Riding exercise of the month: diamond pattern

During my most recent lesson with Jenny whilst I was warming up Vallu I was also watching the previous lesson and I saw them do a fantastic exercise which swiftly became my riding exercise of the month! Riding a diamond pattern has made a big difference to both boys as they've both been more balanced and more engaged a lot quicker.
After my 10 minute walk, followed by my 'canter and jog' warm up I have been riding this diamond pattern every day since the lesson and to get the best out of this exercise, pay attention and make sure you are using your seat to turn the horse at each corner, rather than using the reins. Jenny shouted "SHOULDERS!!" several times during this exercise to make sure that the rider was turning her seat effectively by reminding the rider to turn not just her hips but the rest of her body too. It also helps to look where you're going and turn your head and shoulders too, especially if you're doing this in canter. I've also tried doing this a couple of times in counter canter and it's not easy! πŸ˜…


Trends to watch out for: HV Polo AW17

Slowly over the last week or so there have been photos of the new HV Polo autumn winter 2017 collection being shared online and wow, this new range from HV Polo is undeniably perfect for brightening up your winter wardrobe since HV Polo have gone for bright colours as well as floral patterns and a pied de pool motif! 🌸🌺🌼 Talk about being bold - most other equestrian brands go for muted or darker colours for the AW collections but HV Polo have dared to be different.
And for once, they have normal names!! Black, blue, fuchsia, lime and navy as well as some products being available in ice blue and army green. I've also spotted some black bandages that have the floral pattern on them which look really cute, as well as the all round boots too. I've seen that they've also done over reach boots with the flower pattern, which I think is a great idea. Honestly I think that the black boots with the pattern are gorgeous, I'd love to see them in real life to be able to see if it's actually as pretty as it is in the pictures.


Dressage training with Jenny Eriksson: better reaction from the leg

I was a bit anxious going to this lesson because ever since our last lesson with Jenny, Vallu has been feeling a bit sluggish and behind the leg. Unless I've been just riding him long and low, he's just not been that into his work and he's lost his spooky & hot mode. Although I'd been glad that I'd to work less on trying to stay on (πŸ˜…) it did make me realise how much I adore his normal attitude towards work and forward going-ness. Sometimes you don't realise how much you love something until you lose it!
Having to use old photos because I was all alone at this lesson

But during this lesson, Vallu seemed to return to normal πŸ™ŒπŸ» I had two small spooks in the corner that took me WAY longer than normal to get under control simply because I hadn't been expecting them and my reaction time had clearly gotten worse over the last 2 months. The gallop after the one big spook lasted an entire circle simply because I was too busy giggling at him! I can't even put into words how relieved I am that the wild/hot headed side of him has returned. I think the heat and humidity combination of the Finnish summers got to him and made him incredibly lethargic (and before anyone comments: yes I have had his saddle checked and both the chiropractor and equine massage therapist have checked him and given him the all clear so he's NOT been in any pain!)


Keep going

I've been reluctant to blog about Basse for a few weeks now since he's been going through a bit of a phase where we've had to take so many steps back and it's never fun to acknowledge that you're not progressing with your horse...
But anyway, if you've been following our Facebook page or my Instagram, you'll know that nearly a month ago we had the chiropractor come do the horses and Basse was the worst that he's been since starting his rehab last year... ☹️ The muscles on the right side behind the saddle and around the pelvis were really sore. He'd been feeling fantastic, so I had no idea that he was so sore bless him. I feel terrible looking back now but I still can't think of a single ride where he would have given me any signs that he wasn't happy!


Project Gingersnap blog hop: Change

T from Project Gingersnap asks: "Have you at some point moved on to a different horse, trainer, stable, etc with the purpose of advancing your progress? What made you realize the time was right for a change? Or did you opt to adjust your goals in order to stay with what you know is working? How did either choice work out in the long run?"

I thought this was a great blog hop subject because making a big change like this can be terrifying! I have always gone with my gut and have been 'brave' to change stables and trainers in order to advance and make progress.


Blogger Recognition Award - Pet Edition 2017

I received the sweetest surprise this week! I was nominated by Bridle & Bone for the Blogger Recognition Award - Pet Edition 2017, thank you so much! It's always amazing to be recognised by others and it really brightens up your day  πŸ’–✨

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:
Thank the nominating blogger.
Respond to the nominating blogger with a link to this post on their blog.
Write a post about the award.
Share a story of how and why you started your blog.
Offer at least two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Pass on the nomination to another 15 bloggers!


Trials and tribulations: double bridle bits

If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I recently bought a new weymouth bit to trial for Vallu. He was fine in his old weymouth, but after doing several months of researching and going through old photos I just knew it was time to try something else with him. He's been much better to ride in the double bridle since I bought him a new bridle from EquiWare UK, but I still wasn't entirely happy - every now and then he'd be too light in the contact, open his mouth or then go behind the vertical...
 I've always trusted and used Sprenger bits so for the last couple of weeks I've been on the hunt for a Sprenger KK weymouth because of the reviews I've seen for it, especially for horses with a sensitive mouth because the weymouth is shaped to the anatomy of the horse's mouth and it prevents pressure as the port is angled forward by 45°. I read somewhere that this is a very gentle bit, which is exactly what I wanted to get for Vallu!


In defence of the short and quick ride...

The other night I saw on Facebook someone bragging about the fact that they had ridden their horse for 2 hours to get the horse going well and it made feel a bit anxious and to feel sorry for the horse. Now don't get me wrong I go hacking out for hours and I do get that for example some cross country training sessions take up nearly 2 hours, but this woman had been schooling her horse in the arena for 2 hours and it sounds like the poor little thing hadn't had a lot of breaks during it. I didn't have anything nice to say, so I didn't comment on the thread but it seemed like a lot of other people were also concerned for the horse.
I had a terrible ride on Vallu last Sunday where we were so close to having an argument about going on the bit in an extended walk, but the moment he gave me one step of what I wanted I ended the ride there and then, instead of riding for 2 hours trying to get him to go perfectly. He then had the following two days off, and on Tuesday before I even got on I had decided that I was going to have a quick, short ride. I wanted walk, trot and canter on both reins and nothing else because I didn't want a repeat of Sunday's ride...