Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Platinum 2019 collection

Every single year Eskadron Platinum has been THE collection of the year for me, however this collection has left me a little underwhelmed - it has the feeling of being more like a Classic collection than a Platinum collection, there is less that I'd like of the vitality and glamour which what I think a Platinum collection should have! ๐Ÿค” If this had come out a few years ago before Equestrian Stockholm did olive, before PS of Sweden did orange and before Le Mieux did orange and olive colours then it'd be amazing - but right now it feels like it's just Eskadron trying to catch up with the other companies colour wise, and not actually bringing out anything 'new'. However, if you missed out on these colours before or are looking to complete your riding outfits with orange and olive coloured boots, Eskadron has got your back! And because this is Eskadron and it truly is my favourite equestrian brand of all time, let's have a better look at this collection.... ⤵️
So the official colours of this collection are off-white, martini-olive, navy and vermillion-orange - quite autumnal but beautiful colours nevertheless! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚ Like mentioned above, when I first saw the leaked photos last week my initial thought was "this looks all very similar..." and then realised that martini-olive reminded me of PS of Sweden's capulet green and Equestrian Stockholm and Le Meiux's olive colours, and the vermillion-orange is almost identical to PS of Sweden's sunset orange from a few collections ago! It does make you wonder if Eskadron's marketing and research team have investigated what sold well with other equestrian brands and then simulated their own version. But having said that, I don't think these colours are too similar to what Eskadron have brought out recently (orange was done in many collections 4-5 years ago but hasn't been seen since!) and I don't believe I've ever seen Eskadron do an olive colour before, so these colours were needed - it just feels like a bit of a copy & paste job.


Aztec Diamond Equestrian - 'Behind The Scenes' press day & interview with Jordan McCabe

What a day this was! The lovely people at Aztec Diamond Equestrian and Sam Forrest PR invited me to an afternoon in London for a Behind The Scenes press day in the amazing Core Clapton building, in Upper Clapton  London. This equestrian brand has been hugely successful since launching in 2014, and now Aztec Diamond Equestrian are doing a 5 year anniversary re-brand and had invited the media to come to view the brand new collection at an exclusive “behind the scenes” media day. The event was held at an absolutely beautiful Edwardian space that is also used for yoga and wellness – it was such a nice place to visit, even if it took me hours to get there and hours to get back! One of the problems of living deep in the countryside in Wiltshire... But anyway, the lovely founder of the brand Jordan McCabe opened the doors for the media & bloggers to come along, meet her and her team and to see what goes on behind the scenes as they worked to create all the content the new collection for their new 5 year re-brand ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ
It was amazing to have Jordan walk me through the new collection on the rails, telling me about the styles, colours, new branding. She was incredibly busy, but still had the time to chat to me about the new products for ten minutes - you can tell just how passionate she is about all the products and how much it means to her to have these designs come to life! As a long time fan, it was lovely to see the new products but to also have the chance to touch & feel them and to see just how well made they are. My biggest worry with buying online products is that they won't feel as nice as you think they should when you're looking at the photos online, but trust me the AD stuff really is well made!


Yard & barn tour!

Despite how incredibly mind-blowingly crazy it seems, by mid July it'll have been a year that we've lived at our current place, as the horses and I arrived last year in the early hours of the morning of Friday 13th. It's incredible to think that a year has just whizzed past like that, but in that time we have built an entire brand new barn, fixed the house up, sorted out the arena and the paddocks! So it's been a very busy time, which is why I'm very excited to have finally show you a little yard/barn tour ๐Ÿ“น

Click HERE for the video (for some reason the youtube link doesn't want to work ๐Ÿ˜ณ)


25 questions

Thanks Viva Carlos for the blog hop!

1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?
I sing "goood morninggggg" ๐ŸŽถ to them as I always get to the barn first thing in the morning at 5.30am to feed the horses. I give them their hard feed, give them their hay and check that everyone has enough water. Then I stumble back home to have a large cup of coffee! 

2. Is there a breed that you would never own?
I've always believed in never say never, but being my height and size I can't see myself owning or riding anything extremely small and dainty, so as much as I love the TB it probably won't happen. I'm hoping that at some point in my life I'll find myself with a very chunky Lusitano or a PRE, but they'll have to be at least 16.2hh.
3. Describe your last ride?
Like in the photo above, a bit wonky but the attempt was there! I last rode Vallu after a week of very little work due to the miserable weather we've been having and we were both a bit stiff and a bit wonky. I think we'll need several rides to get back on track and I desperately want to go for a nice hack next weekend, fingers crossed the weather becomes a bit more summer-y! ☀️

4. Have any irrational riding fears?
Not any irrational fear, but I do have a sense of self-preservation so I will not put myself in a situation with the horses where I or my horse might be in some danger. This means that if I'm going to a new place I want to go check out the place before taking my horse there, just to be on the safe side.

5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?
I don't have a favourite lesson horse since I've not been to riding school since I was about 10! But before I got my pony I was utterly in love with a grey pony at the last riding school I went to and I think this is where my love for greys comes from ๐Ÿฆ„


Natural foraging & supplements for horses

Natural herbs are my choice in horse supplements, and letting the horse self-select what supplements they need is something I'm trying to work towards. When a horse is temporarily out of balance, natural herbs can give them what they needs to rebalance in a gentle, supportive way. Every summer I've fed dried cleaver and marigold to Vallu to help support his lymphatic system - he's had these in a separate feed bucket so that if he needs them he'll eat them, and if he doesn't eat them then I know to stop offering them. Amazingly, this form of self-selection is not something routinely offered by many horse owners, probably because we're so conditioned to giving them what we think they should be eating - rather than letting them choose for themselves ๐Ÿค” But this is where the line becomes blurry... I have been told by some of the best vets in Germany that Erik should have the best vitamin E to support his muscles because of the slight shivering he has in one of his hind legs, so that is something I will always add to his feed. But the rest? I need to up my game and find more natural alternatives to other supplements!
Horses living in the wild are able to keep themselves healthy by seeking the minerals and nutrients that their body needs by foraging for certain plants and herbs that they require at any particular time. Research has shown that horses will seek out particular plants to help with a particular condition and once they start to feel better, they'll return to normal grazing. For example, have you noticed your horse pulling at the sticky weed in the hedges? I have! It's because they know that it's good for them as sticky weed (galium aparine) which is also commonly known as cliver/goose grass/cleaver is a very useful herb for supporting the lymphatic system and is a diuretic. It's good for allergies, for supporting the liver and kidneys and cleanses the blood. This means that it is particularly good for flushing out swellings and inflammation! I learnt about this a few years ago when Vallu was injured and I had a friend come out to do Reiki on him and see what he'd pick from her "magic box of herbs & oils" and she introduced me to zoopharmacognosy.๐ŸŒฑ


Introducing Digital Horse

I'm really pleased to announce on the blog that I have teamed up with Digital Horse and become their official guest blogger! ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’ซ If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll already know this but I wanted to make it's own blog post too. Digital Horse is THE social media hub for horses & equestrians and is made up of Liz & Rebecca, a mother and daughter team with a big passion for horses. It's a place where the conversation is about your horses, and won't be drowned out by adverts and negativity. It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of getting nothing but love and support for every single thing that I've posted - a rare phenomenon which is why I'm SO proud to be a part of the team ๐Ÿ˜ My first official blog post for DH will be on the website this week, so if you don't want to miss out on that, I recommend joining!

Having had the chance to meet & chat with the lovely founders of Digital Horse a few weeks ago at the Aztec Diamond Equestrian press day, we were talking about how important it is to keep Digital Horse as a safe community, where you can ask questions and talk to others about your day without being mercilessly attacked by other people. The problem of social media such as Facebook and Instagram is that when so much of your life becomes public, other people’s opinions can become difficult to avoid, especially when people seem to have so much time on their hands to comment and apparently some have forgotten the saying "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything". In my case I'm lucky in that what I choose to put out into the world is entirely my own choice, and whilst I often don't post about the negative days, what I do share on Facebook and Instagram is carefully chose. I have my own horses at home, so most of my riding, horse care and the decisions I make happen on my own terms and I do not have the problems that others may do at livery yards. I get to choose exactly what gets shared & published, but others are less fortunate and therefore need to have a safe place where they can share how their day went and how their horses are doing without receiving any negativity.
When I see posts on Facebook asking for advice on how to deal with problems with their horses or simply asking for useful exercises when riding or different methods of lunging, but they have to add a ‘no nasty comments’ note at the beginning of the post it just breaks my heart. Having to worry about nasty comments or receiving hate when all you're doing is simply asking for help, guidance or more knowledge from others saddens me. How anyone can be hurtful and judgmental when another person is simply asking for help is beyond me. And the biggest problem is that there doesn't seem to be a solution, which is why I'm more than happy to have joined up with Digital Horse as their guest blogger to try and help people, especially the more vulnerable younger generations to find a safe and secure equestrian community where they'll never be bullied or attacked.


The benefits of field work & hacking out

Whenever it's a gorgeous hot summers day, I always feel like I shouldn't spend it in the arena training the horses but instead I want to go out into the fields or go out for a hack - they all deserve a bit of fun! ๐Ÿ’š Now that we've found a nice quiet local woodland to hack around, I've gained a bit of a hacking out obsession with Vallu. In fact last autumn I spent a lot of time with him 'hacking' around the field, but every single time I've gone there with him he has spooked/spun/tanked off with me, so I was a bit apprehensive about going back out into the 'real' world. The first time a few weeks ago he was a little look-y, but last weekend despite the new route he decided that actually this was fun and I had a lovely time. We all know how those first few rides somewhere 'different' can be so demoralising when it seems that the horses decide to forget everything they've ever known.... So I've not been brave enough to take Melisse outside of home, but I am VERY pleased that she has been hoof perfect in the big field! This made me think about all the benefits of field work & hacking out:


Trends to watch out for: HV Polo SS19 collection

I think one of two things must have happened - either I've been living under a rock, or despite the fact that I have signed up to follow HV Polo through their newsletters, on their FB and Instagram accounts (thank you FB and Instagram algorithms...) they've gone and released a new spring summer collection without much fanfare! ๐ŸŽบ
I've always loved HV Polo and some of my favourite clothing is from this brand but over the last few years I've clearly started to grow up as I've preferred slightly more muted designs and have steered away from HV Polo. Yet this SS19 collection is right up my street! ๐ŸŒˆ The colours of this collection include the lovely bright coral, the beautiful berry, navy and blue turquoise. I would have any of these sets any day of the week ๐Ÿ˜


The unlikely return of Basse

"Good things come to those who wait. Better things come to those who don't give up, and the best things come to those who believe"

I've waited over 7 months for this moment ๐Ÿ’œ✨ I'm finally back on board my Basse for little rides - shoeless and sound! I have begged and prayed for a miracle and it seems to have happened, after over half a year out of work Basse looks and feels sound enough to do a little bit of work.
I've given this blog post the title of 'the unlikely return of Basse' simply because truthfully, a few months ago I was at the stage where I was seriously considering having to have him PTS because he was 1/5th lame in walk and a lot worse in trot - if he's not even sound enough for retirement and to spend his days in the field, then I don't want him to suffer. He went suddenly lame at the end of October 2018, and whilst I initially thought it might have been a muscle tear or some form of bruise or abscess, after two months I had a heart breaking moment where I realised that it was more likely that the navicular disease and the long term effects of having suffered a bout of laminitis were all catching up with him and causing arthritic changes in his legs. Although he has a heart of gold, he's not made from the best ingredients and I've always been prepared for the fact that there is a high chance I won't get him to 20+ years. 


Riding exercise of the month: shoulder-in to half-pass

From youngsters to advanced level horses, I believe that shoulder-in and half-pass should be in every horses' schooling routine. They are both incredibly useful exercises that helps improve the suppleness, help to achieve increased flexibility and to gain strength, but also improve the horse's concentration to your aids - which is especially great if you have a spooky or hot horse! When starting with shoulder-in, it's much easier to use the fence of the arena to help you to stay in a straight line, so this month's riding exercise of the month incorporates that into it. From the short side, ride the first half of the long side in shoulder-in, in the middle of the long side ride a 10 meter circle, followed by half-pass to the centre line. You can do this in walk, trot or canter, I like riding it in canter with Vallu and in trot with Erik, but sometimes I change it up depending on the day. ๐Ÿค—
As you ride the shoulder in, think of being able to alter the angle with your seat and reins with a good amount of the flexion through the neck and with a tempo that stays consistent throughout the exercise, in order to develop the suppleness further. Once you reach E, ride a 10 meter circle which will help you prepare for the half pass and also gives you chance to make sure that your horse is in front of your leg! Straight away after the circle ride your half pass towards the centre line, and then repeat the exercise in either direction.


A year with Melisse

All I can think of to say is that how lucky we have been to have such a special mare land into our lives last year! ❤️ In case you don't remember, in May 2018 the day after I finished my Master's Thesis I went with my dad to go pick up this little firecracker from Helsinki and brought her home with us. As she's more my mum's horse, she doesn't feature that often on the blog but you might have seen her on my Instagram page or stories!
As a yearling! Photo from Sukuposti.fi
Last week we celebrated her sweet 16th and this made me want to write a blog post about how wonderful Melisse is and what a brilliant addition to our herd she is. Although some people might think we're crazy for having a fifth horse, to us she is perfect. Our boys needed a matriarch to rule the group and my mum needed a second horse to ride as Rama is not getting any younger - even though he's not anywhere near ready for retirement, he's the naughtiest one to turn out! But the boys all respect her and she just fits in well. It's nice to have a mare in the herd again!


Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

It's Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 this week and I've been inspired by lots of posts about it on Facebook & Instagram to write my own post, because I think people sometimes need a reminder that it is OK to talk about things like this (sharing is caring guys! ๐Ÿ’•) Today I’m feeling 100%, but last week for several days I did not feel anything close to that. And I’m OK with that. I feel like people need to realise it’s okay to have bad days, as it’s human nature. What we should try to avoid is staying there on that bad day for the rest of the week! Last week I was in the midst of a troublesome bout of anxiety, I’ve felt like I’ve had butterflies in my stomach that are all consuming, and I’ve felt twitchy and totally on edge. I've ridden my horses less than I normally do as I don't want to spread this feeling to them, but then at the same time not riding them makes me feeling guilty and like a terrible horse mum... 
On a day where it feels like anything in the world must be less stressful than living your life. The sort of day when you have constant bad butterflies in your belly, where you’re either sobbing but you don't know why or you’re staring in silence at the wall, because you can’t quite bring yourself to do anything else. You’d like to switch off and take some time out to have the chance to recharge, recoup and hibernate and go back to your life when it’s all just a bit easier. I think that the main problem for me when I start to feel like this is that I feel entirely overwhelmed by the little things, that I am out of control and that that there simply is no way to gain back control again. Then there's also this irritating pressure that I put on myself to simply snap out of it, and it fills me up with anger at myself that I can’t snap out of it – I can’t have a productive day, feel and act normal. A lot of my feeling out of control last week has come from this blog and from my Instagram, as I had a few days away because I didn't have anything to write or talk about. But seeing my traffic and engagement dip down is very scary, it makes me feel like maybe no one wants to read my blog anymore and as if my Instagram account is boring everyone! Like it’s time to give up, pack away my Blogger account and go back to my normal everyday work life.


The Royal Windsor Horse Show 2019 & Grand Prix Freestyle to Music class

It's not often that I manage to organise an actual day off from our horses, but Friday was one of those rare occasions where I had the chance to drag my mother along to day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show for the Al Shira'aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music class. We arrived several hours early so that we could grab some lunch as well as check out all the stands (wow, there were loads!!) My absolute favourite stands were the Honest Riders, La Flex Equestrian, Carr & Day & Martin, Theraplate UK and the HorseHealth stand. Really really lovely people to chat to and everyone was so helpful and friendly that I had the best time wandering around! ๐Ÿ›
The Grand Prix Freestyle to Music class started off with Nina Nilosaari with her horse KOM Ragdoll. I think this horse is wonderful, it has such a nice powerful trot but it did look a bit tired from yesterday's GP class. It also didn't help that as she was riding around the arena the horses did a massive spook at one corner and Nina fell on the neck... That can't have been easy to recover and get focused back on the test itself, so I can only commend her for the mental strength to do that! She was followed by Tommie Visser whose horse Chuppy Checker CL (what a name!) was one of my all time favourites in the class because it had a fabulous canter and Tommie rode a wonderful extended canter across the diagonal to a canter pirouette to one tempi flying changes, and just made it look so incredibly easy. Although the piaffes were quite slow, the trot half pass was the stuff of dreams ๐Ÿ˜


When success is achieving relaxation

Isn't it funny how some people consider success only to be winning competitions and titles, whereas for some it's moments and events that go well which can be successful or not? For my, it's the those moments where you achieve something that you've work so hard towards for so long, that's what I call success. And the arena hire on Monday was a resounding one! ๐Ÿ’™
 Although it may sometimes look it, my horses have never been easy. My pony was so quick and hot that in the beginning I fell off him every week, if not more often.  Basse was only a 4 year old when I got him and I had to learn how to ride a young horse and go up the levels with him, but his heart of gold and willingness to work with me made him entirely worth the time it took. Vallu was a "ready made" school master who I technically could have competed the advanced levels with, but his spooky/hot temperament and his injuries meant that I never quite got to go in the white boards with him. Erik is a wonderful combination of the two others before him, the talent of Vallu with the temperament of Basse - but on some days he needs that extra bit of hand holding and understanding. He's very weather sensitive (if it's raining AND windy I need to wear my best sticky breeches, that type of sensitive!) which makes him just that little bit harder to work with. But yesterday it finally felt like I'd cracked him and learnt at least a little bit of how to help him deal with anything different, like going to an arena hire, where there a million and one things to spook at.


Maintaining & improving muscle condition - sponsored blog post

Hi guys! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป For a while now I've been wanting to expand the range of topics that my blog covers, just so that you get more out of it. The equestrian trends, riding outfit ideas and dressage training topics won't go away as I still love them and enjoy writing, editing, and taking photos for them, and I'm far too opinionated to stop writing my opinion & motivational posts, but I've decided it was about time that new topics could be shared on the blog! This started last month with the interview blogpost with my good friend Tinja who shared her knowledge and experiences as an international competition groom and now carries on with this wonderfully informative post from Lauren at Feedmark.
 And so I'm very excited to be bringing you another blog post that I hope is useful for you and your horse! Although I do have some knowledge about equine nutrition and I try to keep up to date with all the latest advances in nutrition and all the different feeds and supplements, I am still no expert in this topic which is why I'm thrilled that Feedmark have worked with me to produce this blog post, and a massive thanks to Lauren for writing this and sharing her knowledge with us! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Just a little bit about Lauren so that you can get to know her: Lauren Harrold joined Feedmark in 2018 as an Equine Nutritionist, following her degree in Equine Science at Oxford Brookes University. She owns 2 horses, an ex-racehorse and part-bred Newforest mare that both regularly compete in dressage, but also enjoy hacking at their home on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. ๐Ÿด❤️
Anyway, onto the actual topic... Fitness, muscle and condition ⤵️

For many horse owners, the change of seasons from winter to spring means less mud, less mucking out, and more time to ride in the lighter evenings! Many horses have the winter off exercise, or at least a reduction in their workload due to their rider’s lack of time or facilities in the cold and dark winter months. So, it is around this time of year that the horse’s workload begins to increase with  view to improve fitness and condition, and some horse owners will also be thinking about their competition season ahead.


Just do one better each day

"The only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday" Rachel Hollis
The quote above got me thinking about how our aim to become better riders often feels like a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs & sometimes you definitely feel like you a loser when compared to other riders, who might be out there competing and winning every weekend, who you wish you could copy or even emulate after seeing their successes... But by the time you’re headed up the "Self-Improvement Mountain" for the millionth time, you might also be vomiting/going for a fear ๐Ÿ’ฉ by the time you arrive at the competition venue, cursing yourself that you once again decided to go competing rather than staying at home. It made me question why so often our attempts to better ourselves are so uneven, and why they so frequently end in failure? There are a few reasons, but for me personally it's focusing on the big goal which can sometimes overwhelm me into inaction and over-thinking. Instead of just being pleased with the fact that my horse is going well at home, I want to dominate the world, win the regionals & go to the nationals! And so I draw up plans for leaving behind the 99% of other riders out there behind, and becoming part of the extraordinary semi-pro 1% of the best... But the enormity of my goals ends up overwhelming me into inaction, as a big & bold goal looks to most people's the brain as something so impossible that it’s actually scary.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Ride.Eat.Sleep.Repeat collection

Bright, bold and beautiful!! That is the only way to describe Eskadron's new collection, which is known as the Ride.Eat.Sleep.Repeat collection ๐Ÿ’• I was super excited when I heard that Eskadron announced that in addition to their super fun Eskadron Fanatics clothing line, they were also adding a new collection to the Eskadron brand. Being a big fan of the Eskadron for the longest time thanks to their classic designs and superb quality, I just had to share with you this new Eskadron line!
Overall, the collection is very bright and out there, so if you're like me and prefer the more classic colours and tones then this collection might not be for you. But if fun and bright colours are your thing then I'm sure you'll love this ๐Ÿญ Now, lets have a closer look at the new saddle pads! The cotton saddle pads have reflective piping, with the brand name also all along the binding and slogan application on both sides which makes this saddle pad rather unique. The most "out there" saddle pad from this collection is the grey polo pad, with it's very distinctive design with an allover print, with an Eskadron print on the left side and a silicone lettering in the saddle area, which helps the pad stay still under the saddle. For me, the most fun pad from this collection is the big square glossy, because of its glossy fabric in a fabulous fade style. With double cords and vertical letterings on both sides I think this will look amazing in the sun, especially the pink one! ๐ŸŒท


#rootd: soft & dreamy lavender

Although I missed out on last month's #rootd, I'm back this month with one of my all time favourite spring looks! I think this is SUCH a cute riding outfit, I love how it looks on all the horses. Yeah it might be a bit girly, but pastels are my favourite colours to use in spring time so the boys will just have to deal with it! ๐Ÿ’œ I've also started using my leggings more and more now that the weather is starting to warm up once again, and although these Aztec Diamond Equestrian leggings don't have any 'sticky' bits, they are so comfortable to wear and unlike my Pikeur leggings, they don't fall down all the time! I love the fact that most equestrian brands have started to follow the colour trends of the big fashion lines, so lots of normal non-horsey shops like H&M, Next and Primark have got clothes that match - sorry Pikeur and other expensive equestrian brands, but your prices for sweaters and hoodies can be a bit much when there is no guarantee that they won't shrink in the wash and my horses like to slobber & stain my clothes! 


Equilab app review

You might have seen quite a bit about an equestrian app called Equilab floating about whenever you've been on Facebook and Instagram especially now that spring is here and the hacking season has officially started, as the app is gaining more and more popularity in the UK. Created in Sweden, this app utilises artificial intelligence to help capture the movement of the rider and the horse, and whilst it tracks your hacking routes it also tracks everything from the time spent in each pace and turn distribution to the intensity of stride - great for any rider who wants the chance to be able to analyse their rides better! ๐Ÿค“
I've recently been trying out the Equilab app, it's very in depth and has lots of options and fortunately it is available both on Android and iPhone. All you have to do is to simply turn on the app and put it in your pocket whilst you're out hacking or riding - although for the first few days I totally forgot to have my phone on me as I never used to have my phone with me when riding. If you're like me, it only takes a few days to remember to take your phone with you, then it becomes an automatic thing! I find it very useful to see how I'm riding - I can tell how many turns I've done, whether I'm favouring one rein over the other, as well as my rhythm and elevation.  It's great when you don't regularly have lessons but want to be able to track your rides and evaluate how your rides have been going.
On the app itself you can set up your own profile as well as your horses' profiles, with the horse profiles being a little more in depth than the rider's. You are able to add a photo, the horse's name and nickname, the main discipline they do, their breed, weight and date of birth, as well as add multiple riders to each horse - so if two of you are sharing a horse it doesn't matter as Equilab has you sorted! I think this is a great feature that has been really well thought out, as not every horse has just one rider. I know several people who horse share and this app would be perfect for them as you can just open the app and see what they've been up to on the days that you've not been riding.


Spring preparations

I've been part of the #Horsebloggers Meet Up Facebook group for the longest time because I've found it to be a great community to be a part of, where it's possible to get help and support from fellow equestrian bloggers. This time the group inspired a blog post theme, which is spring preparations for the horses. I'm sure that I'm not the only who finds spring as a time for lots of preparation! This is further helped with the the clocks having moved forwards, which means it feels like we have SO many more hours of daylight and sunshine. You can smell spring in the air during the day, despite the fact that in the mornings we're having frost after a freezing night whilst the sun in the afternoons makes it feel the middle of summer... it seems like we are getting four seasons each day! ๐ŸŒฆ
Spring for me signals the seemingly endless shedding of the horses’ winter coats, preparing for flies and other bugs and sorting out the paddocks. The horses are nearly there with their coat changes, which I'm very excited about as it means my clothes won't be covered in horse hair all the time! The horses have also had 'a spring sort out' - teeth, vaccinations and wormers are all done so in that respect we are nearly there and ready for spring and summer ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป


Arena hire & first trip out in the new trailer

With the arrival of our new trailer last week, on Saturday we went on our first trip in it to our local indoor arena. Getting there was a bit of an ordeal, as although we'd practised loading and unloading the night before, for some reason Erik decided that he didn't want to go on the trailer with Rama already being inside. After several attempts, we decided to try again so that Erik would go on first, and this time he loaded on the second attempt! Such a relief, I hate the struggle of loading an unhappy horse so it was good that we found out that he prefers to load on first. Luckily the place is less than 5 minutes away, so Erik and Rama didn't have to be in the trailer for a long time which meant that it was a nice first trip for them!
 All I wanted to work on was something easy for us both, so that we could have a nice and easy time on our first outing. I didn't want to work on anything difficult or frustrating, so transitions it was! I believe transitions are a key part of the horse's education - no matter how experienced your horse is. So I focused on getting good transitions both within and between paces. Riding forwards down the long sides of the arena and collecting at the short sides. The more I did this the more I could feel Erik becoming more supple in his body, but also more responsive and reactive to my aids ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป But then he has started to think it would be fun if he didn't slow down for the short sides as going forwards and fast is much more exciting, so I started varying where I asked for transitions and what I asked for (not just collected canter to medium canter, added in canter to trot and a few canter to walks), as this kept him focused on me and what is going to happen next, rather just doing a medium canter around the arena!


Ifor Williams HBX511 trailer review

Ever since moving to Wiltshire last autumn, we've been indecisive between buying a small 3.5t horsebox or getting a big car and a trailer combination. Although we initially leaned towards the small horsebox (mum and I could both drive it, it's easy to drive and to park and we both like horseboxes) but in the end we've settled with going back to the trusty 4x4 and trailer combination.
Our previous trailer was an Ifor Williams and as every single horse travelled well in it, we were keen to stay with the brand. Once we started looking at what was available, my lovely dad stated that there was little point getting a used old style 511, and decided that we could go look at the new HBX style! I was so excited on our way to look at the demo trailer, and I was not disappointed when we got there. It's SO light and I love the look of the new sleek and aerodynamic style, and the new features in it just look so nice. All in all, it is a really bright and very airy trailer! All the horses who travelled in our old 511 trailer loaded and travelled well in it, so we knew going for another 511 would be a good choice as there's nothing worse than unhappy horses who don't like to travel in the trailer! It has the front unloading door, which is something that I couldn't ever live without anymore, it's so much safer and easier for the horses.


Getting back into it

If you follow me on Instagram (@roosa_rantanen) you’ll know that over the last few weeks I've been suffering from being incredibly frustrated with the weather! Over the last 2 weeks I've barely ridden and the horses haven't been going out properly - our fields are a soggy marshland thanks to the constant rain and the gale force winds have ensured that my feet haven't left the ground. Honestly it has been the longest period of high winds that I have ever experienced in my lifetime and even Basse, who I would trust with my life, has been wild to hand walk in the arena so you can only imagine what the other horses have been like! ๐ŸŒช☔️
I really didn’t want to have a doom and gloom and woe is me blog post on here as I prefer keeping my blog a positive and encouraging space, but the truth is that a horsey life is hardly ever perfect... Two weeks of crappy weather as well as a horrible bout of flu that kept me essentially bed bound for days did a huge amount of damage to my motivation and to my self-confidence. Before this I was planning competitions as well as a trip to a local canter track, hiring an indoor arena and trailering up for hacks, but over the last few days I didn't even want to get on my horses. Riding horses is certainly never plain sailing and I’m not ashamed to admit that some days (or even weeks!) I struggle. It's hard to carry on but eventually you come through on the other side and get back into it. You just have to give yourself the time for it.
But on Sunday I put on my brave pants and decided to go for it - I'd had enough of my self-pity, my fever was gone and with the winds dying down by the hour I knew I had no excuses left. I made a plan to actually ride all the horses, rather than lunging because they'd been lunged all week. As I got on each horse I said to myself that "I am not scared, I am a brave rider" and this was the mantra that I repeated constantly as I rode. And in the end, I actually ENJOYED riding!! Yes they were all wired to the moon and yes I did sit to some very impressive spooks, but I got to end it on a good note on all of them. Afterwards I felt AMAZING! And even today more than 48 hours later, I still feel amazing. 


An interview with an international competition groom Tinja Hurula

I know this is something different to what I normally share on my blog, but I thought it was about time to add a new feature and expand the blog to include interviews with people who I think have interesting stories to tell! Tinja is a gem of a girl, whose positive attitude and love of horses inspires me and I'm so lucky to class her as a friend of mine! Tinja and I have been talking ever since last summer when I stayed at my brother's yard in Germany for 6 weeks whilst we waited for the sale of our house over here to be completed and I thought it would be a great feature to shed some light on the work she is doing. So I thought I’d catch up with her and find out more about what it's like being an international competition groom and share it with you guys! ⬇️
Tinja and Rossi after the GP Special class which Henri and Rossi won ๐Ÿ†
Q: Tell us all about yourself and how you ended up working for Henri as a groom?
"I'm Tinja, I'm 25 year old and originally from Turku, in Finland. I've been working at various stables for about 10 years. I came from Finland to Krefeld in Germany thanks to being inspired by a friend, and after a year I ended up moving to come work for Henri at Gut Bertingloh."
Q: How do you prepare for a long trip with a horse which includes the horse having to fly?
"For a long journey to a competition that we have to fly to, I prepare pretty much the same way as for any other competition. However, there are a few things you need to bring with you in the plane that you don't need when the horse isn't flying. For example, things such as a brush, a rug and boots for the horse, a bucket as well as a spare head collar and lead rope! They must be packed in case the tack locker is delayed in arriving at the competition site. For the flight it's also good to pack a large hay net and mash for the horse."


Riding exercise of the month: halt to trot

As the spring/summer competition season starts to get closer and closer, I've been working on several exercises to polish up to the look of our tests and to make sure we get the best possible marks. As halt to trot transitions are asked for at the beginning of most dressage tests, it's the first movement to get marked and you really want to make a good first impression to the judge! If you ride a good halt which is followed by a smooth and straight transition into trot, you set yourself up to get good marks in the rest of the test. And even if you're not competing, halt to trot transitions are useful as a riding exercise to make your horse sharper to your leg aids and to encourage them to step underneath more! 
When I start riding direct halt to trot transitions, I find it very helpful to position my horses along the fence line rather than on the centre line as this makes it easier for me to keep them straight during the halt and the transition to trot. Apply both legs on the girth with a small squeeze to ask your horse to move directly into trot - at first you might have to use a sharper kick or a tap with your whip if you don’t get a reaction, but remember to praise lots when the horse does what you want. Positive praise gets you quicker results that negativity! ❤️ Obviously the strength of the leg aid depends on the horse - a sharp horse will need less leg than a lazy one, but after training this exercise your horse should move into trot from the smallest of aids ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป


Blogini tarina

Kun minut valittiin Blogiexpo19 'Pinnalla palkinon' ehdokkaaksi tรคnรค vuonna, ajattelin ettรค olisi oikea aika kertoa suomeksi blogini taustalla oleva tarina siitรค, miten blogini syntyi vuonna 2013 ja mitkรค asiat heppahullussa elรคmรคssรคni johtivat tรคhรคn... Tรคmรค tulee olemaan pitkรค tarina, joten ota kuppi kahvia ja tee olosi mukavaksi! ☕️๐Ÿ›‹
Koska isoveljeni Henri on kilparatsastaja ja hevosalan ammattilainen ja รคitini on ollut hevosten kanssa tekemisissรค pienestรค pitรคen, ei ollut mahdollisuutta ettรค en olisi kasvanut heppahulluksi tytรถksi. Ylรคasteella West Sussexissa olin kiinnostunut netballista, mutta sekin loppui heti kun oma poni tuli! Eli siis perheeni vahva hevostausta aloitti kiinnostukseni ja rakkauteni hevosiin kun olin ihan pieni lapsi.


Trends to watch out for: Le Mieux SS19 collection

Well hello there Le Mieux, WELCOME BACK!! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป After several disappointing seasons of collections from Horsehealth's Le Mieux (so much so that I didn't even include them in my Trends To Watch Out For series last autumn), I am utterly in love with this new SS19 collection ๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ‘They've created such beautiful springy pastel colours - there is a stunning lavender which suits every horse and a lovely soft peachy orange that even an orange hater like myself would quite happily buy. And for those of you who like having matching ears/fly hoods to complete the sets, Le Mieux has your back and has created them in both colours ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Although I stopped using Le Mieux saddle pads several years ago when they rubbed Vallu behind the saddle, over the last year or so I've only heard good things about their newer pads. My mum also owns several of the newer sets and as they've never rubbed her horse I thought I should finally give them another go! It was the binding of the pads that rubbed Vallu all those years ago, but with this new "super soft suede binding" this problem won't come back.


Riding exercise of the month: "the magic square" pole work

If you are looking for something interesting and fun to add to you and your horse’s rides to get you through to spring and summer when the chance to hack out and use fields more returns, pole work is the answer! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป They are very easy to set up and there are so many variations you can use to benefit your horse. I know a few people who think that pole work is just for those who jump or event their horses, but I think it has benefits for horses in all disciplines - it encourages your horse to become more rhythmic and balanced and helps you improve your timing and balance (it does for me at least! ๐Ÿ˜) 
One of my favourite pole work exercises is the magic square ⬛️ It's a great exercise to teach your horse to remain as straight as possible when riding along the diagonal. The other reason why it's one my favourite exercises is because it really doesn't take long to set up this exercise - with four poles you just make a perfect square that is aligned properly with both diagonal lines, which means you can ride a figure of 8 without having to stop at all. It's an easy exercise for the horses, but not too easy as the two poles means your horse does actually have to pay attention to where it's feet are going! The main thing to focus on is to not speed up, to let the poles do the work and to let the horse think about what is happening. You need to trot straight through the square, and not lean and cut corners, ensuring that you use your leg and rein aids properly. 
So there you go, my recommend riding exercise for next month is this quick but effective magic square pole work! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป Get those hind legs working! If you tried this, let me know how it went! 


Blogiexpo'19 "Pinnalla -palkinto" award nomination

I'm VERY excited to have been nominated for a Finnish blogging award for the first time ever ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ“ Surprising, but very much appreciated! Playsson.net is once again organising this year's popular Blogiexpo, which rewards the previous year's top social media influencers as well as bloggers.  I am honoured to be nominated for the "Pinnalla -palkinto" which is an award for a blog or channel that is long-lasting and has been around for a long time at the top.  This little blog of mine has been active since January 2013 so over 6 years now - a part of me finds this insane, and another part of me is just so unbelievably proud of my little corner of the internet. ๐Ÿ’– I’ve worked hard over these years to produce content that I love and hope that others love too. When I was announced as a nominee for this award a few weeks ago I knew I’d reached further than I ever thought I could and well past my original goals, and I was over the moon - mission accomplished, and then some! ๐ŸŒ™  I am in fantastic company in this group and have to say that in this group, if I end up being the fourth place it's not something to be ashamed of!
But I'd love it if you could follow the link and click on my blog's name for the "Pinnalla-palkinto" (bottom of the page - Roosa's Horsey Life) and then press รครคnestรค ✅ I'm so proud of what has already been accomplished, I'd love your help to achieve even more ⤵️

CLICK HERE to take you to the voting page

You can vote for just one category if you are not familiar with other categories. Voting is open from 25.2. until 10.3.2019!
I'm so grateful for each and every vote! Thank you!


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Classic SS19 collection

Thanks to a perfect 2018 where I loved every single collection that Eskadron brought out, I thought it would continue into this year as well. In this case it wasn't to be as the Eskadron Classic SS19 collection just isn't that exciting for me. BUT, if you like green and orange, giiirrrrrrlllllll are you in for a treat!! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’ซ A beautiful bright coral colour and a strong but sweet green give a breath of spring air into the matchy world!
 The colours that Eskadron have gone for this spring summer collection are: seapine green, coral fusion, navy and blanc. Whilst I love me some navy, I do think the pine green and coral simply win the show in this collection. And like I wrote earlier, if you like your greens and oranges then this collection is for you! I am much more of a light blue/pink/purple/grey type of girl so I won't be ordering anything from this collection (what a shock, I KNOW!!) but I still really do like the look of the coral and the pine green, especially the velvet crystal pads and the cotton big squares and the glossy emblem pads. The more I look at the photos of the coral the more I start to like it ๐ŸŠ It's nice that Eskadron have done the fluffy boots and over reach boots to match these colours, so you can get them in the coral, green and navy ⤵️ I really rate my Eskadron boots - they just last and last!
I'm also not convinced about the new type of binding that Eskadron have used on some of these pads. I'm pleased that they're trying out different looks and styles, I am just not a fan of this style. A dear friend of mine calls this "police tape" and I couldn't think of a more appropriate description than that! ๐Ÿšจ I still have high hopes for the rest of Eskadron's collections, and I'm hoping none of them will lead to disappointment! I hate it when you're so excited for something, and then it ends up being a bit lacklustre...


#rootd: pink & elegant

Although it's not been too long since my last #rootd blog post, but I thought now that I have some of the new sets from the SS19 collections, I ought to carry on with these posts. This month’s look has been inspired by Valentines Day but I've made it a bit more casual and more like "you can still wear this to the barn and not regret your horse sneezing all over your jumper" without regretting your outfit choice! ๐Ÿ’— This dusky pink is everywhere this spring, most of the high street shops will have jumpers, sweatshirts and t-shirts in this colour, and best of all it’s just so easy for anyone to wear and pull it off! I also love to add some sparkle to our daily training, which is why these Anky sparkling over reach boots make this outfit look complete ✨
 Saddle pad: PS of Sweden rose
Bandages: PS of Sweden rose
Over reach boots: Anky shiny white glitter sheepskin
Top: H&M old rose sweater
Breeches: Pikeur Gia leggings