Welcome to my first Tottie blog of 2017! At last we’ve past the longest say of the year, days are getting longer and (thankfully) evenings are slowly getting brighter! If, like me, you spend all day long stuck behind a desk at school, college or university, you’ll understand the pain of riding in the evenings (if not, lucky you!). I love hacking on Ben’s ‘quiet’ days, nothing beats a good relaxing stroll through the English country side but there are plenty of precautions we must take as riders on the roads.
Staying safe while staying snug can be a problem for some, high vis vests may not fit over a heavy winter jacket or your horse may not like his warm, yet obviously very scary exercise sheet. To combat the high vis problem, I highly recommend Tottie’s Maven Waterproof jacket, not only is it lovely and snug but it’s not too bulky meaning you can easily slip your high vis vest over the top and still keep warm. I also can’t praise enough, the new Holly Winter breeches! What can a rider ask for better than fleece lined waterproof riding bottoms? Perfect for if you get caught in a downpour, if you have my luck – that’s always! Also fab for jumping as they have sticky knee grips that are my life saver when Ben decides (nearly all the time) to take a long one! Be cautious on the roads, don’t hack out when it’s icy as your horse may slip on the concrete, especially if they have shoes on and always be aware of oncoming traffic. Signal cars to slow down and don’t forget to always thank them for their patience!
As for your horse, of course they must be warm, dry and, especially if hacking, visible. Buying a simple high vis or bright fleece exercise sheet and getting your horse to wear it can be a tricky task. Believe me, I understand - Ben would run the other way faster than you can say “Reflective!” Desensitizing them to it can be a painless and easy task. Remain patient with your horse and calm, they can sense if you are nervous. I would bring the sheet with you in to the stable and hang it over the door as you groom your horse. This gives them time to adjust to it being in their space. Slowly but surely move it closer, let them have a sniff and if they aren’t bothered by it, slowly place it on their back. If they are all okay with this, I’d recommend lunging with it on then progressing to riding once they are used to it. Don’t rush and remember – if all else fails, there are plenty of other high vis items you can use on your horse!
I hope you all have a safe and happy 2017!