Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

Jess' Guest Blog - Eventing Season

My eventing season with Smokey has been one heck of a roller-coaster. We’ve had some great highs, some frustrating lows and some loop-the-loops thrown in for good measure!
 
The start of the season didn’t go quite as planned. Smokey decided to practice his javelin shot and sent me head diving into the fence whilst training at home. The result was serious concussion and whiplash. That was me out of action for over a month and a good while before I was competition ready again.
 
When we got out competing our first event at Chilham Park International didn’t quite go to plan either – we had a solid dressage and show jumping but an incident on the cross country course meant we were held at the start of the course for over an hour. On setting off Smokey was struggling so I held my hand up, retired and called it a day at fence 9. Turns out he needed a wee! It wasn’t surprising he couldn’t jump. Certainly no hard feelings at the end of the day but just lot of giggles instead. If only horses could talk!
 
Onto Tweseldown next and the stars finally aligned for us. A new personal best dressage, an unlucky pole in the show jumping and a super-fast and clear cross country. He jumped his heart out for me and we ended a very respectable 13th place out of over 40 competitors.
 
The next few events went from strength to strength for us. A fantastic 2nd place at Borde Hill, qualifying us for a spot at a regional final over a very testing cross country track, a clear cross country at Rackham in the 100 height giving us a top 20 finish and also a great 6th place at Eridge International Horse Trials with another very strong dressage score and double clear over some challenging fences.
 
The end of the season unfortunately didn’t go quite to plan either with a slip in the show jumping at Smiths Lawn in Windsor Great Park and withdrawing before Cross Country. We still aimed to get back for our Regional Final at Broadway but with timing and fitness issues we took the tough decision that horse welfare came first and forfeited our place.
 
Although our season has had some lows, we have had our best season to date with 2 top 10 placings and 2 top 20 placings as well as personal best dressage scores and completing some of the biggest tracks we’ve jumped. With winter on its way it’s head down and focusing on dressage and show jumping ready for next March when the eventing begins again – not with one but with two horses to compete now! Welcome to the team, Major Bailey.
 
I look forward to updating you again soon with my progress on Smokey and Bailey, and as always, a huge thank you the wonderful team at eGlove for providing continued support and such wonderful gloves for me to train and compete in!
 
Jess x

Guest Blogger, Running

Nikki's Guest Blog - Purbeck Marathon

The one with hills and cows!

After a completely manic few days involving work, of course, and a trip to Luton to an old friend’s wedding reception on Friday evening, we found ourselves in Swanage in the early afternoon on Saturday. The day had begun with an enjoyable parkrun at Eastleigh, a nice little stretch of the legs in preparation for the little bit more than a marathon on Sunday. Swanage was a bit grey when we arrived and pottered about but the bay is so gorgeous and the ice cream a delicious way to carb load and the weather was forgotten.

There was a walk and a ride going on as a part of the Purbeck Marathon Festival and wandering along to the finish line to collect my number I felt the first wave of butterflies and excitement about the marathon. I did the marathon last year with my friend Martin, it was his first ever marathon and a sort of baptism by fire!! He ran the 16 mile this year and I went back for more of the marathon!

Sunday morning and the alarm went off and the pre marathon fussing started: kit check, breakfast, coffee, kit check, kit on, hydration pack filled, trainers on, pack checked again, Vaseline on, banana eaten and at least three trips to the loo and I was ready to walk the 5 mins to the start.  The sun was shining and it was warm already. Runners were milling about drinking coffee and using the toilets and chattering away. I met up with Martin and his wife Yasmin and we headed to the start area where I met fellow Fareham Crusader runners Mel, Paul and Trevor as well as our friend Ros. Numbers pinned on, bags dropped and the run brief held and the race started with the Town Crier ringing his bell and the marathon runners set off uphill at exactly 9:30am.

This marathon has the most spectacular scenery and after a mile we were on the South West Coast Path heading past Durdle Door towards Dancing Ledge and Kimmeridge.  This section is pretty much single file on track with a small piece of wire separating the runners and the cliff!! I try not to give it much thought and focus on where to place my feet although I did fall over about two and a half miles in!.  I was running this marathon alone and listened to the chatter around me and joined in when I felt the need! There are plenty of styles to climb over and gates to open and shut in this run and in particular this section. The views are just stunning that you just can’t help looking and smiling, it feels like a privilege to be running along these paths with cows and sheep for company.

The route turns in land for a bit and goes through the village of Kingston.  There were a few people cheering us on here which was a great boost.  It is here that the 16milers take a right turn and head towards Corfe, the marathon runners head back to the coast road and Tyneham.  This section is where the ups really are quite steep in places, a great opportunity to top up on fuel as it was really very hot and fuel was essential.

At the top of one of these sections was a herd of cows, literally in the middle of the route. Cows and me are a bit of an interesting thing and I have had the odd melt down when faced with them on a run (cried like a baby!) I let a few others walk through them first before very bravely having a go myself. Despite the fact that they seemed to stop chewing the grass and look at me, I made it! I had to take a photo to prove it to myself and others.

A few more ups and downs on the route and we headed into Tyneham a village that has been deserted since the second world war. This was a check point and also the point at which I got cramp in my quads, never had it before so was not great.  Knowing the route helped me from here on in as I knew the hills and where I could walk up them and manage my cramp.  Fellow runners were also complaining of cramp and the heat so I wasn’t alone. Heading up and over the hills towards to Corfe you pass lots of people walking and cycling and admiring the views and the sunny September sunshine. At one point you can see the tank tracks at Bovington and across to Brownsea Island one way and the Isle of Wight in the distance and back across to Kimmeridge that is a wow moment for sure! Corfe Castle looks majestic in the sunshine and again there were families looking around. We pass through a pub garden with enticing smells of lunch, luckily there was a drinks stop here. I took on my flat coke as we walked across the steam railway and headed up for the final albeit long climb!

By this time cramp was in my quads and hamstrings and I was quite grumpy about it! After the final bit of trail that sees you emerge onto the road at Ulwell I was dragging and hopping along the road to the seafront at Swanage and the finish line. The sun was string and there was still heat, think it was 21 when we got in the car at 4pm to come home. My wonderful support crew Mr eGlove was there at the end to take care of me at the finish and also to laugh at me and my cramp faces!!

This marathon is such a challenge and can be hard work but it is so lovely and one of my favourite runs. The scenery is second to none, the marshals are fab, the finish team are great and you get ice cream and cider! I felt wrecked and had cramp for ages afterwards, not great! Chips and tea and a paddle on the sea is a brilliant way to end a run. Well done to each and every person involved on the day, thank you, I will be back.

Editors note: If you are inspired by this brutal, but beautiful run, you can find more details HERE

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, Events

Anna the Apple - Guest Blog - Boston Marathon

When I finished the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon last year with a time of 3:24:06 I was over the moon because not only had I succeeded my expectations but I’d also earned myself a Boston Qualifier....

The very popular US marathon requires a certain marathon time in order to get a place and happily the time I needed was sub 3:35 for my age group. So I decided to apply to Boston for 2016 and bagged myself a place.

April 2016 swung by really fast and suddenly I was off to Boston with my mum for a girlie holiday…and the small matter of a marathon to do on day three. Over the weekend it was clear just how much of a big deal the Boston Marathon is to the city. Several people we spoke to – most of them non-runners – reiterated the fact that the city loved getting behind it, and even more so after the terrible bombings of 2013.It certainly felt like the entire city was buzzing with excitement. And just so many runners, easily identified by Garmin watches, trainers, Lycra and Boston Marathon merchandise.

On the day of the marathon, fondly called “Marathon Monday”, I got up super early, got my kit on, and headed out of the door with my mum waving sleepily to me and wishing me luck.

 

I wore throwaway clothes to keep me warm in the race village and had prepared porridge to take with me

I wore throwaway clothes to keep me warm in the race village and had prepared porridge to take with me

Transport to the start was provided for by the race and we were convoyed to Hopkins (some 26 miles away from the centre of Boston – the race is a point to point course) in yellow school buses. We arrived about an hour later… I had about two hours to kill before the race began.

It was nice and sunny but still quite cool. There were free bagels, bananas, Clif products and Gatorade It was quite the buffet. This was like no other race I’ve been to in that everyone looked fast. Everyone was lean, prepared and focused. The vibe of the place was very different to other races. There were no fun runners here. Everyone had run a marathon before in order to qualify. I felt so out of place. I know this sounds ridiculous as I earnt my place there like everyone else, but I honestly felt like I didn’t belong.

Eventually my wave was called. Everything was super organised. And the place was full of police, military and sniffer dogs (and snipers on the roof!). As I waited to start the nerves intensified as I looked around at all the lean, mean running machines next to me. And then we were off.

Miles 1-3: It was very crowded at the start but I didn’t really mind this as it kept my pace in order. There weren’t a huge number of supporters but there were sprinklings of people cheering and on their front lawns, set up for the day with chairs and drinks. It was downhill right from the start and I felt comfortable. But there were a few rolling hills as the initial miles tick by.

Miles 4-7: So far I’d been keeping nicely to my plan. I kept looking at my pace band that I had with me and felt on track but it was starting to feel really tough. It wasn’t supposed to feel as tough as this; my goal had always been to run easy and enjoy the race. I grabbed water from the aid stations and poured one over my head and sipped the other. Annoyingly they were cups which meant drinking was tricky but I squeezed the top together so I could create a spout. I also had to dodge the Gatorades as they were always first (could you imagine if I accidentally dumped one of those on my head?? #sticky).

The course was fairly dull. As a non-American I wasn’t sure what was significant and what wasn’t. As the course is pretty much a straight line to Boston you could occasionally see straight out in front of you and the 1,000s of runners ahead. It was mentally tough to see that.

Miles 8-12: At this point I knew things weren’t going well. I was struggling. I was losing motivation fast. The heat was really getting to me and I was struggling with the pace. I heard a girl next to me say to someone else, “It shouldn’t feel this hard this early”.

Annoyingly a gust of wind blew my trusty pace band away as I tried to read it – I kid you not. I watched it fly over my shoulder and gave a little scream which scared a nearby runner. I briefly contemplated going back for it but realised it was for the best. My 3:40 (and definitely 3:35) goal weren’t going to happen. Now I just wanted to finish. I stopped looking at my watch.

I was in marathon hell. Nothing about the course was helping, there was no shade and I was quickly spiraling into a dark, dark place. I took my gel early in the hopes that it would perk me up and then decided “sod it” and put a podcast on. I needed something to take my mind off the race. I wasn’t enjoying the race and was having a mental battle with myself about stopping. But stopping would be a) embarrassing and b) I’d have no idea where the hell to go or what to do.

We then came into the Wesley area. Suddenly there was a long (and I mean LONG) line of girls hanging over the barriers with bright red lipstick on screaming to be kissed. They had signs with funny messages and it took my mind off the race completely reading them. I’d heard about this before the race so it was fun seeing it live.

Just a small section of the legendary supporters!

Just a small section of the legendary supporters!

Their screaming was deafening. I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Some runners went over to have a quick peck and I even saw one guy get a selfie. It hugely lifted my mood.

Miles 13-16: Suddenly I was back in the groove. I was back in race mode and pulled myself together. This is BOSTON, I told myself. Don’t waste it. I saw a girl in the crowd handing out bottles of Vita Coco coconut water and I decided to grab one. Hands down this probably saved the race for me. The water was deliciously cold and tasty, and it perked me right up. I kept pouring water on my head at each water station but I kept that coconut water with me to sip on as I went on. Now I was just ticking the miles down until the hills would begin at Newton (mile 16).

Miles 17-21: I hit the first hill after a sharp decline and it was a long slog. It was tough but there was lots of support and I just remembered that after every hill there was a decline. I could do this. I remember reading a sign saying “May the course be with you” with a picture of Yoda and this made me smile. Another said “Motivational message for people I don’t know”. Random but funny. And my personal favourite “If Trump can run, so can you”.

When I was at the race village my mum had text me saying she was on the left next to a fire station (I do love my mum’s vagueness). I had no idea where that was. I assumed it wouldn’t be early in the race but at best 17 miles onward. So I now spent lots of time searching the supporters for my mum and any fire stations (thankfully I wasn’t aware that she was actually about 800m from the finish…).

The hills kept coming but I didn’t really notice them. It broke the race up nicely and I found myself overtaking people who were walking or struggling. Amusingly I was only aware of Heartbreak Hill after I’d climbed it and saw a huge sign saying I’d conquered it. I suddenly felt giddy that I’d gotten past the worst of the race.

22-26 miles: I was running strong and was happy. There was a gentle breeze which had a lovely cooling effect. The crowds were thick. I finished the coconut water and ditched it. I raised my hands and smiled and this made the crowds louder (other people were doing this too, I wasn’t the only loon).

My only annoyance was a painful stitch in my side. I tried stabbing my side, breathing differently, putting hands on hips, stretching upwards…nothing shifted it. My only relief was bending over as I ran – this, I know, looked weird but it provided me with minutes of relief after I did it. At this point in the race you do whatever you can to stay comfortable. I saw that famous Citgo sign in the horizon and smiled – finally another landmark I recognised.

We went under a bridge where the words “Boston Strong” were painted.

I took this photo on our last day when we drove back to the airport

I took this photo on our last day when we drove back to the airport

And then it was time for the only two turns in the entire race, the famous: “Left on Hereford, right on Boylston” (I’d only heard about that the day before). And then the crowds were crazy. I pumped my arms and smiled and smiled. I could see the finish in the distance. Still so bloody far away but within my grasp. I felt strong and overtook people as I headed to the finish. And then it was done.

Finish: My time was 3:38:46. I am fully shocked by this – somehow I managed to get my goal despite giving up earlier and ignoring my watch.

I stumbled to the medal collection point. My dad rung me almost immediately (he’d been tracking me from home in the UK). I was just blissfully happy to have survived.

I met up with my mum and we sat in a quiet Starbucks. It was the perfect location to decompress. And the goody bag had an APPLE. A GLORIOUSLY CRUNCHY TASTY APPLE. It was absolute bliss. No apple has ever tasted that good. Big words.

It was definitely the hardest road marathon I’ve done, despite going into it without a time goal. My easy pace I’d planned didn’t feel easy – I’m assuming because of training through winter and then having a very sunny and warm race. It was definitely a fantastic experience.

EDITORS NOTE:

What an awesome achievement Anna, and a fabulous blog! Thanks!!

You can find out more about Anna over on her blog (it's a favourite of ours, which is why we asked her for a contribution!), which also includes her fantastic review of the eGlove Sport Running Gloves. She's also on Twitter as @annatheapple

http://www.annatheapple.com/eglove-review-and-comparison/

 

 

 

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