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Jimmie Schramm

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Product Review: Zandonà Carbon Air X-Country Boot

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

I have used large variety of cross country boots in my day. Having been competing in the sport for close to 20 years (yikes that ages me a bit) different boot trends have come and gone, but the particulars of what a rider wants in a good cross country boot has stayed the same. We are all wanting a boot that is light, doesn’t hold water, has a good structure that doesn’t rub, but also is strong enough to protect our horses legs.

The Carbon Air X-Country Boot by Zandonà is seriously impressive. I tried this boot for the first time on course last weekend at Virginia Horse Trials, which I do not normally do. I normally try to use nothing new at an event because it’s best not to change anything, but these fit the horse so well it seemed silly not to give them a go. Plus they are so sporty in design I thought they looked really smart.

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

I was really thrilled with function and features of this boot. Straight out of the box you could feel the carbon insert on the shin of the boot for extra protection, but the rest of the boot was easily moldable to the horse’s leg, not stiff at all. These boots also have a shock absorbing liner, so not just the front of the shin is protected. As I was putting them on I noticed the silver air vents around the boot. These make the boots extra breathable, keeping the horse’s leg cool, and it keeps them from holding a lot of water.

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

One of my favorite features of the boot is the velcro system for the closure of the boot. At first glance you assume it is going to just be the one larger flap closure, but underneath the large flap are two smaller velcro straps. The beauty of this is that the two smaller straps are stabilized by the one larger flap. This means no more electrical or duct tape needed to make sure the boots are going to stay on! They did not slip or move at all after the Preliminary cross country run. You might think this sounds bulky, but actually the boot is very streamlined and it worked beautifully.

After the cross country course my horse’s legs felt great, not hot in the slightest. The boots were very light and honestly almost dry after the walk back to the barn from the end of the course. Another nice feature of these boots is that the inside is seamless which prevents the horse’s leg from getting rubbed. When we hit the winter season this is particular important with the horses legs being clipped.

All in all I would give these boots an A+. They are extremely well thought out and I have complete peace of mind putting them on my horse. “Protect your passion” is the key motto for Zandonà and they have gone above and beyond with these cross country boots. Learn more about the front boots here and the hind boots here.

Check out their U.S. website for the full range of products distributed by Seadog Trading Company. Also stay tuned to EN for a chance to win a front pair of the Carbon Air X-Country Boots this month!

Product Review: Banixx

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

Everyone is always looking for the best product to kill fungus, scratches, and the dreaded crud on our horse’s legs. We are also always searching for a cream or salve to heal our horses wounds and scrapes as quickly as possible. How nice would it be if these products existed and we knew they worked? Enter Banixx!

Let’s just start with the Banixx Medicated Shampoo. There is a long list of what this shampoo can treat: rain rot, scratches, sweet itch, cannon karatosis (cannon bone crud). The beauty of this medicated shampoo is that there are no detergents in the ingredients, which is what leaves your horse’s skin dry and flakey. Instead it uses surfactants, these lower the surface tension of water which makes the molecules less likely to stick to themselves and more likely to interact with oils or dirt and grease. The shampoo is also infused with sea-sourced amino acids that repair damage to your horse’s hair and are also gentle on the skin. Banixx Medicated Shampoo is non-toxic; you will not find paraben, sulfate, alcohol, or soap. This is a very healthy option to try when tackling the crud!

Next the Banixx Wound Care Cream is safe and is an effective skin infection and wound treatment. This cream is good for scratches, wounds, cuts, rashes, ringworm, sweet itch, and dermatitis. Not dissimilar to the medicated shampoo, the wound care cream also contains sea sourced amino acids and is non-toxic. One thing I like most about this wound cream is that it is very light in feel, not think or heavy, this helps keep the wounds clean and creates an invisible cover to protect the wound.

I have included two examples from my own testing. The first is from a horse that got properly kicked in the field, he ended up needing staples and was incredibly sore and banged up. I used both the Banixx Medicated Shampoo as well as the Banixx Wound Care Cream. The vet told me I would need to have the staples in for 10 days. After using the Banixx products every day we were able to take the staples out 3 days early because of how well the wounds looked. Needless to say, I am very happy with these results.

Kick wound before and after Banixx. Photos by Jimmie Schramm.

The second example is from a horse that is currently on stall rest and has been getting a little bit of crud not the fronts of her legs. For this horse I used the Banixx Medicated Shampoo and the Banixx Bacterial and Fungal Spray. This was sorted in literally three days. Now this case was not as bad as some are, but I can see that with how fast and how well this worked for this particular horse that it would be brilliant with tougher cases.

Before and after Banixx use. Photos by Jimmie Schramm.

If you weren’t already sold on using the Banixx products here is some other cool information. All of these products can be used on dogs and cats as well! Considering that most of us horse people are multi pet homes, it is nice to have products that can be used on all of our animals. I know that we all hear this often, “try this product it will change your life,” but seriously, TRY these products! They will change your life, as well as make for happier, healthier pets!

Product Review: ‘Diamonds in the Dirt’ Equestrian Beauty Line

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

There are a countless options for face and beauty products on the market today, and being a woman, I am always looking for the perfect setup for my skin. Horsemen and women in particular have a hard time managing to keep healthy skin due to our lifestyle of being covered in dirt, sweat, manure, the list goes on. So when I was introduced to Sarah Donnell and her product line, Diamonds in the Dirt carried by World Equestrian Brands, I was quite excited about giving it a try.

I was fortunate enough to meet Sarah in Minnesota while Dom and I were teaching a clinic and helping with a Derby at Woodloch Stables. She is an absolutely adorable person who is a horse lover like the rest of us. She created these products one at a time, starting with lip balm. Unhappy with the ingredients she found in a chapstick that she had been using, she thought to herself, “I can do this,” and did. After running out of her skin cream she went to replenish and looked at the price and thought, heck I can make this, and so on and so forth with all of her products. You will not find sulfate, paraben, sodium chloride, or any other harmful chemicals in any of the products.

I met Sarah on the third day of the clinic weekend. She showered me with samples of the products. The first time I used everything that evening I was taken aback by how much better my skin felt. Then I thought to myself, “Does it just feel that much better because it was so covered in dirt and sweat to begin with and I am just that exhausted I can’t even actually feel my face?” I continued using everything throughout the next week and it didn’t take long for me to realize this stuff was legit and my skin loved it, and not just because I was covered in dirt and exhaustion the first time I used it.

Photo by Jimmie Schramm.

I have been using the Fresh enriching cucumber facial wash, Balance eye cream, Nourish powerful facial creme, Nuzzle hydrating lip balm, Velvet hydrating body oil, and Savvy muscle creme religiously since she gave them to me. I am one of those people that always has puffy eyes, mostly because I am a pretty consistent crier, but also because I am never getting enough sleep and most likely never drinking enough water. The eye cream has changed my puffy eye syndrome — I use it morning and night with spectacular results. It is one of my favorites of all the products.

I am also a pretty big fan of the Nourish powerful facial creme. This is one of the products Sara said she had a harder time formulating. She said it took her a long time to get the consistency right. One of her biggest concerns with this line is that the skin is hydrated without feeling heavy, and all of her products mimic that. I would say the skin cream is a perfect consistency and my skin never feels oily or weighed down.

The Savvy muscle creme is one of the best sellers, and for good reason. If you have ever used Icy-Hot you know the smell is overbearing and sometimes it can almost burn. This muscle cream only has a hint of a peppermint scent to it and you never get that weird tingly cold feeling. All you get is relief from sore muscles. Again, like with her face products, the muscle cream is light on the skin and soaks in quickly and never leaves a weird smell.

Other products in the line include the Abundant facial serum, Naked body scrub, Quench intensive facial serum, and Wise facial toner. All in all Diamonds in the Dirt is a win. I am so fortunate to have been able to test all the products and I hope that everyone checks it out and will give it a try. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Stay tuned next week when you can have the chance to win a sample pack of Diamonds in the Dirt products to try for yourself! If you can’t wait until then, check out the products here at World Equestrian Brands.

Go Eventing.

Product Review: Correct Connect Reins

Photo courtesy of Correct Connect.

How many times as a rider have you heard from your coach or trainer, “shorten your reins!” If you have been riding or teaching riding lessons for any period of time you now this quote well. Thanks to Correct Connect, there is now a tool to help you train rein length and connection.

Correct Connect was developed by 1996 Olympic eventing team member Jill Henneberg. After competing at the top level for many years as well as coaching, Jill saw a need to help her students better understand the feel of a true consistent connection. This is when Correct Connect reins were developed.

The Correct Connect system is really easy to use, which is one of the best perks of the whole concept. The main package comes with a set of reins and gloves. The reins stick to the gloves with velcro. The velcro pieces in the gloves are strategically placed where the rein should sit in your hand and fingers. Now I know what you are thinking, what if I need to shorten or lengthen my reins during my ride? The velcro is strong, but not so strong that you cannot easy move your hand if needed.

The original glove has larger patches of velcro; there is also a Lite glove where the velcro patches are slimmer. I tried riding with both and can definitely see where for a rider that struggles with rein length the original glove would be a good place to start and as that rider gets more confident with the feel of the connection they could graduate to the Lite glove.

Buck Davidson is a huge believer in the Correct Connect system and a partial owner of the company and says that Correct Connect has helped him and his students tremendously in dressage by teaching proper rein length and allowing relaxation through the arms and elbows to create a consistent connection with the horses mouth.

Over fences many riders feel that recovery is faster and they are able to better stay with their horses over all phases of the jump.

Photo courtesy of Jimmie Schramm.

Another added bonus of the Correct Connect rein which I did not even think about until it happened while I was riding was velcro in the rain! One issue as a rider is trying to hold on to slippery reins when it is raining or your horse is particularly sweaty. The reins stayed grippy while riding and it was much easier to keep a hold of the reins and contact even though it was raining.

As if you needed another reason to try these reins out, one last added bonus is that the price is very affordable! For $99 dollars you can get the reins and gloves. I am definitely sold on this product as a training tool and also as a competitive edge in inclement weather. For any trainer or rider, check out this system and keep these as a staple in your tack room.

Visit the Correct Connect website here.

Go Eventing.

A Baptism By Fire at My First Rolex

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. Photo by Rare Air Photography. Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. Photo by Rare Air Photography.

How weird it is to think that this time just seven days ago I had completed my first CCI4* jog and was starting to mentally prepare myself for my dressage test the following day. Time really does move at an incredible and unfortunate rate. People always tell you before a significant experience to try and enjoy every minute because it goes so quickly. While you are in these moments, you always seem to forget that piece of advice.

My first Rolex and first four-star experience is threaded with fantastic highs and severe lows. It was not something I had planned for or had even imagined. Going into this event, I did A LOT of day dreaming, as I imagine most first-timers do. I envisioned a record best dressage test; a stellar cross country round in the beautiful, cool, dry Kentucky weather; and show jumping in the afternoon sun on Sunday.

I saw myself and Bellamy galloping across the finish line, hugging his neck and crying happy tears at the finish with my husband, my family and my team, who had worked just as hard if not harder than me to make this whole thing happen.

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy with Dom Schramm, Chrissy Kenyon and Stephanie Simpson. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy with Dom Schramm, Chrissy Kenyon and Stephanie Simpson. Photo by Jenni Autry.

What I did not envision was trudging up the hill in the pouring rain staring at my horse’s ass galloping away from me, with a giant mud stain on my brand new white breeches and realizing that maybe neon yellow was a poor choice in underwear for a rainy day. Did I also forget to mention that I was only five jumps from home?

I cannot even express the emotions that ran through me in that moment and that are continuing to run through me now. Everyone has disappointment in their riding careers; it’s inevitable. I had a pretty miserable autumn season in 2014. Absolutely none of those disappointments compares to this one. Even four days after, I still find myself randomly breaking into tears.

All of that being said, I have never had more fun riding Bellamy, or in my life for that matter, than I did at Rolex. God has truly blessed me with the most incredible horse. Was my dressage test a record best? Definitely not, but the work in the warm up was some of the best work I have ever had on him.

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. Photo courtesy of Cindy Lawler.

Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy. Photo courtesy of Cindy Lawler.

He handled himself relatively well in a huge arena with more atmosphere than he has ever seen. I got to canter down the centerline at Rolex which not many get to ever do. Plus, Sarm Hippique generously made me the most beautiful shadbelly I have ever seen (this is obviously most important), so all the pictures look amazing.

No one likes to go cross country in the rain. I can guarantee you that no one likes to do their first four-star in the rain either, but all of us Rolex Rookies had a good ole baptism by fire on cross country day. I had not once ever ridden Bellamy cross country in the rain. What I did know was that he normally does not like the mud or deep footing.

This time out, though, he was different, and I had a “kick don’t pick” mantra running on repeat in my mind. Fences 1 through 23 were the most fun and exciting experience of my whole existence. Anyone who has seen me completely cheesing in every cross country picture can obviously tell I was having the ride of my life.

Then it all came to a screeching halt with a big brush corner and a flag to the face. In all honesty, I don’t know exactly what happened. Bellamy does historically have a brush corner demon, especially right handed corners, as he has a big cataract in his right eye.

A lot of things were running through my head on my way to the oxer before the corner. One, he has already jumped a right handed corner at the hollow; two, he is jumping amazing, there is no reason for me to not go the straight route; three, option or straight; four, get him great to the oxer and get the distance early to the corner.

He jumped the oxer great, I made the turn, saw the distance, put my leg on, and then I went one way and he didn’t. Whether he slipped then ducked right or just ducked right, the end result was the same.

That is where my first four-star experience ended. I have a friend that says, “The sport of eventing will never love you back, no matter what; it will never love you as much as you love it.” This is very true, unfortunately.

Jimmie with her family and support team.

Jimmie with her family and support team.

What I did find out through this whole experience was that the people in the eventing community love me and support me. The riders, the spectators, the fans, the coaches, the photographers, the bloggers — every person in eventing loved me back that day and supported me in my disappointment. That is something that I will treasure from my first Rolex.

Bellamy is happy and sound out in his field on holiday, which is another giant blessing from the finish of the weekend. We will definitely be back next year to conquer Kentucky.

I want to say a personal thank you to my husband Dom, my groom Stephanie, my family, my team that was involved in getting Hells Bells to Kentucky, my amazing sponsors, my fantastic friends and this whole eventing community for the love and continued support. Bellamy and I will be back with a vengeance and, as always, #ibelieveinbells!