Monday 26 December 2022

Merry Boxing Day!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope everyone got to spend the day with the people and/or critters that they like. 

My family got together with my brother's in-laws and we had a fantastic dinner with lots of lively conversation.

Santa had been leaving me presents through the fall this year so I've already been using my presents, namely my heated vest and socks. Originally I didn't want the socks, but I've come to appreciate them when driving to and from work on these chilly mornings. I'm going to try the this week for riding. The battery pack for the socks sit high on the outside of the leg, but I think my lace-up winter riding boots will have enough flexibility in them to make it work. They definitely won't fit in my regular tall boots.

Santa also delivered the ponies Christmas present a bit early this year. He was kind enough to bring them a squishier set of Surefoot pads.

I had used the bottom, springier side of the firm pads a couple of times this fall, and both horses went into coma-states when they were standing on them, so I decided that if I could get the medium set on sale I would grab them. Sure enough, around the first week of December, I got sent a code for either 20 or 25% off (can't remember) so I ordered the pads and threw in a set of the pods too. I don't really know what standing on these things does for the horses, but man, do they ever zone out on them! Cisco blatantly shows me that he wants to use them and Phantom immediately has a nap while on them, so I'm happy to buy them another set that they will appreciate.

I think Cisco kept his hind feet on these pads for around 15 minutes this night. He pivoted his front end around to nuzzle the kitty that had discovered my heated vest, but the hind feet didn't come off the pads. 

I spent a wee bit more money on Boxing Day. Since it looks like I'll have to ride outside for probably another month I decided to pick up a quarter sheet. I did not want to spend much on it as I don't think I'll use it a whole lot, so I very reluctantly passed on the Rambo Whitney striped version and found a great deal on a Premier Equine one. 

This afternoon I'm heading out to the barn and am going to take Cisco over to the neighbors to familiarize him with the covered track so that I can get him going aagain.i anticipate having to do a whole lotta groundwork with him before getting on over there. I haven't clipped yet either and am hoping to avoid him turning into a stressed sweaty mess. 

Enjoy your boxing day and try not to spend too much money! (Unless it's a sweet deal - then it doesn't count!)

Wednesday 21 December 2022


 This winter feels like it should be almost over, but it's barely just begun.

The arena is no where near ready to use yet. It's pretty well just the metal siding and roof that need to go on before we'll be able to ride in it, but the contractors are behind schedule due to a variety of reasons, the current one being freezing cold.

We're in our third (fourth?) cold snap of the season already. The last couple of days have been no warmer than -30 Celsius (plus windchill, so in the -40's). Even if the arena was ready, no one would be using it at the moment. All we are doing is trying to stay warm up here.

And here's how I do that when needing to go outside when it feels -44 degrees out - my Catching Horses Outfit Of The Day.

This is what I've been wearing this week:

I know, so stylish, right? Jealous?

What you can see:

  • Eddie Bauer down filled parka (admittedly not as warm as it should be based on it's original price. Good thing I got it for something like 60% off)
  • My fleece lined riding skirt
  • MuckBoots Arctic boots (only need a single pair of regular socks in these)
  • A fleece-lined toque (knitted cap or beanie for the non-Canadians)
  • A polar fleece neck warmer that I will pull over my nose
  • Head ski gloves (kid sized that I picked up at Costco this fall for $8)
The cat discovered the heated vest and was determined to stay draped over my shoulder.

What you can't see:
  • A long sleeved T-shirt
  • A polar fleece turtleneck top 
  • Heated vest (Santa came early this year)
  • Under Armor base layer 3.0 long underwear
  • Kerrits Sit Tight Wind Pro breeches
Wearing all this is what it takes to stay warm for the 10 minutes outside it takes to bring a horse in.

It is, of course, way too warm to wear inside, so the outside layers have to be stripped off in the barn and put back on again to head back out. 

Thankfully, the current cold snap looks like it should be over in a couple of days. It might even be warm enough to ride next week! 

I saw -1 in the forecast for next week - please be right!

Wednesday 14 December 2022

Wordless Wednesday -Catch Rider

 My horse got ridden for the first time in about 5 weeks. I had a catch rider hop on.

Tess was very at home up there (she's quite certain that she rules the barn and everything in it) and Cisco was very much "there's a cat on my lap (back) so I guess I can't move".

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Helmet Safety Study Results

 The long awaited equestrian helmet safety rating study has been released. And there are some surprising results.

The independent study, done by researchers at Virginia Tech, put 40 helmets from multiple manufacturers through equestrian specific testing to determine their efficacy in preventing concussions and other head injuries. You can read about the new tests that they developed that are specific to the scenarios that equestrians encounter when they fall from their horses here. (Edited to add another link to a video about their testing process here.)

Helmets were given a numeric rating (lower is better) and ranked. And there are some very surprising results.

Two of the top three rated helmets are low-priced schooling helmets, the kind that most riders past the beginner weekly lesson stage of riding immediately overlook when helmet shopping. It's not a surprise that price had nothing to do with safety, but I think that these helmets tested so well is quite a shock to most people.

Also surprising is how low down the list most of the MIPS helmets are. Most of the Trauma Void MIPS helmets are in the top 10, and Uvex has a couple of models just outside at 11 and 12, but Charles Owen and Tipperary didn't fare well at all.

It will be really interesting to see the responses from the community over the next few weeks. What will the response from manufacturers be? Will they respect the results of the study and vow to do better, or will they claim that the study was flawed and their testing methodology is better? Will we see riders trade in the expensive blingy helmets for the plastic mushroom caps that scored so well? Will those inexpensive helmets now be seen as the cool kind to be seen in? Will the manufacturers of those schooling helmets look for the opportunity to run with these results and design these helmets to make them more appealing to riders who want a trendier look but also want the higher safety rating?

This study is definitely going to make me think about replacing my helmets. I mostly ride in a Troxel Avalon, which was not rated, but the Troxel helmets that were rated didn't do well, scoring in the worst 25% of helmets. My other helmet, a OneK Defender, also scored poorly in position #35 with one star. They are getting towards the end of their lives so I will start trying helmets on when the opportunities arise.

Finding a hemet that fits me is a bit of an issue though. Those inexpensive schooling helmets tend to be be round-shaped, and I've got an oval head (possibly even a long oval, though I've never been able to try that shape). It doesn't matter how well a helmet scored if you won't wear it because it doesn't fit and is uncomfortable. 

What are your thoughts about the results of this study? Are you re-thinking the helmet that you currently wear?