April Shower Ready with Derby House

Gift - thank you Derby House for sending Gee Gee and Me the Pro Mermaid Lightweight Turnout Rug and Head Collar. 

I have shared my love of Derby House rugs on more than one occasion on Gee Gee and Me, for me they tick so many boxes. I was a customer long before I ever wrote a review for them; they're a brand impossible not to celebrate for affordability, the cut and fit of their rugs, and the cute designs that are refreshed every season.

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Spring/Summer '19 is fun and colourful; magical mermaids and pretty seashells are scattered against a teal green background, edged in hot pink. Zero fill, with a strong and robust 600 denier outer shell, it is perfect for those unpredictable days - think Storm Hannah, who just paid us a visit. Waterproof, yet breathable with a polyester lining to enhance coat shine and a fleece wither pad and generous tail flap for protection. There is a shoulder gusset for freedom of movement, all secured in place with two quick and easy front chest clips, belly surcingles and elasticated leg straps, perfection, all for £44.99.

The website is full of fantastic reviews from keepers of thoroughbreds to cobs, high praise indeed, look no further if you need a new lightweight sheet and I'd get one quick. From all the rain dances equestrians are currently performing, we must be due some heavy downfalls soon (fingers crossed).

Much love,
Gee Gee and Me.


Why Equilab is an Essential Tool for Equestrians

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Since 22nd March 2019 I have ridden over 70 miles with the boys, and spent over 20 hours in the saddle. How do I know this, because I have been using the free Equilab app to track my riding. I have been blown away by the data it records and have loved seeing other equine bloggers and vloggers share their experiences using it too; Roosa's Horsey Life, Tina Wallace - Life on the Left Rein and Inside Track Eventing to name a few.

What is Equilab...?

Captures your ride; just like having someone on the ground, it monitors the gait, beat, stride and distance of each ride. Breaks down walk, trot and canter paces by the second - and colour coordinates them - tells you how many miles you've covered and your speed. Yes, Ronnie and Oscar once reached in excess of 16 mph...not bad for Irish leisure horses in their teens. 

Tracks your progress; at the end of a ride, you can choose to rate the horse and rider performance, record the ground conditions and make notes. Alongside the information captured above, this allows you to compare training sessions and find patterns that work for you and your horse. Whether its fun, fitness, strength or conditioning there is a feature for it, simply select in the app; competition, dressage, eventing, gallop training, hacking...etc.

I have been concerned about the ground recently, the dry spring has meant some tracks we ride along are as hard as concrete and with Oscar's arthritis I am always aware of the negative impact this could have on his joints. Acceptable in August, but I am not sure how I feel about zero mud in April. For this reason I keep a close eye on the length of stride recorded in the app, just to make sure he isn't shortening. This gives me huge peace and just another tool in my box to keep Oscar sound, happy and comfortable, and I can't have too many of those.

Come home safe; kindly gifted to me and the only paid feature within the app, using GPS it shares your position live from the saddle with your chosen close ones, letting them follow you on a map. They know when you've finished a ride safely, and don't even have to download the app, you can simply add them from the contacts in your phone.

I predominantly hack, as I don't have access to a ménage unless I box over to a neighbouring village, so this is a feature I've really put to the test. I have found the maps to be 100% accurate and it's given me a confidence boost. My other half often says "text me when you're off" as I keep Oscar and Arnold privately, in reality it could take quite a long time before someone realised something was wrong if they didn't know my plans or location. It's a comforting feature and worth the subscription fee with a 7 day trail feature I'd encourage you to take full advantage of.

Organise your riding; plan and organise your riding and horse-care week by week. Add in the farrier, visits from the vet, competitions and rest days - my favourite - and if of benefit share this with your stable, yard or friends. These events can also be on repeat, for example if your horses have every Monday as a rest day.

A friend recently bought a horse back into work following a tendon injury, we weren't aware of the Equilab app at the time but this would have been the perfect tool to plan rehabilitation and recovery work. Not to mention a great place to keep a record to share with the vet at the next check up, rather than doing it by notebook or recalling from memory. Equally as useful when preparing for dressage regionals, or a one day event.

Connect to your team; anyone with the Equilab app that you are 'Friends' with can like and comment on your saved sessions. One of my friends said this feature had motivated her to start riding her horse more and I agree, you see your friends out hacking, training, schooling and think, yes I'll have some of that too, creating a fantastic community. It is also a smart way for trainers to check in with students in-between lessons.

Energy consumption; my rule is to 'feed a horse for the work he has done, not for the work he is going to do' and this feature helps us to understand whether our horse is in leisure, light, competition or hard work. By recording how many megajoules the horse burns, it estimates your horses daily feed requirements, a great tool to discuss with your equine nutritionist to ensure you're feeding correctly. It also records how many calories the rider burns, meaning the coffee and chocolate biscuit after riding is completely guilt free.

I have loved learning about how my followers use the Equilab app over the last month from comments on my Facebook and Instagram posts, Tina Wallace - Life on the Left Rein shared how fantastic it looked on her new Apple watch too. As soon as her bottom was in the saddle it vibrated and said 'Start Riding' so so clever!

There are also some fantastic initiatives that Equilab can support with at the moment, such as Your Horse Magazine's #hack1000miles you can officially sign up here. And MyHackathon in aide of The Brooke Charity, to ride 100 miles in 100 days. Click here to learn how you can raise money for the worlds most vulnerable working horses and donkeys.

Getting started couldn't be any easier, go to your app/play store and search; Equilab. Download for free and input your details, I opted to register with Facebook to make the process even quicker. Add your stable/horses and find your friends, enable the safety tracking with 7 days free trial and start riding...

Much love,
Gee Gee and Me.


Equino Chaps, Yes They're Worth It

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I discovered Equino Chaps at HOYS many years ago, I remember trying on a pair and falling in love. Autumn was in full swing and I thought how incredible they would be to take me through winter, and into spring. I was so tempted to place an order but talked myself out of the idea as I hadn't intended to spend that much money on the day.

Each winter I admired Equino Chaps and it took the relentless Beast from the East - possibly 6 years after trying on my first pair - for me to place my order. Tell me this, if it was something for one of the horses they certainly wouldn't have to wait 6 years, more like 6 days for delivery! The snowfall came in time for a white Christmas, it was magical at first but it didn't stop until April. I remember bringing in perished little lambs over Easter, they had been turned out with the hope that spring was on its way following a few dry days only for the snow to return. I was thoroughly fed up of my thighs being pink and sore and the chilblains on my toes, so I placed my order. Made to measure and brown were my two specifications and I worked with Melanie to get the perfect fit.

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Handmade in Britain, they're a small company that use premium grade calf skin leather in every single pair of chaps. The measurements are key as they're designed to be skin tight, this enables them to be worn when working on the yard and for riding in. I find the fit incredibly flattering and feel secure in the saddle when wearing them, they stay in place and allow a full range of movement to canter out of my seat and jump in, and they haven't lost any of their shape, despite having them for over a year.

I have a tendency to only wear my chaps in the winter months for insulation and protection, although the quality of the leather means they are breathable and can be worn in the summer months too. They have two buckles around the waist and zip up down the outside of each leg, secured with a buckle above each ankle and I wear them with jodhpur boots. The design means they're super easy to slip in and out of in the tack room, or the back of your trailer or lorry. They also don't require any special care or attention and I simply wipe mine down with a damp cloth, or tack cleaning sponge as they're regularly splattered in mud.

Of course you don't have to be as plain as me and you can choose almost any colour you like and personalise with piping and embroidery. Equino Chaps have an excellent Instagram page where they showcase clients custom designs if you're looking for inspiration.

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I was blown away by Melanie's attention to detail and incredible customer service. I even sent her snaps of me wearing them once they had arrived for her to give me the thumbs up, as she knew what they meant to me after years of longing for a pair. Melanie wants this bespoke item to be 100% perfect for every client, and offers extensive after-care including a lifetime repair and alteration service. Now I own a pair, I don't see the price tag as frightening as it was back on the trade stand at HOYS all those years ago. They're a sensible investment, a dream to ride in and worth every single penny.

Equino Chaps retail at:
£265 + P&P
M2M £295 + P&P

Much love,
Gee Gee and Me