EQ Journal Tips

BLD, Journal

Hi Everyone !!

We’re really excited about an entirely new product line for BLD – our EQ Journals!!  This page is our centralized site to discuss all things related to our Equestrian Journals and will be updated over time as we add more tips, tricks and videos.


The journals were inspired by a notebook I kept for my horse Mario.  It was my go-to place for documenting all of his important records and health data, but was also a scrapbook with notes and pictures about our shows, information on his previous owners, and cool info I found about his pedigree.

I designed our EQ Journals with this dual purpose in mind – record keeping while also journaling and scrapbooking.  We know that everyone has their own method.  Our journals are perfect for printing and completing by hand.  Cut and paste your favorite pictures (I prefer double-sided tape) and hand-write in your notes.  It’s also an interactive PDF, meaning you can complete the journal in your preferred PDF reader software.  Add text and pictures directly in the PDF file and print pages as needed, when you’re ready. Or – do any combination of these methods. They are super flexible and meant to adapt to your approach.

Purchasing a Journal

Our journals are only available as a digital download. Click here to purchase directly from Bending Line Designs. They are also available at our BLD Etsy site.

How to update your journal – the basics

We made a quick video covering the basics on how to add text and pictures to your EQ Journal directly in the PDF file.

Selecting a Journal

We have six different versions to fit your needs. The descriptions below illustrate the features of each. Every journal contains horse and owner profiles, support team info, and additional pages with various picture layouts. Journals are available as downloadable PDF files at Bending Line Designs. Not sure which journal is the right fit for you? Click here to take our short quiz!

  • Total EQ Journal – This journal has it all! It is 72 pages, with 64 pages of editable content. Document everything on prior owners, purchase info, support team contacts, feed and health data. Plan your show season with our show and clinic calendar, while keeping an eye on costs with our show budget tool. Journal your lessons, rides, clinics and shows. Keep track of your trailer maintenance and much more. LOL if you are an obsessive compulsive crazy horse owner – this is the journal for you! $24.95
    • NEW!! – The Total EQ Journal is also available in size A4 format – for all of our international friends.
  • Horse Show Journal – Increase your competitive edge by analyzing your show performance and planning your show calendar. Our Horse Show and Total EQ Journals are the only versions that feature our Show Budget Calculator. Plan your expenses and automatically calculate each show’s total cost. It is easy to print or save, and then reset the calculator for the next show. Make notes about each show round and the show venue. $15.95
  • New Boarder Journal – Barn managers, if you need an easy way to collect critical information on your boarders and their horses, check this version out. You can email each boarder a copy of the PDF file. They can then easily email a completed version back to you. Capture everything you need to know such as a basic horse profile, insurance info, owner contact info, and stall vices. Perfect for keeping contact info handy for each boarder’s support team (vet, trainer, farrier, masseuse, groom, and more). $14.95
  • Equine Health Journal – Keep all those health records in one place! Keep tabs on changes in feed, supplements, and medication. Document each vet, farrier, and Chiro visit. Maintain a complete medical history on your horse. $14.95
  • Ride Journal – If you are primarily focused on monitoring and improving your riding, this is your choice. It is also a perfect option for the rider that does not necessarily own a horse, but is actively taking lessons and wants to keep track of riding progress and notes about each horse. $13.95
  • Basic EQ Journal – This is the pared-down version of our Total EQ Journal. It covers the essentials and still has 44 pages of editable content, but does not have the showing section nor the records for support staff visits other than the vet and farrier. A great option to get started! $18.95

Don’t forget to try our journal selector quiz if you aren’t sure which is the best fit for your needs.

Tech Review: Equilab App

BLD, Product Review

Do you love all the new tech that has made its way into the horse world?  I am a sucker for any new riding tech, especially if it is easy to use, helpful, and non-intrusive.  I’m excited to share my experience using the Equilab app, which checks all of those boxes.

I first discovered Equilab in an article on Forbes. com (Click here to check it out for yourself) and knew it would be fun to try out during my rides on Ellie Mae.  For those not familiar with the app, it is an easy to use ride tracker for your phone.

Product details from my review:  I tried the free version on my iPhone.  You can upgrade to a paid account, which includes additional features – such as live sharing of your position with family members back home (be safe out there).  There are also smart watch apps that pair with the phone app.  I don’t have an Apple Watch or I would have tested this feature too.

Overall, it is a really fun and useful app to use and did I mention the ride tracking stats are included in the free version?  There might be some inaccuracies with the data (ex. speed seemed incorrect), especially when riding in an indoor arena, but I find it is still a good gauge and tool for my rides.

What Did I Love About EQUILAB?

Detailed stats all in one place

  • Record the basics, such as: length of your ride in minutes, total distance, average mph.
  • Detailed info for each gait.  I thought it was cool to see the break out of how much time we spent in each gait and the distance covered.  The app also listed the speed per gait. I found this was a bit slower than expected and might have been impacted because we were riding inside the indoor arena.
  • Do you find you spend too much time going to the right or favoring your horse’s better direction?  The app let me know how much time we spent turning in each direction, broken out by gait as well.
  • Keeps a record of all your rides.  You now have the dates and times of your rides in one handy place.  You can also manually enter separate ratings for how the rider and horse performed.   Tip! – the ride tracking features of this app pair perfectly with our Journals to then later document your thoughts about each ride.  You could even take screenshots from your phone (like I did below) and add them as images to your journal right in the PDF.
  • Cool graphs and charts.  I’ve included some pics from our test ride.


 If you’re a chart and graph nerd (like me) this app is for you.



Compatible with multiple horses

  • Equilab allows you to create profiles, with pictures, for multiple horses and records the stats for each separately.  You can view summaries for each horse, but it is also possible to review the rider summary and see the stats at the rider level for all horses ridden.
  • This is perfect for anyone exercising multiple horses!

Visualize path taken

  • The app records the path you ride and is color coded to indicate gait.
  • This was great outdoors and seemed very accurate, but the path was not as accurate inside.  I think this is a GPS issue and don’t fault the app.
  • Your riding path can be viewed either on a map or the satellite view.  We have yet to try Equilab on a true trail ride, and will post an update once I have a chance.  I think this would be really fun to see the trail route all laid out on the map.

In the screenshot below you can see how we walked up to the outdoor, saw it was too wet to ride there and turned around.


In this pic, you can see how we were all haphazard in the indoor.


We don’t really ride like this – at least not usually LOL – and the app had trouble with our position inside.

These pics display the same ride, on the road map version and then on the satellite view.  The path shown outside was spot-on accurate with our route.  Very impressed with the outdoor tracking capabilities.


Horse energy expended

  • I don’t have a super accurate weight for Ellie, so I haven’t played around with this part as much.  It appears to calculate whether you may need to adjust your horses feed intake based on energy expenditure.  An interesting idea.

Rider calories burned

  • Ever curious how many calories you really burn while riding?  Enter a few basics and this app will let you know.

It’s fun to use

  • Overall, I found it a fun tool to work into your rides and doesn’t interfere or distract from riding.
  • Other fun features include adding a favorite pic to each ride, sharing your ride stats with a community (optional), ability to compare your stats with other riders in the same discipline with a spider web chart.

Room for Improvement

Difficulty tracking my path indoors

  • The shape of our ride was all over the place while we were in the indoor.  It even showed us starting out well out of the arena, which wasn’t the case.  It seemed to still track the turns and time in the various gaits, so I wouldn’t rule out using it in the indoor, but keep in mind there may be some issues with the data – including speed.

You Need to wear your phone

  • In colder weather, this doesn’t present a problem and I typically ride with my phone in my coat pocket.  As the weather warms up though, I found this was the largest deterrent to using Equilab.  I do not have a phone holder for my rides and I don’t usually wear breeches with a phone pocket.
  • The solution is easy – if you have an Apple Watch (or other compatible smart watch) there are Equilab watch apps that eliminate the need to wear your phone (at least that is my understanding since I didn’t get to test them). The fun of using this app has me actually considering whether to buy a smart watch. Or you can use a phone holder.

Difficult to turn on and off with my gloves on

  • I almost always ride in gloves and only a few of mine have phone compatible finger tips, so it takes a few tries to start and stop the app and sometimes I forget until after I’m back at the cross-ties.  Not a huge deal, but it does kind of skew the stats.

Have you tried the Equilab app?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

I would love to hear more users’ stories and whether anyone has tried the paid version.

FYI – Bending Line Designs LLC was not compensated in any way for this review.

The new Bending Line Designs – shifting the business model


Mistakes are tricky. They can really make you feel like crap or you can learn from them and move on. I made a ton of mistakes with the first go at BLD. One of the major ones was the business model of printing the shirts myself and managing my inventory.

I taught myself how to screen print, hand printed every shirt in my garage, bought my own inventory of blank shirts, and was super proud of what I accomplished. But it meant I was left with several wasted shirts while I was learning how to print. I spent a ton of time preparing and coating the screens and then cleaning them. Many times I would have to make a screen twice because the image wouldn’t come out right the first time. Adding new designs was a slow and tedious process.

This was our previous screen printing process
Our “Less Talking – More Trotting” Screen

Inventory was a constant nightmare. I wanted to offer as many colors and sizes as possible, but it meant we were also forced to keep inventory and print shirts for each color, size and design option. This model resulted in too much overhead and too many expenses.

This time around, we are working with other screen printers to handle the printing. This change has allowed us to focus more on our designs, offering more colors in our prints (both in shirt colors and design colors).

BLD also added home decor prints and stationery into the product lineup, featuring my own original artwork (usually animal portraits). We purchased a professional large format digital scanner and professional printer to ensure we can print high quality cards and prints (up to 11″x14″) on our own. Larger sizes and canvas options are still available – they are simply printed by our POD suppliers.

We have added printable downloads and are excited to announce the arrival of our new EQ Journals, which are already available for download at our BLD Etsy shop. These journals are just the tip of the iceberg, and we can’t wait to add more printable products.

Finally, we are exploring some tech options for making a wide variety of new products ourselves with a focus on customization. Stay tuned for this one – it is going to be fun!

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to share what was driving some of the changes here at BLD and give you an idea of what is in store for the future.

Yellow Lab and Bullmastiff on the porch

Where did BLD go?


We had to step away and close up shop for a number of reasons back in the summer of 2017. I wanted to share a little bit of what was going on, and why running Bending Line Designs at that time was not feasible. Two of them were horse related, one was dog related, and the other reason was business related.

First – the horse reasons

I had two horses at the time, Mario (retired) and Ray.  I’d only had Ray a year, but we were simply not a good fit. Don’t get me wrong.  He was a lovely horse, but way too green for me and too forward.  I made the tough decision to sell him, but wasn’t aware at the time just how involved selling a horse could be. Or how expensive, as it takes time and you’re still paying for board, vaccines, etc.

While in the process of listing Ray, I found my next horse – Ellie Mae. As soon as I saw her ad, I knew this was the horse for me. My better sense should have chimed in and said “wait a minute you fool – you haven’t sold Ray yet”, but of course it kept quiet. I went down to Charleston, South Carolina with my poor dad (who knows nothing about horses but was super sweet and came along for support). I tried her out and fell in love. Fast forward to Ellie’s arrival at the barn.  Off the trailer steps a draft cross with severe separation anxiety (totally missing her best friend named Carrot – haha I love that name) and a lack of manners. From Day 1 she was. rearing on a lead line, barging out of her stall and pasture, scaring the barn workers, and trying to boss everyone around with her size. I was terrified of her. 

So there I was, 3 horses and not a single 1 to ride.  One with too much arthritis and thin feet, another that was too green and gave me constant ride anxiety, and a third that scared me to death just from the ground. Fun times!!

Second – the dog reason

While all of this was going on, we also unexpectedly received a new lab puppy, an adorable little yellow lab named Kippy.  This brought our dog total up to four! Two chihuahuas, a bullmastiff, and a 10 week-old lab. When I wasn’t waiting for people to show up to try out Ray, crying that Ellie was terrifying, or taking care of Mar’s never ending abscesses – I was waking up at 5am to take out Kip. Add BLD and my standard day job – and something had to give.  There was simply not enough of me to go around. My animals always come first, so I had to make the tough decision to close BLD. 

Fast forward to today

Since then, I was able to sell Ray to a wonderful home in November of 2017. That same week, Ellie Mae was moved to a trainer specializing in behavioral issues and we also started treating her for ulcers. It has taken over a year to become comfortable with Ellie and now I love her to pieces, but that discussion is for another time.

Our lab, Kippy, is now almost two.  He has calmed down considerably and the dogs are somewhat in balance. I am finally at a point where reopening Bending Line Designs is an option.

So let’s get back to it!

Oh wait – I mentioned a business reason. Check out the new BLD business model for more details.

Yellow Lab and Bullmastiff on the porchj
Who can resist that face?
And Esther Sue in the background just doing her own thing LOL

BLD is Back!


Hey everyone – After almost two years, Bending Line Designs is back and we’re super excited! In a never-ending search for improvement we have completely overhauled BLD, but don’t worry our focus on great products for equestrians hasn’t changed.

What’s New??

If you made it here and found the BLD Tack Room, then you probably realized we added a new blog. We have increased our focus on the equestrian community and are looking forward to sharing riding and horse ownership experiences.

Some of our social media accounts have changed, so please be sure to follow our new Instagram account (@bendinglinedesignsllc) and new Facebook page (@BendingLineDesignsLLC).

We are constantly expanding our product line and are really excited to feature our new custom journal downloads. We’ll still have great tees and accessories, but be on the look-out for new additions- like our new custom journal printable downloads and animal portrait prints. Our product line is constantly expanding, join our email list to stay updated.

Our main shop at bendinglinedesigns.com has a brand new look and feel. We also added a new BLD Etsy Shop, which features our printable downloads, art prints, and more.