Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2017

I am very proud and totally honoured to be named as Haynet's Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2017! 👑🏆

I'm very rarely speechless, but I must admit this has taken me a long time to write as I just don't know what to say apart from thank you 💕

Like I wrote earlier, it was an honour in itself to be in the final group as I didn't even think I would make it! There were 12 finalists all with different blogs, I think nearly all interests and disciplines were covered. I was really pleased to see more international bloggers in the final group too, which is why Haynet and MirrorMePR decided to embrace the ever-increasing presence of international bloggers and to surprise us all with a brand new award - the International Talent award which Tacchi A Cavallo won! The Recognition of Talent award went to Diary of a Wimpy Eventer  and the Rising Star award to How Very Horsey. Well done guys!!


Wait... what?

After changing saddles so that Basse is now using Vallu's saddle (bigger head plate and different panels) with a sheepskin pad underneath, Basse has been on fire! 🔥 As in let'sgoeverywherereallyquicklyanddonothingelse fast type of on fire... This has meant that I have  suddenly a lot more forwards and a lot less balance so riding him suddenly felt like riding a motorcycle as I could not do corners without fearing that Basse might just fall over ⚖
However, luckily I follow Anna Ross - Altogether Equestrian on Facebook because she posts daily tips for riding (not just for dressage riders!!) and a couple of days ago she posted this: "Make a halt transition after every corner to help your horse learn to stay in balance. So many horses fall in on corners and run making it difficult to set up movements. Teach your horse to wait and you can turn it into a half halt later."


#rootd Eskadron Platinum 2017 blackberry!

I honestly cannot remember a time that I had been so excited for a new matchy set... Yes I know this may make me look sad to some people but honestly this colour from Eskadron when they first released it in 2013 is the ONE set that I have regrets about not buying! So when I found out that they were re-releasing the colour four years later, I knew I was going to pre-order that set so that I wasn't going to miss out on it again.
This is honestly one of my favourite colours because it is just so versatile - I hate it when a matchy set only looks good on a certain colour. This one you can put on any horse of any colour and the set will still look fantastic 🔮💜 Both of mine look fantastic in it, and if you search the hashtag #eskadronblackbbery on Instagram you'll see just how amazing it looks on every single horse!


Trials and tribulations: Sprenger Dynamic RS bit

Following on from my post in August about struggling with Vallu's weymouth and finding a new bit which I think is a good one for him, I've now just gone and bought him a new (well second hand) Sprenger Dynamic RS D-ring bit. Similarly with the weymouth, over the last month or so every now and then Vallu would play with the bit with his tongue as if to say he wasn't liking it, or then whilst riding he'd go way too light in the contact, open his mouth or then go behind the vertical so I knew it was time to find something else and quickly!
This bit combines an ergonomically created curved mouthpiece with an angled center joint, which is meant to result in soft and even pressure for the best possible bit acceptance. So essentially everything I need, right? His previous bit the Sprenger WH Ultra was also 14mm since anything thicker makes him stick his tongue out, but what I think the problem with that particular bit was that the centre lozenge contains a roller that is meant to give the horses a greater feeling of freedom with their tongue, but now this summer he's just started looking a bit uncomfortable with it. Maybe as he is getting older and his teeth are changing shape the bit that he's been so happy with previously is now not so good? 🤔


Helsinki International Horse Show 2017

Like I already wrote on the blog's Facebook page, Helsinki International Horse Show is always then highlight of my year and whenever we have lived in Finland my parents and I always try to go for at least for one of the days. Although there are plenty of big shows throughout the year, HIHS is the one to go to especially because lots of international riders come for the World Cup™ Jumping classes.
Daniel Deusser riding Cornet, photo from SRL's Facebook page SRL Laura Laakso
Cantinero, photo from SRL's Facebook page SRL Laura Laakso
One part of the expo-hall, photo from SRL's Facebook page SRL Laura Laakso


Haynet's Equestrian Blogger of the Year Awards 2017 finalist

Well.... last night on Twitter things got very exciting as the 12 finalists for Haynet's Equestrian Blogger of the Year Awards 2017 were announced and I've been included in the finalist group for the fifth year in a row!🌟 (does a happy dance)
 Having seen how the equestrian blogging world has expanded massively this year, I didn't think there was any chance for me to be picked as one of the finalists so I was on Twitter purely out of curiosity to find out who the finalists were and to support the #horsebloggers community. Not for one second did I think that my little blog would have been included in this list, which by the way has some giant names in it and bloggers who have thousands of followers on twitter and Facebook 😱 So I'm still feeling pretty amazed to be included in such a group!


"Oh sh*t..."

If you are following me on Instagram you'll know that ever since coming back from my mini holiday in the UK Vallu has had a lump on his left front leg - the lump is in such a place that I knew there was a high chance of a potential ligament or tendon injury. When I looked at it alarm bells were going off and my only thought was "that is a game over injury". It has caused me several genuinely sleepless nights and a few panic attacks, but finally on Monday morning our vet had the time to come and scan the leg.
It's never a good sign when the vet walks into your horse's stable, sees the injury and goes "oh sh*tttt..." The lump on his leg is in such a bad place that I was honestly expecting to be told that it was either career ending or worse, so when the vet informed me that in fact there is only a tiny injury to his check ligament and nearly all of the swelling is between the check ligament and skin I was over the moon!! 🌙 I did the whole voice breaking/crying/laughing thing as I asked her several times if she was 100% sure it wasn't that bad. From the scans you can deduce that it definitely seems like it's more of an impact injury rather than wear and tear or an injury from being over-worked, so it's more than likely that on the Saturday when I was away and Vallu was a twat in his paddock he's managed to bang his leg... #bubblewrapneeded


A new family member!

I'm so excited to finally be doing a blog introduction of this guy! Just under two weeks ago this cute little fella turned up at our yard having spent 6 months at my brother's stables in Germany as a sales livery which is where mum spotted him and fell in love with him. When we lost Nelli in 2016 the entire family was devastated, and it's taken mum a very long time to even be interested in buying another horse to join our gang but finally this summer she started looking for a new one and now we have another bay gelding 🐴
He's a 13 year old Danish WB gelding (Blue Hors Don Schufro x Racot). Because of his ridiculous show name, his stable name is now Erkki, although I think he'll become Eric once we move back to the UK since I don't think anyone will be able to pronounce that!! He's a funny little creature, he's only 16.2 hh but he doesn't feel that small when you're riding him and good god when he does extended trot you can see how he is directly from Don Schufro - those of you who know dressage breeding lines will know why I'm so excited to have him join our family 😍


#rootd: black and pink

Whilst I was writing one of the posts for my 'trends to watch out' series about HV Polo's winter 2017 collection, I knew that I needed to get in with the floral trend and get some of that pattern into my horses' wardrobe! I wasn't feeling the all-over print design of the Superior pad, so I decided to stick to the more subtle floral edging which I love. I know you can't see it that well in riding photos, but honestly it super pretty. When my mother saw the saddled she summed it up well by stating "it's classy but with a hint of cute thrown in" 🌺

So the riding outfit of the day is:
Saddle pad: HV Polo Brandson pad in black
Bandages: HV Polo Favouritas black
Top: Pikeur Sina top in black
Gilet: Pikeur NG SS16 Bepina Gilet in Magenta


There is beauty in simplicity

A lot of the blogs that I've recently been reading have been heavily focused on the need to have goals and aspirations and that we must always remember that achieving something takes a lot of time. I know having goals is really important, but recently I've realised that there is beauty in simplicity 🌺
Those of you follow us on Instagram will be aware of the fact that Vallu has a lump on his front left leg, which has been causing me major stress! It's behaving totally differently to a tendon/ligament injury so I've been very carefully riding him very lightly for the last week and since it's not getting worse with exercise, I'm going to carry on riding him to make sure he stays sane and doesn't go crazy in his paddock. I do have the vet coming out next Monday to scan his leg to see what is going on but I have my fingers tightly crossed that it is something less sinister than a major injury 👎🏼


A little progress each day adds up to big results

I've been unintentionally very quiet on the blog recently, purely because I've been struggling a little bit with the fact that I feel like I haven't made any progress recently with either of the horses. Because I don't compete at the moment (it's definitely planned for spring 2018) I've put an enormous amount of pressure on myself lately to be able to show to everyone here and on social media that I am putting the work and getting results, but within the last few weeks that I felt like I'd reached a plateau with both boys and I panicked. It wasn't a blogging block this time, now it was a totally overwhelming feeling of failure.
Which is why I was incredibly grateful to get a plane tickets to visit my old yard friends back in the UK as a birthday present from my parents. Getting away from my normal life for three days was the best thing mentally for me, it forced me to focus entirely on something else and limited the time that I spent online. Everyone on social media always seems to be doing better than you, be out competing and training and being just all round fabulous even if in real life they are not. Being away from my laptop for 3 days helped me realise that everyone is always struggling a little bit, but we are all just are too afraid to post something that somehow could show our faults and limitations. So this is my 'I've felt like crap for the last few weeks' confession post ✌🏻


Feather Dressage Horse Fashion Charity Show in aid of Prince Fluffy Kareem

Like last year, for the last weekend of September I did a quick fly by to my old yard to help out at the Feather Dressage Horse Fashion Show and this year it was in aid of Prince Fluffy Kareem. PFK is a small, action-oriented group of people working to help horses, donkeys and camels by the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. When I found out the fundraised would be for PFK I was ecstatic! I've been following PFK on Facebook for several years now and am always in awe of the work that they do over in Egypt. I've been joyous with their success stories and sobbed whenever they lost anyone and whilst I know you can't pick a favourite charity, this one is very close to my heart.
And once again, what a weekend! We managed to raise an amazing £6,200 and I did burst into tears  at the end when the total was revealed. To know all of us have managed to help make life a little bit easier over the winter for PFK made the lack of sleep and stress totally worth it! 💕