Things you should never take for granted as a rider

  1. Going to Florida for the winter. Another horse blog did an article about just how much money it costs to go to somewhere like WEF or Ocala for the winter, and it was astronomical. Now, I do hope to one day go to one of those locations, but I hope that those of you who get to go, even if it’s just once, never take that for granted. There are so many of us who would absolutely love the ability to go to Wellington or Ocala, but don’t have the means, whether it’s finances, a horse, or a facility that goes down there to train. You are incredibly lucky, and most of us are incredibly jealous of you.
  2. Being able to get an import. Yet another thing that many equestrians dream of but cannot do because of monetary or other reasons. Not to say that there aren’t many, many good, talented horses in the United States, but we all know we do lust after getting that gorgeous imported horse from one of those faraway European countries. If you’re lucky enough to have an import with fantastic bloodlines, don’t take that for granted. You’ve been blessed by the equestrian gods and goddesses.
  3. Being able to travel to Europe to try horses. This goes along with number two, but a lot of times young riders are able to travel to Europe to try out horses they are going to import. Again, this takes up a huge amount of time and money – and again, this is something most of us don’t have. Be thankful you have the opportunity to do this once-in-a-lifetime thing (or maybe it’s more than once-in-a-lifetime for some of you). Some of us will never be so lucky.
  4. Having a horse that’s a complete packer. If you’ve ever read that article about school horses and the value they have in our riding education, then you know what I’m talking about. A horse that builds your confidence, forgives your silly, stupid mistakes, and packs your ass around without a care in the world is a god send, and he or she is something that should never be taken for granted. That is what my horse Rascal was for me, and then that is what Luther became for me as well. Those horses are rare and deserve all the love and attention in the world. They seem to have an understanding beyond that of other horses. They know exactly what we need, when we need it.
  5. Parents who will write a check for anything and everything horse-related. Horseback riding is incredibly expensive – from equipment, to apparel, to owning or leasing a horse, to showing – depending on what circuit – and to a certain extent, we depend on our parents (well, most of us), to help fund our passion until we get to an age where we either have to a. become a working student to keep riding, b. get another job to keep riding, or c. have our parents continue to fund our riding – no questions asked. If you’re a member of Category C, I applaud you and encourage you to thank your parents every day. And I am in no way knocking on parents that don’t fund their child’s riding – but to those of you who have never had to pay for anything related to your horse, take the extra time to say thank you and tell your parents you appreciate them and what they do for your riding career. Again, not all of us are so lucky, and not all of us have bottomless bank accounts or investors who will literally write a check for whatever we ask.

What do you think a rider should never take for granted? Leave a comment below!

Lifestyle: Savings for college students

There are an abundant number of savings nationwide for college students. These discounts can be used at most of the businesses nationally; although some are only at limited locations. These discounts apply to all college students across the country. The nice part about these businesses is that they are well-known and are visited frequently by college students.

Burger King offers 10 percent off with a valid student ID. I have used this discount at the Burger King in Tiffin.

Apple offers Education pricing for college students, teachers, and staff at all education levels. You can up to $200 when buying a new Mac and up to $20 on an iPad.

Amtrak, a train service that runs in the U.S. that college students use to get back home, gives a discount if you have your student ID. With a student ID, college students save 10 percent  and earn Guest Reward Points.

AMC Theaters offer discounted tickets on Thursdays.

J.Crew offers a 15 percent student discount for regular priced items.

With your student ID, Chipotle will give you a free drink with purchase.

As you can see there are many businesses that offer discounts for college students. Even if there’s a store or company not mentioned on this list, they may recognize that students have limited funds and offer a discount. Next time you’re in a store, ask if they offer discounts to students and make sure to always carry your student ID with you.

Product Review: Equestrian Prep Collection

Stirrups Clothing Company has an adorable, yet fashionable, line called the Equestrian Prep Collection which features colorful, original graphic tees, hats, koozies, and even winter gear. Stirrups was kind enough to send me a t-shirt and koozie of my choosing. I chose these two:

Equestrian Sports English long-sleeve tee. Photo Credit:

Hot Pink “Equestrian Prep Collection” Can Cooler. Photo Credit:

T-shirt: The tee is super comfy, well-fitting, and high-quality. It has actually become my favorite tee to lounge around and sleep in. I get cold very easily, especially in my house because my mom keeps the temperature in our house very low, so this shirt is perfect for keeping me warm! It does run a bit big, which is another reason it is the perfect t-shirt for lounging. I wear this shirt all the time. (Confession: I wear it so much that my boyfriend makes fun of me). I adore the graphic on my t-shirt. It’s simple yet stylish, and I also love the pairing of pink and blue (blue is my favorite color).

Koozie: The koozie is extremely well-made. I received it in the summer when it was still hot outside, and it definitely protected my hardwood furniture from the sweat that appears on cans and bottles. I love the simple design, and it’s a unique way to show your love for horses. As athletes, we should always be taking care of ourselves, and that includes hydration. This is the perfect way to show off our love for horses while maximizing our health and protecting fabrics and other surfaces from the wetness that may come off of what we are drinking.

The Equestrian Prep Collection has a ton of cute apparel. If I had to pick another favorite t-shirt, it would definitely be this one.

Preppy Clothes Horse. Photo Credit:

The colors are vibrant, and the graphic designs are very unique. They represent the typical equestrian preppy lifestyle without being cheesy. Additionally, I think the Equestrian Prep Collection is marketed perfectly. It’s suitable for both adults and children. As someone in her 20s, I wouldn’t feel silly wearing any of their clothing in public. It’s definitely not just for little girls.

The long-sleeve t-shirts retail for $34.00, and the koozies retail for $4.00. Each design on the long-sleeve tees is also available on the short-sleeve tees, which retail for $30.00. They also have baseball caps and beanies, which retail for $24.00, as well as a headband, which is perfect for the cold winter months, that retails for $15.00.

Stirrups also sells a ton of other equestrian-themed apparel, which can be viewed here, besides its Equestrian Prep Collection. My favorite is the cream horse jumping shirt which can be found on page 5. They also offer customization services for all sorts of apparel, which can be found here.

Overall, no matter what you’re looking for, Stirrups Clothing Company has it, and you should definitely check them out! Their clothing is comfortable, affordable, and stylish – perfect for any equestrian and exactly what we’re looking for!

An interview with one of Liza Boyd’s students, Erin McGuire

Written by Chloe Friedham.

Erin Mcguire and Kassar Photo Credit: Julia Fanello

Erin McGuire and Kassar
Photo Credit: Julia Fanello

Erin McGuire, a student at University of South Carolina, competes on the A Circuit in the Amateur Jumpers. Kasarr, or “Benny,” is her Dutch Warmblood that she purchased as a 1.20m horse in the spring of 2013. Despite standing only 15.1hh, Benny has proved to have a large amount of “spice,” now competing at the National Grand Prix Level.

“This quality was what led me to buy him after trying a multitude of different horses,” Erin said. Erin’s gut was right as this pair has made the spectacular progression from the 1.20 to being 2nd in their first National Grand Prix.

Erin commutes from school to the barn, which is a 50 minute drive each way, up to five days a week. On top of being a college student, she also has an internship with a veterinarian and is an avid member of Body Pump. There is only little room for normalcy in this hectic rider’s life.

How does one individual complete a heavy workload, and compete successfully in Grand Prix classes all at the same time?

Her days are separated into distinct sections, this way she can completely focus on a single task. Erin’s motto is: “Stay organized, be committed, and communicate!”

Currently, Erin majors in Psychology and minors in Athletic Coaching. One of Erin’s greatest challenges has been her mental game while riding.

Erin’s internship is with Dr. Emma Williamson at Alvine Equine Mobile Veterinary Services. Here, Erin has the opportunity to assist Dr. Williamson with acupuncture and chiropractic work.

Not only is Erin a devoted Body Pump member, she is also in the process of becoming an instructor. Body Pump is a group fitness class that focuses on weights. Erin said that fitness has “allow(ed) [her] to get more out of [her] rides and focus on more technical aspects when competing.” Exercise that aids riding is difficult for many riders to find. Erin said that this training is not only fun, but also has been extremely beneficial to her riding.

Erin McGuire and Kassar.

Erin McGuire and Kassar.

Since August, Erin’s trainer Liza Boyd and mount Brunello have become household names among the equestrian community. The International Derby Finals was introduced in 2009, and the pair has won half of those championships. Erin only has wonderful things to say about her trainers, Jack and Liza, at Finally Farm. Jack is an “unbelievable teacher,” and Liza is “humble.” Both are like family to Erin.

Erin, Kassar, and Casallo.

Erin, Kassar, and Casallo.

In her (little) free time Erin enjoys reading and baking. Casallo, Erin’s previous Junior Hunter, was one of her favorites’ to show at The National Horse Show. Blowing Rock Horse Show, in North Carolina, is her favorite show with Kassar. Other than Liza Boyd, Olympian veterans Beezie Madden and McLain Ward are among her riding inspirations.

Erin and Casallo.

Erin and Casallo.

Erin’s favorite equine friendly product is Sore Paint, which is valuable after riding on dreadful hard footing. This product along with many others come from Seashore Acres LLC.

In the future, Erin hopes to be competitive in the local 1.50m Grand Prix classes. However as of right now, she will continue to compete with Benny in the Grand Prix classes and Amateur Jumpers.

“Benny has come a long way from his days as a 1.20 horse,” said Erin. She fondly remembers the first time they jumped clear in a Grand Prix, and accredits her success with Benny to her “superb team.” Erin has become a riding, and lifestyle, inspiration to many.

You can find Erin, and her adorable horse Benny, on Instagram and Twitter.

Erin and Kassar

Erin and Kassar

An equestrian’s guide to surviving the winter

It is the reality of a select few equestrians to migrate south to Florida for the bitter winter months. The truth is that Wellington, or Florida in general for the winter, is a dream to most equestrians. Because of this we have to be adequately prepared to endure the potential multiple feet of snow and the below 0℉ temperatures.  It can be difficult emotionally, and physically, to ride your horse six days a week. Not only is it dangerous driving on the snowy and icy roads, but it can also be a little disheartening to ride your horse for only twenty minutes after spending an hour driving to the barn.

Me & Luther last winter.

Me & Luther last winter.

Unfortunately, what one would call a successful ride in the winter could be the worst ride of your summer. It is important to be realistic in your goals for the winter because it is likely schooling, showing, and turnout will be limited.

When getting ready to ride, many of us bundle up in 5, or more, layers of long sleeves, jackets, sweaters, and coats. There are also those of us who won’t touch a jacket until it gets below 30℉. I have found that the happy middle is the best way to go when finding purposeful winter riding attire. Keep in mind that the winter is mostly about surviving, not fashion! I usually wear a long-sleeve, layered, exercise shirt. When the temperature becomes increasingly cold I will start to wear a vest or light jacket on top of this shirt. These can be found at multiple outdoor clothing stores and are sold for as little as $20! I switch out my thin long riding socks for thick, heavy socks, even if it means wearing paddock boots. If it gets unbearably cold I will layer my long sleeve shirt and a heavy coat.

This way of dressing ensures you are comfortable and mobile! There is nothing worse than not being able to move because you are stuffed to the brim with jackets. Additionally, in your tack trunk make sure to stock up on thick gloves, found at your local tack store. SmartPak also has a section on its website dedicated entirely to winter riding apparel.

For those of you who are able to travel to Florida, or any warm destination. Best of luck and be grateful for your opportunities! Those of us stuck in the cold and snow are very jealous.

To the rest of us who are unable to get out of our driveways, open our frozen car doors, or get in one pleasant ride, take these common winter survival tips to the barn, along with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

Parlay the pony. Photo Credit: Chloe Friedham.

Parlay the pony. Photo Credit: Chloe Friedham.