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.
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…
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!