Superficial digital flexor tendon injury recovery in 10 weeks

I kept quiet about Rama's injury not only because he is mum's horse and I don't feel right writing about other people's horses without permission, but also because we were all absolutely petrified that this injury would not only be the end of his ridden career, but also be the end of him. However, months later we are now looking at potentially having Rama 100% recovered and back in full training which is why I wanted to blog about what we have done and potentially give someone who is terrified for their horse a bit of hope for recovery from a superficial digital flexor tendon injury.

So what exactly happened?
On Valentine's Day, Rama spooked when coming in from the paddock and fell over on the icy track to the stables. Not only did he fall once, but once he had managed to slightly get up he then fell over again and struggled to get up for about a minute. There aren't words to describe how scary this was - I was sure that he had broken a leg, no horse can survive falling over twice on thick ice but once he managed to get his bearings and get up again, he then passaged to his stable after we did a thorough check through of him but nothing seemed to be wrong with him. 

A week later, a small lump appeared on his left front leg, just below the knee. Nothing really noticeable, but enough to freak out both mum and I. Lots of icing and several days of hand walking but three days later it was significant enough to get mum to call the vet to come visit us. A few days later the vet came to scan the leg and we got the news that it was either a massive bruise or then a ligament/tendon injury and we would only find out a few weeks later because the swelling was too big and blocking us from seeing what the actual injury was. A deep bruise like that takes a few weeks to go away so after two agonising weeks the vet was out again, and this time she confirmed our worst fears... a 20-30% SDFT injury. And for a 19 year old horse who needs to be in constant work, this was NOT good news.


Dressage training with Jenny Eriksson: practising test riding

On Friday I was fortunate enough to have a private lesson with Jenny Eriksson, and this was my first one on one training session with her because I've been over protective of Vallu's legs and I haven't wanted to cause any proper strain on them until I was 150% sure he would cope with an hour long private training session. If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll remember that my first lesson with her was a total disaster and my second one was near perfect so I was really optimistic that this one would go well too. Just before I got on Vallu I did have a few moments of self-doubt and worrying that what if this was not the best decision regarding his legs, but two days later his legs still look good! Phew!! 🙌🏻
Such a serious horse sometimes!
I normally go to my lessons with the idea that we'll focus on whatever the trainer thinks we need to improve on. I always suggest something e.g. improving Vallu's walk work or polish up my ability to ride the half pirouettes, but I'm totally happy to do what the trainer sees that we need to improve. This time I decided that I really wanted to work on practising test riding. I know Vallu and I can do all the movements, now it's just a case of putting them all together in a sequence and being able to ride a big horse round a 20x40m arena! So I picked BD's medium 71, showed it to Jenny, told her which parts of the test were causing me the most trouble and then we went to work on them.


Sundayfunday: arena hire!

On Sunday we took Rama and Vallu to a local livery yard to hire out their indoor arena. Their indoor arena is brilliant, it's 25x65m, the surface is amazing and the mirrors are huge which is really helpful. We like to take the horses there every now because it's really good for them to remain used to travelling and working at a different place than at home, it makes life much easier going to shows or somewhere else for training. Since it's only 20 minutes away from us, it doesn't take too much time away from our day and it's 100% worth it IMO 👍🏻


Ice blue Equestrian Stockholm set

Months ago I wrote about the new SS17 collection from Equestrian Stockholm (which you can read here!) where I said that I absolutely loved all of it, but I was totally in love with the silver/blue pad and bandages. If you're following me on Instagram you'll have seen that last week I received them after the parcels had done a round all of Europe trip 😆 


'Come what May – 10 questions' blog hop

I love answering questions from blog hops and can always use the help with creating more content so much thanks to Rhiannon from The Horse Is Not Black for creating this fun little blog hop! 👏🏻
1. What are your summer goals?
To enjoy the horses! The summer months are the best months for having horses, it's warm and everything is beautiful! I want to get the boys hacking out as much as possible, going training as much as possible and then having them out on the grass paddocks as soon as there is enough grass! 🌱🌿 I'm also looking forward to having a proper photoshoot done again this summer - our last one was over a year ago!

2. Do you have any tips or tricks for fly control?
Lots of fly spray in the mornings and turn the horses out as early as possible! In the middle of summer ours go out 5am-10am and then again late in the evening when there are less bugs, flies and horseflies. I also couldn't live without our fly masks and fly rugs, especially for Vallu who is super sensitive to the flies and he will come through the fencing if they have annoyed him enough!

3. How often do you bathe your horse? 
I wash them down with warm water after every ride if they've gotten sweaty, especially when we are using lots of fly spray. Apart from the first spring bath, the horses only get proper baths before a show, training session or a photoshoot.

4. Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Equine related or otherwise?
Yes indeed! We are moving back to the UK at some point, but I'm hoping it will happen at the end of summer. This means we will be going to Sweden and Germany with the horses as they travel and we'll hopefully get to stay at my brother's yard in Germany, which is stunning.


Happy Basse

I often write about the fact that I want to give my horses the best and most fun life that they can have. Since we are lucky enough to have the horses at home, we aim to have them out as much as possible and every week I try to engage their brains in different ways so that they don't get bored with their work. Yes they need to focus when we are training (2-3 times a week), but especially with Basse I don't want him to turn sour from work and like it's often said "variety is the spice of life".

Since hacking on the roads is too risky (read as: lethal 💀) here, I like to take the boys to our neighbour's sand track in the middle of their woodland. It's only a short track, but it's bloody hard work with really steep hills that makes them focus on where they are putting their legs! I really love going out for a hack and sometimes I miss going hacking like we used to in England, but it's SO nice not to have to worry about silly car drivers who try to overtake you on a blind corner. Here the biggest thing I have to worry about when hacking in the woods is that I don't fall off when either of the boys decide to have a sneak snack attack when I'm not paying attention and they just suddenly stop and put their head down to eat!


Kingsland Chisasib riding leggings

Riding leggings have recently exploded onto the European market, and not a day goes by where I don't see either a Facebook or Twitter advert for many different brands advertising their new riding leggings. 
After reading lots of really positive reviews on Facebook about the new Kingsland riding leggings last autumn, I was really intrigued. However my inner conservative traditionalist 'Ilovemybreeches' refused to go for it, but then when I saw Jessica's review of the new riding leggings from Kingsland Dressage this season on her blog Gee Gee & Me, I decided to go for it and try them out. 

From what I had already read, I was expecting the riding leggings to be very comfortable. They are made of 80% polyamide and 20% spandex which means that they are super pleasant to wear! 👌🏻 The anti-slip 'sticky' seat is extra stiff and flexible and provides a good grip and = a more stable seat while riding than the old style ridding leggings from Kingsland that only had sticky knees. One of the biggest positives about these riding leggings is that the waistband is really thick and really holds everything in whilst still being comfortable enough to do all your horsey chores. The thin, stretchy fabric is moisture wicking, breathable and quick drying which is why I wanted them before the summer. Just don't freak out when you open the package and see the leggings, they look tiny! 😳 These 'feel' really thin, so if it's cold and windy outside I wouldn't wear them but I expect these to be so much nicer to wear in the summer than the traditional breeches which  are SO hot in the summer.


DIY mounting block

So over the weekend one of our mounting blocks decided to die when I was getting on Vallu - super good horse for not spooking and taking off with me because it made an almighty loud snap when it broke!! Instead of buying another cheap wooden stool from IKEA (tbf, they do last quite well)  I decided to scour Pinterest and see I could find any inspo for a DIY mounting block. I wanted something that looked similar to this ⬇️


Dressage training with Ville Vaurio: be determined

It's been a long time since I've had a lessons with Vallu that required trailering somewhere. Having lived the last 3 winters in England I decided that trailering even a short distance was too much in the middle of winter here in Finland and definitely not worth the risk with Vallu. He's such a good traveller that I didn't want to ruin that just because I wanted to go training, so it's no wonder that 5 months passed by before I was happy enough to take him anywhere. So finally last Sunday we had a lesson with Ville, which I was really excited about, as Ville has trained us every now and then over the lat 5 years and he knows Vallu really well as we had him for training livery for 6 months with Ville. I always go to Ville's lesson with "please help me fix this" and don't have to explain anything because he immediately knows what to do.
This time I asked for help riding Vallu's walk. It's really difficult for me to get a good walk out of him because Vallu easily goes a bit passagey, tense or BTV no matter what I do which is one of the reasons why I haven't competed him much because I know our scores would get knocked down thanks to a crappy walk. Over the years with different trainers I've been told to 'over ride' the walk, to totally leave him alone and pray for the best or ride in a near shoulder-fore feeling to try and get the best walk out of him. The leave him alone option has had the best results so far but it has been a bit hit and miss, somedays I could get 7s for the walk and sometimes a 3. When I told Ville that I wanted help with the walk, he immediately said that we just need to get him better through the neck.


11 years together!

Yesterday my wonderful Fat Unicorn had officially been mine for 11 years! It's amazing how so much time has passed, yet I still feel like we have so much more to achieve together ✨
I have so many beautiful memories with him and so much of my teen years are totally entwined with him that I feel like he has a part of my soul. I really really hope I get another 11 years with him, and even though this is probably unrealistic and won't happen, I still wish for it. I know for some people horses are just something to be sold on and a way to make money but luckily for me they get to stay with us as long as they can and become a part of the family.