18.11.17

Christmas wish list 2017

Alrighty guys, get readyyyyy as it's time for my annual Christmas wish list! I have done a Christmas wish list every year since I started this blog and since there's only a month and a bit left until Christmas, it's about time I create the "dear Santa" post that I can share with my family so that they know what they can get me for Christmas - I know they read this! Although I do feel like I'm very early this year because it's only mid November, but oh well here goes!!๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ

1. Montar Amber sweatshirt
Ever since following Equissimo on twitter and Instagram, I have fallen a little bit in love with one of their stocked brands, Montar. Hailing from Denmark, Montar is known as one of the most innovative European equestrian brands. And this sweatshirt... Glittery and grey, what more could you want! ⭐️

14.11.17

Tuesday thoughts: in defence of my schoolmaster

I saw something on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that got my back up as some people felt the need to bash schoolmasters. Some of the comments that I saw were along the lines of: "the idea of a ready trained horse isn't my thing", "a made horse doesn't excite me much, I wouldn't say no if someone offered me a schoolmaster to teach me the ropes at higher levels, but I think the novelty would wear off" and "I prefer to being able to sit back and think 'I created that'." Now I know that these people are not actually criticising my horse, and in no way do I believe that they are insulting me personally but I am still under the impression that my schoolmaster horse and I are not as 'good' as these people and their horses who they have trained themselves...
Apparently he's not as special...
I have never felt the need to go around criticising anyone's horse or to judge whether someone else has trained the horse before or whether the owner/rider did the training themselves. I've trained Basse to elementary with a lot of help from different trainers and I was lucky to be given Vallu who has been trained to small tour level by my brother. BOTH of these horses are equally special and I have as much love and admiration for both of them - they are equally important to me as they have taught me so much. But the fact that Vallu was trained by someone else and is a schoolmaster doesn't not mean that my relationship with him is somehow less important than with Basse who I trained myself.

10.11.17

Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Heritage A/W 2017

๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ“ข Oh my goodness me, I'm so excited that after such a long time we have ROSE GOLD!!! ๐Ÿ“ข ๐ŸŽ‰ Finally, the equestrian fashion world is branching out into using gold rose instead of the typical silver or gold accents! When I saw the first leaked photos I did have my mouth hanging open for a bit in shock because I had genuinely thought that this would never happen... I mean how long has rose gold been a thing? At least several years!
But here we go, this is the new Eskadron Heritage collection AW 2017 featuring cream, brick red, military green, black, basalt grey and rosรฉ as the main colours, with rose gold accents. I was pleased to see Eskadron leave out brown for this collection, I can't actually remember when they last did a collection without some shade brown ๐Ÿค— And they've also not done a black for a couple of seasons too, so it was nice to see that coming back - the black glossy wave pad in particular is very eye catching! I'm also really impressed with the military/army green. It's quite an unusual shade of green which I think will look good on so many horses and would predict it could actually turn out to be quite popular. The grey is lovely as always and although I am not the biggest fan of red, this shade of brick red looks good. The rosรฉ (pink) looks to be a bit more of a peachy rose compared to the last two seasons which have been a bit too barbie pink for me, but the hint of peach in this has made me fall in love with this colour! I think it is a totally perfect match with the rose gold. ๐Ÿ’• I'm just SO much more impressed with this collection compared to last year's collection.

9.11.17

Riding exercise of the month: leg yield zig zag

Having recently been focusing on making sure that both of my horses are as supple as possible, I've been working on hard on the lateral movements. Shoulder ins, leg yields and half passes have become my go to exercises at the moment and I do vary between them, but my favourite riding exercise of the month has definitely been this leg yield zig zag!
(Image borrowed from here)

5.11.17

Equestrian Stockholm AW17 Steel Grey set

Having survived the first absolutely manic week of my second term at university this year, I was SUPER excited to see that my Feather Dressage delivery had arrived on Friday. I've been on the hunt for another smart matchy set for training because at the moment I've only got my navy Equestrian Stockholm one, so when I saw that ES were coming out with this colour, I knew I needed to get it! ♥︎
So of course my outfit for the next day was sorted! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ I just knew it was going to amazing on Basse (grey on grey rocks!) but I must admit I was bit apprehensive about how it would look on Vallu, especially now that he is in his weird winter coat which is currently just a million different splotches of brown. But I love it, even on him!

31.10.17

Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2017

I am very proud and totally honoured to be named as Haynet's Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2017! ๐Ÿ‘‘๐Ÿ†

I'm very rarely speechless, but I must admit this has taken me a long time to write as I just don't know what to say apart from thank you ๐Ÿ’•

Like I wrote earlier, it was an honour in itself to be in the final group as I didn't even think I would make it! There were 12 finalists all with different blogs, I think nearly all interests and disciplines were covered. I was really pleased to see more international bloggers in the final group too, which is why Haynet and MirrorMePR decided to embrace the ever-increasing presence of international bloggers and to surprise us all with a brand new award - the International Talent award which Tacchi A Cavallo won! The Recognition of Talent award went to Diary of a Wimpy Eventer  and the Rising Star award to How Very Horsey. Well done guys!!

30.10.17

Wait... what?

After changing saddles so that Basse is now using Vallu's saddle (bigger head plate and different panels) with a sheepskin pad underneath, Basse has been on fire! ๐Ÿ”ฅ As in let'sgoeverywherereallyquicklyanddonothingelse fast type of on fire... This has meant that I have  suddenly a lot more forwards and a lot less balance so riding him suddenly felt like riding a motorcycle as I could not do corners without fearing that Basse might just fall over ⚖
However, luckily I follow Anna Ross - Altogether Equestrian on Facebook because she posts daily tips for riding (not just for dressage riders!!) and a couple of days ago she posted this: "Make a halt transition after every corner to help your horse learn to stay in balance. So many horses fall in on corners and run making it difficult to set up movements. Teach your horse to wait and you can turn it into a half halt later."

29.10.17

#rootd Eskadron Platinum 2017 blackberry!

I honestly cannot remember a time that I had been so excited for a new matchy set... Yes I know this may make me look sad to some people but honestly this colour from Eskadron when they first released it in 2013 is the ONE set that I have regrets about not buying! So when I found out that they were re-releasing the colour four years later, I knew I was going to pre-order that set so that I wasn't going to miss out on it again.
This is honestly one of my favourite colours because it is just so versatile - I hate it when a matchy set only looks good on a certain colour. This one you can put on any horse of any colour and the set will still look fantastic ๐Ÿ”ฎ๐Ÿ’œ Both of mine look fantastic in it, and if you search the hashtag #eskadronblackbbery on Instagram you'll see just how amazing it looks on every single horse!

24.10.17

Trials and tribulations: Sprenger Dynamic RS bit

Following on from my post in August about struggling with Vallu's weymouth and finding a new bit which I think is a good one for him, I've now just gone and bought him a new (well second hand) Sprenger Dynamic RS D-ring bit. Similarly with the weymouth, over the last month or so every now and then Vallu would play with the bit with his tongue as if to say he wasn't liking it, or then whilst riding he'd go way too light in the contact, open his mouth or then go behind the vertical so I knew it was time to find something else and quickly!
This bit combines an ergonomically created curved mouthpiece with an angled center joint, which is meant to result in soft and even pressure for the best possible bit acceptance. So essentially everything I need, right? His previous bit the Sprenger WH Ultra was also 14mm since anything thicker makes him stick his tongue out, but what I think the problem with that particular bit was that the centre lozenge contains a roller that is meant to give the horses a greater feeling of freedom with their tongue, but now this summer he's just started looking a bit uncomfortable with it. Maybe as he is getting older and his teeth are changing shape the bit that he's been so happy with previously is now not so good? ๐Ÿค”

22.10.17

Helsinki International Horse Show 2017

Like I already wrote on the blog's Facebook page, Helsinki International Horse Show is always then highlight of my year and whenever we have lived in Finland my parents and I always try to go for at least for one of the days. Although there are plenty of big shows throughout the year, HIHS is the one to go to especially because lots of international riders come for the World Cup™ Jumping classes.
Daniel Deusser riding Cornet, photo from SRL's Facebook page SRL Laura Laakso
Cantinero, photo from SRL's Facebook page SRL Laura Laakso
One part of the expo-hall, photo from SRL's Facebook page SRL Laura Laakso

18.10.17

Haynet's Equestrian Blogger of the Year Awards 2017 finalist

Well.... last night on Twitter things got very exciting as the 12 finalists for Haynet's Equestrian Blogger of the Year Awards 2017 were announced and I've been included in the finalist group for the fifth year in a row!๐ŸŒŸ (does a happy dance)
 Having seen how the equestrian blogging world has expanded massively this year, I didn't think there was any chance for me to be picked as one of the finalists so I was on Twitter purely out of curiosity to find out who the finalists were and to support the #horsebloggers community. Not for one second did I think that my little blog would have been included in this list, which by the way has some giant names in it and bloggers who have thousands of followers on twitter and Facebook ๐Ÿ˜ฑ So I'm still feeling pretty amazed to be included in such a group!

17.10.17

"Oh sh*t..."

If you are following me on Instagram you'll know that ever since coming back from my mini holiday in the UK Vallu has had a lump on his left front leg - the lump is in such a place that I knew there was a high chance of a potential ligament or tendon injury. When I looked at it alarm bells were going off and my only thought was "that is a game over injury". It has caused me several genuinely sleepless nights and a few panic attacks, but finally on Monday morning our vet had the time to come and scan the leg.
It's never a good sign when the vet walks into your horse's stable, sees the injury and goes "oh sh*tttt..." The lump on his leg is in such a bad place that I was honestly expecting to be told that it was either career ending or worse, so when the vet informed me that in fact there is only a tiny injury to his check ligament and nearly all of the swelling is between the check ligament and skin I was over the moon!! ๐ŸŒ™ I did the whole voice breaking/crying/laughing thing as I asked her several times if she was 100% sure it wasn't that bad. From the scans you can deduce that it definitely seems like it's more of an impact injury rather than wear and tear or an injury from being over-worked, so it's more than likely that on the Saturday when I was away and Vallu was a twat in his paddock he's managed to bang his leg... #bubblewrapneeded

16.10.17

A new family member!

I'm so excited to finally be doing a blog introduction of this guy! Just under two weeks ago this cute little fella turned up at our yard having spent 6 months at my brother's stables in Germany as a sales livery which is where mum spotted him and fell in love with him. When we lost Nelli in 2016 the entire family was devastated, and it's taken mum a very long time to even be interested in buying another horse to join our gang but finally this summer she started looking for a new one and now we have another bay gelding ๐Ÿด
He's a 13 year old Danish WB gelding (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Racot). Because of his ridiculous show name, his stable name is now Erkki, although I think he'll become Eric once we move back to the UK since I don't think anyone will be able to pronounce that!! He's a funny little creature, he's only 16.2 hh but he doesn't feel that small when you're riding him and good god when he does extended trot you can see how he is directly from Don Schufro - those of you who know dressage breeding lines will know why I'm so excited to have him join our family ๐Ÿ˜

11.10.17

#rootd: black and pink

Whilst I was writing one of the posts for my 'trends to watch out' series about HV Polo's winter 2017 collection, I knew that I needed to get in with the floral trend and get some of that pattern into my horses' wardrobe! I wasn't feeling the all-over print design of the Superior pad, so I decided to stick to the more subtle floral edging which I love. I know you can't see it that well in riding photos, but honestly it super pretty. When my mother saw the saddled she summed it up well by stating "it's classy but with a hint of cute thrown in" ๐ŸŒบ

So the riding outfit of the day is:
Saddle pad: HV Polo Brandson pad in black
Bandages: HV Polo Favouritas black
Top: Pikeur Sina top in black
Gilet: Pikeur NG SS16 Bepina Gilet in Magenta

10.10.17

There is beauty in simplicity

A lot of the blogs that I've recently been reading have been heavily focused on the need to have goals and aspirations and that we must always remember that achieving something takes a lot of time. I know having goals is really important, but recently I've realised that there is beauty in simplicity ๐ŸŒบ
Those of you follow us on Instagram will be aware of the fact that Vallu has a lump on his front left leg, which has been causing me major stress! It's behaving totally differently to a tendon/ligament injury so I've been very carefully riding him very lightly for the last week and since it's not getting worse with exercise, I'm going to carry on riding him to make sure he stays sane and doesn't go crazy in his paddock. I do have the vet coming out next Monday to scan his leg to see what is going on but I have my fingers tightly crossed that it is something less sinister than a major injury ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿผ

7.10.17

A little progress each day adds up to big results

I've been unintentionally very quiet on the blog recently, purely because I've been struggling a little bit with the fact that I feel like I haven't made any progress recently with either of the horses. Because I don't compete at the moment (it's definitely planned for spring 2018) I've put an enormous amount of pressure on myself lately to be able to show to everyone here and on social media that I am putting the work and getting results, but within the last few weeks that I felt like I'd reached a plateau with both boys and I panicked. It wasn't a blogging block this time, now it was a totally overwhelming feeling of failure.
Which is why I was incredibly grateful to get a plane tickets to visit my old yard friends back in the UK as a birthday present from my parents. Getting away from my normal life for three days was the best thing mentally for me, it forced me to focus entirely on something else and limited the time that I spent online. Everyone on social media always seems to be doing better than you, be out competing and training and being just all round fabulous even if in real life they are not. Being away from my laptop for 3 days helped me realise that everyone is always struggling a little bit, but we are all just are too afraid to post something that somehow could show our faults and limitations. So this is my 'I've felt like crap for the last few weeks' confession post ✌๐Ÿป

3.10.17

Feather Dressage Horse Fashion Charity Show in aid of Prince Fluffy Kareem

Like last year, for the last weekend of September I did a quick fly by to my old yard to help out at the Feather Dressage Horse Fashion Show and this year it was in aid of Prince Fluffy Kareem. PFK is a small, action-oriented group of people working to help horses, donkeys and camels by the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. When I found out the fundraised would be for PFK I was ecstatic! I've been following PFK on Facebook for several years now and am always in awe of the work that they do over in Egypt. I've been joyous with their success stories and sobbed whenever they lost anyone and whilst I know you can't pick a favourite charity, this one is very close to my heart.
And once again, what a weekend! We managed to raise an amazing £6,200 and I did burst into tears  at the end when the total was revealed. To know all of us have managed to help make life a little bit easier over the winter for PFK made the lack of sleep and stress totally worth it! ๐Ÿ’•

25.9.17

September Equestrian blog hop - Why do I blog?

One day during August as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I saw that Heather from Bridle & Bone had posted a question about the idea of a blog hop to the Equestrian Bloggers Facebook group and yes, I was very excited to join in. I've long taken part in lots and lots of equestrian blog hops simply because it is a great way of finding new blogs to read and providing content that is different to my usual blog posts, which is why I'm am really pleased to be taking part in the first ever Equestrian Bloggers one! ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ
September's topic is "Why did you start blogging? How did it all begin?" 

22.9.17

Trends to watch out for: Equestrian Stocholm AW17

Following on from my 'Trends to watch out for' series with Eskadron and HV Polo's autumn/winter collections, here is the third one featuring Equestrian Stockholm! Everyone knows that I have been a BIG fan of Equestrian Stockholm ever since they started, especially since they are a Scandinavian company and I will always support companies from 'my' area. I've honestly loved every single colour from each collection so far, and this season is the same. Deep plum, steel grey and golden brass are such autumnal colours, it's perfect๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚

For those of you who may be put off by the prices (I did have the same reservations at the beginning) these pads have lasted even better than my Eskadron sets... My midnight blue pad is a year old and apart from a few scratches on the logo from the washing machine, you wouldn't be able to tell that it's had a year of being my most used saddle pad! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸปIf you are looking for a really smart matchy set, I'd recommend ES.

19.9.17

An interview with the DressMyHorse app creators

A couple a days ago as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed I saw that someone had shared the link to this new app, where you can upload a photo of your horse and try on different matchy sets, instead of having to ask on different Facebook groups for photos of other people's horses wearing a certain set. This app was definitely built for people like myself who have a matchy addiction, so naturally I was very curious so I immediately downloaded the app and got to work. After a few days of playing with different sets on Basse, I knew this had been a fantastic idea which is why I went to their website to read more about the people behind the app. According to their about page, Sonja and Neil are "horse owners and self-confessed horsewear and tack shopaholics" who decided to build the app "because of an awkwardly red chestnut and its indecisive owner." I love this, because finally someone has understood the matchy problems we face (can't decide what colour to buy...)  and done something about it.

18.9.17

Ride more, worry less

It's been well over 6 weeks now that Basse has been off work. He's not been lame or anything like that, but the muscles in his back and around his pelvis were inflamed and sore so I've just been waiting and praying for him to get better. There's always something that we can worry about our horses isn't there? He's had lots of days off and lots of turn out, as well going hacking and a little bit of lunging work, and I think I've ridden him 'properly' a maximum of 5 times during this time.
Last weekend our chiropractor came to treat all the horses once again and I was incredibly nervous! I didn't think I would be, but I could feel myself shaking a bit before she started to work on Basse. I was very pleased to be told that his back was much better and that now I just need to get him moving a lot. I have 2 to 3 weeks of riding him mainly in trot and always long and low, which is something that he loves to do, but only once he has actually figured out where he his head and neck are meant to go - before these pictures he mainly resembled a giraffe.

10.9.17

My typical day

Inspired by Haynet's #horsebloggers blogging tips that were shared throughout August on twitter, tip #8 was to write about your typical day which is something that I have actually never done before on this blog! I've always enjoyed reading about other people's daily lives because I'm a very nosy person  ๐Ÿ™ˆ so I thought I would share what my typical day looks like. 
As most of you will know, I am fortunate enough to have the horses at home. My parents have owned this place for 7+ years, which means our yard jobs are almost second nature by now and our routine is pretty much the same every day! I feed the horses their breakfast feed and hay at 6am, the horses are turned out before 9am, the morning yard is done by 11am at the latest and after 1pm they come in for lunch. Those who are ridden/exercised that day will be done so at some point in the afternoon and those who have a day off are turned out again for the afternoon until dinner time. The evening yard chores and dinner are done around 8-9pm.

5.9.17

Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Classic AW17

I presume most people following this blog know that I am an avid Eskadron fan. For me, there is no other brand that has guaranteed great quality products which are stunning and Eskadron are always the one I look out for when new season collections start appearing! So for part 2 of my autumn/winter trends to watch out for, here's a quick look at Eskadron's classic sport AW17 collection:


The colours for this collection are dark taupe (brown), navy, orchid mauve (pinky colour), aqua marine and the lovely anthra melange (grey). I am a big big big fan of pinks and blues, so this collection is a huge success for me and scores 10/10 for sure! There is always going to be some shade of brown in every Eskadron collection, and once again this is a lovely shade. I also think the dark navy will be popular too, but from seeing everyone's preorders orchid mauve has already nearly sold out - how crazy is that?! The collection isn't even in shops yet but they're already nearly impossible to get hold of.

4.9.17

Dressage training with Ville Vaurio: “trust me, nothing bad will happen”

There aren’t that many scenarios that make me nervous when riding Vallu anymore (excluding hacking), but I have to say that the building works, galloping horses on side of the arena, people riding their horses on the canter track on the other side of the arena, gale force wind as well as people coming and going to the patio next to the arena as a combination did freak me out to begin with… ๐Ÿ™„ Talk about being thrown into the deep end! Especially when you are used to riding alone on your quiet arena with no interruptions apart from tractors and other traffic on the road near your arena. There was even one girl who was rude enough to jump over the poles that had been put in the middle of the arena to create separate spaces for those riding in the clinic and those who weren’t, and several times she jumped them right as I rode past and nearly rode into me! #mannersplease But after this slightly heart attack inducing warm up, I have to say I’m so happy that we went to have a lesson and that it was so busy there because now I have a new tactic on how to deal with a Vallu who has crept into his shell, is spooky but also behind the leg (talented horse right here…)
I’ve always been told to kick and ride forwards to make the horse busy when they are being spooky and that’s what I’ve always tried to do, but on the rare occasion that Vallu has been spooky as well as being behind the leg, I have always struggled with what to actually do to get him working normally. Asking him to go forwards has tended to result in more spooks (during this lesson I had 2 ‘leap into the air and then take off with me’) or then a canter that doesn’t actually go anywhere and his neck so tense that nothing you do can get it to move… But today Ville managed to get me to ride Vallu in a such a way that in the end despite everything that was going on around us I managed to get some of the best canter work out of Vallu AND some of the best working pirouettes ever!!

2.9.17

Top 5 equestrian products I can't live without

Inspired by Haynet's #horsebloggers blogging tips that were shared throughout August on twitter, tip #21 was to write about the top 5 equestrian products I can't live without, so here goes:

1. Pikeur breeches - I'm the first one to always recommend Pikeur when someone asks for recommendations for breeches because they just last and last and last! My oldest pair were 7+ years old before they were done and I essentially live in my newest ones. I know they have a hefty price tag on them, but in my opinion they are worth it and a top product that I could not live without.
2. My Shires Highlander Lite Combo turnout rug - it gets used so much from early spring to the end of autumn, it's the one rug that I feel like I would struggle with rugging if I didn't have it. Also considering it's price, it has done really well with staying waterproof! Even after 2 winters I haven't had to reproof it yet.

28.8.17

Riding exercise of the month: diamond pattern

During my most recent lesson with Jenny whilst I was warming up Vallu I was also watching the previous lesson and I saw them do a fantastic exercise which swiftly became my riding exercise of the month! Riding a diamond pattern has made a big difference to both boys as they've both been more balanced and more engaged a lot quicker.
After my 10 minute walk, followed by my 'canter and jog' warm up I have been riding this diamond pattern every day since the lesson and to get the best out of this exercise, pay attention and make sure you are using your seat to turn the horse at each corner, rather than using the reins. Jenny shouted "SHOULDERS!!" several times during this exercise to make sure that the rider was turning her seat effectively by reminding the rider to turn not just her hips but the rest of her body too. It also helps to look where you're going and turn your head and shoulders too, especially if you're doing this in canter. I've also tried doing this a couple of times in counter canter and it's not easy! ๐Ÿ˜…

24.8.17

Trends to watch out for: HV Polo AW17

Slowly over the last week or so there have been photos of the new HV Polo autumn winter 2017 collection being shared online and wow, this new range from HV Polo is undeniably perfect for brightening up your winter wardrobe since HV Polo have gone for bright colours as well as floral patterns and a pied de pool motif! ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒผ Talk about being bold - most other equestrian brands go for muted or darker colours for the AW collections but HV Polo have dared to be different.
And for once, they have normal names!! Black, blue, fuchsia, lime and navy as well as some products being available in ice blue and army green. I've also spotted some black bandages that have the floral pattern on them which look really cute, as well as the all round boots too. I've seen that they've also done over reach boots with the flower pattern, which I think is a great idea. Honestly I think that the black boots with the pattern are gorgeous, I'd love to see them in real life to be able to see if it's actually as pretty as it is in the pictures.

20.8.17

Dressage training with Jenny Eriksson: better reaction from the leg

I was a bit anxious going to this lesson because ever since our last lesson with Jenny, Vallu has been feeling a bit sluggish and behind the leg. Unless I've been just riding him long and low, he's just not been that into his work and he's lost his spooky & hot mode. Although I'd been glad that I'd to work less on trying to stay on (๐Ÿ˜…) it did make me realise how much I adore his normal attitude towards work and forward going-ness. Sometimes you don't realise how much you love something until you lose it!
Having to use old photos because I was all alone at this lesson

But during this lesson, Vallu seemed to return to normal ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป I had two small spooks in the corner that took me WAY longer than normal to get under control simply because I hadn't been expecting them and my reaction time had clearly gotten worse over the last 2 months. The gallop after the one big spook lasted an entire circle simply because I was too busy giggling at him! I can't even put into words how relieved I am that the wild/hot headed side of him has returned. I think the heat and humidity combination of the Finnish summers got to him and made him incredibly lethargic (and before anyone comments: yes I have had his saddle checked and both the chiropractor and equine massage therapist have checked him and given him the all clear so he's NOT been in any pain!)

18.8.17

Keep going

I've been reluctant to blog about Basse for a few weeks now since he's been going through a bit of a phase where we've had to take so many steps back and it's never fun to acknowledge that you're not progressing with your horse...
But anyway, if you've been following our Facebook page or my Instagram, you'll know that nearly a month ago we had the chiropractor come do the horses and Basse was the worst that he's been since starting his rehab last year... ☹️ The muscles on the right side behind the saddle and around the pelvis were really sore. He'd been feeling fantastic, so I had no idea that he was so sore bless him. I feel terrible looking back now but I still can't think of a single ride where he would have given me any signs that he wasn't happy!

13.8.17

Project Gingersnap blog hop: Change

T from Project Gingersnap asks: "Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress? What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay with what you know is working? How did either choice work out in the long run?"

I thought this was a great blog hop subject because making a big change like this can be terrifying! I have always gone with my gut and have been 'brave' to change stables and trainers in order to advance and make progress.

12.8.17

Blogger Recognition Award - Pet Edition 2017

I received the sweetest surprise this week! I was nominated by Bridle & Bone for the Blogger Recognition Award - Pet Edition 2017, thank you so much! It's always amazing to be recognised by others and it really brightens up your day  ๐Ÿ’–✨

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:
Thank the nominating blogger.
Respond to the nominating blogger with a link to this post on their blog.
Write a post about the award.
Share a story of how and why you started your blog.
Offer at least two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Pass on the nomination to another 15 bloggers!

9.8.17

Trials and tribulations: double bridle bits

If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I recently bought a new weymouth bit to trial for Vallu. He was fine in his old weymouth, but after doing several months of researching and going through old photos I just knew it was time to try something else with him. He's been much better to ride in the double bridle since I bought him a new bridle from EquiWare UK, but I still wasn't entirely happy - every now and then he'd be too light in the contact, open his mouth or then go behind the vertical...
 I've always trusted and used Sprenger bits so for the last couple of weeks I've been on the hunt for a Sprenger KK weymouth because of the reviews I've seen for it, especially for horses with a sensitive mouth because the weymouth is shaped to the anatomy of the horse's mouth and it prevents pressure as the port is angled forward by 45°. I read somewhere that this is a very gentle bit, which is exactly what I wanted to get for Vallu!

5.8.17

In defence of the short and quick ride...

The other night I saw on Facebook someone bragging about the fact that they had ridden their horse for 2 hours to get the horse going well and it made feel a bit anxious and to feel sorry for the horse. Now don't get me wrong I go hacking out for hours and I do get that for example some cross country training sessions take up nearly 2 hours, but this woman had been schooling her horse in the arena for 2 hours and it sounds like the poor little thing hadn't had a lot of breaks during it. I didn't have anything nice to say, so I didn't comment on the thread but it seemed like a lot of other people were also concerned for the horse.
I had a terrible ride on Vallu last Sunday where we were so close to having an argument about going on the bit in an extended walk, but the moment he gave me one step of what I wanted I ended the ride there and then, instead of riding for 2 hours trying to get him to go perfectly. He then had the following two days off, and on Tuesday before I even got on I had decided that I was going to have a quick, short ride. I wanted walk, trot and canter on both reins and nothing else because I didn't want a repeat of Sunday's ride...

27.7.17

Riding exercise of the month: serpentines and figure of 8s

 I tend to have a main exercise that I focus on every month and for the most of July I've been using serpentines and figure of eights with both boys as the first exercise after my warm ups.  I've found that having some sort of a plan/goal before going riding has been really helpful now that I've been riding on my own and I've not had any lessons for a month as everyone is on holiday! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป It's been a great way of checking what mood they're in when they come out for work - if the serpentines go well straight away then I know I can ask for a lot more from them than if I struggle to get them on the bit and flexing correctly on tenth attempt! I've included both serpentines and figure of 8s as 'one' exercise because I think they are quite similar and I've alternated between them or then used both of them.

24.7.17

Rose plaiting guide

If you follow me on Instagram or the blog's Facebook page, you'll have seen this photo before a couple of weeks ago when I was helping out at a family friend's wedding photoshoot. It was SO much fun, I really enjoy being a groom and making the horse look perfect - I think the perfectionist side of me was in full force that day! ๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒธ
The final look!
Using real roses worked the best with doing dutch braid style plaits and then sewing AND using rubber bands to secure the roses. Anyone looking for a good dutch braid plaiting guide should read this one by Austen from Guinea For A Guinness! This guide was the one that gave me the confidence to try out the fluffy dutch style instead of my normal button plaits.

22.7.17

Sunset ride

I've had a gorgeous few days off from social media and I have bloody loved it. I have been spending far too much time on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and twitter for the couple of months that I felt like I was getting some form of brain fog/burnout last weekend. It took me an entire day to just answer questions for an exciting 'thing' coming out in early September and after that I couldn't even think of anything to write. I tried opening blogger but I just stared at my laptop, I have 5 different posts in my drafts folder and an entire page worth of notes in my notebook full of ideas and plans, but I couldn't actually write a simple tweet or share a photo on Instagram - I was experiencing my first bout of social media burnout. Something that I LOVE had become totally emotionally exhausting so I took a few days to just ride and enjoy my horses, have family days out and lunch with friends and help my mum with going through my grandpa's war time medals. 

I know this isn't the best picture but what I love about this one is that Vallu's neck is soft and round and his mouth isn't open, my reins are short and my lower leg looks normal!

15.7.17

Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Platinum 2017 collection

Ta-daaaaaa, Eskadron's 2017 Platinum collection has arrived and ooh is it pretty! I do think this might  just be my favourite Platinum collection so far as I really like every single one of the colours, which is actually quite rare for me  ✨
Eskadron started doing the Platinum collection in 2012 and so far I've had sets from this collection in 2013, 2014 and 2016 so you can tell that this is a firm favourite of mine! Although Eskadron have always stuck to the more 'classy' colours of black, navy, grey/silver and brown with the Platinum collections, in the 2016 collection they were brave enough to bring a new brighter colour to the table (which was the coral) so I knew we were in for a treat with the 2017 collection too.

14.7.17

Rocking E Cowgirl 10 questions July blog hop

Rocking E Cowgirl returns with another great set of questions for the second blog hop! 
1. If you could trail ride anywhere this summer, where would you go?
TO THE BEACH! ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒŠ I have always dreamed of taking my boys to the beach and riding in the sea ever since we had a family holiday in Ireland when I was 12 and I got to ride one of the ponies at the beach. We also rode up a small mountain/hill but that was not fun for me! I can just imagine Basse stumbling and us all falling down the side of it.

2. Tell me your all-time favorite joke.
Well this is not a joke, instead it's a funny line from one of the Blackadder episodes: "I think I'll write my tombstone 'here lies Edmund Blackadder, and he's bloody annoyed" simply because I've said this so many times throughout my life when I've been pissed off but everyone has always just laughed which has now made it into my favourite joke-y line to say, probably because I grew up watching all of the Blackadder episodes!

13.7.17

Ignore the haters

Inspired by Confessions of an Average Amateur Eventer on Facebook, I decided that I needed to have another slightly ranty blog post about bullying and jealousy, simply because what these bullies are doing has actually made me see red. I CANNOT understand why someone would set up an actual group on Facebook, made purely to bitch about certain #horsebloggers and apparently entire groups were "set up specifically just to discuss (negatively, always) peoples pages, their journey and the way they write." No. Just no. To the haters: learn to act like a normal decent human being and for goodness sake if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything! Keep your mouth shut and don't follow that page/blog if you don't like the person. I absolutely despise people who are bullies, so to anyone who is being bullied right now just keep going, keep riding and competing and show those haters that you are SO much better than them. Most likely their comments will be to do with jealousy that you are doing better than them, that you are working harder than them and achieving more things with your life. You have been noticed because you've worked your ass off and they haven't ✌๐Ÿป

8.7.17

Those damn tempi flying changes!

Ever since my last lesson with Ville, I've been racking my brain trying to find a way in which I can improve the way that I ride the tempi flying changes. Vallu has no problem doing a single flying change or the tempi changes, but his limit is three 1 tempis. I can ride the 3s and 2s no problem, but flying changes every 4th stride? Yeah no those are guaranteed for me to fluff them up somehow ๐Ÿ™„ THIS IS SO ANNOYING... I find it incredibly easy to ride the 3s and 2s, but somehow the rhythm of the 4s just gets to me and I start doing 'something' which causes Vallu to either change late behind, do really short/small changes or then change on fifth stride.
Then after a bit of reading on the good old inter web I found this AWESOME article on Dressage Today from 1997 and this quote from Uwe Mechlem made everything go so much better: "impulsion must be maintained during the change. If the horse makes short changes, the rider must think of extending the gait—going more forward—making them out of medium canter." In the 2s and 3s I ride a lot more forwards because I know if he slows down I won't get clean flying changes, but during the 4s I stop riding him as much, leading to over collection and a very short canter = very short changes = not clean 4 tempis. 

6.7.17

My favourite new breeches - Pikeur Lucinda Grip

Ever since I started riding at a young age, I've been using Pikeur breeches simply because they are known to last for years. To this day, they are still my favourite brand of breeches and even though over the last couple of years I have been experiment with different brands, I always go back to Pikeur.  This time, I've bought the Pikeur Lucinda Grip breeches in the colour night blue - you can never go wrong with navy! ๐Ÿ’™
Although they are more expensive than most other brands, I LOVE THEM. The material is great, they last and they look good. If you're anything like me, you'll spend the majority of your non-work time in breeches, so they need to be comfortable. Although these are quite plain compared to my Pikeur Piana breeches, I think they look really smart. I actually quite like the logo on the side, I know it annoys some people but for me it breaks the side up nicely!

4.7.17

HKM glitter over reach boots

HKM's hot news for the summer was the fact that they were bringing out these new glittery colours to expand their range of over reach boots !๐ŸŒŸI can assure you I was over the moon when I saw on Facebook a blurry video of their new glitter range sometime in February 2017. Gosh these are SO pretty, so of course I ordered some ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ (I am well aware that some people will hate these, hahaa!) I ordered the black glitter boots but there are others colours (bronze, turquoise and gold) which are now on their website if you want to go have a look. 

1.7.17

Practise creates confidence and confidence empowers you!

I've recently been talking to several friends about the importance of confidence and positivity when you are around your horses and when riding, and it's inspired me to go on a bit of a positivity rant about this. This is a topic that is VERY close to my heart as I have been through a big learning curve during my time owning and riding Vallu and I wanted to spread a little bit of a confident/optimistic vibe out into the internet horsey land.
We all have weaknesses as riders and horse owners - I'm an over worrier and a perfectionist which you can quite easily see in my original riding style. I don't want to over do the horses in case they hurt their legs so I give them lots of walk breaks (some would argue too many walk breaks!) but then on the flip side I over ride with my hand, seat and leg aids and try to over compensate in my quest to become the most perfect rider. It has taken several years (and tbh I am still working on this and more than likely always will be) to start to zone and block out everything when I'm riding, to be a lot more quiet as a rider and focus on just the horse and I, nothing else. No 'normal' rider, e.g. an amateur like me, is going to be perfect so never judge yourself against professionals or those who seem to be perfect. I can guarantee that they will be struggling with something too.

26.6.17

Happy birthday Basse!

Ahh, happy birthday to my forever baby Fat Unicorn who is 15 today! ๐Ÿฆ„๐Ÿ’œ He's been mine since he was 4 years old and gaaaahh this has made me a little teary. I'm so blessed to have had this horse in my life for so long - we were never going to be world beaters, but who cares when you have a horse with a heart of gold!
 If you follow me on Instagram or this blog's Facebook page, you'll have seen that on Saturday I had a super ride on Basse. I was really really pleased with him, and like I stated earlier he wouldn't be so happy to be back working properly if he wasn't feeling good. So I think we will just have to crack on with the work once again and try to get him to lose those extra pounds that he has gained recently! ๐Ÿท
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