Equine Stay-Away Checklist

I am currently wrapped in a duvet with tea on tap recovering from a three day Adult Camp adventure, turned disaster...I thought that a camping trip away with my pony sounded fabulous, after all we regularly holiday in Devon and Oscar is a dream, so what better than three days of training with my much loved pony?

When I booked in the Spring, I didn't realise the schedule of events wouldn't arrive until five minutes before the first activity would begin and it all felt a bit 'gung'ho' for someone like myself who is a thinker and the biggest lesson I learned is never to go again! I don't want to relive the experience therefore won't go into much detail but taking your gee gee on holiday to play at your own leisure is rather different to entering a yard with 19 other horses and riders with very little space and A LOT of noise.

However, if you are considering a horsey camp or holiday I felt prepared that I had packed everything required and thought it might be helpful to share my personal packing list that I broke down into sections;
  • TopSpec Lite Balancer - bagged into clear seal again plastic bags for each feed
  • Plus any supplements required
  • Apples/Carrots/Treats
  • Hay/Haylage
  • Haynet - Oscar eats his hay from the floor but his hay is soaked when away as no access to a steamer therefore haynet used just for soaking purposes
  • Large tub-trugg for soaking hay
  • Feed bucket
  • Water bucket
  • If water not available on tap close by, large water trugs/carriers
  • Rugs - consider turnout options, location of stable if applicable, upcoming weather forecast
  • Bucket for washing down, sponge, sweat scraper, Hibiscrub
  • Grooming kit - baby wipes = essential
  • First aid kit
  • Fly hoods and spray (weather time of year dependant)
  • JUMPING: saddle, bridle, appropriate bits, martingale, gp/jump numnah, OR boots, protective boots
  • FLATWORK: saddle, bridle, full saddle pad and bandages, OR boots
  • Wheelbarrow - a godsend if having to make numerous journeys back and forth to car park with heavy horsey gear
  • Enquire as to whether mucking out tools are required?
  • Riding clothes for each day - considering I may get wet, dirty or sweaty!!
  • Casual clothes for evening
  • Wellies and waterproofs
  • Riding boots and spurs
  • Short whip for jumping/XC
  • Racesafe body protector
  • Riding hat
  • Gloves
  • Sleeping bag
  • Air bed
  • Pillow
  • Warm clothes for bedtime, including thick bedsocks
  • Tent - I cleaning my trailer prior to the event and stayed in there
  • Bottled water
  • Wine
  • Food/Nibbles....SUGAR!
  • Washbag
  • Towel
  • Mirror
  • Phone charger
  • Earphones

Please comment with anything I may have forgotten that is a must have for you when away...but I hope to first time travellers the list might be of some use :o)

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


Freejump Soft'Up Pro Stirrup Review

I was and still am loyal to my Sprenger Bow Balance stirrups but now I am fortunate enough to own two saddles, two pairs of stirrups are required...I had a perfect plan and visualised how elegant shiny silver Jin stirrups would look on my dressage saddle, but the happily ever after I'd hoped for wasn't to be - you can read my Jin review here - and typically my Sprengers are dirty as used everyday on all terrain, in all weather and therefore not ideal to quickly switch onto my sparkly Equipe Emporio (not with my OCD anyway).

Discussing my Jin disappointment with a fellow equestrian they recommended the Freejump Soft'Up Pro stirrups and to fulfill my duty as an Equine Blogger decided I should give them a whirl and started off with them on my dressage saddle...rule breaker!

Although expensive with a RRP £215 - £250 the safety aspect was a huge appeal, the Freejump Soft'Up Pro is a single branch stirrup, flexible and made of Elastollan, helping to free the foot in case of a fall - they give me great confidence when I ride in them. 
The official Freejump Product Tutorial shows a super demonstration:

The floor of the Freejump Soft'Up Pro stirrup is a nonskid wide base with steel studs to give a powerful grip, they have a noticeable weight meaning it hangs in the correct position and doesn't bounce against the horses movement, bringing relief to both horse and riders joints. I find them impossible to loose, and although confusing at first the unique stirrup eye is the result of over two years research, works with any type of stirrup leather and is the key to a better leg position, bringing the toe inwards with a natural rear incline to support the heal, altogether giving a great riding experience.

They're available in black, chocolate, vanilla, blue, red, orange, pink or the silver premium edition.

To summarise they're not the glamorous, barely there stirrups I envisaged I'd wear on my dressage saddle but they've transformed how I ride, put my foot where it should be and give me so much security that they're currently my favourite stirrup to use, the only issue this leaves me with is needing a pair for each saddle!! What colour should my second pair be....?

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


Perfect Fit Cool Mesh Glove Review - Noble Outfitters

Lightweight, mesh gloves are a Summer must have for me, I insist on riding in gloves and my failure to do so results in sore fingers and sweaty palms...neither desirable! I was immediately drawn to the Noble Outfitters Perfect Fit Cool Mesh Gloves because of their awesome colour range and I was torn between blackberry and periwinkle with the latter winning!

The Perfect Fit Cool Mesh Gloves are a slim fit and come in full sizes only, usually a 7.5 I found a 7 the best fit due to the stretchy jersey fabric of the gloves. They're designed with a SureGrip synthetic suede palm for superior grip that also features on the forefinger, thumb and pinky, with a mesh over the front of the hand for breath-ability and a snug velcro wrist closure.
All of these features contribute to the gloves being extremely comfortable to wear, even on the hottest of Summer days - I can say this because we've hit temperatures over 30 degrees in July...yes I am still living in the UK before you ask! 

The Perfect Fit Cool Mesh Gloves are touch screen friendly and although not 100% reliable, work after a few attempts for simple tasks, writing text messages can cause severe frustration and best avoided! 

They're machine washable, which is helpful because my much loved periwinkle soon started to look grubby, they washed well and didn't shrink...the downside, after three months of regular wear and one machine wash, the mesh fabric has started to bobble!! They cost a reasonable £17.50 and have performed well over Summer across a range of equestrian disciplines both in and outdoor in varying weather which makes their signs of wear forgiveable.

Thank you for reading, Jessica and Oscar xxxx


Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony #kickingcancersbutt

I will never forget watching the YouTube clip of Hannah Francis riding one of her horses called Mavis, titled "Guinea Pig Dressage Test" and thinking, there ain't anything "guinea pig" about this, that girl was made for the arena. After watching, I continued to read the blog post - as I have throughout Hannah's journey - titled My Irish Rollercoaster and struggled to comprehend what Hannah and her loved ones were coping with at the time and thought how very real this destructive disease was.

Heartbreaking news was shared today that Hannah had passed away, we were privileged that Hannah, alongside the loyal Willberry Wonder Pony shared their inspirational journey to raise over £115,000 for the charity she founded, it was Hannah's wish to help other people have truly memorable equine experiences, aiming to help grant wishes for seriously ill young people, and their families of an equine nature.

Please support Hannah's wish by donating to the Willberry Wonder Pony Community here.

Hannah Francis will be in my thoughts today and always, such bravery shall never be forgotten, my Hiho Silver Willberry Wonder Pony Charm is on route, and I look forward to seeing him in Rio. You leave a legacy to be proud of.

R.I.P xxxxxxxxxx