Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Help your horse stay cooler during work - ECOGOLD's John Da Silva on Horse Radio Network

ECOGOLD founder and textile engineer John Da Silva, was featured today on the Horse Radio Network. As an expert on the Horse Tip Daily radio show, he explained how you can control and reduce the temperature of your horse.

Click on the following link to listen to the podcast: ECOGOLD's Horse Tip Daily

Or read John's comments below:

"As with human athletes when horses exercise, their muscles develop heat. Like a car’s engine, after the initial warm-up, the heat generated needs to be dissipated for the car to run well. The natural way in which the body controls overheating is by producing sweat. When the sweat evaporates, it cools the muscles down, reducing the temperature to the appropriate level.

So it’s very important, not to interfere with the horse's natural cooling process by using saddle pads or horse boots made with materials that allow the maximum evaporation.

Basically, you have to check 3 things.

Here’s an easy test that we always use to find if a product is breathable.

Put it against your mouth and blow. If the air flows easily through the material and you can feel it on the other side on your hand, it’s really breathable. If you can’t, it’s not breathable at all (as is the case of most waterproof materials such as neoprene), or it might be a “little” breathable under pressure or special conditions different from the natural way horse’s sweat evaporates.

Does the saddle pad or horse boots trap in heat? You should use materials that are not temperature insulators because you want to dissipate the heat as quickly as possible.

As a general rule, if it keeps you warm in winter, don't use it on your horse when competing in hot weather.

As a matter of fact, one of the aspects of the equestrian sport that initially most called my attention, was the use of wool and sheepskin on saddle pads and horse boots. You just have to look at human athletes… no one runs a marathon dressed in a sheepskin suit!


You have also to consider: how quickly does the sweat evaporate?

Water in a plate evaporates much faster than in a glass. Why? Because the evaporation capacity is proportional to the size of the surface. So you should always look at the shape of the fabric. A material with a waffle or honeycomb surface will cool your horse much faster than a flat one. The hills and valleys in the fabric increase the evaporation surface.

So these are the 3 factors to look for to keep your horse (as any other athlete!) cool and comfortable , and help him achieve the maximum performance."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kathy Henderson Lalonde wins Horse Boots!

Kathy Henderson Lalonde is the big winner of our Equestrian Trivia Contest on Facebook. She wowed everybody answering 5 questions correctly with incredible speed.

How did she manage to outmart the competition? “I work very long hours at my completely computer-based job, so I was able to baby-sit my home computer to stay on top of this contest.” says Kathy “I found it a lot of fun.” “Thank you so much for having this contest, it meant a great deal to me. I wanted so badly to win the boots to give them to my daughter Allison. She is very dedicated to the sport of Dressage and works so hard at all times to learn and improve. I attached a photo of her and her horse in the FEI Children's class this summer in Blainville in her ECOGOLD saddle pad.”

We hope that Allison and Dalton will enjoy their new set of Dressage Horse Boots. Congratulations!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Equestrian Trivia Contest - Win Horse Boots!

If you enjoy testing your equestrian knowledge, you'll love this fun contest. ECOGOLD's Equestrian Trivia Contest starts next Monday January 18 on our Facebook page. Be the first to answer correctly 5 questions and win a set of 4 Ecogold Horse boots of your choice (dressage, hunter jumper or cross-country boots).

* Question example: "In how many Olympic Games has Karen O'Connor represented the USA?"
* Answer: “4x! w/ Mandiba, Biko Panache and The Optimist!!!!!”

Hint...all the answers are somewhere on our website.

Become a fan and get ready to outsmart the competition!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Training Tips from Top Riders

The United States Eventing Association held a question and answer period with top riders at the 2009 USEA Annual Meeting and Convention in Reston, Virginia last December. The panel featured ECOGOLD-riders Karen O’Connor, Phillip Dutton, Buck Davidson and Allison Springer, who ride in ECOGOLD's Secure Saddle pad, as well as Mike Huber, Kim Severson and Will Coleman. Here are a few videos of their insightful answers to questions from the audience, filmed by the USEA.

Question: What is your take on schooling obstacles, like a water complex, on cross-country during the competition?
– Training tips from Phillip Dutton and Karen O’Connor

Question: What methods do you use to teach a young horse to do flying changes?
– Training tips from Allison Springer, Karen O'Connor and Mike Huber

Question: A rider with previous experience stops riding for an extended period of time, and becomes out of shape and overweight. When she returns to the sport, what are some of the things you would have her do to get back into shape?
– Training tips from Buck Davidson, Karen O'Connor and Will Coleman

Question: How do you know when it is the right time for a horse and rider to move up to the next level?
– Training tips from Allison Springer, Mike Huber and Will Coleman

Question: Assume a rider and trainer both decide that moving up from training to preliminary level, for example, is appropriate. But once that rider begins competing at preliminary, she has some issues and needs to move back down. How would you help her deal with those issues, regain confidence, and return to competing at that level?
– Training Tips from Kim Severson, Karen O’Connor and Phillip Dutton

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

A new decade, a very exciting year ahead.

At ECOGOLD, we start 2010 with a bang! After months of hard work, our new state-of-the-art website is finally a reality. It will allow us to add more content instantly, as travel to equestrian events or develop new products. It will also make the shopping experience more enjoyable, with our videos and interactive information about each product.
We hope you like it!

Also, ECOGOLD riders get ready for a very intense year, which will reach its climax this fall with the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. The competitions leading up to WEG will be crucial, as many talented riders will give their best effort to have the chance to represent their country. We wish them the best of luck and leave you with a video to put you in the spirit of the Games.

2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Video