Eskadron Model 2016?

Call me bias but I think Oscar looks wonderful in his new Eskadron head collar, I sneakily added it to my Equishop shopping basket last week, a steal in the sale at £13.10 - how could I resist? I love the cute rubber name tag on the lead rope!

If you haven't used Equishop, they're the largest equestrian shop in Poland, stocking premium brands competitively priced and they ship parcels using UPS, ensuring a fast, tracked delivery service - I am an advocate...I think Oscar is too! 

Wishing you all wonderful weekends, thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


Gee Gee and Me's Winter Survival

It was magical to wake up to snow this morning here in the UK, but I wouldn't have been so excited about it without a few items I would describe as my 'Winter Survival' favourites, because being cold just isn't fun!

The list could go on and on, and on, and on....(you get the idea), but I have short-listed five;

  1. My Le Chameau wellies, my feet become incredibly painful when they're cold and these wellies have been a Winter saviour for me, they're neoprene lined and comfortable up to -15 degrees (thankfully I haven't tried them out at this temperature, but I'll to take Le Chameau's word for it). I blogged about my Le Chameau's back in January 2014 here they're worn daily and still going strong - picture taken today. 
  2. Secondly, my Sealskinz Women's Winter Riding Glove - I have to confess I don't ride in these as I loose a bit of my feel because of their bulk but they're attached to my hands right up until I change into my riding gloves and for yard jobs they're excellent. They're fully waterproof and protect my hands from sores and chilblains. I wouldn't be without them, especially on a day like today!
  3. I live in my ProSkin Base Layer! ProSkin are the developers of the most advanced sporting base-layer technologies in the world, adapted to meet the needs of motorcyclists. Yes motorcyclists, but as you read on you'll learn their requirements are very similar to those of equestrians. The ProSkin encases the body with a close fit, it's soft and smooth fabric gives freedom of movement whilst eradicating any discomfort caused by chaffing, sweating or any cuff/collar irritation, and behind the scenes the ProSkin's thermal properties are working hard to keep your muscles at the optimum temperature, enabling your body to perform at the most efficient level. My ProSkin was a gift and they can be purchased here from Two Wheel Centre motorcycle specialists.
  4. How did I survive with my soft shell breeches? I discovered mine last January, I lived in them until Spring and here I am again, still loving their fluffy warmth. Mine are the Pikeur Lucinda Grip Cork-Shell Breeches and they're spot on it every way.
  5.  ...and because it isn't all about me, Oscar's Thermatex Quarter Rug - actually all Oscar's Thermatex products are necessities in Winter but this is my favourite. I insist in warming up in his Quarter Rug on cold days and believe it makes a difference, plus I can slide my hands underneath it for a toasty warm up when we take a breather.

I hope you and your horses are all happy and warm today, I'd love to hear your Winter Survival tips, please share :o)

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


101 Jumping Exercises Book Review

The Christmas holidays arrived, yipppeeee and so did a serious amount of rain...not so yippee! But Oscar and I could not complain, because one; we were off work, which meant playing ponies every day - pure luxury - and two; we have an indoor arena and no work meant I had the time to create some fun exercises.

I dug out my 101 Jumping Exercises book by Linda Allen, I've browsed through it at home and hand picked basic exercises in the past that I've taken to the yard in my head, but never dared set up any of the complex courses and the rain gave me and a friend at the yard a good reason to do so.

Image result for 101 jumping exercises

And although choosing more complicated exercises than we'd normally challenge ourselves to, the 101 Jumping Exercises book made them foolproof because each exercise includes instructions on;
  • How to set up
  • What equipment you need
  • The gait in which you're riding at
  • The striding 
  • Where your eye line should be 
  • A diagram
  • Tips on how to ride the exercise, things to double check, hints and ways to vary the exercise once you've got the hang of it
  • Plus benefits and problems you might encounter in your session and how to solve them
We decided on an exercise with five jumps in an X shape, this wasn't a test of height but control to jump on an angle while remaining central and not letting Oscar run onto the third jump - often one and two are controlled, then Oscar gets the hang of an exercise and can get low and rushed before I have even thought about lifting my shoulders back. Oscar needed to listen to me because to throw in a curve ball, the exercise could also be ridden as two simple straights. As it was an X it could be ridden successfully on both reins and put together to allow you to continue jumping on and on and on...I loved it!

So much so the book made another appearance a few days later, this time jumping on a shallow loop. Three jumps, the first and third parallel and the third slightly off centre to create the shallow loop shape, this exercise was ugly in trot, but once canter was established it was beautiful to ride and I loved it because I could keep going around and around, I like to do an exercise a few times, especially if it isn't quite spot on the first time, I don't like to rest, I'm happy to keep on cantering and prepare to correct where I went wrong. This exercise was such fun, Oscar felt confident because it asked less questions than the X above and it was easy to ride, so much so, we changed the cross poles to straights.

As always holidays have to come to an end, I returned to work on Tuesday 5th and to keep the motivation high one evening set up a simple cross pole on a 20m circle, warmed up, put Oscar into canter and worked on the circle, popping the jump, the focus on settling into a rhythm and maintaining it. Winter weekday evenings often see Oscar and I concentrate on our flatwork but I am going to make an effort to throw something super fun in weekly/fortnightly. I don't have the lighting to jump complex exercises but the book contains pages and pages of pole and simple jump combinations! 

101 Jumping Exercises was purchased from Amazon, I chose the plastic comb option but they vary in design/new/used and cost as little as £7.04. A small price to pay for instant inspiration, why did I leave it at home for so long? It is now a permanent feature in my tack room, long may it rein.

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


Racesafe Body Protector RS2010 Revisited

On Wednesday 25th December 2013 I wrote a post titled KanTeq Vs Racesafe Body Protectors and I promised to review my Racesafe RS2010 body protector after a few months of wear...(looks sheepish) I have to apologise that a "few months" has quickly developed into 24 and a bit months? Better late than never I say...

And you'll be pleased to know my Racesafe RS2010 is still looking smart and going strong after plenty of use, I love it! The RS2010 design continues to offer the highest Europeon and BETA standards of protection with market leading comfort and flexibility - a claim I whole heartedly support. 

The RS2010 is designed with up to seventy independently hinged foam sections to allow movement and air circulation, it is the most comfortable and lightweight body protector I have ever worn, I can even take my boots off and breath at the same time as wearing it...sounds a simple task but some brands can be like wearing a corset. I also love that the sides of the RS2010 lace up, this meant when I bravely attempted Autumn hunting for the first time I could let out the sides and wear over my tweed, giving me extra confidence I needed in the field.

Thank you Racesafe for keeping me safe during our many adventures over the past two years, a truly wonderful purchase and there will be no hesitation in purchasing another when the time comes.

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


TopSpec Lite Balancer Review

Oscar has been happily delving into his TopSpec Lite Balancer since September (2015), the only thing I ask myself is what took me so long?

And if I am really was fear.

When Oscar came to live with me in March 2013 he was fit and fresh...I continued to feed him the diet he had in his previous home to help him settle into his new lifestyle, I quickly learnt this diet was more suited to hunting than pony clubbing as I watched Oscar bounce around the field, loose the ability to stand still and snort fire when ridden!

I turned to my fellow liveries for advise who were Simple Systems advocates. After sampling the Total Eclipse Balancer I ordered a bag of my own, I fed this with their Timothy Chop and PuraBeet as recommended. I love Simple Systems dedication to feeding forage based diets and their feeds smell fresh and healthy, with friends having superb results, but Oscar never tucked in...some days he'd choose his feed first over his hay, others he didn't even lift his head when I walked into his stable with the bowl, the next day...some mornings the feed was consumed and others it was untouched for me to throw away.

March 2013
December 2014

Early Summer 2015 Oscar refused his Simple Systems feed, I rang and the ever helpful staff who recommended their Lucie Mints but being typically Irish he doesn't like anything mint flavoured having not been introduced to "treats" until his later years, and because we are so fortunate to have acres of fantastic grazing, (in Spring/Summer months I am not always as grateful as I should be) and a supply of beautiful hay from a local farmer I gave up on feed. The guilt that Oscar wasn't getting his full intake of vitamins and minerals pushed to the back of my mind.

At the British Dressage Championships in September 2015 I visited a TopSpec trade stand and asked them what they would recommend for Oscar, the expert team gave me a sample of their Lite Balancer

Frantically Googling when I got home I found mixed reviews...more positive than negative but the negative ones have a horrid habit of sticking in your mind, but still I gave it a go praying Oscar wouldn't be found turned inside out doing handstands in his stable the next day as he licked the bowl clean. Phew, least it's palatable, first tick!

December 2015

As my sample ran out I purchased a bag from my local country store at £20.25, I fed it alone as per the instructions split into two meals, morning and evening, the bowl joyfully licked clean each time. I waited days...weeks for a change in temperament, when would my sensitive horse lose his head? But if anything his concentration has improved, along with his feet, coat and contentedness. I am months in and have nothing but glowing feedback for TopSpec, Oscar looks and feels the best he ever has.

So what is TopSpec Lite Balancer; a non-heating, cereal-grain-free formula with low levels of starch and sugar, and a considered level of protein to help maintain muscle function but avoid promoting body condition. Lite Balancer allows horses and ponies to receive all the micro-nutrients required to balance the diet when in light to medium work in a small amount of exceptionally low-calorie feed. Alongside helping to maintain excellent health Lite Balancer will also greatly improve hoof quality, promote supple skin and an exceptionally shiny coat. Palatable to be fed alone or with a little TopChop Lite.

My shiny silver pony - December 2015

I feed Oscar TopSpec Lite Balancer alone, with plenty of adhoc forage overnight and an average of 9/10 hours turnout/grazing per day. After years of struggling with feed my heart swells with happiness as Oscar nickers as I walk in the feed room, his ears pricked awaiting my return, for the bowl to be heartily hoovered clean twice a day, heaven to have a happy horse.

As I said, what took me so long...?

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx