Have a little fun under your boots

If you ride in the hunter or equitation ring, it is all about being conservative. In the jumper ring, you can have a bit more fun with your and your horse’s attire. I am a sucker for cute socks, and I own socks with patterns I love for both my regular attire and my riding attire. I recently came across a few pairs of fun patterned socks on Willow Equestrian’s website, and I decided to research the particular brand further. It let me to the Artisan Socks website, and the sock selections they have are amazing. I found so many socks I would love to buy, but I had to hold myself back.

If you love rockin’ cute socks under your tall boots or half chaps like I do, then you’ll love this list. Here are 10 socks that are a must have.

Sock it to me Dynamite Knee Socks by Artisan Socks.

Soxy Lady Smiling Fall Fox Knee High Socks by Artisan Socks.

Owl print Ovation Zocks

Owl print Ovation Zocks

Blue Plaid Ovation Zocks.

Corgi Pattern Knee High Socks by Artisan Socks.

Pug Life Knee High Socks by Artisan Socks.

Starry Night socks by Artisan Socks – a personal favorite of mine.

HKM Knee High Riding Socks in black & red argyle.

Harrys Horse Riding Socks.

TuffRider Neon Tall Boot Socks.

There are tons of socks out there, but the above are some of my favorites!  You can always show your own style underneath your boots or half chaps – just make sure you don’t do the dreaded “socks visible at the top of tall boots or half chaps” fashion faux pas.

 

 

 

Anna Easton: Taking everything in stride

Anna Easton is a rider that believes someone with “enough talent, determination, and hard work” can make it in the horse world, according to her blog Big Eqspectations. Her horse journey is that of trail riding, pony jumpers, and the Big Eq. She had high hopes of qualifying for the Maclay Finals. Although she did not achieve that dream, she has taken it in stride, remained graceful, and had a great sense of positivity regarding her riding journey.

Anna said she knew her dream of qualifying for Medal or Maclay Finals was a “farfetched goal.” This was for a variety of reasons.

“I didn’t (and still don’t) have the finances, I was green in the show ring, and I didn’t have much time left. Nerves were always a big problem for me and when I got nervous, I couldn’t pick a distance to save my life,” she said.

However, despite not reaching her goal, she said she could write a book about everything she learned during her junior career.

“The equitation courses really taught me to slow down and think. It’s a lot easier to make decisions when you aren’t rushing through the course, which is what I try to do when I’m flustered. I also learned, through experiencing the benefits, why the equitation classes were created. It’s a lot easier to be clean and efficient in the jumper ring when you know how to ride the perfect track on a bending line, make balanced inside turns, and have the position to keep you secure while executing these things,” she said. “But, one of the most important things I learned was patience. Horses require a lot of patience, and people require more.”

Anna, now 18, has been riding she since was 5 years old. However, she also loves listening to music and is a self-described folk, blues, and classic rock fan. She also enjoys writing – from poetry to blog posts and anything in between. She also said her helmet is two sizes bigger than her head to accommodate her “big, curly mess” of hair with a “mind of its own.” She also responds to the nickname ‘Fuzz,’ which her sister dubbed her with when they were kids.

When Anna began riding, it was because her father wanted her to have a hobby that she could enjoy. Although she did local shows when she was 7 years old, she did not start showing on the rated circuits until she was 14.

“This was somewhat due to financial reasons, but mostly because my father had different goals for me when I started riding,” she said. “He mostly wanted me to have a hobby I could enjoy. But, when I showed interest in making my debut on the rated circuit, he completely supported and facilitated me.”

Photo Credit to Erica Rosinski Photography.

Photo Credit to Erica Rosinski Photography.

Now that she has aged out, she hopes to make it as a professional. She began her professional life as a working student for Don Stewart making the long drive from her home in Atlanta to his farm in Ocala.

“My job with Don is an opportunity that I am very excited about!” Anna said. “I’m mainly going to be hacking horses, showing horses to potential buyers, doing horse-related laundry, and cleaning tack at the end of the day I’m also hoping to show some as horses are available. A lot goes into running an operation of that size and I would love to learn about all aspects, from the care of the horses, to the business side of things.”

While she does plan to attend college, she also plans to make riding her career and says she has been designing her dream barn since she was 8 years old. Her ultimate career goal is to be a successful Grand Prix rider, as she considers herself to be more of a jumper rider.

Anna loves the jumper ring because of the teamwork.

“The hunter ring showcases the horse and the equitation ring showcases the rider. But, the jumper ring showcases the team,” she said. “A good jumper has the same goals as its rider; Get over the jumps clean and fast. They’re on at all times, and they’re powerful and agile. Nothing beats riding a horse like that. But, another thing I love about the jumper ring is the fact that it is completely objective. No politics and no worrying about who’s at the gate.”

However, Anna said that her favorite thing about equitation is its purpose. She feels that eq classes create more solid and effective riders, and it helps them transition into higher levels in the sport as well as into professionals if that is what they choose.

Anna also rode in the hunters for about 6 months when she was 12 or 13. She thought it was “fun, but slow.” Although she does appreciate the hunters much more now and loves the hunter derbies, she said hunters “will never steal [her] heart like the jumper ring has.”

Anna’s love for the jumpers also comes from the fact that she started there. Being blunt, Anna said she wasn’t “politically correct” enough for the horse world with her dad as her trainer and her lack of finances. Her perfectionism attracted her to the equitation, which she used to better herself as a rider.

Photo Credit to David Bell.

Photo Credit to David Bell.

After aging out, Anna has decided she will leave equitation behind aside from her goal for qualifying for the Talent Search Finals.

Although Anna rode with her dad growing up, she also got a chance to ride with Rob Gage, a well-known USEF judge. She met him through Judge My Ride, a website where riders can post photos and videos of themselves riding and get feedback from USEF rated judges, like Rob.

“He was the main person who commented on my pictures and was very encouraging as I tried to improve my position. He came to my town for a clinic in May of 2012. I was terrified when I met him, which is really funny in hindsight Rob is hysterical, blunt, and always supportive,” she said. “He tells you, loudly, when you screw up because he wants you to fix it so you can succeed. I almost always ride my best when I’m around Rob because his confidence in me makes me confident in myself.”

Right now, Anna has 6 horses, most of which are leased out. She has the ponies she rode in the pony jumpers that taught her to jump. She also has her equitation horse that is leased out in Massachusetts. Additionally, she has two jumpers, Charlie and Prize. Charlies is an older Thoroughbred who is doing 1.20m courses, and Prize is a rescue mare that jumps 1.30m.

Anna didn’t experience the dreaded “aging out syndrome” like some riders do when their junior career ends.

“I’ve always viewed my junior career as the start of a long-term career in the horse world. Riding as a junior is not the end, it’s the beginning. Even though I didn’t earn any big titles during my junior years, I’m thrilled with what I learned and the experiences I had,” Anna said. “This sport is a constant education. If you don’t succeed in your junior years, you have the rest of your amateur or professional years to try again. I’m excited to see what my future as a non-junior holds.”

Although Anna is riding with Don Stewart, she plans on continuing to rider with her father as well. Anna has several trainers, and she enjoys getting to work with a number of different professionals as it gives her different ways to think about things.

“It’s nice to gather all the information I can, try each method, and then decide what works best for me, my style, and my horses,” she said.

Although Anna did not get to meet her goals as a junior, she has discovered one thing: time is a friend when it comes to riding.

“Tomorrow always provides us with the opportunity to do better and to try harder. Time provides us with knowledge and experience, which is invaluable and never plentiful enough in the horse world. You also have to enjoy each step of the journey,” she said. “If you don’t like the path you take to get to your goal, was the goal really worth it? I may not have qualified for the Maclay, but I have nothing but fond memories of every day I spent working towards that dream.”

We asked Anna her advice for riders that want to qualify for the Big Eq Finals. She said be realistic.

“If you are 17 years old, just moving up to the 3′, and have only shown on the local circuit, it’s not going to happen. Now, there is nothing wrong with being 17, moving up to 3′, and only showing on the local circuit. It’s just not the recipe that gets you to a Big Eq Final. There are reasons I didn’t qualify. I didn’t have enough time, money, or experience,” she said. “You need to have the right horse, enough money to show a couple times per month, and enough time to really get the experience you need over the equitation courses.”

She also suggested that someone show as often as possible because a show is a completely different atmosphere than riding at home.

“There is a lot of self-inflicted pressure in the ring and experience is the only cure.” Anna said, “In addition to that, the more courses you see and ride, the better.”

Photo Credit to Holly Ridge Photorgraphy.

Photo Credit to Holly Ridge Photorgraphy.

Like myself, Anna suffers from a case of the nerves, and she said it tends to affect her eye. However, she found that time, experience, and developing confidence in herself have helped her. She also said that coming to the realization that she can’t always be perfect was another big thing that helped.

As usual, we asked Anna who she looks up to in the horse world, and she of course said Beezie Madden.

“She’s phenomenal. She’s gutsy, intelligent, and unbelievably solid. It has always bothered me that so many upper level riders let their position go out the window. People make excuses constantly, like ‘it’s more important to be effective than pretty.’ I get it. It is hard to ‘equitate’ over bigger jumps on horses who jump with so much power, but both Beezie and McLain Ward prove it’s possible to be effective and have an effective, attractive position. I really admire that.”

Anna’s favorite brands include:

  • Antares
  • Devoucoux
  • Tailored Sportsman
  • EIS
  • Essex Classics
  • Parlantis
  • Horseware Ireland

She also loves to buy on eBay and high-end used tack Facebook groups.

Anna said she believes that one never knows where this sport is going to take them.

“…[M]y mother has said to me a lot ‘Everything that has happened has led to this.’ It doesn’t matter which incident she’s talking about, it always holds true … I started showing with Don last year for the sole purpose of qualifying for the Maclay. Instead of that, I got a job with him, which is much better, in my opinion. Since we can’t tell what path we’re on, it makes no sense to panic when things are going wrong. There is always a silver lining, though it may be hard to find, and you can always turn bad into good. This advice has kept my eyes open and provided me with a lot of opportunities I never thought I would be fortunate enough to receive.”

If you would like to keep up with Anna, she has her own blog. She also has a Facebook page, Instagram, YouTube, and is always available by email.

#ROOTD: The Cardinal Rule from a Cult Classic

You’ve probably seen Mean Girls, and if not, you are strongly encouraged to – just this once – close this blog and go watch it. Among others, one of the most famous lines is:

On Wednesdays, we wear pink.

Or, as we would say, “On Wednesdays, we wear pink riding outfits.

Guest Writer, Christa Myers, designed this pink on Wednesdays-inspired ROOTD, and we love it.

wednesday pink

 

All of the items listed can be found at The Tack Shoppe (click the image to be taken there directly).

The items are listed at the bottom right of the photo, but we’ve listed them below too, including prices.

  • Ariat Solan Soft Shell Jacket – $124.99
  • Ariat Tek Streben Tech Shirt – $76.95
  • Charles Owen AYR8 Custom Helmet in black/pink – $399
  • C4 Belt, pink with hot pink buckle – $39.95
  • Struck Apparel Griptech Schooling Breeches – $249.95
  • Ariat Heritage Contour Tall Boots – $349.95
  • EcoLicious Equestrian Glossy Gloss Enhancing Coat Tonic – $21.95
  • EcoLicious Equestrian Moisture Maniac – $22.95

Migraines & horseback riding: Tips on relief & prevention

This post may seem a bit out of place, but I have noticed an increasing amount of equestrians on my Twitter feed that seem to suffer from migraines. For those of you that don’t know, I have suffered from migraines for more than 20 years. For a long time, I suffered to no avail as OTC medications did and still do not work for me. This was because when I was younger most of the migraine medications contained addictive ingredients, and my mom was not comfortable allowing me to take them.

Once I turned 18, I was allowed to see a doctor for my migraines. I started by seeing my general physician who put me on a migraine-specific medication called Imitrex. This medication is prescribed to individuals who suffer from migraines and is considered an abortive medication. This means that one only takes it when they are suffering from a migraine attack. The medication generally works within 30 minutes, but in my experience, it can take up to two hours. Unfortunately, Imitrex stopped working for me, and I tried a number of other orally administered abortive medications, none of which helped. I was eventually prescribed a medication called Sumavel DosePro. Unlike Imitrex, Sumavel was administered through the skin. Essentially, it is a shot that you can administer in your thigh (like I did) or a number of other administration sites. While I would not recommend Sumavel (the pain of giving myself the shot outweighed the actual migraine), it did work fast (for the most part) and may be an option for those who can tolerate the pain of administration.

When my migraines got worse and started to affect my performance in law school, I decided to see a neurologist, which is a popular thing that migraineurs do. My neurologist put me on a preventative which I take every night. Because none of the migraine-specific abortives work for me, I also take something called Fiorinal Codeine, which is highly effective. Unfortunately, as of right now, there are no migraine-specific preventatives. That means that any medication prescribed to prevent migraines is actually being prescribed off-label. For example, the first medication I tried at the advice of my neurologist was a blood pressure medication. That medication, unfortunately, caused my migraines to become more intense and more frequent. I was switched to an anti-depressant which has been very effective in reducing my migraine attacks. Instead of getting 12-15 a month, I now get about 3 a month. If I do get a migraine, I am able to take the Fiorinal which usually works within half an hour.

Migraine attacks are very debilitating. I have found that those who have never suffered a migraine do not quite understand just how bad they can be. Along with severe pain, I often suffer nausea, sensitivity to light, smell, and noise, tingling, severe fatigue and weakness, and excessive thirst that continues no matter how much I drink. If my migraine is severe (or higher than a 5 on a scale of 1 – 10), I am often confined to my bed in pitch black until it goes away. In fact, the World Health Organization reported that migraine attacks are as debilitating as quadriplegia, and sometimes even more so.

Being an equestrian with migraines is difficult, and sometimes it severely affects my ability to ride and go to the barn. Although sometimes I can manage to survive a lesson while suffering from a migraine, there are times when I just cannot manage to get out of bed to ride or see my horses. I know that there are other equestrians out there who suffer from migraines, and many of the ones I’ve talked to do not know their options or the tricks to help relieve a migraine or at least dull the pain for some time.

I’ve put together some tips for those of you that suffer from migraines – whether you get them more than once a month or once a year – it helps to know what you can do to help yourself function.

Peppermint oil. Studies have shown that putting a dab of peppermint oil under your nose or on each of your temples seems to help migraines. If hypersensitivity to scents is a symptom of your migraines, this may not be the best thing for you to do. However, if not, it may be worth a try. You want to make sure that you purchase peppermint oil that can be applied to your skin. I have seen peppermint oils that are for olfactory therapy only – meaning they can only be placed in something that is meant to disperse the scent in the air, not on your skin.

Heat therapy. This is one of my all-time favorite methods of addressing migraine pain. Heat therapy can be done in a number of ways. One is to sit in the shower and let the hot water run on your face and head. Another is to run a washcloth under hot water (as hot as you can stand), wring it out, and apply it to your forehead or temples. Finally, there are special heat therapy masks you can buy that are heated simply by placing in the microwave. I have owned a few of these in the past. Some of the masks also have scents with them, so if you are sensitive to fragrances when you suffer a migraine attack, make sure the mask you purchase is unscented.

Cold therapy. This is another way of relieving migraine pain. Choosing between heat and cold therapy is a personal preference, so it’s best to experiment and see what works for you. In the summer, my migraines can be triggered by heat, so I prefer to use cold therapy. My mom actually purchased something for me called a “Chillow.” It is a rectangle shaped pad that creates a cooling sensation when you lay your head on it. You can also place it in the refrigerator for an extra cooling sensation. I have found this to be very effective when I am suffering from a migraine. It tends to up my comfort level and distract me from the migraine pain. I also sleep on a MyPillow which also creates a cooling sensation when you lay on it (Bonus: It is also designed to help you sleep better and help prevent migraines by aligning your neck and head correctly). You could also run a washcloth under cold water and lay it over your forehead, much like the heat therapy recommendation.

Pinch the layer of fat between your thumb and forefinger. I know this sounds weird, but my former college roommate’s sister, who also suffered from severe migraines, told me about this trick. I’m not sure how it works exactly, but I think it just has to do with distracting you from the pain by letting you focus on another form of pain. The pinching isn’t too painful, but it certainly is uncomfortable. I’ve found this is only temporary though, and the minute you stop pinching, you tend to become aware of the migraine pain again.

Lay down in a dark, cool room. Migraines are often accompanied by light sensitivity. Most migraineurs need to be in a dark room to recover from their migraine or find relief. Additionally, heat tends to make migraines worse (at least for me and most other migraine sufferers), so laying in a dark, cool room is a great way to find relief. If you are able to sleep with the migraine pain, this might also help you recover or find some relief.

Take a break. We are busy. We have full-time jobs, go to school, ride often, show, work at a barn, etc., but sometimes you need to take a break to rest and recover. Please do not be ashamed of this. I know that sometimes supervisors do not understand migraines and think you should be able to take an Advil and continue to work, attend class, ride, etc., but do not allow yourself to be pressured like this. If you need to, get a doctor’s note or provide the doubtful party with some materials that show just how debilitating a migraine is. I still suffer from judgment about my migraines – even from people who have had family members that were migraineurs. It is tough, but you need to do what is right for you. I hate having to skip a lesson or going to the barn due to a really severe migraine, but having a helmet on my head really isn’t the best thing to do when my head already feels like it’s going to explode. If you need help on how to explain your issue to a teacher, parent, supervisor, trainer, or other loved one, please feel free to reach out to me. I know how tough it can be to have someone that doesn’t understand or believe how severe a migraine can be. I can’t say how many times I’ve had someone I know – that previously judged me and doubted my migraines – get a migraine and say, “Oh my God, I never realized how bad these are. I don’t know how you do it!”

See a doctor. I am lucky that my general practitioner doctor suffers from debilitating migraines herself, so she was able to help me initially when it came to treating my migraines. However, I decided to seek out a specialist when they got worse as I figured the specialist would be more up-to-date on new medications and treatments. A migraine specialist is usually also a neurologist, but don’t let that scare you. If you are just suffering from migraines and have no other signs of a neurological problem, you don’t have to worry about undergoing any scary tests (usually). The biggest issue is finding a doctor that specializes in migraine treatment. There is actually a shortage on migraine specialists. However, if you are unable to find a reputable migraine specialist in your area, usually seeing a general neurologist can help too.

You may be wondering if preventing migraine attacks is possible. It is, but it can be tricky. Unfortunately, researchers aren’t quite sure why migraines occur. This is because there are so many migraine triggers. However, if you track your migraines, you can probably figure out what causes them. This will allow you to avoid those things (unless you’re like me and have migraines that are triggered by barometric pressure changes, temperature changes, and heat – among other things). Here are some tips to help you prevent your migraines.

Track what causes them & avoid those triggers. You can track your migraines in a variety of different ways. I prefer to use an app on my phone; however, some people prefer to keep a migraine journal in which they write down what caused their migraine. I like my apps because they asks me a variety of different things including when the migraine started, how long it lasted, how painful they were (on a scale of 1 – 10 or on a scale of mild – severe), what I had to eat that day, any other stressors I experienced that day, and my symptoms. While one app I only use when I have a migraine, another app I use regardless of if I have a migraine. Every day it asks me whether I had a migraine. It tracks various factors and compiles data that will eventually identify things that happened 24 – 48 hours before I experienced a migraine to show me what my triggers are, the percentage of my migraines that are mild, moderate, and severe, and where the pain tends to be. Tracking and identifying your triggers can help you avoid what causes a migraine. For example, if you get migraines after eating salty foods or foods with artificial sweeteners, you can cut those out of your diet – or eat them sparingly. To me, being proactive about what causes your migraines is probably the number one thing you can do in starting to reduce their frequency and even prevent them altogether.

Drink a lot of water, especially on hot days. Dehydration is a big cause of migraines. If your migraines are triggered by heat, drinking a lot of water and taking frequent breaks in cool areas can also help in preventing yourself from suffering a migraine attack. A good rule of thumb is to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but on hot days, or days where you ride a lot of horses or even just one horse, it’s good to drink even more.

Consider taking a preventative medication. Some people prefer not to take medication every day; however, if your migraines severely inhibit your life, or if you get them more than half the month, you should seriously consider going on a preventative. You do not have to live in pain most of the time, and there are many different medications to try. You are bound to find something that works for you. Taking a pill everyday is definitely worth it and outweighs the fear of getting a migraine for more days a month than you are migraine free – at least to me.

Go on the migraine diet. I choose not to do this because it is actually extremely restrictive. It seems as if everything can cause a migraine. However, if you don’t mind restricting what you eat, looking up the migraine diet may be a good thing. You can cut out any and all foods that cause migraines. If you continue to get them after being on the migraine diet for a satisfactory period, then you know that your migraines are most likely due to another cause.

Look into seeing a chiropractor or acupuncturist. This has been recommended to me a million times, but I’ve never actually gone. This is because I have identified what triggers my migraines. However, I have known quite a few people that suffered from migraines and invested in some chiropractic or acupuncture work and never suffered one again! It is entirely possible you are misaligned or something in your Chi needs to be unblocked. Make sure you go to a reputable chiropractor or a licensed acupuncturist so you are getting the best service possible.

I cannot possibly cover every single way to address a migraine in this post, but I hope this provided a good starter guide for those of you who have been suffering and don’t know what to do. There are many resources on the internet, including my go-to, Migraine.com, and I highly encourage you do your own research and experiment to find what works for you. I also am always here to help with questions you have about migraines and how to treat and/or prevent them. I am obviously not a doctor, but I can give you a starting point or some “tricks of the trade” since I’ve tried so many over the year. I can be reached on any of my social sites (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Ask.fm), or you can email me at thelegalequestrian@gmail.com.

If you are severely affected by migraines, and you are finding yourself unable to function the majority of the time in your career, academic career, and riding career, I highly recommend seeing a doctor. There is hope, and there is help. Don’t give up or think that you’ll never find relief. I know it is hard and frustrating – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up or just accept that I will always be miserable and have chronic migraines. While some of that is partially true – there is no cure for migraines, unless it’s caused by a curable medical condition – they can be managed, and the frequency can be reduced. It may take some tweaking of medication and some experimentation, but there is something out there for everyone.

Equestrian tees you need now

While I love wearing polos or sport shirts, t-shirts with cute & unique sayings and graphics are always calling my name. Here are some of my favorites ones including a sneak peek of two The Legal Equestrian shirts that will be available soon.

Phyllis Stein Equestrian

#ROOTD Phyllis Stein Equestrian tee. There are only 50 t-shirts available, so order it while you can!

#ROOTD Phyllis Stein Equestrian tee. There are only 50 t-shirts available, so order it while you can!

Little War Horse

Front of "Stay Gold" George Morris Shirt by Little War Horse.

Front of “Stay Gold” George Morris Shirt featuring the king himself by Little War Horse.

"This is horse riding, not tiddlywinks." - George Morris. Back of George Morris t-shirt by Little War Horse.

“This is horse riding, not tiddlywinks.” – George Morris.
Back of George Morris t-shirt by Little War Horse.

My Barn Child

“Stop staring at my pony” t-shirt by My Barn Child.

Shop Hunt Club

“Mind your melon” t-shirt by Hunt Club. We adore this one & its important message!

 Phyllis Stein Equestrian #2

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Phyllis Stein – “Breeches Boots & Whips & Spurs.” from Willow Equestrian

The Legal Equestrian

Keep Calm_FINAL

*Available Soon!* Our very own “Keep Calm And Read The Legal Equestrian” t-shirt will be available in our shop very soon!

*Available Soon!* Our very own "My Trakehner Is Smarter Than Your Honor Roll Student" t-shirt will be available in our shop very soon!

*Available Soon!* Our very own “My Trakehner Is Smarter Than Your Honor Roll Student” t-shirt will be available in our shop very soon!

There are tons of cool tees out there, and these are just some of our faves! Got a favorite tee you can’t live without? Tell us about it in the comments or find us on social media!