Arena hire & first trip out in the new trailer

With the arrival of our new trailer last week, on Saturday we went on our first trip in it to our local indoor arena. Getting there was a bit of an ordeal, as although we'd practised loading and unloading the night before, for some reason Erik decided that he didn't want to go on the trailer with Rama already being inside. After several attempts, we decided to try again so that Erik would go on first, and this time he loaded on the second attempt! Such a relief, I hate the struggle of loading an unhappy horse so it was good that we found out that he prefers to load on first. Luckily the place is less than 5 minutes away, so Erik and Rama didn't have to be in the trailer for a long time which meant that it was a nice first trip for them!
 All I wanted to work on was something easy for us both, so that we could have a nice and easy time on our first outing. I didn't want to work on anything difficult or frustrating, so transitions it was! I believe transitions are a key part of the horse's education - no matter how experienced your horse is. So I focused on getting good transitions both within and between paces. Riding forwards down the long sides of the arena and collecting at the short sides. The more I did this the more I could feel Erik becoming more supple in his body, but also more responsive and reactive to my aids 👏🏻 But then he has started to think it would be fun if he didn't slow down for the short sides as going forwards and fast is much more exciting, so I started varying where I asked for transitions and what I asked for (not just collected canter to medium canter, added in canter to trot and a few canter to walks), as this kept him focused on me and what is going to happen next, rather just doing a medium canter around the arena!


Ifor Williams HBX511 trailer review

Ever since moving to Wiltshire last autumn, we've been indecisive between buying a small 3.5t horsebox or getting a big car and a trailer combination. Although we initially leaned towards the small horsebox (mum and I could both drive it, it's easy to drive and to park and we both like horseboxes) but in the end we've settled with going back to the trusty 4x4 and trailer combination.
Our previous trailer was an Ifor Williams and as every single horse travelled well in it, we were keen to stay with the brand. Once we started looking at what was available, my lovely dad stated that there was little point getting a used old style 511, and decided that we could go look at the new HBX style! I was so excited on our way to look at the demo trailer, and I was not disappointed when we got there. It's SO light and I love the look of the new sleek and aerodynamic style, and the new features in it just look so nice. All in all, it is a really bright and very airy trailer! All the horses who travelled in our old 511 trailer loaded and travelled well in it, so we knew going for another 511 would be a good choice as there's nothing worse than unhappy horses who don't like to travel in the trailer! It has the front unloading door, which is something that I couldn't ever live without anymore, it's so much safer and easier for the horses.


Getting back into it

If you follow me on Instagram (@roosa_rantanen) you’ll know that over the last few weeks I've been suffering from being incredibly frustrated with the weather! Over the last 2 weeks I've barely ridden and the horses haven't been going out properly - our fields are a soggy marshland thanks to the constant rain and the gale force winds have ensured that my feet haven't left the ground. Honestly it has been the longest period of high winds that I have ever experienced in my lifetime and even Basse, who I would trust with my life, has been wild to hand walk in the arena so you can only imagine what the other horses have been like! 🌪☔️
I really didn’t want to have a doom and gloom and woe is me blog post on here as I prefer keeping my blog a positive and encouraging space, but the truth is that a horsey life is hardly ever perfect... Two weeks of crappy weather as well as a horrible bout of flu that kept me essentially bed bound for days did a huge amount of damage to my motivation and to my self-confidence. Before this I was planning competitions as well as a trip to a local canter track, hiring an indoor arena and trailering up for hacks, but over the last few days I didn't even want to get on my horses. Riding horses is certainly never plain sailing and I’m not ashamed to admit that some days (or even weeks!) I struggle. It's hard to carry on but eventually you come through on the other side and get back into it. You just have to give yourself the time for it.
But on Sunday I put on my brave pants and decided to go for it - I'd had enough of my self-pity, my fever was gone and with the winds dying down by the hour I knew I had no excuses left. I made a plan to actually ride all the horses, rather than lunging because they'd been lunged all week. As I got on each horse I said to myself that "I am not scared, I am a brave rider" and this was the mantra that I repeated constantly as I rode. And in the end, I actually ENJOYED riding!! Yes they were all wired to the moon and yes I did sit to some very impressive spooks, but I got to end it on a good note on all of them. Afterwards I felt AMAZING! And even today more than 48 hours later, I still feel amazing. 


An interview with an international competition groom Tinja Hurula

I know this is something different to what I normally share on my blog, but I thought it was about time to add a new feature and expand the blog to include interviews with people who I think have interesting stories to tell! Tinja is a gem of a girl, whose positive attitude and love of horses inspires me and I'm so lucky to class her as a friend of mine! Tinja and I have been talking ever since last summer when I stayed at my brother's yard in Germany for 6 weeks whilst we waited for the sale of our house over here to be completed and I thought it would be a great feature to shed some light on the work she is doing. So I thought I’d catch up with her and find out more about what it's like being an international competition groom and share it with you guys! ⬇️
Tinja and Rossi after the GP Special class which Henri and Rossi won 🏆
Q: Tell us all about yourself and how you ended up working for Henri as a groom?
"I'm Tinja, I'm 25 year old and originally from Turku, in Finland. I've been working at various stables for about 10 years. I came from Finland to Krefeld in Germany thanks to being inspired by a friend, and after a year I ended up moving to come work for Henri at Gut Bertingloh."
Q: How do you prepare for a long trip with a horse which includes the horse having to fly?
"For a long journey to a competition that we have to fly to, I prepare pretty much the same way as for any other competition. However, there are a few things you need to bring with you in the plane that you don't need when the horse isn't flying. For example, things such as a brush, a rug and boots for the horse, a bucket as well as a spare head collar and lead rope! They must be packed in case the tack locker is delayed in arriving at the competition site. For the flight it's also good to pack a large hay net and mash for the horse."


Riding exercise of the month: halt to trot

As the spring/summer competition season starts to get closer and closer, I've been working on several exercises to polish up to the look of our tests and to make sure we get the best possible marks. As halt to trot transitions are asked for at the beginning of most dressage tests, it's the first movement to get marked and you really want to make a good first impression to the judge! If you ride a good halt which is followed by a smooth and straight transition into trot, you set yourself up to get good marks in the rest of the test. And even if you're not competing, halt to trot transitions are useful as a riding exercise to make your horse sharper to your leg aids and to encourage them to step underneath more! 
When I start riding direct halt to trot transitions, I find it very helpful to position my horses along the fence line rather than on the centre line as this makes it easier for me to keep them straight during the halt and the transition to trot. Apply both legs on the girth with a small squeeze to ask your horse to move directly into trot - at first you might have to use a sharper kick or a tap with your whip if you don’t get a reaction, but remember to praise lots when the horse does what you want. Positive praise gets you quicker results that negativity! ❤️ Obviously the strength of the leg aid depends on the horse - a sharp horse will need less leg than a lazy one, but after training this exercise your horse should move into trot from the smallest of aids 💪🏻


Blogini tarina

Kun minut valittiin Blogiexpo19 'Pinnalla palkinon' ehdokkaaksi tänä vuonna, ajattelin että olisi oikea aika kertoa suomeksi blogini taustalla oleva tarina siitä, miten blogini syntyi vuonna 2013 ja mitkä asiat heppahullussa elämässäni johtivat tähän... Tämä tulee olemaan pitkä tarina, joten ota kuppi kahvia ja tee olosi mukavaksi! ☕️🛋
Koska isoveljeni Henri on kilparatsastaja ja hevosalan ammattilainen ja äitini on ollut hevosten kanssa tekemisissä pienestä pitäen, ei ollut mahdollisuutta että en olisi kasvanut heppahulluksi tytöksi. Yläasteella West Sussexissa olin kiinnostunut netballista, mutta sekin loppui heti kun oma poni tuli! Eli siis perheeni vahva hevostausta aloitti kiinnostukseni ja rakkauteni hevosiin kun olin ihan pieni lapsi.


Trends to watch out for: Le Mieux SS19 collection

Well hello there Le Mieux, WELCOME BACK!! 👋🏻 After several disappointing seasons of collections from Horsehealth's Le Mieux (so much so that I didn't even include them in my Trends To Watch Out For series last autumn), I am utterly in love with this new SS19 collection 🌸🍑They've created such beautiful springy pastel colours - there is a stunning lavender which suits every horse and a lovely soft peachy orange that even an orange hater like myself would quite happily buy. And for those of you who like having matching ears/fly hoods to complete the sets, Le Mieux has your back and has created them in both colours 👏🏻
Although I stopped using Le Mieux saddle pads several years ago when they rubbed Vallu behind the saddle, over the last year or so I've only heard good things about their newer pads. My mum also owns several of the newer sets and as they've never rubbed her horse I thought I should finally give them another go! It was the binding of the pads that rubbed Vallu all those years ago, but with this new "super soft suede binding" this problem won't come back.