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19.5.18

Why I Advocate Acavallo from Horse Health


You could say I advocate Acavallo. I purchased my first gel pad from the brand back in 2013 and I now have a collection of them that even includes a tail bandage. With the latest addition to my haul being the Respira Air Release Soft Gel Pad.

My first impression of the Respira Pad was that it is much softer, more flexible and lightweight than any other Acavallo pad I own. The weave of the gel reminds me of a woven bamboo basket, with a multitude of bulging squares and lateral holes. This clever 'weave' directs air circulation horizontally generating a flow of refreshing air, keeping the back of the horse perfectly dry, whilst maintaining Acavallo's trademark shock absorption benefits.

I decided to use the Respira Pad on our new thoroughbred, who has recently come out of racing on his first ride. His job this summer is to relax, learn how to be a pony and most importantly have fun! As you can imagine, when they've been off the track less than a month this is easier said than done...



The Respira Pad helped keep everything square and in place whilst the new addition leapt around - misunderstanding the request to stand - and dry under his saddle patch. The weather has been on side recently and whilst other areas can become a little hot and bothered, where the Respira Pad has been and I team it with a LeMieux Work Pad. The new addition has been at home with us four weeks now and the pad is an essential part of tacking up, especially as he is still in a racing saddle. The Respira Pad even helps with the little things like giving the saddle a little more security when mounting a fidget bottom who has only even know his jockey to be thrown abroad...

I have noted some gel pads getting bad press recently on social media, I use them in-between a saddle pad and saddle and not directly onto the horses back. I also trust Acavallo and their research. They're the top of their game and this innovate new pad is proof. When purchasing from Horse Health, they're experts and more than happy to offer advise by phone, email or social media.

And if you're still unsure, next time you're at a show with a Horse Health stand, go and have a squeeze of them! They hang each Avacallo pad out on display for you to touch, feel, squidge, sit on, smell...whatever! Do it! They're a great tool to have in your tack room...

Thank you for reading,
Jessica
Gee Gee & Me

30.4.18

Organic Horse Care from Topline Naturals

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Topline Naturals are a brand I feel the need to shout about. From the products to the packaging I am in awe of their ethos and can't wait to share three exciting items that we all need in our tack rooms!
  1. Organic Soft Mouth - I always use a balm on the corners of Oscar's bit and mouth. I do this for prevention more than cure because of the rubber snaffle he wears, especially at this time of year when his coat is changing. I also know plenty of riders whose horses are thin skinned all year round that his would be perfect for. My Soft Mouth balm lives just outside Oscar's stable, so it is conveniently to hand. It replenishes lost moisture, encourages repair and is highly palatable too, Oscar loves licking the delicious peppermint balm once applied. 99% of the ingredients are organic and a must if you have a young horse when teaching them to accept and relax into the contact.
  2. Nourishing Shampoo - looks like golden honey and smells deliciously fresh! Owning a grey, I get through a lot of shampoo. I found it reassuring that this product promised to gently remove dirt, sweat and everyday stains whilst cleansing the coat instead of stripping it of natures goodness. Made from 75% organic ingredients, both Oscar and I loved it and a shampoo I would certainly stock up on! It lathers up nicely, refreshed Oscar's mane, tail and coat leaving him gleaming!
  3. Leather Balm - regulars will know I have a teeny weeny bit of OCD. I wipe my boots over after each ride...and my saddle and bridle maybe every other?! Everything has a place and everything is left as I'd like to find it. So Leather Balm is always welcome in my tack room. Opening the pot, I dipped my sponge straight in. The tallow and beeswax give it a beautiful texture, not too hard so you have to dig, equally not to soft you get too much. The scent of citrus and oregano is bright and the balm glides effortlessly. Promising to help your leather maintain softness, pliability and strength whilst gently nourishing and protecting and 99% organic.
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The Topline Naturals website opened my eyes. I was blissfully unaware that the law enables cosmetic manufacturers to stamp their goods as 'organic' even if as little as 1% of their products are exactly that. Where possible Topline Naturals use certified organic and sustainably produced resources. Safe to humans, animals and our environment, made here in Great Britain. I admire the brands transparency, reassuring me I am doing a little bit of good for the environment, you'll hear a lot more about them on Gee Gee and Me I am elated to have found such a brand!

Thank you for reading,
Jessica & Oscar
Gee Gee and Me


22.4.18

My Turn to Wear LeMieux - PACE BREECHES review


It is often said that Oscar has a better wardrobe than I do, and I certainly spend more money on his. That's for sure! Now its time to equal things out a little because LeMieux have launched a page on their website dedicated to us as riders, making it our turn to wear LeMieux

LeMieux have launched a range of breeches; Pace, Bascule and Engage. The Pace being rather appropriately named as the pair I have put through exactly that...

  • Colour...available in beige, burgundy and indigo. I am wearing the beautifully vibrant burgundy with dashes of navy blue 
  • Fabric...made from a dynamic micro-nylon spandex material the breeches stretch four ways and provide a smooth, comfortable and adaptable fit. I first wore them on the hottest day of 2018 (since 1940 might I add) and found them incredibly comfortable.
  • Sizing...the fantastic fabric is a credit to the fit being 100% true to size. I wear a size 10 and the breeches are available in sizes; 6 - 16.
  • Shape...we've all got a preferred brand of breeches, usually because of the way they fit, making them comfortable. The LeMieux Pace Breeches are designed to support our core tummy muscles for a slimmer, sleeker profile and to maximise comfort in the saddle. They come up to a nice mid-rise height, with a little extra stretch where it matters to allow for minor variations in hip and waist shapes. 
  • LeMieux X-Grip...the silicone design on the knee patch provides security whilst in the saddle. The patches are shaped to reduce bulk and lay neatly on the inside of the leg. Allowing full movement in the knee without the friction that some incorrectly placed silicone knee patches can cause. Invisible to the rider, but certainly there for when you need it most!
  • Ankle...made from an anatomic lycra sleeve,  in contrasting navy on my burgundy breeches. Meaning zero bulk and total comfort under long riding boots and half-chaps. Another plus in this hot weather. 
  • Style...where do I start? Not only are they beautiful to wear, they're beautiful to look at too. From the pleated front pockets to the LeMieux branded burgundy buttons...they are classic LeMieux with meticulous attention to detail.




I felt confident and comfortable whilst wearing them in the saddle and they have clearly been designed with the rider in mind. The Pace Breeches will perform high enough at competition level, and equally well as all-round everyday riding breeches and cost £74.95.

I can't wait to see more from the LeMieux Rider Wear Collection.

Thank you for reading
Jessica & Oscar
Gee Gee and Me

14.4.18

Beautiful Bridle by Lund Saddlery


I was lucky enough to be chosen as Lund Saddlery's 'Monthly Competition Winner' and sent a stunning Figure 8 Bridle, from their Hunter/Jumper Series. As always, before sharing anything on Gee Gee and Me I like to have put a product thoroughly through its paces...four months on I am happy to report that Oscar and I love it and I am sure you will too.

Lund Saddlery have a fantastic mission statement;

"Why pay more than 
you need to...?
Like many others in the equestrian world, we grew tired of dealing with the retail pricing of any decent-quality leather strap goods and saddles. Lund Saddlery was formed with the singular belief that top quality, high end leather tack could be provided to the customer for pricing that presents value."



Gee Gee and Me has been built on the foundations of buying well and buying once. I recommend what to save, spend or splurge on and I think we all nod in agreement whilst reading the founder, Robert's statement. Robert, is a Horsey-Dad...need I say more? He has listened to his daughters and created a range of beautifully designed tack for multiple equestrian disciplines. With consideration to those all important qualities that Dad's look for, safety, longevity and value for money. Robert and his family have done a fabulous job...

The Figure 8 Bridle is a grackle, made from Sedgwick Australian nut English Leather. Although a bit of a mouthful, the milk chocolate coloured leather is renowned for its consistency in both colour and quality, having a very well finished grain with little to no visible marks, making it the perfect material for horse tack. Lined with contrasting Italian leather, that provides padding to the sensitive parts of the face the bridle lays against. The leathers compliment each other perfectly and both are buttery soft, there was no wearing-in or repeated oiling required.



The headpiece has an anatomic monocrown design, providing an excellent fit and poll comfort and is contoured around the ears. The fit is true to size, Oscar's cob size bridle is spot on and if you're unsure, Lund Saddlery's Size Guide is one of the best I've come across, with each and every measurement noted. The fastenings are solid stainless steel hardware, the sheep wool nose-pad is premium grade, the intricate white stitching on the Hunter/Jumper Series proves it is all about the detail with this brand.


The same attention to detail is trademark of Lund Saddlery, the Web Grip Reins being no exception. Both hang beautifully in the tack room, being admired by whoever walks past them, they're impossible to ignore. Oscar is always complimented on it when worn...now for a breastplate, some stirrup leathers, oh and maybe a cavason snaffle noseband. Buy yours at Lund Saddlery's UK Amazon shop, and don't forget to enter their Monthly Competition on Facebook, next month it might be you...

Thank you for reading,

Jessica & Oscar
Gee Gee and Me

6.4.18

Horseware Rambo Dry Rug Supreme Put to the Test


A week of annual leave from work and a horsey holiday was booked in my diary. I glanced at the forecast as I packed my trailer in the rain, to see further rain, rain and more rain on the way with the odd flurry of snow for good measure! Never one to be deterred, I packed my trusted waterproofs and Oscar's new Rambo Dry Rug, both were put to good use and my mantra for the week...


"there is no such thing as bad weather, 
only unsuitable clothing" 

With this in mind we flew up the gallops, cantered on the beach, splashed in the sea and explored Exmoor, bouncing over the purple heather alongside red deer and the wild native ponies. Both getting thoroughly wet and muddy in the process - at one point, I wish I'd packed goggles. 

Astonishingly Oscar arrived home in Leicestershire cleaner than ever because after every jaunt, we were so filthy, nothing but a bath would do. Armed with a sponge and a bucket of hot water normality soon resumed and I had the chance to use the Rambo Dry Rug we won from fellow Blogger, Tina Wallace of Life on the Left Rein. 


Aside from it being the perfect shade of blue for beautiful Oscar, the Rambo Dry Rug is super lightweight and to touch, feels like a car wash shammy. Made from polar fleece and microfiber towelling it is designed to absorb moisture. It is a fast drying fabric that lays smoothly over the horses coat to encourage a high shine. The neck amazed me, rather than being detachable, it folds neatly into the neck line of the rug, secured by velcro making it extremely versatile. Oscar wears a size Medium and is a 6'ft in rugs, the Rambo Dry Rug is easily adjustable with elasticated surcingles and a multi front fit to most shapes and sizes.


This week the Rambo Dry Rug has been an essential piece of kit for us, Oscar has dried in record time, without shivering or being cold and the risk of loosing condition. And for vanity purposes, it is perfect because it means he was 100% dry before turning him out. They're a worthy investment that will be used year-round and also make the perfect rug for travelling in...find yours here.

Thank you for reading,

Jessica & Oscar
Gee Gee and Me

22.3.18

Acuswedemat the Modern Day Bed of Nails


The health and fitness aspect of being a rider has never been in the spotlight more and a subject I touched on in my last post following the Performance Masterclass I attended. Many equestrians, myself included have a thirst for knowledge, to better ourselves and gain heightened self awareness. Be it in our straightness, balance, symmetry, posture, suppleness or flexibility. Then there is the reality check, of time, money and resources...

I practised Pilates with a Body Control instructor for many years before taking on a house renovation and I felt selfish leaving my other half at home sanding walls and painting skirting boards on an evening whilst I trekked off to a second hobby. I knew enough, owned a mat and a foam roller and I promised myself instead to train at home alone. Which is what I do, but not as consistently or intensely as I did previously.

This January I hit the gym with a Personal Trainer, I did four one hour high intensity training workouts. I loved every second, but the bill came to as much as Oscar's livery and it just wasn't sustainable. For this reason I have vowed to do a little more at home. To help my body perform at it's best, and to encourage my mind to be in the right place I have started to use an Acuswedemat, more fearsomely known as a 'modern day bed of nails'.

The Acuswedemat is ergonomically designed and shaped to the body. From the hips to the neck it is decorated with hundreds of circular discs covered in tiny spikes - these result in a combination of classical acupressure and Swedish innovation. Apparently 10% of the Swedish population have one of these...which is mind blowing??!

How have I been using mine...?
  • Before exercise for an energising 15 minutes. The time helps me focus my mind on what I am actually going to do, for example how far I will run, what Pilates exercises will I practice. The Acuswedemat increases blood circulation, that increases energy within the body and can improve flexibility. 
  • Again immediately after exercise, it aids recovery and helps to prevent muscle soreness as part of the bodies cooling-down process, as improved circulation helps the healing process.
  • The Mat can be laid or sat on however you wish, with a foam roller, cushion or rolled up towel to gain maximum effect in a certain area. I find laying on my back, targeting my shoulders and neck with a cushion for my head the comfiest. 
  • The 'bed of nails' sensation actives our bodies natural endorphins too, creating a feeling of wellbeing and personally makes me feel...
  • Sleepy!!

 The Acuswedemat can be used to simply wind down and relax on which is something I often do. I carry a lot of tension in my arms, that travels up to my shoulders and neck. The first time I used the Mat, the next day I ached. I woke up questioning why, unable to put my finger on it until the following evening when I laid on the Mat again and put two and two together. My body felt like it had endured a sports massage. This sensation eased with continual use and I feel much looser for it.


As equestrians I think we often overlook the pressures we put our bodies under, casually labelling it as 'just what we do'. Whether it be pushing full wheelbarrows, carrying heavy water buckets or in recent months riding with out shoulders scrunched up around our ears on a freezing cold hack or when we hop on board and our horses feel fresher than we do, jolting our bodies when our muscles aren't as warmed up as they should be. We take a lot of wear and tear and for me, the Acuswedemat is a one off investment that offers a natural and long term solution for those who want to prevent problems with stress, or pain and achieve a better balance and flexibility. And once finished with it neatly rolls up, like a Pilates mat and can be taken wherever you go, even competitions! Now that's a warm up routine to consider...?

The price is 100 euros, around £88 including postage at the current exchange rate and can be purchased here you can also read about the Accuhorsemat that Oscar is to try out next...

Thank you for reading,

Jessica and Oscar
Gee Gee and Me

18.3.18

Dodson & Horell Performance Masterclass 2018


Yesterday I attended the Dodson and Horrell Perfomance Masterclass at Arena UK, battling gale force winds and snowstorms to take my place in the audience. The event showcased the formula for success across all three disciplines, dressage, eventing and showjumping. Stressing the importance of equine nutritional needs and a riders mental wellbeing.

Dressage

Richard Davison; spoke about the importance of being a horseman/woman first, dressage rider later. As he warmed up his fresh, powerful and athletic horse that clearly had dressage in it's blood, he came off of his back in the canter. Not precious that his seat was not one typically associated with the discipline. Richard then demonstrated the basics; the reaction to the aids and how it should be, the fundamentals of making the right thing easy for the horse by way of pressure and release. A pleasure to watch and reminder how essential good foundations are.


Sophie Wells MBE then taught Event Rider; Julia Dungworth for 30 minutes. Julia's horse Gala was one we could all relate to, loves his jumping, yet gets easily distracted in the dressage...ohh did someone just sneeze, we should go check they're OK? Sophie asked Julia to work on a 20 metre circle, in the middle of the arena. As far away from any distractions as possible. Sophie asked Julia to spiral down to 10 metres, and leg yield back out to 20. Engaging her horses hind quarters and to not worry about his head. To improve the fluency of Gala's transitions, Sophie asked Julia to ride forwards to a movement by changing the 'gear' or 'tempo', a game of 'how slow can you go' before seamlessly transitioning from trot to walk. Inside leg trot, outside leg canter. 
Sophie's mantra, look up, sit up, ride like a winner, look towards your next movement and ride forwards into it. 

Feed To Win
Cathertin Rudenko, Dodson & Horrells Head of Nutrition spoke about their latest developments in performance and recovery mixes. Dodson & Horrell have developed a range for success and included samples of their Elite Sport Muesli and Ultimate Balancer in our goody bags; the latter Oscar can't wait to try...


Eventing
Piggy French bought Red to the party; Quarrycrest Echo a beautiful 11 year old chestnut horse who was very excited to see us all. Piggy spoke about the importance of physical fitness in her introduction, sharing her personal experience of becoming a mum, that lead her to train her body off a horse for the first time. Piggy stressed how important it is to be safe when eventing, the extra strength and stamina is not to be underestimated. Piggy once warmed up with Red demonstrated how XC schooling can be practised at home with a little creativity. Gradually shortening the widths of fences to extreme skinnies and jumping them on different angles and strides, explaining when out on the course you can gallop to an inviting steeplechase fence but then have to quickly collect to turn a corner and jump a tricky combination.


Julia and Gala then came back into the arena with Dr Karl Steptoe CPSychol a Sports and Performance Psychology Lead at Loughborough University. Karl spoke about pre competition nerves, developing self-belief and learning to cope with the pressures of the sport. Julia talked through her routine and the importance of keeping things 'normal' on competition days. Julia likes to drive the lorry and have the dressage test read to her. Julia then rode a series of jumps with live commentary. Gala knocked a pole, Julia was unaffected by this, jumped another fence and calmly re-approached and Gala cleared it. Karl praised Julia's positivity and her ability to continually think about her next move. 

Showjumping
Geoff Billington, what a finale! The audience laughed from start to finish and were in awe of his horsemanship. Geoff rode two horses and jumped gigantic fences, he spoke about their tack and feed, listening to the horse and not being afraid to try new things, one of his jumped for the first time in a hackamore. Geoff demonstrated control and how his horses have to be ridable and able to cope with atmosphere, never afraid of being too loud and building up cheers from the audience with his younger horse. Cool, calm and collected with an awesome sense of humour, what more is needed in the saddle?


My ticket cost £20 and all ticket sale profit proceeds went to the Brooke Charity and I would like to thank Dodson & Horrell for hosting such a fantastic and informative event. Can I book my seat for 2019...?

Thank you for reading,
Jessica & Oscar