Saturday, 27 August 2016

Dressage lesson with Ville Vaurio: Keep riding and then you'll relax

As much as I hate to admit it, 24 hours later I'm now incredibly glad mum decided to book me in for a lesson with my old trainer Ville Vaurio. At the start of the lesson I thought I would either pass out or throw up from being absolutely terrified - I've only ridden Vallu once since falling off for about ten minutes because my back hurt too much to do much more and I really didn't want my first proper ride to be at a brand new yard that neither of us had been to before! Oh well, nothing like being thrown in the deep end!!
Off we go!
As I was totally frozen with fear, most of the lesson was spent on doing lots of movements that were challenging in order to keep Vallu's brain busy and me thinking about how to ride the movements instead of thinking about what might scare Vallu. If we kept Vallu busy with difficult movements and working properly then he would have less time to react to his environment and would be less likely to spook. Knowing this would then help me relax and everything went much better. This is everything that I already knew, but needed to hear whilst having someone on the ground to tell me that everything is okay, I can do this and to push me to ride properly - not just sit there looking pretty and praying that nothing will happen.

After warming up on my own, we established a 'safe zone' e.g a 20m circle at A where I could mentally relax, knowing it was a place where I wouldn't fall off. The circle then got extended further down the arena and in under 5 minutes we had two thirds of the arena as a safe zone. And then throughout the lesson Ville would make me ride outside of this just to push me and to prove that I could ride wherever I wanted. Who says riding isn't a psychological sport?! Whenever I had to ride out of my comfort zone, I was to ride shoulder in as this would both of us busy, Vallu flexed slightly to the inside and around my legs so that the likelihood of him taking off with me is reduced. We also did a couple of flying changes which were all okay (tight, small canter and small changes because I was too worried about getting big bucky changes) apart from one from which Vallu decided to tank off and it took me a good 15m to get him to slow - but... I didn't fall off and we carried on in canter so I feel a lot more confident that I do still have the ability to stay on! A lot of pirouette work - again, slightly difficult as I hadn't ridden these in over 8 months but Vallu remembered how to do them and then some piaffe work where Ville had a short riding whip with which he very lightly tapped on Vallu's hind legs to give him a rhythm and bloody heck the last one was amazinggggggg! "What you felt there was pure power and it was great" #actualquote
Although the whole lesson was mentally incredibly draining, I am so glad I was able to have my first proper training session after 8 months off and after my accident with my old trainer who I feel so comfortable with. I think if it had been a new trainer the lesson wouldn't have been anywhere near as successful because I wouldn't have felt confident enough to go to a new place for anyone else apart from Ville. Unfortunately for me and a lot of riders over here, Ville is going to go work for my brother in Germany so my next training session will be with someone new but it won't bother me as much because of how well this one went! :) 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Please wear your helmets!

On Wednesday afternoon, Vallu spooked at a car speeding on the little road that is about ten meters away from our outdoor arena. Unfortunately, I had long reins in walk when he suddenly shot up in the air and tanked off so that I eventually got thrown off, but ended up thrown off into the arena's fencing before falling to the floor.
How much of the fencing my helmet broke
I have never experienced so much pain in my life as I did when I finally came round after being knocked out (I don't remember the falling off and by the time I came round mum had already managed to catch Vallu) and once I started trying to get up, I saw blood falling onto the ground and I thought I'd cracked my head open. Luckily, instead of my head (thank you Samshield helmet) I had an inch (2.5cm) long cut in the corner of my eye which resulted in a lot of blood all over my clothes. At the hospital several hours later, the scans and x-rays came back to show that nothing was broken! Two different doctors were totally baffled by this but I joked that I have magical bones. Everything is just bruised - my face, hand and wrist, ribs, stomach and my back and I have two stitches in the corner of my eye but it could have been so much worse if I hadn't been wearing my helmet. I was kept in hospital overnight for observations because I was apparently slurring my words and I couldn't remember much... There were moments of clarity when I even managed to message friends to tell them that I was alive but then were moments that I still today don't even remember.

In hospital before the stitches, you can see the cut in the corner my eye
Day after, eye totally swollen shut on the way to the specialist eye doctors
Today is the first day that I have been able to think coherently and look at a laptop screen for more than ten minutes before feeling terrible. My bruises are turning to so many different amazing shades and the swelling around my eye has started to go down so that I have 50% of my sight back. The day after I got sent to the specialist eye doctors in Helsinki to make sure that there was no permanent damage to my eye and luckily it appears everything is okay! Everything could have been so much worse and I am incredibly lucky to come out of this with just a concussion, two stitches and a lot of bruising. 

I have written this post not because I want attention or sympathy, but because in case anyone who reads this rides without a helmet, I'm begging you to reconsider and to wear one. I could still be lying in hospital or worse if I hadn't been wearing my helmet.
Two days later, back on! (only for ten minutes in walk because I felt too bad to stay for longer)

Friday, 12 August 2016

Eskadron Platinum 2016

IT'S HERE!! The 2016 Eskadron Platinum Collection is finally here, and boy am I glad that I managed to get my hands on a set! Eskadron Platinum collections have always been the one that I have looked forward to seeing the most out of all their collections. There's just something a little bit special about the Platinum collections ♥︎

The attention to detail has been absolutely amazing. I cannot think of anything that I would want to change, it's that good! There is an engraved (I don't know how else to describe it) pattern on the bandages that I have never seen before! Although you can't see it from far away, if you are close you can see it quite easily and it's made me love this collection just that little bit more. The photos of the saddle pad don't do it enough justice, it's one of those pads that is so much nicer in real life when you can touch it and feel it. The big stripe down the side is leathery type material and has platinum edition written down it in sequins!! Love love love it!

I pre ordered my set from our favourite equestrian store Fur Feather Meds, check their website out HERE or their Facebook page HERE. (FYI, this is not a sponsored post at all. I have paid for this set and get nothing out it in anyway apart from the joy of sharing photos to you all)

 Anyone else love this?