We've been very flattered with how many outstanding riders have asked us if they could be Arch & Alex ambassadors. For a business as new as us, the support and enthusiasm is humbling. We're suckers for people that absolutely love our stuff, and two very loyal Arch & Alex fans stood out so much recently that we couldn't ignore them. So we've decided to support them in their endeavours this year in return for them flying the A&A flag as our Brand Ambassadors. You may remember aspiring Victorian dressage rider Katie Gray from our previous blog, whom we unofficially appointed as Brand Ambassador in November. Well, consider her official. Katie is joined by another Victorian, showjumping star Robyn Todd (the face behind Snaffle It Horse Supplies).
By way of intro, we asked Katie to tell us about the most important member of her team, her horse Kokomo Bravo (or "BK" as he is affectionately known, short for "Bob the Knob"). Here is BK's story...
So my very trendy and cool sponsors have asked for a blog article on the wonderful BK, the suave and sensitive dressage horse that I completely adore and the recipient of a tack room full of ribbons in the last 12 months.
Well the story of BK dates back almost 10 years now to when I went to look at a racehorse off the track, He had raced a handful of times and had memorably finished without a jockey on a number of those occasions. He was crazy yet kind and despite tearing off back to the stables, demonstrating, a fear of ‘things’ in the distance and an incredible rear, he had a lovely jump and a friendly face so I decided to buy him. He quickly became a decent eventer with amazing scope who occasionally snatched the bit and headed for Mars yet progressed quickly through the grades and was especially good at showjumping, rarely touching a pole.
Unfortunately after a number of years together we had a mishap at a water jump and Isaac broke his leg. While waiting for my own bones to heal I took to Google and found Isaac’s mother had been used as a broodmare at a stud with a warmblod stallion in the ACT. They had bred two horses from her before she died and I was lucky enough to persuade them to sell one of them to me. That one was BK.
He was trucked down from the ACT and despite spending his youth in a 100 acre paddock, adapted quickly to Yarra Valley life, hard feed, rugs, mud, kids in prams, adult riding and traffic. He hadn’t been ridden since he was broken in years earlier but was more than happy to have a devoted human friend. For the last four years, with an injury break due to BK putting is rug over his head and running through a fence and a slight interruption due to my son and daughter being born, we have had a ball.
BK is NOT up for pony rides and flat out refuses to have anyone else on him. His complete hatred of trail riding and going over obstacles he has not had a really thorough look at (as well as a grave concern over things in the distance) has meant that he has not (yet) become the eventer that I had in mind! Fortunately, he has quite accidentally become a fun and competitive dressage horse.
He is an kind and friendly soul who loves a pat and who the kids can lead around. He kicks his bath when it gets low, stands near the house and looks at us when he wants food. Getting a whip or spurs from the stables is a complete waste of time for a horse that always gives his best. He gets by on a handful of rides a week amongst work and family commitments and always makes us look good. In our many lessons he tends to cotton on to the exercise before I do. He is (handily) the colour of dirt and is blessed with a seriously good tail. His breeder still has his half sister who I periodically try to convince her to breed from as part of my succession plan... she doesn’t seem keen, but I have years to wear her down!
Next year BK and I are planning on staying sound, not falling off, getting more ribbons, wearing cool clothes from A&A, slobbering on children and having new houses built. BK’s house is being built over the Christmas New Year period and is palatial in order to also fit in his brutish TB paddock mate Henry and eternally youthful minnie-shetty cross paddock mate Chad. His house is far closer to completion than my own, though I have high hopes of moving out of our tiny cottage and into our sufficiently sized home sometime before my husband and I die of old age.
Only 9 more sleeps until Santa squeezes his rather large butt down the chimney!!! Are you ready?? If you're anything like us you've been way too busy riding horses and enjoying the warmer weather to tackle that Christmas shopping list. If you've left shopping for your horsey friends until the last minute, fear not! We've put together some gift ideas for all the horsey peeps in your life. A few clicks of the mouse button and we'll have your gift buying sorted and you'll be back out playing ponies in no time at all.....
GIFTS FOR THE HORSEY woman
If you have a horsey girlfriend, wife or partner, consider yourself lucky. Horsey women are the easiest to buy for. They will appreciate anything, and we mean ANYTHING you get them that is horse related (except maybe a poop scoop... perhaps steer clear of that one). But if you really want to up the Brownie Point Factor, you can't go wrong combining her love of horses with her love of all things shiney. Yes, we're talking equestrian jewellery. We have stunning pieces for all budgets in our range, so check them out. You can thank us later ;-)
gifts for the horsey mum
Horse mums are the best. On top of their mum duties they often have to take on the role of groom, horse transport driver, financier, caterer, support crew and coach. And they know how to get those stains out of your favourite white breeches. Horse mums are like Wonder Woman, without the hot pants (well, usually without). So why not show mum how much you appreciate her with a timeless and elegant gift horse inspired gift. Our Caldene range has many mum-worthy pieces, including the stunning silk Bradenham scarf and a beautiful selection of belts.
Gifts for your horsey bestie
The pressure is on when it comes to your horsey bestie. She always gets you the best, most imaginative presents, right? So you really want to find her something she'll love. For originality and a gift she will use all year, check out our Arch & Alex tee shirt collection. We have a design and a style to suit everyone and all horse interests. Does she love jumping and have a wicked sense of humour? Give her a laugh with our Size Matters tee. Does she like dressage and have champagne tastes? Look no further than our Dressage and Champagne tee! All our tees are designed and printed in Melbourne on soft cotton tees that suit most body shapes.
Some other bestie-worthy gifts are this cute Show Vibes tote bag from Hunt Club, perfect for puting all your essentials in for a rally or comp day. Or how about a lucky horseshoe necklace, earrings, or the set?! Bestie's present sorted!
gifts for barn buddies
One of the best things about being involved with horses is the number of amazing like-minded people you meet and become friends with. There's your riding club mates, your instructors, friends at your agistment centre, trail riding companions, neighbours... those friendly and witty girls that run your favourite online equestrian shop (subtle hint there ;-)).... The list is endless. Stocking filler type gifts that are thoughtful and useful but aren't going to bankrupt you are what you need for the multitudes in this category. We've stocked up on gifts in the $10-$40 price category so that you can have your Barn Buddies covered.
Our Longwinter Farm lip balms are guaranteed crowd pleasers. We struggle to keep up with the demand for these babies. Not only do they come in the yummiest of flavours (apples and sugar cubes in Pony Breath, spearmint and cotton candy in Unicorn Farts (what else?!?!?), peanut butter and pumpkin in Puppy Kisses and orange marmalade, violet and cotton candy in Pegasus), they are also creamy nourishing lip balms with no nasties in them. So far from being just a gimmick, these lip balms will keep lips moisturised and kissable no matter how many hours you're out in the sun, wind and rain. And at just $10 each you can grab a heap as stocking fillers
Socks are another great stocking filler for horsey people. We all go through long socks like crazy, right, wearing them with our riding boots every day. So a top up of really good long socks is always appreciated. We have an amazing value pack of Caldene pop socks in just in time for Christmas. These socks are fine at the leg for wearing with tight long boots (and to help them stay up) yet padded for comfort in the foot section. At $40 for a pack of 3 they are amazing value.
If you're after a stocking filler for someone that loves dogs (or foxes) have a look at our selection of lightweight viscose scarves for just $25. These scarves are a perfect summer weight scarf and add a cute whimsical element to any outfit.
gifts for your horse
Last but not least, lets not forget something under the tree for your horse this Christmas. The best thing about a present for your horse is that you get to unwrap it and enjoy it too!! Everyday is like Christmas for most of our spoiled ponies, so lets really go a little bit special for Christmas. Our pick is this sumptuous Caldene dressage saddle pad and matching ear bonnet set. With the added sparkle of silver in the trim and logo, and in the subtle flecking on the outside fabric of the saddle pad, this combination will have your horse looking like a noble steed at Christmas and throughout the year.
So hop online and get your Christmas shopping sorted! We get orders packed and out the door within 24 hours and ship via Australia Post, so you've still got plenty of time to get your order before Christmas! Happy Shopping!!!