Days are long for Marte Solhaug — she’s up at 5:30 a.m. and feeding hungry Thoroughbreds at the racetrack and she doesn’t finish until 5 p.m. each day.
Solhaug, 24, started riding as a child, playing around on borrowed ponies before getting her own and dabbling in show jumping and dressage. When she had outgrown ponies and needed a larger horse, she became fascinated with Thoroughbreds and acquired one.
“It might not have been the best decision at that point for a 13-year-old girl, but I figured it out,” she joked.
A native of Norway, Solhaug spent her first week on the racetrack at the age of 14 and was instantly hooked on horse racing. She attended Ridskolan Stromsholm (the Stromsholm Riding Academy) in Sweden, giving her a chance to perfect her equine education while remaining on track academically.
Two years into high school, Solhaug got her National Steeplechase Association rider’s license and rode her first race. She took a job in Australia working with 2-year-olds and young horses, then spent six months with international racing operation Darley. Seeing horses at different life stages and in different contexts gave Solhaug a unique perspective on raising them. When she was ready to work in the States, that international background made her a hot commodity.
“The first day I was here I got a job with Jimmy Corrigan,” she said. “Two months later I was an assistant trainer for Jimmy and I got to saddle my first winner [a horse called Elmor] at Turfway Park. I saddled my first stakes horse the same year at Churchill Downs, and another one at Ellis Park in the summer finished second.”
Solhaug said one of her best moments thus far in her career was saddling Impeached ahead of a win at Churchill Downs in June 2015.
“It was a childhood dream come true,” she said. “Getting to saddle out a horse at a track like that, where all the greatest horses have run.”
Solhaug is a jill of all trades for Corrigan — she gallops horses on the track, walks them after exercise to cool down. She handles communication for Corrigan between veterinarians, farriers, and owners. She enters horses in races and deals with the paperwork in the track’s racing office — and that’s all before lunch. Then, she’s off to Corrigan’s farm in Central Kentucky, exercising young horses, cleaning stalls, checking on mares, and whatever else needs to be done. Then, it’s back to the track to feed the racehorses. During foaling season, she’ll jump in to help mares deliver their babies, and in the fall she puts the first training on young yearlings.
“i’ve been v fortunate to try out everything,” she said. “It’s incredible watching babies when they’re born, then two years old starting on the racetrack. Then we had one go to the Thoroughbred Makeover [for retired racehorses] and he did really well there. It’s the job of the lifetime.”
In future, Solhaug wants to continue in a dual role like this one — enjoying the buzz of the racetrack and the relaxation of the farm. It’s the variety that keeps her going through the long work days — that, and her devotion to the animals.
“I love the horses,” she said. “I love knowing they’re always there when I come in in the morning. A horse won’t judge you. He’ll love you for who you are.”
“Without question, the super grip is my favorite part of these reins. With and without gloves in dry and wet conditions, it lives up to it’s namesake and provides superior grip. When you’ve got a horse like Q who tends to lean into the bridle and go heavily on the forehand as her first and most favorite evasion, having a secure grip is critical!”
Everyone loves our super grip reins — the perfect mix of color and safety.
Liz Stout at the In Omnia Paratus blog recently reviewed our reins with super grip overlay. Check out the rest of her thoughts here.
On this #ThrowbackThursday, we’re taking a look back to last summer, when we sponsored the Two Horse Tango, a competitive mounted orienteering ride we sponsored in Central Kentucky.
Our course took us through Versailles State Park, the site of 26 miles of trail and some fascinating Civil War history.
Read an account of the Two Horse Tango CMO from Jacke Reynolds, our friend over at the Endurance Granny blog.
There is no end to the color combinations customers can choose with our overlay and base color options. We’ve always thought Griffin’s choice to do the light blue overlay on a teal base was one of the most dimensional we’ve seen.
Our buckle nose halters are great to ensure a perfect fit on your horse (or donkey) for maximum comfort during turnout. We also learned, through the Pony Express blog, that they can easily take on a grazing muzzle, should spring or summer pastures become too rich.
“When Jacke contacted me I had just decided to try something for donkey weight loss, which is his very own greenguard grazing muzzle. I needed a second halter for him but wasn’t sure where to go since he’s a weird size. Two Horse Tack was the perfect solution as I was able to give them his custom measurements.”
Get your own buckle nose halter here.
Lots of the tack we sell is beta biothane, which we think is a wonderful material. But it’s easy to forget sometimes that we also make great quality leather tack at a good price. The Ride The Pony blog recently reviewed our leather English bridle, and we were so happy she loved it as much as we do!
“When I was unpacking the bridle I noticed right away it was made from high quality leather and was very thick and heavy. I personally like my bridles to have some heaviness to them, so this bridle was a 10/10 for material.”
Get your own English bridle in leather for just $30 here.
Read the complete bridle review at Ride The Pony
Lots of people have never seen synthetic tack before — or their only interaction with it has left them thinking of it as stiff, rough, and well..plastic-feeling.
A recent review at the Ponytude blog came from just such a rider, who admitted she was initially skeptical of beta biothane…until her halter came in the mail.
My first impressions were, “Wow it’s BRIGHT” and “It’s so soft!”
If you like color, this tack is for you. The “dark blue” I’d requested is more of a SUPER BRIGHT royal shade, and it’s awesome. Unlike colored nylon halters, it also won’t fade, which is a bonus! The beta biothane is also incredibly soft and flexible.
Read the complete review here.
Our turnout halters are made to withstand all sorts of weather, and a New England winter is par for the course. Beta biothane turnouts won’t freeze or stiffen in cold weather, and don’t fade in the sun. Pick up yours here.
The Equestrian Journey blog recently reviewed our Buckle Nose Safety Halter, which is a great option for green horses or first-time horse folks. It also gives an extra spot to adjust for perfect fit!
“I LOVE how adjustable this halter is! It has the buckle on the nose obviously, but it also has the throatlatch clip and buckles on both sides of the crownpiece. It is the most adjustable halter I’ve ever used. I was pleasantly surprised that it has the throatlatch clip because that is a required feature in all of my halters.”
Read the complete review here.
The winner of our most recent tack giveaway looks fantastic sporting her new Western bridle. Meet Daisy Mae, a three and a half-year-old Paint mare who’s just beginning her education with owner Suzette.
“Daisy thinks she is a puppy dog,” Suzette says. “She will follow people around hoping for treats and pats. If she feels like she is not getting enough attention, she will paw at the backyard fence until the dogs go out the doggie door and bark at her.”
We’re happy to outfit Daisy Mae and Suzette for the next step of their journey together.
Our Western headstalls are simple but strong, hand-stitched and available in your choice of colors and bling options for the traditional and the bold.
Wondering how you can score a Western bridle of your own? Enter our January giveaway here.