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September Faves

The Optimum Time’s favorite products for these early fall months!
1. Absorbine Muscle Max: I’ve put Sasha on a one month trial to see what I think about Absorbine Muscle Max. Being the hot, hard to keep, OTTB she is, a little help putting muscle on would do us both lots of good! I’ve noticed an increase in her weight, and especially her coat. It’s much darker, and she’s even starting to dapple!51eNekNOElL._SY300_
2. Ecogold Flip Pad : After months and months of searching for the perfect half pad that doesn’t slip, doesn’t get dirty, doesn’t get too sweaty, and doesn’t break the bank I found the Ecogold Flip pad! Mine is Emerald with white on the other side (because green is the best ) It hasn’t slipped, budged, or even thought about moving!IMG_2114
3. Personally Preppy Helmet Monogram: Starting to gain popularity is Helmet Monograms. My dressage schooling helmet has my initials on the back in white! The Personally Preppy team said that the stickers didn’t stick as well to suede helmets- but for the past couple of months mine has remained in PERFECT condition! So that makes me wonder how well they stick on their best sticking! Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.42.13 AM
4. Phyllis Stein Equestrian Tee Shirts- Phyllis Stein is undoubtedly my favorite when it comes to Tee Shirts! Recently I got two new ones and I can’t stop wearing them! So soft, and casual! Oh and don’t forget Sassy!! I can’t wait to see their fall line 1536695_10202537150446059_2328654973951514118_n

Have a fun fall!

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The Hard Truth: Stall Rest

It’s almost impossible to be in the equine world without having your horse get hurt. Unfortunately I joined the club last week, when I got the call that Watching was injured in the field. The vets concluded that Watching was kicked in his left shoulder and punctured his hind left leg. After ultrasounding his left shoulder, they saw that there was no damage to any of his tendons, but after x-raying the shoulder, they found that the kick has crushed his deltoid tuberosity.

The vets also x-rayed Watching’s hind left leg, which sustained a puncture wound that went down to his cannon bone, but thankfully there was no fractures found in his leg. More x-rays will be taken of Watching’s leg Wednesday (tomorrow), so stay tuned for updates.

Watching is now on stall rest for 3 months, and after that period of time they will re-examine him to see if he is fit to go back to work. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to take him out to hand graze, but for now, the farthest he can walk is from his stall to the wash stall. Taking care of his wounds is my #1 priority right now, because since they are still very much open, they are in danger of getting infected. No sign of infection yet, and fingers crossed that it will stay that way. It’s a bummer because we can’t compete at all over the summer, but hopefully this experience will make the both of us stronger in the long run.

The vets were kind enough to send me clear pictures of his ultrasounds and x-rays (I circled the part of the x-ray where you could most clearly see the bone was broken):

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Crushed deltoid tuberosity

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For those of you that have horses on stall rest as well, here are a few tips that can make both of your experiences a little better!

1) Currying—Currying your horse creates blood flow throughout their body, which is much needed if they are just standing around! Not to mention, your horse will get an amazing coat if you keep up the regular groomings, because he will not be going outside and rolling around in the mud!

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Watching loves his daily curries! His favorite spot is the top of his shoulders and his withers, and he let’s me now when its just the right spot when he makes this hilarious face!

2) Toys—Standing around in a stall all day can be quite boring for your horse, so keeping him interested and intrigued will lessen the pain of boredom. Lik-its are great to keep your horse entertained, although if your horse is anything like Watching, the treat will be gone in 5 minutes! Hay nets with smaller openings keeps eating hay fun for them, rather than having their hay in the corner on the ground, or in a regular hay net with larger openings. They have even made toys that your horse can roll around in his stall that will dispense treats! And although I have never seen a horse actually play with one, Jolly Balls are a fun concept, because they are scented! Even traffic cones can be a great toy!

 

3) Stretching—As long as this doesn’t interfere with their injuries, stretching is a great way to help relax muscles that can become tense after hours of doing nothing. I use treats and stand at the side of Watching’s barrel, and have him turn his neck around to me. I do this on both sides of him, only once. Stretching is something great to do even if your horse isn’t on stall rest, and in regular work!

Check out this awesome EventionTV video on different stretches:

Evention TV — Stretching Video

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Watching saying “hi!” to his friend Georgia!

4) Tricks/Games—Stimulating their mind since they aren’t being ridden is key to keeping them sane, for the most part (who can blame them, they’re stuck in the same place 24/7!), and although it can be hard because they’re injured, finding cute little trick or games to play with them is a good way to keep their thinking sharp. A simple “kiss” trick is more than enough to get the ball rolling, and since “bowing” is out of the question for the most of us, a very confined “follow me” game in their stall, or “hug” trick is a fun way to build your bond.

5) Spending quality time—Grab a stool, or find a comfy-looking pile of hay, and plop yourself down! Just doing nothing and being around your horse can be relaxing for both you and him.  Bring a book along, or even some homework, and enjoy each others company!

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People watching is one of Watching’s favorite activities, and from his window he can see most of the fields and the outdoor ring

I will be doing a lot of these 5 things over my summer! Although it is more or less inevitable, I hope everyone’s horses stay injury-free!

 

Sarah

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Groom’s Corner: The Groom Bucket

So you’re in dressage warm up, biggest show of the year. You look down, and your boots, and horse are covered in thick mud. You panic a little. What are you going to do? But then (hopefully) your amazing groom runs up with a bucket full of rags, hoof and boot polish, and god knows what else she keeps in there!

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The Groom Bucket is both a time and point saving necessity that every rider should have in the warm up, it’s not only for grooming, but safety, and small necessities. See what The Optimum Times puts in their Groom Buckets Below:
1. Sponge- For those nasty stains that you just can’t get out, as well as keeping horses cool on a hot day!
2. Rags- Rags are perfect for everything! Tack touch ups, wiping mud off your horse, and padding things that just don’t fit right! Keep a bunch of them handy!
3. Show Sheen- Because you can never be too shiny!
4. Vaseline, Ecolicious Glamorous, or any other Facial Highlighter- Rub this not only on your horse’s eyes and nostrils, but your bridle and boots so everything looks super shiny!
5. Saddle Tight, or Sporty Haft Spray- For sticky situations!
6. A spare pair of gloves
7. a stiff brush- for tough stuck on dirt
8. Wrench- For emergency stud situations!
9. Hoof Polish- Because it always wears off before you go in the arena!
10. The all important Green Spot remover- because we’ve been there, and now it’s an essential!
11. Hoof Pick- You never know when rocks might get stuck in your horses shoe.
12. Braiding bands- for emergency braid, hair net, and keeper fixes!
13. A spare medical arm band- Expect the unexpected!
These awesome necessities for going into any of your phases might make a big difference! So before your next event, get a Groom Bucket together!

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Groom’s Corner: Braiding Tips

No matter where we are in our braiding career, most of us came from the awkward kid with the chunk, too big braids that stuck up in all the wrong places. Wether your braids are too big, or too small, too loose, or rolled wrong there’s always room for improvement. Here are some tips on how you can improve your braiding technique:

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1. Choose big or small- Dressage riders generally post about 8 big braids, while hunter jumper generally have a little more than 20 braids. Eventers can choose either, but don’t go straight down the middle with around 15!

2. Hair Gel, Hair Gel, Hair Gel, and some more Hair Gel. – Braiding at Rolex was rough. But the secret to my success is to get some heavy grade men’s hair gel and smooth a pea sized amount into Cole’s mane before every braid. This eliminates fly aways and keeps your braids in one piece.

Rolex Braids!  Photo Credit: Jenny Barnhard

Rolex Braids!
Photo Credit: Jenny Barnhard

3. Just like the Musical- You know in the musical Hairspray where they’re hair stays in such a perfect position? Well why can’t your braids be like that? We use people hair spray on all the braids! Just be careful to spray both in between and underneath to get the full protection!

4. Double band it- if a braid looks like it just might come apart, don’t risk it! Throw another rubber band over it so that it’ll be extra safe!

Rolex Braids! Photo Credit Jenny Barnhard

Rolex Braids! Photo Credit Jenny Barnhard

Hopefully with these quick tips you can turn your braids from lop sided, into tight and orderly!

Emily

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Groom’s Corner: The Big “Secret”

Browsing the chronicle of the horse forums it turns out there’s an entire thread simply on how Rolex horses are so darn shiny! It is a bit of a mystery until your the one there grooming the horse. It’s not a specific shampoo (although I swear by Ecolicious!) or a specific way of grooming them, it’s just the whole situation combined. Think about it:

Cole at a One day event- photo credit Caitlin Martin

Cole at a One day event- photo credit Caitlin Martin

1. The horses are kept inside for a week straight only getting out for a few hand walks a day and to be ridden. Therefore, no mud!

2. Blankets and saddle pads are all sparkling clean! So no excess hair or dust gets on them!

3. They get groomed super well at least 2 times a day! That stimulates the follicles making them extra shiny!

4. After every ride they’re shampoo’d and covered in show sheen!

Rolex Cole!

Rolex Cole!

So there you go, the big “Secret” to horse’s as shiny as glass!

– Emily

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Groom’s Corner: Keeping grey horses clean

We’ve all been  there. You get into the wash stall, take your horses fly sheet off and underneath, he’s green. You groan, kick the cement, and pour a hand full of purple shampoo into your hands and get scrubbing. But he’s still not white. What’s the secret?

Grooming for Buckharo, Kate’s 2* grey OTTB gelding, is an uphill battle. But there’s little things that we do to try and keep him as white as possible as we’re looking to send him to Bromont in less than 2 weeks.

1. Bleach. – I know it sounds a little abusive, but for those brown set in stains in your horse’s tail putting a splash of bleach and leaving it in for a couple of minutes makes it perfectly white- and tangle free! Just don’t overuse, after bleaching the first time wash your horse’s tail daily with some mild dish soap to keep it white!

2. Spot cleaning- Once a stain on a grey has been set in for more than 48 hours there’s NO hope of getting it out! So just scrub the dirty spots when you wash them off every day, and that way you’ll never have to worry about it

3. Wrap their tail up. – Wrapping the tail up keeps it nice and clean while in the stall or outside!

4. Dilute Quick Silver- Non diluted quick silver can turn a grey horse purple! So make sure you mix it with some water in a bucket and scrub it on with a brush or sponge!

Get scrubbing!

Emily

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Meet Ellis

Are you interested in being the monthly guest blogger for The Optimum Times? Email theoptimumtimes@gmail.com for more information!

 

Hi Guys!

My name is Ellis Staton, and  I’m  a 15 years old eventer from Area Four! I somewhat recently bought my horse, Guinness, or Irish Pub, who is a nine year old OTTB. We’re currently competing at the Beginner Novice level and hope to move up to Novice this fall. We actually have our first event together this weekend! I’m not expecting much, considering I have only had him for five months and we’ve never shown together. So it should be interesting, to say the least! I’m VERY excited to see what the future holds for us.

 

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Guinness and Ellis

 

Before we bought Guinness, I evented my now retired horse, Comet. Comet is a 15 year old Arab/Quarter Horse Cross who was insane. I have owned him for four years, and during that time he came a long way. He is now living on my Grandpa’s farm, and is being used for trails a couple times a month. He truly is the happiest horse in the world! Eventing was just not his calling, and that’s why I decided it was time for a new horse.

 

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Guinness and Ellis

I look forward to Guest Blogging this month!

Ellis

 

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