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DeAnn Long Sloan

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SmartPak Product Review: SmartTherapy No Bow Wraps

SmartPak launched an entire line of unique SmartTherapy products on June 15, and since then NM’s editors have been putting them to the test! Jumper Nation editor Lynn Mueller reviewed the SmartTherapy Mesh Sheet — you can check out her observations here. Last week, Eventing Nation editor Leslie Wylie took the SmartTherapy Dressage Saddle Pad and SmartTherapy All Purpose Saddle Pad for a test drive — read her observations here. This week, Horse Nation editor DeAnn Long Sloan reviews the SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps

Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan

My SmartPak SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps arrived in mid-June. Although I was excited to try them out, I have to admit that I was skeptical about being able to provide an honest review of the product. After all, my mare had been sound, she’s out 24/7 and it’s been over 90 degrees Fahrenheit nearly every day for weeks. When was I going to have the chance to use these wraps how they’re meant to be used given that combination of circumstances?

I needn’t have worried …

I am a frequent user of equine therapy products and was looking forward to seeing how SmartPak’s new SmartTherapy line stacked up. I usually use therapy wraps when I am hauling, after a day of competition, when my horse is on stall rest and I am worried about her stocking up or when I am trying to bring down swelling. However, I am careful about using products like these in warmer temperatures since I often worry about my horse’ body temperature rising or, more specifically, her legs getting too warm for an extended period of time. When it’s hot out, I use regular standing wraps when I ship and I am more apt to cold hose and use ice boots (rather than wrapping my horse’s legs) after competition. Suffice to say, I wasn’t overly thrilled to test out my new SmartTherapy wraps in the heat.

However, Fate being the fickle mistress that she is, I have been provided ample opportunity to put these No-Bow Wraps to the test.

My mare did something in the pasture and came into the barn lame shortly after my No-Bows arrived. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the lameness, although it was quite clear that at least part of the issue was in the lower part of her right front leg. She had minor swelling around her fetlock and pastern and reacted a bit to the hoof testers when pressure was applied to the heel bulbs. Unsure how to proceed, I treated all the things. I treated her foot as though she might have an abscess and wrapped her lower leg in a No-Bow Wrap and a standing bandage in case of a soft tissue injury.

Unsure of what was going on with my mare, I hoped for an abscess, but wrapped the lower leg in case of a soft tissue injury (it was neither). Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.

When I unwrapped her leg the following day, I was pleased with the results. Even though she was still tender from her unknown (at the time) injury, the swelling in my mare’s leg went down significantly after spending the night in her SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps. And, to my surprise, her leg did not seem too warm. Although initially I was concerned about using the No-Bow Wraps in the heat wave we’ve been having, it seems that the ThermoBalance material really does keep the legs cool. There did not seem to be any excess heat from the wrap — and the inflammation in my mare’s leg decreased. Win win.

So what is it about these wraps that makes them different from regular no bow quilts? They’re infused with ceramic. More specifically, they are made with ceramic far infrared radiation (cFIR). Essentially, ceramic particles are embedded in the fabric to absorb body heat and reflect it back to the horse as soothing far infrared rays that activate blood flow, which may help to decrease inflammation, improve recovery and protect from oxidative stress.

For my mare, this is going to prove especially beneficial. Her mystery injury turned out to be a hairline fracture in her pastern. Sigh. As we’re progressing through the first month of her rehab, I have put the SmartTherapy No-Bow Wraps to good use. My mare is used to ceramic therapy, so I am comfortable having her legs wrapped overnight in the wraps. Her injured leg is wrapped daily in a No-Bow Wrap and vet wrap for compression and her uninjured leg is wrapped in a No-Bow Wrap and a standing bandage for support.

Both legs wrapped: the right one to provide valuable compression and the left one for support. Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.

Her legs are staying cool in spite of the high temperatures, and the mess she makes of her stall and her impatient attitude tell me that she is feeling better by the day — despite the weeks of stall rest still in store for her.

A bonus aspect of the No-Bow Wraps is that they are completely machine washable. I have washed these (more than once) since I started using them. Each time they come out clean and looking like new, no matter how much bedding and other detritus is on them when I put them in the washing machine.

Instructions for use and washing instructions. Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan.

I look forward to being able to use these wraps when I’m not dealing with an acute injury. Based on the results I’ve seen, I will definitely use them whenever I need standing wraps — whether that’s during shipping or simply when I’m working to keep my horse from stocking up. They’ve proven to provide excellent support, decrease inflammation and prevent overheating.”

The No-Bow Wraps are available from SmartPak for $59.95.

Make Your Own DIY Brush Jump, With Kentucky Performance Products Rider Lisa Barry

Need to have a school over brush jump but don’t have access to any? Or maybe you want to practice a fun cross-country exercise in the arena? Just make your own—it is easy! Buy some cheap fake Christmas trees and strip them of their branches. Drill holes the size of the stem in your wood jumps or poles and insert the branches. Depending on the tree, you can trim the ends of the naked branches to make a scalloped brush look.

About Lisa:
Lisa Barry is a four-star event rider who has been riding and competing horses for 29 years, and has 16 years of international competition experience. Her horses have had top placings at many FEI events including at the Advanced/CCI4*/CCI5* level. Lisa has trained with Karen O’Connor for 25 years, and has worked for and ridden with Karen and David since she joined the O’Connor program as a working student when she was 17. Lisa competed at the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event aboard her beloved FIS Prince Charming, aka “Peanut,” a tiny, feisty New Zealand OTTB. Lisa is currently training and coaching out of Lexington, Kentucky and Ocala, Florida. If you have questions for Lisa or would like to learn more about her program email her at [email protected]

Lisa Barry and F.I.S. Prince Charming. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Fight back against an energy crisis that can impact condition and performance.

Equi-Jewel® is a high-fat, low-starch and -sugar formula developed to safely meet the energy needs of your horse.

Whether you have a hard keeper that needs extra calories to maintain his weight, or a top performance horse that needs cool energy to perform at her peak, Equi-Jewel can meet your horse’s energy needs. Equi-Jewel reduces the risk of digestive upset, supports optimal muscle function, maintains stamina, and helps horses recover faster after hard work, all while providing the calories your horse needs to thrive.

The horse that matters to you matters to us®.

Not sure which horse supplement best meets your horse’s needs? Kentucky Performance Products, LLC is here to help. Call 859-873-2974 or visit KPPusa.com.

Best of HN: I Am a Rock, I Am an Island — Feelings of Isolation in Horseback Riding

Canva/sergio_kumer/CC.

Horseback riding can be an incredibly lonely sport. Although I do not believe this is unique to riding and can be true of many individual sports, those of us reading (or writing, as the case may be) Horse Nation are bound by our common passion for horses. Therefore, of course, that is the sport that we get.

So, back to it. Horseback riding can be an incredibly lonely sport. Even if you are still in the point in your riding career when you get to be on a team — whether it’s an IEA or an IHSA team — when it comes down to it, it’s still just you and your horse in the arena, on the course or on the trail. Although some disciplines can argue that a judge was biased, being a successful competitor boils down to how strong of a performance you and your horse can pull off when it’s go time.

What’s worse is that you have to watch everyone else and their horses compete before or after you, so you usually know exactly where you stack up in the placings. Sometimes this is a difficult pill to swallow. It can make every mistake stand out in your mind. Every bobble. Every missed lead. Every hesitation. Every knocked rail. Every possible deduction.

Pixabay/CC

We get really good at beating ourselves up over these things. We look at others and see them succeed — or seem to succeed — and it becomes easy to feel alone in our mistakes. We see riders who make it look easy, who are further along in their careers, who have more finished horses or who just plain had a better ride, and it’s easy to feel that our mistakes are unique to us. It’s easy to feel as though we aren’t making the sort of progress we feel we ought to be making. It’s easy to forget that pretty much every rider has been there — wherever your “there” is in that moment.

Even worse is if something more major goes wrong. A tack failure. A buck. A rear. A fall. These are the times when, once we’ve decided that we and our horses are okay, we often feel the most embarrassed and alone. Coming off sucks enough when there aren’t many people around to see it. It sucks exponentially more when it’s witnessed by a group of people. Those are the times when you’d rather curl up in the fetal position under a blanket than spend the rest of the day being asked, “Are you alright?” Or being told, “Oh, you’re the one whose horse (fill in the blank).”

Canva/Groomee/CC

As riders, we’ve been taught to dust ourselves off and get back on since day one. We pride ourselves on getting back in the saddle despite pain, nerves and doctors’ orders. But the truth is, even though we may get back on our horses, ride on and be stronger for it (eventually), in those moments of complete and utter chagrin, we feel as lonely as we ever feel. And that feeling can linger until we feel we’ve outridden our shame (despite being told there’s no shame to be had).

These feelings of isolation also arise in moments that have very little to do with the riding itself. They can rear their ugly heads when we start comparing our tack, our trailer (or lack thereof), our truck (or lack thereof), our training, our horse’s training, our horse’s pedigree or any number of things to those of other people. It’s easy to feel as though you’re not good enough or that you don’t belong. Even when you’re doing well, imposter syndrome is very real.

So, how do we get past these feelings of unease and the loneliness that can arise despite being surrounded by like-minded people?

First and foremost, we pick up each other. If you’re actively competing, cheer on your fellow competitors. Applaud the efforts and the less-than-perfect tries — these are the building blocks to making progress and moving forward. There isn’t any one of us who has gone into the arena and had a perfect ride every time (if you have, please, let us know who you are and what your secret is!). Even if you’re not a competitor, you know we all have our moments with our horses. Let your trail partners know you’ve been there and encourage them to keep going.

Second — and this may seem trite — but be kind. None of us know the other’s story. We may feel inadequate because we didn’t have access to coaching and training or we may feel like we are lesser because we haven’t figured things out on our own. We’re all carrying our own set of baggage, branded by our experiences. Be that as it may, we’re in the same arena as our fellow riders and being given the same opportunity to succeed. Be kind and give each other the respect they deserve. Horseback riding can be hard. For as much as we all love it, the moments of frustration are overwhelming. Let people know that they have the space to work through that and they’re not alone in it.

And finally, for Pete’s sake, take a breath and be able to laugh at yourself. When we all take ourselves too seriously and work to look like we haven’t been there and we haven’t made mistakes, we make those who are going through them feel even more isolated. Share the stories of your mishaps, let people know what you’ve learned from them and let them know they aren’t alone.

51 Reasons Equestrians Would Storm Area 51

There is a grassroots Facebook movement afoot to storm Area 51 in order to “see them aliens.” Wait. What? Although we don’t get it, we can think of 51 other reasons to storm Area 51, reasons much more appealing to the Horse Nation herd.

On June 27, a Facebook event called Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us was launched encouraging folks to journey to Roswell, New Mexico in order to, as the title suggests, storm Area 51 and “see them aliens.” Although this started as a joke, the September 20 event has garnered quite a bit of attention.

Pixabay/Martin Str/CC Photo.

With 1.2 million Facebook users committed to going and 1 million interested, the event has gotten more than just attention; it seems there’s some substance behind it. To be fair, simply saying one is “going” to an event on Facebook does not necessarily mean one will actually, physically attend. That said, the Little A’Le’Inn (pronounced “little alien,” of course), which is the nearest lodging to Area 51, is completely booked for September 20 — all 10 rooms of it. Additionally, over 60 people have committed to renting a camping spot on the 30 acres of land that is run by the same owner.

According to the event page, the way the group is going to “see them aliens” is by doing a naruto run toward the top-secret testing facility so the group can “move faster than their bullets.” For those of you who don’t know (I certainly didn’t up until very recently), a naruto run refers to Naruto Uzumaki, a Japanese anime character who runs with his chest pointing forward and his arms jutting straight back behind him.

All of this leaves us more than just a little perplexed. Remember that as of mid-July, less than a month since the Facebook event was launched, over 1 million people have said they are going to naruto run at a government testing facility to “see them aliens.” Let that sink in for a minute. One. Million. People. Even if only a small percentage of those who say they are going actually go, that’s still a lot of people.

We can think of a number of reasons to storm Area 51, none of which is aliens (okay, maybe one of which is aliens). For equestrians, an entirely different type of motivation is required to face the threat of death and promise of jail time.

So, here it is — our list of 51 reasons to storm Area 51, Uzumaki style:

  1. To “see them horses.”
  2. A 60% off tack sale.
  3. Bales of high quality second cut for $2.50/bale.
  4. A well-bred 17 hh flashy gelding that is sound, fancy broke, kid safe and totally bombproof for under $2500.
  5. Avoiding yet another email or DM from your well-meaning non-horse friend who knows someone who knows someone who is trying to get rid of a horse. They thought you might be interested in it or know someone who is.
  6. Seeking refuge from a prospective horse buyer who is incapable of reading your sales ad and continuously asks questions that are covered in the ad.
  7. Also seeking refuge. This time from the prospective buyer who asks you if you’ll take $1500 for the horse you have listed for $5000 (by the way, the answer is no).
  8. A new Devoucoux Harmonie dressage saddle.
  9. A free showing of “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.”
  10. A heated wash stall.
  11. Color coordinated tack. Hangars and hangars full of color coordinated tack.
  12. Vet bills covered for life.
  13. Feed bills covered for life.
  14. Farrier bills covered for life.
  15. Any regularly reoccurring horse bills covered for life.
  16. A free four-horse living quarters trailer… even a heavily discounted one, for that matter.
  17. The truck to haul said trailer.
  18. Dodging that sketchy MLM scheme on Facebook that advertises ways for horse lovers to make extra cash at home, but no details are provided and the poster only replies to inquiries by asking that you PM them. Full disclosure: we only think it’s an MLM scheme. We haven’t actually PMed anyone to find out.
  19. Perfectly fitting cowboy hats that won’t lose their shapes or give you a headache.
  20. A flashy pony that is actually kid-safe and bombproof, not Lucifer incarnate.
  21. An 80 acre equestrian estate, complete with indoor and outdoor arenas, a heated barn, heated wash stalls and pastures with good grass.
  22. A free showing of “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken.”
  23. Show shirts that are guaranteed to stay tucked into show pants (or is it just me?).
  24. The smell of well-oiled leather. It calls to equestrians and draws them in — dare we say it? — herds.
  25. Bell boots that won’t come off unless you take them off.
  26. Fly masks that won’t come off unless you take them off.
  27. Fly spray that works for more than 2.5 minutes (we’re being generous here).
  28. Un-throwable horseshoes (and we’re not talking about ringers).
  29. A cure for navicular.
  30. A 100% guaranteed colic preventative.
  31. A new teaching method that will guarantee you a perfectly square halt every.single.time.
  32. Foals. A whole herd of cute, cuddly foals that you just want to schmoosh.
  33. An airplane hangar full of Breyer horses.
  34. A saddle that is guaranteed to fit every horse perfectly every time.
  35. A free showing of “The Black Stallion” (because, let’s be honest, when we started riding, most of us thought it would be something like Alec on the beach at the beginning of the movie).
  36. An actual black stallion. A registered, well-bred black stallion with great conformation, a great mind and a strong performance record.
  37. An entire barn full of freshly bedded stalls.
  38. A never-ending supply of clean polos.
  39. A white horse that doesn’t roll in manure immediately after you wash it.
  40. Many, many storage buildings full of fresh hay.
  41. The NFR. All of it. Behind the gates of Area 51.
  42. The World Equestrian Games. All of it. Behind the gates of Area 51.
  43. Avoiding yet another horse sale ad that attempts to show how broke the horse is by featuring a picture of someone standing on the horse’s back (but… why?).
  44. A revolutionary new technology that keeps you from ever getting hat or helmet hair.
  45. Shiny new blankets with no tears, rips or manure stains.
  46. A decent supply of high-quality boot socks that won’t slouch.
  47. Self-baling and self-stacking hay.
  48. Your barn friends, waiting for you within the compound.
  49. Aliens, actually. But not for the reason you think. Apparently aliens make the best leather for tack — it’s self-cleaning and never dries out.
  50. 52 free Thoroughbreds.
  51. Fleeing from yet another 52 free Thoroughbreds post barrage on Facebook.What have we missed? What would inspire you to storm the proverbial castle — or Area 51, as the case may be? Let us know in the comments section. Go riding!

 

Best of HN: Bullying in the Horse Community

Bullying can have devastating effects on its targets. In recent years, our attention to and addressing of bullying has increased – and rightfully so. However, we are served with constant reminders that how we address bullying often is not enough.

The horse community is by no means immune from these issues. Instagrammer ride_above_hate sent out a call for her followers to send her the bullying comments they had received online. In only 12 hours, these are the responses she received:

Please watch, share, contribute

Posted by Kylie Shariff on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

 

Let me repeat that. These are the responses she received after 12 hours. As she points out, she likely will receive many more.

“Poor horse. Couldn’t you at least try and lose some weight.”

“Is ur face melted or what? (I was born with a facial deformity.)”

“Go die.”

“Why were you even born? Just do us all a favor and go kill yourself.”

The video is gut-wrenching, even as someone at whom the comments were not directed. The video highlights a huge issue within our community. Instead of supporting each other and coming together over a common passion, we are hurling insults at one another that have lasting effects that go well beyond the barn.

In 2017, the School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) indicated that, nationwide, 20% of students aged 12 -18 experienced bullying. Fifteen percent of those students reported that their bullying, or a portion of it, had taken place online. Bear in mind, these are the students who are reporting the bullying. The truth is, the actual numbers may be much higher. According to stopbullying.gov, 70.6% of young people say that they have seen bullying in their schools — over 41% of these students have witnessed it more than once a week.

Something else to note is that these statistics come from surveyed students within a specific age range. This does not account for the younger children who experience bullying. This does not account for adults and those out of school who experience bullying. This does not account for the ride_above_hate’s followers who responded to her call to submit their experiences.

Pixabay/Anemone123/CC

Although the connection between bullying and extreme acts such as suicide or school violence is complex, there is no doubt that bullying increases feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair. It can deepen depression and anxiety, which can contribute to dangerous behaviors.

So how do we address bullying within the horse community? The simple answer, of course, is don’t do it. But, like all issues, the answer is never simple. The first step is to follow the adage, “If you see something, say something.” According to stopbullying.gov, when people intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time. Beyond that, we all need to be conscious of our own behaviors as well as the behaviors of those around us.

Most of us are unlikely to engage in the explicit bullying that is shown in this video — or so I would hope. However,  most of us partake in our share of implicit bullying that can have negative effects on those around us. This may seem like a trite question, but since we are brought together by a common passion shouldn’t we use it to unite rather than to divide?