Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Stretches for the Horse and Rider

Cupid and I have been gradually getting back to work, though we are still taking more frequent walk breaks and haven't done much cantering.  But after a little time off I think he's felt really good (aside from now his hooves being due for a trim.)

Since I don't really have a lot to say, I thought I'd share some of my stretches.  As an attorney, I spent most of the day sitting in front of a computer and struggle with the tight hips and rounded shoulders commonly experienced by desk jockeys.  So I try to incorporate stretching into my workout routine, but have some additional stretches I often do to start my rides.  

I like to start with my feet out of the stirrups, stretching my legs long.  I have a tendency to pull my legs up when I ride, so I use this stretch to try to set the tone for keeping my legs long.  (It doesn't work, but I still try!)  Then for my hips I lift one leg away from the saddle.  My hips are very tight, so this is pretty uncomfortable for me and I don't hold it very long.  I used to try doing both legs but that was just way too uncomfortable so I've been doing one at a time.

Then for my upper body, I like simple arm rotations, one at a time with the reins in my other hand.  This helps open my chest and get my shoulders back.  Sometimes I also like to raise my arm and stretch through my sides, while asking Cupid to bend and stretch through his side too.  I usually do that on the quarterline or centerline, and switch bend every few strides.

Cupid has stretches too.  His chiropractor showed me some stretches I do from the ground, though I'm not consistent about it.  Of course, like most horses, he loves carrot stretches!  

We usually start our rides in a long frame, but we don't usually get a good quality stretch until he's warmed up and has often not until after I've asked him to go rounder.  We've been playing a lot with moving between a working trot and stretching trot, and I've come up with a little exercise.  So we trot a figure-8 with two 20 meter circles, but we go twice around each loop, first in the working trot and then the second time in a stretching trot.  Before we get to the middle of the 8 we go back to a working trot and change bend.   (Regarding the video below, I'm working on not carrying my hands so wide! 😕)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Curvy Fit Breeches - Romfh Champion and Smartpak Hadley

As an athletic hourglass shape, I can have trouble finding clothes that fit well, and that includes breeches.  When I say curvy, I mean my waist is 24" and my hips are 34".  To make finding pants even more challenging, I am petite with a 29" inseam.  But luckily I've found a few breeches recently that not only fit well, but come in cute colors and are good quality!  (These are breeches I found and purchased myself, and I am not getting anything in exchange for this review.)

First up, the Romfh Champion has been around a while and is specifically marketed as a curvy fit.  Per the manufacturer: "The Champion also features 'Curve Fit', a special cut to reduce any 'gapping' at the back waist, nipped in at the waist and cut fuller through the seat and thigh. Perfect for the curvy girls!"  I agree with this assessment!

It is a cotton-synthetic blend, with suede seat.  I purchased it in a 24R.  Oddly this size is not on their size chart but it does exist!  For reference, the 26R is listed at 27" waist, 34" hips, and 11.75" rise.  I would call this a true high rise, as you can see it comes exactly to my navel.  The bottom hits just above my ankle.  The pictures don't quite do the color justice - it is called nightshade / omber blue but I would describe it as a charcoal with a dark plum seat.  It has no piping or contract stitching.  It has small-ish pockets in the front; not big enough to securely hold most current model phones.  The belt loops are about 1.5" (it's a 2" loop but the top 1/2" is stitched separate).  

They retail for around $135, but I got a great deal at $65 at Tackoftheday!

Also if you like the fit of these, the Romfh Isabella is the same fit but with a different material (same as the Romfh Sarafina) and also comes with a silicon option instead of suede.

The newer kid on the block is Smartpak's Hadley.  I've long lusted after the cute colors of Piper breeches, and have given into the temptation several times even though I know they don't fit me well.  I always figure it's worth trying, maybe they (or I!) have changed but I always end up returning.  Thankfully they came out with the Hadley, which they don't specifically call a curvy fit but per the size chart a size 24 has a 25.6" waist and 33.75" hips, compared to 26.5" and 32.5" for the Pipers (hence the horrible gaping on me!) 
They are a lighter material than the Champions, and wholly synthetic with a synthetic suede seat. They are a mid-rise, sitting slightly below my navel though a bit higher in back.  One feature I like is the large zippered back pockets, big enough to hold a phone (though some people may not like the extra fabric bulk).  They also have a 2" belt loop.  
These retail full price at $124, but like most Smartpak brand items have frequent sales.  I think these are discontinued colors, so only had limited sizes which is why I ended up getting the green (called smoke pine) in a 26R and the purple in 24R.  I'm okay with the fit on both; you can see a bit of loose fabric on the leg and seat of the green ones but these are fun schooling colors anyways.
They are also available in a knee patch version (which I have a traditional tan pair in).  They were previously available in silicon (and I have a pair of a lovely light grey silicon full seats purchased about a year ago) but that option is not currently available.  I hope they bring them back because I think these breeches present a great value at the price!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Pony Rides

I haven't ridden in over a week, but my son has.  He's mainly been staying inside too because of the smoke, but we've made some short trips to the barn.  Every time I put him in the car he starts saying Cupid!  

Cupid has been very good around him.  Jack helps me brush Cupid.  I put a grap strap on my saddle, and I lead Cupid while dad walks next to Jack.  We walk around the barn for about 10 minutes, then Jack helps me get Cupid's grain. 

I'm not going to make him ride if he's not interested, but so far he seems to enjoy it and luckily Cupid makes a good kids pony!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Herd Life

This is what Cupid's been up to lately: hanging out with his buddies.  I haven't even gotten on him in a full week, since a pretty great lesson last Friday.  

Generally Cupid is in a box stall overnight, and outside with three other geldings from about 9-4.  I think he really enjoys this horsey time.  It is especially apparent if I've taken him off the property, if we get back in time that he can still go out in turnout he is always very peppy walking over, and I imagine he is excited to tell his buddies about his adventures.  

He's been with this same herd for a few years now, and they generally get along though Cupid does get the occasional bite mark.  He is third in the pecking order.  He was bottom horse for a long time, and when the now lowest ranking horse came in I think Cupid was a little too happy to have someone he could push around a bit.  He is not aggressive, but he did seem to enjoy getting the other horse to relinquish his hay pile or move out of Cupid's way.

Cupid actually gets along with, and likes being around, other horses.  He is very friendly.  A little too much some times, he doesn't really respect other horse's spaces and some horses seem to find him a little annoying!  But I've had a few people say that their horse doesn't always like sharing the arena but they don't seem to mind Cupid, so that's good.

On the trail Cupid's gotten a lot more confident leading, and is now starting to take greener horses out to lead the way.  I have been hesitant to do this because Cupid can be a bit impressionable, but I guess I've gotten more confident too.  

So until the air quality improves, that's about all I've got.