1. Kerrits or Fits stretchy breeches
Kerrits- Flex II full seat tight, I sized up in these and comfortably wore them until 29 weeks pregnant when I stopped riding. I liked the full seat (which I normally don’t), it gave me extra stability in the saddle while I felt like I was loosing my leg and core muscles. I most likely won’t be able to wear these after pregnancy because they were a little big in the leg. Retails for $99
Fits- PerforMax Pull on Full seat breech, I did not size up in these, I wore them until 27 weeks pregnant. Again I went for the full seat which helped me a lot. I will be able to wear these after pregnancy, they fit perfectly everywhere. Retails for $259
2. Ariat or Fits tops
Fits- Erin- 2 base layer tech shirt, the green shirt you see in the picture above. I have three of them, one large and two mediums. The mediums fit my belly just fine still, I love the breathable material. It helps me layer for when the days start off warm and end well below 20 during my last lesson of the night. I still wear them even though I’m no longer riding, currently I’m 34 weeks and they still fit perfectly. I will be able to wear these after pregnancy. Retails for $63
Ariat - Cadence wool 1/4 zip base layer. I am absolutely in love with this shirt, it is so soft and breathable. A great layering tool. Still perfect for my 34 week pregnant belly. I’m wearing a size medium. I will be able to wear the after pregnancy. Retails for $94.95. I got mine at Colorado tack in Thornton, but you can also order online.
3. Lange dry shampoo
I have been obsessed with this dry shampoo for a while. I have very thick long hair, as much as I love my hair I hate drying and styling it everyday. I wash my hair two times a week, and this dry shampoo help keep it looking like I wash it everyday. I know with a new baby coming I’ll need this even more. In the photo below it had been 5 days of no washing. Retails $23, but on sale now for $12.
4. Belly Box subscription
As horse trainers we are used to putting the needs of our animals above our own. But when you are growing a human it is extremely important to take care of yourself. The belly box subscription has made me step back from my busy schedule and given me the tools to pamper myself. Everything from face masks and belly scrub to the comfiest/cutest maternity shirts. I look forward to my box every month. Retails $35 but on sale now.
5. Belli Beauty elasticity oil and body scrub. I started using these products before I got pregnant. When I was working out and doing a ton of squats I started to get stretch marks on my butt and thighs. So I started right away with the scrub and oil and I no longer have any. When I found out I was pregnant I started applying the scrub and oil to my belly, boobs, and thighs. I know they say that stretch marks run in genes and some women can just not have them. But I fully believe that these products have kept the stretch marks away for me. In my second trimester I would notice some lightly coming in, I would ask my husband if he thought they were stretch marks. He would say yes and I would go do my scrub and apply the belly oil, then the next day there wouldn’t be any marks at all. Elasticity oil retails for $34, I am 34 weeks and still have a lot left in my second bottle. Scrub retails for $24, also on my second bottle with a lot left in it.
Lunging is a very important part of horsemanship. If you have been around a busy barn you have probably heard someone say “I would lunge that horse before getting on.” But what does it truly mean to lunge a horse? When I lunge a horse I always have a purpose to lunging. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gotten a horse in for training and the second I put the horse on a lunge line it starts to gallop off. I won’t argue that sometimes a horse needs a good run and a couple bucks to be ready to do its job. But most of the horses I work with, do not respond to this method of lunging. I work with a lot of green and young horses, most of them being off the track thoroughbreds.
I always say you will ware out a thoroughbreds mind before you ware out their body. Plus a lot of times if you just race a thoroughbred around they get more worked up and even hotter than before the lunge. So I start off every lunging session with at lease 5 min of walking. Hotter horses possibly more, slower horses I make them march the walk and get right to work. Once I have established all I want them to do on the lunge is walk, I start to ask for a bigger working walk. Where they start to loosen up and swing in their movement more. I focus my attention mostly on their shoulders and their hips. Just at the walk I can pin point where a horse is tight, not straight, and where they don’t want to hold themselves together. This helps me figure out what to work on during the rest of the session. The walk is the most important gait in my opinion.
Then I start working in the trot. Still not letting the horse shoot off into the next gait, and if they do, I calmly bring the, back to the walk and try again. I do many transitions from walk to trot and trot to walk. Every time trying to achieve a looser free flowing trot, and a forward downward transition to a working walk. I am constantly asking for a shape of the body, meaning the horse should track with its body shaping around your lunging circle and their head straight or nose slightly in. If your horse has a tendency to bulge out on the lunge line the next section about long lining will help with strengthening that side. Lastly I work the canter. Working it the least of all the gaits. I maybe have them canter two laps on each side, with a forward walk transition in the middle. This is a normal lunging routine for me, and then a training ride. But being pregnant and not being able to do as many training rides for my client horses as I’d like, I have also added long lining to everyone’s training program.
Long lining or long line lunging as I like to call it is to loosen the horse, bring the back up, and engage the hind under. The Pessoa system system is a good alternative, but with long lining you can feel the horse in your hands better. When they want to lean and become heavy in the hand you can correct it more effectively. You have separate “rein” aids and “leg”aids v.s the Pessoa system which has consistent pressure on both sides no matter where they are leaning. Long lining requires two lunge lines, a surcingle, and a lunge whip if needed. Once your horse and you are used to the long lines you can use the whip to not only encourage forward movement but also encourage a little bit of lateral movement if they are leaning into your circle. I long line all my horses in their halters, I just feel like it gives a better result for carrying themselves and discourages leaning on the bit since there isn’t one. To start you attach one of the lunge lines to the inside square of the halter, the other goes through the ring of the surcingle that lines up with the middle of their shoulder and hooks to the outside square of the halter. The outside lunge line runs behind your horses butt sitting just above the hocks. If it’s your horses first time they might thinks it’s a little strange to have the line behind them , so take your time getting them used to it.
With your body and the two lunge lines you will create a triangle, with you being the top point. I would suggest getting used to holding both the long lines before adding the whip. I of course start with a big floaty walk. You don’t want the long lines to fall to the ground, but you also don’t want them holding your horse so tight they are tense in the poll and jaw. Remember long lining is to help teach self carriage, not you holding them in place. I focus on the shoulders and hind legs the most. Followed by what I feel in my hands. If the horse is leaning on my hand, then I ask them to step up from the opposite hind leg of where they are wanting to lean. I do this by focusing my cluck or whip on the hind leg I want to to push a little deeper into a slight feel of the rein on the side they are wanting to lean. It takes some patience, practice, and sore arms but it all gets easier. Just know you and your horse will need many learning sessions together, don’t expect your horse to engage and be perfect right away.
Next is to start working the trot, with many transitions. A horse that is weak in the back will raise its head and hallow it back into the trot. The horse might want to race or want to go into a more up and down gait rather than flowing. We want to work the trot the same as we did the walk, if they are too tight and tense got back to the walk for a bit to get them to relax again. Don’t rush this you will not get the results you desire. Using half halts and pushing the hind into the half halt with eventually get the desired result, tell your horse good job and let them walk. It just takes time. Like normal lunging I do not work the canter much in long lining. It can be harder to hold the lines in the right place at the canter and balance everything. I recommend staying at the walk and trot until you are very comfortable with using this system. If done once a week you will feel the difference under saddle as well. Happy riding and thanks for reading!
Let me preface this by saying I know I’m not the first horse trainer to get pregnant, but it turned out to be a huge turning point in my career. I always had the thought that when I got pregnant nothing in my business or my riding would change. I would be able to do it all and not have to take a breath in between, but my first trimester hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sick constantly, I was incredibly tired all the time, and I was incredibly bitchy. I lost myself a little bit during that time. Horses have always been something I could connect with, but when I felt too sick and tired to ride it felt like my connection to them was gone. This sent me into a slight depression. I had a hard time connecting to my students in lessons. Thank God for the second trimester, it couldn’t have come soon enough! I finally felt better, and was able to start riding more than two horses a week. I started working with one of my clients young horses that helped pull me out of my depression, I finally felt the connection I had been missing. I got my drive back for my lessons, and making my clients the best horsewomen they could be. I started working two project ponies at my house again, everything finally felt back to normal.
Then came the harder decisions about my business and my career. Realizing I most likely wouldn’t be able to do it all with a new baby, I decided to put plans on hold for buying my own facility. Something that I have wanted for a long time, but the timing had to be just right. I instead decided I would rather be part of an already amazing program with my mentor Jill Pelzel at Fall River Farm. So the past month I have started to slowly downsize my program, I am downsizing from 5 lesson horses in my program to just one perfect beginner pony. This has been hard on me as I don’t like saying goodbye to horses I feel like I have created perfectly for my program and my riders. Luckily this was a great time to make this change because many of my clients were ready to move up, and move on to owning tier own horses. I have found 2/3 replacement horses for my clients who were leasing horses from my program. Horse shopping with kids is even more difficult while pregnant, since I can’t ride and feel if it matches what I think my client needs. This has helped me train my eye better as a trainer though, to help riders figure the horses out without me ever riding it. There are many changes coming in my life and career, but I feel extremely excited with my choices. I am excited to learn more and get back in the saddle (when my body will allow), but I’m also excited to experience my son and everything that comes with becoming a mom.
Christina Trout is a young up and coming professional, who is also starting her family. She loves to learn and says "if you're in this industry and think you know everything, its probably time to go do something else”.