2014 Goals

I think it's important to have some goals for each year, it gives you a direct vision of what you want to achieve during the year! Even though I've been riding Vallu for nearly a year and a half now, most of the time has been spent on me learning how to ride an advanced horse (massive learning curve!!!) and then also getting Vallu to calm down about everything and to start acting like a normal horse - which incidentally requires lots of TLC and time. And then last year's goals kind of went down the drain when Vallu hurt his leg, so our competition debut has moved to 2014, fingers' crossed that we'll eventually get there!


I actually won something

I got amazing news a few days ago, I was lucky enough to be picked a winner from Equestrian Trend's blog, where they had a Magic Brush set giveaway!! Equestrian Trend is a great blog showing all of the latest trends in our equestrian world, and having developed a partnership with Magic Brush, they were able to a host a lovely giveaway.
I opted for a black set, which as you can see from the photos includes three brushes; one black, one pink and one grey. I really love the concept of these brushes, but I've been a bit skeptical about them which made me hold back from buying them. But never give up on joining these blog giveaways, you might actually win sometimes ;)
I can't wait to try these out to see if they are worth the hype, and with 3 different brushes I can use them  all for different things e.g. pink for brushing Vallu and grey for cleaning saddle pads/boots/bandages etc.


Merry Christmas!

To all my dear readers, I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a great New Year 2014 here's hoping we all have a great year!

Much love to you all


Christmas presents!

I got very spoilt once again and got lots of presents, all which I am very very grateful for. I love Christmas, giving other people presents which make them smile is great, but the best thing is having your family around you. Since my family is pretty spread around (Henri in Germany, Tommi here in Finland, and me in UK) we don't get together very often anymore and it's lovely to just sit down with everyone and catch up. It also means that we sometimes end up celebrating Christmas as early as on 20th December, which is why I'm already blogging about Christmas presents!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, here are some of my best horsey Christmas presents...

Horse hair bracelet

One of the most precious things ever - a horse hair bracelet made from my baby Bastitini's hair. It is so beautiful.

My new most treasured horsey possession, I absolute adore this. I've wanted a new browband for Vallu's double bridle that would match his single bridle for a veryyyy long time. "Strikingly sparkling, elegantly waved browband featuring large, elegant Strass crystals with leather border and original Passier logo on the left loop." I'm very excited about this since it is a Passier, known for their quality and longevity, I really can't wait to try this on his double bridle!

Ahh I absolutely adore these!! I love all new gloves, especially Roeckl ones, but gosh these are so pretty! They are so comfortable, and the little bit of bling is just perfect. Yes I've got a little bit of a thing for bling; riding boots, whip and now gloves ;)

Riding clothes
I got new riding tshirts, a grey Tommy Hilfiger jumper, Kingsland jumper and hoodie and new riding socks. Perfect, I'm now sorted for riding clothes until next Christmas

Vallu also got a new rug, a really thick full neck fleece rug from the JH Collection at Hööks. It looks so warm and comfy, I'm hoping that it will fit him well, I've never bought this type of rug before...

I also got an extra awesome Christmas present from a blog (Equestrian Trend) giveaway, but I'll post about that later!

What horsey Christmas presents did you guys get, did you get everything you wanted?


Dressage lesson with Andrew Fletcher: making it simple

(For some reason I didn't want to share this blog post at first, it jut felt so special that I wanted to keep the feelings and thoughts that I had to myself for a while... It feels like a lot of the pieces in our massive jigsaw puzzle fell into place; Vallu was trying so hard for me and it felt like for the first time we became one in a true partnership. And that makes this lesson hold a very dear and special place in my heart.)

Out of all my bad habits and problems, trying too hard seems to be my biggest fault as a rider. Although this isn't too bad (out of all the things that I could do wrong) but good god is it difficult to get my brain and body to simply stop trying too hard. Arghhhhhh. Vallu was a super good boy, did everything that I asked him to, and once again I got a taste of how amazing he is when I ride right and ask him correctly. 

During the lesson we worked on flying changes as well as pirouettes (walk and canter.) Possibly the two most difficult exercises that I know, and being a bit ill also made the lesson a bit more challenging. But you know you've had an amazing lesson when you feel so much better after your lesson than you did beforehand, dressage training is better medicine for flu than paracetamol and lemsip ;)

After warming up, we started working on flying changes which are too easy for Vallu, whereas I am not a 100% sure about them, and this tends to result in Vallu showing off and doing whatever he wants with me sitting there going "err... what am I supposed to do now?!?" So to make it simple, Andrew took off my spurs and made me leave the curb rein alone so I was riding on the snaffle rein only, making everything so much simpler, and I've never been happier. I just have to ride the canter forwards after we're done with the flying changes so Vallu knows that we don't want anymore flying changes and that's that, simple. It's always good to hear what a judge would give you for a certain movement, and Andrew said that we would get a 7 or 8 for flying changes because they're uphill, straight and fluent. Just as long as I don't mess it up! :D
I had a huge lightbulb moment when Andrew said to ride Vallu's canter uphill. Vallu knows how to canter properly, and I do know how to ask for a big uphill canter but I'm often content with just his normal canter, so I don't ask for more. But woahhh can this canter when you ask for it properly. Vallu became so uphill that during the walk to canter transition I nearly ended up sitting behind the saddle because it was so massively uphill. All I can remember is Andrew shouting "YES now that's an uphill transition" Right, I want more of that feeling!!!

After a long (and very much deserved) break which mainly consisted of me patting Vallu and saying good boy, we moved onto pirouettes. Probably the most difficult movement for me personally, I override it, and often mess it up. So onto making it simple so that both my body and my brain understand what to do :D It is imperative that my outside leg is moved forwards, not back. Otherwise we end up in a travers, which makes Vallu even more slow and the movement even more difficult for both of us. It also helps if I turn both hands towards direction we're going, making sure that his shoulders keep turning, instead of his hind legs.  

And the exact same applies for canter, since it is the exact same thing just in another pace. Making sure that Vallu is going forwards makes the pirouette very easy. Ride forwards by using leg, then pat, collect, and pat. If pirouettes are too difficult for me at first to get the proper feeling, then riding a square  (with short pirouette style turns at each corner) is a good idea. From here, you can make the square smaller by turning more often, which quickly leads into a circle and a constant turn and thus into pirouette.
I am very proud of my horse, who has the amazing ability to teach me so much and to take us onwards and upwards to new challenges. I think he is the horse of my lifetime.


Super Saturday!

I had one of the best Saturdays in a long time today, managing to spend over 9 hours at the stables! During this time Vallu was clipped, I had lunch and did some Christmas shopping, helped build the arena eventing show jumping course and then groomed and rode Vallu in the evening. 

Arriving at the yard I got the best surprise, Vallu was sleeping (I haven't been able to see this since moving to Nottingham) He was so sweet, and when I sat down next to him Vallu pulled me into a hug. Vallu can be super cute when he wants to be, and it's great to see him being so relaxed and happy. It was lovely to be able to just sit in his stable next to him for fifteen minutes just hugging him. ♥ Ah, I think I fell even a bit more in love with him…

Vallu got his second (and hopefully last) clip and he was so well behaved. Massive thanks to Charlotte who spent most of the time during clipping him telling Vallu what a good boy he is! This is such a huge improvement from when we first bought and couldn't clip him without getting the vet to sedate him. Now Vallu stands there quite happily munching on carrots and is content to have his body, legs and half a head clipped. Major progress, yessss!!
Racing stripes ;)
Naked legs!
Half done :)
 I also spent lots of time with the cutest Border Collie puppy ever! 

Since it was so windy (I mean windy like it felt like I was at the end of the world tornado kinda windy) I decided to wait until the indoor arena was empty, so this meant hanging around until 6pm. But it was well worth it, Vallu was a very good boy - very little spooking occurred even though the doors and walls were banging and making lots of noise - and Vallu even managed to properly relax at some points. On Monday we have our second Andrew Fletcher lesson which I can't wait for, hopefully it will go as well as last time!


Vallu 11.12.13

So we were gonna try to do some horse decorating (Christmas decorations on horsey) but since Tesco had run out of tinsel we stuck to normal kissy pose photos, but I think the photos turned out so lovely. Lots of thanks to my awesome flatmate Hannah who came to take the photos!!! ♥