Spring came a little bit late this year to fly over country, but I think it’s finally here to stay. What does that mean for equestrians? We’re knee deep in mud, our horses are shedding like crazy and show season is right around the corner [if it hasn’t started already]! To get ready for summer, which is the best part of the year in my opinion, I’ve got some equestrian spring cleaning tips for you:
Every equestrian loves to have clean saddle pads, but we all hate to wash them. Unless you’re lucky enough to board at a facility that has its own washer and dryer… then you probably don’t mind. But for the rest of us, we’ve got to figure out a way to get white pads white and all that horse hair off our brand new polo wraps from the comfort of our own homes. I’ve run the gamut of cleaning options, from sending things out to professionals to getting kicked out of laundromats. What I’ve learned is that you can wash a majority of your horse laundry right here at home — and here’s how.
It can be difficult to find time to ride during the winter, when the temperatures drop and the roads aren’t great. Even those of us who enjoy a hectic show season during the summer sometimes lack motivation in the winter to work, work, work. Instead of constantly battling with myself, I try to embrace these feelings by going back to basics and slowing down during the winter. I don’t stop riding, but I focus more on groundwork and flatwork, both of which are key to success in the saddle and over fences.
I have a very important question to pose to readers today: do you change the length of your stirrups to jump? I know it’s a very small thing, and I’m sure everyone does it differently, but this question seems to pop up in my riding at least once every few months. So naturally I’m curious as to everyone’s thoughts on the subject. But let me back up, and give you some insight on my personal dilemma.
One of the things that makes hunter/jumper shows so complicated are unrated divisions. Many shows choose to add divisions that aren’t technically recognized by the United States Hunter Jumper Association or the United State Equestrian Federation to increase entries and provide more opportunities for weeny adult amateurs like myself to actually get in the show ring. Usually these unrated hunter jumper divisions are lower in height and have various experience qualifications for horse and rider. Sometimes the names of these divisions vary by region, or the name may be the same across the nation, but the rules for eligibility differ. In a nutshell, unrated hunter jumper divisions are super confusing and there’s really no rhyme or reason to them. In all honesty, your best bet to enter correctly is to read the prize list, the rule book and/or contact the show organizer. But in case your running short on time, here are a few popular unrated hunter jumper divisions, what they are and who is typically eligible to compete in them: