A Collection of Equestrian Styles & Products. I review and recommend equestrian apparel, equipment and more! Los Angeles resident and athlete, Helen Pollock, created Life Equestrian to cultivate a collection of the products found in the equestrian world.
Lucy Deslauriers spent most of her childhood surrounded by horses. Her father, Canadian Olympic rider Mario Deslauriers, and her mother Lisa Deslauriers, also a top U.S rider, raised a winning "Equestralete".
I had the opportunity to learn more about Lucy and her background into riding....continue reading to see why she prefers the newest saddle offered by Hermes and some unique characteristics about her top show horse "Hester".
Growing up in a family of riders, when did you decide you wanted to ride?
I honestly cannot really remember a time when I didn’t ride. There are pictures of me in the saddle with my mom before I could walk. Although I played other sports growing up and am also a full time student, riding has always been my biggest passion and I cannot imagine a life without horses or this sport.
Being one of the highest ranked FEI U25 riders, what is your advice to a rider just starting out in the U25 competitions?
I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I try to remind myself of is that you can never stop learning or working to improve. There are endless opportunities to learn in this sport outside of the ring. Whether it be observing top professionals in the schooling area to see the way they prepare for big classes or listening to the way they train their students, I think these moments, and the general practice of trying to pick up tips from anywhere you can, have the ability to enhance your riding and horsemanship as you move up levels of the sport. One of my favorite parts of this sport, something that can simultaneously be frustrating, is that it can never be truly mastered.
Your close association with Hermes allows the opportunity to try multiple types of saddles. How do you like the Vivace and how does it compare to the prior model?
I actually have only ridden in the Hermes Vivace saddle, but so far I am loving it. The saddle is not only very close contact, allowing for better connection between myself and the horse beneath me, but it also has a very simplistic and elegant design that embodies the excellence of the House.
When you look at all the horses you're currently competing with, what is the most unique or entertaining characteristic that one has?
I think Hester’s character and temperament in the barn are some of my favorite qualities in any of my horses. He acts like a puppy around the barn and makes sure you know exactly what he wants or needs. He follows me around the barn to where the carrots are and then back to his stall every day after I untack him and just loves attention. However,, he also knows he knows exactly when it is game time and has such a fierce fighting spirit every time we walk into the ring.
Showing around the world, you have had the opportunity to ride in the worlds most prestigious venues. What's your favorite show venue and why?
My favorite show venue thus far is probably the Dublin Horse Show. It was such an honor, and so much fun, to compete in the Aga Khan Cup for the U.S. team this past year. You could truly feel the passion for show jumping and sport in every aspect of the show.
Follow Lucy Deslauriers and her incredible show jumping career:
The Long Sleeve Mini Royal Tee is a stable-to-street must have. Perfect for laying at the barn or out in the city. With the simple, classy and chic royal logo, I love pairing this with my merlot breeches and silver vest for a day at the barn.
Another one of my favorites is the crisp white v-neck with a delicate horseshoe embroidered on the lower left hand side. The Horse Shoe Embroidered Tee is the perfect stable to street look with such a subtle hunt of horse, I can wear this tee anywhere. I love to pair this tee with my breeches and mane Jane belt to run errands after some time at the barn. I have also paired it with some black cropped pants and a motto jacket for the classic and subtle equestrian feel.
The Mini Royal Tee is another sharp looking tee that provides just the right amount of horse without
being overbearing, perfect for pairing with a pair of ripped jeans, white tennis shoes and a classic fedora hat. The tee is super soft and has a fitted cut that is super flattering, not showing too much yet giving a nice shape.
These are just a few of my favorite tees from huntsmen & hounds. What I love about this the founder, Michelle, is that there is heart, soul and craftsmen-ship in every piece. She has an incredible eye for design and makes custom pieces that sell out immediately. Her custom pieces are sold out so please connect with her directly to inquire about them.
Don't miss out...Check out the website and follow their instagram for Southern California pop-ups.
As a world class rider who has debuted in two Olympic Games, The World Equestrian Games, The European Games and winning many Grand Prix's, Cassio Rivetti is an incredible athlete helping to shape the Equestrian Sport.
Cassio started to ride at age of 7 years old in Sao Paulo Brazil, at his father's farm. Continuing to ride as a child and through University, in 2003 Cassio moved to Europe (Belgium) to work with Rodrigo and Nelson Pessoa. Within three years, Cassio was ready for his first world championship in Aachen. Just two short years later, Cassio was offered the chance of a lifetime to ride for Mr Onishchenko and compete for Ukraine. Staying in Ukraine for 8 years, Cassio accomplished two European Games, two World Equestrian Games and two Olympic Games, London and Rio.
After Rio, Cassio was ready for a change and moved to Belgium where he started his own business. After being in Belgium for some time and growing his business, he decided to bring his talent to the U.S where he is now partnered with Neil Jones from Neil Jones Equestrian as a premiere rider and competitor showing Neil's horses.
I had the opportunity to get the inside scoop with Cassio and his thoughts around the sport...who does such a talented rider look up to? Read more to find out...
With two weeks of Thermal in the books, how do you like showing for Neil Jones?
The two first weeks in Thermal have been good, better then expected. Neil is a very nice guy so it's easy to work with him. He is always motivated so that gets me inspired for the show season.
What's your favorite characteristic in a horse? personality, jump style, gate, etc.
For me a horse must fight together with the rider. A careful horse that goes in the ring and fights for the clear round, but not a hot horse. I like to say that the horse must have the same personality as the rider, then the match can be very successful.
What are your goals for showing this year?
My goal this year is to build a nice group of horses and help the Neil Jones' team continue their success in the U.S show ring.
What is the proudest moment in your showing career thus far?
I have had few good moments in my career, I think my first world championship in Aachen and the second would be my first Olympic Games in London. Both competitions were life changing, helping me get to the current opportunity I have with Neil Jones Equestrian.
With the new technology out on the market, it's now possible to track and build a stronger HEALTH relationship with your horse. Typically we know our horses so well that the moment they are feeling off, we can feel it in their walk, trot or canter....however now, we can track their health and potentially foresee any lameness issues with an increased level of fatigue. How can that be? Well before a horse goes lame, they will often show signs of fatigue as they are over compensating for the injury which is hard to track. With the Hylofit app we can now track progress in real time.
"Use HYLOFIT during your ride to get real-time feedback, both on your phone and Apple Watch, of your horse’s heart rate, your own heart rate, speed, and distance. Use these insights for better communication and overall partnership. Are you pushing your horse too hard?"
With two pieces of equipment, you can easily start to track rider and horse heart-rate helping to build a definitive workout regime thats best for you and your horse. It's as easy as attaching the monitor to your horses girth and applying the chest mounted monitor to the rider. From there the apps sync and start tracking your BPM, Duration, Distance and Speed. What I love about this product is that it's not invasive at all. There is little to no risk in wearing the product and the horse should have no awareness of the product.
With two easy steps you're on your way to tracking your progress and setting goals. The app also offer post-ride insights.
"Discover your breakthrough moments with a full recap of your training session, on your phone and on the web, complete with a proprietary intensity score, full-ride analytics and a graphical display of performance.
Are your heart rates in-sync? In addition to single ride insights get an overview of historical training results with our calendar view and activity details graph, which allows you to track performance over time."
With the easy to share results and tracker, you can work with your trainer seamlessly to get insight on your horse, even when you're not at the barn.
Konia Equestrian is high-end equestrian outerwear designed and developed by Claudia Yiu. I had the opportunity to connect with Claudia to learn more about her passion and vision for Konia....check it out below.
Where are you from, currently located and when did you start riding?
I am from a city just outside of Toronto where I was born and raised and where I still hold my roots. I started riding when I was 7 years old but was begging to take lessons since I was about 5 or 6 and obsessed with horses since I was 4!
What inspired you to start Konia?
It started off as a personal need for warm, functional equestrian outerwear. I wanted something that was practical, durable but stylish. I started digging around and found it hard to believe that there wasn't anything out on the market that fit this description. That's when I started putting ideas together and started the company. My exact words were "If no one else is going to do it... I'll do it!".
Where did you get the inspiration for the name?
I got the name Konia off of my horse's Polish passport. It was written on the title page as "Paszport Konia" meaning the "Horse's Passport". I thought it was a nice little homage to the horse that changed my life.
What is your next goal with Konia?
As Konia is starting to get recognized in North America, the next big goal for Konia is to expand to Europe and the UK markets. Going overseas is a big endeavor so it will take some time to get everything sorted and ready for business access the pond.
What's the number one product attribute you want people to know about your line?
Our bestselling product is any of our lightweight pieces because it is deceivingly warm and stylish. Our pieces are lightweight because of the quality of down that we use. Our whole product line boasts a proprietary blend of goose and duck down at the highest Canadian Standard which go through a series of 14 antibacterial washes. To top it off, all of our products are machine washable, dryer friendly so feel free to get dirty!
Born and raised in Venezuela and coming from an equestrian family, riding is in his blood. Angel's mother, Gladymar Verswyvel, and stepfather, Jorge Verswyvel, were both international show jumpers which is probably why you will find both Angel and his brother Alejandro in the international show jumping ring. Angel has built a highly successful business in Wellington, FL training and selling elite jumping horses as well as coaching riders. With the success of his barn and riders in Wellington, he's building out his presence on the West Coast in Southern California. I had the opportunity to catch up with Angel and learn a little more about his plans for 2019....
What are your goals for 2019?
For 2019 I have 2 major goals. In relation to the sport...I would love to be able to participate in the Panamerican Games being held in Lima, Peru in the later part of the year. Regarding my business, I would really enjoy to take in a few extra students whom are passionate about the sport the same way that I am, since being able to share my knowledge with people that truly value it is so gratifying to me!
Do you have a workout routine to support your riding goals?
To support my riding goals I like to focus on a couple workout routines. Cardio exercises such as running or cycling keep me feeling light and agile, and pilates is my favorite way to focus on my core, which in my opinion is so important for our sport!
What's your favorite hobby outside of riding?
My favorite hobby outside of riding? That is a tough one... I would not say I have a specific favorite hobby. For me it is pretty simple, my passion is the horses and whenever I am doing anything outside of that it does not really matter what it is as long as I am with good friends and family that I love!
What do you look for when you are trying a horse?
When I am trying a horse there is many qualities I look for, however what I give more importance may vary depending on the type of rider and the job that the horse has to do. Regardless, two qualities I like to always focus on are, the quality of their canter and their mind!
Whats the best advice you can give an amateur rider looking to move up in the show ring? The best advice I could give an amateur rider looking to move up in the show ring is: "Learn to enjoy the whole process not just the end result."
It's almost 2019....what a better way to start the new year with a little present to yourself or your favorite equestrian. I just purchased the beautiful TOBIANO | Horse Shoe Bangle featuring the engraved slogan "don't let them tame you" by AtelierCG™. Its classically equestrian chic, perfect for the barn or stable to street look. I love keeping this bangle safe in my DAKOTA LEATHER TRAY in buckskin. This buckskin tray immediately stole my heart, one visit to Cindy's studio and I was sold on everything. The hard part was deciding what to buy because I want it all!!
What I love about this designer is her incredible eye for design...Cindy is not only uber talented in creating new designs but she has a way in creating the equestrian feel and look with the simple hint of horse. Her staple slogan is engraved on many of her beautiful pieces..."don't let them tame you" which hits close to my heart. It's my daily inspiration to fight for my dreams and continue to work for the riding dream.
AtelierCG™alsocreates beautiful leather goods that I can't wait to get my hands on. The tray was my first purchase and my list keeps growing, I'm for sure looking to get a few more items this year. Overall I'm super excited to have found Cindy and her incredible designs....don't miss out on getting your one of a kind piece.
As a horse lover I'm always looking for ways to spread the word on horses and their therapeutic impact. Because horses are heard animals, they depend heavily on their senses to keep them safe which enables them to sense emotion on a very high level. The most unexplainable scenario and great example is when a therapy horse senses a child with a disability, and how the horse shifts their demeanor to help the child. Now you might be thinking....well, huh, it's a therapy horse so of course it should be accustom to sensing issues. This is not the case. Many therapy horses are brought into the therapy world because they cannot be ridden or used for any other purpose but they still offer the ability to read emotion which has become extraordinarily valuable in the world of equine therapy. There is no way to train a horse to specifically sense a disability or trauma (PTSD etc), but they know how. How is this possible? There are many studies continuing to help define and understand the emotional capability of a horse. In the interim horse therapy is growing rapidly to be a very dependable and successfully proven source of therapy.
There are so many ways to get involved in equine therapy and one of my favorite, perhaps slightly less intimidating is Mini Therapy Horses. This program has been designed with the intention of giving back and helping those in need.
Social media is so powerful and touched my life in so many ways, to include connecting with riders around the world. I have built a friendship with Kayla and her horse Wayward Blue Jeans who are living in Lubumbashi, Congo. I love seeing their bond so much so that I have decided to launch another highlight series called Bonding Highlight. I am so inspired by the passion that Kayla has to keep working with Blue Jeans and the gift of that bond. No matter what continent you are from or live on, a bond with a horse is extraordinary. Check out more of Kayla's journey below.
Where are you from and when did you start riding?
I am originally from Port Elizabeth, South Africa but now live in Lubumbashi, Congo for just over a year now. I have had a passion and love for horses since a very young age. I started riding properly (Lessons etc) in high school for my school. Had to stop for a little after high school as I started studying in Port Alfred but that didn't stop me completely LOL. My friend had a farm just outside Port Alfred so we used to go on trail rides along the beach. Anytime I could I would be there with a horse named Summer.
What horse opened your heart to the deep connection between a rider and a horse?
The horse that has completely and absolutely stolen my heart is Wayward Blue Jeans. I met him in Congo. I went for my first lesson on a horse called Rakaan and I battled with him so much so I asked my trainer which other horses I would be riding as I am quite tall so I would need the bigger horses at the stables and he mentioned Blue Jeans, so I walked around the stables to find his stable and as I came close to it he wanted to bite me and wouldn't let me near it. I was a bit worried at that stage as I couldn't even get close enough to pet and love him.
I rode him for the first time and I fell in love and I have been very patient and persistent (but as his own pace) with him to get him to where we are today. I trust him with everything when I am with him.
I started with just spending time with him at this stable, showing him that I am not going to hurt him and giving him treats when he allowed me to pet him and be around him. He carried on trying to bite me every now and then but he got much better as time went on. I realized that not many people like him or enjoy him at the stable because he really is a difficult horse, but to me - he is everything! I have started spending time with him outside the saddle and also taking him outside the stable because I don't think he gets out too much, and since I started doing that - I have felt our connection grow and grow.
Who is your favorite horse now and what is your favorite time together?
Wayward Blue Jeans. My best time with him is when we are in the arena together and we just work together so well. Another one of my favorite times with him is when I am finished my lesson and I go and wash him, this is really our one on one time together, there are moments we just look into each others eyes and I put my hands on his pink nose (yes he is a grey and yes those pink noses are the cutest in the world :)) and I just talk to him. This is something so special to me because I know he trusts me, from not being allowed to touch his face or nose to be being right there looking into his eyes and he just stares back at mine. This shows me that our time together is making a difference for him. I think he can feel the love I have for him which I don't think he has had much in his life. Before me I don't think he knew the love a human can give.
Who do you look up to in the riding world and why?
I am rather going to say who I look up to in the Instagram riding world :) one of my favorite people in riding is @evaursin, she has got such a special connection with her horses and I absolutely love how she looks after them. I also absolutely love @swingjynx as her horseman ship with Jynxy is unbelievable! I believe that horses is not only about riding the and competing in the greatest shows and always trying to place in a show, I believe that the connection you have on the ground is what is most important and once you have that, you have everything with a horse. @LifeEquestrian is also one on my favorites as she has such a special bond with Capri and they jump magnificently together. She also has that connection on the ground with Capri and of course he is also a grey <3
What about the bond with a horse is special to you?
I often say that if you not a horsey person or not someone who has been around horses or rides horses, you don't really know what we mean by saying that there is such a connection with this horse. I must be honest, I had never felt the trust and connection between a horse before until I met Blue Jeans. There was one time especially when I knew I had all my trust in him. We were jumping in the dressage arena as the jumping arena was busy getting ready for the big international show that we have in Lubumbashi every year. We were jumping 6 jumps with incredibly tight turns and as you know a very small space compared to a jumping arena. It was the first time I was jumping with Blue Jeans in this arena and this is where I felt it. I trusted him with my whole heart to get me over all those jumps and I was not afraid at all, I was not nervous, I just trusted him. It was honestly the most amazing feeling in the world.
The bond between a horse and rider is so special because once you have that trust with each other, I believe you can do anything with that horse and that horse will take you places you have never been or seen before.
As a rider we are all faced with obstacles, whether they are mental or physical. Together we can raise awareness to support each other through all of our own battles. I love Alyssa Cleland for a many reasons but the top reason is her outlook on riding and how much she is doing to conquer her dreams. I had the chance to learn more about the multi-talented rider, check out it out below.
Tell us a little more about yourself, where you grew up, when you started riding, why you started riding and where you ride now.
I grew up in sunny CA after being adopted from Ukraine at the age of 4! I was born without my right tibia and had to have my leg amputated. As a young girl, I have always loved horses and started riding when I was ten on an older mare named TB. She was awesome, but the facility saw me as a liability and basically told us to get lost. At that time, my cousins were both showjumpers and so I would ride their horses here and there, but nothing substantial. I eventually got my own horse, but we kept her on our property and she was just for trail rides and fun things like that! We let her out to retire after about 2 years since she was pretty old and had some arthritis, and I didn’t really ride again until I went to college. I would ride friends’ horses or ask around via facebook if anyone needed their horses exercised, and that’s kind of how I got along! By this point I was living in OK and moved to KS to work at a Morgan Show Barn, and while it was a terrible place to be, I learned a lot and found out about para-dressage and got in contact with the director which then led me to TX!
For over a year now, I’ve been riding with Kai Handt at North Texas Equestrian Center and completed my first show season! My current mount is NTEC Daytona Beach and she’s the bee knees! She teaches me so much and I’m so thankful to her for building up my confidence and showing me the ropes of the dressage world!
Being born with paraxial tibial hemimelia has put you through the test from a personal and riding perspective. I always like to make Lemonade out of lemons and you have done just that. How has this affected you to this day and what do you want to tell other riders about you and your journey?
Being born with a rare condition such as mine is going to have vast affects on your life. I’ve been bullied, teased, ridiculed by my peers, and the list could go on and on. I’ve tried so many different sports to find the right one for me, and it was failure after failure. I’ve learned a lot from having a prosthetic in that no one is going to help you better than you. You have to be your own advocate for the things you can and can’t do. When it comes to riding, my aids include a whip, a velcro strap that goes along my saddle, looped reins, and a lot of determination. The whip allows me to play pretend a little bit and it acts as my leg on right side. The Velcro strap keeps my stump from moving around too much, and it’s velcro so it can break apart in case I fall. I have looped reins because I have no hand strength whatsoever and when Daytona stretches down, coughs, or is looking for the bit, the reins come out of my hands very easily! Last but not least, determination! Here’s the thing with Para. A lot of these riders have been riding their whole lives, and became para due to an accident or diagnosis, so although they’re para, they’ve had ample experience as an abled bodied rider (most of them). I’m coming into this sport late, and very new. I thought I knew how to ride a horse, but I was wrong! In order to get where I want/need to be competitively, I have to up my game 1000% and work harder than ever.
How does your experience with PTH affect your connection with your horse?
I don’t think it affects it at all! Daytona is very forgiving and very aware that something is different with me! We have our own little things that are unique to us and my mobility around her. For example:
When I get on the mounting block and am about to hop on her (Literally), she swings her head over and looks at me kind of in a “are you going to be ok?” manner. She doesn’t mind the hopping, she doesn’t spook or do anything when I trip sometimes; she’s just very cool about everything! I think being able to have a horse like her is incredible, cause I’ve ridden some horses that didn’t like or understand what I was doing, and she’s accepted it very gracefully and like she’s been dealing with it her whole life!
How often do you get out to the barn and what is your typical routine?
I get out to the barn about 4 times a week! This however depends on my work schedule and how late I actually leave work and sometimes I just don’t get out 4 times every week.
Brush her down, clean her hooves, give her too many kisses and brush her tail outPut the saddle pads and saddle on her and slowly start making the girth tighterPut on polos and bridleTighten saddle all the way and lunge for 15-20 minutes to let her stretch and get warm up – because I can’t post while trotting it makes her more back sorer, so lunging her before I ride helps loosen her up and not be so sore afterwardsLesson time! – there’s a 99% chance that my trainer yells at me 2-3 times in any lesson! He’s spirited and such a good teacher! We get so much done in just 15 minutes with him vs 30 minutes alone; it’s crazy!Untack! If it’s warm enough I give her a bath and wait for her to cool/dry off!
Put her to bed! She’s usually racing back to her stall cause there’s usually food waiting for her. And she’ll usually steal another horses hay or something if it’s sitting outside their stall.
What re your goals as a rider?
I really want to go to the Paralympics. I think that’s the goal of any rider going at this level with this much dedication. I think that the Paralympics are bit of a ways off, so for right now I’d just like to get more show experience and get more comfortable being in different environments and the stress that it brings.
Who are your favorite riders and how do they inspire you?
Laura Graves, Robert Dover & Katie Jackson. Laura Graves because she’s had Verdades her entire life and their just now making it to the top. She’s worked so hard with him to develop that trust and bond with him. I think it shows what years and years of dedication look like and that you can make it to top and be #1 in the world!
Robert Doverbecause… I mean hello. Does he need an intro?? He’s in the USDF hall of fame. What a guy! I think he rides beautifully and just his knowledge and expertise on this sport is insane and I’d love to pick his brain someday!
Katie Jackson is a Grade V Para-Dressage rider and one of the first I met! She trained under Kai but then started training in Wellington. But, she gave me a lot of tips and tricks when I first started and really helped me figure it out with aids, apparel and what worked and didn’t work as far as riding.
Follow Alyssa's journey and cheer her on to her to the Paralympics 2020 via Instagram @alcequine