DP Jerez SKL, first impressions

Ad in collaboration with DP Saddlery LP and Deuber&Partner

The second saddle from Deuber&Partner is on the writing block today, you all voted for me to write about the DP El Campo first, so here’s the link to that post! This time, I’ll give you my first impressions on my dream saddle, the DP Jerez SKL. Let’s go!

If you are familiar with the legendary DP Bückenburger or Amarant, you might recognise the classical, historical design of the seat.  It’s design was inspired by the original Baroque Saddle from the Marstall-Museum of the Princely School of Riding Art in Bueckeburg (Germany), and the Jerez features the same design, in a little more lightweight version.

The specs of my Jerez SKL:
Seat size: S1
Saddle leather: Havanna with antique finnish
Seat leather: Black aspen
Flocking: Medium
Channel width: Wide
Border tooling: G51 Small

Girth: Size 4, matching colours

Many are unfamiliar with this style of baroque saddle – and I fully understand why! In a world where you often ride English OR Western, the baroque saddles and tack often go under the radar for many, and end up looking like a proper curiosity.

The baroque saddles are often used for historical European riding, the “as old-school as you get it” way, for the Academic Art of Riding, Working Equitation, spanish/portugese traditional riding etc. In my experience, they have less opinions about your seat than a normal English saddle. What I really enjoy is that they allow you to, and almost empower you to, move and sit correctly. To some, it might feel a little weird to not have any support for especially your lower leg, but it’s something you get used to very fast. I love it!

The Jerez tips my pelvis just a tad backwards, which is something that helps me a considerable amount as a rider, as I tend to tip forward as a rider. Tipping forward ends up blocking my hips, and the movement from my horse. In many saddles I often feel like I am encouraged to sit straight up and down, and I end up fighting a little against the saddle. This happens far less in baroque saddles, and the unique seat of my Jerez tilts me in a far better direction. The saddle soft to sit in, but has enough structure to properly support my seat.

The picture below is one of my recent favourite pictures of my seat – Lillen is just happily trotting along and doing his thing, looking huge but nothing fancy… But I can see such an immediate and massive change in my posture. It is of course, for a stiff rider like me, a huge work-in-progress, and lots still need to improve – but I can SEE how this saddle allows me to get my pelvis where it has to be. I cannot wait to experiment with this, and learn how to sit better, and become a better rider.

If you don’t spend lots of time analysing my posture (I know I do, haha, but I hope you have better things to spend time on!), you might not see the “dramatic” change. But I feel it. And I love it!

In terms of fitting, it sat just perfect on Lillens back. Perfect. We’re still getting the saddle fitter out, of course, but once we put it on his back, it was as if the saddle makers at DP had made it just for him. Lillen really enjoys it. Brego, who got to model the Jerez and the matching bridle set (I had no idea they could use the black aspen leather as padding for the bridle and reins but they did! And it look SO GOOD) for some of these pictures, also felt amazing. It’s really a saddle that WANTS you to succeed as a rider.

I really like the feel of the black aspen leather too.

That’s all I have for you today about my first impressions on the saddle, as with the El Campo I’m planning on doing a review at 6 and 12 months too, and I cannot wait to see how we progress with these amazing saddles. Cue pictures!

And as you can see on the last picture there… Mother Nature had the audiacity to rain on my Jerez! So I had to run indoor with it (and the camera, haha!). I am planning lots of photoshoots in the near future.

Thank you so much, DP Saddlery LP and Deuber & Partner, I cannot wait to see where this saddle might take us!
Emma

DP El Campo, first impressions

Ad in collaboration with DP Saddlery LP and Deuber&Partner

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed something super exciting just happened – my tack from Deuber&Partner just came in, and it’s hard to describe properly how in awe I am! Let’s take a closer look at what was delivered to our front porch!

In the huge 57lbs/25kg package, that’s been in the works for months, was two saddles, matching bridles and reins, girths and stirrup leathers. I asked you on Instagram which saddle you wanted me to write about first, and most of you chose the El Campo with flower tooling. So here I am, ready to tell you all about it, and my first impressions of it!

The specifications of this saddle is:
Seat size: S1
Saddle leather: Havanna with antique finish
Seat leather: Nappa brown
Flocking: Medium
Channel width: Wide
The saddle has flower tooling along the border, as well as tooling on the cantle. Both are considered extra upcharge, but hello sexy! *hearteyeemoji*

Girth: Size 4, matching colours and tooling

When in proper use, I will use a thin, English dressage saddle pad underneath, to protect the saddle from sweat, dust and horse hair.
We’ve chosen to have the stirrup leathers underneath the saddle flap for now.

When I first started talking to Barbara from DP Saddlery LP, we decided fairly quick on the Jerez SKL – being my dream saddle and we had no doubts it would be an amazing match to the drafts. But I was so indecisive on which saddle would be the second one. I wanted something different than the baroque saddle, as I don’t always ride strictly baroque/historical dressage. Sadly, with drafts having their abnormally large shoulder blades in all the “wrong” angles, English dressage saddles are rarely able to wrap around the horse as they are designed to do on… dressage horses. Thus leading to a not-always-optimal fit for drafts.

So after a lot back and forth, I asked about the El Campo, and Barbara sent me a photo of perhaps (and excuse my language here) the sexiest saddle I’ve ever seen. Yes. YES! It’s built more like an English-type saddle, but on the same flocking as the baroque saddles, and after I saw the saddle sit beautifully on a very wide Irish cob, I was sold.

Now, we have yet to have our saddle fitter look at it, so if you think anything is off in the photos fitting-wise, don’t worry, we will have everything double checked! 🙂 But they survived ten minutes of childish excitement and some modelling, haha!

As I mentioned, there was also matching bridles and reins in the package, and here you can see the bridle and reins that match the El Campo! If you look close, the noseband and reins have the same tooling as the saddle and the attention to detail is outstanding. I’m just floored by the fact that they even had the opportunity, and took the time out of what I assume is a super busy schedule, to make a bridle to Lillen’s measurements. Amazed. I am simply amazed. They were even able to provide reins in Lillen size.

I am planning on doing an update review at 6 and 12 months. But! One of the most asked questions still has to be answered here: How does it feel to sit in it?

The seat is deep, but still open, which provides you with the ability to “move around” in the saddle to change your seat aids, without losing all support. It’s soft in both the seat and by the knee rolls, but there’s still lots of structure to support your seat. The twist in the seat feels narrow, but is not sharp, and widens a little towards the cantle. This helps me a lot, as I am able to tilt my pelvis a bit backwards (my personal biggest issue seat-wise is falling forward, blocking the horse with my stiffened hips). In some ways it does feel a lot like English dressage saddles, but the seat is far more open and allows for more adjustments and better communication.

The knee rolls are attached with velcro, which is a huge plus to me, as I have long thighs and can adjust them to fit my slightly awkward body. That’s all for now, will update blog. Cue picture spam!

All wrapped up and ready for its next ride!
Thank you so much, DP Saddlery LP and Deuber & Partner, I cannot wait to see where this saddle might take us!
Emma

Brego’s new halter

Handmade… By me! Brego’s previous handmade leather halter (not made by me) got pretty ruined that one time he tried to eat it for lunch. He’s been using a rope halter since then, as his head is so large I cannot buy anything from the store, but a few weeks ago I got super mad at the rope halter, and made this one in three evenings.

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I still consider myself a noob at leatherwork, but I have realized I keep comparing myself to all these amazing artists that have a completely different style than I do. I absolutely love the look of the fantasy tack people make, and would want it for myself. But I think I am starting to realize that even though I love the look of it, I have to look at different styles of leather craft as I do with every other kind of art too.

I would love to own a realistic oil painting. I hate to paint realism. I would love to own some beautiful fantasty tack. But I think I won’t be making it, and I think I perhaps should stop comparing my stuff to others stuff, especially when they make completely different stuff than I do.

I am a person that beat myself down over these kinds of things, so I think it is important for me to put it out there. I struggle to be happy with things I make, and the biggest compliment I’ve managed to give myself is when I forget about the fact that I’ve made something. Because it means the quality and function of the piece of tack is so “normal” that it works just like everything else bought from a store. I think I have to get better at complimating myself.

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I’ve used this halter for a week or two now, and I think I like it. It surely fits Brego very well, and it looks very good on him. So Merry Christmas, little pony, your gift came early!

Emma

New in; Scharf Freedom

Annonse/Product sponsored by Nygaard Nordic

By now, this girth is dirty, well used, and hanging permanently on Brego’s saddle. Why does it look so funny? What is it good for? What does the horses feel about the girth? Well, good thing you came here, because I’ve used this weird-looking thing for a while now, and I am more than ready to let you know what I think about it.

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I guess you, by the name of the product (“freedom”), can get a slight idea about what it is supposed to do. It is supposed to give your horse more freedom. Does it, though? Good question.

The girth is made up by four different parts, two to go on each side of the horse. The larger parts are connected by a sturdy, leather clad nylon strap, and each part can move independent from each other. The idea is that the middle section stays clear of the externum (boney part where the ribs connect), whilst resting calmly on the pectroalis muscle (which is a three-parted muscle, going from your horses man boobs, to in-between the front legs, and further back where the girth goes, picture here). The two side panels are designed to independently follow the intercostals muscles. Lot’s of fancy muscle words here, but if you know your equine anatomy, you’ll catch my drift.

Sounds good in theory though, but I had a few more practical worries from looking at it. It seems to have several weak spots – HOW weak are they? Will it act wobbly on the horse because of all the different sections and “joints”? What does my horse think about it, and is it worth its price?

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I have tried this girth on all my horses, and at least none of them are mad at it. Out of the three of them, I surprisingly realized that Brego is the one to enjoy it the most. I was a bit “yeah right, it’s just a coincidence” the first times I used it on him, but the more I have changed girth back and forth to check, the more I realize that his stride is A LOT bigger, and A LOT calmer, with the Freedom girth. A match made in heaven!

Lillen doesn’t care about what girth we use, which might be because it sits so far back anyways, that regular girths won’t disturb his movement in the first place. Diego recently had a bit of an injury to his pectoralis, and will get upset if anything rests too direct on it. Which I totally understand. Before the injury he had no problems with it, and even though I didn’t get around to use it properly, I did notice the same tendency in his strides as I have done to Bregos.

I have tugged, I have pulled, I have twisted and I have inspected, and what I believed to be weak spots seem to be sturdy as all hell. Weak spots? Nah. I do however inspect the girth on a regular basis, just to make sure – but come on. We all should do that on all of our equipment anyways. Scharf themselves have this to say about what I thought would be a weak spot:

“The Scharf Freedom girth is the only girth on the market with an integrual structure made of non-deformable synthetic fibre. This material works as an inner “body”, and practically impossible to break. The synthetic fibre can withstand 750kg of force, while the Showjumping, Eventing and Western versions of the girth can withstand up to 1500kg!”

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I am usually scolded for riding with my girths too loose, but the girth does come with a manual telling you how to tighten it properly, and I suggest you read it carefully. Is it wobbly? Not when tightened. When it’s properly strung up, it does feel like a “solid” piece of work, and it will gently move along with the horse. I was worried it might pinch his skin when he moved, but it won’t even pinch on Brego’s massive winter coat, so I think we’re good on that department too.

Is it worth the money? If you don’t own a 1200kg draft with a body not suited for saddle placement, or a horse with an injured pectoralis… Yes! Yes indeed! I am so happy I have this for Brego, and even though it does cost a lot of money, so does the other well-thought through anatomical girths on the market. I have nothing to negative to say about the quality of the leather, buckles or elastic, it sits very nicely, it seems to hold its promises and most importantly to me: Brego loves it.

Go Scharf! Well done for making an excellent product.

At the bottom of this post, I feel obligated to remind you that yes, this product was indeed sent to me for free to try out, but I am not getting paid to say anything positive about it. I wholeheartedly stand behind what is written in this post, and would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself.

Emma

New in; Nature’s Botanical

Reklame/produkter sponset av Nature’s Botanical

All Natural fly repellent? That actually works? Sounds a little too good to be true. I’ve tried my fair share of fly repellents that haven’t done the job, all of them varying from super-not-natural to super-very-natural to home-made. I was thrilled when Nature’s Botanical offered to send me some of their products to try out, and oh boy!

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Most insect repellents in Norway are based on Permethrin or DEET. The Permethrin based ones have been working pretty well, but the chemical is heavily regulated and is a danger to water supplies (and not recommended for use on skin). Several of my friends horses have had some pretty bad allergic reactions to DEET, so I figured I wasn’t thrilled to try that out either.

When Nature’s Botanical say they are all natural, they mean all natural, and having their products based on Rosemary and Cedarwood oils gives of an incredible scent too! Not lemon-y, just fresh and a little rosemary-y? (Wow, Emma, I wonder why *hark* rosemary oil *hark*). I also think the fact that their natural ingredients aren’t any wonky natural ingredients, is a huge plus. Lot’s of things can be labelled natural, and still be rather dangerous.

I tried it out on myself first, and let me repeat myself; oh boy! When they said that the cream needed to be applied as if it was sunscreen, they weren’t messing around. Once my arms and neck was covered, the mosquitos got so offended they tried crawling into my nostril and into my ears! I was quite quick to cover up those areas too! x) Once I had mosquito-proofed myself, they didn’t even bother to think of me as a potential meal. For other bugs, you probably don’t have to be as thorough when applying. Or if you have more lazy mosquitos where you are from.

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After a quick patch test on Lillen, we hacked out into mosquito land (and horsefly land! ugh) the next day, and even though he was sweaty and quite the luxurious target for flying terror bugs, they kept their distance. They still came to check us out, but didn’t find anywhere good to settle down, so we had a fairly quiet and calm hack. Applying the cream thoroughly on more exposed areas (face, prive parts, chest area etc.), and the rest in a light mist of the spray, we were more than covered enough!

Although their products work as an insect repellent, the ingredients are also quite useful for a lot of other stuff. I’ve applied it to itchy mosquito bites and had quite the sudden relief, I’ve used it as a hand lotion after a long evening of leather crafting, and I even had one of those kinda ingrown (sorry, gross) pimples that made half my face a swollen and sore, and go figure, my skin calmed down a lot after applying the cream.

The lotion comes as a roll-on (50ml) and on a spray bottle (125ml, 500ml and a 5L refill), and even though the roll-on is made for humans, it makes applying it on a horse face a lot easier. The spray works like a “normal” bottle of bug repellant. They also have a cream version – I have my 100g down in the stable for pony faces (because my roll-on is never where I need it to be) and one 50g by my bed, because I cannot sleep when itchy and that cream is a life saver.

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Lillen is thankful for his new bug repellant, and is super happy to know it works! Why add lots of stuff to a repellent when there is a natural alternative out there – and that natural alternative is safe to use as well. He is however a bit insulted that he isn’t allowed to eat it, and that the one time he actually did manage to eat my hand with the cream on, it didn’t at all taste as good as he had hoped it would. Brego was offended I applied it to his face, but that is the norm with him, and after a headbutt (and a little pep talk about anger management) I think he too learned the lesson; the fresh smelling natural bug stuff is doing its job! Wohoo!

If you wish to learn more about Nature’s Botanical, you can check out their website at https://naturesbotanical.com/, where you also can ask whatever question you want, or order their products. They are Australia based, but ship worldwide without any fuzz. I got my parcel less than a week after they sent it, and I live on the other side of the world!

Nature’s Botanical were kind enough to send me their products for free, but that does in no way alter my view on their products. I decided to write this blog post out of my own will, and trust me when I say my 50g cream and the 50ml roll-on is going EVERYWHERE with me this summer! And for all of those out there who follow me on Instagram; pay attention to Monday. We have a little surprise for you! 😀

Emma

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New in; Scharf nr. 9

Reklame; helmet sponsored by Nygaard Nordic

I love blogging about new equipment, and I’ll make no exception for my new helmet either. I had tons of fun reading about your thoughts on helmets on Instagram, so I thought it was about time to share with you my new one! This little review is something I’ve taken a long time to write to make sure I have a proper feeling of the product.

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I love trying new brands and experimenting with new designs, but when it comes to helmets, I’ve been addicted to the simple velvet helmets. They look great on the dressage arena and I absolutely love the look and feel of them. But my god are they heavy! And my god do they lack proper ventilation for those summer sessions in the sun. They are the helmet equivallent to a couch potato.

And seeing as my couch potato velvet helmet “expired”, I had to look for a new one with the proper approvals for competition. You need the VG1 approval here in Norway, and my old one simply did not have that.

So I started searching around for a new helmet. Should I go with the same one I already had? Or should I try something new? And if I were to try something new, what on earth should I choose? (Fun fact; on Instagram, only 30% of you said you were comfortable with trying new brands of helmets!) There’s an entire jungle of helmets out there, and once you think you have control, a new brand pops up and catches your eye.

And that is kinda what happened with Scharf. I had seen them slowly pop up in stores here and there, and I liked the look of them. Especially those with a velvet look on the sides. It provided enough “dressage feel” for me, and the ventilation wasn’t shouting in your face. Also the top part came in a matte finish, which is great for those who want your pony to shine brighter than your head.

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My helmet is the Number 9 helmet in black, and the size S/M (you can also get XS/S [48-52, great children’s helmet!] and L/XL [57-62]). It can be adjusted from size 53 to 57. I feel like the helmet is a bit generous in size, so if you’re worried your head might be too big for Scharf’s size 57, don’t worry. I’ve used 58 (in more expensive brands) and 57 (cheaper brands) and have plenty of room in it. This also applies for the other people I know who owns the same helmet – they all agree it’s a bit generous 🙂

I can also add that it fits my egg-shaped oval head, which is yet another bonus. Most of the helmets I try on tip sideways and out of “position” when I move my head, which can be a serious problem if you’re thrown off your gentle steed and land on your head.

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The helmet feels great and have many neat details, especially the silver piping along the top which is also reflective. Love it! It’s very lightweight, and has so much ventilation I have yet to break a sweat when I ride with it. I was a bit worried that the brim on the helmet would be too small and look silly on my head, but it doesn’t! Props to having it made of leather, it looks cool and will bend away if you faceplant in the dirt. I think my neck would appreciate that, if I ever were to land face down from a fall.

The brand is on the more expensive side of the scale, but I feel that the quality matches the price, so if you do decide to buy one I’m sure you’ll be very happy with yours too.

It comes with a little bag to keep it in, and the packaging looks secure. I was a bit worried the post office would murder the package and damage what was inside, but the helmet is well protected in the box and if you do decide to order it online, it’ll arrive safely.

Now, for reading through all this text, I will award you with the virtual blogger cookie known as some extra pictures! If you have any questions about the brand or the helmet, please let me know!

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At the very end of this blog I want to reassure you that a sponsorship does not alter my opinions on the product I am given. I am picky, I do not sugarcoat things, and I’ve used this helmet for over a month before I sat down to write this blog. That ensures I am comfortable about recommending it to you all!

Also, sorry for having a slightly dusty (and/or snowy!) helmet on the pictures! That’s what you get when you freak out about the amount of daylight you (do not) have left and forget to wipe it off. I must say however, whenever I do bother to clean it, it looks brand new again.

Emma

Mini Haul; Arctic Equestian Games

Arctic Equestrian Games – the horse show Norway loves. Whilst it isn’t as hyped up as Oslo Horse Show, it is a far more pleasant place to be. Calmer atmosphere, better surroundings. Also there aren’t as many stores and stands staying there, but I did manage to spend some money! So here’s my mini haul!

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My purchases were mainly aimed towards Diego and our desire of competing a little this summer, and seeing as my previous set of white brush boots were in horrible condition (which ultimately lead to their death in a trash can), I had already decided to see if I could find a good set for both everyday use, photoshoots, training and out competing. I did drool a little on LeMieux’ schooling boots, but it’s fair to say they were far over my budget.

At Horze I found these “Signature Boots”, and after some back and forth I did end up going with them. I got size medium for his front legs and large for his hind, I have yet to try them on but Horze tends to be fairly standard sized.

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From Horze I also got this super cute shirt, with pinstripes on the collar and the cuffs. The shirt itself is mainly mesh fabric so I should be able to ride with it during summer too. Long sleeves in the sun is a great thing, and it also means my pale arms won’t blind the other riders on the arena. Win-win?

This shirt was on sale, whilst I the boots were not.

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From Skoies I found these bell boots in a sales bucket. I have struggled like hell to find a pair of white bell boots in extra-large. Or; they do exist, but only with a lot of fur/fleece on them. And although they might look fluffy and nice, they catch sand that scratches against the skin. Some horses don’t bother, but Diego get blisters, so nah. These from Kingsland were super pretty so surely they ended up home with me too!

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The biggest investment however, was a Weymouth. Now, I’ve tried a lot of different ones on Diego and he hates them all (whoo…). Small tongue ports or no tongue port is a no-go for him, so I thought “what the hell” and decided to find myself a good quality one.

Now, I had originally been thinking about Sprenger. However, they are pricey. So I studied the Weymouths from Sprenger I actually enjoyed the look and feel of, and had a look around for something similar yet a little less painful on the wallet.

On a wall with 25% off I did find this version from Bomber. The shanks are more square than round, but I really enjoyed the mouthpiece on it (and I think this is something good to try out on Diego AND Brego), so I’m looking forward to try it on once I finish sowing my Double Bridle. The tongue port looks a bit rectangular on the pictures but it’s really well-shaped and not too tall, so I hope they both like it. It’s in size 13,5cm which should fit them both.

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Now, I hope you enjoyed these pictures from my mini haul! I just have to share with you this one from this morning:

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I love living where I do. The white “ground” is the roof of our stable, and beneath the clouds you can see parts of Oslo, with the Oslo Fjord between us and them.

If you have any questions about the stuff I got feel free to ask! 🙂

Emma