10 tips for organising your tack

As is well known by friends and family, I have a major tendency to buy lots of things for my horses and for myself. Over-reach boots, bandages, lead ropes, rugs you name it! I'm sure everyone has at least once in their life gone to a tack shop to buy one thing and come out with lots more things than you intended πŸ™ˆ It's like you can't stop and it's even worse with online shopping where you see something pretty in the  catalog and you end up buying another pretty sparkly thing. And eventually, you run out of space even if you already have lots of shelves dedicated for all your stuff πŸ™„
So after having had a major spring clean/clearing up session, I have thought of some tips to organise your tack efficiently so that you don’t come to hunt for that thing that you had in your hand yesterday but can't find it when you need it! 

Tips for organising your tack:
1. Make sure to have a big enough grooming bag to hold all of your brushes, lotions and potions. I can recommend the Eskdron grooming kits, they are very very good but my favourite is this Kingsland grooming bag ⬇️ It's just that bit bigger and has a slightly better shape to it. I can always overfill an Eskadron bag with all my stuff but I've never managed yet it with this one!
2. If you have a tack locker or shelves that you have to share with others, buy lots of clear plastic boxes. You can stack the boxes on top of each other and so get more bang for your buck, but it also looks so much more tidy and organised than without!

On a side note - it also helps to put your sweets/cookies/polos/sugar lumps into small plastic boxes so that they don't attract mice or other little creatures.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Next Generation collection

ALOHA! It's here, it's finally here the newest Next Generation collection from Eskadron! If you remember last autumn Eskadron replaced NG with the Heritage collection (which I wrote about here) and if you recall I was quite dissapointed with the loss of the NG, so you can imagine how pleased I was when I heard about it coming back for the SS17 season!
Now this collection is not for those who like the more sedate/classic colour schemes, because Eskadron decided to go big and bold and incorporate flowers, feathers and an Astec type pattern into this collection! So risky, which is why I really admire Eskadron. I can't imagine a lot of the more famous big brands doing anything like this. It may or may not prove to be popular, but well done for trying something like this major points! The colours are anthracite (black) grenadine (orangey colour) light grey, smoked blue and white.


One year 'not broken horse anymore' anniversary

How time flies! πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ I'm so happy that we've managed a year without any major set backs and no reoccurring broken pony (fingers crossed, knocks on wood πŸ‘πŸ») This time last year I was ecstatic to have the vet tell that I could start riding Vallu again after having gone through nearly 4 months of an emotional rollercoaster where during the worst times I thought I was never going to get to ride Vallu again. My poor vet, I can still remember her having to deal with me crying and shaking when she said that his leg looked good!

And here we are a year later, and I'm still overjoyed to be riding my Heart Attack Horse 🐴 I'm trying to get us out doing a medium level test as soon as possible, because he feels really happy and healthy at the moment! I'm just waiting for mum to check his saddle and for the chiropractor and sport massage practisoner to treat him before really pushing on towards competitions!


Outdoor season!

Finally! Last week I've been able to exercise both boys in our outdoor arena! I've been really feeling quite claustrophobic in the indoor as we've been using it for over 7 months now, so I was really pleased to be able to ride outside, even if it was a bit speedy at times πŸ‡πŸ’¨
I kept things really simple with both boys, just doing lots of circles and transitions in an attempt to keep them a bit focussed on me so that neither would have the time to spook at something. Basse earned lots of gold stars for being hoof perfect and not being bothered by anything ⭐️ Vallu on the other hand was near a total breakdown for 99% of the first ride outside... πŸ™ˆ Even though he'd been lunged 3 days in a row on the outdoor arena so that he would be used to it, on the day that I rode him for some reason the road was really busy and there was lots going on which meant that I was pleased to trot around the arena both ways and to not have fallen off! Here's hoping this week it will be a bit calmer when I ride him so that I could possibly even canter without being ejected off into orbit.


Training day!

Last Friday I had an amazing but hectic day training where at the end of the day I felt like I had been at a training camp for a week, my head was just full of new ideas and I had so many light bulb moments! πŸ’‘πŸ΄

In the morning, I had a lesson with the amazing Jenny Erikson and Vallu totally redeemed himself from last time! It was a brilliant training session, I was so pleased with both Vallu and myself. Of course when a lesson is brilliant that's the one time there is no photographic evidence as I was on my own. Vallu was working with me, cooperative and just the right amount of forwardness (apart from a few spooks, but those had legitimate reasons!) 


Blue Sunday

Warming up in trot - look at his little ears!!
On Sunday I had a really "just OK" ride on Vallu. It wasn't the best ride ever and a few months ago I would have been really bummed out about it, but now I'm actually really proud of what we achieved that day. Vallu came out so hot that the moment I picked up my reins he was off - which is normally nice - but this time I had no breaks and no steering and he was just running away with me! πŸ‡πŸ’¨ But instead of getting frustrated or scared, I actually made him work with me practising either riding down the centre line or the ¾ line in his 'small' trot so that he actually had to work over his back and relax through his neck. To tell the truth he was listening to my seat really well whilst simultaneously blocking my hand/rein aids, so I figured out I was better off working on straightness in collected trot and canter rather than doing transitions because doing transitions when he's in this kind of mood just seems to always end up in a very very hot and unrideable Vallu.


Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

"Brighter than a lucky penny, when you're near the rain just disappears dear and I feel so fine just to know that you are mine. My life is sunshine, lollipops and rainbows"  ☀️🍭 🌈
Since the training sessions that I talked about in my last two blog posts, riding both boys has been so much fun! It's not been easy, we've actually had to all work quite hard doing the exercises that Jane recommend to us and it's had a massive impact on how well both of the boys are moving. Vallu has been on fire πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ every time I've ridden him and we've had a couple of spooks but thanks to my better and stronger seat I have felt SO much more comfortable dealing with these, and because I feel more confident Vallu is able to relax and let me call the shots. Doing travers every ride has improve his trot in such a short period of time that I'm astounded (or at least I think he looks better in these pictures that before!) I have even managed to have good rides on him with just a snaffle on, instead of his double bridle finally, thank god!!! πŸ™ŒπŸ»


Dressage training with Jane Cannon: travers everywhere!

Whilst lessons with Basse were focused a lot more on my style of riding and what I needed to do with my seat, position, hands/arms and legs, my lessons with Vallu were a lot more what exercises I needed to do to keep him working better but also calmly. 
The best way to get Vallu more supple and flexible all over his body was to just do travers everywhere! Travers is something that I did a lot of during my lessons with Andrew Fletcher but I just somehow totally forgot about riding them since then and I'm so glad Jane reminded me about it because it made such a big difference to Vallu. We did about 5-10 minutes of travers in total, with the aim of building it up to 20 mins of travers everyday (in all paces). The best thing that worked for us was to do travers on in the ¾ line so that there is more space between horse and the wall but also because it makes sure you have control over both shoulders! πŸ™ŒπŸ»


Dressage training with Jane Cannon: be more authentic as a rider

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to get two consecutive lessons on Basse with our old trainer Jane who used to teach us for several years before we moved to Finland. We calculated that it must have been nearly 7 years since our last lesson together!! πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ I've been very reluctant to take Basse anywhere to find a new trainer for him because I'm so overprotective of him and I don't want to take him to a lesson with anyone who won't understand him, so when Jane came over for a short holiday to visit my parents I jumped at the chance to have a few lessons with Basse with her!
On the first day it was all a bit difficult. Basse's inherently lazy gene came out full force for having to work harder than he's had to for well over a year and this resulted in the funniest temper tantrum where he resembled a giraffe doing tΓΆlt/canter because he didn't want to canter like we wanted him to. Once he gave up he was obviously tired because he's not at full fitness level, and then we had to end the lesson soon after that because we didn't want him to get too sour. But before the temper tantrum and before getting too tired he produced some fantastic work that I was really pleased with.

The next day we were both ready to work our best so that the lesson wouldn't be as tough (I was also having lessons on Vallu and felt like death!). It was so nice to get on and realise that Basse was feeling happy and good in himself, I had been worried that he would be too tired. Instead I had a horse who went on the bit as soon as I picked up the reins and also relaxed through his neck straight away! #success


Trends to watch out for: Equestrian Stockholm SS17

This collection is just AAAMMAAAAZING. I first saw the ES SS17 Lookbook at the beginning of the year and I'm so relieved that I can finally talk about it with people! I've been so excited to see what other people think about it because I think it just might be one of my favourite collections ever. Although this collection has already come out in mainland Europe (Germany and Finland for sure) and it's going to be soon arriving in the UK, I feel like not a lot of people have yet seen or heard about this new SS17 collection. I'm not even sure that a lot of people around the world have heard about the Equestrian Stockholm brand so I feel like this is a great chance to showcase the brand a bit to you guys. I already have the midnight blue dressage saddle pad from the first collection which is my ultimate smart training riding outfit (which I've already blogged about here). We also already have the champagne pad and bandages which is a very beautiful set. What I absolutely adore about ES is how bloomin' classy all their products are, especially if you like a bit of bling like me.
From their website, you can find this statement: "Fashion, power and elegance are the keywords we have in mind when we develop our new collections. Our products are created using new and exciting sport materials, all with the environment in mind and having a feminine and cool design" which you can really see from their products. Also the fact that ES is inspired by powerful women makes me really happy to be supporting and buying from this brand, even more so due to the fact that Equestrian Stockholm is against down and fur, environmentally friendly and supports young women ✌πŸΌπŸ’πŸΌπŸ’•


Hey there wild Vallu!

A few weeks ago in one of the blog posts I mentioned that I was worried that both of the boys were feeling a bit blergh, but not anymore! I think spring is in the air and Vallu is certainly acting like it!πŸŒ±πŸŒΏπŸ’πŸŒ·πŸŒ»πŸŒΌπŸŒΈ I had my fire breathing dragon back which I am really pleased about even though there was no warning as his behaviour during turn out and in his stable hadn't changed at all. After falling off last summer I've finally managed to get back my self confidence so that even if he is wild and piaffes everywhere and threatens to rear, it doesn't paralyse me with fear anymore. Sure I get tense and I would prefer if he kept all four feet on the ground more, but it doesn't make me feel sick to my stomach anymore, thank god!
Practising our very very collected trot (one day maybe it might passage?)


What makes a good rider?

This post has been in my drafts folder since last year when I was doing nothing but my normal chores at the yard and hand walking/grazing Vallu but I never got round to publishing it because I was constantly too busy to try and finish a blog post that required too much thinking. But during that time and since then, I've had a lot of time to think about what a good rider. Not the Olympic, world class record breaking rider on their million dollar horse but a 'good' rider on their normal happy horse.
For me, a good rider has the 'feel', an appreciation for each horse they work with. We must all remember that each horse is different and has different needs because of their different skills and weaknesses. A good rider understands this and works with each horse to improve their strengths and to make each horse the best version of themselves. To just ride each horse the same way without any flexibility is pointless and the sign that this person isn't as good as they think they are because "anything forced or misunderstood can never be beautiful” Xenophon.


Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful

In my last blog post I mentioned that both boys had recently been feeling a bit blerghy for two weeks and it was making me feel quite bad. I've also had several people ask me about my competition schedule I was also freaking out about needing to go and compete until I realised that I have no rush to get competing until the boys and I feel ready. But then the following day both boys were fantastic! I think this maybe due to the fact I had been worrying so much about this until I wrote it down in the blogpost and having verbalised it, I then felt determined to figure out how to fix it. 


SS17 Wishlist

As my most popular posts seems to be those about new equestrian trends and styles (equestrian lifestyle guru in the making here! πŸ˜‰) I thought I'd share my own SS17 wishlist or in other words what I already have on pre-order/ what I will buy as soon as possible list!
I'm currently trying to ignore the fact that we've had over 25cm of snow in the last 48 hours and that it looks like we've gone backwards in time to 3 months ago and whatever hint of spring that was in the air over the weekend has now fully disappeared... I'm also trying to ignore the fact that both boys feeling a bit 'bleh' recently. Nothing is really wrong but neither has their usual umph and nothing seems to excite them anymore - I think they are both suffering from the winter blues, wishing that spring would arrive so that we wouldn't have to spend any more time in the indoor. So yes, onto the bright, happy fun stuff!


Saddle update!

At last! After spending the last 9 months wishing for a deeper seat for Basse's WOW saddle, it finally arrived on Monday and yesterday I got ride in my 'new' saddle. I can't say it's totally new because we've only changed the seat from deep to extra deep, but it does feel like a brand new saddle to me πŸ˜
The extra deep seat has a very high round cantle to give a deep supportive seat and is used mainly by dressage riders. The deep seat instead has just a high round cantle and is used by dressage riders and show jumpers alike because the seat give a secure central feel, but the extra deep is designed just for dressage riders because it does sit you really 'deep' - which I prefer a lot more!! Not only do I feel more secure, but my back is a lot happier too. The extra deep seat lets my sit in such a way that lets me find the most comfortable position for my back. This is incredibly important for me as I suffer from my spine being too straight - caused by one too many back injuries which have caused a lessened curvature in my spine. 


Trends to watch out for: HV Polo SS17

Spring time colours!! ❤️ πŸ’› πŸ’š πŸ’™ πŸ’œ Finally some wonderfully bright colours are coming out! I always prefer the SS collections as they lean towards brighter colours than AW collections (obviously) but having survived the -20C snow and ice for the last few months I am TOTALLY ready for spring 🌳🌱🌷 🌻🌸🌼🌺


The curious case of Bastitini

Life with this little grey one is never going to be boring... Despite having owned him for over a decade, I feel like I have only just figured out how to ride him! We're coming to the end of our rehabilitation plan, so that now I would be willing to take him to somewhere for a training session - if we could actually trailer anywhere because the roads are currently just ice and far too dangerous! ❄️ πŸ¦„


Chiropractor visit

Over the weekend we had our chiropractor come to check all of the horses to ensure that they are all feeling as good as possible since the weather has turned horrible and we now have half-melted-snow-thats-turned-to-ice everywhere. None of the horses are particularly happy about being turned out in icy paddocks, but luckily they are feeling alright - a few spots of ‘tension’ here and there but nothing terrible - thank god!


Trends to watch out for: euro-star SS17

FINALLY we are getting to see sneak pics of what the SS17 collections will look like! I'm so excited, because I love bright colours spring/summer collections are a lot more my style than the AW collections.

Euro-star have released a look book of their SS17 collection and I did a mini happy dance when I saw it! And there's a good reason for that because at last someone has used purple πŸ’œ πŸ’œ πŸ’œ Ever since Eskadron released blackberry in their AW13 collection, I think the matchy world has been begging for someone to release another purple and now euro-star have! YAY!


It's all just so emotional

Like I wrote on my instagram yesterday, you'd think that after nearly 5 years I would have figured Vallu out by now, but no not yet...  πŸ™„ πŸ€” Vallu apparently will never fail to keep me grounded and continuously learning about riding and owning horses. And the lesson that I learnt last week? That he is incredibly sensitive to my emotions (good and bad) which means I need to work a lot harder on making sure I only bring my A game to every ride so that he never has to feel me being tense or worried. I read somewhere a few weeks ago that horsemanship is about thinking and that horsemanship is about understanding and seeing things from a horse's point of view. Well I've certainly learnt to see things from his point of view!
"Perhaps a more confident rider, who notices the horse is nervous, is able to control his or her own tension or nervousness."



On the last day of my winter break whilst I was riding Basse I suddenly thought about how much this horse has progressed in his rehab. We got the clear ahead to start doing trot work in mid October and although he is still not perfect, now only a few months later he is doing a lot better than most people expected πŸ‘πŸ»

We have good trot on the left rein (bad rein) and a better trot on the right rein. Basse is able to do shoulder in and leg yields in walk and trot, he can trot 12m circles without struggling and we have a very nice right canter. That has all been achieved in 3 months! Okay so our left canter is a bit wild and some days I feel like I’m riding a just broken in baby horse who doesn’t know where his legs are meant to go, but overall I have a happy and sound horse who enjoys his work!


4 year blogiversary

My little blog is now FOUR years old! 🎁🎈🎊 πŸŽ‰ How quickly does time go? This is my 450th post and I'm so glad I decided to start blogging all those years ago. I've gained some fantastic friends, been given great opportunities to review products and most importantly, I will have memories and photos of my horses forever. I find it so freeing to be able to write down what has happened and how I was feeling etc so that I'll be able to look back on everything that has happened. 

A massive thank you to everyone who reads this blog and especially to those of you who take time to comment, it means a lot! Hopefully we will have a very exciting and busy 2017 ❤️❤️❤️


Dressage training: Just think more rationally

On Thursday I had one of the most motivating and inspiring lessons that I've had ever since leaving the UK and my lessons with Lili from Brooksby Dressage. Sometimes it just takes a while to find to someone you can connect with and suits both you and your horse and I was quite bitter about having to stop my lessons with Lili when I moved back to Finland as she (like Andrew Fletcher before her) understood both Vallu and I. On top of this, ever since Vallu's injury I've been utterly paranoid about having lessons because I'm worried that a new trainer won't understand that he needs/I want to give Vallu lots of walk breaks when working so there is the smallest possible chance he hurts himself again.

I've been lunging Vallu over poles once a week for well over a  month now because I realised how absolutely bored he was with his normal lunging session. He put zero effort in until he saw he had to get his little hooves over the poles after which I built them up to tiny jumps and I now have a very happy horse whenever he realises he's being lunged. Despite this, I've not wanted to do pole work when riding on my own because I've felt very insecure and worried that I would mess up and somehow Vallu would end up hurting himself (see how my brain works now? #eternallyworrying) So you can image how much I was panicking for agreeing to a pole work lesson with M (I won't share her name because I'm not sure if she wants to be named on my blog!)


Prolite dressage girth review

For what feels like the longest time, I've been looking at different ways to improve Vallu's comfort when riding him. I've blogged several times about how much I love the WOW saddles and how totally I believe in them being one of the most comfortable saddles for horses for many reasons such as the Flair Flocking System where the panels of the saddle are filled with air which has been proven by pressure testing to be the best out there. WOW's also have the biggest range of changeable head plates as most saddle manufacturers will only supply trees with angles from 80 degrees (narrow) to 110 degrees (extra wide) whilst WOW has a range of 73 to 143 degrees - the list goes on! This saddle has been a godsend for a sensitive creature like Vallu, but I've felt like there's been something missing to help his comfort even more  πŸ€” I even got Jins last summer in the hope that they would help me keep my heels down and get my legs to be more still (and they have helped with this!) to ensure that I don't affect him as much.

But even after all of these, I felt like there was something missing and I ended up doing quite a bit of research on different girths by plenty of different brands and talking to a few good equestrian friends. I ended up going for a Prolite dressage girth that is manufactured under license from Fairfax Saddles Ltd's intellectual property rights.


New year, new goals?

Oh wow.

Those are the only words that come into my mind that adequately describe the shock that it's now actually already 4 days into January 2017 and woahhh Christmas is over, although it has been so nice to have a long break from blogging! Although I spent most of Christmas on the sofa thanks to a horrible flu, I was still able to see all of my family and spend Christmas Eve just chilling and spending quality time with the best people ❤️ Due to my flu, both the boys had several days off and Basse somehow ended up having a week off(!!) after which he has come back better than ever!
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