Friday, February 8, 2019

The Girl on The Dancing Horse by Charlotte Dujardin

Hi, everyone! I finished reading Charlotte Dujardin's book yesterday, it took me a while because I couldn't always find enough time to read but yesterday's flight to Nice was enough to finish it.
I bought Charlotte's book in NYC this Summer, I had almost forgotten she had published a book but I went to Barnes & Noble (looking for horse related books, of course!) and found her book - I had to have it!

As you know, I am a show jumper but since I started seeing videos of Charlotte and Valegro, I became a true fan. Knowing that she's a Kingsland rider that has her own collections also made me consider her a very special person. Her life seemed so dreamy that I was curious to understand how it all happens: Was it luck? Hard work? How did she go from "nothing" to winning all the titles I could possibly imagine?

Immediately after the first pages, I found out that Charlotte's childhood was fun, she was surrounded by ponies, her mom was into horses as well. She describes many of her memories and, seriously, I had a good laugh reading some of her adventures. I don't want to be a spoiler but one of the things I really loved finding out was that Charlotte used to visit my country, Portugal, frequently! 

I thought most of the book would be about Valegro but it isn't. Of course a good part of the book is about him but she also writes about other horses, her friends, Carl Hester, what it is like to go to big shows, her routines, as well as how she found a way to deal with her nerves. However, I loved reading the whole story behind her bond with Valegro and she clearly didn't have a problem telling us that she's not perfect - after reading the book I could finally see Charlotte as a human being, she has the same fears that I have, she hates some things that I hate as well... This book really shows how down to earth she is and I felt I was with her when I read about her experience in the London Olympics (I've watched her  London Freestyle so many times after that).

There are some heavier parts too, like when Charlotte had to deal with depression, lost her boyfriend, thought she was going to lose Blueberry or when she decided she was going to retire him. I must admit those parts made me cry but, overall, the book is super fun, easy to read (even if you don't read that many books in English, like me) and gave me a different perspective about professional riders and their way to the top.

Reading this book felt like I had Charlotte by my side answering all my questions so if you're curious to learn more about this "separate" world and what it takes to get there or if you're a fan of Valegro, I would recommend this book to you.

See you on the next post!
Carolina πŸ’™

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Gali's New Diet

With Gali's surgery I knew a lot would change, namely he's diet. The truth is that he was already taking a few supplements to prevent colics but after the surgery I knew the supplements would become even more important and he would need more than those he was already taking.

During the first days, the shelf full of so many different packages was very confusing but thanks to the vet who's following Gali, Horse Remedy and Chia de Gracia's teams, everything got easier and I knew exactly what I should do! The photo above is my attempt to show you how I felt during the first days, hahahaha. πŸ˜‚

Let me show you what Gali is eating as I promised on my last blog post:

- Alfa Beet by Dengie Horse Feeds

Gali already knew and enjoyed Alfa Beet. It is made of alfalfa and unmolassed sugar beet pulp and it helps us keeping him hydrated as the pellets are transformed into a mash with water (and it requires a lot of water, which is great). 
Most importantly, Alfa Beet is low in sugar and, after the surgery, laminitis was something we needed to prevent.

- Alfa-A by Dengie Horse Feeds

Alfa-A was suggested by the vet. It is made from pure Alfalfa and it is the only solid he's eating (besides grass). It is important because it is a high fibre feed and, as Dengie explains, it "is proven to aid the digestive health and buffer acidity in the digestive tract". 

- Probioguts from Horse Remedy

I can't express how grateful I am for Horse Remedy's help. As soon as they heard the news, they offered to help me, even sent a couple of supplements for Gali and clarified all my doubts - they rock! Probioguts was one of the supplements they sent. Two of its functions I like the most are that it improves and maintains the balance of the intestinal flora and enhances nutrients and vitamins assimilation. 
It is made of spelt bran that was fermented with a mix of lactobacilli and bacilli (they call these "the good bacteria").

Oh, and the measuring "cup" is the cutest thing ever! There is no room for mistakes and it's easy to save inside the package.

- Vitamin E by Chia de Gracia

It isn't pink. It looks like this because of another of their products that turns pink with water!

I decided to include this on Gali's diet because he's not eating fresh hay (which would provide him this vitamin) and because Vitamin E helps Gali's scars. I put 3 pumps/day on his mash, he doesn't even notice it.

Another great supplement from Chia de Gracia but sent to me by Horse Remedy. Its ingredients are Himalayan salt, mineral salt, beetroot powder and dandelion root - this is the product that turns pink with water.
I've noticed Gali has started drinking more water since I use Electrolyte Up and I'm not even giving him the maximum daily amount.

This is it regarding the supplements. Gali also eats bran mash but we haven't reintroduced his Cavalor feed yet - for now he's good with these. I'm so happy to be giving him 100% natural products and I'm honestly such a big fan of these!!
However, before deciding to give your horse any of these, ask your vets for their opinion. Every horse is different and what works for Gali might not work so well for your horse!

See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’—

Friday, January 18, 2019

Gali Update

Ahhhh, I'm finally laying on the couch after two weeks of exams. It feels so nice to have time again!

Today, after my last exam. We can finally spend more time together!

The first few days after Gali came back were hard for me. I was trying to combine productive study days with waking up incredibly early to go to the barn, grooming him, taking care of the suture, hand walking him and prepping the meals for the rest of the day - he's taking lots of supplements and I didn't feel okay with asking anyone else to do it for me but I'm leaving that for another post.
Those days were also hard because I felt it was my first time around a horse, I was afraid of doing everything because the fear of doing something wrong was huge. It felt that anything could go wrong in a second. It also didn't help having so much people trying to take photos with him, Gali needed to be relaxed and there was always someone bothering him.

By the second or third day, Gali didn't want to eat his meals which was incredibly weird because he usually LOVES food. The situation also drove me crazy because he didn't drink water and the mash was the only way to keep him hydrated. So that day was the only day I cried since the vet told me he needed surgery.
However, his appetite came back a couple of days later and everything started getting less weird. At least until he had to have most of the stitches removed because he wasn't accepting them very well, the suture was starting to look so bad.

When Gali lost his appetite

After that, I've been applying a medicine every day. Gali absolutely hates it and has tried to kick me a few times but now I always ask someone to help me. That thing is effective though, it is looking so much better!!! I could post photos but they might be too much for some of you, it's definitely not the most beautiful thing for you to see!

He's clearly enjoying his meals again!
As for the rest...he's starting to get absolutely crazy, there's so much energy inside of him! Hand walking is getting harder because everything scares him now. Today someone made a noise, he bucked and lifted me off the ground, hahaha. πŸ˜‚

It has been almost a month since the surgery. Hopefully next week I'll get the okay from the vets to start lunging him! 

See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’—

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Gali Had Colic Surgery...

Yep...that's right. One of my biggest fears became true two weeks ago. 

On the second day of our last show of 2018 Gali was not feeling okay and it ended up being a colic that required surgery. I honestly couldn't believe it.

The only clinic available to perform that surgery in Portugal is located three ours away from our barn and a big trip isn't exactly what a horse needs in these cases but we got there in time. The surgery went well but Gali had an enterolith inside him that had been growing for some time (you can read more about it here and here).

After the surgery Gali spent two more weeks there and I just got home from the clinic. He looks okay and happy to be home but I can't stop staring at my phone (we have cameras) to see if he needs something. Right now, I'm feeling incredibly happy to have him back but I'm also overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility. It almost feels like I don't know anything about horses!

The enterolith weights 0.5kg.

This is not a post you would usually see on my blog but I think sharing my thoughts might help me dealing with everything or help others in the same situation. During the next months I would like to write a bit more about Gali's recovery, the new routines, the new diet, etc. Don't worry...I'll still be a fashionable equestrian "nurse" so the equestrian fashion posts will continue! πŸ˜„

Thank you so much for your love and support, I am very lucky to have my internet friends! And if you're interested in having a "closer look" at our new journey that has just started, Instagram is the place where you'll find the most so here's my Instagram account:

See you soon,
Carolina πŸ’•

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#ROOTD: Pretty in Pink

Hey everyone, how's your week going?? Mine is going well but it's being a bit overwhelming because we're in the last two weeks of classes before Christmas break. My list of things to do only keeps getting bigger and bigger, please send help! 😬
I've been dying to show you this outfit from last weekend. I got this jacket for my birthday (October) and I've only started wearing it's so pretty that I don't want to ruin it! 

I'm sure most of you know this jacket - it's the most famous jacket from Equestrian Stockholm! I've seen dozens of photos of this jacket on Instagram and always thought it was beyond gorgeous.
It has such a gorgeous color, although I have to admit I'm the biggest fan of pink, and it feels very cozy while still looking super chic...not to mention the softness of the fabric!!!
Just like the brand refers on its website, it is foam padded and contains 25% of coffee oil in its composition - I didn't even know something like this existed! 
I also love the cut, it is 100% Carolina's style. However, there's something I can't stop thinking about, the jacket is so structured around the body, fits like glove and then you look to the sleeves and it almost makes me think that I bought the wrong size because they're too big. Well, I bought the smallest size so that can be the right answer...that's just how they designed it! I know the sleeves must large enough to accommodate layers but I think the jacket would look even better with tighter sleeves!

I decided to wear my new training top by Hart Equestrian under the jacket. I'm also very impressed by the fabric of this top, it's very soft but with the vantage of featuring a sweat-wicking technology. I have no doubts, this one will be one of my best friends during Summer.
For now, I'm just using it as a base layer and I wish I had a photo of its back because it's definitely the best thing about it but, unfortunately, it was too cold to take the jacket off - I promise I'll show it to you on my Instagram stories!

What could be better than a #ROOTD with two of my favorite colors?! That's right, a #ROOTD with three of my favorite colors! This color looks so good on my grey that I had to get myself a belt that matches one of his saddle pads.
I've said this a thousand times but braided belts are the best for thin girls like me, sometimes I can't find a belt that's small enough but this type of belt always saves me - they fit everyone! Plus, they're  the cheapest belts and have the biggest variety of colors. The one I'm wearing is also from Hart Equestrian.

You already know this pair of breeches, I got them on my visit to NYC at Manhattan Saddlery and they're from RJ Classics. After the Kadi breeches from Kingsland, they're my favorite pair because they're super comfortable and the knee patches give me life! They're so different from what we find in Europe, I wish RJ breeches were sold here...

Hope you enjoyed this #ROOTD!
See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’—

Saturday, December 1, 2018

#ROOTD: HorseGloss

Hi everyone!! I am living for this #ROOTD! You know that a few months ago I discovered my favorite thing to wear on weekends is a good pair of riding leggings so you must imagine how happy I feel for having a new pair in my collection. And to be super honest, I'm even more exited for finally owning a pastel base layer! 
Both the items are from HorseGloss and there are a few things I would like to tell you about them.

The leggings are mid/high waisted and are probably the stretchiest I own which, in my opinion, makes them more comfortable but also causes them to lose a tiny, tiny bit on the support they offer. Nevertheless, I think they gave me a nice figure.
I also love their color, I am not sure if the photos make them enough justice though. They have an adorable chocolate brown color - a great compromise between the usual super dark brown and the overrated beige!

They have a full silicone seat - love the pattern - and I would say they are grippy but won't make me feel like I'm stuck to the saddle. 
However, the absolute best feature of these riding leggings has to be the side pocket that is big enough for my phone and because it is a quite deep side pocket, I never feel the phone on my hip bone (which happens all the time with breeches and hurts me a lot! LOL).

As for the base layer, all that comes to my mind is "it's sooo pretty"! πŸ˜‚ I've spent months visiting the brand's website and trying to decide which color I should pick because I loved most of them. After a couple of months, I still couldn't decide between pink and and blue but buying a pink jacket for my birthday made this decision easier! Also, this blue looks good with 99.9% of my breeches.

Besides the color, I think the zippers are what makes it look so different. I know this is the weirdest thing to say but this shirt would be super boring if it didn't have them!

Lastly and most importantly, I am very impressed with this shirt's fabric because it is very breathable, stretchy and I love the way it "hugs" my body but be careful, the fabric is delicate! 

In my opinion, both of the items are very well priced for their quality.

Have a nice Sunday!
See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’™

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Connected Helmet by GPA

Hi, everyone! Today I bring you news about the latest product from GPA. I am talking about the new connected (yes, CONNECTED) helmet they just previewed at Equita’Lyon – how crazy is this?!
There aren’t many photos of this helmet yet but I can already tell you some of its features. It looks just like the new GPA helmets I talked about here but it will have a fall detection system and a bone-conducted audio system incorporated.

The fall detection system will be useful for riders who usually hack alone. In case of fall, it sends the rider’s coordinates and it will be much easier to find the rider.
The audio system seems even more unique to me. The headsets I often see riders using look a bit weird, I know they are super helpful but I would much rather prefer getting the same result without having to carry any extra pieces with me! I’m also loving the fact that the sound is bone conducted, which means the rider will be able to hear everything around him – something that doesn’t happen with the regular systems because earphones block the noise! 

Well, as they say legend! Hahaha πŸ˜ƒ 

I’m so curious to see riders use this helmet and once I find someone using it, I might have to ask that person if I can try it!! What's your opinion on this? Tell me below!

Have a nice week,
Carolina πŸ’™

Saturday, November 17, 2018

[Recipe] Easy & Delicious Horse Cookies

Hi everyone! Today I'm sharing with you the recipe of the horse cookies I made Gali last week! I never tried doing horse cookies before because I'm always very concerned with Gali's diet so I was afraid of giving him something that could make him feel bad.
However, I recently discovered Chia de Gracia, a Finish brand that has guided me through the process of finding 100% natural products that will help me with Gali's colic prevention.
Right now, I'm already feeding Gali the four "ingredients" you see on the photo below as supplements but last week I thought it would be fun to make an experience and see if I could bake cookies using  these! Gali and all the horses who also got to try my cookies absolutely loved them (Gali was always asking for more, he has a sweet tooth!!).

Ingredients for 12 cookies:
- 6 tablespoons of Mash the Pony;
- 1 tablespoon of Marshmallow Root;
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of Chia;
- 3 pumps of Vitamin E;
- 450ml of boiling water.

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven at 180ΒΊC

Step 2: Mix all the ingredients.

Step 3: Mix the water - you will see a pink/red color.

Step 4: Use a cupcake pan and make little "protections" with aluminium foil (you can also use butter/flour or whatever you wish but I didn't want to use anything else other than ingredients I know that are 100% safe for horses).

Step 5: Divide the mixture into 12 cupcake cases and then put the pan in the oven for 45 minutes.

Now we just have to leave them rest for a few minutes before removing the aluminium foil!

And we're done!!! These look delicious and they are super healthy - but don't give them all to your horse on the same day! 😁

See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’—

Saturday, November 10, 2018

#ROOTD: My Kingsland Takeover

Hi everyone, happy Saturday!! One week ago, by this time, I was wearing this #ROOTD and making Insta Stories on Kingsland's Instagram account. That was one of the best experiences I've ever had - I met many people, shared my day with a huge audience and even got to answer some really fun questions.
As promised, today I'll share the outfit I wore, as well as Gali's! Everything is from Kingsland.

 Starting off by the jacket, it is called Buffy. The only "winter" jacket I already had from Kingsland was the classic unisex jacket and although it is very cosy, it doesn't have the most feminine silhouette - I know there's also the ladies' version of that jacket but, some years ago, when I convinced my dad to give me that jacket as a birthday present, the tack store only had the unisex version and I couldn't miss the opportunity! HAHAHA. Now this one is a totally different story, I love its cut, I love the colors and it is so lightweight. There's something I don't understand though, how can such a thin fabric keep me so warm? I would risk saying that the classic bomber will keep you warm if you are wearing many layers and this one doesn't force you to do that! If you see this jacket at a tack store, please try it and tell me if you feel the same.

The V-neck is called Binky and it is a dream come true, I needed it! I have lots of polo shirts, lots of t-shirts but when it comes to long sleeves (or long sleeves that I like to wear to ride) what I have is close to nothing, why?!?! 
This is the first ever knit I own from an equestrian brand and it was a superb addition to my closet. It is classy and the fabric feels soft. Sometimes I have some trouble with this type of shirts, they start getting looser and I stop loving them (even after just one wash I can feel it) but so far so good with this one. Another thing I'm loving like crazy: the patches on the elbows!

After buying my princess breeches earlier this year, I finally found the model of Kingsland breeches that suits me the best: the Kadi model. They are high waisted, have a larger waist band and I think  this is what makes them look really good on me (modesty aside!!!).
This season's design of the Kadi model is the one I'm wearing. I totally forgot to take pics of their belt loops which have a tiny crystal on each one and their back that has the loveliest embroidery - sorry everyone!

Next up is Gali's outfit. He got the prettiest matching set: Fully black and sparkly. My heart melt the first time I saw him wearing it!!!

The fly hat is called Lucinda. This was Gali first time wearing a soundproof fly hat. I was a bit concerned that he wouldn't get used to it as he is very picky with what goes on his ears but he behaved like a perfect young man and didn't find anything strange!
Although some people use fly hats on a daily basis, I only wear them at shows and sometimes Gali gets a bit distracted with noises so I'll have to see if this will help me!

Last but not least, here's a pic of the matching saddle pad, its name is Martha. As I've told you in my video, and besides its beauty that I've already mentioned a hundred times, the best thing about all the Kingsland saddle pads I own is their quick dry effect. 
I try to save the most gorgeous saddle pads I own for shows and there have been shows where I ended up using the same one on both days, this technology allows me to do it without worrying about it being wet on the next day. 
Also, last week I used this saddle pad on Gali, and yesterday and today I used a different one. I realised that I worry very much about his withers - I will literally move the saddle pad as many times as I have to until I get to a point where I'm satisfied with how it is sitting on his withers. It could be luck but last week I got it right on my first attempt and today it took me 3 times until I was happy enough, ugh!

Ps.: If you saw my takeover, you'll know this was the moment Gali bit my finger! πŸ˜‚

See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’•

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Online Tack Stores I Love

Hey, everyone!! Last week I received my order from Epplejeck and a friend asked me if I could share my favorite tack stores here on the blog. I thought it was such a good idea that I've been thinking about it the entire week!
I've selected five stores, with four of them being European and one American. However, these all offer worldwide shipping and that was my tie-breaker because there are other stores that I like but they don't ship to a huge variety of countries like these do. So here we go:

1. Epplejeck

This store is currently my favorite! My last purchase was at this store. 
They have a great variety of products and although they don't carry all the brands I wish they did, they do carry many that are really well known and some that aren't but are as good as the fancy brands. They also have their own brand and there is a new promotion almost every week.
Regarding my personal experience: I found everything I needed (and more), I thought the prices were fair and the website is user friendly. I placed my order on September 30th by the end of the day and although I didn't receive my tracking number as they said I would on an email, it arrived on October 8th which I thought was quick.

2. Divoza Horseworld

Divoza has a special place in my heart as it was the first equestrian megastore I visited in my life and it is also the one that marked the beginning of my tradition of visiting a tack store in every country I visit. Just like Epplejeck, Divoza is also a Dutch store and offers a great variety of products. They also have their own brands (Pagony and Mondoni) and sell brands that match every budget and style.
My experience: I'm not talking about my visit to their store (you can read about that here). Last year I ordered a pair of breeches and a salt lick from their website. I don't remember exactly how much time it took to get here but I remember that it didn't take much. I had to return the breeches because I didn't enjoy their fabric and the process was super easy and the refund was quick - they are very professional.

3. Hope Valley Saddlery

My big secret that  isn't a secret at all, Hope Valley Saddlery!!! When I need something nice but I don't feel like spending too much money, this UK based tack store is my solution. I've never seen a store that has so many products on sale and, believe me, you will want to check them because there are a lot of discounted products from big brands like Kingsland! Besides the brands we all know, they also sell many brands from the UK (Joules, Caldene, John Whitaker and so on).
My shopping experience: I have - obviously - bought a pair of Kingsland breeches from them a few years ago. They were much cheaper than their usual price so I thought it was a bit suspicious. I believe I ordered them around Christmas time and as they were taking a bit to arrive, I emailed them and got a quick reply. They arrived a few days later and the breeches were in perfect condition, YAY!

4. Dover Saddlery

I have never bought anything from Dover's website but because I loved their service when I went to one of their stores in the US and because I know international shipping is an option, I had to include this store. Regarding variety, this store offers a huge selection and if you live in Europe and don't know it yet, be ready to find amazing things that you have never seen in Europe - that is always the best part for me!!
If you are American, Smartpack is obviously an option for you and you are very lucky!!!

5. Equishop

This is the store I visit when I want to check new collections and products from big brands that are harder to find in other stores (Samshield, Equiline, Prestige, etc.). I have never bought anything from them (yet!!) but I'm sure I will in the future.

6.  Oops, I just remembered another one that I must share!!! Horse Store PrivΓ©

This is a different type of store as you have to be registered to have access to the sales and it is written is French. Every week they offer products from different brands and the prices are lower than those you would find on regular stores. However, we have to be quick because their quantities are limited. The only things I don't like are: sometimes they sell brands that aren't horse related and they only ship to a few countries outside the EU.
My personal experience: I have bought a clipper from them and it was a great deal. Although the website is French, it was easy for me to understand everything and the delivery was fast.

Do you want to share other stores with me? Leave a comment below!
See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’—

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Equi-Spa: Grapefruit Coat Refresh

Hey everyone!! I'm back to show you another fab product from Equi-Spa, I've been using them like crazy and I'm honestly so amazed by their quality! My last post was about the "Fairy Tails" conditioner - ps.: I've added a photo of Gali's tail after using it to my Instagram highlights (the one that says Gali) - and today's blog post is about Equi-Spa's spot remover, the holy grail of grey horse owners!

Until I got Equi-Spa's Grapefruit Coat Refresh, I've always used spot removers from huge brands like Carr&Day&Martin and although they do their job just right, I know they have chemicals because Gali's coat looks blue-ish after I use it - does this happen to you as well?? - so having a spot remover that is 100% natural makes me feel more confident in using this type of product more often.

These photos were taken last Friday and someone must have told Gali that I was going to show you his new spot remover because when I arrived at the barn he almost looked like a pinto... 😱 But moving on, I always do the same routine: I start with a curry comb, then I use a brush and the spot remover enters the scene after that. To apply it, I use a wet towel and spray the product on it.

Just like it says on the product description, this is a relatively effortless process and the magic starts happening immediately. However, this wouldn't be a fair review if I didn't show you a before and after, right?! Here it goes:



What else can I say after these photos?! I think it's safe to say that I am more than satisfied, I'm so glad I have a huge bottle of this Grapefruit Coat Refresh, phew!!! πŸ˜…πŸ˜

What's your go to spot remover?
See you on the next post,
Carolina πŸ’—