Guest Blogger

Equestrian, Guest Blogger

Gem's guest Blog - eQUEST Leather Grip Pro Review

EQUEST Leather Grip Pro
By eGlove
https://www.eglove.co.uk/

Hi guys I am Gem Gilbert also known as @gemeventing https://www.instagram.com/gemeventing/
Im excited to be writing this blog/ product review for eGlove. 

The eQuest Leather Grip Pro is a brilliant leather glove which you can find here:  https://www.eglove.co.uk/horse-riding-gloves/  is not only is a fab riding glove but also allows you to venture on your phone or smart watch, anything electrical that you would usually poke thousands of times , until you give up and take off your gloves to use it. Well there will be no more of that! No cold hand faffing with these bad boys.

The Leather Grip Pro is available in 4 common equestrian colours-  black, navy blue, tan and chocolate brown. I have the navy and chocolate brown. Both stunning colours perfect for any type of equestrian discipline, I use mine for jumping, hacking, Dressage and day to day riding, the possibility’s are endless. However they are the perfect kind of glove for out hacking, I have found as when you see that perfect photo between your horses ears (if your horse is anything like mine you have to be quick to get the ears forward) you can take a photo really quickly and easy! 

So the glove itself you ask? You know they are electronic friendly. Now about it’s performance so the leather glove keeps your hands warm as long as the temperature is about 3 degrees. The elastic breathable structure in between the fingers and across the knuckle allows for your hand not to be suffocated and allow the glove to mould round you, also perfect for those competition sweaty palm nerves. The extra grip strip on the edge of the glove is my favourite bit as we all know that one horse that pulls! These gloves are perfect for that, as the grip allows you to get a firm hold of the reins without them slipping out especially on a typical British summers day when the heavens open. I can officially say my hands stayed dry for 30 minutes but the weather was horrendous but it didn’t affect my grip on my reins! 

My other favourite feature is how soft the leather is, it is so comfortable and breathable its amazing. The velcro strap allows you to have the gloves done up as tight or loose as you want! And they aren’t just all for adults they do a range for kids also! 

How to clean them? Everyone knows how grubby gloves can get and you wouldn’t go out competing with a dirty saddle so why would you go out with gloves. To clean and care for your gloves use a good quality saddle soap and rub it into the leather with a soft cloth in a circular moment that will get your gloves shining!  

I can’t recommend eglove enough! The Friendly and helpful service which is second to none, what more could you want? 

Be sure to check out there twitter and Instagram account and give eGlove a cheeky follow! 
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/egloveuk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/egloveuk/

Thank you! Hope you have enjoyed my product review! Be sure to have a little look and a follow of my Instagram to see me Riding in my wonderful eglove https://www.instagram.com/gemeventing/ and twitter head to https://mobile.twitter.com/gemeventing to follow our progress in our eGloves! 

Gem Gilbert 💜

EDITORS NOTE - We met Gem at the West Country Equine Fair - where she purchased a pair of the leather gloves. She subsequently purchased another pair from the website. We then offered her a pair of the prototype Winter Elite's in blue for next season in return for a blog piece. We simply asked for an honest review. Hopefully you'll enjoy it!  Thanks Gem x

Guest Blogger

Nikki's Guest Blog - The end of road marathons for me?

Bournemouth - is this the end of the road marathons for me?

Long distance running is what I do, it is what I love and the challenge that I set myself physically and mentally. Marathon running is a strange beast; some can go completely to plan while others can take you on a journey that seems far longer than half a day! It is the varied nature of these runs that keeps me going back for more and pushing myself each time with different goals. Sometimes my goal is to finish, other times it is to be a bit faster and this year at the start of Bournemouth marathon it was not to be sick! 

I ran two lovely trail marathons earlier in the year and enjoyed them both then April saw me at the start line for both Paris and London and both involved sickness which was particularly bad in Paris due to a combination of heat and fuel.  I then ran a 50-mile trail race and a 62-mile race with no issues. So with Bournemouth the aim of finishing marathon number 20 without the sickness that hits me on a road marathon.

The morning started well with sunshine and a light breeze and I chatted with a couple of friendly faces in the starting pen. Once we got going it kept getting hotter and hotter and I was glad of my visor and the fact that I was wearing my race vest with my own water with electrolytes and fuel. 

The route is really nice and the crowd support is great especially when you approach Bournemouth Pier for one of the out and back sections and you seem to hit a wall of sound.  This gave me a boost as I had just seen Mr eGlove and team and then my friend and her running club buddies.  I ran towards Boscombe Pier and was beginning to feel very hot and noticed I was covered in salt! I had a bit of a walk break along the pier and then ran back towards Bournemouth Pier.  By this time, I was seriously wondering what I was doing and whether the best thing to do would be to pull out. The hill after the pier found me having a slight retch over the side but I am not classing that as sick! I poured water over my head from the next stop and headed along the route.

Mile 18 or was it 19 and I sat down on the curb next to a brilliant marshal and had a cry! He asked me if I wanted transport and had I done a marathon before and I asked him how long was left so that I could work out if I could walk the rest! His encouragement and the sit down gave me a boost. A quick phone call to James with a cry and another offer of support from another marshal this one was on a bike and I was ready to go.

I zipped up the man/woman suit and got on with it and actually enjoyed the rest of the race. I started to incorporate a walk break for each mile which gave me a focus and I picked out people ahead of me to try and catch! Both of these things worked despite the sight of three runners needing pretty serious medical help along a section in front of some beach huts which is always a sobering sight.  I found myself actually smiling and singing along to the music playing in one of my headphones.  The steel band were fantastic and the sight of the pier was encouraging.  I found a runner in the last mile who is the daughter of my friend at work. She was having a bit of a moment so I said let’s run together to the end, it was a lovely way to finish the race as we saw James and her Mum and the sight of the finish was fantastic.

I have some lovely tan lines which is incredible for an October marathon, the beach was full of people having fun and swimming in the sea! We headed back to the car and a quick change and we were on our way home, job done, marathon 20 complete. The medal and the finishers shirt are great and I will wear the shirt as a little reminder to myself!

I found this marathon made me realise that my heart is in trail running and that tarmac is not for me! I enjoy seeing the fast runners and the crowds and the atmosphere of a road marathon is really special but I missed the varied terrain and the scenery and the quietness of a trail run.

Thanks for reading! 

Nikki x

Editors note - links for the Bournemouth Marathon are here

Guest Blogger, Running

Nikki's Guest Blog - Even for Runners, Rest is Best Sometimes!

After abstaining from running for 9 days (see previous blog) I was chomping at the bit and laced up my trainers (new Hoka One One) for a chatty parkrun with my friend Ros. Ros and I chatted our way around the friendly Fareham parkrun, at one point she asked if we were running fast and glancing at my watch I lied and said not especially! Think it was a course pb for her, she is on fire at the moment and I love running with her.  I was on a runners’ high for the rest of the day basically boring everyone with how happy I was.

The next day I was up and heading over to race HQ for my duty as Sweeper for the Meon Valley Marathon. In my kit I had various essentials for myself and any runners that may need a little help – mainly sweets, gloves (eGlove of course!) and ibugel  - oh, and tissues!  It was a glorious day as the runners met in the hall and Phil Hoy gave the runners the final brief and asked us all to make a note of his mobile for the duration of the race.  This is a tough course and he wanted the assurance that we would all look out for each other and if things got desperate we could contact him or the medic.

The start of the race is on the Meon Valley Trail for a few hundred metres before we take a right hand turn and head up towards Old Winchester Hill.  There had been some rain the day before but the ground was perfect and the weather was pretty good in the early stages. Myself and Dean had the role of taking down lots of orange ribbon that had been placed on the course the day before (by Dean!) and scrubbing off the markings on the trail and taking signs along to drop off at each marshal station. This meant that we were going along at a steady pace and ended up covered in orange ribbon. Dean was also having to use pliers to remove some of the signs that had been tacked to posts – our eGloves came in handy for this task – no cold hands and no splinters either.

The route winds through many shared paths and as sweepers we also had to ensure that every gate was closed behind us. Sometimes this meant that we ended up in a field way up high above the church of East Meon full of cows and bulls! Luckily they weren’t that bothered about us and our neon signs. Bearing in mind that I had had 9 days rest my legs were totally fine, especially the knee. I can only think that the rest and yoga etc paid dividends. Some runners were struggling in the second half of the race and made the decision to stop and get taken back to base by the marshals. We had instructions to encourage the runners to get back to race HQ by 4:30 – effectively before it got dark. This meant we had to have a pace of at least 15 min miles and with the hills that this run has that can be a challenge.

The second half of the run has some pretty challenging ups but some great downs too and the views as the sun was setting were just fabulous. There was a chilly wind too, so I was particularly glad that I had chosen to run with the eGlove Winter Elite – nice and warm! All the marshals were brilliant, lots of them popping up in two places throughout the day and yet they were always smiling and wrapped up warm. The light was starting to fade as we made our way along a track towards Meonstoke and then suddenly there is the field and the finish, we made it! The medal was an unexpected bonus and it is a pretty sizeable one too. The post run chilli and chat was great, everyone pleased to have finished and comparing notes. The rain started as we left and the temperature dropped. I love trail running and love this part of the world, just being out there in such a spectacular Autumn is uplifting and that together with completing the run with no pain made for a brilliant day. I am looking forward to running this route again.

Much stretching and elevation of my legs when I returned home. I am continuing with the Glucosamine with Chondritin – it could be a placebo who knows! The biggest thing for me was that after a 9 or 10 day break I didn’t lose anything major in terms of fitness, it didn’t hurt and if anything, it made me love running even more.

Sometimes rest is best!

 

Guest Blogger

Jessica Leroy - Leroy Eventing Guest Blog

3 phases, 2 hearts, 1 love
 
Following the recent international event that is Badminton Horse Trials I thought I would take the time to explain to you exactly what eventing is.
 
The aim of the game:
The overall aim of eventing is to get the lowest score possible – sounds simple right? On paper it does, in reality it is a very difficult thing to do….
 
The phases:
Modern eventing consists of three phases, dressage, cross country and show jumping. The order of these phases depends on the level of the competition, for the big international three day events the dressage is on day one, the cross country on day two and the show jumping on day three - the final day. For one day events the order is changed slightly with the show jumping being before the cross country. No matter the level of event, the dressage is always first.
 
Eventing levels:
In Britain there are six levels of affiliated Eventing (national level) which cater for all levels of horse and rider, the levels range from 80cm Training classes through to 1.20m Advanced classes – 80(T), 90, 100, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Once you get to an international level the levels change and go up in numerical level – 1*, 2*, 3* and 4*. 4* is the level of Badminton horse trials that was recently on TV and is the highest level any horse or rider can achieve. 
 
The scoring:
This is where eventing really comes into its own. The scoring is relatively simple – the combination of horse and rider ending the event on the lowest score/penalties after all three phases wins….
 
Dressage: In terms of scoring, eventing dressage is slightly different to your normal dressage. The principle is still the same, the competitors are asked to perform a set  of movements and each individual movement is marked out of 10 (10 being the highest mark possible), with the walk commonly being awarded double marks. If the rider goes wrong in their test they are deducted marks. I should also add that in Eventing dressage the rider must learn this test by heart as no readers are allowed.  There are then sets of marks at the end of the test called the ‘collectives’ these marks asses the quality of the riding and the movement and suppleness of the horses (amongst other things), again these are marked out of 10 with 10 being the highest possible mark. Once the Dressage test has been completed, the marks are added together and points deducted if the rider went wrong, which is then converted to penalty points. The marks are converted to a percentage of the maximum possible score, multiplied by the coefficient for that test, then subtracted from 100.
 
Eventing Fact: The lowest recorded British Eventing (BE) dressage mark was an incredibly low 7.5 at Drumclog Horse Trials, in Strathaven in Scotland in the BE 90 level.
(source, Horse and Country TV). To put this into perspective, my lowest eventing dressage score is 32.5!
 
Showjumping: Compared to the dressage, the show jumping scoring is simple. Unlike pure Show jumping, Eventing has no jump off. The aim is to get around a pre-set course within the allocated time and without knocking any of the fences down or having any stop/refusals/falls. For every obstacle you knock down you get 4 penalties added to your score. For the first refusal you get you get another 4 penalties, the second refusal 8 penalties and if you get a third refusal you then get eliminated. If you fall off you get 8 penalties, if you are unlucky enough to fall off again you get eliminated. You will also get eliminated if you cumulatively concede more than 24 penalties, if you jump the wrong course or if your horse falls. When it comes to the time you get penalised 1 penalty for every second that you are over the optimum time.  So actually, looking at it in more details a lot can go wrong over a show jumping course and it is very easy to clock up unwanted penalties!
 
Cross Country: This is the most exciting part of eventing and where the sport really comes into its own. Cross country is fast passed, dangerous and incredibly good fun (or at least I think it is!). The fences are solid and can be quite imposing. Like show jumping it is common for cross country courses to have combination fences and related distances, unlike show jumping it is a test of speed and endurance rather than finesse and technicality. The course is set to an optimum time and the aim is to finish the course with a clear round as close to the optimum time as possible.
If the rider falls off (national competitions only), they can remount and carry on. If they fall a second time, the rider is eliminated.
Refusal, run-out, or circle at an obstacle: 20 penalties
Second refusal, run-out, circle at the same obstacle: 40 penalties
Third refusal, run-out, circle on XC Course: Elimination
Fall of horse (shoulder touches the ground): Mandatory Retirement
Exceeding Optimum Time: 0.4 penalties per second
Coming in under Optimum Time: 0.4 penalties per second
Exceeding the Time Limit (twice the optimum time): Elimination
(XC scouring source: British Eventing)
So there we have it. A full overview of eventing!
Jess x

Guest Blogger

Olivia Moriano - Team Italia Dressage - Guest Blog

It's been a tremendous two months!

Since my last blog I mentioned about Keysoe Premier league which turned out to be a very educational competition for both myself and Will (Wordly Wise). We got respectable scores for the FEI and Advanced Medium tests considering our still young partnership. Both tests improved over the weekend and coming 3rd with a safe test was definitely the highlight (as well as competing in my tails for the first time). 

From reading over the judges comments and really focusing on perfecting our movements, our partnership has got to the point where I can ask Will for a bit more energy and show more of his potential in the arena. From here we went to tackle my Italian and regional qualification at Croftern Manor. We did a solid test gaining 66.579% coming 1st in my section. For this outing, our confidence grew together and our best ever test (so far) was at the Priory doing advanced medium 92. After a super warm up, the sun shining and a relaxed and happy Will, our test was controlled and elevated resulting in a 9 for passes and an 8.5 for my riding. As i slowly walked to see my score, the other riders smiled at me as I approached the board and before I knew it we managed to get a massive 78.92%. I took a lot away from this outing and it told me that we both have the potential to gain top marks and when we ride like we're in training, everything comes together. A few days later I turned 17 and this was definitely the best birthday present I could of wished for. 

These competitions and scores secured our summer regional qualification and our Italian scores to go international at Junior level. This year is the start of my European Championship qualification for 2017. The FISE (Italian committee) have told me that to qualify, I need to go abroad at the end of this year and again in the beginning of next year - all very exciting as the preparation starts now! 

My FEI pony Master Alexander (Rikki) and I went to Merrist Wood for his first outing since Christmas. We did a medium test and he really rose to the occasion and put all our new techniques into practice (including still being cheeky at 20 years old and showing off to the judge). We got a great score of just under 66% and came 2nd overall. 

As well as dressage, I've got my economics, English literature and language and policies AS level exams in the next two weeks. After these, I have the summer regionals to look forward to at Hickstead and my debut at junior international level (all to be revealed soon). I've got lots of local competitions planned to keep our confidence growing in the arena. 

Thanks again to eGlove for your support. I always love wearing your gloves during training, competing and running (part of my fitness regime!). Hopefully the high scores will continue throughout the season. Keep a look out on my Twitter (@olivia_moriano), Facebook (Olivia Moriano Dressge) and Instagram (@birdiemoriano) for all my up to date news. 

Thank you for reading, Olivia X

eGlove note: Olivia is wearing EQUEST GripPro riding gloves in Champagne White in the pictures above - available now with 50% off using coupon EQ50 at checkout!

Guest Blogger

Jess Leroy Guest Blog - Tumbles and Riding Hats

Jess Leroy from Team Leroy Eventing - Tumbles and the importance of Riding Hats!

How many times have you thought to yourself, I should probably get a new hat? Mines getting a bit old/tatty/worn/taken a knock or two….

Well, if you're anything like me, you've probably thought about it a lot. But, how many times have you actually driven to the tack shop and gone to get yourself a new hat? 

Again, if you're anything like me, probably not nearly enough - you've probably thought to yourself, "oh it will be fine, I'll get myself a new one next pay day" or,  "I really can't afford one yet, my horse needs X, Y, Z", or, "I'll get one next time I go competing". These are all things that I thought until last weekend when I thought to myself “Why? Why did I not buy a new hat sooner?".  

I've been telling myself I was going to buy a new hat at Badminton Horse Trials this year but in reality I think I should have bought myself a new hat about a year ago, I've been lucky, until last Sunday. 

Smokey had lost a shoe, so I wasn't intending to do a lot of work with him, some walking in the school and to make it slightly more interesting include some poles. We didn't even get to the poles, in all honesty I hardly made it onto his back. I always use the fence of the school or a mounting block to hop on and on Sunday I’d decided to go for the school fence option. 1, 2, 3…. foot slipped, kicked Smokey, got on (just), galloped off and then Black. There was a big smash in there somewhere but I have no recollection of it. I have no recollection of anything after my attempt of getting on.

The next thing I know is I was sat by the stables with my Dad shining his phone torch into my eyes telling me to look up – down – left – right. Apparently I called my Dad and told him I was in trouble, I have no recollection of doing this, I also took a photo of where I’d fallen, again, no recollection of doing this. After a sit down, a strong cup of tea and a limp and bruised hip I got back on and rode Smokey again – after all, as most riders will say; “If you’re not going to hospital - you’re getting back on”. The day carried on as normal with a lovely afternoon spent seeing my old competition pony in the Kent downs.

It was only after I got home that evening and started making a roast dinner that things were starting to strike me as abnormal, I’ve never felt so nauseous whilst preparing spuds! A bath and an early night were on the cards in the hope that it would all pass and I’d feel miraculously better on Monday – I didn’t. I felt worse. My whole neck had seized up and I could hardly move. Oh well I thought, I took a big whack, I’ll be fine. Armed with my neck warming pad hidden under a big scarf I tottled off to work for the day.

It was only on Tuesday when my head was still pounding that I thought things were still not right. I had a conference call at 6pm to the States so decided once I’d taken the call I’d take myself to A&E and get checked out – just incase. I wasn’t expecting to be taken to see a nurse within 10 minutes of arriving at A&E and I was even more surprised to be taken in to see the consultant within half an hour of arriving. A full check up with the consultant and I was expecting to be off home again with the ‘You’re fine.’ Sadly not, she marched me straight down for a CT scan….

Unfortunately, it turns out that my fall was much bigger than I thought, I was knocked unconscious for some period of time, my whole morning is a vague blur and I have about half an hour of my day thrown into total darkness. I have concussion, whiplash and some changes to the tissue. The doctors seem confident that I will make a full recovery but they have warned me that it may be slow and could take me between 2 weeks and 6 months before I am ‘myself’ again.

I’ve taken the decision to keep my feet firmly on the floor for a whole week – a tough challenge with the eventing season looming but I am doing everything I can to get myself better. I have Tweseldown coming up this weekend (2 full weeks from the fall) and it is still hit and miss whether I make the event. I am going to see the Osteopath on Wednesday morning and will take it from there. The support from everybody has been immense and I’ve hugely appreciated it.

I would never dream of getting on a horse without a hat on – I dread to think the outcome if I did not have a helmet on. I should have replaced my riding hat sooner though as it get’s a lot of use - A lesson learnt, and unfortunately learnt the hard way. The BHS recommend changing hats every 4 years - sooner if it gets used regularly but please, change your hat immediately if it has had any fall in it or if it no longer fits, yes it may cost you £100 or more, but you only have one head and £100 is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of horses.....

For more information on helmet guidelines visit:

http://www.bhs.org.uk/safety-and-accidents

http://www.bhs.org.uk/safety-and-accidents/free-leaflets

http://www.charlesowen.com/gb/helmet-fit%20tips

FOLLOW JESS ON TWITTER - @LeroyEventing

Jess wears eGlove EQUEST GripPro in Chocolate for Eventing, and Champagne for Dressage