This is my 200th post!! Thank you all for reading my little blog ♡
(This was just a quick update from my phone, I have no proper internet access until I'm back in Finland!!)
Vallu arrived in Germany on Wednesday evening just as I was driving onto the ferry in Hull, getting ready for a 12 hour boat ride to Rotterdam, from where I'd have to drive for 3 hours to get to Krefeld, Germany! Luckily the transport company had called one of the girls here early enough so that they were prepared for him.
I got here Thursday around midday (after having an unfortunate 30 minute drive totally lost around the center of Krefeld after missing the junction) and was greeted by a very fresh and happy horse. He'd been on the walker in the morning and has just been shod as well, so he was sporting brand new shoes. I'm so happy that Vallu is in such good spirits, he travelled so well to Germany. I just hope he travels as well from here to Finland. Unfortunately even though it was agreed that Vallu would be picked up on Saturday 29th, it's now been pushed back so that he'll stay here until Friday of next week, and be back in Finland on Sunday :(
Vallu has just left the yard with John Parker International. He's going down south with them tonight, resting at their stables overnight, having a vet check early in the morning tomorrow and travelling from then on so that he should be in Krefeld, Germany on Thursday midday/afternoon.
Vallu was picked up at 4pm, so Vallu was able to have a completely normal day before leaving. He got to go on the walker, and I also got to lunge him in the afternoon. He looked very relaxed, and I really hope he stays like this throughout the trip which would mean he would be in good shape when he arrives back in Finland.
I really want to say how I happy am with how utterly lovely the driver who collected him was, I'm sure he will be very well looked after. I can't wait to see him in Germany on Thursday!
|On the lorry ♥|
Since Vale View was hosting the British Dressage Para Winter Festival, we've had the great opportunity of riding with all the white boards out, lots of people in the cafeteria as well as a judges' table at C. This is great practise for Vallu and me, we can now go nearly safely past the table with only his outside ear twitching towards it. Considering we started from Vallu refusing to go anywhere near the white boards with at least a 2 meter gap between him and them, and staying well away from the table and chairs, this is huge progress.
I intuitionally trained properly for the last 3 days event though the weather was lovely and we could have ridden outdoors, because I wanted to take advantage of having the boards and letters laid out. I now know how close I can ride to the letters and boards without Vallu spooking and I love the way how Vallu responded to me asking him to concentrate on me and nothing else. He was lovely and attentive and did everything that I asked. On Sunday I could feel that he was getting tired from having to work hard three days in a row, so for the rest of the week he is now getting an easy time with lots of hacking (weather permitting of course)
With our departure for Finland fast approaching, I'm just keeping Vallu happy and content, and trying to make him as fit as I can, so that the journey to there will be as easy and comfortable as possible for him. This means he's getting some form of work everyday, and goes on the walker so he stays in good shape. Lots of hacking out means that he has to do quite a bit of hill work, and I can already feel the difference in him. In the the trot work, it's especially clear as he can just push forwards so much more easily and with less effort. Hacking out is also a nice way to keep him in constant work but at the same time letting his brain chill out so that he stays happy! :)
Yesterday was the first properly warm spring day, I was very tempted to ride outdoors with just a t-shirt on. Because both the indoor arenas were fully booked up until late into the night, I decided to put on my big girl pants and rode outdoors... And what a great idea that was.
|Outdoor arena and sunshine :)|
Because neither one of us is normally very happy on the big outdoor arena, I always try to avoid it the best I can (bad rider I know!) but since the weather was SO lovely, I was feeling pretty optimistic and Vallu felt so relaxed.
After a good ten minutes of walking about with LONG reins and with absolutely no spooking happening I decided to start working on the trot. Once again, no problems and at this point I was already over the moon!!! Normally as soon as I ask for something more than walk Vallu starts messing about and he totally loses his focus on me. Even with arena eventing practise jumping happening in the other indoor/outdoor arenas, Vallu managed to keep his attention on me.
As everything was going well, I decided to start working on the homework that Andrew had given us during last Thursday's lesson, and that was canter to trot transitions. Sounds simple enough yes, but boy can they be difficult to get perfect! I either hold on too much and Vallu does a canter walk transition of then then I don't do enough and Vallu just stays in canter and ends up doing some very nice collected canter!! :D With some very clear and consistently used aids, we managed to get there in the end on Thursday, so we picked up from where we left off. It seems like we both remembered immediately how to do them! Breathe out, soften outside rein, half halt, and immediately once Vallu moves down to trot, asking for a bit more forwards so that we get a big trot straight away.
|Vallu loving the sunshine|
We'd only been working for 30 minutes by this point (including ten minute walk) so I thought we needed to do some more work, considering the fact that Vallu has had 5 days of easy work and lots of hacking out. So I decided to do another exercise that Andrew made us do last Thursday, which was transitions within a pace, and this time it was canter; so we did transitions between working canter and extended canter on a big 20m circle. It was great to finally be brave enough to be able to push Vallu to go properly forwards even when we are working outdoors!
I managed to get a huge breakthrough in my own head. When I keep myself and Vallu busy with work and different and difficult exercises, then no spooks happen!! It's so obvious but I think it needs to happen first before you can believe in it...
Obviously my first day back in Nottingham after my weekend home means that I'm going to be crazy brave, and decided to take Vallu out for a hack by myself. It went quite well, we only got about ⅓ of the way of our normal route but since we managed to survive heavy traffic, I decided to turn back before it ended badly. Coming back up the big hill, we got overtaken by two cars, followed by a van and then a lorry, then a bike and then finally a motorbike... Fun times!
I think we will stick to hacking out with other people, but it's great to know that we can survive by ourselves. The bridle path will hopefully become dry soon so that we can start hacking out there instead of the village.
I've spent this weekend in Finland having a moment of calm before the big move back here. It really has been lovely to see all the horses, who are all looking great! I got to ride Rama on Saturday, and he was amazing - everything was easy like usual with him. I also got to see nearly all of our horsey friends, and it was great to catch up with everyone.
|Baby B selfie ♥|
My friends have been bombarded with tons snapchats of our dogs. I can't believe how I've managed to not live with them for so long, I love them so much. Toivo is such good boy, he follows you all the time and never leaves your side when you're outside. Niilo isn't so good ;) he nearly always goes off on an adventure and ends up giving you a heart attack every ten minutes when you can't find him...
|Tired stable cat ;)|
I'm now off to pack and get myself to the airport, I'm flying back to Heathrow today and should be back in Nottingham in the evening! I'm super excited to see Vallu tomorrow, he's been such a good boy apparently, and I bet he has loved his little mini-holiday :)
Once again it's been proven that you never really know what life is going to throw at you... Last week we found out that mum has hurt her other arm so badly that she needs to have surgery on it as soon as possible. This means that at the end of this month Vallu and I will move back to Finland for the summer, so that I can look after our horses back home and that mum can have her surgery asap and start recovering.
|Check out the scary tractor making lots of noise in the background - Vallu didn't spook at all|
In a way I'm really disappointed that I won't be able to compete over the summer like planed with Vallu, but family is far more important and I do think Vallu will be very happy back at home with all our other horses! Maybe we can try to do a couple of competitions back home? ;) It will be lovely to be able to ride all of our horses, I've missed Basse terribly. And my parents. And Nelli and Rama; and the dogs and our cat. Finland summer 2014 ♥
A good friend has her small horse/pony for sale and we decided to take some photos of Casper! Casper is 6 years old, about 15.1hh and a true gem for someone looking for an all round small horse. Brave as anything, he always tries his heart out and super quick to learn. Can do hunting, show jumping, arena eventing, dressage and hacking out in company; he's good at everything. If anyone is looking for an absolute star of a little pony/horse please share this post and please get in contact with me through here or on email. Thank you!