Category Archives: Promotion and Special Events

Titanium Run 3 Day Endurance Ride

If you follow along, you may know that I am addicted to adventure.  There is nothing I love more than hopping on a plane and exploring a new place by horseback.  This is what led me to reach out to the MacLeod family to attend their 3 day ride in Fort St. John, British Columbia.

I arrived at the airport and was met with the smiling faces of Makayla, as well as volunteers and officials also fresh off the plane.  That’s another great thing about travelling and riding OPHs, you have time and opportunity to get to know the people behind the scenes that make it work.

I had signed up to ride 3 days on 3 of the MacLeod’s horses (from Gone with The Wind Arabians), totaling 180 miles.

We ran some errands in town and drove up to the ride site at the Doig First Nations Reserve.  When I told everyone at home that I was riding in BC, they pictured mountains, but being as far east and north as it was, it was lots of flat pasture land with rivers cutting through, and surrounding forest.

We had a day before the ride and went out for a test ride, me on their lovely black stallion, Zorro (also known as Big Daddy!)  He was to be my mount for 75 miles on day 3.  We rode up to the beaver dam and had a bit of a swim, with Ariel hopping off to lasso a few logs that might pose a problem for riders on trail in competition.

The first day, I rode 50 miles on Medina… the black mare in the paddock (here’s the thing… they were almost all black mares lol!).  I had the pleasure of riding the full distance with Angie Lavalee from Manitoba and we had a blast.

The trails were a combination of flat and fast mixed with mud bogs through forest.  Typically the course is very fast but with the recent rain, we had to ride much slower to preserve our horses.  My instructions were to not ride faster than 5 hours, and we finished in a little under 7.5 hours instead!  Can’t change what Mother Nature throws at you, you can only ride accordingly!

I enjoyed seeing different vegetation – tall white poplar trees, bright red smurf home mushrooms, and fragrant purple wildflowers.  We even saw an elk on day one.  The ride felt less like a race and more like an adventure ride.  It’s what I had been craving for months!

After we completed, we helped crew Tara and Ariel who were riding the 100 mile 3* race.  Katja Leverman was also riding one of their horses and completed the 75 mile 2* race, earning her Elite status. The rides were all very slow, but the smart riding by everyone locked in 100% completion on day one for Gone With The Wind Arabians.

Day 2 I rode Talena, the rare bay mare in the field!  She had come into heat that weekend and was generally unenthusiastic about the whole riding 55 miles thing.  No matter what I did, she refused to trot much faster than 7 mph… even if her friends were disappearing around the corner.  It wasn’t the easiest ride, but having Tara and Ariel riding with us made it fun and we just focused on caring for our horses and enjoying the second day of sunshine.  We even rode through a herd of wild horses, saw a black bear, and got spooked by a beaver splashing in a pond just beside the trail.  Like being on a big Canadian safari.  We enjoyed another 100% completion rate for Gone With The Wind Arabians and Talena returned to her field happy to change into her comfy pants and grab a pint of Ben & Jerrys (so to speak)

Funny thing happened this evening… the Rodeo was going on down the road from the ride site and two poor drunks got dropped off at the ride site thinking it was the rodeo and weren’t convinced they were wrong.

Another great thing about the rodeo, we had crew pick us up Banac Burgers while we were out riding.  OMG, Banac Burgers are the most delicious thing ever.  I wanted to smuggle them home Jaques Clouseau style.  The food the entire weekend was wonderful – from Moose roast to chili and home made Banac.  Seriously, yum!

Day 3 was supposed to be Zorro’s ride, but he had banged himself up on the trailer and he just wasn’t quite right.  Instead after some deliberation we decided to take out the greenies who had been brought to the ride site for exposure.  I rode Drift, a big baby with a nice mind.  There were a few baby moments when the saddle slipped forward on our first trot, but after a bit of a rodeo, she settled right down.  I was impressed how maturely she behaved – she certainly didn’t dwell and her “spooks” were casual glances.  We liked to imagine her with a low calm voice (hear Morgan Freeman narrating) “I see that stump… it was unusual”  

We did have an accident toward the end of the ride which cast a shadow over the fun of the day, I have already written about it extensively so I won’t go back into it.  Overall, it was a successful ride and we all completed – this brought our total completions for the weekend to 12, on 11 horses (one horse did 2 days), 100% completion.  We were very proud as the overall completion rate for all rides was rather low.  Likely due to the mud and the above seasonal temperatures.

Overall, the 3 day ride was fantastic.  It felt great to get out on new trails and meet new riders.  I was seriously impressed at how far people came to compete, I had taken for granted how many rides are within a half-day’s trailering distance from where I live in Ontario.  The commitment these people have to the sport is commendable.  Also, I was amazed how Tara and clan were able to put on a 3 day FEI ride with almost no help, and ride it.  They are some seriously tough and talented women.  The ride itself had a lot lower attendance than I was used to, which meant we got personal attention from the officials and really got to know each other.    Whether you are looking to COC (which is totally possible on this course) or just looking for a bit of adventure: load up a trailer or lease a horse! This ride should be on your radar!

Advertisements

Civilian Service Horse Sensory Program

As you may remember from a previous post, Splash and I joined the Ontario Mounted Special Services Unit (OMSSU). From July 14-16 , we participated in the first clinic of its kind in Ontario: the Civilian Service Horse Sensory Program.  While this clinic was open to anyone, it was mandatory training for members of the OMSSU and we had equitation and obstacle/sensory testing that we needed to pass in order to become full members of the unit.

Many topics were covered throughout the weekend.  Friday evening, Wendy Swackhammer of Wellington County Livestock Emergency Response gave us a crash course into what goes into livestock rescue, from seeing all of the various tools used, to learning different techniques to putting strapping on a horse to help it move, to how to contain a loose horse safely.

omssu

Saturday and Sunday were both mounted portions.  First thing Saturday morning, we had formation riding instruction with Toronto Mounted Police officers Constable Houston and Constable McCarthy. Luckily Splash remembered her drill riding training however, I did initially find it difficult to learn the new commands as police drill training had different names for things than we did on the Canadian Cowgirls but once I understood what was being asked and I could translate back into what I knew, we were good to go! An excellent way to start the day!

omssu
Photo credit to Happy Hoof Photography

Next was an equitation session with retired RCMP Jerry Mayo, which we had both days. While I had initially expected these sessions to be basically a demonstration of what he wanted us to do, then to us go practice it and to have him assist if we were having difficulty, they ran more like a question and answer period.  While there was not as much riding and practicing in these sessions as I had hoped for, it was interesting to watch people work through specific issues they were having and to watch their progression as they utilized the instruction Jerry was giving them.

After this, Captain Lisa Rakes of the Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police walked us through self defense on horseback, particularly useful to me as I often ride alone. We learned what to do to keep us as safe as possible and what to do if someone tries to attack.  One thing I found interesting about this was if someone grabs your leg to push you off your horse, stay flexible and don’t stiffen up. The more you stiffen and try to brace yourself, the less balance you have and are able to be pushed off easier.

After lunch we had an obstacle course ride/test. While the pattern was relatively simple, the end goal was to test how calm and maneuverable your horse is. Last session of the day was fire prevention. One of the exercises on Friday as part of the large animal rescue session was to walk around the barn at the REACH Centre and pick out the good, the bad, and the ugly (an excellent practice to do in your own barn!)  While the REACH Centre is fairly new, it was shocking to all of us that although they have a state of the art sprinkler system installed, there wasn’t a fire extinguisher to be seen! In the light of recent barn fires in the area, there were many good takeaways from this session and the one on Sunday, including having a fire extinguisher within arm’s reach of every exit and to have a plan established and practised should there ever be an emergency.

A dinner reception was held Saturday evening to swear all of the new OMSSU members in. The dinner was delicious and catered by a member of our own team (thanks Dee!). A professional chef on the team is a great asset as we know we will never starve!

omssu
Photo credit to Happy Hoof Photography

Sunday was one of my favourite days as we participated in a search and rescue training session and an advanced obstacle/sensory class.  Search and rescue was one of my main reasons for wanting to join the OMSSU and we will be partaking in Canadian and National certification in the spring.  For this particular session, we were given an in-class debriefing on the different type of search techniques that can be implemented and what sort of things to consider when participating in a search, then we set out to do a mock run. It was amazing how much ground we could cover in such a short period of time and we did find our missing target! Horses can be such an asset to searches as they can cover ground faster and can go many places that people, vehicles, or atvs can go!

The last sensory session of the day proved to be interesting as Splash decided that she didn’t want to have any part of anything, even though she had done almost all of the obstacles previously.  While it can be quite frustrating, we just took it as another training opportunity. Horses can have off days too and it is good to know what tools and tactics you have and are useful if this ever happens again. Once she decided that life wasn’t so bad, she happily tried her best at the various obstacles in the ring.  She really surprised me when she quickly understood what was being asked of her when she was presented with the riot cart (designed to simulate having to push through a crowd), considering her initial mood and that she had never seen one of these before. With only a little bit of coaxing, she quickly figured out that all she had to do was push it with her chest and the cart moved.

omssu

This weekend was not only fantastic for training but to get to work more together with the team as a whole (as we are spread out all over the province) and to see what we need to work on before Kentucky.

Thank you to all of the incredible instructors and to Cindy Fuerth for having this vision. I’m super excited to see where this takes us and lots of things are already in the works.

If you are interested in participating in this one of a kind workshop next year, the dates have already been set for June 22-24, 2018 at the REACH Centre in Clinton, Ontario.

Lee can put his foot in his mouth… while on a horse!

Could you imagine someone so flexible?  Well perhaps those fantastic trick riders we enjoyed Saturday night at Can-Am, but no, this is a little less literal.

“When are you going to do a Ride N Tie with me?” I asked about a week ago over a pint at our date-night pub.

“I would rather do a ride on my own, a bucket list item for me!”

Wait, what did he just say?!  Don’t question… just go with it!

Lee isn’t quite sure why he said this, but the foot was in and I was not about to let him spit it out.  Before the night was up I had offered him to do a charity fun ride instead, but the foot reached deeper and he insisted it had to be a competitive ride. 12 miles.  And for some reason it had to be hot?  I swear I inserted no roofies in his drink.  One thing I have learned though… if the green horse offers a nice canter… just let him canter!

The catch – he will give my sport an honest effort, but if he doesnt like it, I can never bug him to ride with me ever again.  Thats fair enough, but I added a few clauses here:

-he cant pretend not to love it just to “win” the contract

– if he LOVES it, he can’t steal my Bentley away from me, or if he does, I get a second horse (he didn’t agree to this, but we will see what goes down!).

Of course, I am not about to let him out in the forest alone with MY horse (to which he brought up that his name is also on the plate outside Bentley’s door) without some training.  Lessons and weekly practices were agreed to… is that foot out the other end yet?

The male ego is a fragile thing, so it was agreed that I would not become his coach and we booked his first lesson with Karen Briggs (my coach)… also to her surprise.  It’s going to be very difficult to butt out.

Yesterday he had his first lesson.  He manages to remember some things from the 8 times he has sat on something 4 legged with a heartbeat and Bentley actually made a great lesson horse – Lee smugly pointing out how much better behaved Bentley acted versus when I ride (for which Bentley just tells me “Hold on tight, we’re about to go FAST”).

Half an hour of walking with 2 or 3 laps of acceptable posting trot and an accidental canter stride and they were done.  Long way to go to get to 12 miles!

Will keep you posted on his progress, maybe I can even convince him to write a guest post here with all his gripes about being conned into this.

 

Have you created a training plan yet?

March is a tough time of year for getting out riding.  I don’t know about you, but by this time, I am no longer excited about the snow and the cold.  I find more excuses not to ride than i would have early in the winter, even though I know that now is the time to start ramping up my training.  Its just the cold…. I am so sick of it.  It has gone on long enough!  This year is particularly bad, because we had a brilliant warm snap in February, so going back to temps near -20C feel more like I am jumping into the arctic ocean than looking toward spring.

So what do I do instead? I make my plan for the year!  Its a great time to start because it will help me be accountable for the next few weeks while temps remain below 0, but it will also get me psyched up (or perhaps psyched out) because I get to see that the ride season is really not that far out and I have a clear path to get there.  Yay!

Unless you are a spreadsheet whiz/junkie like myself, you may feel a little overwhelmed, so today I will share with you what I use to plan my rides.

1. I start with my main goal and a ride calendar

Ashley and I have set our sights (or main goal in this case) on Shore to Shore in August.  I stick that baby into my spreadsheet and start working backward, using the OCTRA ride calendar.  If you aren’t from Ontario, use your local ride organization calendar.

My goal is to do more multi-day riding in preparation for Shore to Shore, as well as longer rides at a slower pace so we lose that “racey” pace we had last year.  So I go through the calendar and pick rides where I can ride 2+ days and try to maximize my distance.  Of course, I know this is a perfect world plan so I won’t be devastated if I have to drop distances or a ride altogether, but this is what I want to do.  More more more, slow slow slow.

What I will add here too, is your main goal may not be what mine is.  Maybe you want to do your first 50 or 100.  Start with the goal, the date you want to achieve it, and work back using logical stepping stones.

Here, you will also see that I have a calculated rest period.  A general rule I have derived from mentors, presentations and reading that I will use for myself is 1 day of rest for every 10 miles in competition.  I have added in 2 extra days to account for the stresses of travel and bing bang boom, I am able to calculate what day I will next be able to sit on the back of my dearest Bentley.  Double check… yup, its not after the next ride.  Whoopie!  Alternately, you could use the FEI rest guidelines.

2.  Work up to your first ride of the season

I have found once I get Bentley fit enough for the first ride, that I don’t have to do too much to keep him fit throughout the season.  In fact, rest becomes more important than work.  So I focus my training plan on what to do until that first ride so that we are ready to go.

Another rule of thumb I learned early on and tend to go by is that my total weekly miles should be approximately what I would like to do in one ride (so if my first ride will total 25 miles, I should be riding 25 miles a week on average – higher distance rides I tend to go a little lower and allow more wiggle room in the program to ensure adequate rest).  So again, I work back from the ride date and distance and try to make it work.  I try to build 5-10% each week in distance.

This is also where I can take a look to see if where I am now = where I should be based on my rate of building.  Looking at my plan here, I can go out this weekend and try to do 25 miles and say “ok yes, the plan should work” or “nope, hes too fat, maybe I should pick a shorter distance for my first ride”.  Then I adjust my plan forward and back until I come to a happy medium.  There is no late scrambling to catch up when it comes to fitness, I need to do this now!

You will also see I have colour coded everything.  I try to mix up long rides, interval training and ring work/lesson so I get our cross training in.

3. Budget

Ok, now here is something I wish I hadn’t done because nobody ever really wants to know the final number when you ask “how much is this going to cost me?”

I am not actually going to share my budget, because I know my significant other will read this and tell me “hell  no!” before I even dip the toe in, but to be fair, I like to pad my budget so I always have extra and can say “look how good I was!”.

The basics of your budget should include fixed and variable costs.  In fact, I would even say we have 2 different types of variable costs to consider when looking at our competition.  So here are some of the numbers to jot down.

Fixed Costs – these are things you have to pay whether you ride once, or go to every ride.  These would include your insurance, memberships, annual shots/teeth (though you could argue this is not so much a competition expense… like I said, I pad my budget).  This may also include things like hoof protection if you plan on using something like boots through the entire season or longer.

Variable costs (per ride/day) – These would be the things that the more rides you go to, the more you have to pay, but not necessarily dependent on how many miles you do during the ride.  In here, I would include total entry fee, people food, travel costs to and from the ride, chiropractic or massage work that you will have done before and/or after the ride (include for you and/or your horse depending on who needs it), hoof protection (if you use shoes and need to put on a new set before each ride) and probably extra food for your horse.

Some of these would be a cost per day like people food, I gave myself a budget of $30/day for my food, so if its a 3 day ride (+2 days travel), I will ensure to budget for each day. Others, like travel, will only happen once per ride no matter how many days you camp out.

Variable costs (per mile) – these are things that you will need more of the longer/more miles you ride, I might also call these consumables.  In here, I include electrolytes and other supplements (such as pro-bi and BCAA) and miscellaneous veterinary supplies that I would likely need on longer rides.

I would quantify them as a dollar per mile value based on dosing instructions (ie for electrolytes, I have previously used an estimate of $1 per mile).

This is also where I will consider wear and tear on my equipment.  I realize that I am going to ride holes through my pants, and probably break some straps here and there, so I add some padding in again with a dollar per mile value that I can set aside (if I am being good of course) and save for that rainy day that I need to replace a piece of equipment. If my equipment doesn’t break?  Oh well then… I see there are some awesome new products at the ESRR web store.. maybe I treat myself to something fun?

Lastly, I add everything up and get a total for the ride.  My fixed costs will be divided through the total amount of rides I do and the variable costs will be added.  Assuming I have done an individual line item for each ride, I can also go a step further and calculate either a dollar per day amount, or dollar per mile ridden amount.  That way, if I am running short on cash (highly likely after seeing he final number), I have a better idea which rides I should cut based on my goals – its all about value for me!


I know this may not have been the most exciting read… it takes a certain type of crazy to enjoy this dry, mathematical work, but well, I am that certain type of crazy!  The bottom line is that making the plan will help you visualize the path to your goal and determine if it is achievable with the time and resources you have at your disposal.  Then down the line, if things go awry, you can adjust and move forward rather than starting from scratch.

And hey, after looking at my budget… if you want to just give up on the math and have me to make a training plan and budget for you… well I think we could negotiate something in exchange for a donation to our Shore to Shore campaign! Lol!

Happy calculating, and happy riding all!

Horse Day at Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week

Thanks to a recommendation from her sponsor, Mad Barn, Sarah was invited to speak at Horse Day  during the 51st Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week on the topic of travel and horses.

horse day

Our drive up was not at all  bad, despite what the radio station was telling everyone.  The event suffered unusually low turnout for the event but those who attended were very engaged.

Sarah shared stories and her experiences from travelling to Mongolia for the Mongol Derby, herding horses in Iceland and recently competing in South Africa for Race the Wild Coast. Attendees were treated to some never before seen helmet cam footage which we will be sharing here and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks.

15941041_1290686177637515_7039778696033327509_n

Sarah’s talk received many compliments and there was never a quiet moment at the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat booth as people were excited to hear more about her adventures in Mongolia, Iceland and South Africa and what the next plans were.

The only suggestion we have to improve the event is that we would have loved to have more time to talk with visitors to our booth. The trade show and speaker area were in the same room so while it was great to be able to man the booth and listen to the presentations, many great conversations were cut short because the next speaker was about to begin.

It was great to see familiar faces and make new friends and especially nice to see so many people not only interested in the travel stories but wanting to know more about how to get into endurance and distance riding.

horse day

We would like to thank the organizers, staff, volunteers, and anyone else who made this event possible. The Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team would love to be back next year, hopefully with some more fantastic stories, this time from our adventure from Shore to Shore!

15871987_1535187159842589_2295258770905473690_n

Get a kickstart on your holiday shopping!

Want to get a head start on your Black Friday and holiday shopping, skip the long lines and help out the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team? When you do all of your shopping online through this link (https://www.flipgive.com/campa…/51832-eat-sleep-ride-repeat…), not only will you have access to great big name stores such as Apple, Indigo, Macy’s, Dyson, Lowe’s, Body Shop, etc,, a percentage of your purchase will go to help fund the adventures of the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team.

In 2017, the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team will be tackling the Shore to Shore endurance race along Michigan’s Shore to Shore trail (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Shore-to-Shore_Trail). This grueling ride consists of riders riding their mounts for 50 miles a day for 5 days.

You can find out more about the ride here: http://www.shore2shoreride.com/

You do not have to do anything extra and it will not cost you anything more than what you spend on your purchases. Just do your shopping and help support Eat Sleep Ride Repeat!

Here is a little glimpse of what the trails are like.

Goldilocks and The Quest for The Ultimate Riding Tights

As you are reading this, I am somewhere several thousand feet in the air, probably knocked out with sleeping pills, on the 22.5 hour (over 1.5 days) on my way to South Africa, for Race the Wild Coast 2016.

If you have just come to the blog recently, let me brief you: I will be riding 350kms, swimming horses through rivers, running down steep rocky cliffs, and camping in some of the most remote and beautiful country of South Africa.  So as you can imagine, picking gear to get me through this adventure was a bit of a trial and error.  Thankfully, the great folks at FITS Riding have offered up a few options for me to try. Lets take some time to go through my process and review the options!

I often tell people, once you get a pair of FITS, you will never need or want another pair of breeches again. 3 years later and it’s still holding true. In fact, I wouldn’t ever consider wearing another brand for this adventure – whether they sponsored me or not!

PerforMAX All Season Full Seat Breech

001_rd_20140807_0277_100%
In my all-seasons in 2014 at the Mongol Derby

Ok, so I already owned these guys, and they are the reason I reached out to FITS earlier this year.  They are the greatest pair of riding pants I have ever owned.  I get a lot of people asking about them, and if they know FITS, they tend to sneer about the price tag – particularly in my endurance world where expensive things are reserved for those frilly folk in the hunter/jumper/dressage world.  Yes, these are on the upper price range when you peruse the rack at your local tack shop, but hear me out, I have saved so much money thanks to these breeches!

Why?  The quality is superb.  Yes, I can buy a pair of decent riding tights for 1/3 of the price and they are OK, but do you know what happens to those ones? I will tell you!  My beef is mainly with one mainstream brand… I wont mention who, but I have had 2 pairs of tights rip when dismounting, 1 wear see-through on the butt, and 2 wear holes through the knee patches.  Not a single pair of these tights could take my abuse for more than a year (in fact one pair ripped only on their second ride).  Total bill about $600 since I started this sport a little over 5 years ago.

I have had these all-seasons now for 3 years and they still look brand new.  They came to the Mongol Derby with me, they have thousands of training miles, and are my first pick for every endurance race I enter.   Cost of my FITS breeches?  $269.  That’s some serious savings!

If that is not enough to convince you, just try on a pair.  Seriously, try it, you will like it!  You will instantly notice the quality is far superior to other brands.  The material is thicker without being hotter, but they still manage to keep you warmer through spring and fall seasons.  There is more stretch and compression than their competition – I can actually FEEL the difference the compression gives, allowing me to perform better, longer, and feel less sore/tired following my rides.  Plus, compression = more flattering fit, and the cuts and details in these pants make it hard not to check myself out in reflective ponds or in ride photos.  Instant confidence boost when you ooze into a pair of these.

Lastly, the deerskin leather is wonderful.  It seriously sticks when it needs to (like when Bentley pulls a 180 spook), but it doesn’t restrict my movement in any way.  The deerskin can also be machine washed which is a MUST in my household.  The design of full seat – with those lovely butt cheek circles, keeps everything tight to my body without rubbing – as opposed to standard full seats which have a tendency to droop and shift on my particular body type.

Pros: Superb quality, fit and comfort

Cons: The up front cost is quite high at $269 USD (but they pay off over the years)

Coates Creek 2016-341
over 2 years and several thousand miles later (and about 15 lbs heavier too!), the SAME pair of pants, still like new.

 

Free Flex Full Seat Zip Front Breech

While I am seriously in love with my all-seasons, swimming in salt-water could prove uncomfortable and damaging for them.  This was my main reason behind contacting FITS to discuss some other options.  The next pair that they sent me were the Free-Flex full seats.  The seat is synthetic, so it would be more suited to frolicking on the beach than the deer skin.  Everything else is pretty much the same – the compression fabric, the cut, the mesh panels etc. but it does have two hip pockets instead of one, and a front-zipper in case you have trouble squeezing into a pair of pull-ons (particularly difficult when you are wet or sweaty!)

I was a little skeptical at first with the full seat, worried that because it wasn’t the standard circular patch, I would still have some drooping.  I was thrilled when I tried them on, they hugged me just as well as my beloved all-seasons, and wow, did I ever look good!  Put on a nice belt and a polo shirt, and I looked like a professional jumper rider!  Clean me up and take me out!

My first ride saw some epic spooks from Bentley, as he faced off with some baby deer.  I sat these leaps and twists like a hula figurine glued to the dashboard of an outrageous taxi driver.  These things have serious stick!  When I hear riders say “I wish I could just velcro myself to my saddle”, I will now tell them this is the next best thing!

Unfortunately, for me, the stick was actually a bit of a downside.  This race in South Africa will have me running down hills, and running in these pants had my thighs sticking together uncomfortably which caused some chafing.  There are no perforations like the deerskin had, so I could feel some moisture (sweat) building up behind the panels on my leg. Add salty sea water to that, and I knew I would be in for trouble.

These are some seriously wicked pants, but I am going to reserve them for times when I need extra security in the saddle… jumping and working on greenies.  I do want to try hunting this year, and these would be perfect for that. I would highly recommend these to jumpers or those who need the confidence that comes with extra stick. Its nice to have these in the tool-kit!

Pros: Same comfort as the all seasons but with extra stick, more traditional appearance

Cons: Not suited to swimming or running (if you need to do that), or long hours in sweaty/wet conditions.

Would you like to win a pair of Free-Flex’s?  Go to the ESRR Facebook page and shoot us a message.  We are raffling off a pair to help fundraise for my adventure.  Ashley and Solstice can sell you tickets and/or you can come visit us at an upcoming event to buy tickets.

 

TechTread Full Seat Pull On Breech

Setting out for loop #2 in my FITS Tech Treads
Setting out for loop #2 in my FITS Tech Treads

These are the ones that are JUUUUUSSSTTTT RIIIGGGGHTT for me.  Again, I found the quality, fabric and fit to be impeccable.  I would say they are like a second skin, but my skin isn’t this tough while still being soft!  The two main differences here are that instead of the deerskin, we have silicone grips, and there are no mesh panels near the ankles.

First off, I didn’t miss the mesh panels.  I will be riding without tall boots or half chaps, so the lack of mesh is actually bonus… less chance the nasty bugs will get me.  However, it is a nice feature on the other models to keep things light under the boots.

Next, the silicone is not nearly as grippy as the deerskin or the synthetic full seat.  I am also quite alright with that.  It will make it more comfortable for me to run along with my horse (and I tested this by doing essentially a half marathon RNT in these last weekend), and keep me pretty mobile in the saddle, while still being grippier than many of the competing breeches and compression garments.  Yup, just right!

They are comfortable enough to sleep in, and I was amazed at how quickly they dried during my test rides (2 days back to back – ride N tie, then a set speed).  Despite being soggy all weekend, I didn’t have any chafing, minimal rashing, and really only felt wet when it was actually raining (as far as my pants go that is!).

One other thing, there is a large cargo pocket on the one leg.  Perfect for a phone or treats.  I prefer this pocket to the ones on the other models (located more on the hip) as its easier to access and can fit more stuff without pinching.

These also have a significantly lower price tag at $129 USD.  Any other silicone grip pants I have seen and tried are about the same price.  Maybe a few bucks cheaper, but nowhere near the quality of FITS.

Pros: Great price and value, cargo pocket, pajama like comfort.

Cons: Not as grippy, I can only find these in US stores (though have seen the winter versions on shelves here).

Still feeling good, miles later with the pants drying quickly and not causing rashing or chafing!
Still feeling good, miles later with the pants drying quickly and not causing rashing or chafing!

 

Fundraising & Apparel

Hi Everyone!  I am Sarah, an Endurance Horseback rider from Ontario  who was selected to ride in an epic adventure: Race the Wild Coast, along the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

The race will consist of 350kms over the course of 4-5 days.  To successfully complete this challenge, I will be required to carefully manage 3 horses over difficult terrain, swim river crossings up to 50m with my horses, self-navigate to check points where the horses will have to pass a strict veterinary inspection, and camp out with only 5kg of total gear carried on my back.

Only 25 riders have been selected worldwide to compete in this inaugural event.  As an exciting bonus, the entire thing will be filmed as part of a feature-length documentary.

I am so honored to have been selected to compete in this race, and represent our community of riders and adventurers.  I have successfully paid off most of my fees out of my own pocket but am still a little short of my fundraising goal… which is where you come in!

I hate asking for help, but if you want to throw a few $ encouragement my way while I race, I would be forever grateful!  I even have a few things to give away to make it worth your while too.  Your support helps me get to keep going on these crazy adventures for your reading and viewing pleasure atwww.EatSleepRideRepeat.com

Race starts at 5:00am South African time on October 22 (Oct 21@ 11pm for my friends and fans in Ontario).  You can follow along at my website www.EatSleepRideRepeat.com which will be posting updates daily!

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT ME & BUY ESRR MERCHANDISE

Natural Horsemanship Trade Show

  

On May 28 and 29, Eat Sleep Ride Repeat was in attendance at the inaugural Natural Horsemanship Trade Show. The event took place at Partridge Horse Hill in Pontypool, hosted by owner Lindsay Partridge. If that name sounds familiar, it is because she competed in the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park. She won the competition aboard her thoroughbred horse “Soar”, earning the title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.
The Natural Horsemanship Association (NHA) is a not for profit organization with the goal to bring the natural horsemanship community together, and better promote it to new people. They offer coaching certification, a directory of members and host various shows throughout the year.
The NHA trade show consisted of clinicians speaking on many different aspects of horsemanship from training ideas to alternative therapies. There was also a number of vendors in attendance. 

  
The Eat Sleep Ride Repeat booth received quite a bit of attention with many people interested in our adventures and endurance/trail riding in general. It was great to see clinic participants wearing their newly purchased ESRR gear in their riding clinics (a testament to how cool our shirts are as the weather was incredibly hot and humid).

  
Overall the trade show was a success and we loved meeting a bunch of new faces! Hope to be back next year! 

All work and play in London, UK

I had the privilege of being sent to London, UK last week by my 9-5. This isn’t a blog about what I do for a living, rather how I spend my living… but how great is it when these intersect?  Fortunately, the seminar gave me lots of free time in the evenings to do the things that fuel me.

I had rented a flat (apartment) in Southwark, a 15 minute walk from the business district where I was working during the days.  It was an absolutely adorable place with many very old buildings, tiny alleyways, and cobblestone roads (which broke my suitcase… but I won’t complain!). It also had a ton of trendy bars and restaurants.  I had found myself in my personal heaven!

IMG_20160525_210248_panorama.jpg

Most nights I went walking along the Thames, exploring in my own way and steering clear of the tourist traps and just enjoying the scenery and wandering down the nooks and crannies of the city… which is free and totally my thing!

IMG_20160524_201637_panorama.jpg

Friday night, I met up with Luke.  Those of you have been following for a few years might remember that he was one of my comrades in the Blood Wagon for the Mongol Derby.  He works in the Queen’s household cavalry and gave me a backstage tour!  I met the horses, learned about his “kit” and saw all the preparations going on for a parade the following day.

Parade?  Can the public go to this?  Why yes, yes indeed!  Luke told me where to go along the road so I could see it, and what time I should show up.

We spent the rest of the evening wandering the city, catching up and reminiscing about MD2014.  There is something very special about meeting up with fellow Derby riders, especially ones who have been in a similar situation – not being able to finish.  They just get it.  The highs and lows come back, and the drive to finish is re-ignited.  Once again, it was incredibly hard to say goodbye.

Saturday was my last day in the city and having not made plans for day tours or anything worked to my advantage.  I had the perfect time to see the parade and headed over to St James park.  When searching for a spot to see the parade, I saw a young man in uniform chasing down a group of girls “Excuse me ladies, do you want to see… excuse me… ladies?… do you have just a moment…” They completely ignored him and ran away.  So I grabbed his attention “I would like to hear what you have to say!”.  He asked me if I would like to see the parade from the GRANDSTANDS, and gave me a free ticket.  Wow those girls really missed out.

13267803_684549657115_3044958495798514607_n

Let me stop for a moment and offer this advice to anyone travelling.  1) Don’t plan every moment… let things pop up because you never know where you might find yourself, and 2) Take the time to talk to people.  Sure, sometimes they may be selling you a tourist trap, but other times they might have something much more special to offer!

I had to run to make it to my gate in time, but I was ushered into my seat just in time – there were literally thousands of people.  Turns out, my (reserved) seat was right at the point where the parade entered, so I got a great view of everything.  I couldn’t believe my luck, and actually had to brush back some tears of happiness.

The Cavalry came in and lined up right in front of me, then for the next hour and a half or so, the ceremony put on displays with the the various groups of the Queens guard (Forgive me, I don’t know what anything is called!).  A once in a lifetime experience indeed!

 

And without further ado, please enjoy some video snippits of the show.