Calendar Highlights

5947b3bd-5b53-481d-bc1d-a971ca5a37a1It’s not yet June and already our horse calendars are filling up. From Maine to Colorado and Canada, there’s a lot happening in our world.

Here’s just a taste:

The U.S. Equestrian Federation and the U.S. Para-Equestrian Federation announced five Centers of Excellence this month. It came as no surprise to us that the most excellent Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy and Sports was among them. Read more about Carlisle here.

Congratulations, Carlisle!

Later this year, Carlisle will conduct para-equestrian camps for veterans, among its many activities. Check out Carlisle Academy here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.52.39 PMHorsewomen Nancy Lowery and Kim Stone will demonstrate their non-horsey skills.

Lowery is presenting at TEDxYYC in Calgary. Her presentation “A Natural Guide in Leadership and Motivation” just might have some references to horses. Click here. Stone has a photo exhibit at 3fish Gallery in Portland, Maine. Read more about that.

Amy Skinner of Essence Horsemanship will run two clinics around Michigan. Check out Events page here.

And in Durango, Colorado, don’t miss the Barn Dance. A stompin’ good time to raise money for youth programs at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Meanwhile, if you just happen to be house hunting, check out our new listing: over 30 gorgeous acres and an historical house and barn in Searsport, Maine. Check it out here.

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The Ariat Vaquera: Hello, Gorgeous!

We asked our marketing director, Emily Luciano, to review the new Vaquera boot from Ariat. Luciano is  an accomplished horsewoman. She’s competed in several Extreme Mustang Makeovers and has trained for years with her dad, Jim Thomas, a FullSizeRendernational clinician. The Vaqueras have a 13 inch shaft, a square toe, a roper heel, and extensive detailing. They retail for $259.

I have to say that when Ariat said that I could review the Vaquera, I was pretty excited. Stoked, actually. It was time for me to get a new pair public-worthy boots anyway. I think as horse women (you know what I mean by that), we have our feeding boots, our mucking boots, our fence-fixin’ boots and our riding boots. Though we might wear any of these boots to the feed store, we probably won’t be stepping out on a Saturday night in them. My beloved full-quill ostrich Justins have filled this role for the past seven years, but it’s time they get resoled again. Enter the Vaquera.

IMG_5467I’d be lying if I said I didn’t run across the yard to grab the precious Ariat box right out of the UPS driver’s hands upon delivery. I was like a kid on Christmas morning! Upon opening the box, I was hit with that delicious smell of new leather. Once I peeled back the paper, I was ecstatic with the amount of detail which the photos online don’t quite capture. The stitching on the toe is more detailed than it looks online, and the shaft of the boot is actually a deep purple color. Pair that with the high quality, butter-like leather and you’ve got a striking pair of boots.

I was pleased to find that the Vaquera runs true-to-size. I ordered a size 8B, which is what I wear in all other Ariats. Like any leather-soled boots, they took a little bit of wearing to get comfortable. This was no IMG_5477biggie, as I literally wanted to wear them EVERYWHERE once I received them. And, boy, have I gotten compliments. The nurse at the doctor’s office even left the room to pull in another nurse to check out my boots.

Within a month, these boots have become an irreplaceable piece of my wardrobe. They’ve taken me on date nights with the hubby, to the feed store, grocery store, doctor’s office, livestock auction, rodeo, and horse show. And we’re just getting started! If you’re looking for a high quality pair of boots to add to your collection, definitely check these out.

Check out our review of Ariat’s Monaco Zip Paddock Boot.

Solo rider tackles the PCT

We talked with Gillian Larson, who blogs here about her travels on the Pacific Crest Trail.

3f7179_5a03747cd358404ea0f16c438be3f1dcThe 24-year old and her two horses, Shyla and Takoda, are cranking out 25-mile days at high elevation. That’s about what the Unbranded team was doing, but Larson is solo and doesn’t have the budget or support of Ben Masters’ Big Adventure. Her total cost is under $20,000. Larson hopes to write a book on the technical aspects of her trek, with plenty of personal anecdotes woven in.

NickerNews: How does your gear compare to that of Unbranded?

Gillian Larson: All of Unbranded’s gear was too heavy for me. I’m at a higher elevation and usually just riding one horse. No pan. No campfire equipment. No bottle of whiskey. The map planning is different. I have a lot more maps available because I’m on the PCT.

NN: The snow is a big issue? You’re chipping away at it out of order, instead of doing it simply from south to north? It was problematic when you tackled it last year?

3f7179_948b73ab712243329f17ffafab1288bdGL: Yes, two thousand miles of the PCT is under snow until July. Doing it out of order is the only way to do it with no snow being an issue.

Initially, I thought I could go from South to North all in order.. But the trail chooses your route. This second time, I have much more respect for the snow

NN: How have your first weeks been going?

GL: It takes time for the horses to get serious about eating. Unfortunately, I don’t have glutinous horses.

Recently, we did 150 miles in six days. I’m hoping to finish by September.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 2.03.19 PMNN: You have an ingenious method for tackling it with minimal support and with minimal gear for your pack horse to carry. Can you explain?

GC: Yes, I have two rigs. I am borrowing my mom’s truck and I have my own. It’s a leap-frogging arrangement. On the map, I’m riding north to south. However, I drive the trucks and trailers south to north.

Safe travels and happy trails, Gillian!

Follow her here.

The Clothes Horse: English Casual

Welcome to the Clothes Horse!

It’s  our regular feature with posts by and for fashion-conscious riders. Here we discuss the decisions, merits, and enthusiasms behind riders’ wardrobe choices.

Ashley Hutchinson Lombard spends most of her waking hours in barns and on horseback. The 31-year old, half of a Maine horsemanship power couple, works in equal stints as a trainer, saddle fitter, and equine massage provider with her bustling business, Whole Horse Works. She often assists her husband, Chris Lombard, at his popular horsemanship and versatility clinics. Additionally, she volunteers several hours a month at Ever After Mustang in Biddeford, Maine.

Hutchinson-Lombard’s style is casual English wear. Comfort, affordability and durability are prerequisites for any outfit, she said.

Thanks, Ashley, for your contributions to the Clothes Horse!

Got a style you’d like to submit? Contact us!

Ashley wrote about two styles of riding breeches: Full Seat style from Kerrits and Piper by Smartpak. She also weighs in on boot selection.

She writes:

I’m all about these Kerrit breeches!  These full seat tights and have an amazing Grip-tek technology that allows for a secure seat in the saddle while not sacrificing any comfort, like some full seats do.  They are great for the warmer months when the thought of wearing anything tight and fitting makes you cringe.  They are light-weight, durable, and they even have a side pocket – great for carrying gloves, treats, or a cell phone.
I am not willing to sacrifice comfort for fashion but these full seat tights offer the best of both worlds. I have no complaints here except that the fabric has faded due to years of wear and tear.

Tough enough if you find yourself going off trail – these Pipers made by Smartpak are another one of my favorites. The fabric is exceptionally thick and durable which make these breeches great for chillier months or if you decide to break trail.  They offer a synthetic full seat that allows for fantastic stickability as well as a more affordable full seat breech.  I would prefer a slighty more contoured waistline, as I sometimes feel the need to wear a belt.  With the thickness and durability of the fabric, these Piper’s are sure to last many seasons.

There’s nothing more important than happy feet when riding and especially walking around the farm.  I’ve always been in love with Ariat boots.  Quality, comfort, and all day support are just a few of their attributes.

These Hunter Dress boots are slightly more advanced than some other Ariats I’ve owned.

The soft, quality leather gives support while providing flexibility for your foot and ankle, and the full length zipper allows for ease when putting them on or taking them off.

As most of you know breaking in a new pair of boots can be torture. But with these Ariat Hunter dress boots, I was not left with a single blister!

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