Happy birthday Basse!

Ahh, happy birthday to my forever baby Fat Unicorn who is 15 today! πŸ¦„πŸ’œ He's been mine since he was 4 years old and gaaaahh this has made me a little teary. I'm so blessed to have had this horse in my life for so long - we were never going to be world beaters, but who cares when you have a horse with a heart of gold!
 If you follow me on Instagram or this blog's Facebook page, you'll have seen that on Saturday I had a super ride on Basse. I was really really pleased with him, and like I stated earlier he wouldn't be so happy to be back working properly if he wasn't feeling good. So I think we will just have to crack on with the work once again and try to get him to lose those extra pounds that he has gained recently! 🐷


Dressage training with Jenny Eriksson: waiting hands

On Friday I was super fortunate to have another training session within a week, this time with Jenny Eriksson! Vallu had been having a very easy week since we had a lesson last Sunday with Ville  and I didn't want him too tired for this one. It is very rare for me to have two lessons within a week as I am very picky with who I train with and those who I would like to train with tend to either live in Germany or then are travelling around the world judging at international competitions. So I can't even describe how happy I was to be training twice within a week!

At the start of the lesson I told Jenny how fantastic Vallu had been at our previous lesson and how good he had felt to ride. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have said this because Vallu decided to throw me a new curveball today and be impossibly light in his contact... πŸ™„ Like there was nothing there for me to try to create a contact with!! In the last five years that I've ridden him I believe he has only been like this less than ten times so as I was warming up Vallu I said to Jenny that I don't really know how to ride him when he's like this. If I just shorten my reins all I achieve is getting him terribly behind the vertical and opening his mouth but if I leave him alone I have absolutely no contact with him and he'll still curve BTV. I think those previous times I just gave up after warming up and went for a hack but this time there was no option but to learn how to ride him when he's like this!
What he looked like after the lesson... #sweatypone


Acavallo anatomic gel pad review

For the last couple of weeks now I've been using the Acavallo anatomic gel pad with Basse. These have been on my radar after reading rave reviews about them since last year, but I only just bought one recently when Basse's saddle seemed to need something less thick than the Mattes sheepskin pad he has but he wasn't 100% without anything underneath the saddle. He's a very difficult horse to fit a saddle to as he constantly changes shape (like they all do) but he's so sensitive that he react immediately if he feels the slightest bit uncomfortable... I still think that the WOW saddle is the best one for him and, but I just wanted to buy something to make him feel a bit more comfortable.

After researching many different brands and styles of thin pads, the Acavallo ones came out as the clear winners. Others, like Ogilivy memory foam pads are nearly €200 and I would have had to wait 3-4 weeks before it would be even shipped to Finland. This Acavallo one was €60 including delivery and I had to wait less than a week!


Dressage training with Ville Vaurio: bend around the inside leg

I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG! I don't know why, I think it's because Vallu has been so good for the last few weeks since our lesson with Jenny and I was super excited to go training with a horse who was in good health and going well! I was a bit worried about going to a new place for the first time, even though we have visited this place a few weeks ago to support a friend of mine who was competing there. I think it's because at home it's so lovely and quiet whereas I knew how busy this place would be and I was freaking out about everything that could possibly go wrong... πŸ™„ However, turns out I was nervous for no reason - Vallu was a total star, he didn't put a hoof out of place, he totally ignored my 5 minutes of being a worry fart and stayed chilled! I'm SO proud of him 🌟


Tempo and rhythm

Have you ever found that you've read an article and somehow so many things suddenly made sense to you? πŸ’‘This happened to me a few day ago when I read this Dressage Today article about the difference between tempo and rhythm. Heather Blitz answered the question about the difference between tempo and rhythm where she explained that tempo is the rate or speed of motion or activity whilst rhythm is a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound. One is sequence (rhythm) and one is speed (tempo) - I loved this article since its a personal bugbear of mine because you cannot have a 'fast rhythm'! 
There were 2 really tips in this article. The first one was to do with extended trot where Heather points out that riding trot extensions should not allow the speed of the horse’s steps to change. Just to  extend the frame and length of step, whilst keeping the number of beats per minute the same as in the collected trot. Although I have ridden plenty of medium and extended trots in my lifetime, this point made it incredibly clear of what us riders should be aiming for! Heather also recommended using the corners of the arena to help by asking for a few steps of extension in the trot, and then come back into a collected trot when coming into a corner. I did this yesterday and it really improved Vallu's mediums (it was too hot and humid to even try for a proper extension!) 

The second great hint was to ride with the help of a metronome, which you can get an app for at least on iPhones. Set the metronome to be the same as the horse’s collected trot and then see what will happen when you extend the trot - the aim is to keep the same tempo and to lengthen the stride rather than quicken the tempo but it’s much easier to simply get quicker. I did this and it's super interesting to see what happens... πŸ€” After a few times with Vallu I realised that I need to be super clear about asking for the same tempo rather than rushing myself!
This was my face when I managed to ride well enough to improve his medium trots!
If anyone is experiencing difficulties in improving their medium or extended trot I really think you should try these tips, I think they could help you too! πŸ‘πŸ»


It's here! Double bridle from EquiWare UK

A few months ago I wrote about the fact that I had ordered a double bridle from EquiWare UK and this week it arrived! I was super excited for it arrive just before we have a training session on Sunday so that I can have a few rides in it and then see what my trainer thinks about it. 

But holeymoley isn't this pretty?! The best things are the padded and anatomically shaped headpiece, the anatomically shaped noseband (which is patent too!) and that the throatlash and cheekpieces made from rolled leather. I think it weighs about half of the old bridle so I'm pretty convinced that it feels much better for Vallu. My first ride in this was incredible! Even my mother commented on the fact that he looked really content and happy, so I'm actually over the moon. I just want to have a happy horse who feels comfortable.
Add Noseband is also really cut away to take away pressure from those important facial nerves


DIY make your own comfrey poultice

In an attempt to get the swelling on Basse's leg to go down as quickly as possible and to help what I suspect is either a knock or a tendon injury, I've been making him comfrey poultices. We use poultices to draw out any infection and to reduce inflammation and now that I'm fearing that he has some sort of ligament or tendon injury this time I am using comfrey. 

Comfrey (sometimes knows as 'knit bone') is a well-known healing herb with great capacity to heal tissue and bone as it contains allantoin, which promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone and cartilage. I know that it's also been used for dealing with a variety of problems such as cuts, sprains and strains, fractures, swelling and heat/inflammation. I've been feeding comfrey to Vallu for over a year now and I think it's one of the reasons why his ligament injury healed so well. But since it is easily absorbed through the skin, I thought this was the perfect time to start helping Basse's leg with a comfrey poultice especially since we have TONS of comfrey growing in our garden! 🌿
You can easily make your own poultices with fresh comfrey - you just need hot water, fresh comfrey leaves, scissors, a small bowl, a cloth of some sort, clingfilm and a bandage.


Rocking E Cowgirl 10 Questions June blog hop

You all know I love participating in blog hops, and these questions come from Allie at Rocking E Cowgirl who has one of the prettiest equestrian blogs ever! #bloggoals

1. What is your earliest, clearest horse memory?
When I was 6 and was having a riding lesson at a riding school and we were riding in the outdoor arena, I was on a slightly naughty pony who knew that he was stronger than me, and he kept stopping to eat the grass at one end of the arena and I can clear as day remember sobbing to the teacher that "I can't do it, he won't listen to me" and her reply was, "ponies give nothing for free, figure out what to do or you'll spend the rest of the lesson there"! At a very young age I was taught to figure sh*t out myself or be stuck there crying!
2. Describe the perfect summer day.
It's sunny, not too hot and the horses get to be out all day in their field. In the evening I get to go for a long hack with friends and I haven't had to rush at all throughout the day! I think the not having to rush at all would make any day perfect tbh.


Happy 15th birthday Vallu!

Vallu turns 15 today, so I think he can officially be called an Old Aged Horse! πŸ‘΄πŸΌπŸ΄ I've actually started calling him "pappa" which means grandad, it suits him now.

For the last few months he's really calmed down and started to enjoy his life... I LOVE IT! I'm so glad that after nearly five years with us he is finally able to totally relax and find life just that little bit easier. He's always been a stress head and a worrier, so to see him fully letting his guard down and finding the world a little bit less terrifying is a wonderful thing to see!


Launch on Facebook!

I thought it was about time to join every other equestrian blogger in creating a Facebook page for my little blog. For a long time since the launch of Roosa's Horsey Life in January 2013, I have resisted creating a Facebook page as I didn't feel like I would be able to provide anything worthwhile that would be different enough from my blog posts, instagram and twitter updates. Also, I write purely for fun and mainly for myself as it's a hobby that I adore and I've always been a bit nervous to go public on Facebook... However, now that I have a clearer understanding about what each different social platform requires and what this blog's followers like and dislike on each platform, I thought it was the right time to create  a Facebook account for the blog where I can post quick updates that don't require  a blog post, share companies that I like, training tips and funny photos that I don't tend to share on instagram or on here.

If you enjoy reading this blog then please be kind and go like our brand new Facebook page as I'd love you to be part of it! It can be found as @roosashorseylife or just click HERE



The problem with Basse...

The problem with Basse is that he is essentially a very lazy horse by nature. He would far rather walk than trot and he would far rather go forwards than sideways... Which is why when we train, I mainly focus on getting very quick reactions out of him from very small aids because like everyone knows, hot horses have to learn to be ridden with the leg on but lazy horses have to be ridden with the leg off! 


#rootd: grey and grenadine

Whilst I was writing the latest post of my 'trends to watch out' about Eskadron's Next Generation collection, I knew that I needed to get some of that grenadine colour into my horses' wardrobe! I really liked the flowery design over the aztec and feather designs, but then I needed to pick which one of the flowery pads... Choices, choices! I ended up getting the grey bi cross saddle pad and pairing it up with the grenadine bandages, as I'm not sure I could pull off the entirely orange outfit and I think the bandages give this riding outfit a good pop of colour without it being too in your face.

So our riding outfit of the day is
Saddle pad: Eskadron Next Generation anthracite aloha bicross
Bandages: Eskadron Next Generation grenadine
Top: Orange shirt from Sports Direct
Breeches: Pikeur Piana in dark grey