The last few months I’ve been on the hunt for new schooling tall boots since my Ariat boots of 8 years have finally kicked the can. Initially I wanted a pair of dress boots for the ease of cleaning (no laces) and to just have something different. In December I found a pair of Tredstep Dress boots on sale and in my size so I scooped them up so excited…only to not love the fit. Unfortunately they weren’t slim enough in the ankles which caused a lot of unflattering wrinkles.
And so the search for tall boots continued. I was primarily looking at Ariat boots for two reasons. One, for their price point. And two, because I’ve owned multiple pairs of Ariat shoes from paddock boots to tall boots to cowboy boots and they always hold up so well.
But then I got to thinking, since I really love the way my DeNiro show boots fit, why not try to find a reasonably priced pair of those? Since the price point on DeNiro’s start off higher than Ariat I thought I’d be looking for a used pair or something on closeout. Little did I know I’d luck out.
After scouring Facebook marketplace and eBay I decided to check out some tack shops. That’s when I stumbled upon MyRidingBoots.com.
My Riding Boots is an online retailer for all things boots and helmets. They’re based in the Netherlands and carry many high end brands including DeNiro, Samshield, KEP, Kask, OneK and more.
When I first checked their sale section I didn’t find anything in my size at the price point I wanted to be at so I continued searching but periodically checked back in to see if any new sale items popped up. A few weeks later my boot prayers had been answered.
Newly added to their showroom sale were a pair of DeNiro Tricolore boots in the color Cafe, in my size, and for just about 40% off!! Originally $599 these boots were now $378. I felt like that was an incredible deal for brand new DeNiro’s and jumped on it immediately.
While I was compromising on the dress boot style I considered the color a win. I’ve always wanted a pair of brown boots but could never commit to a lighter brown simply because I thought it could clash with some outfits (yes, this is the matchy-matchyness in me coming out). The Cafe color is absolutely stunning. It’s a deep chocolate brown and in some lights they do almost look black but they pretty much match my Voltaire Palm Beach to a T.
After submitting my order it was placed on hold until the credit card transaction was posted (about 2-3 business days) and once the payment was posted I received a shipping confirmation almost immediately. They shipped from the Netherlands on a Tuesday and they were on my doorstep the same week on Thursday. That’s some crazy fast international shipping!!
I did unbox these boots on my instagram story and filmed it for YouTube as well, so if you’d like to watch that I’ll drop the video here too:
Mix & Match Deals
I do want to touch on something I haven’t seen before that My Riding Boots offers – Mix & Match Deals. Essentially this is a boot + helmet combo priced at a further discounted rate. Let’s look at one example combination that’s on their site.
If you were to buy these two items separately it would cost you $1,364.00.
Now let’s break down that savings.
Where else can you find $422 in savings for buying a boot and helmet combo? I think this is awesome!
Would I order again?
Overall I was extremely impressed with the promptness of service and quality of from My Riding Boots. For my future boot needs I will definitely be ordering from them again and especially when it comes time to finally order my dream custom Kask helmet! (I mean did you really expect anything other than black and burgundy?!)
Not only did I love my experience with MyRidingBoots.com, I’m so excited to be able to offer my fellow Shameless Equestrians an additional discount on your boot purchase.
I stumbled upon this contraption called The Pony Jet around the holidays. It’s essentially a garden hose nozzle with a container that holds shampoo between the trigger and the end of the nozzle. The Pony Jet advertised to make bathing “easier, faster, more effective, and save you money on shampoo”. But does it actually?
Just to put this disclaimer out there, all opinions in this post are my own. I do not receive any compensation for links or discount codes mentioned and I received my Pony Jet as a Christmas gift from my parents. 🙂 End disclaimer.
During the holidays there was a promo running which brought the cost down to $37.99, originally $50. Since I was intrigued and I decided to put it on my Christmas list. I believe they’re currently still priced at $37.99 but you can also use “PONY10” for 10% off your purchase.
Fast forward, we had a rare 60° day two weeks ago and of course, with Fiona looking like a mud ball, I decided to give The Pony Jet it’s first test run. So here’s my first impressions and review of The Pony Jet.
I filmed some real time video on my IG story which I’ll link below if you’d rather watch my first impressions and review.
I’m not sure there’s “correct” order of steps to take but here’s how I bathed Fiona with The Pony Jet.
Hosed off Fiona’s entire body (and tail) with just water.
Started hosing again with shampoo + water.
I personally used the flat setting when spraying with shampoo + water because I felt it was the best combination between water pressure and coverage.
Started scrubbing the soap in by hand before rinsing off but found there wasn’t too much of a difference between when I scrubbed vs. just spraying off with water. (Also, I wasn’t enjoying the water running down my arm and into my shirt 🙃).
Again, I used the flat setting for the water pressure and coverage.
Filled the canister halfway with conditioner and started spraying conditioner + water throughout Fiona’s tail. I forgot to show this part in the video above…whoops!
Rinsed Fiona’s tail with water.
Filled a bucket with water, Myst Coat Elixir, and Vetrolin Liniment to be sponged over her body for some pampering. (This part is also left out of the video, someone get me a camera crew LOL).
Sweat scraped again then waited a bit to towel her dry.
What I liked…
Different spray options on the nozzle – shower, mist, stream, jet, center, flat, cone, etc
The mist setting is perfect for hosing faces although I know some horses love having their face washed so this may not apply to you. Fiona doesn’t mind her cheeks being hosed but when you start getting to the top of her face she prefers the mist setting.
The jet setting is convenient to spray off any mud chunks on the top of hooves.
The trigger is “click and stay” so you don’t have to constantly hold it down for water / soap to come out. Simply squeeze it until you hear the click and release, the water / soap stream will stay on until you squeeze the trigger again to release.
Spraying water + conditioner through the tail was a breeze. Usually I soak Fiona’s tail in water, then have to work conditioner through it, let it sit, then rinse. With The Pony Jet I was able to soak her tail with water then with conditioner in the canister, spray a water + conditioner mix throughout it. I thought this was much easier than working conditioner in by hand and I got the same results.
What I didn’t like…
When I first received The Pony Jet in the mail there wasn’t much to it (I did technically get it as a gift but my parents gave it to me in the original packaging). It was just The Pony Jet itself in a poly-mailer, no literature, flyers, instructions, nothing. Given it is pretty self explanatory, The Pony Jet did come with an adapter in the base where it connects to a hose that needs to be taken off for to attach to U.S. hoses. It took me a little while to figure out I didn’t need to buy an adapter.
It uses A LOT of shampoo in my opinion. 2 full canisters for a full bath, so 1 full canister per side. After a brief Instagram DM conversation with The Pony Jet company, they say the shampoo usage has been addressed in The Pony Jet 2.0. That being said, I may have to pick one up to do a comparison review.
So would I buy it again?
In short, yes.
After Fiona’s bath I towel dried her (with white towels) since she still has a winter coat and little to no dirt residue came off on the towel. I mention this because in January we had another rare 60° day so I gave Fiona a bath with an AquaPaw. When I towel dried her after, the white towels I used turned brown. So I don’t believe the AquaPaw helped lift the dirt out of her winter coat as well as The Pony Jet.
Is it everything they claim?
Easier? Yes. Faster? Yes. More effective? Yes! Saves you money on shampoo? No.
Is it worth it?
Even though The Pony Jet uses a lot of shampoo, for me it’s not a deal breaker. Given the results I had and how QUICK it was for me to bathe Fiona I personally think the benefits outweigh the shampoo usage.
If you’ve tried The Pony Jet or are planning to give it a try I’d love to hear your thoughts and how it worked for you!
And don’t forget, if you use code “PONY10” you’ll save 10% on your order! Happy bathing!
Well, as you can tell my initial plans to document Fiona’s Kissing Spine journey here fell through the cracks. My last update was in May 2021 and I pretty much just explained that Fiona went in for surgery and laid out her rehab plan…so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and I’m going to attempt that without writing a full on novel. Wish me luck and enjoy the read.
APRIL 2021 – 1 Month Post Surgery
Fiona’s stall rest was going well for the most part. I visited the barn daily to take her on hand walks. We started out at 10 minutes and worked our way up to 20 minutes. After the staples were removed from her incision site we started PEMF therapy on Fiona’s back 1x per week.
Close to the 30 day mark, just a few days shy of being able to go out into a small paddock, Fiona colicked. It was my first colic experience as a horse owner and it was terrifying. I’m so fortunate my friend was at the barn, caught the behavior, administered banamine ASAP, and got her walking until I got there. Luckily after a few hours Fiona was back to her normal self but I made the decision to leave her in the round pen rather than go back to a stall. Fiona is on field turnout 24/7 so being confined in a stall from the get-go was a worry of mine.
MAY 2021 –2 Months Post Surgery
Fiona graduated from the round pen to a small paddock by herself. Her hand walks now included walking over ground poles for up to 20 minutes daily.
JUNE 2021 –3 Months PostSurgery
Fiona is officially off stall rest / small pasture turnout and back out in the field with her pasture-mates. Her hand walks and ground poles have evolved to walking and trotting on the lunge line. I started off very slow to make sure she didn’t get too excited and full of herself but she surprised me and did super from the get go. We got the clear from our vet to use a surcingle with side reins to help encourage long and low trotting.
JULY 2021 –4 Months Post Surgery
Most of July continued the same except for the part when I sat on Fiona’s back for the first time since March, but I’ll get to that later. She continued to walk and trot on the lunge line but now with a saddle instead of a surcingle. I also started to take her to my dressage trainer (Jenn) who specializes in Swedish Long Lining. These sessions were so great for her and myself to learn and continue to build Fiona’s top line correctly.
On July 16th, Fiona went back to the vet for a recheck exam. I was thrilled when she got a great report and shocked she got the clear to start under saddle work. I didn’t think I would be sitting on Fiona’s back until at least September so hearing that in JULY, only 4 months post surgery, I would be able to ride her again I was shocked to say the least.
Okay, onto the most exciting part of July. July 27th. I sat on Fiona’s back for the very first time since March 16th. I had so many emotions running through me but the most predominant one was excitement. Tuesday afternoon I logged off work a little early, hooked up the trailer, headed to the barn to get Fiona, and off we went to Jenn’s.
To make the experience as positive as I could, Jenn long lined Fiona just like she would on any other day. We wanted her working, using her body correctly, and most importantly we didn’t want her to be tense. At the end of her long lining session (which we cut a little short), it was time for me to get on. For everyone’s safety I didn’t want to put Fiona on a lunge line, lead line, or anything. If she was going to react I didn’t want anyone on the other end of a rope. Turns out the precaution was unnecessary, she stood like an angel for me to mount and didn’t walk on until told to do so. We kept this ride short, like 10 minutes short, and all we did was walk.
This was also my first official lesson with a dressage trainer so I was learning all the basics which I haven’t utilized in hunter/jumper land like letting my hips swing with her movement, half halting with my core, etc.
I couldn’t wipe the ridiculous smile off my face the whole time, I can’t even translate the pure joy and happiness I felt through words.
AUGUST 2021 –5 Months Post Surgery
For the month of August we worked on slowing incrementing our under saddle walk sessions and then started to incorporate a little bit of trot. Prior to each ride, Fiona would be lunged at the walk, trot, and canter to get her body warmed up. This slowly gets weaned away but I was in no rush and wanted to ensure Fiona was always comfortable rather than anticipating and potentially blowing up.
On August 9th we trotted under saddle for the first time. I’m not going to lie though, it wasn’t exactly pretty but it was something. She threw a few bucks but we are confident they were pain memory bucks and not “this hurts me” bucks. Something to note about Fiona – she is an extremely emotional horse who carries baggage. Her personality and the way she expressed things kept her from finding a forever home (that is until now). She learned to buck and act out until she scared her rider enough to get off and leave her be. Knowing what I know now, I believe those moments were her way of trying to communicate she was in pain.
SEPTEMBER 2021 –6 Months Post Surgery
When I first started trotting Fiona under saddle I had trouble grasping the concept of “contact”. When Fiona would start reacting prior to surgery, we tried many different things to ease the reaction and get her focused again. The thing we found helped at the time was releasing contact altogether so when I started riding again taking and maintaining contact was something I needed to learn.
In September we also started to introduce the canter. I felt like we were not only introducing it to Fiona for the first time but to me too. It felt like I forgot how to sit the canter. I didn’t know where my upper body should be, how to move with her movement, and keep her lifted through her back all at the same time. It’s been a re-learning process for both of us.
OCTOBER 2021 –7 Months Post Surgery
October continued mostly the same as September. Fiona was getting worked 4-5 days per week and each gait was still a work in progress to stay round, lifted through the back, and on the bit for the entire duration. I started to focus on our transitions a little more at this point as well. Going from the walk to trot Fiona would try to invert, throw her head up and pull herself into a trot rather than rounding over her back and pushing into the trot with her hind end. To this day I’m still working on this. (Sorry no riding videos this month).
NOVEMBER 2021 –8 Months Post Surgery
Daylight savings really started to kick my butt in November. I mean who actually likes when it gets dark at 4pm?! Anyway, I started to incorporate some hill work into Fiona’s routine to help build muscle. We are fortunate enough to have acres of trails on the barn property so I started taking Fiona out to walk and trot the hills. It was her first time out there since March and she handled herself like a seasoned trail horse. I really couldn’t have been more thrilled. There was no funny business or worries the moving tree branches would come to eat us.
DECEMBER 2021 –9 Months Post Surgery
I wish I could say I rode a lot more in December since I had about 3 weeks off of work…but I didn’t. Between getting things wrapped up at work, my embroidery business, and the holidays things just weren’t aligning. Before the craziness got out of hand I took Fiona to Jenn’s to be long lined and it was an ok session in my opinion (on Fiona’s part). I told Jenn at the beginning I was struggling with Fiona’s canter because she kept falling on her inside shoulder rather than staying upright and balanced. It was evident on the long line that she was essentially pulling with her front end instead of pushing with her hind. Overall, there was never really a spectacular moment during this session but there also wasn’t any mind blowing on Fiona’s end which I’ll definitely take as a win.
I was also able to squeeze in a cavaletti clinic clinic early on in the month which I loved. It was such a great learning opportunity for both of us and the exercises we did were like nothing we’ve done before. This is a clinic that takes place monthly so I plan to attend as often as I can.
JANUARY 2021 –10 Months Post Surgery
Just when I thought we were going to have a mild winter, Mother Nature came to assure me she’s got a cold side to her. The barn I board at doesn’t have an indoor so we are at Mother Nature’s mercy when it comes to less than ideal weather…and that’s exactly what this month has been. Between freezing temperatures, snow, and ice I couldn’t catch a break. I finally did some searching and found an indoor arena less than 10 minutes away to rent by the hour. I’ve adventured there twice this month to get some saddle time in since our outdoor arena has been an ice skating rink. No joke, here’s proof.
With Mother Nature working against us, there hasn’t been a ton of progress this month. One of my friends so graciously tagged along on one of my indoor outings to take some video and I’m forever grateful she braved the cold for me! As you can see though, we still get the occasional buck under saddle but we work through it and move on like nothing happened. Patience is the game here.
On that note, I guess that’s a 10 month wrap-up in a mile long blog post. If you’ve stuck with me this far I wish I could actually give you a high five. I know this was A LOT but as I wrote this post it reminded me of how far Fiona has come in just 10 months. Don’t get me wrong, we are a long ways from being in a “good” spot and there’s always more work to be done but watching those first trotting under saddle videos compared to now, I think there’s definitely improvement. I’m so excited to see where 2022 takes us and I promise I’ll be more diligent about updating you guys here!
The best Black Friday / Cyber Monday / Small Biz Saturday weekend sales all in one place! Happy Shopping!! This list will be updated throughout the weekend so be sure to check back for the latest sales!
If you find this helpful, join the Shameless Spending Squad to get all the best equestrian sales, deals, and giveaways in one email to your inbox throught the year!
Buy 2, Get 1 Free Code: Automatic @ Checkout 11/26 Only 20% off + 50% Off Clearance Code: SAVEBIG 11/27 – 11/28 Buy 1, Get One 20% Off Ready To Ship & Embroidery Gear Code: Automatic @ Checkout 11/29 Only (Discounts Exclude Baker Items)
There’s nothing I love more than buying that perfect gift for someone. I know for some people holiday shopping can be stressful but for me…I love every minute of it and that’s why I’m here to help you find the perfect gift for all the horse-y people in your life!
If this gift guide helps you out, I’d love to know! Tag @ShamelessEquestrian on your story or make a post about a purchase you’ve made with the help of this guide and I’ll send you a free Shameless Equestrian vinyl decal as a thank you!!
Also, if you love to score a good deal but don’t want to spend the time looking for coupon codes, join the Shameless Spending Squad for all the best equestrian deals, sales, and giveaways all in one email. I never spam your inbox and only strive to provide a valuable shopping resource to help you save some money in our expensive sport!
Without further ado, let’s jump into those gift ideas!!
Gifts Under $25
These items make great gifts for friends at the barn without breaking the bank and they’re also perfect stocking stuffers for those you might spend a little more on.
I saw these pop up on Facebook one day and instantly saved the post. Our grooming brushes often get neglected and this is such a fun and easy way to clean them. Simply drop in a bucket of water, add your brushes, swoosh them around, and you’re good to go. Not to mention they come in so many scents.
If you’re going to burn a candle you might as well make sure it’s horse themed! Every time I burn Wash Rack it brings me right back to the wash stalls in Harrisburg. Wax melts start at $5, tins start at $14.50, and full size jars are $19.50. They offer “package deals” when you purchase 3 or more of each size which brings those prices down a bit further so this is a great way to buy a few and divvy them up among friends.
Kara creates adorable custom equestrian themed digital artwork. Absolutely everything is customizable including: horse color and markings, rider skin tone, hair color and style, rider apparel and various other add-ons like bridles. Back in August I ordered this digital print with intents to get them put onto cards so I had blank cards to use for generic notes, thank you’s, etc. But with a digital file the possibilities are endless…stickers, note pads, etc
Shameless plug here, I have a small embroidery business on the side and love finding things to embroider that come I can use at the barn. These towels are perfect to attach to your ringside pack for those last minute boot cleans before you head into the ring. These are available with your monogram, horse’s name, or barn logo. Pair this with the next item and you’ve got the perfect tack care gift pack!
Sterling Essentials products are my go-to for leather cleaning and conditioning. The leather cleaner is my absolute favorite, just a quick spray and wipe then you’re done. Sterling Essentials products are all natural and safe for you, your horse, and your tack. They also come in three great scents. Feel free to read my in-depth review and see the amazing transformation my boots made here. Now through the holidays you can snag a Leather Care Starter Set 4-Pack at a discounted price. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer to gift to friends and trainers. You can also use code ‘SE102‘ for 15% off your first order.
If you’ve been following Shameless Equestrian for any amount of time, you’ll know that I LIVE BY THIS STUFF! This is hands down the best mane/tail shine, detangler, burr remover, and hair strengthener I have ever used. I not only use this on Fiona but I also put it in my hair after every wash. To learn more about it check out my blog post on all of Mane-ly Long Hair’s products. As a bonus, during the holidays you can pick up a 3-pack of 4oz Polishers for $30 which brings each polisher to $10 instead of $14.99! This is another awesome stocking stuffer set to pick up and split between your barn friends and trainers. Plus, you can also use code ‘SHAMELESS‘ for 10% off your first order.
Stinky helmets used to be something I just dealt with until I tried The Infused Equestrian’s Noggin Spray! I received this spray in my Fall Bit Box and was so excited because I was eyeing it up all summer. I can honestly say this has eliminated the stinky helmet dilemma. After each ride I give the bottle a quick shake, spray once in my helmet and that’s it!
Want a personalized lead rope but don’t necessarily want a name plate on leather, look no further! MyRope.com has traditional polypropylene lead ropes with a name embroidered at the base. If you want to spend a bit more you can even get an embroidered lunge line.
Elastic belts have been super popular lately and Alexia (left) from Beyond the Track Apparel has taken them a step further by adding the option to customize your belt! Monogram belts start at $25 but you can also get a logo or name added for just $5 more. Alexia has embroidered two Shameless Equestrian logo belts and they’re both gorgeous! (Black/Gold belt pictured here).
I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of EquestrianAF. Shop owner and killer business woman, Amber, has taken the equestrian community by storm with her funny, cute, and witty equestrian themed tees. I have the ‘Save a horse, Ride a dragon’ tee and I will vouch for how insanely comfortable and soft these shirts are. No matter your discipline or your horse’s breed and color, EquestrianAF will have a tee for you.
Continuing my love for comfy tees, I wanted to add this to the list! If you love comfy tees but don’t necessarily want equestrian themed quotes on the front, this is for you! The Emily tee by KF Clothing is a plain tee with a scallop hem feature an embroidered bit on the sleeve. They come in classic colors like cream, black, gray, burgundy and blush so they’ll be an incredibly versatile wardrobe addition.
Just like the Cavali Club stirrup covers but customizable! Since getting my Voltaire I have been looking around at stirrup cov. rs to help protect my saddle but was never thrilled with anything. I didn’t want fleece with elastic at the top because my stirrup leathers had no where to go so when I found these Wilsun Custom Stirrup Covers I instantly pulled the trigger. You pick the primary and trim color then decide if you’d like to add custom embroidery for an additional $8.
I would argue that crops are the one item at all barns that notoriously grow legs and RUN AWAY. That being said, taking an extra precaution by monogramming your show bat could be a solution to deter those legs from growing. These not only make a great gift for friends but also for you trainer!
I’m ALL about the subtle equestrian accessories, it’s the Shameless Equestrian way, right? Ellany belts are, in my opinion, the cutest equestrian accessory that could be added to virtually any outfit. Have a plain and simple dress? Add a snaffle bit belt for a touch of horse girl vibes. Wearing jeans to the office and need a belt? Show off that equestrian style with one of these! If snaffle bits aren’t your favorite, fear not, Ellany also offers stirrup belts.
Subscription boxes are a great way to try new items at a fraction of the cost. Cavali Club is a quarterly subscription box that retails for $59 and contains various equestrian items from treats to tack valued at $200+.
Dapplebay Technical Riding Tops are not only versatile in any weather but they’re cute as heck! Leah, owner and creator of all things Dapplebay, draws and designs everything in her shop. You can even catch her sketching out new designs over on her Instagram, @dapplebayco! These work great as a sunshirt in warmer months and a baselayer in colder months. For size reference I’m usually between a small or medium depending on fit, I went with a medium in the Horse Power top and it’s still a very flattering fitted look.
Once you get a high quality triple stitched leather halter you won’t ever want to go back to budget friendly halters again. I had the pleasure of meeting Olivia, owner of Remarkable Leather Goods, at the Maryland 5 Star and picked up one of her gorgeous Remarkable halters. She has different halter options ranging from $85-$140. All of RLG’s halters are sourced, dyed, and stitched in the USA, use all solid metal hardware and is female owner and operated.
Let me start off by saying…I’ve always hated riding tights. After hearing how many people loved Free Ride Equestrian it made me want to give riding tights a try but I was so nervous to make the purchase and not have my opinion change. This summer I was lucky enough to win a pair of their Define Hybrid Breeches and that dislike for riding tights vanished. These breeches are SO flattering, the material is thick enough so it’s not see through but also a great option for hot summer days, they have belt loops (selling point for me!) and the color options are gorgeous. If you’re even thinking about splurging, I’m here to enable that purchase. You won’t regret it.
For how often I wear my Breeks I’m shocked I don’t have a photo wearing them (yet)! I purchased a pair of Knee Patch Breeks in the color Ash over the summer and FELL IN LOVE. I’m itching to order another pair but keep telling myself to wait for the restock so I can snag a pair in Winery – which, surprise surprise, is a stunning burgundy color. They’re insanely comfortable, have a slightly higher rise in the back with a flattering V cut design (I’m really sorry if there’s a technical fashion term for this, all I know is that it’s super cute touch) and it has pockets galore!! Need I say more?
Love the idea of subscription boxes but find yourself not using everything you get? This is where The Modern Horse Bit Box saves the day! With TMH Bit Box you decide what type of items you’d like to see in your box. The entire box is hand-picked for you based on your preferences and size. Yes, that means you can get apparel as well!! At $150 initially I was sticker shocked but decided to give it a try and I’m SO HAPPY I did! The Fall box was fantastic, I have an unboxing video here, and I cannot wait for the Winter box. ‘SHAMELESS10’ will also score you 10% off Out Of The Box items!
These are a serious splurge item but worth every penny. I’ve been riding in American Equus stirrups since they officially launched in 2016 and won’t ride in anything else. The Shano Family has created such an incredible brand and company, when you order a pair of AE stirrups you’ll get a custom boutique experience for everything down to the box they arrive in. These stirrups are completely customizable, ergonomically designed, have traction pins on the footbed, and – the best part – they’re made in the USA. If you’re on the fence they even have a trial program so you can see if AE stirrups are for you. But I can assure you, you’ll love them.
And that’s a wrap! (no pun intended?)
I hope this gift guide was helpful for you! I would love to know what’s on your holiday shopping list this year, feel free to comment below or pop over to my Instagram @ShamelessEquestrian and we can chat there! If you make a purchase with the help of this gift guide, tag me on Instagram and I’ll send you a free Shameless Equestrian vinyl sticker.
We all have that old pair of boots that are covered in dirt, have holes somewhere in the stitching, and you don’t wear anymore but refuse to throw out.
These are mine.
Now I want you to toss out, erase, and Ctrl+Delete everything you know about cleaning and conditioning tack. Yes, that glycerin soap too…trash that.
I recently purchased the Sterling Essentials leather cleaner and conditioner and let me start off by saying…
Last fall I decided to retire my show boots to schooling status because they just couldn’t cut it in the show ring. I’m talking constantly moldy, gray scale-y nasty looking stuff on the inner calf, and dirt that just did not want to breakup with my boots. So at the beginning of the summer show season when I became a last minute catch rider I panicked…because my boots were so not show worthy.
Luckily on the day of my friend had some Sterling Essentials leather cleaner and offered it as my boots’ lifeline. I wish I took before and after photos because if I didn’t already retire these boots I could have continued showing in them.
Needless to say, I was instantly sold on Sterling Essentials products and got to ordering my own stash.
Since I was so bummed I didn’t take before and after photos of my tall boots, I did the only logical thing…
I pulled out THOSE boots…yep, the old, dirty, hole-y boots I won’t throw away because you just never know when you’ll need them.
And with that being said, I think I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Before I close this review with my ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stamp of approval, I want to highlight my biggest takeaway from these products.
I’ve always stressed about the right water to glycerin soap ratio when cleaning tack because I know how bad water is for leather. I’ve stressed so much that I rarely cleaned my tack and instead just conditioned it. I know cringe away, that’s a terrible thing to do.
However, when I got my Voltaire saddle I knew I could not and would not ONLY condition it. For the first 6 months I did suck it up, used glycerin soap, and hoped for the best but not anymore.
The Sterling Essentials Leather Cleaner is SO easy to use. No water, no stress, simply spray on your tack and wipe away. The nozzle sprays ultra fine mist so you can get into those nooks and crannies while evenly distributing the cleaning product.
All Sterling Essentials products are PH matched to leather and made with all natural ingredients including essential oils which are safe for you, safe for your tack, and safe for your horse. That means there are ZERO harsh chemicals in it which will cause leather breakdown over time and could potentially cause an allergic reaction in your horse. And as an added bonus, there are 3 incredibly soothing scents to choose from!
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of floral scented items but the Floral Citrus scent is great! Not super floral, the citrus scents balance it out really well.
I can go on and on about how Sterling Essentials products have changed my tack care game but I’m going to wrap it up here and just say you really need to try it for yourself.
If you’re about to hop on board and give them a go, you can use code ‘SE102‘ for 15% off your first purchase! I’d love to hear from you, if you have any questions feel free to ask away and let me know about your experience. If you’re already a Sterling Essentials fan I’d love to know which scent is your favorite!
Saddle fit…this seriously overwhelmed me last summer.
I touched on this a little in my first Kissing Spine blog post but didn’t go that far in depth on the saddle side.
Quick backstory, last summer was Fiona’s first time on a regular training schedule since she put her hind legs through a fence. Bad behaviors started popping up so I had a saddle fitter come out to check the Pessoa I had. It didn’t fit.
I then proceeded to go down saddle research rabbit hole.
Wool vs. foam, custom vs. semi custom, this brand vs. that brand. It got to the point I had an Excel spreadsheet and Word document full of information, screenshots of specs, and saddle rep contact information. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.
Luckily, I had a place to start. Sam’s Saddles, an online saddle consigner run by Sam Baker, came out to our barn and brought a variety of saddles with her. I think I sat in almost a dozen different saddles including County, Prestige, Amerigo, CWD, and a few others. Throughout all the trials, Fiona was very opinionated with what she liked and didn’t like so it made the process much easier.
Also, considering I pretty much only rode in my Pessoa for the past 5 years, it was also super beneficial for me to see and feel other brands to determine what I liked and didn’t like. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a saddle from Sam but she did end up selling my Pessoa and that whole experience was easy and seamless.
After that I decided custom would be the route we take. I had a Voltaire rep come out to trial their saddles and my search was over. Fiona felt great and I felt great. Done deal. I ordered my Palm Beach with buffalo leather that day and the wait began.
My saddle arrived days before Christmas and I was psyched but as we know just months later Fiona underwent Kissing Spine surgery.
Which brings us to the present. We are 4 months post-op and Fiona is ready to have a saddle on her back (sans rider). After everything we’ve put in thus far I, of course, didn’t want to put a saddle on her back until I got confirmation it would fit 100%. Here’s where Voltaire’s customer service shines.
I got in contact with my local rep and he came out to look everything over. After checking wither clearance, balance, tree position, and all the things it was decided Fiona needs front shims to lift the saddle off of her scapula. Now, this is only a temporary solution. The shims will be in place while Fiona continues her lunge work. Once I get the ‘OK’ from our vet to sit on her back and trot her around my rep will come back out to the barn to do a re-check.
At this point, he will evaluate whether or not the front shims need any further adjusting and my saddle will be sent out for new panels to be made. If you’re not familiar with the brand, Voltaire designs their saddles for panel modifications to be possible without purchasing an entirely new saddle. That being said, lifting the front of my saddle is viable and easily done. As a bonus, panel modifications only take about 2 weeks to be completed.
After I receive my saddle back with new panels, I’ll ride in it for another few weeks before, once again, my rep will come back out to the barn to verify everything is still looking good or if we need any further panel tweaks.
This is exactly the customer service and attention to detail I would want and expect when purchasing a custom saddle. In my opinion, they’re going above and beyond to ensure my saddle fits 100%. With Fiona’s Kissing Spine diagnosis and surgery, I’m now especially paranoid but feel confident that Voltaire will ensure my saddle is the perfect fit for my four-legged Cinderella.