A few months ago I participated in a Dressage clinic for the first time ever!
Nicole Harrington flew in to teach from Ohio. I had audited a clinic of hers last year and was very impressed with her style of teaching. Last year, DaVinci was not at a level that would make a clinic worth the money at all.
It was hosted at another barn fairly close, about 15 minutes up the road and I figured if anything it would be a good field trip for him to get some experience! My ride time was on Sunday morning, so I trailered DaVinci a day early to get him accustomed to the atmosphere and sights. I also got to use my new Hyndsight camera! It worked great and such an easy system to use, I love that I could keep an eye on DaVinci the entire ride up.
He settled in great! I did a practice ride on him, he behaved most the time (keyword MOST) as we had a moment of bolting that was quite the rodeo. This involved interrupting the clinic as he galloped around the arena and I held on for dear life! Other than that I had a good practice ride.
Sunday morning came, and I was sure to lunge DaVinci beforehand. It was a cold weekend so it worked out well to get him warmed up too!
We had an absolutely fabulous ride! Unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures but I did get some decent video thanks to my step mom!
My big light bulb moment is that I need to start asking him to bend more around my inside leg to my outside rein. He's now strong enough that I can ask him to be more round and on the bit. Up until this point if I had done this, he would've fallen behind the leg and had a hallow back.
I've been a fan of Aztec Diamond Equestrian for a long time now. Their pieces are unique yet sporty and functional! Their denim breeches are the most comfortable, soft, and stylish denim breeches I have ever found!
The base-layer is really breathable and I love the short zip collar. I'm usually not a fan of logo's on my clothing but I love how subtle it is on all of their clothing!
Click the link above to explore their new AW collection!
Fall is coming in fast in Colorado, finally! With the weather cooling off it's been so great being able to pull out my sweaters. Who else adores fall time?
On Saturday, I had the best experience getting DaVinci fitted with a new saddle. I previously had a Trilogy Verago that I purchased used when I first got him as a 4 year old. It was something that fit him pretty good and gave him some room to grow. It was a little big in the seat for me but fit my leg just fine so I was able to make it work.
Now that DaVinci is 5 1/2 years old, has put on a lot more muscle along his back, and hasn't had big growth spurts recently; I decided it was time to invest in my final saddle for him.
This is where Bev at The Tack Collection comes in to save the day with her expertise and thoroughness!
The process started two weeks prior when I went to her shop to sit in a bunch of saddles to figure out which ones fit me and were comfortable. We had about 6 of my top choices that she also felt would fit him as well.
Saturday was DaVinci's turn to try out some saddles! First, she took measurements of his back so that we could have a baseline and keep track of his back shape (she will come out every 6 months to do a follow up).
She placed each one on his back to check the fit and we had our top 4 that I would actually ride in.
It became very clear pretty quickly after I sat in the Prestige Helena, that it was the winner. It was the 3rd saddle and the obvious choice. I felt so secure in it and DaVinci moved so beautifully with it as well. I still tried out the 4th saddle to be sure but the Helena blew the others out of the water!
Anyone in the Colorado area should definitely contact Bev at the Tack Collection for all their saddle fitting needs.
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of trying out my new AA Motionlite show coat. Not only did DaVinci perform super well but this jacket was absolutely stunning! The deep purple color looked amazing and the mesh coat kept me nice and cool in the summer heat.
It comes with nice buttons, and the ability to easily switch them out! I bought some beautiful pearl ones that I was able to easily slip on using the little rings.
I decided to use a white long sleeve show sun-shirt underneath just so there wouldn't be any way to see through the sleeves in the sunlight. It worked out perfectly and I was still nice a cool.
The fit is amazingly flattering! It's the most comfortable jacket due to the flexible material. I could literally do a yoga class in this. Because it's so stretchy I could see it being flattering on a lot of different body types.
Overall, I am super happy with this purchase! It's so worth it to find something unique and highly functional.
This past weekend, I had the chance to bring DaVinci up to Cheyenne,WY for his first show experience! We didn't do any classes just so that I could use this as an opportunity to see how reacts to the show atmosphere.
Friday afternoon we arrived, and I got his stall ready and him unloaded. He settled right in, munching on his hay and taking a big drink of water! No drama at all, it was really great how he just got comfortable right away! I gave him an hour while we unpacked to take in the sights and sounds. I decided to tack him up, following the same routine we do at home, and go lunge him in the outdoor round pen. My focus was to keep him going forward even if he started having a meltdown over something. He was very behaved! I decided to take him into the indoor arena where they had the warm up and show ring set up. I walked him around a few times and he seemed fine so I decided to hop on just to see what would happen. I started walking and trotting him around! He was such a trooper and no spooks or anything. I couldn't believe it!
The whole time he was just so settled in like it was his new home! He didn't get attached to the horses next to him at all. I think he loved all the extra attention he was getting! All the little girls wanted to pet him and even some adults. He was so gentle with everyone that came up to him.
My ride on Saturday was great as well! He did have one big spook at a really loud noise that happened right next to him as we were trotting but I stayed on as he jumped sideways and we kept going. I did some walk/trot transitions and serpentines and I had him the most consistent on the bit than I have had in a long time and he was nice and forward!
His Big Spook Moment
On Sunday, I kept it simple and just lunged him and walked him around mostly. By that time I was exhausted from not sleeping well all weekend that I couldn't do much else.
Our Big Grazing Party!
I went with a group of people from my barn and we just had so much fun supporting each other and hanging out all weekend. I am so proud of DaVinci and myself and loved every second of it!
I don't know about everyone else but I personally dread bath time. I avoid it for as long as I can but eventually it's needed! In preparation of this, I made it a goal to research and put together a strategy to make bathing as easy and quick as possible. I have to say I may have out done myself with this, because when I tested it out, it was so painless I could do this once a month!
Here are some of the products that made my life super easy:
1. Hands On Grooming gloves: I have mentioned these before, as I use them as part of my daily grooming routine, but they are waterproof and great for baths! You can wear them and still be able to grab things as you go. They also work in the shampoo really well!
As you can see they make washing legs and feathers super easy! Click below to buy!
2. Effol Spray Shampoo: Guys, this is a miracle product! No more buckets and sponges! You just spray a little bit as you go and work in the coat with the gloves. It lathers great and you really don't need a whole lot! It rinses really well too and left the coat nice and shiny. This impressed me so much!
Click the icon below to buy!
3. EcoLicious Silky Rinse Out Coat, Mane & Tail Conditioner: This works great as a conditioning treatment for mane and tails! All natural ingredients and it rinses out great. The grooming gloves are nice to work this in because they de-tangle as they go!
In the past few months we have tried a few new training methods with DaVinci and have seen some really good progress!
For warm up each time we have started to lunge him in side reins for 10-15 min. This really gets his mind engaged to focus on working. It also has really helped him stretch down onto the bit. I use ones with elastic so they are nice and gentle. We also keep them pretty loose.
We also are just focusing on building up his walk/trot gaits and slowly bring back canter work more and more on the lunge. With his growth spurts his balance has really been affected so doing work without the added weight of a rider has been really helping him. The side reins also help with straightness a bit as well.
In the past month, he has gained a lot of muscle and you can tell his back is a lot stronger! He's using it a lot more under saddle as well. I'm really happy with how he's coming a long.
I'm really excited to hopefully be taking him to his first show June 9th, even if we don't ride a test I think it will be really good experience for him.
For all of us ladies (and men!) that like a little bling, I introduce the Roeckl Lara riding gloves (see more about them here). CLICK HERE TO BUY I've always been a huge fan of all of the Roeckl gloves and you can see my review of the Madison winter gloves (here).
These gloves are lightweight, breathable (perfect for summer!), and are touchscreen compatible. I am so impressed with how well they mold to your hand which makes them incredibly comfortable. I have never had such a weightless and flexible glove! The grip is great as with all of the Roeckl gloves.
The bling from the Swarovski crystal fabric and the patent-like finishes are such a beautiful touch to this glove. They are the highest quality and are functional as well as sporty. I love how stylish they look overall.
I'm honestly in love with these gloves! Happy Riding!