By Liv Gude of Professional Equine Grooms, special contributor to Heels Down Magazine
Keep it simple?? Maybe not for some horse conundrums! As with most rules, there are exceptions; here’s when NOT to keep it simple at the barn.
Your Horse’s Feel-Good Therapies
Many horses benefit from icing, magnetic blankets, massage, chiropractic work, acupuncture, and laser treatments. Find the right mix of warming and cooling therapies to help all that ails him and prevent future ailments. You don’t have to spend oodles of dollars; many of these you can do yourself.
Your Horse’s Saddle Fit
In the good ol’ days, saddles were based on a few gullet sizes. Now, even the most generic saddle can be adjusted nine ways to Sunday for the best saddle fit. This helps your horse stay happy and sound, and reduces the risk of him tossing you into the next county. Think of finding the best saddle for your horse’s back as finding the best pair of jeans for you. Tricky, complicated, but worth it.
Your Horse’s Leg Protection
Help your farrier save gas by choosing good bell boots for turnout and riding. Same goes for his exercise leg protection – you may want boots for lateral work days, polo wraps for flatting, waterproof boots for wet weather and splashing around, shipping boots for road trips…you get the idea. In essence, your horse will have more boots than you will. But hey, he’s already gotten nicer shoes than you too.
Your Horse’s Polo Wrap Collection
Keep it simple at shows and clinics. At home, let the questionable fashion choices rip! Express yourself and play around with fun colors. You can also parlay this into saddle pads. Sometimes you just need to be neon pink.
Your Own ROOTD
For classy affairs like shows and BNT lessons, keep it traditional with neutral colors for pants and white collared shirts. For everyday fun, wear what you want.
What you wear when riding at home NOT a reflection of your riding skills, it’s a reflection of your style and personality. Don’t keep it simple if you don’t want to, and ignore the rail birds that think bling means you are trying to cover something up. It actually means that you are awesome for wearing what floats your boat.
Your Riding Plan
Sometimes, you just gotta get the heck out of the arena and go explore. Vary the exercises you and your horse do. Mix up the footing, mix up the scenery, visit new venues, explore a new discipline, change the size of the smile on your face. This can only help you in the long run – shows will be easier if your horse has been there and done that! It may also open your eyes to great new adventures with your horse. And isn’t that really the point?