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Growing up, I was your typical Pony Club kid; you know the type, absolutely fearless and always on the go. I was constantly climbing on bareback to ride to the field, jumping anything that stood still long enough and galloping here, there and everywhere.  I loved all things horsey and participated in every show possible, so naturally, my parents spent their weekends ferrying my pony and me to competitions, rallies and fun days. Dressage, showjumping, cross country, showing, pony club games, you name it, we did it!  One day, I was on a hack with my friends and our ponies when a driver sped towards us, and I ended up parting ways with Bleu straight on to the tarmac. Luckily, there were no broken bones but the next few months consisted of frequent visits to the physiotherapist due to an excruciating pain in my back. The worst part? No riding allowed. When I eventually got the okay to get back in the saddle, my parents made me swear to wear a body protector every single time my bum was in the saddle. As you could imagine, that didn't go down particularly well. Like everyone else, I was desperate to fit in, so the "but nobody else wears one" argument was a daily struggle in our house.  My pony at the time was a bit of a character and would throw in a fly buck at every opportunity. I was used to his rodeo antics, but I struggled to sit the more exuberant bucks when wearing my clunky old body protector; it was restrictive, uncomfortable and inhibited my ability in the saddle.  Fast forward a few years; both pony and body protector now too small for me, I packed up and headed for freshers week at the University of Strathclyde. When I graduated with honours from my degree in Sports Engineering, Design Manufacture and Engineering Management, a good decade or so on from that bulky, uncomfy body protector, it was evident there had been no real innovation in the sport. I now had the knowledge and skill from my engineering degree to re-invent equine safety wear, hence, FOMO was born. It was important to me to create something that would inspire rider confidence and maximise movement and ability in the saddle, something that riders would WANT to wear rather than only wearing it when they had to.  You know what they say; if you want something done right, do it yourself. Carmen x...

When you see someone wearing a body protector in the warm-up before cross country, you would think it was perfectly normal; in fact, it's so normal that you probably wouldn't think anything at all. However, if you saw someone wearing one in the collecting ring for dressage or showjumping, that would most likely be a different story. Most of us would assume the rider was very nervous or that their horse was wild. If we were being really honest, we might even judge them for ruining their smart show day outfit.  The question is, why? Why do we judge someone for riding WITH a body protector when in the same breath, we would be horrified if someone rode WITHOUT a helmet? Both were designed to keep us safe while participating in this wonderful yet dangerous sport; therefore, why is a helmet a must-have whilst a body protector is not?  Is the simple answer that it just isn't cool to wear one? Over the last few years, the eventing world has seen many falls, but a few in particular shocked us. Mr stickability himself, Andrew Nicholson, was lucky not to be paralysed after he fell from Cillnabradden Evo in 2015, making a "lucky" escape with a severe neck injury. Shortly after that team GB's William Fox Pitt fell into a coma after his tumble at the Young Horse Championships. More recently, we all watched with bated breath, as Jonty Evens fought his way back into the saddle after a fall left him with a serious brain injury at Tattersalls in 2018.  These three falls brought a noticeable shift in the way people view equine safety, which presented the opportunity for a long-overdue mindset shift towards body protectors. Riders began to question what their lives would look like if a similar thing happened to them. Today we ask you what you would miss out on if you were left seriously injured from a fall? You might miss out on a season or, as a younger rider, you could miss out on getting selected for the U18s or Junior riders team. You might miss out on playing sports at school or have to skip your exams and watch your friends go off to university without you.  For the more mature rider, a fall could mean you can't look after your kids. Perhaps you wouldn't be able to go to work and therefore wouldn't earn a wage. Could you continue to pay your mortgage and put food on the table?  It's a fact we are often dismissive of, but a fall, even during the simplest of schooling sessions or on the quietest hack, could result in your life completely changing. Having the correct safety equipment every time you put your foot in the stirrup maximises your chance of walking away from a fall without a life-changing injury. Body protectors might not be cool, but it's pretty cool that they could save your life.  Here at FOMO, it is our mission to normalise body protectors for every single ride. Prevention is better than a cure, and if doing something as simple as wearing a body protector could save your life, why wouldn't you? ...

Season 2021 is a go! It was great to finally be back out eventing again. Huge thank you to everyone involved with the elite sports riders for making Oasby Elite a great first event for many of us. It was also my first event with my new FOMO FAZE Body Protector which I was very impressed by the comfort and adjustability, given how cold it was and the many extra layers that were required.  Both Oughterard Cooley owned by Debbie Whalley and Liz Magennis and Ella MacGregors, MacGregors Cooley made light work of the OI track. Rich aka Oughterard Cooley finishing 13th and Greg aka MacGregors Cooley jumped a great DC to finish 4th. We returned a week later with another lorry load for Oasby 1. This time bringing some of the younger horses out for their first runs. Both Rich and Greg enjoyed another run round the OI again both improving on their dressage scores from the previous week, steady xc rounds for them both in preparation for the advanced class at Weston Park next week. DHI By Design owned by Daisy Cross had his first 100 run with us finishing on his dressage score for 5th place. Our own Keep It Cooley and Cooley Fun Time also performed well in the 100 sections to finish 2nd and 9th respectively. We now look forward to Weston Park with the Novice and Advanced horses....

Finally, it feels like spring is on its way! This winter has felt super long for us! We had almost 3 months of solid snow    which meant our poor horses hardly stepped foot outside of their stables! But recently it has been all systems go both Skinny and Biscuit have started their pre-season fitness and with things COVID wise looking to be hopefully going back to an almost normal state we are excited to start planning for this season Biscuit has been entered into the Your Horse Live Virtual, Search for a Star qualifiers. Which has given us something to look forward to! April will see both horses start training, with cavaletti and dressage training on the cards! Hopefully, by May the shows will have started back up again and we will be out in full force This month I have signed up for the Walk all over Cancer campaign to walk 31,000 steps in March, this has definitely been helping me with my pre-season fitness! I hope to be able to bring more regular updates from Team Shieldhill now that things are hopefully starting to get going again. It’s been a Loooong Winter! Jodie xo...

Well, I've been quiet for a while, apologies for that. Sadly Trusty had a slight injury in July 2020 where he had a check ligament strain. Although it was very minor, due to the fact ligaments are very temperamental and with the joys of lockdown, the decision was made to very slowly rehab Trusty to give him the best possibility of the injury to heal properly and also prevent it from happening again. This has meant a long process of firstly hand walking then, walking under saddle, and thankfully, we are finally on the last stretch of ridden trot work. Poor Trusty cannot understand why his life is a constant stream of four walls of his stable, the arena, or endless amounts of country lane walking; he's desperate for a canter and a jump! We are hoping for a sign off scan at the start of February to finally start some faster work and then it will be all preparations towards hopefully getting out eventing dependent on Covid restrictions. My hopeful aim this year is towards the new Cotswold Cup which is a new unaffiliated series running this year where you get points at several events working towards the Championships in September. One of the most exciting events for me that run as part of this, is held at Barbury Castle in July which has been one of the venues on my eventing bucket list so it would be amazing to be able to get here. The first event of the Cup is at Oxstalls at the end of May which I think, so long as everything goes to plan, should be a reasonable goal to work towards. I'm hoping to link up with fellow FOMO ambassador Alex Holman for some regular lessons in flatwork and jumping once Trusty has the all clear; Alex has been having some great success not only with his own horses but with his growing client base as well and with him being on my doorstep it would be rude not to take full advantage! So keep your fingers crossed that we will continue going well; Trusty has had his fresh clip and he's desperate to get back out strutting his stuff  I've also got some very important kit that's been sat gathering dust, waiting for a cross country run; I cannot wait to test drive my FOMO body protector!...

My winter training tip is: to work on the basics! This is something that sounds as it is, basic, but it is very important for our training and is definitely something that I make sure I get into all coaching sessions I deliver and every time that I get on a horse! 1, My first, and most simple tip is to remember 3 essential ingredients to a good position from the rider – a good position allows both ourselves and our horses to find their balance, and to keep it whilst working on the flat and over fences, whether they are cavalettis or Advanced fences. No time in the saddle is wasted when it comes to our positions. They are: 1) EYES 2) SHOULDERS 3) HEELS If you keep your HEELS down it stabilises your lower leg and keeps it in the right place to use it as an aid to the horse. Keeping your SHOULDERS open engages your core and secures your body over the centre of the horse. Keeping your EYES up and focussed on the new direction or task keeps the balance ‘up’ and helps to direct the horse onward. You can think of all of these things whether you spend 10minutes walking in the arena, or hours out hacking, and it will make a difference as several new clients can testify. 2. My second tip is to help work on suppleness for the horse – both left to right & over their backs. As clients I coach regularly will know, I LOVE a serpentine! You can make these as easy or difficult as you like, ie as many or as few loops as you like, and within these, you can add extra circles, transitions, and/or poles.  Focus on riding even loops, with the horse really connected between your inside leg and outside rein, and staying straight between your aids. If you work the horse on a serpentine for a period of time, they really start to soften around your leg and are ready to work – it’s a great one for a warm-up. I definitely practice what I preach on this one, as I have permanently had poles set up on a serpentine for over a month at home, for flatwork, and used poles to warm up for jumping when we went to hire a local arena for a jump.  Whilst on the serpentine, don’t forget to remember the 3 main points of your position… My favourite exercise involves a serpentine in trot using poles and halts, but either you’ll have to book a lesson or wait until next time to see a demo…! Hope you have found these useful. Alex  ...

New research into equestrian body protection delivers surprising results. FOMO, the company behind the UK’s newest body protector FAZE that was launched earlier this year has just released the first findings in a study into body protection for the equestrian market. FOMO was awarded an Innovate UK SMART Grant in October of 2019 and has spent the past 15 months completing a feasibility study on the named technologies working alongside thought leaders such as the University of Edinburgh to determine “life-like” test methods for assessing each technology. The company was founded by Carmen Cummiskey, an experienced equestrian, and a graduate in Sports Engineering from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Throughout her development of FAZE, Carmen was always of the belief that the best balance of performance and comfort would not be achieved with the use of a single technology and that the combined characteristics of complementary technological solutions would be needed to achieve a step change. As with all safety products, ongoing technical evaluation is crucial and the team at FOMO recognised that three technologies had to be considered in this latest study – microcellular foams, air cushion (including inflation technology), and ‘exoskeleton’ (structurally engineered in suitable materials). The aim of the study was to provide an overall solution in which the individual technologies provided for performance and comfort exceeding the sum of their parts. The Study Working with Edinburgh University, FOMO developed a unique numerical modelling system that evaluates the stress on the rib cage and the body's internal structures with and without various forms of protection. Falls were evaluated at multiple speeds to assess how the various technologies work to protect the body and its internal structures. The first impact scenario aims to replicate the impact between the rider and a fixed wooden corner fence, and the second aims to replicate the impact between the horse and rider as a result of a rotational fall. Both impact scenarios took place at velocities of both 5 m/s and 9 m/s. This approximately corresponds to the minimum and maximum required speeds across levels. The properties of the microcellular foams were taken from testing on the FOMO FAZE layering system. This foam is a unique, polyurethane foam manufactured and developed by FOMO with the support of Horizon2020 through the European Commission. During a collision with a fence at 9m/s the stress on the rib was calculated to be 35% lower with FAZE’s DION foam protection than when hit with no protection. In addition to this, at 5m/s the internal stress on the rib cage was reduced by 47% with a FAZE protector. The air system alone displayed a negative effect on the body with the pressure of the air inflation increasing the peak level stress on the ribs. The peak shown was higher than that without protection. However, there are multiple factors that come into play that can positively or negatively affect this value. Firstly, the rate of inflation of the jacket, the jacket’s shape, and whether the jacket inflates away from the body or in the path of least resistance. The research suggests that outward inflation jackets, when worn with a foam protector underneath would be the best option should an air jacket be chosen to be worn. The team at FOMO is excited by the new testing process which allows repeatable testing of multiple impact scenarios. The research is already being implemented to the design process and the team is looking toward BETA International which has now been moved to later in 2021 to initially show the outputs from the project to both trade and public.    ...

So after a good final few runs of the season, finishing with both my own & Carrick Diamond Bard (Gerry)’s first CCI3*-L at Bicton, all of the horses enjoyed a holiday in the field! They are all so different and have run at different levels during this strange year, so some had more time off than others, but all had plans to suit them. Unfortunately for me, COVID has not allowed me to have a proper break, unlike last year, but I have had a much quieter November than usual, not only with the horses on holiday but with the November lockdown affecting things further. All of the horses are now back in work, and we have started having a few lessons and outings again. They are all feeling extremely well, partly thanks to their TopSpec feed & Animalife supplements, and I have survived more than a few exciting hacks during their walking and roadwork! I have already hosted the amazing Holly Woodhead at my yard twice since the horses have been back in work, and the few lessons I’ve managed to have with her have really helped me to plan where I want to take the horses to the next level in their training. Holly makes me ride so positively and the horses really respond well, which gives me so much confidence in them and how I’m asking them to work. Rathnageera Aussie (Billy) & Hocus Pocus (Hugo) both showed off their post-holiday progress with 2 super tests each at our local venue Prestige Equestrian, with Billy successfully tackling his first 2 Novice tests, and Hugo posting easy wins in a Novice & Elementary. We scored well on all of the specific areas I’ve been working on, which was very pleasing, and makes me excited to improve our scores as we head on to the more difficult movements again – I always like to start the horses out in an easy test for them after their holidays so that it helps them feel confident and relaxed in the whiteboards, and the harmony I felt with both horses was exactly what I was aiming for! We then rewarded them with a couple of jumping outings over the following weekend, and despite them feeling VERY keen on the first day, they settled and worked well the next, both jumping well around decent tracks. We all felt a little bit rusty, but as a friend pointed out: it’s December so we’re allowed to! The next stop will be some jump lessons to really get us back into the swing of things. I have been mentally keeping myself engaged by doing a few online group zoom meetings with Caroline Moore, on ‘Podium Mentality’ throughout training/competing in all 3 phases. These have been very inspiring in dark, wet winter months, and have been a huge help to focus me in a quieter time, and have given me some great pointers to use when teaching as well. It has been lovely to greet both old and a few new clients through teaching over the past few months, as the lockdown rules have allowed. I have to give a special mention to long-term client Chrissie and her horse Guto, who came out jumping with me and put in their best SJ rounds ever, over pretty big tracks, and also won their dressage test at Prestige! Hopefully, when the COVID situation becomes clearer after Christmas I can get back to organising some clinics, which I love doing. I hope that everyone manages to stay positive and enjoyed some festive cheer before we head into 2021 – I have learned a lot in 2020, and feel that I made the most of the situation we got, but cannot wait to see the back of it, and I have exciting plans to look forward to… Hopefully starting early with (finally!!!) a move up to Advanced level with my own & Janet Coe’s super horse Gerry… Fingers crossed! Alex...

The year 2020 began as the launch year for FOMO, with our final testing dates and approval set for spring, and a series of launch events thereafter at various equestrian shows and competitions up and down the country.  However, as we are all acutely aware March came along and all our lives changed as we once knew it.   Being locked down and parted from our loved ones, both two and four-footed has taken its toll on us all in many different ways, however, we have had to find alternative means to continue with our everyday lives.  Here at FOMO has been no different and we have had to adapt and change to deal with the issues we have faced. Our main issues were getting our final approval due to the test house scaling back on staff, coupled with the equestrian season being put on hold with competitions and shows being cancelled.  However, we were determined to get our final approval and be BETA (2018) L3 certified for when the season resumed.  We worked tirelessly around the clock making changes and tweaks when required and working closely with the test house.  When our final approval came through, we were ecstatic that all our hard work had paid off.  Although, our problems didn’t stop there as we have had to adapt to the way in which we manufacture our FOMO FAZE body protector, which we now do in-house in our factory in Glasgow, Scotland.  We are also relying more and more on using UK suppliers due to the uncertainty of bringing in goods from overseas.  This, in fact, has been something that we are extremely proud of; helping UK businesses to survive in these tough times, as well as create jobs to produce our products. As lockdown ended and restrictions eased things got back to so some sort of normal however our launch strategy could not go according to plan.  We have had to make do with pushing out our product on social media and have worked closely with help from fellow equestrian brands such as Apt Cavalier, DVR Equestrian, and LIKIT.  We have run a series of Instagram Live events with them as well as competitions all being hugely popular.  Our media coverage has also increased thanks to our agency Sam Forrest PR with over 10 pieces of online and offline coverage over the months of August through to December, circulating to over 88.7k, covering a readership of 331k. We also have our Scottish retailer A2B Equestrian where a full-size range of our FOMO FAZE is available to try and buy.  We recently enjoyed attending a socially distanced Christmas outdoor fayre at the shop doing fittings during a visit from Santa!  Due to the restrictions that still exist, we offer a free virtual fitting service where we send out a pack with a tape measure, info leaflet, and colour swatches and then set an online slot to carry out the fitting. Apart from the FAZE launch and BETA certification, our next most exciting aspect of 2020 has been the launch of our horse wear range FORM.  This consists of our Fly Veil, Half Pad, and Show Rug all in our body protector back to black colourway.  All of these products have been used using offcuts from our body protector, supporting our minimal waste company policy. We are sure you will all agree, 2020 has been a challenging, busy, yet successful one for FOMO and we are looking into 2021 with excitement for what the future holds.   This includes many things, such as extending our horse wear collection, adding some rider clothing but also the launch of our children’s body protector FLIP.  So, we end 2020 on a positive note and hope that you all do too.  We wish you all a happy, healthy, and festive season and look forward to seeing you all out competing next season in your FOMO FAZE. Team FOMO...

It's almost Christmas and what a year it has been - lockdowns, shows cancelled..! We did however still manage to compete in our first ever Hunter Trials kitted out in our FOMO FAZE body protector and matching XC colours.  We also made it to some training and dressage competitions. We are giving the horses a bit of a winter's break but are looking forward, to hopefully having a bit more of a season in 2021.  All going well we will be aiming to qualify for any big shows that are running, with Take the Biscuit and Lincourt Max will be looking to continue his success in dressage.  Foxy's Frolic will be hunting for the rest of the season and will be showjumping during the summer. But for now, we are looking forward to spending Christmas as a family of 3 with the celebrations continuing into January for Freddie's 1st birthday. We wish everyone a safe and special festive period and can't wait to get back out in the new year. Jodie x Team Shieldhill...