What I got for Christmas 2017

Christmas (and birthday) hauls are some of my favourite posts and I love reading these kinds of blog posts about them and seeing them on Youtube. I've always felt a bit nervous about doing them as I don't want anyone to think I'm boasting in any way but I love reading them myself so I decided to finally do one this year! But anyway, inserting the mandatory disclaimer here that I am no way bragging about what I received, I just like being nosy and reading these posts so assume others will too! I love sharing what I got and hope it inspires people if they are stuck for gift ideas throughout the year. Obviously, I have not included every single item because some of them were not horsey gifts, but I appreciated every single one of my gifts. Oh and the reason this is done so early is because we had main Christmas evening on the 16th so 90% of my presents were opened then, and the rest were opened on Christmas Eve as per usual in Finland! 🎄
But back to the good stuff, let’s delve into what you probably came here for… the PRESENTS! 🎁


December Blog Hop: Year in Retrospect

This month's Equestrian Bloggers blog hop was the perfect topic for me! I've always done a favourite moments/best bits of the year blog post, but with my losing my grandma last month and her funeral last weekend, I've not had the motivation to create that blog post, so luckily Bridle and Bone had me covered! What were your success this year with your horses or your blog? Would you change anything?
My 2017 was a year of massive successes with my blog and my horses, with just one not so good memory with Vallu's leg injury! But we are already nearly back in full work, so it was just a momentary blip rather than the end 🎊🎉


Riding exercise of the month: forwards and back

Having been riding my two boys plus my mother's horse for the last week I've very quickly had to find an exercise that suits all three of them as a good warm up exercise, so that instead of having to plan three separate sets of warm ups for each horse I can use the same one for each one! 😁
What I found to work the best for all three horses was riding forwards and back, especially in canter - although on some days Basse has needed to do this in trot. Riding transitions within canter will create more power, help lighten their forehand and improve their balance (Basse and Erkki need this for sure!) So after my 10-15 minute walk on a long rein warm up I pick up canter and ride a 20 metre circle, asking the horse to take bigger and smaller canter strides. It works well because they need to engage their hindquarters and use their hocks to actually push forwards for a third or half a circle, and then come back to me and actually listen to what I'm asking for, rather than just galavanting around the arena doing what they want to do which in Vallu's case is spooking by the door and the scary corner!


Is he even listening?

To say that Basse and I have slightly different understandings of the meaning of "go forwards" would be an understatement! It has led to plenty disagreements between us throughout the years, but not as much this year simply because I have been 100% consistent on making sure that when I give even the slightly leg aid, he shifts his ass!
It has taken me longer that it should have to realise that I very easily fall into the trap of slightly nagging him, even in silly stuff such as just riding a 20 meter circle in walk! 🙄 But like I've always been taught, to keep the horse in front of your leg you have make sure you are not nagging them, or you will teach your horse to ignore you.  Once I picked up on the fact that I'd be nagging him, I went back to using one small aid followed up swiftly by a sharp-er one if he didn't pay attention. And then being still myself.  I've take away my spurs, but I have my whip which I use to tap him if he doesn't move when I ask him to.


Wild thing!

I must admit that whilst Vallu can be such a lovely honest boy to ride, he can also be a hysterical 🍆 some days (but I love him anyway!). On Saturday we had a beautiful warm up, doing a big relaxed trot around the arena and he was so good that even my mother went "WOW". Should have stopped after my warm up because it just went downhill from there!
Went up into canter - nice and soft. And then he juuuust started to slyly stop concentrating, I stupidly took my foot off the accelerator at the scary spots by the door and the mirrors, which I payed for massively with a ridiculous amount of spooks, leaps and jumps. 😑 Also had a good snake rodeo when I asked him to canter and he saw the hoof prints of a horse doing steps back (cos you know these are terrifying compared to normal hoof steps in the sand!) which thank goodness came to a stop when I rode him into the wall...🌪💥  I made him trot and canter over the hoof marks several times and I hope that I nicely knocked that one on the head!