Tuesday, January 28, 2014

AETA Adventures!

Another "Snow Day" another blog post....

While I haven't been getting as much riding in due to the cold temperatures as I would like, Bastian and I are making slow and steady progress. We even did some jumping and once we got our head in the game and I sent him forward in front of my leg instead of closing my eyes and curling into a ball of ineffective nothing-ness it was amazing. He was definitely happy to pop over that crossrail. (yes, I was nervous about jumping a crossrail...I've got a lot of jumping baggage!).

On the dressage front, he's getting steadier through the poll, more in tune to my half-halts and I'm getting better at not going to my reins first. I'm not gonna lie, I've been a little unmotivated to go out when the weather is less than 10 degrees so I'm not getting in as much practice as I want, but the when its that cold both of us just never really get warmed up enough. So I've been trying to keep busy with other things. This past weekend I headed to Philadelphia for the AETA (American Equestrian Trade Association) Expo to hang out with Team Hastilow. AETA was awesome, I got to meet some amazing people and talk to them about the amazing products that they have developed for the Equestrian World.

Here are Bastian's top AETA picks. I'm not kidding, you NEED to check these products out!

#1 The Spine Free Saddle Pad developed and sold by Hastilow Competition Saddlery.

The design of this pad is really ingenious, it is created so that there is no pressure placed on the horse's spine when it is used. Hastilow did their research and put that data into practice to create this pad. Here is a link to their blog where they explain all about pressure on the horse's back: Hastilow Blog . Further, they wash and wear FANTASTIC. Because of the way that they are stitched, the pad doesn't shrink and pucker the way that many saddle pads do when they are washed. I'm never a happy camper when my saddle pads start to curl...they usually get tossed when that happens. Lastly, (and this is I think a huge selling point), the pad is only $55. Definitely affordable.

#2 The GoVelope developed and sold by Giddyup Gear

This innovative cell phone holder is definitely what the horse world needs. Cell phones have become just as important to equestrians, whether we're checking scores at a show or texting the member of our group who drew the short straw and had to go get everything that we forgot in the trailer and letting them know that they need to grab a few more things, we need our cell phones to be handy and convenient. Personally I've been searching for a cell phone holder that works with whatever I'm wearing and keeps my phone safe from dust, dirt, and moisture. Those lovely leather cases designed for business people could not hold up to the sitting trot or to Bastian's antics when he decided to throw in a buck or two. My phone would end up in the dirt. Those fun coloured neoprene ones are no longer large enough to fit my smartphone, so those aren't an option. The GoVelope is amazing, the industrial strength Velcro that attaches it to your belt loops is phenomenal, I don't think even a velociraptor could tear this thing off. The zipper works with just one hand, meaning I can keep a hand on my reins or lead rope or bucket of water, etc. and still manage to answer my phone. Its water resistant. So I can be out in the weather with it, or fall off in a puddle of mud and my phone is still safe and dry. It comes in fun colours, I got the grey (Pewter on the website!) but definitely plan on picking up a navy in the future. Not only does my huge Samsung Stratosphere with its protective cover fit in my GoVelope, but it was a convenient place to keep my cash as well.....the uses just keep piling on! They retail for about $55. You might be thinking, 'ah, hey, yeah, that's a bit pricey...' and all I can say is stop and think about it. This is meant to last forever, not a $15 case you have to buy year after year. The materials are awesome, not only is the fabric AND zipper water resistant, but there is this grippy stuff on the back that helps to keep it from sliding around. Futhermore, think of what you spent on your fancy Otterbox to keep your precious iPhone in. That was pricey and you probably didn't even think twice. So don't think twice here either. Get one. (just so you know, that's Bastian talking there. He has this weird idea that they would be better served for holding treats and sugar cubes...he's such a food junkie). Did you buy one yet? ;)

#3 KBF99 Horse Health Revolution Brushes

I am very picky about my brushes. Its hard for me to buy new ones because I have to LOVE it in order to buy it and right now I love my brushes, but they are starting to show their age. I'm also not usually a fan of synthetic brushes (ie: I do not care for the Oster brushes) but after learning about these and hearing some first hand testinmonials, I'm 100% sold. The bristles actually kill germs, therefore helping to eliminate incidences of rainrot and other germ and fungus related problems. Science has never been my strong point so I'm just going to direct you to their webpage and read about it yourself: KBF99 Webpage. I've got a set on order for Bastian and can't wait until they arrive. Hastilow Competition Saddlery will be selling them soon, so when you contact them about saddle fitting or to buy your spine free pads, be sure to order a few KBF99 Brushes for your grooming kit.

#4 Stay-on Poultices

This product may be the best thing since sliced bread and peanut butter came together. I'm a poulticer, I poultice every night at horse shows and after hard workouts at home. Its a bit of necessary evil. I love the benefits of poulticing, but I hate the messiness. It gets everywhere, and my horse gets it all over himself, it will be around his eye, in his mane, through his tail....you get the picture. These, however, give all the benefits of poulticing without the mess. Amazing!! They offer three different 'formulas' to choose from. You want more you say? Okay, here you go. They stay moist longer than traditional poultice, which we all know is the key to an effective poultice. Once the mud dries, there ain't nothing happening. They can be put in hot or cold water depending on what it is you are trying to treat/accomplish. They can be laid across the horses back if your horse has a sore back (and if your horse is sore because of an ill fitting saddle, contact Hastilow!!). They make an awesome foot wrap-no more soaking for abscesses, this boot has got it going on. There are some great videos on their website as well. While I'll still use my traditional poultice on my horse on a regular basis since he is on field board (I poultice him and turn him out, no wraps), at horse shows this is what I'm using. No mess, no scrubbing mud off every morning...I can't wait! They retail for $15 for a four pack.

#5 The Lovely Range of Products from Equi-Spa

I bought several bottles of good stuff and got samples of everything else. These smell heavenly and are going to get a lot of use in my grooming caddy during show season. I'm super excited about the sample of the sheath cleaner I got as well as the sample of the Cooling Tea-Tree Gel. I used a bit of the Tea-Tree on my own knee last night (I slipped and twisted it on Christmas Eve and it is taking its own sweet time in healing) and It made a huge difference. I can't wait to use it on B, I know that he will love it. I also can't wait to use the Grapefruit Coat Refresh. I currently use Miracle Groom and while I like the results I am not a fan of the smell. I also like the idea of using it between classes at a horse show. There is always that accumulation of dust that you just can't get off between classes at a show. The spray on Cool Muscle Wash-awesome! I can really target specific muscles and again, I think Bastian is going to love it. He likes his grooming/spa time and I'm excited to be able to pamper him a bit more. Check out their website to order!

Well, those are Bastian's top five picks. There were a lot of great new products to be seen as well as subtle changes to beloved brand names (Getting to see the Kerrits fashion show was a personal highlight-I love Kerrits!). On top of all that I got to spend time with my amazing sponsor, Hastilow Competition Saddlery, and have the opportunity to learn even more about their great products. I have to say that despite my horse's difficult shape, I love the fact that when we go to horse shows, I am one of the few riders that has a saddle that fits my horse without having to use any special pads. My saddle fits my horse's entire back, not just the withers and I have the master fitters at Hastilow to thank for that. I was amazed at the improvement Bastian started making once we got a saddle that he was comfortable in and that fit him. It truly does make a world of difference, so if you want your equine partner to be comfortable and able to perform at their best, be sure to get in contact with them and set up a saddle fitting appointment.

Here's to warmer weather!

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