Getting settled in

Since our arrival last Friday at 2am after a 15 hour journey, the horses and I have been settling down into our new routine.
 We've kept it pretty similar to what our routine was back home, so they get fed at 6am, turned out around 9am during which we do the morning stables and then they come in about 1pm and get fed again. But instead of being ridden from 2pm onwards and doing the evening stables at 7pm, they're now going back out at about 3pm, some staying out whilst others are being ridden and then all coming back inside 8pm or on good days even as late as at 9pm. And they LOVE it! And I love having the chance to be able to turn the horses at much as they want to, like plenty of people have said "it's important that horse get to be horses" πŸ’š


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Platinum 2018 collection

I’m ALWAYS so excited about this collection, because Eskadron’s designers always bring their best designs to the table with the Platinum collections. And once again Eskadron hasn’t disappointed! I think fashion bloggers feel the same excitement when there are new collections released as I do when I first see Eskadron’s Platinum collection. It’s always a delight for your eyes!

In this collection, the colours are silk grey, nude, blossom and black. Simple? Yes. Boring? No! 🚨Unpopular opinion alert 🚨 I don’t actually even want to see lots of bright colours in the Platinum collection because I don’t think this is the right collection for it. I much prefer having the selection of mainly muted colours with one or two brighter colours available if you want that choice. Having said that, I have pre-ordered the blossom cotton emblem pad and matching bandages as I thought it was the best one of the collection!! The fabric with its cool-dry lining means that this is hands down the best pad during summer as it wicks away sweat like nothing else! I also love the emblem embroidery on the left side AND a triple cord of binding of which is glittery. ✨ 

But back to the collection - I thought it was also nice to see the return of the velvet crystal pad which was in my opinion one of the original collection’s best pads. But the ultimate highlight of this collection for me personally are the boots! Especially the black faux fur bootswhich have a glittermesh fabric, hard shell inside and the easy-care faux fur inside lining. The same with the over reach boot with the faux fur trim and glitter on the Velcro tab.  

It’s always fascinating to see what new things a company as old as Eskadron can come up with. After more than twenty years of in the business, you’d think they wouldn’t have anything new to do but Eskadron always keeps creating new styles. In this Platinum collection, they’ve brought out the new Mesh Glitter saddle pad (which is only available in in black and nude – annoying as I would have LOVED to have seen in the blossom colour too!) It’s made from a “glittermesh upper fabric” which is new and will be interesting to see how well it does in comparison to Eskadron’s other pads.


We’re back in the UK

Finally!! After 6 weeks of shelter at my brother’s yard in Germany, I am OVER THE MOON to be at home and even more happy about the fact that I once again have Wi-Fi, a bath, my own bed and that I don’t everagain have to try to get the neighbours to understand that I don’t speak German! The lack of Wi-Fi has nearly killed me (not really, I quite enjoyed the social media break but it just made blogging impossible) and the heat and humidity have made riding and training unmanageable on the worst days.

So here is a quick round up of how the horses are doing ⤵️
Basse has spent the last 6 weeks recovering from various ailments, which include lymphangitis, an infection on his front leg as well as a cough from dust allergies which has meant that I’ve ridden about ten times. Aside from those days, he’s spent his days being turned out in the mornings, going on the horse walker on the afternoons and being lunged to keep his fitness up, without making him work too hard or aggravating the cough. It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to ride him more, but on the super-hot days I was glad to be doing less riding with having 3 other horses to ride every day! The vet got to know mother and I well as he was looking at one of the horses at least each week… 


First weeks in Germany:

The first weeks here in Germany can be entirely summed up simply by stating that IT’S BEEN SO HOT EVERY SINGLE DAY and I am so looking forward to some cooler weather which is meant to be arriving next week. It’s not only hot here, but also really humid, which means that even when you’re grooming the horses and before you have even managed to ride you’re already sweaty and tired – not very conducive for good riding sessions! But enough of my complaining about it being too warm (hey, at least it makes a change from me moaning about it being too cold during the winter!), most importantly let me catch you up with how the horses are doing. 
The view of the stables from the sand track
Erkki has become an angel, he either remembers that this was the place where he was in hard work previously when mum bought him or then he just simply enjoys being on a busy yard. The grooms start their work at 7am and its non-stop until about 5.30pm and Erkki is totally chilled! He’s also been much easier to ride now that I’ve got some help from Ville who was riding and selling him when mum bought him. I’m so grateful to have the chance to ride my horses when he is riding and be able to ask for 5 minutes of help and then carry on. Everything feels just so much simpler now with him and I couldn't be more pleased! Another angelic figure in the group is Vallu who (apart from being a twat to turn out and bring in) has also been super well behaved. He’s been a perfect gentleman to ride in the indoor arena, outdoor arena AND the canter track! He’s also got points from the grooms for being well behaved in the wash box and for not pawing when I’m not there. It’s been absolutely wonderful to have time to ride my best bud again and to do so without being in a rush or having to think about university work!!
After travelling beautifully, once we’d arrived and settled in, Basse decided that he needed to scream after each and every single horse on the yard for 3 days straight and I swear I thought my head was going to explode! He is never left alone, but clearly the travelling turned him into a bit of a nervous wreck for the first few days, but now he’s settled down and is back to his normal self. I’ve even managed to canter him round the sand track which goes around the edge of the yard, and it’s inspired me to decide to take him to the local canter track once we move to our new home.


Travelling from Finland to Germany with the horses

After 2 weeks of panicking, stressing, packing and organising on a very hot Saturday afternoon, it was finally time to load up the horses onto the VERY nice horse lorry! We decided to go with Marcel Jordan Horse Transport because I had heard and seen only good things about them, and also because our neighbour had bought 3 horses from Spain who Marcel Jordan Horse Transport had delivered them in fantastic condition and she had received daily photos and reports of the horses. There were so many good reports about the company that I knew it was the one to go for! 
Despite the slight miscommunication with their office about whether there was space for someone to travel with the horses (they didn’t confirm if there was space until 3 days beforehand so I didn’t have much time to pack my own stuff!!) I would highly recommend this company to anyone transporting their horses across Europe. The horses get fed and watered every four and a half hours and on Sunday they got to rest for 3 hours at a ‘horse hotel’ where they could get hand walked too. If you don’t travel with the horses, then the driver also sends you daily - if not twice daily - photos and messages about your horse, how they are travelling and how they are doing.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Next Generation SS18

It's heerrrreeeeeee! πŸ€— My favourite "a little bit out there" with the design choices collection has arrived! I do honestly think that Eskadron's designers must have the most amount of fun when designing the Nici and Next Generation collections because it seems like for these they are much braver in their design choices and really dare to push the boat out! I personally love it, and applaud them. Will I buy them... πŸ€” Maybe not, although the smoking purple looks AMAZING and may end up with me eventually.


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 14: Why do you do what you do?

Today's challenge was to share why you do what you do. So why do I blog? It's been nearly 5 and a half years since I suddenly decided to start blogging about my life and my horses, and I honestly never thought I'd have so many people interested in my options, my training diaries or my passion for equestrian style and trends. But since then I have gained followers from all over the world and even won awards for my blog. When blogging started (and I was already several years late to the game), the first blogs were really just online diaries, and in the chance of becoming a professional blogger and making money online was not the goal. And for me, it still isn't. But since then the blogging world has changed, developed and evolved, and now people blog for many different reasons. I think it's pretty easy to spot those who blog to earn money and gain products, and those who do it for a love of blogging and sharing their own personal journeys. I do it for the love of blogging, but there are also other reasons:


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 12: What are you most stubborn with?

Nearly half way there! Today is day 12 of the Equine Business Assistant's 31 Day Social Media Challenge: What are you stubborn with most?

Being stubborn often gets a rather bad rep in society nowadays, because if you're stubborn then you're also set in your ways and difficult to deal with. BUT... I'm my opinion, to be stubborn it means you have to have a strong belief that supports it, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to keep up your determination to argue your point of view and what you believe in.
I honestly believe that when it comes to our dreams and the changes we desire that being stubborn IS fantastic. We need to be stubborn about certain things in our lives. For example, I am stubborn about my happiness, ensuring my mental health stays good and keeping horses in my life. Instead of giving up horses when going to university like most junior riders do, I took Vallu with me to the UK for 3 years and completed my bachelor's degree (with a good result too!) I then decided to carry on with my university career and got in to the University of Helsinki to a master's degree in Politics, but I also had Basse and Vallu to ride and look after during my master's degree. But I was stubborn and wanted to have both things in my life, so I worked hard for it. And then to top it all, when I had 3 months left of my degree and was spending every possible moment writing my thesis, I decided to take over the ride of Erkki so that he wouldn't be sold, because I knew I would regret not taking the chance to gain such a fantastic horse in my life so I stubbornly decided to finish my master's degree with 3 horses! Yes it meant 6am starts and 11pm finishes for 2 months straight with no days off but my god it was worth it! Even if I had to do it al over again, I would do it without hesitation. 🌸


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 10 - Tips for sorting out your tackroom

It's no secret that tack rooms serve many purposes - storage for tack, but also a place for all the other left over stuff! Which is why no wonder that these spaces can quickly become overcrowded and cluttered. So here are my tips for organising your tack room and storage spaces so that it's easy to keep them tidy:

1. Use plastic containers to organise everything from brushes to first-aid supplies. The best ones in my opinion are the translucent containers which make it super easy and quick to find what you need. I have my turn out boots, overreach boots, bandages and bandage pads in these containers, which makes it all look so much neater!  (I forgot to sweep the hay away, sorry! πŸ™ˆ)
2. Every year I do a spring clean where I pull out all my stuff onto the floor, clean everything and think about how best to organise everything so that it works in the best way. The BEST thing we did was to use an old wooden wardrobe with shelves, take the doors off it and put it in the barn near the two outdoor stables. It means I can keep my boots, bandages and a couple of rugs in the barn without making a huge mess!


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 8 - Topical Tuesday

Day 8: What do you think about choosing the right saddle cloths, what is most important 1) comfort, 2) style or 3) matching your other accessories? Do you think cheap imports are to blame for companies like Nuumed having to close?
 When choosing my saddle clothes I always go for a brand that I can trust to have manufactured a good quality product that will last for years, which has been designed with the horses' comfort in mind. I then pick a colour or style that I like, which normally matches my other accessories. But for me, comfort and great quality will ALWAYS come first. I’ve seen so many articles and Facebook posts recently condemning everyone who enjoys matchy matchy, but being matchy never hurt anyone... πŸ™„ I personally don’t get the "lets own 200 pairs of shoes and hand bags" thing but I’d certainly never go and insult those that are happy collecting shoes and hand bags. Yes it might frivolous and trivial, but I love it and I prefer to have my horses looking smart in their new sets with me in matching clothes.


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 6 - Sunday Sharing

Day 4 and 5 of the Equine Business Assistant's 31 Day Social Media Challenge were on my blog's Facebook page, which you can go to by clicking HERE.

But onto today's post: Sundays are for sharing - share a product you love
Currently I am LOVING Chia de Gracia's Deep Breath. It has been an absolute dream for helping Basse's nasty cough. Breath Deep is a herbal blend designed to help horses' respiratory system, and it contains thyme, marshmallow root, garlic, anise seed, liquorice root, peppermint and Icelandic moss. In all of my research for herbs that would help horses coughing in the spring with a really dry cough, garlic, anise seed, liquorice root, peppermint and Icelandic moss ALL came up often so to find a product that is not only made in Finland, but also contains all of those herbs is fantastic! I was in love with it the moment when I opened the package, it smelt amazing and then Basse decided to hoover up  two handfuls of it in a couple of seconds, so I knew that A) he needed the herbs and B) he liked the mixture of the herbs.


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 4 - What do you love about going to shows?

Day 3's challenge was on the blog's Facebook page, go check that out and tell me your opinion about the article!
Day 4: What do you love about going to shows? 

I love competing. I love being able to see how my horse and I improve over time, and a small part of me loves competing against other people too! I've heard that studies have proven that experiences make people happier than having possessions. And let’s face it, if you love competing like I do, you'll love the experiences that you gain with competing. I also love going to shows because you’re surrounded by people who love doing the same thing as you πŸ’– The sense of comradeship is astonishing, and I've had wonderful friends who I've only seen and caught up with at shows, who have always encouraged me and made competing into a lovely day out, rather than it being just a load of stress and anxiety. Also, the energy at shows is amazing. Whether it’s the nervous "go to the loo as soon as you arrive" type of energy or the excited "I've had too many energy drinks and don't what I'm doing" kind of energy, unless you’re a stone-hearted iceman, you will be excited when you’re there. And that feel-good excitement glow lasts at least for me well into the next week.  Which leads me to my final point, going to shows get us out of our comfort zones. As riders it's SO easy to get into the habit of doing the same thing each and every day. Leaving my normal routine helps me to get unstuck if I'm in a rut πŸ’ͺ🏻


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 2 - Topical Tuesday

“Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.” What was the name of the most loyal horse or pony you have ever known?

Hands down, this has to be Basse. Today marks the 12th anniversary of him being mine! πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ

Basse came to us when he was 2 years old and I still consider him to be the baby of the family. At the age of 5, I started riding him, and I was only 14 then... What a wonderful baby horse that he looked after a teen who had no idea what she was doing! And as is well known by equestrians, "equid social relationships are long-lasting and, in some cases, lifelong” (in the journal Animal Behaviour) and now after 12 years together, you could say our relationship seems to be lifelong!!


31 Day Social Media Challenge Day 1 - Motivate Monday

Because I've really struggled with blogging over the last few months thanks to the sheer loads of university work as well as suddenly having three horses to look after, I decided that what better way to kick things up a notch and try to get back to normal than by doing a 31 day social media challenge! I decided to join in on The Equine Business Assistant‎'s month long social media challenge to really test myself this month. In June I'll be in Germany with the horses so who knows how much I'll be able to blog there so I feel like I need to have one month where I am blogging/on social media as much as possible πŸ˜‡ Some of the posts will be done on the blog's Facebook page when there isn't enough for an actual blog post, so be sure to be following that and some of the daily posts might also be on my Instagram account!
"The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage" (Thucydides). What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?


Trends to watch out for: Spooks SS18

As I just received my very first Spooks saddle pad, I realise how foolish I had been for not including Spooks in my 'trends to watch out for' series, where I cover my favourite equestrian brands, their new season collections and any exciting new products they have launched!
Spooks is very much one of my favourite brands aesthetically at purely because  I love the look of their rider clothing (especially their breeches and hoodies) and their willingness to use sequins and sparkles on everything totally appeals to the inner princess in me πŸ‘‘ They stick to good clean patterns, but include a dabble of glitter or sequins to jazz it up a bit! This season Spooks has gone for a mix of ombre, glittery and sequin details in their products, but especially in their rider clothing. Apart from the normal navy, grey and black and the classy silvers, greys and whites; there are also bright blues, greens and pinks thrown in for good measure and to appeal to as many customers as possible. My ONLY problem with them is there are no matching boots or bandages... πŸ™„ Just why?


Are you expecting too much of yourself and your horse?

I always knew having horses and completing a master's degree would be difficult, even with the having the horses at home. But I expected it to be easier than it has been, because my bachelor's degree wasn't as difficult as this! There honestly haven't been enough hours in the day, and the last couple of months have been hellish due to a lack of sleep and constant stress. I'm currently SO close to the end, I just need to finish off my master's thesis, complete my last language course and get the results of the test of my last compulsory module. Yet I feel like for the last few months I've been a total failure to my horses, they had to deal with less time and attention from me, and more days off than usual because riding 3 horses every day is just not possible when you're trying to finish up your degree! πŸŽ“
And then a friend said to me that "you're expecting way too much of yourself". A lot of people (without horses!) struggle to complete their master's degrees, and I've been doing it with three horses and a yard to run! And this made me think that the reason I've felt so bloody guilty is because I've had to put university work first ahead of the horses for the first time in my life AND I've been expecting too much of myself. The perfectionist in me has been dying because I've not blogged regularly and ridden every day. But perfectionism means setting our goals too high and having unrealistic expectations. Being averse to failure is often driven by an underlying sense of shame and that's exactly what I've felt.


Riding exercise of the month: control the tempo of your flying changes

Whilst I've been riding my new horse Erkki for the last month now, I've been having fun trying to build up his strength in the canter and especially his flying changes. He has a tendency to rush through the changes if he's doing them across a diagonal, so I've had to get creative and think of ways that I can get him to slow down just a bit and start to listen to my aids and doing the change when I ask him rather than guessing when I'd like them!
The only thing that has really worked well with him has been to practise flying changes on a 20m circle! So if you're riding a circle at the middle of the arena, each time you get to the long side you ask for a flying change (so change at the E and B markers) and if after a couple of repetitions the horse starts to guess and take over, then start asking for the changes when you cross the centreline (so change at I and L if you're riding on 20x60 arena). By alternating where I've asked for the change, he's not had the chance to take over and he really starts to listen to me! πŸ‘πŸ» He is currently still weak behind so I can only ask for two changes on a circle because otherwise he struggles too much with his long legs! But I'm sure in six months time we will be able to do a couple more.


New boy!

In case you don't remember, in October last year my mum bought a new horse for herself when we all thought that Rama (who is 20 years old this year) would have to start his work being slowly reduced to get him to a semi-retired state... Well it's not exactly gone to plan πŸ˜… as Rama is fresh AF and acting like as if he's ten years old rather than twenty and clearly not ready to be retired yet.
So, meet my new super early "well done for getting your Master's degree and 25th birthday present"... Erkki! He's a 14 year old Danish WB gelding (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Racot). Because of his ridiculous show name, he is known as Erkki but I know he'll become Eric once we move back to the UK since I don't think anyone will be able to pronounce it. I AM SO BLESSED that my parents have agreed to keep him for me to ride rather than selling him on, they really the best parents ever! πŸ’–


Trends to watch out for: HV Polo SS18

FINALLY! HV Polo released their SS18 catalogue! This totally made my week as I'm a long time fan of HV Polo - I own tons of HV Polo t-shirt and tops simply because they last the best, are worth the money and also are a bit cheeper than buying Pikeur! For this collection, HV Polo have used bright colours of pink and turquoise which have been mixed with floral prints and more muted and softer colours of white, navy and grey. I think this one of the prettiest and most fun collections that HV Polo have done for a while... But then again I am a sucker for pink, grey and floral patterns! πŸ’
What I personally love about the colours in this collection is that they are so similar to the colours used by other equestrian brands so you can buy matching rider clothing for saddle pads and bandages you already own. I have Eskadron Classic jade (which is a pale minty green) and the Eskadron Heritage rose (pale pastel pink) sets and because I am cheapskate and don't want to pay Pikeur's slightly too well branded/expensive prices, I am going to buy these from HV Polo ⤵️ And whilst I know they won't be a 100% perfect match, they are pretty damn close and half the price of Pikeur which makes them even better in my eyes! πŸ‘πŸ»


Introducing a double bridle to your horse

This is a topic that has been coming up recently with a couple of my friends, who have been worrying about when to introduce a double bridle to their horse, or to even use one on their horse. I've had several conversations where people have been SO worried about the double bridle that they have avoided using it for years! In my opinion, a horse should be willing and able to carry his weight on the hind legs with uphill balance in the snaffle bridle, and only after then introduce a double bridle to them. I'd never put one on until I’m totally happy with the way the horse goes in a snaffle, which has little to do with age - Basse is now already 16, but this was the first time when I felt like both him and myself as a rider were ready to use a double bridle on him whereas Vallu was 7 when he first had a double bridle on (not introduced by me, we bought him when he was 9 years old)!
I think what needs to be remembered is that depending on how the horse is in the mouth, you need to pick the correct bradoon - I'd opt for a loose ring bradoon for a horse who needed more 'play' on the mouthpiece (e.g. Basse) and an eggbutt for one who responded better to a mouthpiece which stayed relatively still (e.g. Vallu who I'm still trying to find the right eggbutt bradoon for!)


"You can't be normal and be excellent"

I recently saw a fantastic video on Facebook which interviewed the Canadian dressage rider Cindy Neale-Ishoy and it was such an inspiring story from her, about her way of thinking and training. In case you don't know anything about her, she is a Canadian dressage rider and was a member of the Canadian team at the 1988 Olympics where she placed fourth in individual dressage, and won a bronze medal in team dressage. She also competed at the 1972, 1992 and 2004 Summer Olympics.
Hands down the most memorable thing she said in this short video was to "train harder and do better" πŸ‘ŠπŸ» You do not get better from simply wishing you were better, you get better by training harder and working more! Stop making excuses and just be the best you can be because absolutely no one is going to do it for you. Train harder and go out there to win and be happy with what you achieve even if it's not a first place result πŸ† Those who are the best riders are the best riders because "they want to know more" whilst those who don't want to know or to learn more will always struggle. It was very interesting for me to hear that for her and George Morris the "biggest problem is that people don't want to know". I'm almost fanatical in my need to constantly learn more in order to become a better rider, and I can't actually see why someone would put so much money and time into a sport like this without wanting to actually learn more!


Petrie Verona riding boots

If you've been following this blog from the beginning you'll know that I've always had KΓΆnigs dressage boots, but for the last 18 months I've moved onto Petrie boots. I chose the brown Verona boots originally because I wanted tall boots from a reputable brand but they needed to under €400 because I was planning on only having them as my second best boots for riding at home and hacking out whilst keeping my KΓΆnigs boots as my competition ones. But these have lasted SO well that I went ahead and bought another pair, this time in black which can be my 'better' boots for training and competing in!
In my opinion the Verona is a super elegant riding boot - it has an extra high bow (6 cm!) and it's been designed to very slim around the ankle, which makes my notsoskinny legs look SO much longer, and therefore thinner! The front zipper extends down past the ankle, so you don't have to worry about that the zipper breaking as quickly as it does on boots where it ends before the ankle. The zipper is finished with a flap with buckle closure at the top, which is actually easy to close thanks to the press button, and I think this makes the boots less boring as there is 'something' going on, rather than the boots being entirely plain. I just now need to find spur straps that have gold buckles on them!
I REALLY prefer having a zipper at the front rather than on the inside or at the back, it makes the zipper last longer and is SO much easier to do up. Just last week the zipper kinda broke, so I took them to the shoe repair shop and they replace the slider because the zip itself hadnt broken, it was the slider! So instead of having to pay for a 50€ replacement, it cost me just 8€ to have the slider changed. SO even after 18 months of hard work, the zips on my brown boots haven't broken yet! πŸ‘πŸ»


30 facts about me

Since so many people have joined in with this blog hop, I thought I’d join in too! Thank you, May As Well Event for this fun blog hop! Without further ado, here are 30 indispensable facts about me that you were probably not dying to know ⤵️

1. I've been riding since I was 5. Those poor Shetland ponies who had to put up with a super excited child.

2. My longest proper break from riding was 2 months when I was studying for my finals of college. Other than that I have never had a proper break from riding and don't see myself ever being able to stay away from horses.

3. My first pony was Briggsen. He was a little sh*t and threw me off everyday for the first 6 months I rode him, but he's the reason why I can sit to nearly all horses' bucks/rears/spooks nowadays! Thank you Briggsen ❤️
4. I was born in Kaarina in Finland, and we lived there until we moved to Reading, UK in 2001. We then moved to West Sussex in 2005 where I completed secondary school and did my GCSEs. We then moved back to Finland 2010-2012, then I spent 6 months in Germany at my brother's yard, then I moved back to Finland for a few months before going to university to Nottingham 2013-2016, and moved back to Finland in 2016. Moving back to the UK hopefully within the next 4 months and will hopefully be there for a good while!

5. I have no desire to ever go beyond advanced level dressage… I'm never going to be good enough/have a fancy enough small tour/Grand Prix horse so those levels are just are never going to be possible for me!

6. I love both dogs and cats 🐢🐱 We've always had dogs, but cats are still extra special to me because we've only had cats for the last few years, since moving back to Finland.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Classic SS18

I can totally get why some people think I'm a bit crazy, especially when someone asks me a question about anything that is equestrian style/brand related as I could easily talk for hours and hours and hours... Especially if the topic was Eskadron's collections! I'm always very impressed with each one of Eskadron's collections, and honestly out of all the years I've been following equestrian trends the only one that I didn't like was Eskadron Heritage 2016. But I think this collection is fantastic and deserves 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For this SS18 collection, Eskadron has once again gone for the classic navy and grey that they tend to have for each collection so these colours are no surprise BUT what was quite unexpected (at least for me) was the colour choices for this collection! There is a lovely light mint green (jade) and what looks like a nice strong but soft shade of yellow (sunrise). I'm not a big fan of yellow but this particular shade is really pretty! And I think it was a nice touch was to add a floral pattern in, which for this collection is the 'deep blue flower' which I honestly actually liked already when I first saw it in some leaked photos. I know it's gonna be a love/hate reaction to this floral pattern, but I believe a lot of people will actually like it rather than hate it... Eskadron have already done a floral pattern in their Next Generation SS17 collection, but I do think this one is a lot prettier? πŸ’ But anyway, the official colours are: white, jade, deep blue, sunrise and steel grey. 


Le Mieux's integrated girth product review

Since last October, I've been using Le Mieux's integrated dressage girth (black wool) on Basse and I thought I could do a product review on it now that it's been used for several months. It's been very throgouhtly tested, and overall I love it. 

Basse has a sarcoid on the back of his right front leg, and when I tried using Vallu's Prolite girth on him last autumn it rubbed it open but luckily this girth doesn't which automatically gives the girth extra points - I am all for anything that makes my horses feel more comfortable! I am actually truly really pleased about this with this girth, as the only reason that the sarcoid isn't being rubbed open every time that I ride Basse is because this girth is just so lovely and soft. It also helps that the shape is the exact same as the Prolite girth which I love. Before I got the Le Mieux's intergrated girth I had been riding Basse in the basic neoprene soft girth, and whilst I did expect him to react to suddenly wearing a different type of girth, I didn't expect him to change so much... Our warming-up trot feels a lot looser and the elbow freedom that the design of the girth gives the horse makes a big difference. His canter has a lot more forward and upward reach, rather than being a bit sticky and hoppy!
So much space!


#HorseBloggers challenge #5Photos1Day

Those of you who follow me on Instagram might have noticed that I suddenly posted 5 photos yesterday with the hashtag #5Photos1Day. This was another fantastic challenge set by Haynet for equestrian bloggers to show viewers a typical day in your life and since I haven't done one of these types of blog posts in a while I thought it would be fun to join in - my last blog post of something related to this was last September, which too was inspired by #HorseBloggers. This really was a fab challenge set by Haynet and you too can join! You have until the end of February to take part, so simply by pick any day you want to share with us, take 5 photos that show your typical day and then share them with everyone by using the hashtag #5Photos1Day on Instagram πŸ“Έ It's been so much fun following what other bloggers have shared and to have seen a snippet of everyone's life!


HayGrazer E-Rider January competition, part 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about entering my very first online dressage test with the HayGrazer E-Riders, but I certainly was not expecting my results to turn in up in Finland SO quickly. We got the results on February 2nd and on the 9th I had the score sheet and rosette in my hands! Whilst I was really nervous to open up the scoresheet to see the comments, I shouldn't have been because the judge had written such lovely and encouraging remarks both in the comments for the movements as well as the final comments.
 (This blog post includes a free entry for a dressage test that was obtained in cooperation with HayGrazer E-Rider)

Like I've said before on numerous occasions, the reason why I stopped competing when we moved to Finland was that I was suddenly found the thought of going to a competition nearly panic inducing as I had made it into such a big thing in my head. Also, once my parents gave the ride on Vallu to me, there was no way that I could ride a very hot and spooky Vallu anywhere else than at home - even that was a terrifying experience some days! And once Vallu and I had moved to the U.K for my bachelor's degree at Nottingham University, the first year I was too nervous and then the following two years I had no transport. So the years accumulated up and then coupled with both boys' injuries it has taken me a while to feel like I wanted to compete again. So the opportunity to get back into the swing of things with an online competition was too good a chance to miss.


Trends to watch out for: PS of Sweden SS18

I can still remember the morning when I opened up Facebook and randomly saw a post on one of the matchy chat groups that PS of Sweden was bringing back pale pink into their SS18 collection and for some reason unbeknownst to me I clicked on the photo, after which I saw the all of the other colours that they were also bringing out for their SS18 collection. My heart rate spiked and honestly... it was a much better way to wake up at 7 in the morning than normally with my extra large cup of coffee! PS of Sweden scores 5 stars for this collection ⭐️
Although I've not covered PS of Sweden on this blog before, I have been a long time fan - we already have the pale pink monogram set, two sets of boots and two pairs of over reach boots! I'm a big supporter of all the Scandinavian/Nordic brands because I do believe they are something special, but the reason why I've not included PSOS in my trends to watch out for series before this is because they've taken their time carefully moving on from selling just bridles and accessories towards becoming a true 'equestrian brand' that also produces saddle pads, bandages and boots. I should have blogged about the AW17 collection because this is when I think they achieved this - but hey better late than never! 😜


Riding exercise of the month: 10 meter circles with transitions

It's really not difficult for me to admit that I really struggle with motivation for riding and training in January, which has always been the worst month of the year for me. Although some people find January to be a very motivational month, for me I just go into a slump and my riding becomes more 'just exercise the horse' rather than having a systematic training session each time but as soon as we hit February, I always bounce back. It's bizarre but now it's happened again and I have this fantastic riding exercise for you all which I have been LOVING riding for the last week!
So this month's riding exercise of the month is to ride 10 meter circles with 'a simple change' (canter-walk-canter transition) at the end of each one. What I tend to do is ride a walk to canter transition at A or C, and then down the long side ride THREE 10 meter circles with a transition to walk at the end of each circle - and then obviously pick up canter again after 4 or 5 steps of walk. Note - make sure you space out your circles well enough, the first few times I tried this out my circles were all next to each other rather than being several meters apart.


Trends to watch out for: Le Mieux SS18

 Ah thank goodness, we are finally getting to my favourite part of the year, when the new spring/summer collections start coming out and leaked photos start floating about on Facebook and Instagram. It means that we are getting closer to the end of winter and that we have so much to look forward to - sunshine, longer days and new matchy! ☀️πŸ’πŸŒΏ It gives me so much hope that we might actually survive through this horrible winter and hopefully we can soon reduce the amount of rugs that the horses have to wear...


HayGrazer E-Rider January competition, part 1

A few weeks ago I was contacted on Twitter asking if I'd like to enter a class in the HayGrazer E-Rider's online dressage and showing competition, and of course I said YES because what better way to start the new year by prepping for competitions with an online competition that didn't require me to leave home! At least in Finland there are no competitions held over the January-Feb period as the weather tends to be too horrible so it was lovely to be able to 'do' a competition where I was guaranteed the chance to ride in a warm(ish) indoor arena where there weren't other riders riding over me. And the weather is totally abysmal that day, so having to leave home and drive an hour to get to a competition did not sound inviting at all. Instead I plaited up, then tacked up as normal and we walked over to our neighbour's indoor arena! πŸ™ŒπŸ»
(This blog post includes a free entry for a dressage test that was obtained in cooperation with HayGrazer E-Rider)


Fake it till you make it

After Vallu had his week of very very light work to give his legs a bit of an easier time, he's now lost the balance between a normal, well behaved, forward going horse and a crazy fire breathing dragon that I have worked so hard to achieve over the last couple of weeks beforehand. The last two rides with him have been him trying to trot like Valegro followed by an explosion of energy and it's made me realise how far I really have come with him in the last 5 years. Instead of being petrified of his spooks, they now mostly either make me laugh or then I ignore them and kick on!


#HorseBloggers vlogging challenge

I've purposefully avoided vlogging ever since starting this blog because I've always thought that no one would want to watch me talking on video, but when I saw that there was a vlogging challenge in the #HorseBloggers group, I decided to join in πŸŽ₯
Sam from Haynet who runs the #HorseBloggers group paired us up, and my 5 questions are were sent in by Rachel from Heels Down, Kick On. She writes so well and I really enjoy reading her blog. I'm so glad Sam did this, not only was it a good motivation to try out vlogging but it has also introduced me to so many new blogs to follow! 🐴✍πŸ»πŸ’»


5 year blogiversary!

 I must admit that I am starting to feel a little old now... FIVE YEARS?! How has five years just flown by so quickly? It just feels like just a year ago that I started blogging but in fact it's 547 posts later! 🎁🎈🎊 πŸŽ‰ I'm still SO glad I decided to start blogging all those years ago. I've had the chance to create a great group of equine bloggers, been given great opportunities to review products and gain work and experiences, last year I won Equestrian Blogger of the Year and most importantly, I have years worth of memories and photos of my horses!


Henri Ruoste dressage clinic at Equestrian Centre Aino: don't overcomplicate things

It was a slightly surreal experience going to a dressage clinic where the 'superstar of the show' was your own big brother...! There was already a lot of hype beforehand and I already knew lots of friends and acquaintances who were coming to it, but honestly nothing prepares you for the onslaught of hundreds of dressage fans coming from all over Finland to see your brother teach ⭐️
Photo © Margit Ticklen from Horsemail.fi
The first lesson was the young horse group which had a pair of lovely young horses, and whilst the two riders were a bit nervous Henri just went as said "forget about dressage, just ride", which made both the riders smile and I think this is a good point, sometimes we need to take a step back away from 'dressage' and remember to actually ride! Once the young horses had to started to relax in the new environment, Henri made the riders do transitions within paces, both in trot and in canter and for young horses, the collection back into a smaller trot/canter is just 2-3 steps back and then go! (Note: remember you can't punish the horse if they buck or take off with you because you are wanting and asking forwards!) And coming back is just small steps - it doesn't matter if it's piaffe or passage or a Shetland pony trot, just as long as it is small tiny steps and the horse is reacting to you. Practising these transitions within the pace gave the riders a chance to play with the power and balance of the step  and both horses improved, and in my opinion of the horses became REALLY nice after this exercise. This simple exercise was actually amazingly effective for both riders, as during the transitions between the paces the riders had to become quicker themselves in order to get the horses to become quicker.


January 2018 sales haul

A lot of my non-horsey friends are currently being all frugal and sensible because of one responsible adult reason or another.... But not me! πŸ’Έ Even though I was thoroughly spoilt at Christmas and I did kinda half promise/mention to people that I didn't need to treat myself to anything but come the January sales and I found I just couldn't resist a bargain. Which is how all the below happened! ⤵️

I'm so pleased with all my sale buys this month that I wanted to share them with you. Both are from the Eskadron Classic AW17 collection, I bought the big square pad and bandages in aqua marine and the glossy wave pad in navy from Feather Dressage. Hopefully I won't be an enabler here and encourage any last minute January spending - if I do, then apologies in advance!


"Be strong, you never know who you are inspiring"

 I did a little research and tried to find who was the first to say it but I couldn't find an answer, it seems to be one of those famous motivational quotes where origins are lost to us. I was just surprised that with nearly 5 years of blogging behind me, last autumn was the first time that I'd heard of this saying - and I'm a BIG fan of inspirational/motivational sayings! πŸ’ž
But anyway, "be strong, you never know who you are inspiring" casts quite a wide inspirational net. The higher and more public you are in social media, the broader your potential ability to inspire is. Many people are watching you, and sometimes very carefully - whether you want them to or not. So it's about tone you create, because the small things can make a big difference. Recently I've been told that my blog posts about different riding exercises have been really helpful and that people have even gone back to them to re-read them when struggling with something and this makes me feel SO good! So we all need to be aware of the power to inspire in every single blog post and social media post. By honouring that you honour those who find you motivating. 
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