One of the things that I pride myself in the most is not being a shill for products. When I recommend something, I want people to know that I truly believe in it and use it in my day-to-day life. But I’m also a girl who’s gotta pay her bills, so if there’s a way to make a few pennies recommending stuff I’d be recommending anyway, then game on.
Enter the Amazon Affiliates program. So yes, I’ll get a kickback if you order via these links. But I pinkie promise that these are things I use on a regular, sometimes even DAILY, basis, and I’d tell you they were great anyway.
*Updated to include links to some virtual lesson gear, and also a handy chair I love for my desk-job riders!*
SUN HATS: I’ve got a big head. I’ve also got long hair. And I’ve got super fair skin, so if the sun touches me, I will quite simply burst into flames. I’ve got two sun hat recommendations for those of us with bigger noggins, though they do come in normal noggin sizes as well. And they both have ponytail holes!
This one is cute and foldable and straw-esque. They make a big deal about how you have to steam it; I didn’t and my life has, somehow, managed to go on even though my hat does get slightly creased. Definitely has been worn at the barn, though it’s so dang cute that I keep it more as my muggle hat.
My dedicated barn hat is this guy, which does fold up, but doesn’t roll up, so it’s not as easy to pack. But it’s comfy as hell and breathes well, and it’s a super-solid brim; no rays are getting past this bad boy!
SUNSCREEN: On the subject of being a Paleface, this is my favorite sunscreen. Mineral sunscreen means gentler on your skin, as well as VASTLY gentler on coral reefs, but straight up zinc oxide is actually whiter than I am, something I didn’t think was possible. Australian Gold tints this product in a few different skin tones (I wear the “Fair To Light” color) so it’s not so chalky, and of all the tinted ones I’ve tried, this is the smoothest to apply and most comfortable to wear.
BANDS: If you’ve ever ridden in a clinic with me, I’ve probably put a band on you. This band – which I use in the XS/Blue size – goes diagonally across the body from heel of boot over opposing shoulder, and is great for activating the rider’s leg and core, as well as proprioception. I’ll either use one on a rider’s weak side, or more often I’ll use them as a pair.
This is the band I put a rider’s wrists through, so they have to push their wrists out against it, activating their core muscles and also making it much harder to ride with the elbows out.
The bands I connect to the rider’s thumbs, behind the back, to both encourage breathing and proprioception into the back, as well as to discourage pulling back on the reins. The pickle with these bands is that they only come in sets of 12; if you want to order just one, I’ll sell you one of mine, or bring it to a clinic for you. (Shoot me an email.) But here’s the whole set.
And not quite a band, but a chair. If you’re a person who works at a desk all day, you have tiiiiight hip flexors. I love this chair for you all, because it allows for some longer leg (though you may need to raise your desk to get maximum benefit), as well as a complimentary core workout at the same time.
VIRTUAL LESSON NECESSITIES: If you take virtual lessons, these are the things you need. First up, the Pivo is far-and-away the superior virtual lesson system. It’s cheap, there’s no subscription fee to use, and unlike certain (ahem) expensive-as-hell systems out there, if the Pivo gets distracted by a bumblebee or something, your instructor can take over the robot. I bring my Pivo to shows – with multiple horses in the warmup, where the Pivo tracking algorithm would be useless – and my coach can just take over the robot and control it herself from her computer.
You do NOT need the whole “Equestrian Pack.” You DO want this Pivo-brand Smart Mount, because it’s really easy, and not expensive. I prefer this tripod, because it’s a lot more stable, and a lot less pricey.
Lastly, you’ll need some industrial-strength bluetooth headphones. Your earbuds aren’t good enough – not enough range, not enough sound quality. These headphones have the range and quality you need, and are designed for athletes so you can sweat on them or ride in the rain without a disaster.
I’ll update this list for anything we use a ton of in the barn!