Getting there?

 Once again I've learnt that riding is not easy, and never straightforward. For the last 2 weeks I just haven't been able to 'click' with Vallu, and he has been so spooky and wild that I've felt a bit useless. But now, *fingers crossed* we're on the right track again.

This weekend Vale View is hosting the High Profile dressage show, and so new decorations were placed around both indoor arenas. After about 10 minutes Vallu managed to get over it, and act like a normal horse, trotting past without constantly staring/spooking/tensing. 
It's also been very windy, which makes the doors to the indoor arena rattle loudly and suddenly, which means that Vallu has been exploding and taking off with me lots of times. But today we got into our own "zone" and Vallu was able to ignore the sounds, which makes me so proud of him! Maybe we do have a chance of training properly indoors throughout the winter?

We worked on trot and canter shoulder-ins, and it was great to have mirrors placed at both ends of the arena so that you could see how it was going all the time. I learnt that in trot it feels like it's on 3 tracks, whereas Vallu actually isn't doing shoulder-in properly at all, and in canter Vallu easily does it too much, so I have to really concentrate on giving the smallest possible aids so that I don't end up over riding it.

Shoulder-ins in canter are really good for improving our weaker left canter, it makes the canter really bouncy and uphill! Since the left canter is weaker, it also means that I really struggle with riding canter pirouettes to the left, but after doing shoulder-in, the pirouettes were nearly textbook style! What a great feeling! 
Because of the High Profile competition, I think Vallu might have a few easy days and I will ride whenever I can (e.g. when it's quiet) But I'm really excited to watch the competition this weekend, there are some very nice horse + rider combinations that I will be on the look out for! Maybe next year we can take part in it ;)


This week in pictures


When disaster strikes

 I know the title of the blog post sounds a little overly dramatic, but it did feel like I was hit by a disaster train at full speed yesterday! I decided to take Vallu out for a hack, since he hadn't been on one all week, and as he had been really good for the last two days,  I felt like it's only fair to reward him - and anyway, who doesn't wanna go out for a sunny Sunday afternoon hack? To make a long story short, I have now experienced how it feels like to sit on a rearing bronco bucking galloping at full speed Vallu. And I never want to experience that again.
Riding Saturday evening during a lightning and thunder storm that made the sky pink!
 After a day of being miserable and crying on the phone to mum, today we managed to get over it and had a brilliant ride! After seeing the BD competition on Sunday, I felt like pushing us forwards into more advanced work that is included in the advanced tests, such as trot half passes and extended trots. It felt like everything kinda clicked together, and Vallu understood me and everything that I was asking.

Even though it was really windy and the doors kept making noises, Vallu managed to concentrate nearly most of the time on me, which I really appreciate. It must be very difficult for a prey animal to trust another animal instead of running away in fright, and those days that Vallu manages to trust me really make me feel good :) 
Went better today! :)
 We have our first proper dressage training in 3 weeks time with Andrew Fletcher, and hopefully the work that I need to do for uni will have calmed down by then, so that I can start concentrating more on working with Vallu towards getting ready to start competing in February!

For the rest of the week we'll continue to train trot work and I'll try to get myself more fit so that I won't start puffing after 5 minutes of sitting trot!! And Vallu should be getting clipped this week, which means that we can ride for longer because he won't get so sweaty!


Back on Track Quick Wraps

My new stable bag by BEDesign

I have waited so long to get a pair of Back on Track wrap boots for Vallu. Ever since he hurt his leg at the beginning of this year, I've been reading up on Back on Track products, and I have really really wanted to try out these wraps/boots to see if they make any difference. 

Fingers crossed that they help, according to Back on Track...

"The ceramic reflects your horse’s natural body warmth and creates a soothing far infrared thermal warmth. Warmth therapy is a well-recognized method used to relieve and heal injured muscles, joints, and tendons. When you wrap your horse’s legs with these wraps, our unique ceramic infused fabric creates gentle warmth, which may help decrease swelling and soften or completely reduce wind puffs without the use of liniment or poultice. Use after a strenuous ride and leave them on overnight. You can also use them when you ship your horse. These leg wraps are ideal for injury recovery or prevention."


Day off

Thanks to my body failing me and giving me a fever, sore throat, muscle/joint aches and a migraine, Vallu had a day off today... I've learnt to never get on a horse when feeling extremely poorly, or it nearly always ends up badly. There's a difference between a bit of a sniffle and a concoction of illness that make you feel like death warmed up. I only went to one lecture today (out of three) so I got to go see Vallu early in the afternoon.

Although scientifically I can't argue that painkillers don't work, but I swear that seeing your horse and spending time with him works much better than all painkillers combined. Vallu definitely knew that I wasn't feeling good, and proceeded to spend the next hour being a bit of a clown and making me laugh constantly. 

Vallu has finally learnt that I always keep a packet of polos in my grooming kit, and now whenever I leave the stable he proceeds to dig around in the grooming kit trying to find it. 


I'll lean against your head and give you kisses
I love horses ♥


Great week

I think I should start writing a politics blog instead of a horse blog, considering the fact that I'm now spending most of my time running between home, lectures, and the library... One of the great things that I've found out this week is how much I am actually enjoying studying politics, so it seems like the decision to move myself and Vallu here was a good one! My apologies to everyone who reads my blog, I know that I've been a very bad blogger, it's been a week since I've blogged about anything. The days just pass by so quickly, once I'm done riding, I get home and start reading/working on my essay/lecture notes. It's a crazy life ;)

Waiting in the Millennium Garden for a lecture to start
Studying by the lake
Now onto the horsey stuff...

I'm keeping to a very varied plan with Vallu, so that we don't do the same stuff two days in a row, and oh boyyyy is it working well! During this week since I've last blogged, I've had four of the most fabulous life changing rides ever. 

On Saturday I rode Vallu in a double bridle for the first time since moving to the UK, and it was a good day to wear it. The yard we're at had a British SJ competition going on still when I rode Vallu, and I had to try every trick that I knew to get Vallu to listen to me, even for a second in every minute. Riding a hot horse during a show jumping competition is something that every rider should go through. Really gives an intense workout for those riding related braincells!

On Monday we went out for a proper hack out and we got to trot and canter! It was a Monday evening, I'd had an entire day of uni and was so tired. If I didn't trust Vallu as much as I do, I don't think I'd have  gone out for a hack that tired, simply because my reaction times were so slow. Luckily Vallu behaved perfectly, and since I was tired, I wasn't nervous so I managed to pick up my courage and try trotting and cantering. It was so much fun, and I'm pretty sure Vallu loved it too

So going along with my ride different stuff everyday plan, it meant that on Tuesday we did proper work, and Vallu attempted to look like proper dressage pony. For reasons that I can't figure out, our flying changes have really gone downhill since the move over here. They're not straight, Vallu often kicks to the side (even when I'm sure that I'm not touching him with the spur etc) and they aren't on time. Since I haven't had any lessons, I decided to simplify the situation and just do a single flying change whenever he felt good, and if he didn't feel good then just carry on and end up doing counter-canter. This ended up being a fantastic exercise which, after doing two or three times, has resulted in the flying changes being better than ever.

Wednesday ended up just being a walk day, where we did lots of leg yields and shoulder in. It was too windy for me to even try and attempt trot or canter because I knew that it wouldn't end well. One of the most important lessons that I learnt when riding Basse when he was a youngster was that if either of you is in a bad mood, don't try doing anything complicated, and stick to something that is very safe and easy for both of you

Thursday's ride was most likely the best ride of my life. Vallu was just perfect right from the beginning, and everything just clicked together. Vallu's canter has always been his strongest pace, but on Thursday he trotted as if he was at the Olympics. Everything that I worked towards during the summer with Sanna, getting Vallu to trot with his neck up and round, truly on the bit, hindlegs underneath and pushing him forwards and soft and up in the back finally happened! Some times the things that you try working towards but never quite get it take time, and will end up happening months later. 
"Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success."Napoleon Hill
Finger's crossed that next week is just as good!


Really happy

Vallu's favourite trick to do just when I'm trying to put the bridle on.
 I'm very happy at the moment. Maybe even a bit too happy, and it might just all come crashing down soon! :D Hopefully not, because life is very good and I'm enjoying life. Mainly because Vallu has been very content at his new home, and so I don't have to worry about him at all. 

On Wednesday we went out for our first proper hack, and despite the fact that it was very windy, it went pretty well. Even though Vallu didn't relax at all during the entire hour, he didn't spook at all, and he managed to eat some grass (a sign of him being able to think about something else than the monsters hiding behind the trees and in the bushes) Maybe next time he won't march the entire trip, which would be a little bit more comfortable - my back didn't exactly enjoy sitting to a very quick march that's a mixture of walk, piaffe and tölt.

The bridleway is lovely, it's between fields so the only traffic you encounter are other horses. From the stable it is just a minutes walk on the small road, so getting to the bridle path is not too difficult. At first I was worried that Vallu wouldn't like the cars/vans/lorries that we would meet on the roads, but surprisingly he didn't react at all when 3 cars passed us.

And the spooky/wild Vallu is back! Best news of the week! I'm probably the only person in the entire world who is happy when the horse is spooky, because now I know for sure that Vallu has settled down and starting to feel properly at home. After having a day off yesterday, Vallu nearly managed to get me to fall off three times today. It was so windy, that even my fleece rug wouldn't even stay on properly when I was warming up and cooling down. Vallu is normally okay when it's windy, but apparently he had accumulated  so much energy from yesterday that he was very much in the mood for spooking and galloping off. I must admit, that it is very lovely to have Vallu back, even though most people will consider me crazy for liking a spooky wild horse :)

The sheep next to the outdoor arena