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HELLO Hi, I’m Rachel and for those of you who don’t know me, I’ve recently joined team FOMO as the new garment technologist and designer. Since seeing the job advert for the role at FOMO, I was really intrigued to learn more about the position.   With some 15 years’ experience in the fashion and textiles industry and a lifelong love of horses – the role seemed perfect for me.  I was delighted to be invited for an interview and, in speaking with the team that day, getting a better understanding of the company and its objectives, it was clear to see the role was going to be challenging and rewarding in equal measure. Well, to say my first month on the job has been eventful would be an understatement! FIRST DAY NERVES The evening before my first day at FOMO was quite nerve wracking, having been on an extended maternity leave, the thought of going back to work and leaving my little boy was quite daunting, not least the fact that it was a completely new job that I was starting.  However, Carmen and the rest of the team were so welcoming, it soon felt like I had known them for years – everyone has been so great at explaining all the different aspects of the company, it’s been easy to get up to speed with everything and settle in quickly. IN AT THE DEEP END As many of you who are following our story will know, we are on the cusp of getting our amazing body protectors to market, but what you may not know is all the hard work that goes into these protectors behind the scenes.  FOMO’s “No Compromise” vision to have a body protector that substantially surpasses all current safety standards and is so comfortable that you don’t even know you are wearing it, means that we are always striving to achieve the safest and most comfortable fit possible. So what does that mean I hear you ask?  Well it means months of designing and refining; most of the major elements of our body protector have been designed in-house, so all these individual components have had to be designed, sampled and then produced in bulk before they are applied to the protector.  It also means extensive pattern cutting, adjustments, fits and re-fits.  Our patterns have been developed to be lightweight, comfortable and ergonomic, allowing freedom of movement in the saddle, whilst offering upper body protection from falls, so to ensure that our protectors are above and beyond the competition, we spend a LOT of time in development. DAY TO DAY So what’s a typical day at FOMO like?  Well, as we are a small dynamic team, there are rarely two days that are the same.  We all love to be very hands-on with the company, so whether it’s brainstorming new ideas together in the office, meeting suppliers and manufacturers, or spending time with the production team at the sample unit, there is always something exciting going on. As you may imagine, since starting, I have been spending the majority of my time at our sample unit, checking patterns to ensure each and every point is as it should be.  Fit is almost as important as safety for us, so refining the smaller details can take just as long as the bigger ones.  I have also been working alongside our talented machinists who take great time and care to ensure the protectors are constructed to a high quality – their perseverance and dedication to ensuring the garments look as great as they perform is really inspiring. One of the most interesting things I have been learning recently is the correct, and very specific way, to measure our protectors, to ensure they pass safety testing with flying colours.  Coming from a more fashion orientated background, it’s safe to say this is definitely the most technical garment that I’ve ever worked on, the marriage of so many different elements, from our impact absorbent foam, to the outer shell materials, all selected to be breathable and durable when worn, to our patented adjustment mechanism, means there’s lots to think about when assembling each garment.  Every single element has to be perfect, so getting to grips with all the requirements for our body protector has been quite a learning curve, but I love the challenges that each day brings. GOING FORWARD Now, because of the restrictions we are under due to Coronavirus, I have been unable to carry on working at the sample unit, or our office, so I have decamped to my home office and am continuing to work on developing our new kids “FLIP” body protector.  We are excited to share this with you as soon as we can, so be sure to watch out for updates. At this moment in time, like so many companies out there, we are not sure when we will all be able to work together again in the same office, but what I do know is that I can’t wait to get back there and I’m excited for what the future holds for FOMO! Rachel.    ...

Foam technology or air jacket? This is an ongoing debate, not only within the equestrian industry but motorcycling too. It seems that air technology has taken the upper hand when it comes to motorcycling, presumably because of the presence of airbags in motor vehicles and the similar velocity and impact forces that are associates with both. What’s the difference? The physics involved in an accident include an object’s mass and velocity giving the object kinetic energy. The greater the mass or velocity the greater the kinetic energy. The kinetic energy becomes problematic during a collision because energy cannot be lost, it is converted into another form of energy, therefore, riders need body protectors to absorb or dissipate this energy in the event of an accident.] Our foam technology utilises the characteristics of viscoelastic foam which deforms under contact to disperse the energy of an impact then returns to its original shape when the force has been removed, illustrated above, (providing the force did not exceed the point of permanent deformation) as shown in the graph below. A bonus of viscoelastic foam is its ability to mould to the shape of the wearer due to its temperature-sensitive nature and the user’s body heat. Air jackets, on the other hand, deflate immediately following full inflation to protect the wearer by decelerating the body in a fraction of a second when impact occurs as illustrated by the diagram below. The result is reduced velocity and thus lower kinetic energy meaning the energy and force transferred to the wearer is significantly lower than would be present if no air jacket had been worn. The inflation can occur in different directions depending on the design or direction of least resistance. Some people favour inward inflation as it is intended to secure the body minimising movement as much as possible whereas outward inflation is designed to limit any negative effects the airbag could have on the wearer. Horse riding, on the other hand, seems to still favour foam body protectors despite the increasing popularity of air jackets. This could be because air jackets cannot currently be certified to BETA level 3 standard and therefore when this is a requirement of a discipline set out by the governing body, an additional BETA level 3 approved body protector needs to be worn as well. There a significant difference between the two technologies beyond their certified levels of protection. The main one that comes to mind is the activation process, or lack of one, in the case of foam body protectors. Air jackets require the attachment lead between the rider and the saddle to experience enough tension to activate the jacket mechanism thus releasing the pressurised gas from the canister and inflating the jacket. Air jackets can also be wireless and activated on impact, using a variety of sensors to trigger the inflation which is an improvement on the dead man’s cord used in equestrian disciplines. Unfortunately, this cord method is not perfect and there have been recorded instances where air jackets have not inflated during a fall as the attachment lead has not detached from the jacket mechanism. Alternatively, there have also been cases where the jacket has inflated unnecessarily, likely due to the violent movements that can occur during certain equestrian disciplines. Price is always a key factor when deciding which body protector to buy and that is no different when choosing between air jackets and foam technology. In general, air jackets are significantly more expensive than foam body protectors, with some being as much as £500 whereas it is to get a BETA level 3 certified body protector for £250, half the price. Although this may seem like a simple decision, the lifespan of the products should also be factored in. Air jackets can be reused after accidents according to the manufacturer’s guidelines by replacing the gas canister and this can be done around 5 times depending on the manufacturer. With replacement gas canisters costing as little as £20, this means it would cost approximately £600 (original cost + replacement canisters) throughout an air jacket’s lifespan. However, foam body protectors need to be replaced after one severe accident meaning that having 5 high severity accidents would equate to 5 foam body protectors, costing £1,250. These scenarios have been simplified for the sake of this example, however, it is certainly something worth considering before purchasing your next body protector. It has also been documented that the noise produced during the activation of the inflation system can startle already flighty horses, compounding the issues associated with a fall, however, it is that same system that allows air jackets to be light. In conclusion, foam protectors are still currently considered superior, however, this could change in the future as air technology is more widely accepted within the industry. What is your preference - air or foam? Let us know in the comments below.   Team FOMO...

I've been very quiet as of late as it's been super busy here. I've recently moved house to round the corner from my previous place and we've been gearing up at work towards Cheltenham Gold Cup week so it's been a bit manic! Trusty has been ticking over, however, we've had some saddle issues and a few leftover issues from his fall at Gatcombe last year. Luckily, I've found a fantastic equine chiropractor, Bryony Barraclough, who's put us back on track and I think I've found the right pad combination for his jumping saddle so we are slowly getting there. I've taken a break from competing for a while whilst I concentrate on building Trusty's fitness and muscles up in the right way. Bryony has given us the advice to do lots of hill work and raised pole work to get him using himself better and I'll be having her back out at the start of April to check how he is coming along. My powers of imagination are being put to the test with new things to do - the hacking around my yard is very limited and mainly roadwork so I am making use of walking and trotting up and down a nearby hill until the ground dries out some more to be able to get into the large hill field, once the mares are not in there anymore. I've been using Facebook constantly to come up with more raised pole exercises so we're not always doing the same thing - my top tip is to not forget how much horses work in walk! Raised poles done in walk uses each leg individually so it's really beneficial in building muscle and balance. With working full time and riding just being my hobby, I am increasingly looking at what I am spending my money on and what benefit I'm getting out of it. Recently, Trusty had been having lots of fences down competing - nothing particularly major but he is one of those horses who just has to breath on a pole and it can come down. With the issues we've been facing, I'm working on improving his technique over a fence which again comes back to building up the right muscles and getting him to use himself. With this in mind, I'm spending more time course hiring rather than competing. I find with course hire, I can spend either the same or less money on a half-hour or full hour slot than what I spend on 2 rounds of competition jumping. Therefore, with what I am working on at the moment, I get more value out of the course hire than competing. My plan for the rest of March is some more show jump course hire and then hopefully our first grass cross country hire by the end of the month and then in April it will be lessons and more hiring with perhaps a show put in before our services season begins. Don't worry though as we'll be back out competing soon - I'm entered into the UK Armed Forces Championships in Addington at the end of April and I have also entered a Gloucestershire Police Team for the Royal Windsor Horse Show Services Jumping in May. I am also planning on doing the riding club 2-day event at Stoneleigh in May and then the riding club horse trials qualifiers in June so there are lots of plans afoot! The most important thing to remember with your horses is that they are not machines and sometimes things don't quite go to plan. Don't waste your money plugging away at the same old things when you can use it more efficiently to get better results. I'm hoping all my training pays off and we'll reap the rewards once the season is underway proper. Jenna...

With the eventing season fast approaching, riders up and down the country are planning their seasons and setting goals to work towards as a partnership. The most important thing about goal setting is to be specific and create SMART goals, which means that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Here's how...

It's been a whole week since we opened the doors to our very first trade stand at BETA International. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, BETA is a world-class exhibition which takes up three of the huge halls in the iconic Birmingham NEC and welcomes the best and the brightest minds in the equestrian and country sectors to showcase their brand new products and innovations.  We had a busy three days discussing the unique selling points of our brand new FAZE Body Protector with the press as well as plenty of potential stockists, each proving enthusiastic about the comfort and safety elements of the product and were very excited about our impending launch. We also had the huge honour of being chosen to meet with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to tell her all about our company and the work we have done to innovate equestrian safety.  It was incredible to be surrounded by so many amazing businesses, so here are a few of our favourite innovative products and companies: DVR Equestrian  DVR Equestrian is an equestrian sportswear brand creating sustainable garments manufactured from recycled and organic materials. Their garments feel luxurious and have been designed with the practicality of everyday life at the stables in mind, including a Style Vis collection to help riders stay safe while hacking. View the range here: https://dvrequestrian.com     Mackenzie & George  Mackenzie & George's gorgeous accessories (the Dotty Tetbury belt being our particular favourite) are handcrafted in their rural Shropshire workshop from material which is carefully considered for its durability and naturally sourced where possible. Every time we went past their stand was filled with excited buyers eyeing up the unique and subtle detailing on each product.  Shop the collection here: https://www.mackenzieandgeorge.com Neue Schule Headline sponsors of the BETA conference, Neue Schule continue to innovate the bitting world. They brought with them their very own four-legged steed (mechanical we will add) who was there to test every rider's contact with a score out of ten - the highest score winning a large bottle of champagne! Throughout the event, a few famous faces were accepting the challenge, including Scottish 5* rider Wills Oakden who scored over 9 points.   Shop their range of bits here: https://nsbits.com/products Equilibrium  Equilibrium has been innovating the equestrian world for almost 20 years now, sharing our passion for safety. 2020 sees them launch an incredible new version of an age-old horse wear product that we use every single day, but that often gets overlooked when it comes to the safety aspect. We won't reveal any details here but we suggest you keep an eye on their website for release information. Shop Equilibrium here: https://www.equilibriumproducts.com The Wide Boot Company The Wide Boot company share our vision of creating the perfect fit. Their Atia Field Boot, winner of the BETA Design Innovation Award is a plus-sized boot designed to be slimmer and more fitted around the ankle, giving the wearer a more slimline, comfortable fit.  Learn more here: https://www.thewidebootcompany.com And finally a special shout out to Gibbons of Suffolk, our BETA "next-door neighbours" who sell the most comfortable full and half chaps which are supple and made for comfort in the saddle.  It was also fantastic to catch up with two of our wonderful brand ambassadors, Jenna Hastings and Alex Holman. I think you will agree that Alex was very happy to finally try on the FAZE body protector. He even took it for a little test drive and helped team GBR to Trot to Tokyo!   ...

Supporting Forces Equine and their events it's extremely important to us as they provide fantastic opportunities within the sport for hard-working servicemen, woman and their four-legged companions. We caught up with Debi who is the founder of Forces Equine and the brains behind this fantastic organisation...

So it’s been an interesting Summer! Trusty is really moving up now and I’m so proud of what we are both achieving. I’ve moved to a wonderful new yard with some fantastic people who have really pushed me so far this year – it’s been great to have that support. We competed at Forces Equine Games in July in dressage and show jumping. Trusty pulled 5th and 3rd out of the bag in the Prelim and Novice tests which I was so pleased with. He then did his first speed class over the 1m05 ride and run indoors where he coped really well. He then jumped in the 95cm and 105cm rounds where we had a bit of 8 fault-itis but the course was big and he jumped out of his skin which I was so happy with. Our next big outing was a return visit to Hickstead Royal International Horse Show for the Riding Club team event with Forces Equine. This was Trusty’s second visit to the show and he moved up to the 95cm class. As he is eligible for any of the heights we had moved around a little to fit in with the team dynamics as we had a few last-minute pull-outs. Again, he was super but finding 95cm a little small to keep his attention so I learnt I should have kept him at 105cm but that’s something we can put forward for next year. At home, he has been schooling over 1m15-1m20 fences and I am finding that this is far more worthwhile with him as he is actually jumping and thinking about where his feet are. I also know though that there is a big difference between jumping 3 or 4 big fences strung together at home and jumping a full course of them so we have also been going out to course hire to build the confidence not only for the horse but for me at that level as I have never ventured over a metre! At the start of August, I made a last-minute decision to enter the arena eventing at Gatcombe Festival of British Eventing. This was my first trip here and we decided to put Trusty in the 100 section. He felt great in the warm-up and started off really well in the class once he’d realised he was a) really jumping on grass for the first time and b) got to jump cross country jumps once he’d jumped a few show jumps! Sadly disaster struck for us over a coloured arrowhead coming out from the hedge line. Trusty had a glance off at first presentation and then when he came again he seemed to stop mid-air and fell on the fence, firing me out over his head and the other side of the fence. I was luckily not injured too badly, just a few usual bruises but that was thanks to wearing my back protector and air jacket – without these I would have been more seriously injured due to the way I fell. Unfortunately, Trusty did not come off so favourably. I led him out of the ring and whilst standing speaking to a friend of mine that had been watching, he began to bleed quite profusely from a large cut to his heel on the front leg. Luckily, being at such a big show I had a fantastic vet on call at the ring from Abbey Vets who also happened to be a friend of mine from my Forces Equine side of things. She sprang into action to treat a very large overreach injury and Trusty ended up sporting 12 staples in his heel. From the pro photos, it appears that Trusty stood on his front foot with his back, pinning his leg to the ground with the stud and ripping through his foot as he tried to take off. As you can imagine, I felt awful as I had made a big mistake of leaving his overreach boots off which I religiously put on for cross country as a result of putting studs in. I had completely forgotten these as I was thinking more of the showjumping I was doing as well where I would not use overreach boots usually. I have hugely learnt my lesson and will never forget these again when jumping in studs – I’d much rather roll a show jump than deal with an injury like that again. This injury set us back immensely as it took quite a long time to heal and I had a holiday booked for September so it has meant we lost out competing in August eventing and then also lost September and the Winter Forces Equine Games in October due to lack of fitness. I have been very lucky though as the injury missed anything vital and Trusty has not had a lame day out of it – this is mainly down to the swift and fantastic vet work I got at Gatcombe. After 3 weeks box rest he was back out in the field and starting fitness building work. We are back on the job again now though and he feels really good – he had a first proper jump the other day and was great so I am tentatively working towards one last 90 run at Aston Le Walls at the end of October. I wanted to just move him back to 90 so that this was a confident run to end the season and then we will work on our showjumping and dressage over the Winter. He will go cross country schooling the weekend before Aston to give him a bit more experience and then we both know Aston well so it’s a great place to finish the season. I am hoping to finally make that big leap and affiliate with British Show Jumping this Winter as I feel that Trusty has got the capability to at least make 1m10 level. It’s just about building both of our confidence but I am lucky enough to have some very knowledgeable and supportive people around me now who are pushing me in all the right directions. Wouldn’t it be great to make Novice level by the end of next year, or perhaps bigger? Jenna...

It feels like the season has only just begun, but so much has been learned and achieved, and we are now winding down to the end of the year… It’s been an exciting year, both in and out of eventing, as I’ve fully set up my business by basing myself at a fabulous local yard, with every facility I could possibly need! I’ve had a great time meeting and working with a lot of lovely new clients (human & equine!) and I’m looking forward to expanding further, with more teaching  and riding opportunities throughout the winter – especially the teaching, which I enjoy hugely. My 3 competing event horses have been absolutely smashing it this year. Yes, there have been a couple of ‘bumps in the road’, but overall they’ve been making great progress, and it has been so exciting to have stepped them all up a few levels, with success. I have been getting great experience riding them all around a number of beautiful events, and I feel that my partnership with each one has grown so much that it’s felt easy to gain some of the results and confident runs we’ve had together. All 3 feel very established at Novice level, and definitely give me the feeling that there is a lot more to look forward to… Possibly the most exciting bit of news from this year, is that I have been fortunate enough to have found the wonderful Janet Coe, as co-owner for my super grey horse CARRICK DIAMOND BARD (Gerry), and he has certainly put himself at the top of my string with his incredible progress and results this year (see below). He will be aimed for Blenheim CCI-4*S 8/9yo championships next September – fingers crossed! I still have 5 events left, but here is a quick round up of each horse’s progress & notable results this year: Jane Bailey’s ROCK SOLID consolidated at Novice level, putting previous SJ form behind him to claim 2nd & 3rd places, finishing on his dressage score on both occasions! He moved up to Intermediate-Novice level as we qualified for a couple of Novice Championship Regional Finals, and was impressive as he stepped up. He tackled his first CCI-2*-L at Hartpury International in August, and did a near-perfect dressage test and flew inside the time on the XC, just finishing up in the top 50% after a couple of rails SJ, but gaining a qualification and some FEI points. Becky Diamond’s HOCUS POCUS (Hugo) moved up to Novice level in April, and did it in style, finishing on his dressage score in 8th place! Since then he has continued to gain experience, impressing us all with a perfect, calm SJ round in the main arena at Barbury, and topped off by an exciting 2nd place at Wilton, on a great dressage score of 26! He then contested his first CCI-2*-S at Gatcombe International, and once again added nothing to his dressage score, finishing 19th/99 starters in his section – being 1 of just 10 from all 150 2* horses to finish on their dressage scores! My own & Janet Coe’s CARRICK DIAMOND BARD (Gerry) has had a fairly meteoric rise up the eventing grades – he only did 1 unaffiliated 90 event last October, but this year progressed through 1 BE100, 5 Novices, 1 CCI-2*-L & 4 Intermediates! Apart from a green stop on the XC at Hartpury in the 2*, he has picked up qualifying runs everywhere else, was placed at his first BE100 & Novice level events, and recently finished 5th in a tough Intermediate section at Pontispool. Very excited about him at just 7yo! My 5yo RATHNAGEERA AUSSIE had a long summer holiday, and has come back on brilliant form, so he will look to do a small handful of events before the season finishes, so that he has a good base of experience for next season. I’m taking him very carefully, but his brain is fantastic and he seems to find everything ridiculously easy! He thinks he’s already on for Burghley, but I’ve said he needs to wait a few more years… The main aim of the year is that all horses (and rider) come out happy and sound, so fingers crossed for a successful but SAFE finish to the season, before I head off for my first holiday in 4 years of working with horses. The 3 main horses are all aiming to finish off by running in the CCI-2*-S at Bicton International, so hopefully we can go out with a bang. Thanks for reading,  Alex....

Continuing our relationship with BEU18 Scotland, we are delighted to be part of the Scotland Youth Eventing Points Prize scheme. These prizes cover BE80. 90. 100 and Novice, with each winner receiving a £200 training bursary.  FOMO has chosen to sponsor the Novice category and are excited to be involved in such a worthwhile initiative.   The prizes are open to all who are registered on the Scottish 12-21 programme and will take into account all aspects of the sport when choosing the winners, such as attendance at training, general progress as well as success in BE competitions.  This ensures that everyone has a fair chance of winning and rewards hard work and commitment as well as competitive success.   The way it works: Points will be awarded for the top 10 placings in all Scottish BE events (not just 18 sections) and for double clears and sub-30 dressage scores as well as participation in BE training events and volunteering at Scottish BE events.  This means those involved can start now and build up points throughout the winter, with winners being announced at the 2020 BE ball.   So riders, there is lots to play for and lots of time to build up points, with regular updates being posted on the Scottish BEU18 Facebook page and also in their regular newsletters.  It will be exciting to see how the competition progresses and whose in contention throughout so please keep following and sharing when you can.   FOMO wish everyone involved the very best of luck!  ...

As part of our campaign to spread the word about the importance of body protection on every single ride, not just on the cross country course, we are embarking on a quest to reach as many riders as possible to highlight the benefits of body protection. After all, you wouldn't go riding without a helmet, so why risk a ride without protecting your torso aka. where your vital organs are housed? We are delighted to launch our FOMO Fitting Lab UK tour, which will see our team visiting yards and events up and down the country holding demos, fitting our new FAZE 100 body protector and answering your safety questions.    The first leg of our journey as you may well know was close to home here in Scotland at the stunning Blair Castle International Horse Trials. We were delighted to partner with renowned safety specialists A2B equestrian who hosted our fitting lab in their prime location stand by the show jumping arenas.  Our objective for the weekend was simple: make as many riders as safe as possible in the saddle. We brought along sample sizes for visitors to try on and took measurements to advise riders of all shapes and sizes the FAZE100 best for them. Each visitor to the stand was fitted for their new body protector by FOMO Founder, Carmen, who is not only an inspiring businesswoman but also has a degree in engineering which has given her the skills to create a truly innovative safety essential.  During your time in the fitting lab, you will be shown the features of our Body protector and how the unique adjustable mechanism works to mould your body protector to your exact body shape; by limiting the space between your body and the foam we are significantly reducing the margin for injury should you fall.  With pre-orders pouring in over the four days at Blair there were corks popped and bubbles aplenty while customers fed back how comfortable and lightweight the FOMO FAZE100 truly is. One customer almost left the stand wearing it because she had forgotten she even had it on! Stay tuned for more FOMO Fitting Lab dates very soon.  ...