Belly Bands

By RealRiderz

Those elastic black stretching just behind the girth area to protect the horse from spur rubs.

Lots of controversy surround belly band, yet they have quickly risen in popularity in the show jumping world (as they are banned in dressage land). So why would you use one? Some claim to have sensitive horses which get spur marks from the tiniest touch of the spur. Other say they want the action of the spur without it being so severe to the horse. It’s the new neoprene altenrative to leaving unclipped areas right on the area where the rider uses his/her leg. While some of this may seem convincing enough, it is more often than not used to hide other problems.

So should belly bands ever be used on a horse? The answer is no, at least not until there are no option left. It will take a long time for there to not be any other options. If you find yourself spurring and spurring, a reevaluation of your leg aids is needed. Ask yourself, are you taking off your leg properly? Some riders have a problem with always gripping with their calves, which makes the horse numb to the pressure. So yes, spurs should never be given to riders without an independent leg/seat. Beyond correct use of the leg, with have problems with tack, teeth, body, legs, etc. Have you worked those out?

A belly band (just like the draw reina) isn’t something that has to be evil. However, it can easily become evil if put into the wrong hands (and sometimes this is unintentional). With horses (and actually most things in life) it is best to start with the cause and work from there. Remember, less is better than more!

Western v. English: Which is Better?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

By: RealRiderz

This is it…let’s settle it.

Western: world of trail riding and quarter horses. We use groundwork and don’t bit up our horses to the extreme. This is land of hackamores. Our horses live outside because we aren’t afraid to let them…wait for it…be horses! We do this naturally and work with our horses. We don’t rollkur just for looks or use poling to make our horses perform better in the ring.

English: this is the sport for the elites, aka land of warmblood. We are the ones that have the fun, and don’t force our horses into a sliding stop. Our saddles are lightweight and fit the horse properly. We don’t starfish to chase time or wear felt hats instead of helmet. Our horses jump because they want to, not because we force them. Oh and, who said we don’t give our horses turn out?

Snobby elites! You said it yourself! You literally worship king of rollkur Edward Gal, abusing Totilas in front of the entire world. Not to mention Kocher and his electric spurs…how do you miss that? Horses swishing their tails, not going properly through the back in the equitation ring and riders still being rewarded for it. What fun is that? Yeah and the hunter riders too. Leaning on the neck, unbalancing the horse, and drugging them up to the max (even with legal drugs). What kind of horsemanship is that?

Republican rednecks! That’s what you are! Don’t act like you don’t worship these so-called “natural horsemanship trainers” and their disgusting methods. Think Clinton Anderson with his heavy hands and forceful ways. Scares the horse with the “horseman’s stick”, kills their spirit, and then acts as if the horse is ‘trained.’ Oh, and not to mention your nine point spurs or whatever…I mean, why would you even need that? I’m not even going to mention any other names, because there are so many out there. You act as if rollkur only exists in our sport, but have you seen what some of the biggest reining trainers out there do? That is yet another example of rollkur! Your training is literally all force covered by the idea that western riders need to be “tough.” Choose your fights wisely, because you won’t win this one!

Right, now you are just flipping back my arguments onto me! How unprofessional and petty, just as expected from an English rider. You won’t mention other names because you simply don’t know. Goes to show how little you know. You act as if you don’t use spurs! Never answered why you use those big double bridled bits of yours. Belly guards are an English thing. Why do you need those? To protect “sensitive” horses from spur rubs. Talk about ‘breaking spirit’…But have you thought that maybe you are too unqualified to use such spurs, especially if your dull roller spur is causing such bleeding? English riders are just scardey cats that create dull horses, and then put on spurs and whips to get them to go.

Right…don’t act like you didn’t start the namecalling. Who said all English riders use belly guards? And hey hackamores can be cruel too!

Ran out of words to say? Well…me too. Perhaps we should end the argument on this note and come to the agreement that problems exist on both side.

The debate is settled: from this point on, we can come to the conclusion that both Western and English riding have their flaws or you can make your own conclusions, but it won’t make the world a better place if you express your opinions like those depicted above.

Bad Rep of Ammys

By Real Riderz

Who even are they?

Wine drinking, money spending, non-pros. Ugh…what could be worse. They aren’t juniors, YRs, or pony riders either, at least those still have the potential to turn pro…right?

The world runs on amateurs, whether we like it or not. Without them the rich economy of the equine world would, simply put, no longer exist. The world is actually full of amateurs: in driving, in cooking, etc. So what makes the ones in the horse world that much worse?

There is this stigma that your equine life ends when you hit November of the year you turn 18. Yeah, no more Big Eq, Jr Jumpers, FEI CSIJ for those in Europe, etc. Sad life what can I say. But when you hit ammy phase you hit independence phase. Who said you can’t be pro after a few years being. Heck, who said being Ammy is bad at all? You could be that badass rich ammy, after some time grinding, buy a string of GP horses to jump in the 140cm+ FEI classes. Or maybe you could be that (once again badass) ammy that trains youngsters they bought with their own money. Life is still in your hands, no matter your status.

Ok real talk though, even if you don’t grind and be super badass, ammy life can be great. You get to enjoy the horses for just the horses and not the money. What could be more pure than that? Whatever your status: junior, pro, cool kid, or ammy, just relax and remember what we are all here for the horses.

That should settle the debate…

The Team Behind the Rider: Poor Kid Edition

By: Real Riderz

I think we’ve all heard the story behind the riders at the top. They all preach about their team, and they are quite frankly not wrong. Afterall, there is a team behind every blue ribbon, starting from the horse and ending in the person who crafted the 5K USD Hermes saddle. Oh and let us not forget that rich parents which pour hundred of thousands (if not millions) of dollars (and euros) into the sport each year. Yeah, those often don’t get mentioned in the Instagram posts of the “self-made” juniors turned pro after winning at LGCT. Well, we aren’t here to be jelly and trash talk the lucky people, but we are here to appreciate those that still do incredible things (even if they don’t end up with a cup in their hands).

Poor kids in the equine world are lightyears ahead of poor kids who don’t have a gram to eat on the table. Poor kids in the equine world are still fortunate, and they still have a strong support team. However, that is sometimes difficult to appreciate when you get caught up with the bright lights brought on by the “kings and queens” of the sport. A poor kid in the equine world is lucky to have their parents support. The parent works endlessly to support their passion, but a lot of times, it is just enough. Sometimes, the parents never cave in and the poor kid has to work for themselves. Some take up a side hustle, while other become working students. All in hopes to be taken seriously in the sport.

If the poor kids is especially lucky, they have their own horse (or maybe a lease horse). This horse is a substantial part of the team for any rider, but especially for the poor kid. This is their one shot. There’s no string waiting for them as a back up plan. The horse might barely pick up it’s feet and have obvious conformational defects, but it is enough. The poor kid and the horse work hard in hoped of becoming better, learning everyday (and actually getting better). However, it still does not look as glamorous as a big win at Hampton Classics. Does that defeat the works worth?

The poor kid often doesn’t have big sponsors. How can they if they can barely afford to compete? They’ll be lucky if a treat company finds them interesting. The poor kid does not give up and saves money, trying to be smart about it. Some invest while some spend on horses. Sure, spending on horses could be called an investment, but it’s more of a gamble than a game of poker. The poor kid uses the tack they can find for their horse. Sometimes they go bareback or tackless, because nothing cheap will fit. If affordable tack is found, the kid is lucky, they kinda fit in with the scene. At that point, whoever created and whoever bought the saddle becomes the immediate sponsor of the poor kid, whether they know it or not.

Ok, it makes no sense, so who is the team behind the poor kid? Simple answer, whoever was lucky enough to witness the journey and maybe even be a part of it, either directly or indirectly. It could be the writers of a theory book or the people melting the metal into buckles. It may be a far stretch, but the poor kid is their representation. These people become a real team, not just workers for the elites. It is great to have finances and support system from the start, but it is even better to make something out of nothing.

Equinik Mission

Welcome to the world of real horse people. Our goal at Equinik is to provide quality and true news. We believe in making the horse world more accessible for all people, no matter their status, race, or financial background. Our focus is English riding (Show Jumping to be exact), but there is no doubt you will find something useful here no matter your equine speciality.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.