the stress and crippling anxiety of her emotional, personal and financial situation triggered related health issues and, on the way to her design factory, she suffered a stroke. Doctors were unsure if the stroke was a result of a pre-existing heart condition or the enormous stress she was under, and they prescribed Cindy an anti-depressant. Suddenly she began to have seizures and she was prescribed more medicine to help prevent those. The seizures subsided but the combination of the two medicines made Cindy literally feel crazy. She was in a mental fog. She became “numb” and felt like “she needed a break”. This feeling of “needing a break” translated into two suicide attempts, with the last one landing her in a forced 72 hour lock down in a psychiatric ward. To hear Cindy describe her experience there is truly a scene from a movie.  She began to write the following notes to herself, repeatedly, “Stay strong, don’t let them tame you. Stay strong, don’t let them tame you”. When she was released from the psych ward, her medications were immediately reviewed.  The particular combination of medications had a history of creating mental health issues and she was taken off the seizure medicine immediately and weened off the anti-depressant. Once off the medicines, she felt normal and began the process to get her life back… and her kids. After the psych ward incident her husband received temporary custody of their children. With this final blow to her world, Cindy felt like she had finally lost everything. Feeling sorry for herself was never an option, she couldn’t afford it and it wouldn’t bring her kids back. Instead, the feeling of utter loss without her kids drove her forward. Cindy channeled all her hurt, anger and fear into her work and she passionately launched AtelierCG in 2016. Today AtelierCG is carried in over 25 retail stores and Cindy shares joint custody of her kids, who remain her greatest source of inspiration.

I asked her what those 5 words mean to her today. She paused and said, “I think I would want the message to be to never give up. Bad times happen to everyone, but bad minutes do not equal a bad life.” Saying there was nothing easy about her journey is an understatement. I cannot begin to imagine what it felt like to be so alone, broke and broken, with two kids you are fighting for and battling major health issues. Cindy inspires me because she never lost sight of what she needed to do. She dug deep, and then even deeper, and she survived. She would not be tamed. xx, HG

Ring/Bracelet set comes in other color options if you do not love gold like I do and they can be purchased separately, but it is much more price efficient to take advantage of the set. SEE HERE.

The gorgeous necklace I am wearing is adjustable, black leather with a gold horse bit pendant. HIGHLY recommend it, as it is easily dressed up or down. Leather and gold…it does not get more equestrian. SEE HERE.

Cindy and her family. PC: SimpleeFocused.
Cindy and her family. PC: SimpleeFocused.

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Pull One Over

If you are looking for a good layering piece, or maybe you are lucky enough to spend your winter in FL and you don’t need a winter riding coat, this Dover Cowl Neck Pullover is a good option. I picked it up at the last Dover sale and was first drawn to it because of the color. It is mostly black with herringbone print on the neck. The snap closure is offset, giving it a fashionable feel. The neckline is composed of thermal fabric and can be buttoned to provide you with a variety of neckline heights. It was perfect the other day for blocking some chilly wind during my morning lesson. Also, there are rollover mitten sleeves with thumb holes to provide extra warmth for when you forget your gloves (always me).  The pocket is large enough for a phone, but not much else.  I purchased mine on sale, but typically it is priced at $89. Not sure I would pay this much for myself, but it would make a great gift for sure.Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 2.19.01 PM.

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When you are feeling fancy…

I love a good t-shirt. My life consists mainly of jeans, athleisure wear (okay, my fancy word for sweatpants) and breeches, so for me, having plenty of quality t-shirts to cycle through is key. While they are essential closet staples, solid white and grey t-shirts can be boring and routine. That’s why I tend to gravitate to brands like TKEQ. They have soft, quality t-shirts with single word or short phrases on them that make commonplace sense to your mainstream audience, but have underlying equestrian meanings that only other equestrians would notice. I LOVE THIS! The t-shirts come in neutral colors with a slim fit that makes them very versatile. I have worn them at the barn, shopping, and with pajamas. TKEQ is based in Canada, but the package got here cheaply and very quickly. Both shirts pictured are a size M. Hurry over to their website and browse all the major sales! Click HERE to shop!

 

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School Is In Session

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It is no joke that I wore the EQUO Schooling Pant for 3 weeks before I even wore them to the barn. When the pants came in the mail, I quickly tried them on and ended up keeping them on all day, a day that consisted of pre-school drop off, running to Target and doing my HG fitness challenge workout. It really didn’t feel odd. The pants are quite comfortable, almost like a second skin. They also do not look like riding pants to the untrained eye – so I am pretty sure every non-horse person figured I was wearing trendy athleisure wear.

I think my favorite part is the waist band. It folds over and makes the tummy area so flattering, even after two kids. The extra width of the folded area makes it relaxing to sit without feeling like you are being cut in half by the elastic. I also can attest that it never rode up – something it promises on their website. Once you got the pants in place, they do not move. My second favorite part was the design. I wasn’t prepared to like the grips so much. Something about the texture, subtleness and grip placement made me feel like an action figure, but in a cool, kick butt way! I also love that EQUO is spelled out in the grips. Again, this is something I didn’t think I would like so much, but I really do.

Don’t let the term “schooling pant” fool you either. These pants are designed to endure any sort of schooling ride or lesson.

I am wearing XS (I wear a 26R in breeches) and they fit like a glove. I think they would be too big in my lower leg if I ordered a S, but a S probably could have worked too. The color I have on is “Gray”.

MSRP: $199.99; Use “CHLOE” for a 10% discount!

To BUY, click HERE!

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Half Broke Horses: A Book Review

You may be familiar with the author, Jeannette Walls, from her break-through memoir, A Glass Castle, which was actually made into a movie this year. In Half Broke Horses, Jeannette once again delves into her family’s (not too pleasant) history, and follows the remarkable life of her maternal grandmother, Lily Smith. Remarkable is an easy, cheap word to throw out, but in all seriousness Lily was freakishly remarkable. I am always intrigued by people who start out with absolutely nothing but somehow beat the odds and “make it big”. Lily Smith started with very little and in all honesty, has very little the entire novel, but the book is never about her “making it big”. Instead, it is about her doing something most of us take for granted…surviving. The book starts off with a scene that sets the tone for what a survivor this woman truly is. In the opening scene, Lily is just 10 years old and I remember thinking, this single event would have probably wiped out most of the people I know and yet this 10-year-old had the quick wits and the unyielding grit to not only survive, but to save her two younger siblings in the process.

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You will really enjoy this book if you like true life memoirs about overcoming odds and not letting life kick when you are down. I was very transfixed with Lily’s life, and all the tragedies and devastating setbacks that she encountered, but it was also interesting to learn more about The Great Depression and parts of the country that I haven’t previously put much research or thought into. I found myself pretty inspired and, at the same time, embarrassed for complaining about trivial things in my own life. I definitely thought twice about all the simple things I take for granted.

Rating: 4.25 stars.  Scale: 0 being any law school book I ever had and 5 stars being Gone With The Wind.

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A Glass Of Chardon – neigh, Please.

A Glass Of Chardon – neigh, Please.

I am SO excited to share this newest find with you all! Customized, hand-painted wine glasses in your horse’s image!! Chloe looks so adorable on a wine glass – who knew!? Ordering from The Horse’s Glass is very easy. First, you have to decide if you want a custom glass or an already made wine glass.  If you can’t wait the 2-3 weeks for the custom order, then definitely check out her current, ready-to-go inventory. There are numerous types of horses to choose from, from bays to grays. If you are happy with one of the glasses she has available here, then complete your purchase as normal.

If you have the time to wait, and extra money to spend, then what are you waiting for? You HAVE to do the custom order. It takes a few minutes to fill out the order form (click here) and you must have a good picture of your horse handy. See a photo I provided her of Chloe below – I chose it because you can see the little bit of white Chloe has on her right hind. I think she did an amazing job and I know Chloe appreciates the extra bit of volume given to her lashes! I love the stem of the glasses – their legs/hooves crack me up!! The Palomino horse was a gift for my friend Colleen, who owns City Luxe Style. Colleen and I are planning on meeting up to do a video blog over a glass of wine, so hence the custom glasses. Colleen does not have a horse so I am convinced that Marci (owner of THG) made a horse in Colleen’s blonde image!! Marci was kind enough to incorporate Colleen’s logo on the stem too. See the end results below.

These glasses are so fun and practical at the same time. I think they are not only perfect splurges for yourself, but also for gifts. They would make a perfect holiday gift for a friend or family member. Custom is $48 and non-custom is $25. Order before December to receive in time for Christmas!!