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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Tonka" - The Special Horse

As we break for the holiday season, we want to thank you all - our readers and supporters - for your feedback and encouragement with our Wooden Horse Wednesday venture. We hope you'll continue to follow and read our blog, and we look forward to bringing you more awesome content and inspirational journeys in the new year!  

We'd like to close out 2016 by sharing with you the story of not only a dear friend, but also an Equicizer owner, who believes strongly in the Equicizer's power to change lives, as she has seen its effects in the life of her own beautiful daughter.

By Paula Lyles
 
As a mother, it is only natural to want to give your children everything they need to be the best they can be in life.  As a mother of children with special needs, you know the needs of these children mean so much more than succeeding in life.  Meeting these needs can be the difference between not walking and walking, or not speaking and speaking, and the list goes on and on.  It can be overwhelming, but a mother’s heart will never give up on making life better for her children.

Such is the case with my second sweet daughter, Jordan Grace, born with Dravet Syndrome, the most catastrophic form of pediatric epilepsy.  Children with Dravet Syndrome tend to develop a weak core over the years, and in an attempt to prevent this happening to Jordan, I began searching for something that we could use at home to help strengthen Jordan’s core.

In December of 2007 while searching, God lead me to The Wooden Horse Corporation in Norwalk, Ohio, and the owners, Frankie and Sandy Lovato.  In January of the next year, my sister, Anne, her children, Jordan, and I drove to Norwalk to see the wooden horses called Equicizers that Frankie lovingly crafts and specially designs for each individual rider.  It was an instant meeting of the hearts and minds, and we gave Frankie the “go ahead” to make a horse for Jordan.

Later that day at home, Jordan’s cousins, Emily, Josh, and Luke searched the internet for pictures of horses to show Jordan.  Jordan chose a Palomino horse that was tan with a blonde mane and tail and promptly named her “Tonka!”  We immediately started seeking donors to help sponsor Tonka and within weeks had donations totaling $1600—enough to pay for half of Tonka.

Tonka officially became part of our family in early February when Frankie and Sandy hand delivered her from Norwalk!  I will never forget that day; it was magical.  Jordan stood in our huge front window, dressed in her favorite red ice skating dress, eagerly awaiting the arrival of her horse.  When the trailer pulled into the driveway, and Tonka made her way into her new home, Jordan could hardly contain herself!  Scooping up her best friend, our cockapoo, Tulip, Jordan got up on her horse and rode with the biggest smile on her face.  I had tears, and I’m quite sure Frankie and Sandy did too.  Being able to have this horse for Jordan opened up a whole new world for her.

We had scheduled a fundraiser in April of that year for Dravet Syndrome, and it was there we planned to raise the remainder of the money for Tonka.  In mid  March, Sandy called me to let me know that an anonymous donor had contacted her and paid Tonka off in FULL.  Paid in full-a debt forgiven!  Amazing!  After I stopped sobbing, I hugged Tonka around the neck and whispered, “You really are a special horse!”

Over the years, Tonka has given many rides to family, neighbors, and friends in Ohio.  Brushing her mane and tail has always a favorite pastime of her riders.  Jordan loved her horse so much, and when Sandy began her therapeutic riding program, Stampede of Dreams, Jordan was one of her first riders.  We loved the nights we spent out on the farm riding.  We became good friends, more like family, with the Lovato's.  The time we were able to spend with Frankie and Sandy, I will always hold as some of the best ever!

Fast forward eight years, Tonka now lives with us in Colorado!  Tonka continues to give rides to children and adults of all ages.  People are amazed when they see this wonderful creation, the Equicizer.  I truly believe that every riding program, every physical therapy program, and home of a child with special needs would be blessed to have one.  Machines are nice, but impersonal; Equicizers  are wonderful and each has a personality of their own.  I will be forever grateful to Frankie, Sandy, and the Stampede of Dreams for all the love and support they have given us.
 
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We'll see you in 2017!
 
If you or someone you work with has a personal story or testament with the Equicizer and would like to share it, please send us a message at info@equicizer.com or give us a call,
 419-663-1472.
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

We Have a Winner!!

We are so pleased and excited to announce the winner of our first ever Wooden Horse Wednesday Blog Contest! Thank you to all who participated and offered their opinions on the poll we posted. 

 

Congratulations goes to......

 

Victoria M. of Wisconsin!

 

All of the responses we received were appreciated and heard loud and clear. We hope to implement some of your suggestions from the comments in future posts. The most popular responses were "In English Disciplines" and "As a Form of Therapy". 

 


We look forward to bringing you more fun Equicizer content in blog posts to come. Please stay tuned in the coming months for our next contest! 

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Equicizer Poll Contest Announcement

This week on Wooden Horse Wednesday, we are excited to announce a Poll Contest we are hosting on social media. We are interested in your feedback because we want this blog and all our social media to reflect your interests related to the Equicizer. The contest part of this is simple: in exchange for your feedback and sharing our poll, you are given one entry to win a prize!

Please accept our apologies for the technical difficulties last week. We now have all the wrinkles ironed out!

The Prize

What is the prize? A mug featuring art (Spring Creek Run) by internationally-renowned artist, Chris Cummings. Can you picture yourself enjoying a cup of hot cocoa while reading up on Wooden Horse Wednesday's latest blog? We can!

The Poll

The question is very simple: what do you want to read more about when it comes to the Equicizer? Do you want to know more about how it can be beneficial to English discipline riders? Western? Maybe you want to know more about how the Equicizer is used for therapy or in horse racing. We included the "other" option as well for the wide range of other topics you might be interested in reading more about.

Tell us more!

Once you answer the poll, feel free to expound on your answers in the comments here or on our Facebook. Please share the poll with your friends and family. The winner will be announced in seven days and is randomly chosen. You must provide a valid contact email or phone number to be entered in the drawing.

Coming Soon

Stay tuned for our next blog post in two weeks! Also, we look forward to having more contests in the future. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to make sure you don't miss out!

Create your own user feedback survey

www.equicizer.com




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Why We Do, What We Do


We are back in the office again and trying to get organized after our trip to the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium which took place in Lexington, Kentucky at the immense Kentucky Horse Park this past weekend. The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) does a fantastic job of putting on the entire event and we were thrilled to be a part of it.


We had a prime position near one of the entrance ramps to the main, TCA Covered Arena and – as usual – we received a slew of looks as onlookers and participants went about their business. (We’re a bit of a head turner – imagine that!) The more places we go and events we do, the more people come up to us that have heard of us or have an Equicizer of their own. However, no matter where we go, we always receive the entire range of human reactions - from skeptical to admiring to confused to sarcasm. Many people stop and listen, fascinated, and their criticism turns to understanding as they open their mind to the possibilities the Equicizer presents to both the avid rider and non-rider alike.


This event was especially fun for us as we were able to "revisit our roots" so to speak (see our previous blog!) and there were many requests for jockey lessons by Frankie on the Equicizer! It’s always riveting for people to learn more about horse racing and the various aspects, specifically riding, as that is where our expertise lies and there is nothing cooler than getting to speak to a professional jockey in person. The questions are endless!


Saturday morning four former jockeys including Frankie, Remi Bellocq (Executive Director of the North American Racing Academy), Chris McCarron (former head of NARA) and Rose Napravnik took part in a “How To Ride A Racehorse” demo which drew quite a crowd. They took a couple of riders from other disciplines and put them in a galloping position on their Off Track Thoroughbreds, offering direction and pointers on how to rider their OTTB’s as racehorses. Let me tell you – they did great but the struggle was real!


We had a wonderful weekend and met some awesome people. It’s always a thrill when social media friends and supporters come up to us, excited and looking forward to getting an Equicizer of their own (or telling us stories of the Equicizer they already own) but it’s just as satisfying teaching someone about the Equicizer who has never heard of us and encouraging them to get on, ride and feel the results for themselves. Those are the people that make these events so worth it! The chance to bring a little more joy and positivity to people’s lives emotionally, physically, and mentally is what makes our “job” so rewarding. We believe in our product and stand behind it whole-heartedly.


This will most likely be our last event for the year as we focus on holiday orders and the standard rush, but we’re still here, where we always have been, and we hope you’ll send us a message, say hello, and allow us the opportunity to explain to you why we do, what we do!


 
By Kayla Jarvinen
 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Going Back to our Roots

 

Equicizer inventor and creator, Frank Lovato, Jr.
This year we will be attending the Retired Racehorse Project’s “Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium” at the Kentucky Horse Park with the Equicizer. The event begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday, October 27th-30th.
 
Here at Wooden Horse Corporation, the history of the Equicizer has deep roots in horse racing beginning with founder and creator, Frankie Lovato, a retired professional award-winning jockey of 25 years. As many of you may already know, the Equicizer was originally developed by Frankie to assist in his recovery from a badly fractured leg, resulting from a racing accident. The Equicizer can be seen at racetracks and in the homes of jockeys and exercise riders around the country and all over the world.

Aside from the Equicizer’s origins in horse racing, the Off Track Thoroughbred itself makes its presence felt very strongly here within our team at Wooden Horse Corporation. Both myself and our Director of Social Media, Amanda Chicotel, have our own Off Track Thoroughbreds and they are, without a doubt, the love of our lives!

Amanda Chicotel with her OTTB Techno Centre
aka "Chester" after a successful afternoon of showing

The goal of the Thoroughbred Makeover, in their own words, is “…to showcase the trainability and talent of off- track Thoroughbreds, to inspire good trainers to engage in the process of transitioning these horses to second careers, and to educate the people involved in the care, training, and sale of these horses to responsible owners.” This is something we wholeheartedly support here at Wooden Horse Corporation and we are very proud to be attending this event.

In a cool twist, Frankie Lovato actually won
on Kayla's OTTB at Arlington Park in 2003 before
they parted ways, only to be reunited years later
 
The Makeover itself will be featuring Thoroughbreds competing in ten different disciplines: barrel racing, competitive trails, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunters, show jumpers, and working ranch.
 
It doesn’t matter if you’re a racing fan or not, the TB Makeover has something to offer everyone. If you are in the Lexington area, we strongly encourage you to come on out! This is a fantastic opportunity to try the Equicizer (we will have multiple Equicizers in our booth, saddled to accommodate all disciplines) and speak to the man himself – Frankie Lovato! We are only able to do a limited amount of events per year and would love to see you!

Kayla Jarvinen and her OTTB
Intrinsic Worth aka "Shorty" sharing
a moment after being apart for 6 months last fall
If this is your first introduction to the Equicizer, I encourage you to check out our previous blogs which feature a few of the basic ways the Equicizer is used by riders and NON-riders alike, around the world:
 
Equicizer for English Disciplines


Equicizer for Western Disciplines


Equicizer in Horse Racing


Equicizer for Therapy



We will be in booth 38B in the TCA Covered Arena. For a complete schedule of events, click here. We hope to see you there! (And if you're around, don't miss Saturday night's party at the KHP in the "Big Barn" - rumor has it, there may be some celebrity Equicizer racing taking place!)

By Kayla Jarvinen

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Travels of the Equicizer



You might be inclined to think that the Equicizer, being a horse with no legs, is akin to a stationary bike. You might think that once it arrives at a barn or a home, it will not leave that spot for a long time if ever. Well... today’s installment of Wooden Horse Wednesday is here to show you different!

The Equicizer may not be zooming around pastures or trotting by at a show, but many of them travel quite extensively. One of our favorite traveling Equicizers, Sparky, travels with the US Pony Racing Association. USPR provides educational opportunities and racing clinics for young riders including junior and amateur jockeys. Below is Sparky giving Tori a practice ride!





Another example of an Equicizer on the move is the Equicizer that horseman Steve Lantvit has used at his clinics across the United States. In the past and most recently this past spring at Hoosier Horse Fair, Steve used the Equicizer as a tool to coach clinic attendees about riding correctly. He also has a resident Equicizer at his home farm.




If we can be a little bias, our favorite example of a traveling Equicizer would be our very own office mare, Mocha! Mocha is a been there, done that old gal with the “tattoos” to prove it. She is autographed by the likes of Stacey Westfall, Julie Goodnight, Steve Lantvit, Craig Cameron, and many more! Mocha has been to many conferences and clinics over the years. To the left, you can see how much the other office pets love spending time with her and also a picture of her this year at the PATH International conference in Cleveland.

What about you? You might not have plans to take your own Equicizer to the next big show, but you certainly can at least get that Wooden Horse on the move! The great mind at Wooden Horse Corporation (aka creator Frankie Lovator Jr) has come up with the Equicizer All Terrain Cart. This cart makes it easy to roll around your home and/or property with the Equicizer to be able to ride in different surroundings. It can be rolled across dirt, sand, grass, or even stony terrain. Features include:
  • Made with heavy duty diamond plate aluminum
  • Equipped with rugged, 8” foam-filled pneumatic tires (will never go flat)
  • Front wheels swivel
  • Roll-lock brake
  • Fits both the Elite and Classic model Equicizers
The cart is available now with two delivery options. Check it out on our webiste, equicizer.com!

Did you see the blog post we did about Equicizers in Pop Culture? Read here for some more great examples of our Wooden Horses making moves cross country. It is amazing to think of all the places these exciting, educational, hand-made horses have been and all the lives they have touched. If you are an Equicizer fan or you would like to try one out, we will be at the Kentucky Horse Park at the end of this month for the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium. Find us at our booth in the vendor area.



By: Amanda Chicotel
www.equicizer.com

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Marengo the "IndoorHorse"

By Josep Closas

My name is Josep Closas and I own IndoorHorse. I want to thank Wooden Horse Corporation the opportunity afforded me to explain how I use "Marengo", my Equicizer purchased earlier this year and named after Napoleon's horse.
For thirty years I’ve dedicated myself professionally to computers and since almost ten, to horses as well. My partner has an equestrian center and I spend part of my time teaching riding in the family center and in a vocational school near Barcelona, Spain. Three years ago I opened EQLearning.net, an online equestrian training portal and earlier this year, coinciding with the arrival of my Equicizer, I inaugurated IndoorHorse, an indoor training center in Barcelona that uses "Marengo" as the main focus of its activities.

Perhaps it is my professional fascination with computers that has led me to build gadgets that I used in my classes, such as an artificial hand to teach nailing horseshoes or a reins contact simulator. I have always been interested in the simulators, and when I discovered the Equicizer, I thought I could finally implement my dream: to open an equestrian training center for continuing education courses for professionals, and to teach beginners, within a controlled environment, the theory of riding as well as some aspects of their practice; such as the position to be taken by a rider when riding and the mechanization of the various movements associated with the horse gaits.

IndoorHorse also offers other services related with training or rehabilitation of riders, assisted therapies for people with functional disabilities, and programs to restore lost confidence after a fall or injury. All these activities are always led by a professional.

The big enhancement that incorporates my Equicizer consists of a television screen in front of the horse that shows training sessions specially designed, training videos, or recordings made with a GoPro type camera of people riding different disciplines: horseback trail riding, dressage, eventing and show jumping. On the television screen you can also show videos of children playing and riding, or even cartoons if the situation requires. A final compliment that is also very useful is a mirror opposite the rider that allows him (or her) to observe and correct the position taken when riding. These tools are also very useful for correcting bad habits in experienced riders, such as heels in wrong position, how to hold the reins or lack of balance when galloping in suspension.

IndoorHorse has a complete equestrian syllabus with sample videos of the different procedures and concepts: cleaning and preparation of the horse; behavior; equipment; biomechanics of the horse; feeding; veterinary; etc. The combination of theory, coupled with the possibility of practicing with "Marengo", offers many possibilities to people who for some kind of limitation would not be very likely to ride a real horse. Through several sessions, many of these people will acquire the necessary confidence and a good base of knowledge that will allow them to join the riding lessons of a conventional equestrian center.




More 
information: http://www.indoorhorse.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Good Luck Syd! - 2016 Paralympics


We recently received another update from our friend, Equicizer owner & supporter, Sydney Collier, on her journey to Rio to compete in the Paralympics. We first met Syd and her mom, Anna, back in 2013 when she picked up her Equicizer, Wyburn, from our shop in Norwalk, Ohio. (Pictured right - Equicizer owner and creator Frankie Lovato, with Syd aboard our Equicizer "Brownie" and her mother, Anna, during their visit to our shop)

With many years of hard work behind her, Syd qualified for the US Equestrian Team with her mount, Rosie, and she has been keeping us updated on her journey to Rio thus far! (You can read Syd's previous blog, last month, by clicking here.)


By Sydney Collier

Well guys the count down is officially on!!! 5 days [from today, August 27th] until we leave to go to training camp in Ocala, Florida!!! Can't believe it! Time went by so slow in July and now it's flying by; I'm so excited! I'm already packing up all my things in anticipation! This past weekend I did my final show with Rosie before Rio. It was so great to get into the ring one last time before we head overseas! The show made me more confident than ever in Rosie and my abilities. So excited to represent our country on the biggest stage in the world! So proud of the US already! Over 100 medals! Can't wait to get over to Rio and take in the whole experience with my team mates! The whole thing feels so surreal right now, I don't think it will really hit me until we board that plane headed to Brazil. If you check out my athlete page on Facebook, I'll keep you updated and I'll do my best to post my ride times and where to watch my rides on there. Thank you all so much for your incredible support! :)
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Shown above, Syd & Teammates prior to leaving the USA.
 
Syd landed in Rio a couple of days ago and, alongside her teammates, she's settling in and gearing up for her competitions. We wish Syd, Rosie and all of Team USA the best of luck as they represent in the 2016 Paralympics!
 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Equicizer in Pop Culture

The Equicizer is not only a popular tool for everyday equestrians but it has also made it’s mark on Hollywood! It is possible you have seen the Equicizer “performing” on TV or in the movies before and never even realized it! Below are some of our favorite “Equicizer in Pop Culture” Moments!

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Seabiscuit



The 2009 film “Seabiscuit” was directed by Gary Ross and starred popular actors Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Elizabeth Banks. The movie follows the famous story of a Depression-era racehorse whose story and victories captured the attention of the whole nation. What you might not know is that it also co-starred an Equicizer!


The Equicizer used for close-up shots in the movie was outfitted with a special Seabiscuit head complete with blinders. You can see the fuzzy ears of the Equicizer in the shot below where the director and Tobey are discussing a scene.




Tobey was amazed at the intense workout the Equicizer provided. He kept one at home while working on the movie in order to get in shape and continue to train. He said of the experience:


"I didn't realize what kind of athletes jockeys are. The first time I got up in the stirrups and did a bit of a gallop on the Equicizer, after a couple of minutes my legs were noodles. I could barely stand up."
– Tobey Maguire



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Fantasy Factory


Rob Dyrdek is a professional skateboarder, actor, and reality TV star. One of his best known projects is the reality TV show Fantasy Factory, which aired from 2009-2015 and featured Rob’s various attempts to manage both business and pleasure in one space.



One popular episode in Season 2 featured what they dubbed “Jockey Training”. Rob purchased an Equicizer to have in his Fantasy Factory. The video above, featured on Rob’s YouTube page, shows the star riding the Equicizer around his Fantasy Factory space.

___________________________________________

Big Brother


Big Brother is a popular reality television show that started in 1999 and continues to this day. The premise of the show is that a group of people called housemates live together in a house that is cut off from the outside world almost entirely. Throughout the approximately 3 month stay, they are monitored by audiovisual equipment and vye for a single cash prize. They must survive periodic evictions that are decided by their fellow housemates.


So how did the Equicizer get connected with the show? In 2014, the show commissioned six mechanical horses to use in one of the weekly challenges the housemates participate in to earn prizes.


Local news coverage:



www.equicizer.com

By: Amanda Chicotel

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jennifer's Journey with "Mags"

This week we'd like to share with you a beautiful testimonial we received from a dear customer who recently purchased an Equicizer. This is a great testament to the Equicizer's ability to help those dealing with physical challenges of many different kinds!

By Jennifer Warren

I received my new Equicizer "Mags " on Tuesday July 12th, 2016.  She arrived in a big 18 wheeler truck. She was all packaged nice and neat in a HUGE box.  I put her together myself following the easy directions I printed from the website after watching the setup video.   I am extremely impressed with the  high quality of the Equicizer.  It is built on very heavy duty frame and wheels.  The detail work on my Classic Equicizer is awesome.  The beautifully carved head, the ears, the mane and tail -all just very well done.  I know it will last me years of use.

Let me explain why I ordered the Equicizer.  I grew up a horse crazy girl who loved to ride and show.  Between a fall from the roof of my house and several horse wrecks I suffer from two bulging disks, bad hips and bad knees.  The past six years I exhausted medical, physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic options.  Nothing helped my pain.  Worse than the pain was the inability to do what I loved and that was ride my horse.  And it was not just any horse, it was my dream horse I purchased before the death of my father.  Every time I tried to mount her, my hip would lock up and I would be unable to move.  The pain was excruciating.  I would have to just stay stuck until my hip unlocked and I could get my leg all the way over.  It would then take several minutes before the pain would subside enough so I could let my horse move.  I finally just quit trying to ride because of the pain.

About five years ago I heard about the Equicizer and started corresponding with Frankie about my situation and asked if he thought it could help me.  I received a lot of information from him on the Equicizer over the past five years.  This was something I really wanted to try but it was a lot of money for me.  I kept watching the website and reading testimonial after testimonial of those the Equicizer had helped.  I was especially intrigued by its use in the therapeutic riding programs.  I really wanted to try one out before I committed to the purchase, but I decided that I was willing to give it a shot based on all the positive reviews.



 My first ride I outfitted Mags with a new saddle blanket and soft cashel saddle.  I brought in my step to have help mounting Mags.  The first attempt to get on her was as I expected - ugly.  My hips were very tight and it was as painful as I expected to get on.  When I got seated in the saddle I noticed how lifelike the Equicizer felt.  You have the same feeling as sitting on the back of your horse.  Making Mags move was not as easy as I expected.  I know a lot of that was due to my physical issues.  My first ride was only about 10 minutes because that is all my hips could take.  I got back on and rode another 10 minutes later.  The movement of the horse is so real down to the head motion.

The next morning after my first day with Mags I woke up for the first time in over six years WITHOUT back pain.  That was from one day of riding the Equicizer 20 minutes.  I know that watching the video on the website by Dr. James Warson on using the Equicizer to treat osteoporosis I hoped for the same outcome with my 2 bulging discs.  Today is Friday August 12, 2016 and I am so excited to report that I have not had ANY back pain since the morning of Tuesday July 12 before I rode Mags the first time.   None.   I am riding once or twice a day and am now up to 25 minutes a session.  My hips issues are improving both mounting and while riding.  I still have discomfort but I am making progress every day.

I have scoliosis and noticed that I have become more aware of my center while riding Mags.  I feel that it is building my muscle memory on my weak right side to make me more balanced in the saddle. I have always leaned toward my weak side while riding.

While a friend was here I mounted my real horse for the first time in a long time and my hip did not lock up on me.

I wanted to tell my story to those who may be contemplating if the Equicizer could be the answer for them.  Don't be afraid to place the order.  The Equicizer is everything the website says and much more.  Mags is changing my life.  To be free of back pain is huge.  But more so to know that I will soon be back riding my horse, that is priceless.  Frankie really is making my dreams come true.

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If you or someone you work with has a personal story or testament with the Equicizer and would like to share it, please send us a message at info@equicizer.com or give us a call, 419-663-1472.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Syd's Exciting News!

In case you missed last week's blog by our Para-Equestrian friend and supporter, Sydney Collier, please click here to check it out. This week, Sydney can't wait to share with you some exciting news about something that she been striving and working so hard towards for years...
 
By Sydney Collier 
 
Hey everyone! For those of you who don't know me, my name is Sydney Collier and I ride Para Dressage for the United States! I'm super excited to share with you all that I was recently selected as a member of the team headed over to Rio for the Paralympics this summer!

I'd love to take you all on this journey with me and share some things with you about the preparation for the Paralympics. Right now is the crazy time while we're just getting ready for all of it - between training, official paperwork and packing, things can get super busy. I'm so lucky to have my mom here with me to help me make sure we are organized in order to have a smooth trip to Rio.

You're probably wondering, "How do the horses get to Rio?"  Well, the horses actually fly in an airplane to their destination.  Most horses handle the flight really well. In fact, on our flight to the World Equestrian Games in 2014 to Normandy, France the horses flew on the same flight as us, on what's known as a combi plane.  The front of the plane is for traditional passengers and the back is typically used for more unusual passengers.  


They told us besides horses, animals like polar bears, lions and even dolphins have flown with them! If you weren't a part of the team traveling with our horses there is no way you would have known that there were horses on the flight. They fly 2 horses in a shipping container with stalls the size of conventional trailers. It's important for the crates to be small because it makes the horses feel safer and prevents them from moving too much during the flight. My groom, Amy, said that the most difficult part of the flight for them was landing but once we came to a stop they all settled down.

Going over to Rio is a bit different though; the horses will fly on a separate flight with professional flying vets from Miami, Florida to Rio on Sept 3rd. The team and I will fly from Miami to Houston, Texas for team processing on the 3rd and then meet up with the horses in Rio on the 4th.
 
Rosie, my mount for Rio, is an experienced flyer and international competitor; she was on the team for the Paralympics in 2012 in London as well! So I know she's going to put her best hoof forward! The end of August really can't come fast enough! The anticipation makes it seem like time is going by so slowly. I think that the US has the best team we could have and it's such an honor to be a part of it!

My Equicizer has been a key part to my success and to getting this far in my riding career. His name is Wyburn and he is a gentle giant with incredibly low maintenance! Believe it or not his food, farrier and vet bill hasn't cost me a thing since we first got him! He's amazing because I can ride him as long as I want every day. Without Wyburn I have no idea where my fitness level would be. I highly recommend an Equicizer to anyone trying to decide if they want to ride, or even trying to further their own riding career! He's even really great with kids; so gentle and kind tempered! The other bonus to the Equicizer is that you can get really creative with your exercises. You can do exercises specific to what muscle group you want to target that day in your workout. The movement is so similar to the horses movement that you can barely tell the difference between an Equicizer's gait and a horse's gait. I love my Equicizer so much!

I am so excited to keep you all updated as Rio gets closer. Thank you so much for following my #JourneytoRio and a million thanks to everyone at Equicizer for your incredible support. I couldn't do it without you and Wyburn on my team!!!


 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Introducing Para-Equestrian - Sydney Collier!

We are excited to introduce you to our first guest blogger - Sydney Collier! Syd (as we all know her), is a high level Para-Equestrian dressage rider who, among many other things, was selected as a member of the 2014 US Para-Dressage Team representing the USA at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Despite her hectic schedule, Syd was delighted to write our first guest blog. For those of you who do not know Syd we would like to start off by sharing with you a previous blog written by Syd in 2013, shortly after we met her and she purchased her Equicizer "Wyburn". Stay tuned for next week, as Syd has some exciting news to share!!

By Sydney Collier
 
It has been the most amazing year so far and Wyburn and I have been keeping ourselves super busy training daily and showing almost every weekend this season! In April we relocated to Millbrook NY to train with Wes Dunham at his farm called Woodstock Stables.  

My mom’s minivan became a horse trailer and Wyburn and I traveled in style J My Mom said Wyburn was the best horse she has ever trailered and she would be happy to take him anywhere hehe!  Wyburn settled in nicely at the new barn and everybody loves him-horses and riders alike.  

Sydney & Wyburn her Equicizer
Every day I ride Wyburn at least 30 minutes before my lesson, and let me tell you the improvements in my hip flexors, balance, and overall flexibility is mind blowing.  I am able to warm up all my body parts at my pace, and then when I climb on Wentworth (my horse) for my lesson we can get right on to the learning!  How can I tell things are looser you might wonder-well for me the biggest thing I notice is that when I get on Wyburn I often need help to swing my leg over his back, and when I am warmed up I can do this movement without any help-something I LOVE!!!   
Sydney, Journey, and Wyburn
Before I had my Equicizer I had to spend at least the first 15 minutes of each lesson focused on getting my body loosened up and listening, before we could even begin to think about warming up my horse.  This took up a huge part of our lesson time and was frustrating to everyone - because we were all mentally ready to get to work.   Now I am ready to go as soon as I mount up!    After I ride I spend between 1 ½ to 2 hours on Wyburn, something Wentworth would like to personally send a big horsey kiss to Frankie about for inventing the Equicizer!  
I have a lot of work to do to be at my peak performance in dressage, and it isn’t fair to expect Wentworth to continue working when he has been a good boy!  That’s when Wyburn steps in and he will keep working as long as I keep moving J The other huge thing Wyburn has helped me with is straightening out my seat.  My trainer, Wes Dunham, and I can pinpoint when the problem begins and with a mirror I can focus on correcting what my silly brain keeps telling me is straight.    

 
By moving, watching and reacting like I would on a real horse, I have been able to recreate these corrections on my own horse and improve my riding skills incredibly.   Cardio wise I am able to withstand much more activity on and off the horse, and recently I have been working with a fitness trainer to incorporate Wyburn into my daily exercise regime.   Wyburn, Wentworth, and I are working hard to reach for our dreams, and help change people’s perception of disabilities! Every day I remind myself RIDE STRONG and enjoy every day :) 

 
About Sydney - At a young age, Sydney was diagnosed with a rare condition called Wyburn-Mason Syndrome. At age 11 during treatments, Sydney suffered a stroke that has left her partially blind along with limited use or control with the left side of her body. Still, this amazing young woman continues to inspire everyone that surrounds her and goes above and beyond to help other children with disabilities to reach for their dreams. Sydney was selected to compete as a Para-Equestrian in the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France and next week she has some exciting news she would like to share with us! So stay tuned and to learn more, visit Syd's awesome website at: Sydsparaquest.com