Improve Your Riding Through Clinics

Posted on July 07, 2017 by Customer Service | 1 comment

By: Maggie Carty

After not having any professional instruction for almost two years, I was a little nervous to ride in front of someone who competes all the way up and down the east coast, and whose barn is featured in Equestrian Living Magazine. I typically flat my horse twice a week, jump twice a week, and then trail ride as much as I can. Sometimes this fluctuates into running around in the woods and then the following week getting back into the sandbox. Another thought crossed my mind as well: a group of other amateurs who regularly attend clinics/lessons will be there to watch me potentially fly off my horse. I signed up to ride in a show jumping clinic with August Torselieri because I knew I needed a tune up, but also wanted a challenge.

In the weeks before the clinic I spent a lot of time making sure my horse was physically fit enough to do a lot of jumping over two days in the muggy June weather. I also thought about my position, my equipment and a lot of other details that go into my riding. I wanted to prepare as much as I could, but ultimately I only knew that day 1 was grid work and the 2nd day was courses. I watched the clinic he gave last year at the same facility, and all of the lessons were tailored to each horse/rider combination.

Since I have been doing my own things at horse shows, I was eager [also slightly apprehensive] to learn from an outside instructor who had no pre-existing knowledge of me or horse. Even better, I learned that I was the only one in the 3’ - 3’3 height.

Day 1: Grids! My favorite! Before we started, August asked what my goals were and what I typically compete at. I mentioned that having a smaller horse is usually an issue for me in any competition setting, because I can do both the add step and leave-out. We had a discussion about why that could be. I personally get a lot out of talking about riding and then putting it into practice. We warmed up and instantly smoothed out some of my transitions. His recommendation helped my horse and I smooth over our flying changes in an efficient, balanced manner. He set some warm up fences up and Paige was a little star. Once the fences were raised, I enjoyed a dialogue between August and I on how speed, collection, straightness effect my ride through the grids. By the time my hour was over Paige had earned herself some [ok, plenty of] carrots.

Day 2: Courses I was super excited to ride! I had a later time so I wouldn’t be as sweaty, and I had a better idea of what I was in for. After another little warm up, we tackled some courses. They started out easy, medium, and then my favorite: a long ride single to start. I like to run to these typically, but he reminded me to keep one rhythm, and it was a great fence! He added some other challenging pieces in, and then compared the exercises to what I could encounter in the show ring. Even when I was riding to something I was unsure of, I was up for the challenge.

I think in general people are shy of riding at clinics and although I understand why, I encourage everyone to try it! Being pushed out of your comfort zone is the only way to improve both horse/rider. You never stop learning at work, school, life so why not keep learning new things from other professionals? Another set of eyes can also help smooth over something you may have missed and really take your ride from good to great. A ton of professionals are willing to travel to your farm or welcome you to theirs, too! Take a friend and have a blast, this is supposed to be fun after all.

Get Maggie's clean, clinic look:
Helmet: GPA Speed Air 2X Helmet
Breeches: Tailored Sportsman Ladies Vintage Contrast Patch  and Tredstep Symphony Rosa Side Zip Breech
Boots: Ariat Womens Heritage Contour Zip Field Boot
Belt: Noble Outfitters On The Bit
Gloves: Roeckl Roeck-Grip Chester Gloves
Saddle: Collegiate Convertible Diploma Close Contact Saddle
Bridle: Nunn Finer Hampton Bridle
Martingale: Crosby Raised Standing Martingale
Protective Boots: Horze Advanced ProTec Boot Set 


About our blogger: Maggie Carty is a brand ambassador for The Carousel Horse. Maggie is a 2016 graduate of Seton Hill University where she competed for, and was the captain of their IHSA team. Maggie actively horse shows in the tri-state area.

Posted in ariat, boots, brand ambassador, breeches, carousel, carousel horse, carousel horse tack, carouselhorsetack,, clinic, clinician, collegiate saddles, Equestrian, equestrian apparel, equestrian fashion, equitation, eventing, for the horse, for the rider, GPA, guest blogger, helmet, Horse, horse back, horse back riding, Horse show, horse show attire, horse show clothes, horse supplies, horse wear, Horseback Riding, horseback riding attire, horseback riding lessons, Horses, horze, hunter jumper, hunters, IHSA, jumper, jumpers, jumping, new tack, noble outfitters, nunn finer, paint, photo, riding, riding apparel, riding boots, riding fashion, riding lessons, riding pants, riding trends, saddle, schooling, schooling attire, schooling helmet, show, show helmet, summer, Tack, tack shop, tack store, tailored sportsman, the carousel horse, Tredstep

Spring Cleaning - Spring Inspection

Posted on April 05, 2017 by Customer Service | 0 comments

How often do you inspect your tack? I will be the first to admit, I’m not very good at cleaning my schooling tack, so I’m clearly not very good at inspecting it with a fine-tooth comb. I (might) get to it once a week. There are others who are much better, and clean after every ride – and I’m talking soap and conditioner! For my once a week regimen, I’m usually running late, so I grab a damp towel and do a quick once-over to get off the first layer of dirt and grime.

BUT, I know how important it is. We spend a lot of money on leather strap goods – even schooling tack. So it goes without saying, we need to do a better job of caring for it.

Case in point – last weekend, as I was prepping for a horse show, I removed the stirrups from my saddle to give it a good cleaning. My good, name brand, stirrup leathers have worn through the first layer of leather in one spot, and the nylon inner-layer is showing. Not good.

I move on to scrubbing my irons. They were looking pretty dull, and needed a good shine. As I am standing at the sink scrubbing away, I pushed down on my flex stirrup to get off a mud spot, when suddenly the rubber flex joint disintegrates right in front of my eyes!

Now, I’ve been riding in these stirrups for about 10 years, and yes, rubber tends to dry-rot. But could you imagine if this critical piece of tack broke when I was going over a jump?!

You might be saying – you shouldn’t ride in the flex stirrups (so many pros/cons) but that’s neither here nor there… My point is that I should have caught this earlier. I should have known that my stirrups were on their last leg. It shouldn’t have happened the day before I left for a horse show, which left me scrambling to run out and buy a pair.

It’s time to spring clean. INSPECT those bridles. INSPECT those saddles. Don’t just do a wipe down and assume everything is OK. Check the stitching, the keepers, the buckles. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable walking into the show ring with it, it’s time to invest in a new item or get it repaired.

Give your strap goods a good soak in oil. We tend to soap or condition, but much like our own skin, the winter weather can dry out your leather. Spring is the perfect time to give a soak and put back the moisture and suppleness that has been lost.

Ironically, after my stirrup/leather incident, this video popped up in my Facebook newsfeed from Crown Sport Horses -

Could you imagine losing BOTH stirrups on cross country? Props to her, but I am willing to bet there is a groom out there who no longer has as job since they forgot to inspect a very important piece of tack…

Posted in carousel, carousel horse, carousel horse tack, carouselhorsetack,, cleaning, for the horse, for the rider, horse back riding, horse life, horse show attire, horse show list, horse supplies, horseback riding attire, horseback riding lessons, Horses, hunter jumper, hunters, IEA, IHSA, inspection, jumper, jumpers, jumping, list, new tack, old tack, riding, riding lessons, riding tips, saddle, safety, Shopping, show, spring, stirrups, Tack, tack cleaning, tack shop, tack store, the carousel horse

Fall Florals for the Equestrian

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Katie Irvine | 0 comments

Fall is here – our favorite! And floral prints have made their way from summer into some of our favorite fall pieces! From breeches to show shirts, boots and more, work florals into your fall #ROOTD. Check out some of our favorites:

RJ Classics has a variety of show shirts with floral accents! Have a little fun in the show ring!

Joules' fall and winter collection adds florals to coats, scarves, boots and sweatshirts. Shop their full collection to see more!


Ariat never fails to impress! Their Women’s’ Blush Top, Dusty Rose X Toe Boot and Kix Poseidon Hoodie all add a touch of winter floral to your wardrobe!

HKM  adds subtle details to their Paris Bloom Breeches and Pairs FLower Rubber Boots.

Noble Outfitters Womens' Over The Calf Peddies come in a variety of patterns, but snag yourself up a pair of these - a customer favorite!

Jenny Krauss Handmade Floral Belts are the perfect addition to your style, whether you are at the barn, or heading for a night out. 

Mix and match your florals and solids for schooling and show looks that can't be beat! Share your looks on our Facebook page, or tag us using #ShopCHT!

Posted in Ariat, boots, breeches, carousel, carousel horse, carousel horse tack, carouselhorsetack,, Clothing, Equestrian, equestrian apparel, equestrian fashion, facebook, fall equestrian fashion, fall fashion, fall florals, floral, florals, for the rider, Horse, horse back, horse back riding, horse life, horse show attire, horse show clothes, horseback riding attire, Horses, hunter jumper, hunters, jumpers, Noble Equine, noble outfitters, riding, riding apparel, riding boots, riding fashion, riding pants, riding trends, rj classics, schooling, schooling attire, show, show shirt, show shirts, tack shop, tack store, the carousel horse, western, winter riding

"Returning Amateur" from "Horse Show Hiatus"

Posted on February 13, 2015 by 47060068 | 0 comments

“The Horse Show Hiatus” - that time in your life between college, finding a real job, getting married and starting a family. Many of us go through it. Its life’s slap in the face that you are now an adult and your parents no longer pay for the pastime that consumed much of your childhood and teen years. Of course, you could potentially count on one hand how many times you have actually shown during the “Horse Show Hiatus” – you’ve hacked your friend’s horse in the under saddle, or you had a catch-ride opportunity from an old trainer. Heck, you may have even been the leader in a lead line class, but needless to say, your showing days slowed immensely. Jump ahead a few years, and you become “The Returning Amateur.” You have your life in order (somewhat), which gives you enough free time to get a couple lessons a week or lease a horse. If you are feeling ambitious, perhaps you have even bought your child their first pony. Yay, let’s get back in the show ring! Unfortunately, the trending styles when you were showing are now gone, and you feel like you stick out like a sore thumb! So, it is time to get you outfitted on a budget! Helmet – For safety reasons, you are supposed to replace your helmet every five years. For fashion reasons, your old-school IRH or original Charles Owen just look amiss in a sea of GPA Speed Airs, Charles Owen AYR8s, One K Defenders and Samshields. There is a new, fashionable, safe helmet for every budget. Show coat – If it has been a few years since you have shown, you likely have a wool or wool-blend show coat. Sure, it still looks great, but we all know how quickly they can raise your body temperature while standing at the in-gate, and let’s not even talk about the costs around getting them dry cleaned! Well, since your have been on your “Horse Show Hiatus” technology has taken over! Soft-shell show coats are offered by almost all of your favorite brands! Light weight, stretchy, breathable AND machine washable! Again, you can find one of these great coats to fit your budget. Breeches – Technology has taken over here too! No more scratchy, thick, dry-clean-only options. Today’s breeches no longer cover your bellybutton or make your butt look five miles long, but you now have low-rise and mid-rise options for optimum comfort! Oh, and did we mention, some of these breeches are stain-proof? Yep – watch this video! Boots – If you haven’t noticed, most riders wear custom, semi-custom, or custom-looking boots. If you are still rocking the saggy-ankle, leather-look-a-like boot in the show ring, you need to upgrade. The great thing is, many of your favorite, trusted brands now make a fitted boot that looks custom, without the custom price tag! Comfort, style, real leather, and a boot for every budget! Show shirt – if you haven’t yet discovered the awesomeness of the IceFill, moisture-wicking, cooling, fitted, tailored show shirt, PLEASE do yourself a favor and make that be one of your first purchases. Furthermore, gone are the days of lost ratcatchers – welcome to the world of wrap-collars. So, for all of you “Returning Amateurs,” we wish you great success getting back into the show ring this spring. Now you can do it in style!

Posted in amateur rider, basics, beginner rider, breeches, buy, carousel, carousel horse, carousel horse tack,, Clothing, english, Equestrian, equestrian apparel, helmet, Horse, horse back riding, horse life, Horse show, horse show attire, horse show clothes, Horseback Riding, riding, riding boots, riding pants, riding trends, show coat, show helmet, show shirt, soft shell coat, Uncategorized

A Parent’s Guide to Horse Show Apparel

Posted on July 01, 2014 by 47060068 | 0 comments

My first horse show… I actually remember it like it was yesterday, but at this point, it was more like 25 years ago. And even though I was only 5 at the time, the one thing I remember was my mom running around the week before to get me show clothes and make sure I was properly outfitted. She didn’t have much guidance on what to purchase for me, and why would she want to spend hundreds of dollars on show clothes that I was guaranteed to out-grow before the next show? So that’s what I bring you today – “A Parent’s Guide to Horse Show Apparel!” IMG_1554
  • Show helmet – In our last blog post, we talked about purchasing a helmet for lessons. So you may have chosen something more conservative like a black IRH or One K brand. But there is a good chance your kid choose a colorful Troxel, because, why wouldn’t they? Colors are more fun! Unfortunately, colored helmets are frowned upon in the more ‘traditional’ hunter/jumper setting. So, if your child is riding in a conservative, black helmet – YAY, you can check this one off your list! If not, you have a couple options:
    • First, they do make helmet covers. For lower-level classes and beginner schooling shows, tossing on a black helmet cover will save you a lot of money. Check with your child’s riding instructor to see if this option is appropriate for the show you will be attending.
    • Second, you can spring for a new, black, “professional-looking” helmet. The good news is, a number of children’s helmets now come with an adjustability setting, so as their head grows, so can the helmet! This should make you feel better about making a show helmet purchase. Also, show helmets come at a variety of price points. You can absolutely find something to fit your budget.
  • Show shirt – A show shirt with a ratcatcher is a must for the English show ring. Show shirts come in long sleeve, short sleeve or the least-expensive option – the ratcatcher dickie. Show shirts have really come a long way since my first show. Brands today often have a wrap-collar (so you don’t have to worry about losing the detachable collars), many have better, more-breathable fabrics, and there are certainly more color and trim choices. Boys should wear a collared shirt with a tie.
  • Hunt coat – You can’t enter the ring without one! Hunt coats should be purchased in a conservative color. Quick tip: Navy blue never goes out of style! Your local tack shop can help you determine proper fit. Brands and price points vary, but you can certainly find one to fit your budget.
  • Jodhpurs/Breeches – In the beginner riding blog, we talked about purchasing proper riding pants, jods or breeches with knee patches. Like the helmet I previously mentioned, I bet your kid picked out a fun, brightly-colored pair of riding pants, because again, why wouldn’t they? But, unfortunately, bright pink jods are just not appropriate for the show ring. Khaki or tan breeches/jods with knee patches should be purchased for showing. These should preferably have belt loops and not an elastic waist band. You also might be asking – does my kid wear jodhpurs or breeches – because there is a difference!
    • Jodhpurs are appropriate for young children up the age of about 12. Jods have an elastic stirrup that goes on the outside of the paddock boot to hold the pants down and are worn with jodphur straps or garters.
    • Breeches are worn by adults and teens over the age of 12 or 13. Breeches are secured with velcro or elastic at the calf and must be worn in the show ring with tall boots. If you still aren’t sure which style is appropriate for your child, ask your riding instructor.
  • Boots – Lucky for you, your child likely has a pair of paddock boots – what do they wear to their lessons? Black or brown, synthetic or leather are both appropriate to wear with jodhpurs. Just make sure they are clean and shiny before you enter the show ring! If your child is older and wearing breeches, you may need to purchase a pair of tall boots if you do not have them already.
A few other things to note:
  • At the show, your child’s hair should be in braids with bows or secured up under the helmet with a hairnet. Ask your riding instructor which they prefer.
  • Black riding gloves help put a finishing touch to your child’s overall show-look. You can purchase an inexpensive, appropriate pair through your favorite tack shop.
  • Garters/Jod Straps should match your child’s paddock boots (brown or black).
  • If your jods/breeches have belt loops, be sure to have a brown or black belt on.
Please remember to check with your riding instructor before purchasing show attire. They may have preferences or specifications for your child depending on the show you are attending. Talk with other barn parents – they may have gently used show clothes that they are willing to sell at a discounted rate. Shop smart. Shop savvy. Your child can look professional without breaking the bank!

Posted in breeches, carousel horse tack,, children's riding apparel, Equestrian, first show, horse back riding, Horse show, horse show attire, horse show clothes, horseback riding attire, Horses, jodhpurs, paddock boots, riding lessons, riding pants, Shopping, show helmet, tack store, Uncategorized