31.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #15

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 15 - All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand, colour, other details)

HALF WAY THROUGH THE CHALLENGE!

Oh jeeez, this is going to be a long one... I have quite a lot of tack and riding clothes, which meant that I had to carry this challenge over to day 16 since I didn't have the time to take photos yesterday (and I've already accidentally done day 16 earlier on, during day 5, which you can read here!)

Tack:

Saddle:

My most precious Prestige saddle, I adore it. Amazing to sit in, super comfy and Vallu loves it too.

Bridles:

Saddle pads:

(L to R) cream Classic Gold Medal pad, charcoal HV Polo Cornell pad and navy HV Polo pad

Bandages, bandage liners and boots:
3 bandage sets in the Eskadron bandage bag, 3 pairs of over-reaach boots (Eskadron, HKM and Horze) Eskadron climatex bandage liners (in black) and 2 pairs of Eskadron boots

Fly veils:
 (L to R) grey Horze fly veil, same in brown and navy Kingsland fly veil.
Riding clothes:

Königs riding boots:
My new riding boots - which haven't arrived yet - will look like these, Königs Elegance boots with a row of diamonds
My current Königs riding boots, just the basic Favourit style dressage boots.

Hat:

Classic Riding Wear (CRW) Active helmet. I really like this helmet, it fits me well and makes my head look normal. My old Charles Owen made my head look pretty long,  but this one doesn't since it's a very round hat and not too tall.

Gloves:
My Ariat black gloves and my two-tone Roeckl gloves.

Breeches:
My two riding breeches, my summer grey Pikeur breeches on the left and my brown winter soft-shell Pikeur breeches on the right.

Coats + gillets:
(L to R) Black Wellensteyn coat, brown Kingsland gillet and black HV Polo gillet

I won't take pictures of my t-shirts and socks because that's just too boring! ;)

29.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #14

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 14 - Your dream barn/farm

Ohhh how I love this one! I've been lucky to visit so many amazing farms/yards that I have been dreaming about my ultimate yard for ages! Love love love day 14's challenge!

28.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 13 - Your worst ride ever

My worst ride ever has to be in winter 2011 when I'd just started riding Vallu after mum didn't want to ride him anymore. It was late in the evening, freezing temperatures, and I can still remember feeling how tired I was.  Vallu wasn't feeling too good either, it was one of those days where he was constantly spooking at everything and anything. This was before I had gotten used to his spooking, and I was still pretty scared/nervous when riding him. Even though I knew I wouldn't fall off, his spooks were huge (leaps to the side + taking off suddenly with no warning were Vallu's specialty) and constantly having to try to hang on and contain him was just too much for me...

The feeling of desperation and failure just broke through and I just sat on Vallu crying hysterically because I felt like such a loser. I kept thinking, "here I've got an amazingly talented horse that I can't ride because I'm too scared and don't have the balls to actually ride him."

I'd hit rock bottom with him.
 But luckily hitting rock bottom means that it can't get any worse, and the only way is up! After some encouraging words from mother ("either get off and lunge him or stop crying and start riding") I got on with riding - I was too embarrassed to stop riding - and from then on, have never looked back. Even nowadays if we have a bad day, I remind myself that it wasn't as bad as my worst ride ever.

27.8.13

Vet visit

Today mother and I had to take Basse to the equine hospital in Hyvinkää because he's been a bit off in the front. Turned out it was nothing too serious, and B is going to be fine in a few weeks time! He now gets a week long holiday of walking in the woods.
Very pretty boy ♥
Waiting for the vet to see us
Although B was more interested in eating grass than going to see the vet
I love Basse's face here, "ermm... mummy I'm not sure I wanna be here anymore!"
Getting ready for our lunge session
Very drunk Basse :D

The end result!

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #12

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 12 - Your favorite horse book

 
One hundred ways for a horse to train its human by Tina Bettison is one of my favorite horse books ever. Every page has me laughing out loud at the truth, and I swear that all of our horses have read this!! Especially Vallu who has focussed very hard on the submission page, "you may have to work hard to train your human to submit to you."

All of the James Herriot books are in my opinion absolutely fantastic. When I was younger and dreamt of being a vet, I read through all of his books.

Nelli ;)

Vallu!
And of course all of the Thelwell books are at the top of my list! Thelwell books will never grow old in my opinion. I feel like some our horses have also read these books.

26.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #11

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 11 - Describe your dream horse

For me, a dream horse is one with whom you can share a very deep and special bond. One of those rare friendships that lasts for a lifetime, where your horse steals a part of your soul.
 I love a horse with a sense of humor, it shows they are alive and having fun and haven't been turned into a machine that executes all the high scoring movements with no willpower left. Vallu has such a great character, he knows exactly when to kiss my face, when to mess up my hair and dirty my shirt, especially when he's not meant to. But after he's done this, I look at him and I see the twinkle in his eyes and realize how happy I am with him, and how happy he is.
In order to satisfy my inner dressage diva and competition spirit, my dream horse would float around like a butterfly, with the same cadence as Valegro or Damon Hill. Yet having a horse already so accomplished wouldn't be much fun. Yes, you'd learn to ride all the difficult movements, I'm sure you can't find a better school master for piaffe/passage, one tempi changes and canter pirouettes than these two, but part of your journey as a dressage rider includes learning how to properly ride a horse like that, and to then use this knowledge and be able to teach a younger horse the more difficult stuff.

Learning to sit there looking pretty wouldn't be much for me personally, so my dream horse would have the potential for these movements, but I'd want to learn them with the horse. Maybe it's just me since I like challenges, but I'd love to have a horse with huge potential and learn with him, rather than a schoolmaster and just learn to look good and win all the competitions. 

Even though Vallu can be classed as a schoolmaster, what makes us so great is that whilst he is teaching me all the advanced movements, I am teaching him to trust me, and trust us as a team.
Now that I have Vallu, I've learnt the hard way how important it is to have a safe, sane and secure horse as a partner. Although I love Vallu to bits, all the spooking, freaking out and nervous breakdowns really can take a toll on a person. A dream horse would be brave, and not spook at every possible thing in the world!

"A horse is a projection of people's dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence" Pam Brown

25.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #10

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 10 - How your family/friends feel about your riding

I have the best family and friends in the world, who are incredibly supportive and encouraging about my riding. My parents are of course used to horses, thanks to my brother riding since he was in his teens, so they aren't fussed about spending all our time and money on horses, riding and competitions! 
Mum and dad with Henri at the European Championships
Dad with Rama and mum with Vallu last winter!

My friends have been unbelievably understanding about my horsey life, not being pissed off about me missing parties, dinners etc when I have to ride, go training or one of the horses is ill. It's horrible to have to say no to so many events, and to have to sometime cancel at the very last minute because of a horse emergency. It must be pretty difficult for a non-horsey person to have a horsey person as a friend, so I consider myself to be very lucky to have so many good friends who understand (or at least try to!) my lifestyle. It will be interesting to see what my future flatmates will think about my riding, but hopefully they'll be just as understanding and supportive as all my friends.

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #9

I wrote this yesterday, but forgot to publish it!

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 9 - Any injuries that have occurred from riding

I've been very fortunate to have never broken any bones, or been seriously injured in any way, especially when considering the fact that I have been surrounded by horses for over ten years!

But I do constantly have cuts, bruises and muscle cramp/tension/soreness all over me, especially my legs and arms! I've had the usual trodden on toes, bruised feet, cuts on hands and bite marks on arms from cheeky horses! There's also the usual back pain from too much riding + mucking out, shoulder ache etc but nothing too serious!

My most recent is this really annoying cut on my foot, which will not heal. I've had it for over a week, and it rubs open every time I put my riding boots on, even when it is covered with gauze swabs and vet wrap!

23.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #8

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 8 - Tell a little about the yard/barn that you ride at

At the moment, we are lucky enough to have all our horses at home! We have four stables (2 indoor and 2 outdoor) a 20x40m outdoor arena and paddocks (sand and grass) It's not much, but it's perfect! I have to walk 50m from our door to go see our horses, so I'm very happy with our home.

Our outdoor arena 
Grass paddocks, behind them are the sand paddocks...
Which look like this!
Indoor stables on the right where the light is
Outdoor stables with Nelli and Vallu, behind that our hay barn 

We're also super lucky to have such awesome neighbors, and we get to use their indoor arena (20x60m) and get to go for hacks in their woodland.
Across the road is the indoor school!

22.8.13

European Dressage Championships

Henri with our parents (C) Hevosurheilu
 So Henri did really well yesterday, scoring 68.86% in the Grand Prix, with one judge giving him 73%! Although in the beginning there were a few tiny mistakes, thanks a bad spook right at the last minute in the warm up, the rest of the test was really quite alright even though Jojo was a bit hot and Henri had to ride a little bit on the safe side. But it paid off! Placing 29th out of He was the only Finnish rider (out of a team of 4) to qualify for the next round, the Grand Prix Special which is tomorrow morning.

Fingers crossed that it all goes well tomorrow ♥
Henri riding Jojo (C) Hevosurheilu
(C) SRL
(C) SRL

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #7

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 7 - What's your biggest riding pet peeve?

Oh thank god this is a short one today, since I'm also going to publish another post later about Henri's success today and I'm going to be up for a while finding all the pictures and info!


My personal biggest riding pet peeve is how easily I stress if I have to rush at all. Now I had to google what 'peeve' actually meant: a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it. I'm pretty sure that other people won't have a near melt-down, and get incredibly irritated if they are short on time... I find it particularly annoying when it's my fault too, e.g. I spent too much time on the phone or lost track of time and then fall 15 minutes behind schedule! This really stresses me out and then my riding becomes totally pointless because I'm feeling anxious.

I won't go into details about my annoying riding problems, since Day 23 is about my worst riding habits. You can expect a long one for that!!
This is what I should do every time I start stressing out!

21.8.13

30 Day Equestrian Challenge, Day #6

30 Day Equestrian Challenge

Day 6 - What's in your grooming bucket?

Léttia Pro Set grooming bag
Mane and tail comb and Cowboy Magic detangler and shine
Chin guards
Baby oil, Hydrocortisone gel, Apobase cream and Pferdebasalm
Face brush and body brush
Various dandy brushes 
Curry combs and pumice stone
Vallu's riding diary! ♥
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