Book review: For the Love of Horses

For the Love of Horses

By Kelly Wilson

For the Love of Horses tells the true story of the Wilson sisters: Vikki, Amanda and Kelly from their humble beginnings at pony club on cheap second chance ponies they trained themselves to show jumping triumphs to their amazing journey with the wild Kaimanawa horses. 

Written by Kelly it documents the highs and lows of growing up poor with horses meaning they often bought horses that others had labeled as problem horses or difficult and learning how ride and train with the horses welfare and happiness at the forefront. 

The Wilsons are best known (at least to me who doesn’t follow show jumping that closely) for their work with New Zealand’s wild Kaimanawa horses which was first documented through a documentary made by Amanda called Wind Eaters and the reality show Keeping up with the Kaimanawas.

The Kaimanawas are subjected to a yearly muster to control the population and reduce the environmental impact and due to the reputation of being difficult to domesticate most are culled. Introduced to their plight rafter training a Kaimanawa pony into a successful jumper the Wilson sisters were inspired to rescue a number of the horses and train them while Amanda filmed their journey to domestication. Following their success they were inspired to help found the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge which was filmed for Keeping up with the Kaimanawas and lead to a huge rise in the number of horses that were saved. 

This book is so full of heart and the Wilsons are the best kind of horse people with their genuine love of horses showing through in all aspects of their lives. I admire those who start from the bottom and get to the top with hard work and dedication and use their influence and position to rise awareness to a truly great cause. 

Kelly Wilson has also written another novel documenting her and her sisters in America working with wild Mustangs called Mustang Ride which is definitely next on my reading list.

🐴🐴🐴🐴🐴 (5/5)
For more information on the Wilsons and the Kaimanawas check out:


Equestrian Nail Art For Dummies 

I ride horses, I groom, muck out, tack up so really this is accurate: 

Image credit: Pinterest 

Having said that while I love wearing jeans, breeches, boots and have no problem spending the day covered in dirt and mud with no make up and helmet hair, I also love dresses and shoes and wearing make up so when I came across this on the spiced equestrian Instagram I had to have it! 

Image credit: spicedeq on Instagram 

I have never tried nail stamping but it is an awesome way of creating super cute detailed designs.

First of all can we appreciate how cute the box it came in is! 

The kit comes in this cute little bag that has three stamping plates, a scraper thing for removing the extra polish and the stamper you use to transfer the design. 

The plates have all these cute design options. 

I just had to go with the bit design, if you can’t already tell I’m a bit obsessed with bits! (How many times can Emily use the word bit in this post?)

I used a Sally Hansen base coat followed by a random pink colour and I used a Sally Hansen Xtreme wear in the colour ‘blue it’ for the stamping and a Sally Hansen top coat. (I like Sally Hansen in case you didn’t notice!) 💅🏻

The whole process was pretty strait forward and the kit has instructions. If you want a tutorial there is heaps of great YouTube videos online. After you paint your nails and let them dry you paint your chosen design on the plate and use the scrapper to remove the excess. You use the stamper to pick up the design and stamp it on your nails. I would recommend practicing on paper first and it works best if you use a rolling motion instead of stamping strait down. Finish with a top coat and your done.

For someone who is useless at nail art this was so easy and produced great results! I still need to work a bit more on getting all the designs on strait but for a first effort I think it’s a good job.

The aftermath… 🙄  

Full helmet review

 So I’ve spoken about my helmet before (here) but honestly when you can credit something with helping to save your life it deserves to be praised. Something like 60% of fatal horse related accidents are due to head injuries (don’t quote me on that, but I know it’s high) so I’m very pro anything that can help reduce the risk. I wouldn’t get in a car without a seatbelt, I don’t get on a horse without a helmet⛑.

So my helmet is the Dublin Arista and can I just say it fits my head perfectly and I forget I’m wearing it when I’m in the saddle. I have memories of my first riding helmet, you know those bulky, heavy, not ventilated white plastic ones, and have to say I’m so happy with how development and design has progressed over the years! 

“The all New Dublin Arista Helmet features a microfibre outer that give a suede look, removable washable lining that’s easy to clean, stainless steel vents meaning no more sweaty helmet hair and quick release buckle and harness. And, best of all, it’s not bulky like other helmets – you’ll love the fit! Available in 3 colours – Black, Grey & Navy!” ( it retails for $129 (right now it’s on sale for $99.95) and for $30 more you can get the exact same helmet with diamanté, if that’s your thing. Mine is black and 54cm which I never thought much of but apparently that’s small. Most of the little kids I teach wear bigger helmets than me which is kind of embarrassing (is my head really that tiny or do today’s children have giant heads maybe caused by mutations from radiation and wifi? 👽☢) 

After having it for awhile I kind of went a bit off it, I had it in my car when I was teaching a lesson and the glue that holds on the metal vents had melted and they had sunk a little bit back into the helmet and at a bit of an angle. It didn’t affect the helmets effectiveness and it was hardly noticeable to any one but me as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. It was a really hot day so it could have just been a one off and I didn’t have any other problems with it. 

When I had my serious fall I came off at a gallop in some way that my head and face took most of the impact along with my hip. I knocked myself out when I hit the ground and the next half hour and what actually caused me to fall is a blurr. I do remember being sat down and looking at my helmet in my lap and seriously in my concussed state I was more worried about having wrecked my helmet than I was about the blood dripping down face and the pain in my head/neck. 

It’s hard to tell but in addition to the warped plastic the dark area of foam above the rim is actually dented from the impact and while you can’t see from this angle the visor it was bent back as well. To be honest considering my injuries I’m really impressed with how it held up and surprised there wasn’t more damage although I guess it did what it was designed to do with the foam absorbing the impact. 

I had to replace my helmet* and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to order the same one again. I have heaps of fancy (mainly Samshield) helmets pinned on Pinterest and there are heaps of other less expensive options but you buy a helmet with the knowledge it greatly recuses your risk of sustaining serious head injuries and potentially save your life and I already know this one can do that. 

I was a bit dissapointed when I got it, they had changed the design slightly. The bits that attach the helmet to the chin strap, you know the bit that goes either side of your ear? Well that bit was all fabric on my old helmet and on the new one it’s fabric joined together under the ear with piece of triangles plastic.

A pictures worth a thousand words and I’d probably need atleast twice that to get across what I’m trying to describe. This bit: 

But honestly it doesn’t affect the comfort of fit at all, for me it feels much the same as my old one. I also haven’t had any problems with the glue but I have made a contious effort not to leave it in my car just in case. 

Like on my old one I have a personally preppy helmet monogram on it (#reptheprep) I wrote a review on them here

In summary this helmet looks good, has good ventilation, is comfortable and fits well but at the end of the day it comes down to trust, I know that if I have another bad fall this helmet is capable of protecting my head and reducing the risk of a fatal head injury. 100% would recommend and would buy again until I’m rich and can justify purchasing an $800 helmet just because it looks pretty! 

Image credit: Anky Australia 

Seriously drool! 

*Note: you should always replace your helmet after a serious accident. A serious impact can reduce the effectiveness of your helmet in any subsequent falls. Even if your helmet doesn’t have any obvious signs of damage if it has taken any sort of serious impact have it checked by a professional just to make sure. 

Always make sure the helmet you are buying meets current safety regulations, always buy from a reputable seller and never buy second hand. Make sure it is correctly fitted and the straps adjusted so it’s secure. I know I sound like a nagging grandma but I’m a cheerleader for safety! 

For more information on helmets and safety I highly recommend checking out and for my thoughts on helmet use I wrote this post


 I’ve been on the hunt for a rain jacket/coat for this winter. Now everything equestrian related is expensive so I wasn’t sure if I wanted an equestrian jacket or a regular rain jacket. Now obviously a jacket for riding is specially designed for in the saddle but I figured a regular raincoat would work just as well for keeping the rain off.

I kept an eye out for something nice that fit my needs when I saw this Dublin jacket in the new Horseland catalog and fell in love. It’s navy and pink need I say more!

As for sizing I usually wear a size 10 top (Australian sizing) or a sometimes a 12 for my chest (if you get my meaning) and I went for a size small. It fits really well, I wore it for the first time last weekend and it’s seriously amazing. 

The sleeves have second tighter cuff inside the waterproof sleeve which is amazing as they keep the cold and wind from blowing up your arms. It’s long enough to protect you from the weather but the back has studs you can undo when your in the saddle. It pored with rain on Saturday and it kept me warm and dry and it wasn’t to bulky, I was able to ride, tack up, untack, groom, put rugs on, feed etc without it getting in the way. It seems to be good quality and I’ve always been happy with other Dublin products lasting so if it keeps me going for a couple of years I’ll be over the moon. 

*not sponsored in anyway just love this product.

**I wore this teaching yesterday because the weather was horrible and I was tightening a girth and the pony turned around and tried to bite me. He got my sleeve and I thought for sure he had ripped the fabric but no it’s still perfect! Amazing quality. 

C4 belts

Any equestrian knows you can never have too many belts. C4 belts are a series of interchangeable belts and buckles: they’re waterproof, animal/eco-friendly, airport friendly, easy to clean, have a lifetime guarantee and can be cut to size. C4 belts come in a huge range of colours and come in regular and skinny styles.
Great right? It gets better, as an Australian it can be frustrating when you come across an awesome product from overseas but the shipping cost is astronomical, well C4 has flat rate international shipping to anywhere in the world.

They also give back, $1 from every belt you purchase goes to one of 4 charities:

  • Boys & Girls Club of America: Aims to give young people a safe and happy future by investing in life-enhansing programs and character development experiences.
  • Human Rights Campaign: A civil rights organisation that works towards LGBT equality.
  • Captain Planet Foundation: A unique charity that awards grants to young people who are trying to make a positive impact on their communities through environmental projects.

And the charity I selected:

  • Best Friends Animal Society: Aims to reduce the amount of unnecessary animal deaths, they promote pet adoption, spay-and-neuter services, and humane education programs.

You can learn more on the C4 website.

I have the bits n pieces belt in navy with a hot pink buckle. They have the same pattern in five other colours (pink, green, grey, black and mint) and 65 different belt designs in total with 30 different buckle colours including metallic and glow in the dark. That’s close to 2000 different combinations! So you can match them to any ROOTD.

It’s worth following C4 on their social media (Facebook, Instagram,Twitter) as they post coupon codes and special offers all the time. I think my next purchase will ether be the pink bits n pieces with a silver buckle or the mint bits n pieces with the metallic pink buckle! 

They just released new Moroccan designs that look amazing too.

My overall opinion is that these are great belts, great designs that are easy to customise to your unique style. I love how easy they are to keep clean which is great because I’m probably the messiest rider I know, seriously I don’t know how I get so dirty but I’m usually covered in several centimeters of dirt by the end of the day and my cream breeches are not as cream as they used to be! The fact that they support such great causes is just icing on the cake.

OMG they just released a horseshoe pattern and a summer emoji design! 💸

Grooming bag review 

grooming bag

I wanted an inexpensive grooming kit just to have around. While I don’t have my own horse I like to give Patrick a good groom either before or after I ride depending on his lesson schedule and you can never seem to find a brush when you need it. I figured the most economical way to purchase brushes was in a kit but I am very particular about when types I like. I like hoof picks with a brush on the end, kite shaped sweat/water scrapers and oval shaped rubber curry combs. I came across the Roma deluxe grooming kit and it seemed to meet my needs but I kept holding off. I’m a member of the Horseland rider rewards program so when they had a special deal for members I bit the bullet and ordered it. The kit didn’t come with a curry comb so I picked up a Roma brights curry as well.

I’ve used all the brushes a couple of times now and over all I pretty happy with all the brushes. The hoof pick has a good handle and the brush end is stiff enough to hold up. The main and tail brush is a good shape and the brisels work well on thick, knotted tails. The curry comb is just a standard curry, it’s not to squishy and not to stiff but just right. Both the dandy brush and the sweat scraper do exactly what’s advertised, and seem to be good quality. I wish the face brush was just a little bit softer, I think a face brush should be softer than a body brush and that’s not the case here  but again overall a good brush. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the body brush, the bristles are great and it’s the perfect size however it’s designed so it bends at the edges. This is so I guess so it contours to the shape of the horse but it’s not what I’m used to. It’s not bad it just feels weird but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. 

The bag itself is sturdy and well made. The round shape means it has heaps of internal space so there’s heaps of room to add different brushes and really build your kit and there is both open with elastic tops and zipped pockets around the outside. I have the purple and grey but my friend I ride with just bought the navy and red which looks really smart as well. Obviously I’ve only had these brushes for a few weeks so I don’t know how they will last in the long run but so far I would totally recommend! 

Personally Preppy 

I came across Personally Preppy after I saw a picture of one of their helmet monograms on Pinterest and fell in love? I knew I had to have one, I mean who doesn’t love anything custom and personalised especially since everyone where I ride tends to have he same stuff. I read every FAQ on their site because I was a little afraid that their monograms wouldn’t sick to my helmet which had a microfibre outer that gives it a suede look but they assured me that they stick to most helmets (I believe there is a Charles Owen helmet that has some kind of mesh detail that it won’t stick to). 

I ordered the black glitter monogram for a more subtle look but they have heaps of different colours and fonts to choose from. You can also select the size, I believe mine is 1.5 inches which fits nicely between the vents on my helmet. 

I had this helmet for close to a year and the monogram showed no sign of wear or peeling off. I live in Australia so I’ve ridden in 40+ degrees Celsius and poring rain so that’s pretty impressive. 

I had a bad accident that meant I had to replace my helmet so I reordered the same one, hey it saved my life once before so they’re obviously doing something right. I also ordered a new helmet monogram. This time I went for the same size and font style but in silver so it’s still fairly neutral but not as subtle.  

They come in the cutest hot pink envelope and shipping was pretty fast even to Australia. My order came with the sweetest hand written note and they were kind enough to include some extra monograms to offset the shipping. 

I have my eye on the custom spur straps but they also have gloves and crops you can coustomise with your initials. You can also have coustom monograms with your barm logo or personal design made. 

So #RepthePrep and bring some style to your riding outfits!