Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ECOGOLD launches first equestrian Facebook Store!

Yep, we're geeks innovators. ECOGOLD is not only a leader in product design with our high-tech saddle pads and protective horse boots ,but we are the world's first equestrian company to develop and launch a Facebook store. How cool is that?!

When you visit our Facebook Page, you will now find a "Shop Now" button on the left hand side which will allow you to browse our store and buy ECOGOLD products directly on Facebook, using Paypal or any credit card for payment.

So far, reactions from our "likers" (don't know what to call people who like our page) have been very positive:
  • Sqeeeee! Direct shopping!!!
  • Shopping cart? Cool!
  • Shall I set up direct deposit of my paycheck to you? :)
  • I like this new shop new option...there goes my paycheck lol! 
So there you go fellow social media addicts fans! You can now buy ECOGOLD stuff on Facebook. Check it out!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hail to the groom!

At ECOGOLD, the grooms of our sponsored riders are just as important as the riders, if not more.. They may be unsung heroes as they don't get as much public recognition, but in our world, they are superstars!

Grooms are our go-to people when we design or need to test a new product. They have a wealth of knowledge and very clear ideas of what is best for the horse. When we were designing our horse boots, we asked the top grooms for their input.  One of them joked: "If you want to know anything, ask a groom!".

We see them as the "horse's voice" who tell us right away if a product works or if it needs tweaking. Also, in the barn, they're the ones who know who needs what. So grooms not only play an essential part in the horse world, but also in ECOGOLD's universe. We value their input immensely.


We leave you with a great video where event rider and clinician Cathy Wieschoff  talks about the importance of the groom.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ecogold rider Diana Burnett's news from the Canadian Eventing Team's Training Camp

From Diana:

We started training camp at 8am Monday morning.  Manny, Shags and I had dressage lessons with David.  He was pleased to see that the things we had been working on 2 weeks prior had improved, so we were able to move on to more.  With Manny, we ALWAYS work on getting a half halt that he will accept and listen to.

After we got that done, we started working on some of the movements of the test we will be doing at Kentucky this year.  It’s important to start this now, so that we know the test inside and out and where we can get extra half halts, exactly where to place our changes, etc.  With Shags, David was pleased that we were able to keep the contact up and out more consistently and we moved on to creating a half halt that went through his whole body without him squirming away from it! 

Diana Burnett and Manny
Tuesday was jump day and it was great!!  We started with the raised pole to a vertical, then moved on to a single oxer, where David was making us focus on getting deep to make the horses work (especially Manny).  We followed this by putting a course together.  The most difficult line was a large square oxer, 5 forward strides to a triple (oxer 2 strides to oxer one stride to vertical).  We did this line both directions.  This is the type of line that Manny likes to take over in and then jump flat, so we usually end up adding strides.  Not on this day!!


Wednesday was dressage with David for Shags and with Gunnar for Manny.  With Shags we built upon what we had worked on during our Monday schooling.  Gunnar was pleased to see that Manny was calmer then the previous session.  The first thing he said was, ‘Shoulders back and elbows at your side’, that line never goes away!  He helped with the movements of the Kentucky test and creating more in each of our gaits.  We did some work on the placement and precision of our changes.  Most of the time Manny’s changes are clean, so we focused a lot on having Manny on the aids, to change exactly when I asked him.  I’m looking forward to the next session with Gunnar, as he said he would ride him!

Diana and Shigatzi
The next outing for Manny, Mater, and Shags is the Advanced at Pine Top.

Visit Diana's website or follow her on the Diana Burnett Eventing Facebook page

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ecogold rider Louise Serio and Castle Rock Claim Victory in WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Louise Serio and Castle Rock won the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival
Wellington, FL - February 18, 2011 -  Louise Serio, who rides in ECOGOLD's Forward Flap Hunter Pad and Castle Rock earned a victory in the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular on Friday evening at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival following two beautiful rounds of competition. After two weeks of qualifying competition, only the top horses and riders had the opportunity to compete in a fantastic class held under the bright lights of the impressive International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Ken Krome of Maryland designed the course for this evening's class. A total of 25 entries began the competition in round one and the top eight were then invited to return for a second round course. Finishing in first place, Louise Serio rode Bryan Baldwin's Castle Rock to the win with her two round total of 177.62. The pair finished round one in third place with a score of 87.12, and then earned the class high score of 90.50 in round two to move to the top of the field.

Video - Louise Serio and Castle Rock


Ecogold rider Scott Stewart and Krista Weisman's Reality held on to their second place position in both rounds one and two, earning an 88.50 and an 88.37 for a total score of 176.87.

Video - Scott Stewart and Reality


Defending champions Liza Boyd and Brunello, owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, finished first in round one with an 89.50 and then slipped into third place in the overall standings with an 85.75 in round two for a total of 175.25. Boyd also earned the fourth place honors riding Sarah Ward's Onassis to a two round total of 175.12. Patricia Griffith and Sienna, owned by Lexi Maounis, earned fifth place overall with their score of 173.56.

Video - Liza Boyd and Brunello

About the WCHR: In 1995, the inaugural World Championship Hunter Rider Pro Finals were held as the culmination of an awards program of the American Hunter Jumper Foundation to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. WCHR program participants qualify at member competitions held throughout the year to compete in these finals. In 1997, the WCHR Spectacular was added to the qualifying menu and quickly became one of the premier events which exemplifies the high standards set for the WCHR program. In 2010 the American Hunter Jumper Foundation transferred its assets and programs to the USHJA in an effort to further their vision for our sport.  The USHJA is excited to showcase the WCHR program to its members as it continues to grow in popularity.


Friday, February 18, 2011

M&Ms Impact Test - ECOGOLD Launches Memory Foam Triple Protection Half Pad With a Bang!

ECOGOLD launches their Memory Foam Triple Protection™ Half Pad, with a unique technology combining 3 different materials: Memory Foam, High-Density Open Cell Foam and Low-density Open Cell Foam for complete shock absorbing protection for the horse’s back.

Always innovative and humorous in testing their products, last week ECOGOLD conducted fun and informative impact testing on their saddle pads using M&Ms candies. The result is that compared to other leading materials, the Memory Foam Triple Protection™ Half Pad and ECOGOLD’s Secure™ pad provide the most complete impact protection possible.

ECOGOLD tested their pads in comparison to commonly used half pad materials: 100% memory foam, sheepskin and shock-absorbing material, with a cotton quilted pad, as they are normally used by riders. The ECOGOLD Half Pad was tested in combination with the Secure Pad. Significantly, all of the other combinations failed the impact test, resulting in broken M&Ms candies; the ECOGOLD half pad was the only pad that prevented breakage.

See the video of the testing here:

M&Ms Impact Test - ECOGOLD's Memory Foam Triple Protection Half Pad with Secure Saddle Pad

“A lot of thought was put into our new half pad. Memory foam by itself would not give enough impact protection to the horse’s back, so the solution was to combine it with high-density shock-absorbing foam and a layer of low-density open-cell foam. It also had to disperse heat to keep the horse’s back as cool as possible,” said John Da Silva, textile engineer and ECOGOLD president. “We already knew that this was a great product, but we were really amazed with the results of the impact test.”

Canadian eventing team member and silver medalist at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch, who also just received a grant to compete at the 2011 Badminton CCI****, said, “I’ve been using ECOGOLD’s Half Pad in training. I like that it gives a lot of cushioning and support to the horse’s back without adding bulk under the saddle.”

ECOGOLD’s TRIPLE PROTECTION is unequalled as each level provides an essential element of protection for the horse’s back. Its ergonomic design offers superior protection to the horse’s withers and back. All of the materials are 100% breathable, hypo-allergenic and do not shrink, and the pads are machine washable, quick to dry and stain resistant.

For more information on ECOGOLD's Memory Foam Triple Protection Half Pad - click here or on the photo below.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Just the facts ma’am – ECOGOLD's textile engineer shares his knowledge

Recently, someone emailed us this question: “Hello ECOGOLD, Have you ever thought of adding ceramic fibers to our saddle pads? 

Our answer: “Dear X, Why would we want to do that? Ceramic is a thermal insulator. Our technology is based on fast moisture evaporation and keeping the equine athlete as cool as possible during work. Adding a thermal insulator (ceramic fiber, wool) would be contrary to that purpose.”

The answer: “Right, that makes total sense. Thank you, you guys are so knowledgeable.”

In this day in age pretty much anybody can design a product, outsource the manufacturing, open a sales office and market it. That is why, you will see a lot of nonsense on labels or websites. Like:

- "Breathable neoprene" = . Unless it is neoprene with holes in it, this to us sounds like "donkey with 5 legs" as neoprene is a synthetic rubber used as an insulation material, most notably in wetsuits. So definitely not breathable.

- "Absorbs 96% of impact" = sounds to us like "this horse jumps clear 96% of the time"...yeah but, how high? in which conditions? since when? Why not 97.32%? What kind of impact? Giving a percentage without any context or a serious study is ridiculous. 

- "Negative Ions in the saddle pad reduce lactic acid buildup and improve blood circulation" =  What???! Seriously, I'm not kidding,...this is for real.

Our company has a strong textile engineering background, so we are deeply rooted in materials and take manufacturing very seriously. Our president John Da Silva has a degree in textile engineering, did post-graduate studies in Germany and has spent most of his life as a technical consultant and CEO of textile companies. He can tell you how Gore-tex was invented, what the difference is between a woven and non-woven fabric and he knows the names of textile machine manufacturers. You will have trouble finding another equestrian manufacturer with that level of technical expertise. So whether it's on our labels, our website or on the phone, we will give you information based on evidence.

Here is John sharing his knowledge at the USEA Area 2 Annual Meeting

For more information about ECOGOLD, please visit www.ecogold.ca

Saturday, February 5, 2011

George Morris interview by Jimmy Torano for the North American Riders Group

Are you familiar with the North American Riders Group? Ecogold-rider Mclain Ward is the vice-president and their board is a who's who of today's top riders. The mission of the North American Riders Group is to unite professional riders and trainers to use their collective strength to make show jumping in North America the best in the world.

Here's an interview by Jimmy Torano, NARG Board Member, with George Morris, United States Show Jumping Chef D'Equipe: "Insist on Excellence"

For more information or to join the North American Riders Group, visit http://narg.org

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why does ECOGOLD use Memory Foam in its Horse Boots and Half Pad?

Someone posted this question on a forum:

“Can someone tell me the theory behind putting memory foam in a horse boot and how it would be helpful? I get the concept in a mattress, but not in a protective boot. Does it have particular shock absorption or breathability properties? This is an honest question, my science brain needs info! Thanks! :-)”



Here is the answer from our textile engineering team:

Memory foam has an open-cell structure that reacts to weight and temperature by 'moulding' to the body of the horse, helping relieve pressure points.
In its products, ECOGOLD uses a special 100% breathable memory foam, as normal Memory Foam can get hot and compress.

Memory Foam was originally developed by the NASA space program in 1966 to ease the pressure of G-forces on astronauts during space shuttle take offs. It never ended up being used in the space program, however memory foam did eventually find its way into medical settings where it was used to relieve bed-bound patients suffering from various pressure sores. It was also discovered that patients who slept on memory foam mattresses generally woke up better rested with less pains and aches than those who did not.

Memory foam in human products is normally always used in combination with other types of foam.  For example in a bed, you need a mattress under the memory foam or you wouldn't get the right support for your back.

Riding a horse is very different from sleeping on a mattress or sitting in a chair. The levels of impact protection, heat dissipation and moisture evaporation required are much greater in equine sports. 

Using memory foam by itself would not give enough impact protection to the horse. Our technology, always combines the memory foam with other shock-absorbing materials.

In the case of our Memory Foam Triple Protection Half Pad, we combine the memory foam with a high-density shock-absorbing open-cell foam and another layer of low density open-cell foam to ensure the best protection of the horse’s back.

In our horse boots, our polycarbonate shield along with the breathable Memory Foam are what ensure the protection of the horse’s legs. See our impact video:

Although memory foam feels very comfortable to a person’s touch, the “secret recipe” to the ultimate protection is obtained with a combination of materials.

Click here to view our products which contain our 100% breathable Memory Foam:




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hanging out with Canada's Equestrian of the Year at Equine Canada's Award Gala

Here are a few photos taken before, during and after Equine Canada's Awards Gala. The Gala was a lot of fun and Ecogold was in great company, hanging out with the Canadian Eventing Team (aka Canada's Equestrian of the Year). 

Equine Canada Convention - Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa, ON

Equine Canada Convention - Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa, ON
Stephanie Rhodes Bosch gets a new horse for London 2012
The Canadian Eventing Team is on the ticket!!!
Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch, Gamal Awad (Hawley's husband) and Hawley Bennett
Equine Canada reaches out to Quebec by serving poutine
Photographer Cealy Tetley receives Equine Canada's Media Award
Hawley Bennett and Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch receive the Dr George Jacobsen Trophy - Equestrian of the Year on behalf of the World Equestrian Games Canadian Eventing Team
Dr George Jacobsen Trophy - It is the first time that it is won by an event rider or a team

What does a Canadian eventer do after winning a silver medal at the World Equestrian Games? She gets a tatoo!
 

For more information about ECOGOLD Saddle Pads and Horse Boots, click here to visit www.ecogold.ca



ECOGOLD-sponsored WEG Canadian Eventing Team is Equine Canada's Equestrian of the Year

For the second year in a row, an ECOGOLD-sponsored rider is awarded the Dr George Jacobsen Trophy, given to the "Equestrian of the Year". In 2009, the recipient was dressage rider Ashley Holzer and this year, for the first time in history, it was given not to an individual but to the entire World Equestrian Games Canadian Eventing Team.

ECOGOLD was there and watched with great pride as Hawley Bennett and Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch received the trophy from Equine Canada's president Mike Gallagher (who incidentally is the father of another ECOGOLD-rider, Denielle Gallagher).

Ok, here is THE video. LOVE Hawley's "Watch out world! London - I want GOLD!"  acceptance speech.