What to get the teen equestrian for Christmas

In Part I of our Christmas series, we named some awesome items to get a child equestrian for Christmas. In Part II, we will give you some ideas to get a junior or youth rider! Part III will be dedicated to adults, and then I will let everyone know what was on my personal Christmas/birthday list.

- Breeches: You can NEVER have too many breeches, and there are tons of styles and colors out there so the possibilities are endless. Popular brands right now include Tailored Sportsman, SmartPak Pipers, Annie’s Equestrienne, Tredstep, and Le Fash. Each has their own price range, so there is truly something for every budget. Tailored Sportsman recently released two tone breeches that have been coveted by many Twitter equestrians. They are available at Willow Equestrian.

SmartPak Piper Breeches in emerald/navy.

Annie’s USA Tardis breeches.

Le Fash City Breeches in Central Park; available November 15.

Tredstep Symphony No. 3 breeches.

 

- Half pad: There are many half pads on the market, and there are quite a few ones that stand out more than the others.  Ogilvy & EcoGold half pads are the two that come to mind. EquiFit has also broke into the half pad market with its newest product, the ImpacTeq half pad. Each half pad has its own distinct following, so it’s probably best to consult with your teen rider before purchasing one. Each of these half pads also comes in different colors and models. As everyone knows, I am a personal fan of the Ogilvy half pads (who will be coming out with a line of pads for western and polo riders!). However, that’s not to say the other options aren’t just as good. Do your research and select what you think would best work for your horse! This is the perfect gift for a rider that spends their time riding a bunch of different horses or ponies. Each of the half pads mentioned will help fix minor saddle fitting issues, allowing the rider to use his or her own saddle on a bunch of different horses!

Ogilvy MemoryFoam Jumper Half Pad.

Ecogold Jumper Flip Half Pad.

EquiFit ImpacTeq Half Pad.

 

- Fly bonnet: Custom fly bonnets are very popular especially in the jumper ring, and like most other equestrian products, there are many companies to choose from. If you are looking to go high end, there is De La Coeur. Custom Fly Veils is another popular company that doesn’t sacrifice quality even though their bonnets are less pricey. Custom Bonnets is yet another great company. You can also find other fly bonnet vendors on Etsy, as well as at tack stores. This is perfect for the rider that is getting into the jumpers and starting to come up with his or her own look for themselves and their horse!

De La Coeur fly bonnet in chocolate with blue & white trim, & double crystals.

EquiFit Ear Bonnet.

 

- Tack cleaner: It is never too late to get a rider into the habit of cleaning his or her riding equipment on a daily basis. Keeping tack clean and well-oiled keeps it lasting longer, looking like new, and prevents the build-up of mold, dust, and other environmental substances that will eventually eat away at the leather. Taking care of leather boots – that most likely cost a small fortune – is also imperative. No one wants to go into the show ring with dirty boots! There are many types of tack cleaner on the market, but my personal favorite is Higher Standards Leather Care. The best part about this saddle soap and leather balm is that it comes in different scents, which is quite unique for a leather cleaner. My personal favorite is the vanilla and lavender scent, but they have a ton of different options on their website. They even debuted a Christmas-specific scent called Sugar and Spice. This leather cleaner really cuts into the grime, softens the leather, and keeps it look conditioned, shiny, and new. Best of all, it doesn’t have a sticky after feel. I highly recommend it and use it to clean all my tack, including my paddock boots and half chaps!

Higher Standards Leather Care saddle soap.

 

- Skin wipes: These are amazing to keep in a car or travel kit, especially when a long day has been spent at the barn or at a horse show. These are useful both in the winter and summer as there are many skin care wipes on the market that control oil and shine and/or moisturize. I am a personal fan of these skin care wipes which I get from my favorite store at the beach and can also be ordered from the face wipes company’s website by clicking here. They have five different scents, each of which has a specific benefit for your skin. Pro tip: Keep face wipes in the refrigerator during the summer. Using them cool is a refreshing way to cleanse your face and cool down at the same time!

Beauty Treats Green Tea face wipes.

 

- The Bible Hunter Seat Equitation, by George Morris: Every equestrian must read this book. This book, written by George Morris – the king of our discipline – goes through everything a rider needs to know from the very basics to more advanced jumping and riding techniques. He even includes a part at the end that discusses appropriate turnout for showing which is a must for every rider that eventually wants to make it to the higher level hunter and equitation classes. This book has helped me understand concepts I wasn’t quite getting on the first try, and I’ve also found that things my trainer had been trying to drill into my brain for years were endorsed by Mr. Morris himself. This book is a must have for any horse junkie. You’ll quickly see why it’s sometimes referred to as “The Bible” in our sport.

Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris.

 

- EIS Shirts: I love these shirts. They are functional, come in awesome colors, and are versatile enough to be worn on warm or cold days. On a warm fall day, I can wear this shirt alone. On a colder day, I can layer it. The sleeves have a mesh underside to allow air flow, but they’re not so airy that one will get too cold. EIS also just released a heating shirt that keeps your body temperature about 5 degrees while you are moving around. I have one on order and will be doing a review on how effective this shirt is, but I have high hopes. It seems like it is going to be a cold winter, so shirts with heating technology built in are a must have for winter riding, even if your barn has an indoor. Whether you buy the heated shirt or the regular EIS, they are a must have for any fashionable equestrian.

EIS Shirt.

 

- Belts: Wearing breeches or jeans with belt loops but having no belt is a major equestrian fashion faux pas. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to look professional and trendy. There are tons of belts on the market, each catering to a different price range. From Tailored Sportsman to Deux Cheveaux to Tory – there really is a belt style for everyone. Nowadays, belts are starting to come in different materials and colors making it possible to always match one’s belt to one’s riding outfit. I don’t think any rider would say he or she has too many belts. Here are some of the most popular styles today that you could get for your favorite junior rider! There are many places that sell belts that any western youth rider would love to. Check out It’s A Cowgirl Thing, SmartPak, and Harris. Note: There are way too many popular belts than I have space for this article, so Googling “equestrian belts” is sure to give you some good and varied options.

Deux Chevaux “Ride” Belt.

Tailored Sportsman Quilted “C” Belt.

Tory Leather Clincher Belt, available at SmartPak.

SEREIN Custom Belts, available at Equestri LifeStyle.

Nocona Western Rhinestone Belt from SmartPak.

 

- Saddle: By now, the junior/youth rider is probably finished growing, and they are probably yearning for that one special saddle that makes them drool. There are many high quality saddle companies out there, and different riders have different tastes – but one thing is for certain: we all would love a gorgeous saddle to call our own. Some of the most coveted English brands include CWD, Antares, Voltaire, Hermes, and Butet. Some of the most coveted Western brands include Harris, Dale Chavez, and Blue Ribbon.

CWD saddle.

Harris saddle.

Butet

Butet.

 

- Snaffle bit jewelry: Snaffle bit jewelry is super popular lately, and I personally love this ring by Luv Inspired. It comes in three different metal types: sterling silver, gold, and rose gold (which is my personal favorite). There are many other equestrian-themed pieces available at Luv Inspired, so definitely go check them out. If you don’t have the money to spend on a Luv Inspired piece, you can also check out these other snaffle bit jewelry makers that are a bit more affordable: Etsy and Snaffle Jewelry.

Luv Inspired Bit By Bit Ring.

Luv Inspired Bit By Bit Ring.

 

- Personally Preppy Monograms: If you don’t monogram your equestrian items, do you really own them? Personally Preppy makes it easy to monogram just about anything – your helmet, horse’s boots, and even breeches! You can customize your monogram with different colors, font styles, and sizes also. Personally Preppy recently launched their brand new website, including a few new items like Samshield monogrammed gloves. This is one of the latest trends in the equestrian world, and there are many different businesses that offer monogramming services, but what makes Personally Preppy unique is that you are simply buying the monogram sticky and can put it on whatever you want! Personally Preppy is also used by some high profile equestrians, including Lillie Keenan. Trust me – this is something your favorite equestrian would want, and it’s super affordable too!

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Lillie Keenan & her Personally Preppy helmet monogram.

Personally Preppy monogrammed polo wraps.

 

- A spa day: This is out of the ordinary – or is it? Riding horses takes a toll on our bodies. We often end up developing issues we shouldn’t develop until we’re about 45. But, we make sacrifices for this sport. A spa day is a wonderful thing in an equestrian’s world. This can mean a massage, a facial, a mani/pedi, or all of the above. Massages are great for getting the knots out of our tight muscles. A facial will definitely help with the gunk our skin endures on a daily basis – you know, dirt, dust, horse boogers, etc. A mani/pedi… well, they might not last long, but at least our fingers and toes will look cute until we go to the barn again.

Check out this super awesome equestrian themed manicure from Nailed it NZ!

- Money: This might seem a bit shallow, but equestrians can always use more money, whether its for lessons, showing, an unexpected but much needed new horse item (can anyone say ‘my horse shreds his blankets’?) or an emergency vet fund (which is something we should all have, if possible). If you don’t know what to buy your favorite horseback rider, giving them cash or a gift card to their favorite tack store is just as good as getting them an horse-related item. That way, they can use the cash or gift card the way they want to, and you don’t have to risk buying them something they might not like and/or use.

SmartPak Gift Card.

 

Every equestrian is different, so these are just a few ideas for the youth or junior rider in your life. Make sure to ask them for their Christmas list – they might have thought of something they want that isn’t on this list! And, if you’re really stuck, a nice horse in the rider’s preferred discipline is always a safe option – happy shopping!

Product Review: EcoLicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Body Butter & Shower Shake

Note: Petra, from EcoLicious, asked me to update this post in regards to the Body Butter. Due to a manufacturing mistake, the wrong instructions for the Body Butter were placed on the packaging. The Body Butter can actually be used as a lotion, so you can apply it post-shower or bath on moist legs, arms, and any other area of the body. I did this and received the same result – total smoothness, hydration, and no greasy after feel! I like using it in the shower as a wash, but it also works great as a lotion which, as it turns out, is its original intended use.

For those of you that haven’t heard of EcoLicious Equestrian, they are a company dedicated to making all natural products for horses and for riders. I’ve reviewed quite a few of their products in the past, and I’ve never been disappointed. Their horse products are free from harsh chemicals, preservatives, and other substances that are often present in many other shampoos, coat whiteners, and horse care products.

EcoLicious Equestrian also has products for riders, such as their Hey Sugar Lip Silk and their hand lotion. As of this week, they have added two more products to their line for riders: Hey Sugar Nourishing Body Butter & Hey Sugar 3-in-1 Exfoliating Shower Shake.

EcoLicious was kind enough to send me the body butter and shower shake to try before it was available to their clients. I tried them both tonight, and I was not disappointed!

If you own the Hey Sugar Lip Silk, then the body butter and shower shake scent will be very familiar to you. They both smell like brown sugar and marshmallows which makes using them in the shower or bath even better. Most importantly, the smell is not overwhelming. I often find that bath and shower products have strong smells that sometimes make me feel sick, but that was not the case with these products at all. I enjoyed the smell, and they left a nice, lingering after scent on my skin.

To start, I used the 3-in-1 Shower Shake.

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Ecolicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Exfoliating 3-in-1 Shower Shake.

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EcoLicious Equestrian Shower Shake.

The Shower Shake washes, exfoliates, and moisturizes all at once. It has a more solid feel to it, so when you scoop it out, it isn’t running all over the place. I also liked that the exfoliation element wasn’t harsh and gritty which can actually be worse for your skin and do the exact opposite of what exfoliation is supposed to do. I love to use exfoliating scrubs on my legs right before I shave, so that was the first thing I tried with this product. I also used it as a foot scrub because when I’m not walking around in paddock or tall boots, I’m at an office wearing uncomfortable flats or heels, so my feet could use a break. I also used the product on the tops of my hands as I get extremely dry skin in the winter to the point where it is burning, itchy, and uncomfortable, and on my arms. After rinsing, my skin instantly felt smoother and softer. My legs were extremely smooth and soft as well, and I didn’t cut them while shaving (you’d be surprised at how often I still do this…)

The Shower Shake definitely does its job. It also rinses off clean and doesn’t leave a greasy or oily after feeling which is something I despise about moisturizing products. I am always very weary about using anything that is both natural and moisturizing because I hate having a greasy or sticky after feeling on my body, and this did not happen at all with this product.

After using the Shower Shake, I tried the Body Butter.

EcoLicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Nourishing Body Butter.

EcoLicious Equestrian Hey Sugar Nourishing Body Butter.

EcoLicious Equestrian Body Butter

EcoLicious Equestrian Body Butter.

Next, I used the Body Butter. According to the instructions, you are supposed to massage this on while in the shower – almost like a soap. The Body Butter has more of a lotion-y type feel, but it is still solid enough that you don’t end up losing half of it in the bottom of the tub before you’re able to use it. It is smooth and of course smells delicious. I used it on all the same places I used the Shower Shake and then rinsed it off with warm water.

The Body Butter rinses clean, which again, is something very important to me in any skin product. My skin felt smooth, moisturized, and clean. My hands immediately felt better and not as dry as they did before. They were less irritated and less scaly (sexy, I know).

Of course, I had to wait until I got out of the shower and moved around a little to make sure that the product didn’t leave a greasy, sticky, or oily after feel once I dried off. I am happy to report that it did not. Both products definitely rinse clean, but that doesn’t mean they stop working. My skin feels super soft and hydrated, and my legs are SO smooth. I loved both of the products, and I will be using them in the future (and buying more when I run out)!

I’ve always been happy with the EcoLicious horse products, and I am happy to report that their product line for us humans does not disappoint. All natural doesn’t have to mean less effective, and when the all natural substances happen to smell amazing, that’s even better!

If you’re wondering about the ingredients of each product. Here is a list.

The Body Butter contains marshmallow extract, shea butter, vitamin E, cacao, and coconut.

The Shower Shake has ground loofah, coconut, oatmeal, and brown sugar.

Each of the ingredients is knowing for its soothing and moisturizing properties, so it is the perfect combination for anyone who has dry or irritated skin, especially now that cold weather is starting to take over.

What don’t these products contain?

  • Silicones
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic dyes
  • Artificial fragrances

If you’re interested in buying either – or both – of these products, you can visit the EcoLicious Equestrian website to purchase them. They will be shipping out this Monday! They are also available for sale at the Royal in Canada.

If you are interested in seeing some of my past reviews of EcoLicious Equestrian products, you can find those below:

 

What to get your barn child for Christmas

This is the first in a three part series of what to get for an equestrian for Christmas! We will be doing something for the child rider, the teen rider, and the adult rider. To finish the series off, I will let you know what was on my Christmas/birthday list (my birthday & Christmas are both in December). We know shopping for an equestrian can be difficult if you’re not a horse person and even if you are, but we hope these ideas will give you some inspiration!

ps. For those of you that don’t know, “barn child” is an affectionate term for a younger rider that we have taken under our wing. However, it can also be a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, etc.

- My Barn Child: MBC is the newest trend in “cute” stuff for child (and even teen/adult riders). They have recently come out with a line of apparel, including an adorable infinity scarf for those cold winter days. Their tack charms are super cute and something that every child rider can appreciate! Their stuff sold like hotcakes at the Royal, so it is suggested to buy what you want quickly before it sells out online. They have a ton of cute pony themed things as well, including hats and t-shirts that say “Stop staring at my pony” or “Your pony loves me more.” The t-shirts can be found here. Below are a few items that we think would be great gifts! Note: It’s totally appropriate to get MBC items for a teen or adult rider too! I have one of their belly button rings, a few items of their jewelry, including their newest horseshoe industrial bar, and a few of their tack charms that I proudly display on my horse’s bridle and on my saddle.

My Barn Child knit infinity scarf.

My Barn Child knit infinity scarf.

My Barn Child 18k rose gold pink pearls for the hunter or eq child rider!

My Barn Child 18k rose gold pink pearls for the hunter or eq child rider!

"Here comes trouble" charm for the girl with the naughty pony ;)

“Here comes trouble” charm for the girl with the naughty pony ;)

My Barn Child has a TON of options for Christmas gifts. They even have a page of gift ideas that includes some princess-themed wallets – the perfect idea for any pony princess in your life!

- Show bows: These are extremely popular in the pony hunters, and any little girl would love to have more! A lot of equestrian outlets sell them, so I can’t list them all, but there are also some adorable options available on Etsy.

Show bows from BowdanglesShowBows on Etsy.

Show bows from BowdanglesShowBows on Etsy.

Show bows from BowstotheShows Etsy shop.

Show bows from BowstotheShows Etsy shop.

Show bows from JustForPonies.com

Show bows from JustForPonies.com

 

Rosie Bowsie Pony Bows available at Equestr LifeStyle

Rosie Bowsie Pony Bows available at Equestr LifeStyle

 

- Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel: Colored breeches are super adorable for schooling! Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel has a wide variety of colored breeches, including pink and Tiffany blue. These would be a great gift for a child rider, especially because they often love to color coordinate everything they have with their pony’s or horse’s colors.

Annie's Equestrienne Apparel Sticky Buns Breeches in Razberry.

Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel Sticky Buns Breeches in Razberry.

 

- Horse hair bracelet: This is a cute gift for any age, but something like this would be great for a pony kid that may eventually outgrow her beloved pony and have to sell him or her (it happens)! You don’t have to give the gift with the caveat that the child will be selling her pony one day soon, but the child will certainly appreciate having this when/if that day comes. Not every child is lucky enough to be able to keep their childhood mount when they outgrow it, and a horse hair bracelet is the perfect way to keep her first love close to her heart even if the pony has moved on to another child! There are tons of companies out there that specialize in making horse hair jewelry, but we are a fan of Barn Queen Accessories!

Horse hair bracelet from Barn Queen Accessories.

 

- Package of horseback riding lessons: Some barns offer the option to buy a gift certificate that can be put towards a lesson package at that particular barn. This would be a great gift for a horse obsessed child that just can’t seem to get enough riding. Plus, it’ll help his or her parents out a lot! Owning a horse and/or taking lessons can be is super expensive, so this gift is one that will definitely be appreciated.

 

- Padded leather nameplate bracelet: This is another cute way to honor your child’s favorite horse or pony. I have three of these – one for each horse/pony I’ve had/have! They also come in different color combinations, so if your child’s horse has a color, you can customize the bracelet with the horse’s color.

Padded leather bracelet with engraving from SmartPak.

 

- Brown Charles Owen/Samshield Helmet: I’ve noticed a lot of pony kids rocking brown helmets in the show ring lately, so this is a great item to get a child that will be showing. They’ll be right on top of the newest trend! Charles Owen also has several models available in brown depending on your budget.

Charles Owen AYR8 in chocolate brown.

Samshield Premium helmet in brown alcantara.

 

- SmartPak Kensington Grooming Tote: When I was growing up, one of the “cool” things you first got when you really got into riding was getting your own set of grooming tools. This, of course, was if you didn’t have your own horse or pony. I love the SmartPak line of Kensington items, and I personally have the Kensington Grooming Tote in SmartBlue to match my pony’s SmartBlue items. Their grooming totes come in SmartBlue, SmartPink, SmartPurple, red, and black. Even if who you’re buying for already has their own horse or pony, this is a way to set his or her grooming tools apart from the rest. You can get one to match your child’s favorite color or the color of his or her horse or pony. Note: Grooming tools not included.

SmartPak Kensington Grooming Tote in SmartPink.

 

-Back In The Saddle pajamas: This is for the very young child equestrian, but Back In The Saddle has some super cute pajamas. I’m a huge fan of the ones that say “Pasture bedtime.” (Get it???) They also had a set that said “Foaling to sleep” that had a foal on it which I can’t seem to find on their website anymore. They also have a selection of onesies for the horse loving infant. You can see their pajama selection for kids here.

Back In The Saddle “Pasture bedtime” pajama set.

 

-Equestri LifeStyle Spur Belts: Earlier this year, Equestri LifeStyle debuted their line of spur belts for teens & adults. Well, now they have spur belts the perfect size for kids! These belts have been super popular, and they came in all different colors and materials. There is something for every child to love. It’s a welcome change from many other belts out there that seem to all look the same.

Equestri LifeStyle's is launching its new line of Spur Belts for kids on November 11. Photo Courtesy of the Equestri LifeStyle Facebook page.

Equestri LifeStyle’s is launching its new line of Spur Belts for kids on November 11. Photo Courtesy of the Equestri LifeStyle Facebook page.

- Fancy pony: And then we have the ultimate present for any child equestrian, a pony! There’s some very nice one’s on BigEq.com (my favorite site to peruse when I am avoiding doing everything else I should be doing). Sure, the price tag may be a bit much, but isn’t your barn child worth it?

Maddie Schaefer & Armani at the Capital Challenge. Photo copyright Shawn McMillen Photography

Winners of the Ogilvy Baby Pad Giveaway!

I already announced the results on my Twitter page, but I am making a post here for those of you that may have missed it.

I would like to thank everyone who participated. We had over 700 entries which is a huge record for any giveaway we have ever done.

The winners were picked randomly through the Rafflecopter site.

Additionally, because I reached 1k fans on my Facebook page while the giveaway was ongoing, I decided to draw a third winner. A total of three people will be receiving custom Ogilvy baby pads!

The winners are:

  • Stephanie M.
  • Ashley L.
  • Katie K.

I have tagged each of you on Twitter, so please go check your @ replies! Please email me at jess@thelegalequestrian.com to claim your pad, and then we can talk about what kind of design you would like.

Winners have three days to claim their pad. If you do not claim your pad within that time, I will draw another winner randomly.

Thank you all again for participating! It was a ton of fun, and don’t worry – I’ll be having more giveaways in the near future.

Also, check out the newest segment I will be doing on my blog: Weekly Q&A!

New segment: Weekly question & answer

Every day I try to come up with more ideas for this blog, and I thought it would be nice to do a weekly question segment. I often get questions in my ask that require a lengthy answer, and rather than answering them through ask, I would take one (or a few, depending on length and number) question a week and answer it here!

So what questions do you have for me? Let me know here! I’m super excited about this, and I hope you are too.

ps. I know you all are really excited to find out the winners of the Ogilvy baby pad giveaway. I’ll be announcing them this afternoon.

College riding teams: A Division I rider’s perspective

While aging out is a very sad day for those in the equestrian world, senior riders have other options open to them: competing in amateur, pro, or open classes, and college riding teams. We were lucky enough to talk to Lauren Mahoney, who is currently on the Sacred Heart University Equestrian Team or “SHUET.”. Before this, Lauren was competing at the Grand Prix level with her horse, Armani.

Lauren & Armani competing at WEF this past winter. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

Lauren & Armani competing at WEF this past winter. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

Lauren currently competes in the open over fences and intermediate flat classes in IHSA. To earn a spot on the SHUET, Lauren had to participate in a length tryout process.

“Back in June during orientation, all prospective athletes for the riding team met with the coach, and she gave us a handbook. The handbook covered what we would need to know for tryouts which included an english flat pattern, a western flat pattern, our fitness test, and a checklist of equine knowledge and actions,” Lauren said. “Everyone tries out for a spot, including all incoming students and previous members. We all try out for both western and english and then are placed into which class best fits us.”

One thing about college riding teams is that everyone must try out for a spot each new year, even previous members that have been successful in IHSA.

Open over fences classes are the highest jumping level in IHSA. During these classes, Lauren competes at the 3′ level. Each rider rides a single round of a course to earn a score. The intermediate flat class is the second highest flatting level. For that level, the judge will ask for basic gaits, as well as possible dropping stirrups.

Lauren said the biggest difference between riding on a college riding team and the riding she did previous to this as a junior is that every class is an equitation class.

“Coming from a competitive jumper barn, and personally never having done the Big Eq, it’s a big change for me,” she said. “Another major variance is that I’m very used to getting on my horse in the morning and prepping him to my liking. During this time, we get to ‘feel each other out,’ and I know what to expect when it is time for competition. In IHSA, you get zero warm-up[,] so you lose that connection with previously knowing how your horse works.”

Before joining SHUET, Lauren rode at the same barn for 14 years, or “essentially [her] whole riding career.” As a result, the individuals at her barn, such as the secretary and trainer, all watched her grow up and into the rider she is today.

“They are my family, and I miss them more than anything!” She said. “It’s especially hard because when I moved from school, I also moved houses. My family chose to move from Long Island to CT … Now when I go home, it does not feel much like home yet, mostly because Stonyhill [Lauren's old barn] is not right down the road anymore.”

Despite this, Lauren has found positives in her experience thus far on SHUET.

“The individuals I have met through the team are amazing, and some of them I can already tell are going to be my friends for life.”

Lauren and some of her new teammates on SHUET. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

Lauren and some of her new teammates on SHUET. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

Lauren said that she and her teammates all work very well together and are very close. But we all know what you’re wondering, is there drama?

“Surprisingly for a team full of competitive equestrian girls, we all get along very well! There is, of course, always going to be a little drama here and there, but for the several weeks I have been a part of this team, it’s very obvious that each of us wants nothing less than the best for each other,” Lauren said. “We are all very supportive and spend a lot of time together both in and out of the saddle.”

Lauren acknowledged that each and every team member has something to bring to the table. This allows them to learn from their coach and one another.

There is one thing that Lauren said is not her favorite about being on an equestrian team: the workouts.

“We have workouts twice a week in the early morning, and as much as I love being fit, I also love my sleep!” She said.

According to Lauren, waking up early is quite different when it is for something that does not involve horses.

While she was competing at the Grand Prix level and even spent all of last winter at WEF, Lauren said that IHSA is not easy.

Lauren & Armani at WEF this past winter. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

Lauren & Armani at WEF this past winter. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

“[It] really tests how you deal with situations and is also a lot about the luck of the draw! As much as I love jumping big courses, IHSA is, in it’s own way, very challenging, and just because someone is a leading Grand Prix rider, it in no way can foreshadow that they will do well in IHSA.”

Lauren also does not feel she had an advantage over any one else trying out. However, after the years she has spent riding and competing, she did feel confident in her abilities and had hopes that the coach and team would have a need for her qualities.

“Fortunately for Sacred Heart, there is a great amount of talent and a large group of girls who have worked their whole life to make a Division I team like myself. With this being said, during tryouts, I was very nervous that I would not make a spot because there were many other girls trying out for the same position.”

Most of the other girls on the team have done the 3′ or 3’6″ hunters, equitation, or jumpers, according to Lauren. She said there are also some eventers.

Prior to riding for SHUET, Lauren had her horse Armani, who she imported a few years ago. Lauren stated that the SHUET horses are “extremely different” from what she is used to.

“…I have been privilege enough to work with some amazing athletes. What I do value about the IHSA school horses is that they are trying their hardest and want to do well. It is fun riding these horses because they come to us at the end of the summer, and it is our privilege to ride them and watch them improve week by week.”

For riders wanting to earn a spot on a college riding team, Lauren had the following advice:

“I would not worry about it so much! Just focus on competing your junior years on a positive note and learning as much as possible … When college comes around, then evaluate where you are and what you want to do,” she said.

Lauren stressed that IHSA is not for everyone, and a rider should be sure this is what they want to do before they commit to the team. IHSA is about working as a team and wanting to do the best for the team, not just for yourself as an individual rider.

Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association sent a notice to the National College Equestrian Association that they were considering dropping equestrian as a sport. According to an article on The Chronicle of the Horse, equestrian was classified as an ‘emerging sport’ in 2002. It was given 10 years to get 40 schools in the program. The sport experienced growth, but not enough, and NCEA was given an extension to obtain 40 schools. However, as of 2014, only 22 schools are participating – 18 short of the requisite amount. One school, Kansas State University, has already cancelled its equestrian program for the 2014 – 2015 year due to the possible removal of the sport by the NCAA. While the NCAA decision might not go into effect until 2017, equestrians nationwide have begun a petition to help equestrian remain a sport under NCAA guidelines.

Lauren signed the petition and shared it to her Facebook page, in obvious opposition to the removal of equestrian as a sport.

“I feel that it is an awful step back for the equestrian world as a whole. For a sport that tries so hard to become more widely acknowledged, it’s hard to accept the fact that the NCAA would do this,” Lauren said. “…Here at Sacred Heart, our coach has spoken with the Athletic Department, and they vow to still recognize equestrian as a varsity sport even if the NCEA disbands.”

Lauren & Armani. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

Lauren & Armani. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Mahoney.

That statement means that nothing would change for SHUET members; however, the team would no longer travel to compete in NCAA tournaments because they would no longer exist. SHUET members would still get student athlete perks, but for schools that choose to remove equestrian from their sports roster, that is not the case.

(Editor’s Note: Since the publication of the article, the NCAA has allegedly “postponed” its vote on removing equestrian as a Division I sport. The Legal Equestrian has been unable to find any official sources confirming this move.)

Finally, we asked Lauren what her goals were for her first year on SHUET. She said she would like to qualify for Zones and possible Nationals for open over fences classes.

“Although that is a difficult objective to achieve, especially as a freshman, I never have been known for being fair-minded and why start now!”

If you are interested in riding on a college equestrian team, but don’t know of schools that have a team, you can go here or here for a list. If you are looking for a Division I or Division II team, click here for a list. For more information on IHSA, you can visit their website.

We would like to thank Lauren for taking the time to speak with us about her experience thus far on SHUET! We wish her luck this year and look forward to seeing her progress.

The Legal Equestrian is based in New Jersey, so for those interested in attending a NJ college with an IHSA team, you can check into the following:

  • Centenary College
  • Drew University
  • Princeton University
  • Rider University
  • Rutgers University
  • Rowan University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • William Paterson University

New Jersey does not currently have any schools with a Division I or Division II equestrian team.

If you would like to keep up with Lauren, you can find her on Twitter.

All photos are courtesy of Lauren Mahoney. Please do not use without permission.

Ogilvy Baby Pad Giveaway x2!

As promised, for reaching 25k views, I will be giving away an Ogilvy Baby Pad, customized to how you like. However, while I was doing my giveaways for reaching other viewership milestones, I reached 30k views on my blog. As a result, I’ve decided to give away two custom Ogilvy Baby Pads.

Just some of the Ogilvy half pads and baby pads I own.

Just some of the Ogilvy half pads and baby pads I own.

I have a potentially unhealthy obsession with Ogilvy products (see above), and I have a ton of their baby pads. I adore them. They are well-made, come in awesome color combinations, and can be embroidered with your name, monogram, or barn logo.

Other additional features (taken from the Ogilvy Jumper Baby Pad site) include:

 

  • Maximum breathability
  • Moisture wicking
  • V-Shape: special protection for the withers and the back.
  • Stain resistant
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Quick dry

If you are unsure of the difference between a baby pad and a regular saddle pad, click here for an explanation.

All Ogilvy products are easily washable and stain resistant.

Giveaway Rules:

  • You will be required to do everything through the rafflecopter giveaway module, so make sure you go here to do so.
  • Ways to gain entry include: Following The Legal Equestrian & Ogilvy Equestrian Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages; Tweeting your favorite Ogilvy baby pad color combination; Tweeting why you want an Ogilvy baby pad; and promoting one of The Legal Equestrian’s posts about Ogilvy products.

Winner Rules:

  • Because this contest is not sponsored by Ogilvy, I am spending my own money on these baby pads. As a result, there will be some restrictions on the customization:
    • Winners will be allowed to choose from:
      • quilt color + binding + one piping option + one embroidery option;
      • quilt color + binding + two piping options, no embroidery option
      • If you want to do something less, such as quilt color + binding + one piping option with no embroidery, that is also allowed. You are just no allowed to go over the two restrictions I have placed.
  • Again, these pads are not cheap, and I fund this giveaway with my own money. Since I will be giving away two pads, I need to put a restriction on how many custom options can be used as it can really add up. I think that is more than reasonable, and if you have an issue with it, please do not enter the giveaway.
  • Only one pad will be won per winner. You will not be able to win both custom pads as that is not fair to other entrants.

Good luck to all entrants! I hope you’re as excited about this as we are.

This giveaway is not sponsored by Ogilvy Equestrian. All items are provided by The Legal Equestrian.