Maintaining & improving muscle condition - sponsored blog post

Hi guys! 👋🏻 For a while now I've been wanting to expand the range of topics that my blog covers, just so that you get more out of it. The equestrian trends, riding outfit ideas and dressage training topics won't go away as I still love them and enjoy writing, editing, and taking photos for them, and I'm far too opinionated to stop writing my opinion & motivational posts, but I've decided it was about time that new topics could be shared on the blog! This started last month with the interview blogpost with my good friend Tinja who shared her knowledge and experiences as an international competition groom and now carries on with this wonderfully informative post from Lauren at Feedmark.
 And so I'm very excited to be bringing you another blog post that I hope is useful for you and your horse! Although I do have some knowledge about equine nutrition and I try to keep up to date with all the latest advances in nutrition and all the different feeds and supplements, I am still no expert in this topic which is why I'm thrilled that Feedmark have worked with me to produce this blog post, and a massive thanks to Lauren for writing this and sharing her knowledge with us! 🙌🏻 Just a little bit about Lauren so that you can get to know her: Lauren Harrold joined Feedmark in 2018 as an Equine Nutritionist, following her degree in Equine Science at Oxford Brookes University. She owns 2 horses, an ex-racehorse and part-bred Newforest mare that both regularly compete in dressage, but also enjoy hacking at their home on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. 🐴❤️
Anyway, onto the actual topic... Fitness, muscle and condition ⤵️

For many horse owners, the change of seasons from winter to spring means less mud, less mucking out, and more time to ride in the lighter evenings! Many horses have the winter off exercise, or at least a reduction in their workload due to their rider’s lack of time or facilities in the cold and dark winter months. So, it is around this time of year that the horse’s workload begins to increase with  view to improve fitness and condition, and some horse owners will also be thinking about their competition season ahead.


Just do one better each day

"The only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday" Rachel Hollis
The quote above got me thinking about how our aim to become better riders often feels like a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs & sometimes you definitely feel like you a loser when compared to other riders, who might be out there competing and winning every weekend, who you wish you could copy or even emulate after seeing their successes... But by the time you’re headed up the "Self-Improvement Mountain" for the millionth time, you might also be vomiting/going for a fear 💩 by the time you arrive at the competition venue, cursing yourself that you once again decided to go competing rather than staying at home. It made me question why so often our attempts to better ourselves are so uneven, and why they so frequently end in failure? There are a few reasons, but for me personally it's focusing on the big goal which can sometimes overwhelm me into inaction and over-thinking. Instead of just being pleased with the fact that my horse is going well at home, I want to dominate the world, win the regionals & go to the nationals! And so I draw up plans for leaving behind the 99% of other riders out there behind, and becoming part of the extraordinary semi-pro 1% of the best... But the enormity of my goals ends up overwhelming me into inaction, as a big & bold goal looks to most people's the brain as something so impossible that it’s actually scary.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Ride.Eat.Sleep.Repeat collection

Bright, bold and beautiful!! That is the only way to describe Eskadron's new collection, which is known as the Ride.Eat.Sleep.Repeat collection 💕 I was super excited when I heard that Eskadron announced that in addition to their super fun Eskadron Fanatics clothing line, they were also adding a new collection to the Eskadron brand. Being a big fan of the Eskadron for the longest time thanks to their classic designs and superb quality, I just had to share with you this new Eskadron line!
Overall, the collection is very bright and out there, so if you're like me and prefer the more classic colours and tones then this collection might not be for you. But if fun and bright colours are your thing then I'm sure you'll love this 🍭 Now, lets have a closer look at the new saddle pads! The cotton saddle pads have reflective piping, with the brand name also all along the binding and slogan application on both sides which makes this saddle pad rather unique. The most "out there" saddle pad from this collection is the grey polo pad, with it's very distinctive design with an allover print, with an Eskadron print on the left side and a silicone lettering in the saddle area, which helps the pad stay still under the saddle. For me, the most fun pad from this collection is the big square glossy, because of its glossy fabric in a fabulous fade style. With double cords and vertical letterings on both sides I think this will look amazing in the sun, especially the pink one! 🌷


#rootd: soft & dreamy lavender

Although I missed out on last month's #rootd, I'm back this month with one of my all time favourite spring looks! I think this is SUCH a cute riding outfit, I love how it looks on all the horses. Yeah it might be a bit girly, but pastels are my favourite colours to use in spring time so the boys will just have to deal with it! 💜 I've also started using my leggings more and more now that the weather is starting to warm up once again, and although these Aztec Diamond Equestrian leggings don't have any 'sticky' bits, they are so comfortable to wear and unlike my Pikeur leggings, they don't fall down all the time! I love the fact that most equestrian brands have started to follow the colour trends of the big fashion lines, so lots of normal non-horsey shops like H&M, Next and Primark have got clothes that match - sorry Pikeur and other expensive equestrian brands, but your prices for sweaters and hoodies can be a bit much when there is no guarantee that they won't shrink in the wash and my horses like to slobber & stain my clothes! 


Equilab app review

You might have seen quite a bit about an equestrian app called Equilab floating about whenever you've been on Facebook and Instagram especially now that spring is here and the hacking season has officially started, as the app is gaining more and more popularity in the UK. Created in Sweden, this app utilises artificial intelligence to help capture the movement of the rider and the horse, and whilst it tracks your hacking routes it also tracks everything from the time spent in each pace and turn distribution to the intensity of stride - great for any rider who wants the chance to be able to analyse their rides better! 🤓
I've recently been trying out the Equilab app, it's very in depth and has lots of options and fortunately it is available both on Android and iPhone. All you have to do is to simply turn on the app and put it in your pocket whilst you're out hacking or riding - although for the first few days I totally forgot to have my phone on me as I never used to have my phone with me when riding. If you're like me, it only takes a few days to remember to take your phone with you, then it becomes an automatic thing! I find it very useful to see how I'm riding - I can tell how many turns I've done, whether I'm favouring one rein over the other, as well as my rhythm and elevation.  It's great when you don't regularly have lessons but want to be able to track your rides and evaluate how your rides have been going.
On the app itself you can set up your own profile as well as your horses' profiles, with the horse profiles being a little more in depth than the rider's. You are able to add a photo, the horse's name and nickname, the main discipline they do, their breed, weight and date of birth, as well as add multiple riders to each horse - so if two of you are sharing a horse it doesn't matter as Equilab has you sorted! I think this is a great feature that has been really well thought out, as not every horse has just one rider. I know several people who horse share and this app would be perfect for them as you can just open the app and see what they've been up to on the days that you've not been riding.


Spring preparations

I've been part of the #Horsebloggers Meet Up Facebook group for the longest time because I've found it to be a great community to be a part of, where it's possible to get help and support from fellow equestrian bloggers. This time the group inspired a blog post theme, which is spring preparations for the horses. I'm sure that I'm not the only who finds spring as a time for lots of preparation! This is further helped with the the clocks having moved forwards, which means it feels like we have SO many more hours of daylight and sunshine. You can smell spring in the air during the day, despite the fact that in the mornings we're having frost after a freezing night whilst the sun in the afternoons makes it feel the middle of summer... it seems like we are getting four seasons each day! 🌦
Spring for me signals the seemingly endless shedding of the horses’ winter coats, preparing for flies and other bugs and sorting out the paddocks. The horses are nearly there with their coat changes, which I'm very excited about as it means my clothes won't be covered in horse hair all the time! The horses have also had 'a spring sort out' - teeth, vaccinations and wormers are all done so in that respect we are nearly there and ready for spring and summer 🙌🏻