Trends to watch out for: HV Polo SS19 collection

I think one of two things must have happened - either I've been living under a rock, or despite the fact that I have signed up to follow HV Polo through their newsletters, on their FB and Instagram accounts (thank you FB and Instagram algorithms...) they've gone and released a new spring summer collection without much fanfare! 🎺
I've always loved HV Polo and some of my favourite clothing is from this brand but over the last few years I've clearly started to grow up as I've preferred slightly more muted designs and have steered away from HV Polo. Yet this SS19 collection is right up my street! 🌈 The colours of this collection include the lovely bright coral, the beautiful berry, navy and blue turquoise. I would have any of these sets any day of the week 😍


The unlikely return of Basse

"Good things come to those who wait. Better things come to those who don't give up, and the best things come to those who believe"

I've waited over 7 months for this moment 💜✨ I'm finally back on board my Basse for little rides - shoeless and sound! I have begged and prayed for a miracle and it seems to have happened, after over half a year out of work Basse looks and feels sound enough to do a little bit of work.
I've given this blog post the title of 'the unlikely return of Basse' simply because truthfully, a few months ago I was at the stage where I was seriously considering having to have him PTS because he was 1/5th lame in walk and a lot worse in trot - if he's not even sound enough for retirement and to spend his days in the field, then I don't want him to suffer. He went suddenly lame at the end of October 2018, and whilst I initially thought it might have been a muscle tear or some form of bruise or abscess, after two months I had a heart breaking moment where I realised that it was more likely that the navicular disease and the long term effects of having suffered a bout of laminitis were all catching up with him and causing arthritic changes in his legs. Although he has a heart of gold, he's not made from the best ingredients and I've always been prepared for the fact that there is a high chance I won't get him to 20+ years. 


Riding exercise of the month: shoulder-in to half-pass

From youngsters to advanced level horses, I believe that shoulder-in and half-pass should be in every horses' schooling routine. They are both incredibly useful exercises that helps improve the suppleness, help to achieve increased flexibility and to gain strength, but also improve the horse's concentration to your aids - which is especially great if you have a spooky or hot horse! When starting with shoulder-in, it's much easier to use the fence of the arena to help you to stay in a straight line, so this month's riding exercise of the month incorporates that into it. From the short side, ride the first half of the long side in shoulder-in, in the middle of the long side ride a 10 meter circle, followed by half-pass to the centre line. You can do this in walk, trot or canter, I like riding it in canter with Vallu and in trot with Erik, but sometimes I change it up depending on the day. 🤗
As you ride the shoulder in, think of being able to alter the angle with your seat and reins with a good amount of the flexion through the neck and with a tempo that stays consistent throughout the exercise, in order to develop the suppleness further. Once you reach E, ride a 10 meter circle which will help you prepare for the half pass and also gives you chance to make sure that your horse is in front of your leg! Straight away after the circle ride your half pass towards the centre line, and then repeat the exercise in either direction.


A year with Melisse

All I can think of to say is that how lucky we have been to have such a special mare land into our lives last year! ❤️ In case you don't remember, in May 2018 the day after I finished my Master's Thesis I went with my dad to go pick up this little firecracker from Helsinki and brought her home with us. As she's more my mum's horse, she doesn't feature that often on the blog but you might have seen her on my Instagram page or stories!
As a yearling! Photo from Sukuposti.fi
Last week we celebrated her sweet 16th and this made me want to write a blog post about how wonderful Melisse is and what a brilliant addition to our herd she is. Although some people might think we're crazy for having a fifth horse, to us she is perfect. Our boys needed a matriarch to rule the group and my mum needed a second horse to ride as Rama is not getting any younger - even though he's not anywhere near ready for retirement, he's the naughtiest one to turn out! But the boys all respect her and she just fits in well. It's nice to have a mare in the herd again!


Mental Health Awareness Week 2019

It's Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 this week and I've been inspired by lots of posts about it on Facebook & Instagram to write my own post, because I think people sometimes need a reminder that it is OK to talk about things like this (sharing is caring guys! 💕) Today I’m feeling 100%, but last week for several days I did not feel anything close to that. And I’m OK with that. I feel like people need to realise it’s okay to have bad days, as it’s human nature. What we should try to avoid is staying there on that bad day for the rest of the week! Last week I was in the midst of a troublesome bout of anxiety, I’ve felt like I’ve had butterflies in my stomach that are all consuming, and I’ve felt twitchy and totally on edge. I've ridden my horses less than I normally do as I don't want to spread this feeling to them, but then at the same time not riding them makes me feeling guilty and like a terrible horse mum... 
On a day where it feels like anything in the world must be less stressful than living your life. The sort of day when you have constant bad butterflies in your belly, where you’re either sobbing but you don't know why or you’re staring in silence at the wall, because you can’t quite bring yourself to do anything else. You’d like to switch off and take some time out to have the chance to recharge, recoup and hibernate and go back to your life when it’s all just a bit easier. I think that the main problem for me when I start to feel like this is that I feel entirely overwhelmed by the little things, that I am out of control and that that there simply is no way to gain back control again. Then there's also this irritating pressure that I put on myself to simply snap out of it, and it fills me up with anger at myself that I can’t snap out of it – I can’t have a productive day, feel and act normal. A lot of my feeling out of control last week has come from this blog and from my Instagram, as I had a few days away because I didn't have anything to write or talk about. But seeing my traffic and engagement dip down is very scary, it makes me feel like maybe no one wants to read my blog anymore and as if my Instagram account is boring everyone! Like it’s time to give up, pack away my Blogger account and go back to my normal everyday work life.


The Royal Windsor Horse Show 2019 & Grand Prix Freestyle to Music class

It's not often that I manage to organise an actual day off from our horses, but Friday was one of those rare occasions where I had the chance to drag my mother along to day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show for the Al Shira'aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music class. We arrived several hours early so that we could grab some lunch as well as check out all the stands (wow, there were loads!!) My absolute favourite stands were the Honest Riders, La Flex Equestrian, Carr & Day & Martin, Theraplate UK and the HorseHealth stand. Really really lovely people to chat to and everyone was so helpful and friendly that I had the best time wandering around! 🛍
The Grand Prix Freestyle to Music class started off with Nina Nilosaari with her horse KOM Ragdoll. I think this horse is wonderful, it has such a nice powerful trot but it did look a bit tired from yesterday's GP class. It also didn't help that as she was riding around the arena the horses did a massive spook at one corner and Nina fell on the neck... That can't have been easy to recover and get focused back on the test itself, so I can only commend her for the mental strength to do that! She was followed by Tommie Visser whose horse Chuppy Checker CL (what a name!) was one of my all time favourites in the class because it had a fabulous canter and Tommie rode a wonderful extended canter across the diagonal to a canter pirouette to one tempi flying changes, and just made it look so incredibly easy. Although the piaffes were quite slow, the trot half pass was the stuff of dreams 😍


When success is achieving relaxation

Isn't it funny how some people consider success only to be winning competitions and titles, whereas for some it's moments and events that go well which can be successful or not? For my, it's the those moments where you achieve something that you've work so hard towards for so long, that's what I call success. And the arena hire on Monday was a resounding one! 💙
 Although it may sometimes look it, my horses have never been easy. My pony was so quick and hot that in the beginning I fell off him every week, if not more often.  Basse was only a 4 year old when I got him and I had to learn how to ride a young horse and go up the levels with him, but his heart of gold and willingness to work with me made him entirely worth the time it took. Vallu was a "ready made" school master who I technically could have competed the advanced levels with, but his spooky/hot temperament and his injuries meant that I never quite got to go in the white boards with him. Erik is a wonderful combination of the two others before him, the talent of Vallu with the temperament of Basse - but on some days he needs that extra bit of hand holding and understanding. He's very weather sensitive (if it's raining AND windy I need to wear my best sticky breeches, that type of sensitive!) which makes him just that little bit harder to work with. But yesterday it finally felt like I'd cracked him and learnt at least a little bit of how to help him deal with anything different, like going to an arena hire, where there a million and one things to spook at.