Category Archives: Just for Fun

If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle – Rita Mae Brown

With the popularity of shows like “Downton Abbey” depicting glamorous and exciting hunting scenes with women riding sidesaddle, the discipline is seeing a resurgence in those looking to learn how to ride as a beginner, to those more experienced riders wanting to be able to hunt sitting aside.

Thanks to the Ontario Sidesaddle Association hosting a clinic this past weekend, I (along with many others) were able to bring our own horses and learn all about fitting and riding in sidesaddles.

The clinic was held at Hopewell Creek Stables in Breslau, just outside of Kitchener. Participants were divided into groups of 4-5 in 2 hour-long sessions, which started out with fitting the saddles.

The organizers brought a number of saddles to try on and make sure they fit both horse and rider. It’s difficult in a clinic situation to have something that perfectly fits every horse and rider but small adjustments could be made so that both horse and rider are comfortable.

Saddles were placed on a saddle stand to allow riders to get a feel for how to sit properly in the saddle, so as not to give the horse any discomfort. If you have any holes or bad habits in your riding, they will come out when you ride sidesaddle! If you lean or are a crooked rider, it is amplified in a sidesaddle. fitting

One of the hardest things for me to get over was that while your left foot (the one in the stirrup) keeps the normal “heels down” position, your right foot is meant to be “toes down”. My muscle memory kept wanting to revert (as you can see in the picture) but the different positioning allows you to “lock” yourself into the saddle better. It was explained that if you lifted your left thigh into the block, pointed your right foot toes down and put your right shoulder back, you could ride a buck all day and be laughing (luckily we didn’t have to put that to the test!) but just trying it out while sitting there, you felt more secure in the saddle.


After finding saddles that fit the rider, saddles were fitted to the horse.   While some came with a specific girth, most of them used a regular jumping saddle girth. Different from other saddles, a side saddle also includes an overgirth that holds the flaps down and a balancing strap to provide stability.


Mounting also proved to be a challenge as the sole stirrup is designed to break away from the saddle with weight. A leg up is the easiest way to get on, or a short horse and really tall mounting block!

Once mounted, we all proceeded to walk around the arena, getting used to the saddle while sitting astride (note, these saddles are not comfortable when riding normally!) Once horse and rider were ready, we swung our legs over.  For those that know Splash, she can be incredibly lazy and requires a lot of leg to ride. This proved to be challenge as I lost half of my aids but using a whip as a leg when needed helped. We worked on our equitation, sitting straight and square in the saddle and keeping our legs in the proper position. When we all felt comfortable, we picked up a trot.

Luckily Splash’s trot is like sitting on a couch so we didn’t get jarred around too much. Sitting trot is much easier than the posting trot so kudos to those that ride side saddle on a springy horse!

We also got to try a bit of canter, which was really hard without that extra leg on the side, we managed to get a few strides.  Funny enough, the canter was much easier to ride than the trot, I’m guessing because of the motion.  It almost felt as if it was locking you into the saddle even more; making you feel more secure.


We also got to play dress up and try on a few riding aprons, just to complete the look.

If you ever get the chance to try out one of these saddles, I highly recommend it.  It really gives you an appreciation for those that do it and make it look so easy (I’m talking to you fox hunters!)


15 Types of People You’ve Definitely Seen at an Endurance Ride

1. The Old Hat

The distance between this rider’s legs doesn’t change when they dismount, and they have more miles under their girth than a migratory bird.  Their horse never seems to break from its perfect 10mph trot and never seems to be all too taxed.  The fountain of youth may be dry, but the fountain of knowledge is overflowing.  They can still outride their younger counterparts and never seem to complain.

2. The Child Prodigy

They may not yet be tall enough to ride a rollercoaster, but that won’t stop them from riding 50 miles on the back of their plucky pony.  Chances are, they still have more riding experience than the riders triple their age. They campaign the social media forums looking for a sponsor – nab them up ASAP and enjoy sing alongs down the trail.

3.  The Student

This person may be short on practical experience, but they have read every article, every rule, and been to every clinic offered for the past 5 years.  They have a notebook filled with training notes and guides that they may even carry in their saddle bags.  They have been dreaming of this for years and finally have the means to bring a horse out to a real ride.  While they may look a little tired and physically overwhelmed, they know exactly how their scorecard works, what their cutoff or optimum time is, and will happily share their booksmarts with newbies and old hats alike.

4. The Socialite

This rider knows every other rider, volunteer and official on site and makes a point to visit everyone before the weekend is over.  They stay out late at the campfire with a thermos full of wine and a bag of snacks to share. They also the one organizing the fun unofficial events and parties before the ride starts and during the off season.  Watch out newbie, The Socialite will notice you the moment you arrive at ride camp!

5.  The Dabbler

With their matching embroidered saddle pad, fly bonnet, polos and glittering Charles Owen helmet its clear this rider is out for their first taste of trail.  They may not have a crew kit or a suitable enclosure for their 17h warmblood, but they are keen and smiling and their perfect equitation will save them grief through the next 12 miles.

6. The Ride Mom/Dad

This rider always notices when someone is having a bad day and offers a welcome hug and sympathetic ear when things aren’t going your way.  They also have the best food and makes sure that everyone within a 50m radius of their campsite has food and shelter, and has probably already topped up your horse’s water for the night.

7.  The Celebrity

The rider with the Je Ne Sais Quoi.  They warm up and everyone stops to stare.  Not only are their dressage skills on point, they also always look composed and put together.  They probably smell fabulous and seem to never sweat or get beet pulp in their hair or clothes.  They never seem to talk to others, but watching them in a hold is like a live action mineral water commercial.

8.  The Livestreamer

You don’t know how, but this rider manages a steady stream of social media updates from the back of their horse – mileage countdowns, selfies, between the ear shots, placings, vetting results, and deep realizations about themselves and the world around them… getting deeper the more miles whiz by.  You never actually see them on trail but you follow their updates religiously.  They also seem to know and post where any other rider is at any given time.  How they stay on top of it is a mystery to all.

9. Mr./Ms. I’m in the Zone

This rider has everything planned and timed to a tee.  The moment they see the timer they get a steely focus and everything flows like clockwork.  They have already managed to clear the vet check and are reviewing their scorecard before you have even remembered which pocket you stuck your vet card in.

10.  The Riding Couple

They are #relationshipgoals of every rider with an unhorsey spouse.  While they are technically two people, you will never see them separate on trail or at a check and they may even rider option their own ride when the other fails the vet check.  Four legs are better than two, and eight is just perfect for these riders.

11.  The Slightly Absent Minded

Arrive late? Check!  Forget a major piece of equipment?  Checkaroo!  Rides 6 miles of the trail backwards?  You better bet that’s a big fat check too!  This rider seems to come completely unprepared but manages to get through the ride through pure dedication and effort.

12. The Observer

This rider never seems to actually ride, but is always present… whether crewing, volunteering, or just out for the party.  They have been in the sport longer than anyone else and is watching everyone come through camp armed with tips and advice for riders.  Thank goodness for this person to cut through your Rider Brain and smack you upside your ego when things are starting to get NQR.

13.  The Turtle

This rider paid good money for a full day of riding and will damn well get it.  Maybe they will get warnings from officials and be lapped by the front runners, but  they carry along their merry way and enjoy the ride.  They notice things the other’s don’t along the trail, stop to bring home fruits and mushrooms foraged from the forest floor, and spend a little extra time in their holds scritching their animals.

14.  The Dream Team

The rider or group of riders who show up with a full squad of support crew.  Everyone is dressed in team colours and everyone is assigned a specific task, the crew area looks like something out of Nascar.  Chances are, the horses all look alike and maybe the riders do too.  They line up before the race for a photo that can only be taken in full panorama mode.

15.  The Fashionista

You better bet this rider has everything in matching colours – tack, clothing, buckets, saddle stand, trailer, grease pens.  Everyone knows this is HER colour and wouldn’t dare replicating the look.  Like a superhero, shiny bright spandex plays a large role in her success… in fact, you are pretty sure you once saw her go into a portapottie and come out Wonder Woman.

 16. The DIYer

This person always seems to travel alone, probably cavalry style with everything they need for the race and the night attached to their bodies.  They live off next to nothing, yet somehow they have everything you could possibly need and most likely forgot stuffed into their saddle bags.  Crew? They don’t need no stinkin’ crew!  They’ve got this.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

It’s that time of year where you see tons of companies doing giveaways and contests on social media so we here at Eat Sleep Ride Repeat jumped on the bandwagon.  We gave away an awesome Icebreaker Merino baselayer and a tshirt to one our lucky social media followers. Watch the video below to find out who won:


Not our lucky winner? You can still score a great deal on Eat Sleep Ride Repeat Clothing.


Pick any two items from our current inventory and the second is half price* when you pay with etransfer or cash. Email your orders to before January 2nd to qualify. Everything is first come first served! Don’t wait!
*discount taken off of lowest price item*


Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more fun stuff and future contests!


Instagram: @team_eat_sleep_ride_repeat

Twitter: @eatsleep_ride1

Take advantage of cold and flu season – show your helmet some love!

Us equestrians are a tough sort.  All that time in the barn getting filthy and we get to brag about how our immune system is almost that of a superhero.  But alas, every superhero has a kryptonite.  Mine is children, so when exposed to the young’uns at a family holiday gathering, I immediately fell into a shell of myself.

Also, like most equestrians, I cannot sit still for very long.  Even if I am sick.  Netflix binge and afternoon naps will only get me so far.  It’s hard to entertain a sick equestrian.

So I finally got around to something I have been putting off – decorating my new helmet.  I will have to say, this is a bit of an emotional time for me (the DayQuill highs were not helping) as my current helmet has seen me through so many fond memories.  Its hard to put away, even though I know that all those fond memories means the helmet will not perform as intended (its old and has taken a lot of branches).  I have had this unblemished new helmet, exact same make and model as the previous, sitting on the shelf since International Helmet Awareness Day in September.  Not quite ready to say goodbye.

The design had been in planning for a while.  After I purchased my new helmet, I set about the internet to find decals that would easily adhere to the helmet without damaging it.  My previous helmet, I had made a stencil and cut out duct tape (Red Green style) to make a giant maple leaf in the back, but this time I wanted something a little more foolproof.

I found decals on Etsy, and messaged the seller about getting custom decals – both in sizing and colour.  She could do it, and the price was great!  The decals arrived in the mail shortly after and of course, they sat beside my untouched helmet for a while.

I highly recommend the decals, they were super easy to apply, looked great and are difficult to remove.  The gold has a nice shine to it and it makes the job look a lot more professional than my duct tape!

Its like a temporary tattoo for my helmet!
Cutting the base of the decals helped to make it look more natural around the visor

If you are ready to customize your helmet, here are a few tips:

  • Clean your helmet with soap and water first to remove grime then wipe the entire area with rubbing alcohol and let dry before applying anything with an adhesive
  • Be aware of different materials – the visor and or vents may not adhere as well so you will likely want to avoid them
  • Plan your design and cut your decals according to the vents and curves that you are accommodating.  Make sure to buy or make extra decals in case you make mistakes cutting
  • If you are using raised decorations like rhinestones or studs, be careful where you place them – of you deflect a lot of branches with your helmet, they are more likely to be removed.  Put these more along the side or back of your helmet.
  • If you plan on using paint, make sure that the chemicals will not degrade the materials of your helmet – you want to stay safe.
  • If you are nervous or unsure of your design, practice with an old helmet first – remember, you should be replacing them at least every 5 years anyway!
  • The dollar store has lots of great colours of tape, adhesive rhinestones, and other decorations that will help you make your helmet as unique as you are, and keep the price low!

Happy decorating everyone!



Cures to beat the winter blahs

The end of daylight savings time is the bane of my existence.  My work schedule only allows me to ride in the evenings and on weekends, and even then, I am at the mercy of the weather gods as I do not have an indoor arena. Keeping my horse at home means I am, more often than not, riding alone. Needless to say, I need to get creative this time of year, otherwise, I’m going to go a little crazy!


First things first, my trusty headlamp comes out of storage. Riding while holding a flashlight becomes a little cumbersome, plus if your horse decides to spook, having your hands free to grab the reins is always a good idea!

winter riding

In terms of clothing, Kerrits Pro Fleece Cross Over Breeches and my Eat Sleep Ride Repeat merino base layer, paired with my Ariat Bromont boots, are my go to’s to keep toasty on those chilly rides, because as long as is it not a blizzard, you can bet I’ll be out there riding!

winter riding

If your riding area is limited (or if you are not comfortable venturing out into the dark on your own), arena exercises by yourself or with barn mates are a great way to break up the monotony of just going around in circles in the arena.  Find some dressage patterns to practice and master or create a pas de deux to music! Build some obstacles (Pinterest has a ton of great ideas) and work on desensitizing. Set goals each time you work with your horse so that it gives you something to work towards. It could be as simple as just having fun!

Dogsledding? Sure!

There’s a certain letdown after a huge accomplishment.  It’s been almost a year since I decided I wanted to tackle Tevis.  Over Christmas last year I was driving cross country from Michigan to Southern California with two horses, one of which would hopefully make it to Tevis.  In August, we did it!

But then what?  Post adventure letdown.  But TODAY voting opens for hopefully the next big adventure!  It’s not horses…but it still involves animals with 4 legs…


Fjallraven Polar!  Each year 20 people from around the world have the opportunity to compete in an Iditarod style dogsled race in the Norwegian arctic.  For each of 10 regions of the world, two people get a spot.  One is selected by Fjallraven jury, the other by popular vote (this is going to be me!!)

Fjallraven is an outdoor clothing company based in Sweeden and they provide gear, training and dog teams to the expedition which culminates in a 3 day race.  No prior experience dogsledding is necessary.

I need your help to win this thing!  And please please share!

(Aren’t you glad I’m not fundraising?  This is an easy one!!)

Before I started writing for ESRR, I had (and still have) an adventure blog,  You will be able to follow the non-horse (but still endurance) related adventure there.  And of course since I’m in Southern California, it’s a bit challenging to dogsled, so I’ll be riding to stay fit and ready.  And I’m on the lookout for my next project horse with an eye towards next season.

11 Reasons to Love Love Love Autumn Riding

  1. The colours (duh!)

Do I even have to say anything here?  Yeah green is nice and fresh, but nothing beats the vibrant reds and yellows of the season.  Plus, it goes with all my tack.

2. The BIG trot

Cooler weather + endurance season fit horse = wheeeeeee!!!!!!!!  The giant gaits and frisky snorts are pretty much my favourite thing ever.  Catch that air!


3.  Chase the spotlight

The days are short.  Change out those old batteries in your headlamp and hit the trail in the dark.  It may seem scary at first, so stay close to home, but the feeling is unbeatable.  Bentley and I play chase the spotlight, I just point my light where I want to go and he goes (of course at the big trot).  For all the times your coach reminds you to “look where you want to go, not at your hands.”

4. Flannel, Wool and Pockets

Don’t get me wrong, I love my summer clothes, but once the weather dips enough for me to put on a sweater, I relish all the pockets that come along with them.  Seriously, why don’t they make more (and affordable) riding tights with good cargo pockets.  Give me like 20 down my legs please!  Vests, hoodies, jackets, so many options for storing phones and treats!  Then add in the cozy comfort of a nice flannel or wool baselayer or jacket and…. oh I am melting with comfort.

5. Change of Focus

Winter I think of my upcoming season and set my goals.  Spring I am implementing the training plans I made in winter, bringing both myself and my horse up to condition.  Summer is compete compete compete.  Fall is just about fun.  We play around in other disciplines (Bentley loves to jump and seems to know once Oktoberfest is done, he goes jumping!), go for leisurely rides, and just hang out in the paddock and play.  What a relief!


6. Halloween

Bentley got to be a big bag of garbage for Halloween this year. Not insinuating anything here!!!

No animal in my household is allowed to get past October 31 without being completely humiliated.  As an adrenaline junkie, I like to push my limits of how much I can get away with before said animal turns around and bites me in the ass.

7. No Stirrups November

You mean you DON’T love this?  Whats wrong with you?!  Maybe I am a little masochistic, maybe I am just addicted to the great feeling that comes with improvement.  Either way, my advice for those of you thinking about how sore your muscles are going to be tomorrow: that’s tomorrow’s problem.  Pull those leathers right out, lube up your thighs and lady bits with some body glide, and stock up on painkillers.  You can do this!

8. Hunts, Hunter Paces and Fun Shows

Going to a real hunt is still on my bucket list… maybe this year we will get there, but I have been to hunter paces and love it.  I think Bentley did too, despite being very confused.  I could practically hear his thoughts through the back of his head “Oh boy, time to ride!  Wait, who cleared this trail, they did a lousy job, all these big logs to jump.  Weird place for a hold, here’s my left leg forward… where is your stethoscope?  Isn’t it early to start drinking Sarah? I haven’t even dumped you yet.  What, its over already?  Can I go again… and like ten times faster?  That was fun!”

9. Fur Coats & Blanket Season

Nothing cuter than when all the horses get their furry winter coats… thick enough to bury cold fingers in. Mmmmmmm.  Add to that blankets… oh yes they are a pain when you have to change them as quick as the weather changes, or when they shred them to bits, but if you have a grey horse like me, you appreciate how clean your horse remains from the neck down November through March.

10. Apples and Carrots

Ever notice that in Autumn you can get giant bags of carrots super cheap?!  Not to mention all the free snacks growing on the trees down the trail.  Bentley knows where every apple tree is on our route and will drag me to them… even in the dark and I have no clue why he’s beelining it into the woods.  Cheers my friend, get your winter potbelly on.  You have earned it.

11. Critters

Cute chubby animals are everywhere (not just beneath our saddles).  Deer, coyotes, grouse, turkey, porcupine, skunks, raccoons… I have seen them all within the last few weeks.  Every time I go to the forest I swear the chipmunks have multiplied at a rate that could only be explained by mitosis.  Once I saw one pop out the side of a very steep hill (poorly placed exit you idiot) and roll a good 20 feet down the hill, desperately grasping at all the loose leaves on the ground with no avail.  I laughed.  I laughed so hard.  Nature can be so stupid, thank goodness its not just us people!  I will treasure that memory.  Busy critters make for great entertainment, and there is no busier time of year than Autumn.  Plus, the mosquitoes are (mostly) gone!