Real princesses don't kiss toads

As you can see, finally a new banner and some long overdue changes to the blog :) I really want to get a professional on the job and get them to back the blog all fancy, but right now I'm happy with this. Thought wouldn't it be lovely to be able to use Photoshop properly (I made my banner with PicMonkey after my laptop lost the banner I'd spent hours making with GIMP...) and to be able to do HTML properly. Oh well, I like this for now :)
My lovely friend Hannah came and took some photos of us on Saturday! I'm so blessed to have such nice people around me, who even though are non-horsey, they are willing to come up to the stables and take photos and spend hours with me and Vallu.

Real princesses don't kiss toads

These three photos were taken one after another and made me burst out laughing when I saw them. You can really see Vallu going "sugar?" to "sugar?????" to "SUGAR!" He has such a lovely expressive face.



 Friday night magic! Vallu was on fire tonight, it feels like he's finally happy to be working in the indoor arena again. Flying changes (the elusive 100% correct 2 tempi diagonal!!!!!!) were all good, got some piaffe in, as well as trot and canter half passes! 

I think I might have finally had that breakthrough in what Vallu wants to do when we do proper training in the double bridle... Today I decided to try out a warm up that included walking around beginning with extended walk, so we do have a contact and he's not just on a long rein, practising diagonals and it's a proper marching walk and not just a slow bumble along. This was followed by trot and canter in a figure of 8 in the same long and low frame, and I think it was quite successful! As some people already know, Vallu is a serial pooper, but tonight we only had 2, when at worst it can be 7! As weird as this may sound, the less he poops the more comfortable/happier he is in his work?
Dat neck ♥︎
I think I'm also going to become more organised and make sure that once a week we will have a massage day, just to make sure that he doesn't have any sore spots, or any little things that I can try to help him with. I know I'm not a professional physio, but I do know some stuff which our lovely Erika from home has told me to do with him, and I'm sure anything is better than nothing... And exciting saddle news, my new WOW saddle is coming to be fitted the week beginning December 8th, that's only 10 days away!!! Cannot wait! ♥︎


Wordless Wednesday

Winter is here!


More chia!

Yes I am a total Chia convert nowadays, and will be preaching about it again now ;) Having done a super quick long weekend visit back home, I also managed to squeeze in a little meet with the lovely people of Chia de Gracia in Helsinki, where I was very fortunate to be given more Chia seeds. Vallu and I thank you! ♥︎ We had a great chat, and were pondering how chia seeds are very popular here and in USA as well as Australia but nowhere else! Weird! Chia de Gracia is now branching out into supplying both the UK as well as Sweden, and soon hopefully the brand will be known all over Europe.
Yummy! :P
For those of you who didn't know, Chia seeds are a natural superfood for horses because "Chia facilitates natural well-being and can supplement the horse’s daily feed. Chia seeds contain more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in an ideal balance than any other plant product. Chia is rich in essential amino acids, minerals, and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, E) and has a high protein content. Chia easily gels and forms a protective film in the intestines that slows carbohydrate absorption, balances blood sugar levels and advances the healing of gastric ulcers. Chia is perfect for sensitive horses that suffer from equine metabolic syndrome, are overweight or experience intestinal problems. The absorbing properties of chia help ensure a perfect balance of fluid and electrolytes. Its high level of dietary fibre supports optimal intestinal functioning – Chia can thus be used to clear the bowels from sand. Chia lubricates the horse’s skin, which increases its resistance to allergies, alleviates itching and promotes the growth of strong hooves and shining, healthy horse hair. Chia is rich in antioxidants and magnesium, which helps to calm stress-sensitive horses and balances the mare’s estrous cycle. It is also ideal for pregnant mares and for horses that suffer from damaged joints or connective tissue." (Borrowed from EquiNutritive's page about Chia seeds)

And now Chia de Gracia's chia seeds can be purchased from UK too! *does a small happy dance* EquiNutritive will be selling them, and I highly recommend you to try them! The smallest package is 1kg and can be bought at just £18.50. Just try it for a few weeks and see if it has the positive effect that it's had on Vallu, and many more horses that my friends and acquaintances that are fed chia too. If anyone has any queries, please leave a comment below, and if its too difficult for me to be able to answer properly I'll ask the lovely people at Chia de Gracia to contact you!


2014 Christmas wishlist

Yes I know it's only November, but with only a month to go (!!) I thought I'd share my Christmas wish list to see if it inspired anyone else to do one as well... Then we can all dream about the presents that we might hopefully get ;)
Pictures taken with kind permission of FFM
The HV Polo Jeslyn Pullover that I have absolutely fallen in love with! ♥︎ I'm not a huge fan of pullovers, and I'm not even sure that this will look good on me, but still I love it. The fact that it is a  HV Polo means that it is high quality and has such beautiful detailing. That turtle neck would keep me super warm when hacking out or riding outdoors.
HV Polo Ilze polo top has made its way onto my Xmas wish list thanks to FFM too... (Bad influence!) HV Polo shares the top spot with Eskadron as my most wanted, trusted and adored brand, and this top is another example of why I just love HV Polo. Not over the top with the logos, lovely material, washes well, pretty design and will last forever. I still have my HV Polo t shirts that I bought in the summer of 2012 and have worn them countless times, and I can still go to training sessions with them because they aren't looking old at all! 

One of the things that I actually need is a new snaffle bridle for Vallu. His current one is an old hand me down from Basse, and for a while now I've been looking at getting a new noseband to try and get it to last a bit longer. But after six/seven years of use, it's starting to show signs of age, even though I clean it after every ride :( The Aachen Aurora bridle by Gold Medal looks lovely. At just under 100e, the price isn't that bad either. The noseband is padded and patent :D The headpiece is also slightly padded, and the cheek strap, snaffle strap and throat latch are all rounded, and I think it will look really good on Vallu. Basse has a very similar one to this and the quality of it amazed me, it is still so soft after 6 months of use.
These are a cheaper version of Eskadron's allround boots, and are patent! Vallu's boots have slowly been getting on a bit because of the wear and tear due to him having them on whenever he goes out in the paddock/pen and walker. So if ever I'd want to not wear bandages e.g. going hacking out, or riding quickly, I'd love to have a new set of BR Horse Prox Max boots. 
Vallu has had a set of Back on Track Quick Wraps Royal for two years now for his front legs, but I really think he would benefit from another set for his hind legs. I can't even explain how useful the BoT boots have been for Vallu, Basse and Rama. All of the boys legs are looking better than ever thanks to these. For those who don't know about these, BoT is made of  textiles with heat reflective properties, and so when heated, the ceramic particles radiate a heat back towards the body (this reflected heat is called long-wave heat radiation or long wave infrared radiation) This long wave infrared heat radiation increases the blood circulation, and the increased blood circulation in the tissues helps to relieve muscles tension and improves performance. (This is also kind of cheating since I just got these as my early Xmas present, and will be using them straight away on Vallu! Thank you mummy ♥︎) 

*Fingers crossed that Santa listens to me*


Friday Finland

The flight home was amazingly uneventful, if you ignored the large group of English teens going to have a school trip to Lapland, who had all decided to wear either a Christmasy jumper, or then a onesie and who were incredibly excited to be going abroad. They even clapped when we landed...

Niilo being super helpful Friday morning
I got to ride my wonderful baby horse, who just seems to be getting better and better with age, and he seems much more happier to work nowadays. He has lovely people riding him at the moment, who absolutely love him and I think he knows this. He is surrounded by tons of people who love him, and I'm pretty sure this is why he is so happy. It was great to ride another horse than Vallu (as much as I love riding him) it's always great to be able to focus and work on other stuff with different horses. It was just a shock coming down from the saddle because my feet met the ground a lot quicker than I am used to with Vallu!

We got a good couple of inches of snow on Friday afternoon/evening. I think this was because when dad picked me up from the airport, I said "I'm surprised that it hasnt snowed yet." Nothing compared to what the USA is experiencing but omg snow!! :D Our evening walk with Nelli and Rosi was veryyyyyyy exciting, Rosi decided to run circles around me constantly, all the time whilst bucking and rearing in the cute way that only mini-Shetlands can do.
Snow dog!! ♥︎

Saturday morning


Last ride before Finland

I'm having little long weekend holiday, going back to Finland until Sunday. I'm so excited, I have missed my family terribly, and I'm really looking forward to seeing all the horses and dogs and our cat :)

Following yesterday's lovely hack out, we were meant to do a proper training session outdoors, but since Vallu's favourite buddy has come back to the yard and was going out for a hack, we joined them! (2 hacking out sessions in a row, woop woop!) We did go in the outdoor arena for ten minutes after our hack, and did trot and canter in both directions and Vallu was very relaxed throughout this all. I'm very happy with him right now, I think we're going in the right direction once again. Hopefully the saddle will come soon so that I can start going back to training properly without feeling guilty!
Jerry, Vallu's BFF ♥︎
Walking up the BIG hill
 Everyone has been given strict instructions on what to do with Vallu ;) Lots of grooming, and grazing, hacking out, cuddles and giving sweets! I've also topped his sugar lump, polo, apple and Likit levels, so he should be fine until Monday ;D
Eskadron ice set is SO bright, no one could miss us
Weird horse did this for a minute...


What a LOVELY day!

"I'm satisfied and proud of the things I did - even the bumps and the bruises that I've had on the way. You fall down, you get up, you brush yourself off and you keep going. And that's what we're doing." Gucci Mane

There are quite a few reasons why today was a bloomin' lovely day:

Words cannot describe how proud and amazed I am at not only myself, but at my horse who trusts me enough to cope and even quite possibly enjoy hacking out around the village just by ourselves. Like several people said to me, who would have thought even a year ago that you would have been able to do this!


A little bit of this and a little bit of that

How are we doing, I hear you ask? Well not too bad actually! We had another fantastic hacking out session on Thursday, even though the weather was horribly windy and rainy. We even changed the route near the end, and had a few hairy situations, but all in all we had a good time. Hopefully this will carry on over the winter, so that next spring we can start being all brave and trotting without safety reins ;)

And since the weather has been rather appalling for a while now, the fields are just so incredibly water logged so Vallu has been going out twice a day to the pen which has somehow managed to stay in slightly better condition. He also gets to go on the walker twice a day when there is no turn out, so it's not like he is bored or stuck in his stable all day. Fingers crossed for a few days of no rain, sunshine and wind so that the fields could dry up a little bit!

And we might have had a small breakthrough on Friday... Ever since the last AF lesson, Vallu has felt a bit stiff and a bit cranky/grumpy/bored when riding. When lunging and hacking out, he is more than happy and very excitable so it feels like he just isn't that into training. For nearly the last two weeks he's had two days off, two days of hacking out, three days of lunging and only five proper riding sessions dispersed between the other things, so that he wouldn't get more than two days of riding one after another. Whatever stiffness and grumpiness he's been dealing with (maybe he's just not been feeling it? Suffering from SAD? Or just feeling blerghy? Saddle pinching him?) seems to be slowly going away. After this mini holiday last weekend, he's been ridden Monday and Tuesday, lunged Wednesday, hacked out Thursday and ridden Friday, and lunged again on Saturday. On Friday he felt very impressed with himself and was full of it in the indoor, and today during lunging we got the normal galloping around like a lunatic and refusing to stop cantering cos we're just so excited... So maybe I've been a bit blind to him getting more and more bored with work? As well bringing in a varied work schedule, I've made the decision to start doing more pole work when we get to go in the indoor so that hopefully working in the indoor won't be such a tiresome thing for him!
Favourite picture of the month ♥︎
Such a clever horse... Managed to get his headcollar over both his ears...


Wordless Wednesday