Saturday, May 31, 2014

REVIEW: Ben's Mom's saddle soap & Passier Lederbalsam

So about six months ago I purchased Ben's Mom's saddle soap in Fox's Vanilla Lavender and the Passier Lederbalsam for my old and dry saddle. My saddle, when I first got it, was very dry and scratched pretty easily due to this. My saddle has clearly been well taken care of in the time before I acquired it, but it was just dirty and dehydrated.

When I first opened up the package of the saddle soap, the first thing I noticed was the smell. I'm really not picky on smells - I either like it or I don't. Plain and simple. I love leathery-smelling soaps, glycerin is fine, etc. But this soap smelled like a candle in a Yankee Candle store - and I fell in love. The soap, I believe, is not too unbelievably strong especially once it's on the saddle. The other ladies at the barn who walk in when I'm doing tack always comment on the smell and I've even recommended it to one or two interested ladies already! It's very hard and concentrated which I love because it saves a tonnnn of product. I've done countless pieces of tack with it already and there's not even a dent. I ended up with the 8 oz tub which came to 14.95 (minus tax + shipping) and although it's a bit more than your typical bar of glycerin, I believe it's worth it. I ordered it through an Etsy account which I will link below (along with the Passier Lederbalsam as well). The lederbalsam was as expected: goopy and waxy. Very thick in consistency.

As I use this soap, I make sure that my sponge is damp, not dry/wet/sopping/etc. Damp. I also work in circular motions just because of personal preference - I think it removes dirt better. The soap itself isn't too sudsy and leaves virtually no grain on the leather (unless you use too much). The soap is marketed for an everyday after ride saddle soap, though I use it mostly as a once a week soap. The soap IS gentle enough for everyday use, and can also be made a little more "harsh" for especially dirty tack if you just go over it more than once and scrub a little harder. My saddle is always lovely and feels very conditioned after just using the soap! So sometimes I skip using the lederbalsam, but when my saddle feels like it needs the extra help, here's what I do!

I make sure my saddle has sat for at LEAST 15 minutes so it can soak in all that it needs/wants. After this 15 minutes is usually when I decide whether or not it needs the lederbalsam. After that time I usually use a cloth towel to blot any places I see that are still wet. Now with this lederbalsam, I've tried using both a sponge and a brush, but nothing works as well as fingers. So what I do next is simply get a glob on my fingers and massage it into the leather slowly and in circular motions. I do not recommend using a ton of this product as a little definitely goes a lonnnng way, especially after you use the Ben's Mom's saddle soap since that's conditioning as well. After I massage it all over I put my saddle back on my rack and let it sit for a day or two to absorb what it needs. When I come back the next day, I take a cloth towel and gently rub my saddle in circular motions to work in any extra, but take off some as well.

Overall, I believe these products are very high quality and I will be purchasing again after I run out!! They do their job and keep my tack looking great - and Evy sure appreciates looking so spectacular ;)

Ben's Mom's Etsy page:
Passier Lederbalsam:

Heels down :)
Lauren and Evy


Wow. It's been 6 months since I was last updating.. I'm so bad at this. Anyways. Today's blog will be an update on life, how everyone is, and why I haven't posted. Probably immediately following this post I will post the review for the Ben's Mom's saddle soap and as well as a review for the Passier Lederbalsam that was promised SIX MONTHS AGO.

Anyways. After I left off, Eve and I kind of had a bad couple of months ride wise. I felt like she was being disrespectful more often, which although it was my fault for being so passive, it was frustrating and affecting our rides. So I gave her a solid 2-3 weeks off so she could get herself together as well as myself. We start riding again and things are getting better, then I talked to the BO who had a chiropractor out, and apparently Eve has been out in a lot of places and we think it's due to saddle fit despite my cushy mattes pad and cushy regular pad under it. So that was reallllly disappointing. So for the past 4 months I have seldom got on her with the exception of bareback. We're going to have a saddle fitter out soon I think, but I remember Di (BO) saying it'd probably be around 250-300 for consultation + whatever needs to be done, minus if I need to invest in a new pad such as an ogivly (sp?). So yeah. Money money money.

Speaking of money - why I haven't been updating even recently: I wrecked my car. Well. I actually hit a deer (sorry Bambi) but it almost totaled my car by a hair. But 2 months and 1500$ later he's fixed. During those two months I was not able to go up to the barn due to virtually no transportation. So that's why I haven't been updating. And literally all my money went to that which is why no saddle fitter yet! Yay for parents teaching responsibility and making me pay my way for what I want to do!!!! - not.

From the updates I've gotten from Di everyone is well and fat - we're working on a Jenny Craig program at the moment. ;)

Fake it til you make it!
Lauren and Evy

Monday, January 20, 2014

accomplishments, sore body and a long, great day


so remember how I said I set that course up all by myself and I was so happy?? yeah. well lol. my body has been kiiiilling me since Saturday. I struggled at work Saturday evening + all day Sunday. ugh. oh well. no pain, no gain right? hopefully I gained a lot of whatever the gains supposed to be.. 

I'm a weenie. there, I said it. it's out to the world. I'm a weenie, but I'm a weird weenie. I know in my head that I should be comfortable as a labelled 'intermediate' rider. I've been riding for 10+ years, worked both on the ground and up on horses extensively, I've done many different disciplines within both English and Western categories, I've worked with greenies, and probably more. but I'm still a weenie. I can't help it. a couple bad falls takes it's toll on your confidence after a while. but today, I shoved the weenie in me back and let a confident rider emerge - I cantered the beast. now you may be saying at this point: that's all? what? but here are a couple points for you to understand. 
1.) each of my falls (every single one minus one or two) has been while I was in/going into/coming out of a canter. once I'm in it I'm fine and dandy but going into it makes me a little nervous. 
2.) Evy is a fairly large OTTB. emphasis on OTTB. no breaks. but I still did it (and there were no breaks......) 
3.) she's one of the biggest horses I've ridden/worked with and because of this, everything is bigger than I'm used to. even her walk is bigger. I was always the kid stuck on ponies because I've always been kinda short.  #shortgirlprobz 

so yes. I'm proud of myself and Evy. she did very nice and a few times we had a nice canter going. we cantered a total of 3 times, about twice around the ring each. so a total of six laps. it was a good break from trotting and walking. we won't stop with working on those, but adding in a nice canter (or hand gallop as she was doing) will be nice to freshen things up a bit. I adore my girl. :) 

so today was a great ride and on top of that I lucked out with great weather - almost 50 degrees!! after I rode I decided to clean my saddle, bridle and another boarder's bridle. I was itching for an excuse to use my new soap and conditioner :) review on the soap will come very soon - I would just do it now but I wanna see what it's like after it sits overnight alone on the bridle, and how it looks overnight on my saddle w/ the Passier lederbalsam! :) i won't say any more about it now because i want the review to be thorough. so yeah. spent 6 hours at the barn chillin then picked up my new phone! the iPhone 5s (black one)     I'm a little addicted right now ;) 

sit up! 
Lauren + Evy 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

juhumps, standards and cute photos. oh and a vid

as promised, here is a video of Evy and I trotting. please excuse my EQ I know it's not the best. clearly it's not the most interesting video but progress is progress, boring or not. but here's the link! 

anyways. today I decide to test the little girl and see if she can use her brain. (and she can!) so I set up this little mini 'course' with ground poles and it was pretty cute :) she did a lovely job and after jumping all the ground poles, she eventually trotted over them like a princess. such a productive day! anyways, here: 

it was cute. but maaaaaaAAAn I never realized how heavy standards were until today O_O jeeeeeez. and I didn't just have to move them a few feet. no. I moved them (by myself, mind you) from the farthest part of the outdoor to the indoor. so it's a good couple hundred feet, and by counting the number of standards in the photo you can do the math on how many trips that was. but it was worth it. it was a great teaching tool and Evy LOOOOVED it. not once did her ears go down to even listen back. the only real 'negative' was that she had her giraffe stance while working all day because she was so excited, so we need to go back to lunging with side reins before riding. again. :/ but oh well. so yeah. good ride. :) 
hopefully lesson Monday *fingers crossed* 

I'll leave you with some cute shots from today :) 
Lauren + Evy

my favorite photo of her thus far. lolol. 
and this is storm, Evy's sister!! hopefully when she's sound she'll start jumping as well :) 

Friday, January 17, 2014

kind of a boring update and dreams

hey guys. 

so sorry but this will be kind of a boring update. I rode on Wednesday and brought my sister up to record and take pictures. here's one: 
it's kind of cute. it was a decent ride. not the best and she was kind of just being a bitch. but as I've said for years, it's the bad rides that make the good rides so good. I'll try to get the video up (maybe) of I can figure it out. my EQ isn't the best and not to make excuses, but I'm still getting used to her and her gait. so yeah. 
I was going to go up to ride today (as part of the plan or whatever) but it was too snowy. :/ hopefully tomorrow I can go up! 

but anyways. my saddle conditioner and sponges came in the mail today. 
I'm super stoked to try it out :) and my BensMoms soap is still on it's way so I'll do my review when it comes and when I actually use it!! how often do you guys clean (soap + condition) your saddle(s)? 

so dreams. my dream is to be a working student at some point. I know how much work it entails but I want that. I want to see what I want for me. this summer I'm thinking I wanna do it. my dream would be working with Dom and Jimmy Schramm. that would be my absolute dream. that may not actually happen, but hey a girl can dream right? ideally this would be a 1-2 month position during the summer - live in, wage, training available, bring horse. but we'll see what's up haha. but yeah that's my dream. lol random rant. 

that's all!! 
heels down, eyes up!

Lauren + Evy

Monday, January 13, 2014

a lesson, full shopping cart and life changing news

today has been very... interesting to say the least. I'll start at the beginning. 

I got to the barn a liiiiittle late (by a little I mean an hour and a half late) and of course with my luck, it was supper time. so I quickly grabbed princess and tried to brush her as fast as possible because she was already a little irritated since she knew it was around supper time. just as I was doing the finishing touches, the lady on feed duty comes out with the feed dishes and Evy most definitely heard it a mile away. uh oh, I thought to myself. this  was going to be a hot mess and two thirds. so being the sympathetic person I am, I head over to the hay cart and grab approx. 1/3 of a flake and let Eve carry on while I hurry and finish tacking her up. after fighting for 5 minutes on accepting the bit, I finally get her all set up and she reluctantly follows me to the arena. at this point, I know I'm cruel and decide to just hit the main 'goals' of out training schedule since it really isn't fair to ask her to work during supper. so after a crappy lunge warmup (at least she had good form) I hop on and walk around a bit, and it was then and there I knew today was going to be a lesson. here are just a few things I learned today:
-there are many scary things in the arena during rain that apparently have just appeared today, so we had some nice little spooks here and there. lesson: needs extended warmup during inclement weather. 

-Evy decided that she didn't want to do all 3 ground poles and decided to jump/trot/hop over them, then throw a little buck to make her point. lesson: lunge over ground poles before hopping on, and do it thoroughly with good form and consistent gait. 

-Evy's trot gait is very much coming along nicely. she constantly wants to do it and is starting to use herself nicely. lesson: work trot on lunge more so we can build more muscle/balance. plus grow some balls and use more trot under saddle and in day-to-day lessons. 

-sitting back, looking up, and being in general good form (rider wise) actually helps Eve. when I slow down my posting she generally follows and becomes nice and balanced. lesson: work on getting EQ back - you're riding a horse who needs you to have good EQ, not for you to sacrifice it to stay on. 

-Evy is not Evy during supper. lesson: get my ass to the barn earlier to avoid today's. 

I'm not necessarily upset with our ride today - I'm glad I learned all these things today. plus we did end on a good note, so that's always nice. it's just not one of those rides where I'm like omg I love my pony we did so amazing omg let's do prelim tomorrow!!!! it's one of the rides where god really showed me what I need to work on, and made it clear. 

enough with that. today I ordered Ben's Mom's saddle soap in Fox's Vanilla Lavender. I've heard raaaaves on COTH and since I'm in the market for a saddle soap, I thought why not try it? for 14.95 for a 8 oz tub, I'm down to try. plus I'm fairly certain I'll enjoy it because of allllll the reviews I've seen/read. if not, I'll give it to someone at the barn to try. I'll do a blog post reviewing it once it arrives and I've used it. I also went on Smartpak and ordered the Passier Lederbalsam (thanks SheMovedToTexas!!) and some tack sponges. I already know the Lederbalsam is the best of the best stuff, so I'll just do a review of the saddle soap! so needless to say my cart was very full. next up: name plate for my saddle!

aaaaand now on to the fantastic, amazing, phenomenal, life changing, religion altering (jk lol) news.... the equestrian coach at Auburn University contacted me :)))))))) IM SO STOKED. and I emailed my role models Dom and Jimmie Schramm asking about summer working positions, and they actually replied (which I'm still geekin about) and told me to ask again closer to summer, as they are full as of right now. BUT THEY STILL REPLIED AND TOLD ME TO ASK AGAIN SO IM REMAINING OPTIMISTIC!!!! 

anyways. hopefully a lesson Friday with a good friend. I know many people say not to hire 'young people' as trainers, but she's trying to get her foot in the industry and why not help? I may be in her position in a few (or more..) years and I'm hoping the "treat others the way you wanna be treated" comes back to me at that point. and plus she's 4 years older and in college so she's not that close to my age. idk. just trying to help a friend out and why say no to a free lesson? worse comes to worst she sucks and I hate the way she teaches and we don't go back. so yeah. 

That's all for today! Until next time! 
Lauren + Evy

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jenny Craig, new stirrups and a fabulous ride

so I finally wrote up a 'first step' training schedule for ms Evy, and I'd say it's going to be pretty successful. 

ambitious? yes. do-able? certainly. especially after today's ride (which I'll go into more detail about later) I definitely think this will be a successful plan. I think it's consist and yet won't be too boring after a second week. I think it'll really build up her balance, confidence and frame which is what it's all about! I'm anticipating we'll do this for 3-4 weeks or so. but who knows? after tonight's ride it might be shorter. :) 

anyways. tonight was the first time in the new saddle and new stirrups I bought, and it was SOOO nice. I felt more secure than I did in BO/owner's dressage saddle    plus E was moving really nice in it. so first I lunged her a bit. i wanted to see how she was moving today and how she look in the saddle, plus I like working her in side reins before I ride to get her into a nice frame before we start. so after we got some sillies out she began workin nicely so I decided to hop on. we had only one ground pole on the ground because last time I worked her with 4 she struggled, so I'm gonna start small (even very small) then move up later. anyways. so I hopped on and we did a lot of turns and switching directions and she did pretty perfect. alright. so then I have her start walking over the little pole. no problem. so then I decide to try trotting her. holy great. good frame, mostly balanced (except for the corners), super nice and not fast, and even listened when I wanted to slow down. fabulous. we realy need to work on actually stopping though. but tonight was great. and I love my new saddle. 
so yeah. boring night. I need to buy leather conditioner. any recommendations? 

thanks for reading!!
Lauren + Evy