The Real Just Riding | Blog – Tagged "Articles"

The Real Just Riding: Articles

Horses, Ponies, Shows, Bullying, New Products and More...

By Management Team

Hi Guys,

This last few weeks have once again been void of any major event, I think that is probably a good thing as "major events" usually involve one of a few things. Injured Horses, Injured Kids, Injured Husband... broken equipment, Staff issues or Stable Fires. So I'm thinking perhaps non eventful may be a positive thing for me?

Things that have happened.

In my last post I told you all about Crystal and Equador two older horses that we took on at the yard, well we did go ahead with arranging a few lessons on both Crystal and Equador to assist in covering their costs. We decided to go with people who had ridden before but required training rather than beginners kicking the poor things all around the arena.

I have to say that they both seem to be enjoying the exercise, attention and general business of working for a living. Their temperament is ideal and for the few lessons per week we have booked on them it mean that their food and farrier are pretty much paid for which helps us a great deal. Happy Me, Happy Horses... Happy Everyone!


Crystal The Pony

Crystal The Pony 2

Equador (He is starting to look much better)

Equador the Horse

If you are a young aspiring horse rider and you like the look of either Crystal or Equador let us know and we will send you a nice photo of either of them for your bedroom wall. :-)


In other horse news my young hopeful "Just Riding Ohio" took part in his first 1.25m this weekend gone, we were so fortunate to have a proper photographer at the show and so we grabbed these amazing photos some of which I have posted here below.

A short history on Ohio, I'll keep it relatively brief as I don't want to bore anyone to death so early in the blog. Just Riding Ohio was originally named Otok arrived with us as a 3 year old from a farmer / villager who had him stabled just outside of Warsaw in Poland. Despite not being on a German, Dutch or Belgian passport as most sought after European horses are Ohio is on a Polish passport. We ignored the fact that he was registered on a Polish passport and kept an open mind as we have had much experience in the past with Polish warmbloods and had found most of them to  be brave, scopey horses with good heads. If they are good enough for the daughter of a princess, Zara Phillips then they are good enough for Victoria of Just Ridng right?? When we looked at his documents we noticed that actually he has quite good breeding which is what attracted us to him further.

Document Posted here below for anyone interested in breeding I know that loads of you are, so as you can see he has Oldenburg from his father and Kon Polski from his mum.

Just Riding Ohio Passport 1

Just Riding Ohio Passport 2

We didn't pay a lot of money for Ohio as he was practically unbroken, on a Polish passport and required complete investment in terms of training, nutrition and time so negotiation was in our favour, beside the fact that no one wanted him. Ohio has been such a pleasure to work with Herbert the chap who rides and trains him on a daily basis has done a fantastic job but also so fortunate to have a horse who is so willing to please and so brave.

We are now 2 years on with Ohio and he is producing many clear rounds at  1.20m and this weekend as I mentioned above he competed in his first 1.25m final. He is showing scope for 1.30m for next year he may even go to 1.40m we don't want to get to far ahead of ourselves but all I can say is we truly feel that we have found a diamond in the rough with Ohio... "Not bad for a horse that no one really wanted.. hehe" :-)

Just Riding Ohio Show Jumper 1

Just Riding Ohio Show Jumper 2

Just Riding Ohio Show Jumper 3

Just Riding Ohio Show Jumper 4

Again if you are a young aspiring horse rider and like the look of our young star, "Ohio" let us know and we will send you a photo of him for your wall.


O.K so Mark has been hassling me to contribute to the blog and so I agreed this time around, so without further ado this is Mark's moment.

Hello everyone. Sorry but this my first short article isn't going to be a funny or amusing, I'm just not in a funny or amusing mood this week. Perhaps next week. :-)

Firstly let me kick off this short article by saying that myself and I think I can speak on behalf of Just Riding are absolutely appalled at the latest terrorists incidents in London and Manchester. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of and anyone involved in these terrible incidents. We are speaking at Just Riding about perhaps organising something to give to the fund which is raising money for those who have been injured or worse by these incidents, more to follow on this.

I wanted to talk about social media etiquette and bullying on social media or cyber bullying as it is called. For some reason and it escapes me as to why but we equestrians are so bloody horrible to one another. As part of my job I am constantly on facebook creating and adding posts to try and promote Just Riding and increase sales and if I had a pound for every anti something post or rant directed at a person or company I saw on social media I might even not have to work anymore. When someone makes a decision to take to social media and destroy someone or their business they should take a moment to think about the consequences of their actions and try to balance up the cause and effect of their actions before they do it.

Whilst I agree that social media can be useful in the event that someone is scamming others and word needs to be spread to avoid further victims. But if you saw the girl two boxes down skip a muck out that day or even twice that week.  Does everyone and their friends, and their friends, friends and all of their friends need to know about it? do they really?

At Just Riding we have a stance as an absolute anti bullying organisation, our staff, suppliers, friends even our fellow retailers are all treated with respect and integrity. Victoria created the "Think Twice" campaign on social media to try and make people think twice before they trash another human being or their business on social media. If you agree please download the T2 banner below right here and share it on your social media. We have to start treating people with consideration and respect people, if we completely lose that what do we have left.

Thanks for listening.


Think Twice


I don't usually include any product related stuff in my posts but I want to start adding something related to new and trending products as after all that is what we do here at JRHQ, we sell equestrian products.

This year has seen a huge surge in sales of the Equine Body Bandage which is now being copied by a few companies and produced in China, we are pleased to confirm that we sell the original body bandage made 100% in Italy. Yes, there is a massive difference in quality between the Love Horses Original Body Bandage (Spur Guard) and the versions which are being made in China.

Love Horses Body Bandage

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Animo Italia released their new saddle pads last month and I have to say they look absolutely amazing, in terms of quality and appearance they just look so nice. But then again this is Animo we are talking about and so we have come to expect this level of quality from this Italian industry leader.

Buy Now Button

Our own equestrian arch peak caps have been really popular already this summer, I believe we sold twice that of last years style already. The additional investment we made in terms of style and quality of the product seems to have really paid off.

Just Riding Caps

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Finally the big talking point on social media at the moment is our FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING on weekends. We will be running this offer for the duration June and possibly July and so far it has proven very successful with many of our clients taking advantage of the savings. We think this offer is probably our most awesome to date! what do you think?


This last month saw the departure of 2 of our staff which was a real shame as we have a family vibe at Just Riding and it was like losing 2 members of the family. Anna who worked on web administration and also Ola who worked in dispatch left the company. One to pursue a career and the other to concentrate on her impending exams.

However, after much interviewing I am so pleased to announce the arrival of Conrad and Kinga. Conrad will be filling the gap in web administration and Kinga will  be working in dispatch but also helping a bit with social media. Kinga also rides horses which is obviously awesome for us Conrad is not a horse rider but never say never, right?

Conrad   Kinga

Updates to previous posts -

We never did get our fur trees back and so we are looking at buying some more to replace the 30 that were stolen.

We still don't have a roof on the stable but we are meeting with banks today to try and secure some assistance to get it on and refurbished before we lose the warm weather. If we can't get it done and lose the warm weather we will almost certainly lose the whole building to the harshness of the winter which simply cannot happen.

Crystal and Equador are still really fat, we are working on that with balanced nutrition from HOCOR feeds and supplements

Most of you know that we try to source and stock the very best clothing and equipment from around the world, HOCOR is no exception. The product is unique in that unlike ALL of the top supplements on the market they use a patented form of natural yeast which yields particularly high amounts of high quality protein and amino acids. We can not recommend this professional supplement enough. 

If you expect your horse to trot, canter, gallop, jump or perform in any sport he is by definition an athlete, athletes require supplements to be able to maintain health and performance.

We were super excited to receive our marketing packs from HOCOR this week which included branded saddle pads and ears.

Hocor Horse Feeds and Supplements

Buy Hocor Now


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2 New Additions, Missing Fur Trees & Build Update

By Agnieszka JR

Wow... I wanted to write a blog / vlog / thing whatever they are called! (yeah in case you haven't noticed I am a horse rider not a social media guru) around twice a week but have you ever tried to make time to do something like that?!? I mean gathering "inspiration" is bad enough when you are running after two kids under 7, running the business and dealing with missing fur trees and people throwing rabbits. (more on that later) I remember being young and having inspiration and artistic motivation oozing out of me from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep. Where did that go? what happened to my MOJO?!? I blinked and got old and seemed to have miss placed my MOJO!! lol 

Mojo Image

Anyway I digress as usual.. so these last 3/4 weeks have been slow, the spring wanted to come then didn't want to come then came again, then didn't... arrrrgggh!! which kind of left me feeling like I had started the race but then realised I had forgotten to take my yard boots off... two steps forward, three steps back if you know what I mean. Finally, this last week has been full of sunshine and we managed to get some things done on the yard and also inherited 2 new additions in the form of a horse and a pony. They are respectively called Equador and Crystal not our choices they had the names when they arrived. So without further a do here they are standing in our brand new paddock which we are super pleased with.

Equador and Crystal

Equador and Crystal Horses

Who ate all the pies, who ate all the pies.... lol Yep, Crystal needs to lay of the grass somewhat. :-)

These lovelies had been staying across the road from us with a local village character who had been enjoying them as pets but didn't ride and also didn't have a lot of time to do anything at all with them. The facilities they were in weren't ideal, the boxes were kind a home made and very deep the horses had to step down about 2 feet to get into them and the drainage not sufficient. Anyway long story short we offered to take them both which we have. Here is a photo below of both Crystal and Equador they have been with us for about a week and a half now and I have them on HOCOR Complete and HOCOR Regen which is literally a miracle supplement and also HOCOR natural feeds which unfortunately are only available in Europe presently. In the 10 or so days they have been with us the improvements are huge and visually noticeable particularly with Equador.

We are thinking due to the current and continued financial pressures of getting a new roof on the stable we might book in some adult riding lessons on Equador as he is very easy and loves mooching around the arena in walk/trot. We already have our own horses contributing to their upkeep in the same way and are thinking that this could be a great way to help with the re build and also to pay for improvements to the facilities so all parties benefit. We shall see and I will keep you updated on what we decided and perhaps if we do go in that direction also upload a few videos to keep things interesting. :-)

On this subject we wanted to give a little shout out to one of our awesome customers Geraldine Fitzgerald who donated to our project to rebuild... we really, really, really, really appreciate it!! 

Thank You from Just Riding

Now on to "Missing Fur Trees" Have a look at this awesomely professional video "lol" made by me courtesy of samsung mobile phone. Notice anything odd...


 SERIOUSLY THOUGH, someone actually came onto the yard and pulled up 30 of our little fur trees and made off with them. I mean we only paid around £1.50 for each one 2 years ago and at the height they are now they go for around £5 each, that's a £150 ($200) kick in the groin we really didn't need! what is wrong with people?!?

Stolen Tree

I said I would try to keep you guys up to date on our stable rebuild, I wont go over the whole thing again because most of you have read about it already but if you are here and reading our blog for the first time.. long story short our stable burned down nearly 2 years ago and we got stuffed on the insurance and so we have been trying to get it back to it's former glory bit by bit and with help here and there from friends, family and a Just Riding customer or two. 

Many of our customers contacted me after I posted the video of the fire and were super supportive and so nice. So I said I would try to post little updates here and there when I have a spare few minutes to write something or take a picture or two.

So the update is that we still dont have a roof, although we have had a couple of quotes and have found the best possible price so at least now we have a financial target.

However, we have done some pretty cool "other stuff" on the yard, we put up a big paddock on what we thought was unusable ground for grazing, after 4 years of care, treatment and rest the work we did on it has paid off and the ground is so nice we are really pleased and looking forward to having that extra bit of turn out for the guys and girls. We also managed to replace the small fence around the play area which wasn't in a good way and put down some more bark on the play area itself. Inside we haven't managed to do anything more than when I last posted. We tried to plaster some of the walls but without the roof, even though we now have a good concrete ceiling the plaster became very damp and just fell off.. so we wasted money and time, lesson learned. We will start to repair the inside once the roof is on.

Photo's here below of the little fence.. small steps.. etc. :-)

Small Fence New

Well I think that sums up our 2 new additions, missing fur trees and a bit about the build. I will try to get on again in a week or so, knowing me it will probably be 4 weeks again... but hey ho, I will try.

As always my heartfelt thanks to all Just Riding customers for your continued and loyal support for our family run business without you guys we would just be a website with some pretty pictures of clothing... :-) xxx

Extra Update: I'm not sure if any of you read my previous blog post about the little pony who just appeared on our yard one day, well unfortunately despite our best efforts in screening the owner who we released him back to we heard that he has recently been removed from her "care" by the local authorities.

Apparently neighbors had called the authorities when they spotted the lady throwing rabbits around her field! Yeah, you heard correctly... "throwing rabbits" needless to say that lucky (named by us because he wondered into our yard and was treated like royalty for a month) has now been re homed and we are assured that the new owners are not in the least bit interested in using animals as any form of projectile, which is always good we think. :-/ 

Seriously though all joking aside if anyone witnesses anyone doing any such things please report immediately to your local animal welfare office, rspca etc. Thank You. :-)



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Rescue No.2 - That is a funny looking Pony?!

By Management Team

OK so it's not a pony... we cant rescue cute Ponies every week just to satisfy your need for looking at a cuddly, scrummy pony!

So a few months ago we were all working away in our offices at JR HQ when one of the girls shouted Awwwww!! Poor Thing!! Now, as many of you know "Awwwww!! Poor Thing!" is effective code for everyone in the entire office to jump up and run to where he or she thinks the "poor thing" might be. I don't know know if it is horsey people in general but anything involving an animal and the words "Awwww, Poor Thing" and it's like someone lit a fire under them. "What Poor thing? Where is it?!?"

In this case the "poor thing" in question was a little dog absolutely soaked through, shivering cold and wondering around outside the office having been dumped on the roadside. (sadly a common occurrence in our road which backs onto woodland) So I ran outside and called the little guy over, he wasn't keen initially but he came over and I gently picked him up. He was filthy, wet and cold and stunk of something not of this world. He was a little thin but actually not to bad. I looked over at the office window which was by now full of Just Riding staff...OK I said I'm taking him in doors to get warmed up and have something to eat.

OK so I am waffling.. Cue the "poor thing", here he is...

Stefan the Dog

Unfortunately we don't have a photo of him on the actual day we brought him in from outside, we think we might have one somewhere but are rummaging through thousands of images to fine it, If I do I'll post it on here.

So I took him home which is conveniently close to the office and got him clean, dried and fed. He was so good, just stood there while I washed him down in the shower.. ate so much food then passed out.

Bathtime.. we put Bonnie our cavalier in with him for reassurance.

Stefan Bathtime

The kids came home that afternoon to find our family plus 1 dog (we already have a rotty who lives out and a cavalier who lives in) I made it quite clear to the kids and other half that I would be looking for a good home for him as we couldn't possibly take another dog on... 

So during the weeks that followed "Stefan" as he was now called started to kind of blend into our life, we had a couple of upsets in the first couple of weeks which our spaniel helped him to sort out. We also took him down to our local vet to have him neutered as we felt this was the "responsible" thing to do for him and it also helps with them not spraying and humping everything in sight. I mean he literally humped everything when we first brought him into our home, lets put it this way.. the cat was not impressed.

Stefan here below post op... all inoculations done, micro-chipped and sorted.

Stefan the dog Post Op

The days and weeks rolled by and I seemed to try less and less to find a home for Stefan the more he seemed to blend into our lives. He is such a clever little boy, Oh I forgot to mention the vet said he was only just over a year old roughly the same as our cavalier.

I have a funny story about the first trip to the vet, I asked my husband to take me and we went into the room to speak with the vet about Stefan. In the days running up to this appointment for some reason my husband had convinced himself that Stefan was some kid of pedigree breed.

He said in an authoritative way (as husbands do) that the under bite he had looked like he was a pedigree of some kind., he was sure if it. So he said to the Vet "Excuse me is he a pedigree of some kind because I noticed his bottom teeth underbite the top row and I have seen this before on a pedigree breed." (I'm thinking British Bull Dog) the vet turns trying to be as gentle as possible.. errrm, No. The underbite is a defect of mixed breeding! I looked at my husband and LOL alot!!

So Stefan is somewhat "special", that's all good he'll fit right into this family.

Months have rolled on an I gave up on finding a home for him, he has become a real part of Just Riding and our family, he is in the office everyday the girls love him and so do my kids. It took a few weeks for Bonnie our Cavalier to accept that she wasn't the princess of the castle anymore and that she had to share her space with this new dog. It was a classic lady and tramp scenario, he tried so hard to win her over and she was having none of it. This is Bonnie below when we told her that Stefan the street dog was staying..

Not Impressed...

Bonnie 1

Since his arrival they started to get more and more attached and now around 4 months on from when we first found him they are inseparable I actually cant remember our life without him. I think to myself often, who could have dumped such a awesome little dude next to the road.. I can only imagine someone thought they were getting something else and when he started to grow they realised he was a bit of a special mix and dumped him, who knows? but their loss is definitely our gain in this case.

Bonnie and Stefan Below Sharing a bed..

Bonnie & Stefan Sleep

Bonnie - "He is telling the story about when he was a street dog.... AGAIN!"

Bonnie & Stefan 4

Treats for the gang, the Cat always wins...

Treats for the animals..

Stefan has turned out to be such an awesome dog, he is very clever and really independent. He is still a bit delicate with raised voices, men and quick movements even at home he will head for the door if someone shouts. But we are getting there slowly but surely.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed our story about Stefan our new addition, I know it's not a Pony or a horse.. maybe next time! :-)

Last photo here is Stefan sleeping with my daughter who he adores, yes they are both actually asleep like this.

Stefan & Catherine

I simply had to add this video which was taken a few days ago, my daughter and Stefan in the front garden... Apparently he likes it.

Thanks for reading... I hope you enjoyed it.

Any comments are appreciated below and of course your continued support of our store 

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Pony Rescue No.1 - Lucky

By Management Team

Now this is just plain weird! seriously, I was writing the article about the fire at our place and that it had set us back with our plans for the rescue and re-homing side of the business. Anyway, as I stand here before you hand on heart my phone bleeped and I looked down at an incoming whatsapp message I opened it up and there appeared to be a black dog that looked soaked stood in the middle of a field. No, it wasn't a dog and it wasn't any old field. It was a tiny black pony and it was my field!

Little Pony 1st Image

So I messaged back wth is that? thinking an unauthorized pony purchase had taken place.. on the contrary no one bought him this guy had wondered through a forest which borders our place and into one of the paddocks with my two boys (who crapped their pants) he then proceeded to trot between paddocks under the bottom rail of the fences. 

He was eventually caught and Herbert who works on the yard said he was in a bit of a state with parasites and very bad hooves.. he had apparently crossed a river to get in with the other horses. We separated him off and started to call around the yards we knew, no one literally no one had lost a pony. How odd, in the 30 years I have worked with or been around horses this has never happened.

Later that I went down to the yard and gave him some apples and other norty treats and checked him out, I called my vet straight away as he did need some attention and also I wanted to be on the safe side, I also called the local councils department for strays etc and a welfare place locally. None had received any reports that a pony had gone walkabout. 

That evening the vet came out and powdered him with stuff to get rid of the lice and other nasty things, checked his teeth all the usual stuff, it turned out he is around 2 years old. 

The council and vets said as there was no chip wait around 2 weeks and if no one reports or claims him just chip him and put him on a passport yourself. So we waited and no one has come forward. We chipped him and got him a passport, his new name is LUCKY. (I know not completely original but my 5 year old named him, and lets face it he is lucky wondering onto my place I have sucker for ponies written across my forehead)

So week 3 and he is much better, we cant get to his feet yet to sort them out but he has been treated for everything else, a few trust exercises over the coming weeks and we'll get to his feet and sort them out to.

What a lunatic pony this is, seriously green as anything behave as though he never saw a person before, so funny the first time put him on a lead he just started bucking bronco all around me.. he is so tiny I have a dog bigger than him and when he puts his full stallion attitude on it is rather hilarious.

Pony on LeadWeek four and he has really settled in we made a miniature paddock but miss judged the little fences and he just jumps out, he is fascinated with show jumping.. when we are training on the big horses he comes running over and watches, so funny. The other horses like him and so do the kids.

Getting to know you...

Getting to know the human gang.. he is very shy not just head shy but all around shy. But we will work with him and he'll come right. He would make a great little grooming pony for a club or something..

Getting to know you 2

If I rear up surely I'll be as big as you are... ermmm, no.

Rearing Up

Going Home...

Week four and I received a phone call today from a lady who I know who says that she knows whose Pony it is, can you believe it 4 weeks after it went walkabouts!! Anyway I said that I would need to speak with her as I had concerns over the Ponies condition when it found ITS OWN WAY to my yard. 

Spoke with the owner and although she had no passport and no chip, after answering several questions I am assured that she is the rightful owner. It is a weird one sometimes when you "rescue" a horse or a pony you want to find either a new home or the rightful home for the animal, but sometimes there is a nagging voice in your head telling it would be better off with you. :-( but I cant keep them all. After a few meetings and some long conversations with this "non horsey" owner of the pony I am confident that he is going to be alright. She paid me back the vet fees which is a bonus..

So that brings this little saga to an end, I look forward to posting details of the next one on our blog for you guys to follow.

Any comments or questions in the sections below.. all are welcome and dont forget you can subscribe by clicking the subscribe link on the right.

Bye Lucky!

Bye Lucky

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Stable Development - Building the dream...

By Agnieszka JR

In late 2015 Just Riding had been trading for a few years and so with profits from the business and ALL of our savings we commenced with our quest to build our own stables.

I think it is most horse owners dream to have their own place to keep their beloved horses and we are no different. We had and still have big plans for Just Riding Stables the first plan was to create a base for the business close to the horses, the second was to create a building and facilities that could accommodate the horses we rescue so that we could give them a comfortable temporary home in which they could feel safe, be well looked after, re schooled if necessary and eventually re homed.

Aside from our Brand Ambassadors program we had always wanted to build somewhere that we could use to rescue and re-home abused or unwanted horses. We managed to secure a deal on a very old stable and some surrounding land through my family. The stable was water tight, well mostly..but in need of a lot of work to bring it up to the standard we wanted it at and make it a habitable place for horses. After all it wasn't all about rescuing horses this would double up as our family getaway, a place for the children to play in and enjoy as well.

2016 came along and with it super exciting times, we commenced on site and made the first cut in the land for the schooling arena.

 The days and weeks rolled by with work on the build really steaming along, powered by me.. I was on site everyday! I am sure the builders loved that! lol

Here below is a gallery of images which shows how the development progressed over the following months, we found that our plan changed around 20 times as we moved forward the builders would come up with improvements and ideas which we always loved and of course agreed to. The problem is with working like this, sure you end up with the exact washroom you wanted and the toilets in the barn itself instead of outside but when the bills start coming in for these "extras" ouch! 

Click or Tap on the large image to expand the gallery.

The Build

The Build

Stable Build 23Stable Build 34Stable Build 31Stable Build 22Stable Build Image 3Stable Build Image 2Stable Build 30Stable Build 3Stable Build 21Stable Build 14Stable Build 13Stable Build 34Stable Build 29Stable Build 24Stable Build Image 4Stable Build 18Stable Build 17Stable Build 16Stable Build 7Stable Build 15Stable Build 12Stable Build 11Stable Build 10Stable Build 9Stable Build 8Stable Build Image 1Stable Build 6Stable Build 5Stable Build 4

Around 5 months on and you can really see the changes in this video from what was the old building to what is becoming the new. The guys were working tirelessly, we still hadn't secured the site with regards to perimeter fencing and so still no horses on site at this point.

These are the last few pictures towards the end of the year, the outstanding tradesmen we had employed had successfully and almost completely renovated and rejuvenated what was a completely outdated mess of a building. We could not have been happier.

My two favourite places was the wash bay created from nothing, tiled and looking stunning and the tack room which lead into the new office. I could not believe that from a room that was used for keeping pigs in at one time, something so beautiful could be created.

Washbay Tiled

Tack Room

One of the proudest moments of my life hanging the canvas picture on the wall of my grandfather who originally owned this building 50 years ago, one on photo he is standing one foot on each horse. He had horses in his blood like me.

Tack Room 3

A few days after completion the horses had been moved in, we were already using the yard as a valuable place for outdoor play with the kids and had cleared a space and thrown down some wood chipping for the much anticipated play area. Which arrived a few days after this photo below was taken.

Life on the yard was good

The two rescue kittens we had taken in where happy and content, life was good and everything seemed to be going in the right direction. We had taken one young horse on to train and we had already started to look for rescue cases that required our help.

Life on the yard was good 2

One late summer afternoon we were all at the yard, there were even a few tradesmen finishing off a few bits and pieces. I was washing off a horse with another rider, the guys were tinkering with the wi-fi in the office, kids were running around and the music was playing.. the weather and the atmosphere at the stable was just perfect. You know when sometimes you wish you could just cut a piece of time out and keep it forever well for me this was a time like that. 

To some it might not look like much but to me it was perfection and I had my slice of paradise and I was looking forward to doing so much...

I posted this happy photo on Instagram and wrote "LIFE IS GREAT !!!"

The Last Happy Post

We heard the children screaming first and I thought they were playing, but I then realised that something wasn't right. 5 seconds later I heard the word I think any stable owner fears the most... "Fire!!"

We immediately ran up to the hay loft to see how bad it was but it was way too late, the flames at the far end of the building where our new building attached to the old one were as tall as the roof itself and spreading so fast there was no chance to do anything other than to get everyone out and release the horses. A few guys tried in vain to use a garden hose to slow the spread but it was absolutely hopeless. We were blessed that everyone from the surrounding houses came running over as soon as they saw the smoke and started to grab everything and anything and dump it outside on the paddock. Within 10 minutes there was a huge pile of saddles, bridles, computer bits, furniture.. everything that was inside that could be moved was now outside.

We all stood in shock and watched 12 months of work and the last 10 years of savings go up in flames.. utterly powerless and utterly devastated.

Here is a short video which shows the sheer ferocity and scale of the fire.

A brave firefighter tries to do everything he can to save my stables.

The following photos are still today a little difficult for us to look at, some people might be thinking. What? it's only a building, but to me this "building" was the realisation of a lifelong dream. I had against difficult odds brought a building back to life that had once belonged to my grandfather who passed away just before I was born. Call me a romantic but I loved the notion of that!

The scale of the damage mostly from the gallons of water the fire service poured into the building is devastating. The fire destroyed the upstairs and the water destroyed the downstairs. In fact so much water (9 fire engines) was poured into the building that the concrete ceiling was found to be structurally unsound afterwards. #tackroomsdontmakegoodswimmingpools

Our new crisp white ceilings, a few days later they just started to fall into the building.


After the fire we found one kitten but his brother was missing for a while, we feared the worse. This was the final twist of the knife as far as we were concerned it was horrible news that we really did not need. As the guys that worked on the yard started to clear the rubble and fire damaged hay and equipment we received a call to say they had found the other kitten, alive! 

The poor little thing had actually singed his whiskers they were all curled up, it shows how close to the heat he must have been, one very lucky kitten and at least 8 of the 9 lives used up for sure I reckon. In an odd way this news lifted us a bit, a small triumph out of what was a hideous time.

We had been knocked down by what had happened but with horses and other creatures we were responsible for we got stuck into clearing up and assessing what needed to be done. It is at times like this that you find out who your friends are.. some of them even turned up to help with cleaning up and just offering to do whatever they could. Like Bishu in the photo below who literally threw himself into the soot and muck for two days we wont ever forget that.

We worked quickly to isolate 3 outdoor boxes and a room which was largely unaffected by either fire or water to store feed, we put up a tent for the hay and moved some horses to friends. The others that we could keep at the yard we did.

The roof had to come down and unfortunately the entire ceiling as it had been deemed to be unsafe. Our two handy men who had been working odd jobs at the stables for me tore down the entire roof and the ceiling, along with my Dad and some friends. I was speechless at how they all worked so hard on that building for me.

When I saw this after a few weeks of the guys working on the stables I truly wanted to throw in the towel and walk away, we were actually in a worse situation than we were when we started the renovation of the old building, at least then we had a roof. I think this was one of many moments where curling up into a ball in the corner was definitely an option.

Work has continued on the yard and we now have a ceiling but no roof, we have to get a roof on the building this year it isn't an option not to, because if we don't the winter will completely destroy the building. I am determined to make this happen this year, hopefully with the support and loyalty of our Just Riding customers your continued business will make this possible. 

The inside where the boxes are located is rubble but we are working slowly to restore it, the tack room below seen in the photos above have not been touched, the plasterboard all has to come off and replaced and repainted which we have not yet done.

25/02/17 -

There isn't much else to add at this stage, right now we have been developing this new website and invested in new brands, attending shows with the shop and moving forward.

The stables are being worked on currently but on a drip payment basis, basically it works like this...If we have a reasonable week on we put up some plasterboard or lay some bricks, or buy some materials for the roof. Everything we had went into the first renovation of the building and so it has to be this way for now.

We wont be deterred from realising our dream, every time I think about quitting I just have to look at my smiling face on that horse on the last instagram post I made before the fire.

In the words of the amazing Nelson Mandella "A winner is a dreamer who never gives up"

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Riding Boots Lasting the Distance & Buying in 2017...

By Agnieszka JR

We have been selling riding boots well pretty much since cows started eating grass, it's quite a long time ago..

We have invested in a few riding boot brands over the years, some have stuck and some have not. The one factor that always and I mean always plays a key role in the rise or demise of a horse riding boot, and that is QUALITY. Quite simply if your boots are cheaply made even with all the best marketing in the world the company will have their glory year or two and then the warranty claims will start to come thicker than the new sales and bang, the company is drowning and twelve months later its goodnight sweetheart... thanks for the memories. So, now that I have depressed onto the in's and out's of it all.

What I said earlier is actually true, remember those custom Konigs you bought in 2006, the ones you polished last week (in 2016) and rode out on? sadly the days of finding boots built like they used to make them are dwindling into the non existent, because the demand for a more comfortable, more technical and more aesthetically pleasing boot has exceeded the ability to produce them. We live in a time where trends are now hashtagged and become global in seconds, not even hours or days! Gangnam style was released and within 300 seconds it had already trended as a global hashtag and people were going crazy about it, an hour later and the guy was ordering his first Lamborghini. So when the "right" people start hashtagging, blogging, faecbooking, Instagramming... blah, blah, etc about a new pair of riding boots then people start to ask questions. What's this all about? "Everyone" is raving about them... and then the golden question "Where can I get a pair?"

Something I hear often from our customers is, how come my old boots I bought in 2000 are still going and this new pair I paid $1000 for only 12 months ago are starting to fall apart. The answers to this questions fall across a couple of different categories. The first is, It is your fault! Now that may sound strange but let me explain..

Remember the days when you used to buy a new pair of riding boots and it would take 3 or 4 weeks to wear them in, you would be there every night rubbing the Vaseline into the back of the heel, using a warm wet sponge on the outside of the leather.. wearing them in your house wondering around your kitchen in your nightie and pair of riding boots. I remember it well, we had to do that because the boots were pure hell, they carved up the backs of our heels like fresh ham on a sharpened cheese grater. In fact I think some of the boots I bought in the past may well have had cheese graters inside them, stitched into the back of the heel.

But, and this is the big but.. it was all worth it in the end because these boots eventually molded to your feet and only your feet and you ended up with a pair of boots that slipped over your feet like a satin glove over a royal hand. Which brings me onto one of the reasons why we now have boots that don't last because a few of us just couldn't handle wearing riding boots with our nighties anymore, they didn't want to wait 4 weeks or more for their new boots to fit them, they had no patience or acceptance of the fact that their heels would be grated for the weeks proceeding the purchase of a shiney new pair of boots and they started to whine about it. Not only did they start to complain about the boots rubbing them they also started to complain about having to pay $1500+ for a pair of custom made to measure boots. So, inevitably the manufacturers stated to look at what they could do to meet the market demand.

They needed boots which did not cost as much and did not require wearing in, and so manufacturers started to explore using calf skin for the leather uppers and mass producing them as apposed to making them by hand. Now using calf skin for the leather uppers in riding boots is absolutely fine but you also have to remember that there are over 10 different ways to tan leather. They range from using vegetable products, Formaldehyde and even the oils from animals brains.. yes, you read correctly I said animal brains but this is a rare procedure. I am not going to get into the finer details of the preparation of leather all I will say is that there are three main stages which are preparatory stages, tanning, and crusting and within these stages in particular crustings which is the process that thins, retans, and lubricates leather there are around 20 possible options including the addition of colour.

So just simply using Calf Skin will give you a soft boot of course, but the process in which the calf skin has been made and the country of origin of the leather will almost certainly determine the life expectancy of the boot. 

I think and this is just my opinion, that in the pursuit to produce the most comfortable boots to meet the highest demand manufacturers have overlooked durability. Using the cheapest conditioning methods on the calf skin will reduce the final cost of the leather and also speed up the process of producing the calf skin. Using this type of conditioned calf skin for the uppers in the first place as apposed to regular cattle skin or buffalo will produce an "instant" comfort for the consumer but at what cost people?! Sure you'll slide your foot into your new boot jump up on your horse, run around the barn for a few hours and  be delighted at the fact that you don't have a blister in sight, but in 8 or 12 months when your calf has worn its way through the side of your boot or the soles have peeled off how delighted are you going to be? 

It is a delicate issue for the consumer, of course some wont mind replacing their $1000 boots every 12 months but most of the riders that I have spoken to aren't going to be overly happy about it. 

New K Boots from Parlanti

The New K Boots from Parlanti are becoming a popular choice due to their durability and comfort, they are made from conditioned buffalo leather.

My final opinion on purchasing riding boots in 2017. Don't rush into buying a pair of boots just because they feel soft, by all means you should consider calf skin but be aware of the company that is manufacturing the boots. Where the boots are really made and the origin of the calf skin used in the boots, most retailers will provide you with this information if you ask them. If you stand the new boots up in front of you and they sag over to one side something is not right, calf skin is soft but they should stand proud and firm when new. Look at the soles of the boots, stitched and glued vibram soles are used by the best boot makers in the world and this is a sure sign of a quality finish.

Animo Zody Riding Boots

Animo Zody Semi Custom Field Boots are made from the finest Italia calf skin, feedback on these boots is hugely positive. They are calf skin lined and they have glued and stitched vibram soles. These boots are made to last, 100% in Italy.

If your boots rub you when they are new then so be it, it probably means they are well made and will end up lasting you many years just get the vaseline out and rub a little on the inside of the heel and buy yourself some compeed patches. Don't going running out for a new pair of boots. Another tip for 2017 if you ride a lot of horses is to look out for boots made from Buffalo leather it is much tougher than calf skin and will last much, much longer. Once it has been worn in; Buffalo leather boots will fit your foot like a glove.

Tucci Marilyn Riding Boots

Tucci Marilyn Dress Boots, we have seen an increase in sales in the Marliyn model by Tucci in 2016, there is no denying that this Italian made boot is one of the most beautiful boots by appearance. This coupled with the use of fine Italian leather and you have a recipe for a stunning all round riding boot.

You can buy horse riding boots from Animo, Parlanti or Tucci right here.

This original article is copyrighted to Just Riding 2016.


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