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! πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ
September's topic is "Why did you start blogging? How did it all begin?" 


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 perfectπŸπŸ‚

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! πŸ‘ŒπŸ»If you are looking for a really smart matchy set, I'd recommend ES.


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.


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.


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  πŸ™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.


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.


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… πŸ™„ 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!!


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.


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! πŸ˜…


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! 🌸🌺🌼 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.


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 (πŸ˜…) 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 πŸ™ŒπŸ» 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!)


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!


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.


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  πŸ’–✨

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!


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!


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...


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! πŸ‘πŸ» 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.


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! πŸ‘°πŸΌπŸ’πŸŒΈ
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.


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!


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.


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! 🌴🌊 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!


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 ✌🏻


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 πŸ™„ 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. 


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! πŸ’™
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!


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 !🌟I 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 πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ (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. 


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.


Happy birthday Basse!

Ahh, happy birthday to my forever baby Fat Unicorn who is 15 today! πŸ¦„πŸ’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! 🐷


Dressage training with Jenny Eriksson: waiting hands

On Friday I was super fortunate to have another training session within a week, this time with Jenny Eriksson! Vallu had been having a very easy week since we had a lesson last Sunday with Ville  and I didn't want him too tired for this one. It is very rare for me to have two lessons within a week as I am very picky with who I train with and those who I would like to train with tend to either live in Germany or then are travelling around the world judging at international competitions. So I can't even describe how happy I was to be training twice within a week!

At the start of the lesson I told Jenny how fantastic Vallu had been at our previous lesson and how good he had felt to ride. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have said this because Vallu decided to throw me a new curveball today and be impossibly light in his contact... πŸ™„ Like there was nothing there for me to try to create a contact with!! In the last five years that I've ridden him I believe he has only been like this less than ten times so as I was warming up Vallu I said to Jenny that I don't really know how to ride him when he's like this. If I just shorten my reins all I achieve is getting him terribly behind the vertical and opening his mouth but if I leave him alone I have absolutely no contact with him and he'll still curve BTV. I think those previous times I just gave up after warming up and went for a hack but this time there was no option but to learn how to ride him when he's like this!
What he looked like after the lesson... #sweatypone


Acavallo anatomic gel pad review

For the last couple of weeks now I've been using the Acavallo anatomic gel pad with Basse. These have been on my radar after reading rave reviews about them since last year, but I only just bought one recently when Basse's saddle seemed to need something less thick than the Mattes sheepskin pad he has but he wasn't 100% without anything underneath the saddle. He's a very difficult horse to fit a saddle to as he constantly changes shape (like they all do) but he's so sensitive that he react immediately if he feels the slightest bit uncomfortable... I still think that the WOW saddle is the best one for him and, but I just wanted to buy something to make him feel a bit more comfortable.

After researching many different brands and styles of thin pads, the Acavallo ones came out as the clear winners. Others, like Ogilivy memory foam pads are nearly €200 and I would have had to wait 3-4 weeks before it would be even shipped to Finland. This Acavallo one was €60 including delivery and I had to wait less than a week!


Dressage training with Ville Vaurio: bend around the inside leg

I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG! I don't know why, I think it's because Vallu has been so good for the last few weeks since our lesson with Jenny and I was super excited to go training with a horse who was in good health and going well! I was a bit worried about going to a new place for the first time, even though we have visited this place a few weeks ago to support a friend of mine who was competing there. I think it's because at home it's so lovely and quiet whereas I knew how busy this place would be and I was freaking out about everything that could possibly go wrong... πŸ™„ However, turns out I was nervous for no reason - Vallu was a total star, he didn't put a hoof out of place, he totally ignored my 5 minutes of being a worry fart and stayed chilled! I'm SO proud of him 🌟


Tempo and rhythm

Have you ever found that you've read an article and somehow so many things suddenly made sense to you? πŸ’‘This happened to me a few day ago when I read this Dressage Today article about the difference between tempo and rhythm. Heather Blitz answered the question about the difference between tempo and rhythm where she explained that tempo is the rate or speed of motion or activity whilst rhythm is a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound. One is sequence (rhythm) and one is speed (tempo) - I loved this article since its a personal bugbear of mine because you cannot have a 'fast rhythm'! 
There were 2 really tips in this article. The first one was to do with extended trot where Heather points out that riding trot extensions should not allow the speed of the horse’s steps to change. Just to  extend the frame and length of step, whilst keeping the number of beats per minute the same as in the collected trot. Although I have ridden plenty of medium and extended trots in my lifetime, this point made it incredibly clear of what us riders should be aiming for! Heather also recommended using the corners of the arena to help by asking for a few steps of extension in the trot, and then come back into a collected trot when coming into a corner. I did this yesterday and it really improved Vallu's mediums (it was too hot and humid to even try for a proper extension!) 

The second great hint was to ride with the help of a metronome, which you can get an app for at least on iPhones. Set the metronome to be the same as the horse’s collected trot and then see what will happen when you extend the trot - the aim is to keep the same tempo and to lengthen the stride rather than quicken the tempo but it’s much easier to simply get quicker. I did this and it's super interesting to see what happens... πŸ€” After a few times with Vallu I realised that I need to be super clear about asking for the same tempo rather than rushing myself!
This was my face when I managed to ride well enough to improve his medium trots!
If anyone is experiencing difficulties in improving their medium or extended trot I really think you should try these tips, I think they could help you too! πŸ‘πŸ»


It's here! Double bridle from EquiWare UK

A few months ago I wrote about the fact that I had ordered a double bridle from EquiWare UK and this week it arrived! I was super excited for it arrive just before we have a training session on Sunday so that I can have a few rides in it and then see what my trainer thinks about it. 

But holeymoley isn't this pretty?! The best things are the padded and anatomically shaped headpiece, the anatomically shaped noseband (which is patent too!) and that the throatlash and cheekpieces made from rolled leather. I think it weighs about half of the old bridle so I'm pretty convinced that it feels much better for Vallu. My first ride in this was incredible! Even my mother commented on the fact that he looked really content and happy, so I'm actually over the moon. I just want to have a happy horse who feels comfortable.
Add Noseband is also really cut away to take away pressure from those important facial nerves


DIY make your own comfrey poultice

In an attempt to get the swelling on Basse's leg to go down as quickly as possible and to help what I suspect is either a knock or a tendon injury, I've been making him comfrey poultices. We use poultices to draw out any infection and to reduce inflammation and now that I'm fearing that he has some sort of ligament or tendon injury this time I am using comfrey. 

Comfrey (sometimes knows as 'knit bone') is a well-known healing herb with great capacity to heal tissue and bone as it contains allantoin, which promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone and cartilage. I know that it's also been used for dealing with a variety of problems such as cuts, sprains and strains, fractures, swelling and heat/inflammation. I've been feeding comfrey to Vallu for over a year now and I think it's one of the reasons why his ligament injury healed so well. But since it is easily absorbed through the skin, I thought this was the perfect time to start helping Basse's leg with a comfrey poultice especially since we have TONS of comfrey growing in our garden! 🌿
You can easily make your own poultices with fresh comfrey - you just need hot water, fresh comfrey leaves, scissors, a small bowl, a cloth of some sort, clingfilm and a bandage.


Rocking E Cowgirl 10 Questions June blog hop

You all know I love participating in blog hops, and these questions come from Allie at Rocking E Cowgirl who has one of the prettiest equestrian blogs ever! #bloggoals

1. What is your earliest, clearest horse memory?
When I was 6 and was having a riding lesson at a riding school and we were riding in the outdoor arena, I was on a slightly naughty pony who knew that he was stronger than me, and he kept stopping to eat the grass at one end of the arena and I can clear as day remember sobbing to the teacher that "I can't do it, he won't listen to me" and her reply was, "ponies give nothing for free, figure out what to do or you'll spend the rest of the lesson there"! At a very young age I was taught to figure sh*t out myself or be stuck there crying!
2. Describe the perfect summer day.
It's sunny, not too hot and the horses get to be out all day in their field. In the evening I get to go for a long hack with friends and I haven't had to rush at all throughout the day! I think the not having to rush at all would make any day perfect tbh.


Happy 15th birthday Vallu!

Vallu turns 15 today, so I think he can officially be called an Old Aged Horse! πŸ‘΄πŸΌπŸ΄ I've actually started calling him "pappa" which means grandad, it suits him now.

For the last few months he's really calmed down and started to enjoy his life... I LOVE IT! I'm so glad that after nearly five years with us he is finally able to totally relax and find life just that little bit easier. He's always been a stress head and a worrier, so to see him fully letting his guard down and finding the world a little bit less terrifying is a wonderful thing to see!


Launch on Facebook!

I thought it was about time to join every other equestrian blogger in creating a Facebook page for my little blog. For a long time since the launch of Roosa's Horsey Life in January 2013, I have resisted creating a Facebook page as I didn't feel like I would be able to provide anything worthwhile that would be different enough from my blog posts, instagram and twitter updates. Also, I write purely for fun and mainly for myself as it's a hobby that I adore and I've always been a bit nervous to go public on Facebook... However, now that I have a clearer understanding about what each different social platform requires and what this blog's followers like and dislike on each platform, I thought it was the right time to create  a Facebook account for the blog where I can post quick updates that don't require  a blog post, share companies that I like, training tips and funny photos that I don't tend to share on instagram or on here.

If you enjoy reading this blog then please be kind and go like our brand new Facebook page as I'd love you to be part of it! It can be found as @roosashorseylife or just click HERE



The problem with Basse...

The problem with Basse is that he is essentially a very lazy horse by nature. He would far rather walk than trot and he would far rather go forwards than sideways... Which is why when we train, I mainly focus on getting very quick reactions out of him from very small aids because like everyone knows, hot horses have to learn to be ridden with the leg on but lazy horses have to be ridden with the leg off! 


#rootd: grey and grenadine

Whilst I was writing the latest post of my 'trends to watch out' about Eskadron's Next Generation collection, I knew that I needed to get some of that grenadine colour into my horses' wardrobe! I really liked the flowery design over the aztec and feather designs, but then I needed to pick which one of the flowery pads... Choices, choices! I ended up getting the grey bi cross saddle pad and pairing it up with the grenadine bandages, as I'm not sure I could pull off the entirely orange outfit and I think the bandages give this riding outfit a good pop of colour without it being too in your face.

So our riding outfit of the day is
Saddle pad: Eskadron Next Generation anthracite aloha bicross
Bandages: Eskadron Next Generation grenadine
Top: Orange shirt from Sports Direct
Breeches: Pikeur Piana in dark grey


Superficial digital flexor tendon injury recovery in 10 weeks

I kept quiet about Rama's injury not only because he is mum's horse and I don't feel right writing about other people's horses without permission, but also because we were all absolutely petrified that this injury would not only be the end of his ridden career, but also be the end of him. However, months later we are now looking at potentially having Rama 100% recovered and back in full training which is why I wanted to blog about what we have done and potentially give someone who is terrified for their horse a bit of hope for recovery from a superficial digital flexor tendon injury.

So what exactly happened?
On Valentine's Day, Rama spooked when coming in from the paddock and fell over on the icy track to the stables. Not only did he fall once, but once he had managed to slightly get up he then fell over again and struggled to get up for about a minute. There aren't words to describe how scary this was - I was sure that he had broken a leg, no horse can survive falling over twice on thick ice but once he managed to get his bearings and get up again, he then passaged to his stable after we did a thorough check through of him but nothing seemed to be wrong with him. 

A week later, a small lump appeared on his left front leg, just below the knee. Nothing really noticeable, but enough to freak out both mum and I. Lots of icing and several days of hand walking but three days later it was significant enough to get mum to call the vet to come visit us. A few days later the vet came to scan the leg and we got the news that it was either a massive bruise or then a ligament/tendon injury and we would only find out a few weeks later because the swelling was too big and blocking us from seeing what the actual injury was. A deep bruise like that takes a few weeks to go away so after two agonising weeks the vet was out again, and this time she confirmed our worst fears... a 20-30% SDFT injury. And for a 19 year old horse who needs to be in constant work, this was NOT good news.


Dressage training with Jenny Eriksson: practising test riding

On Friday I was fortunate enough to have a private lesson with Jenny Eriksson, and this was my first one on one training session with her because I've been over protective of Vallu's legs and I haven't wanted to cause any proper strain on them until I was 150% sure he would cope with an hour long private training session. If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll remember that my first lesson with her was a total disaster and my second one was near perfect so I was really optimistic that this one would go well too. Just before I got on Vallu I did have a few moments of self-doubt and worrying that what if this was not the best decision regarding his legs, but two days later his legs still look good! Phew!! πŸ™ŒπŸ»
Such a serious horse sometimes!
I normally go to my lessons with the idea that we'll focus on whatever the trainer thinks we need to improve on. I always suggest something e.g. improving Vallu's walk work or polish up my ability to ride the half pirouettes, but I'm totally happy to do what the trainer sees that we need to improve. This time I decided that I really wanted to work on practising test riding. I know Vallu and I can do all the movements, now it's just a case of putting them all together in a sequence and being able to ride a big horse round a 20x40m arena! So I picked BD's medium 71, showed it to Jenny, told her which parts of the test were causing me the most trouble and then we went to work on them.


Sundayfunday: arena hire!

On Sunday we took Rama and Vallu to a local livery yard to hire out their indoor arena. Their indoor arena is brilliant, it's 25x65m, the surface is amazing and the mirrors are huge which is really helpful. We like to take the horses there every now because it's really good for them to remain used to travelling and working at a different place than at home, it makes life much easier going to shows or somewhere else for training. Since it's only 20 minutes away from us, it doesn't take too much time away from our day and it's 100% worth it IMO πŸ‘πŸ»
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