We've moved!

Yes you did read that title right! After two years in wonderful Wiltshire, it was time to move again. But this time, we've moved somewhere which is quite literally a slice of heaven here on Earth. I have been SO excited for the last few months but trying to keep this quiet because I didn't want to jinx it until everything was agreed and sorted out, but then everything got too busy. But now that we're here I am over the moon to share this news with you all ๐Ÿฅณ
My own little house, separate from the main house
And in case you couldn't guess from the photos, we're moving back to Finland ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ There's nothing quite like hard Brexit, a world wide health pandemic and the death of your grandparents, your dog and one of your horses to really teach you what you actually want from life and that the best place to live is somewhere close to your family and somewhere that is safe. I don't ever want to be stuck in another country away from my family if something like this ever happens again, it's not an experience that needs repeating.


PS of Sweden blush saddle pad review

I know a lot of people might know a lot about and already own PS of Sweden products, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the PS of Sweden blush saddle pad, that I bought from Foster Equestrian. I've blogged about all of PS of Sweden's collection since their SS18 collection, which means that I know their products inside out especially as we have collected a lot of their matchy sets over the years!
So looking closer at their saddle pads, PS of Sweden pads are created from a shiny, dirt repellent and breathable material with a PS crown patterned quilt. This pad also has a quick drying, anti-fungal and antimicrobial material on the inside to efficiently wick away moisture and keep the saddle pad fresh. I can't reiterate enough how well these pads wick away sweat and keep my horses cool. The older pads have a black material on the inside, whilst the SS20 and this particular blush pad have got a white material. Don't panic - both are equally good at wicking moisture away and the white does come up really clean after just a single wash! The material is such good quality, it doesn't snag, tear or damage easily so you don't have to worry about washing them.  


Things that have helped me to like myself more

I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve learned to love myself more over the past few months.

1. Following Instagram and Facebook accounts that show more bodies like mine:
I made a conscious effort a year ago to try and change the kind of body I see in online. These days my media is pretty much solely Facebook and Instagram, with the odd lifestyle or news website thrown in for good measure. What that means is that for the most part, I have some form of control over what I see and I can use that to my advantage. I have filled my Instagram follow list with women who look more like me, so therefore I can make mid-size as the norm in that I see every day of my life. And in doing so, it’s helped me accept my own body shape as completely run of the mill ordinary in the best way possible. I am not a strange or hideous, instead I am completely and boringly normal. Oh, and my absolute fave (non-horsey) account for cutting through bullc**p diet culture is @drjoshuawolrich and @jameelajamilofficial.
2. And unfollowing/unliking anyone who makes me question myself: 
In the same way that I recognise which accounts make me feel good, I’m also quick to unfollow those accounts make me question myself or feel anxious about who I am. Unfollowing or unliking any accounts may feel harsh, but remember this isn’t about them – they could be  amazing and happy and the bee's knees – but they could also really play up my own insecurities, and so sometimes even if it’s temporary, I unlike/unfollow/mute them. I don’t follow any fitness accounts or anyone who discusses diets or describes foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I also tend to avoid account which only show the glossy glamorous bits of their horsey life – I need a bit of a reality check in there. 


EOTRH operation

Carrying on from my last blog post (which you read by clicking HERE) you'll know that my mum's horse was going in to the clinic to have several teeth extracted after being confirmed to be suffering from EOTRH. But just a quick recap of what it actually is - EOTRH is Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis and is a syndrome in horses that results in resorptive lesions of the incisors and canine teeth. As the disease progresses, the roots of multiple teeth begin to resorb and the body tries to stabilise these teeth by laying down extra cementum, resulting in bulbous swellings around the roots of affected teeth. These teeth become infected, may loosen and can even fracture. It's still not a common procedure and as I couldn't find out much first hand experience of it online, I thought I would write a post about it, what they did and how Rama at the age of 22 has coped with it all!

So on June 4th Rama was taken to the Willesey clininc of B&W Equine Vets for his operation, which I'm so pleased to say went really well ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป All in all, six teeth were extracted under infra-orbital and mental nerve blocks and sedation as well as morphine. All his teeth were chronically affected by EOTRH, with large cementomata formation and painful draining abscess tracts, and severe periodontitis . The sockets were debrided, lavaged and packed with dissolvable gelatamp sponges, and temporary polysiloxane dental putty.


Equine dentist visit - peripheral caries and EOTRH in horses

On Friday the horses had a dentist day! ๐Ÿฆท It's been just over 6 months since they were last done, so it was definitely needed. I know some people still think that once a year is enough, but a lot of things can go badly wrong in that time which is why we have been doing bi-annual check ups for the last 7+ years. It might be more expensive but I think having the peace of mind that my horses have healthy teeth is worth it.
After the last disaster of a visit with a different vet, this time I spent a good few hours on the different Facebook local horsey groups and looking through posts to find a really good equine dentist/dental vet. A name which kept popping up with ridiculously good reviews was Pete Ravenhill BVSc, CertEM(StudMed), BAEDT, MRCVS who is an equine dental vet at B&W Equine Vets. The reason why we wanted to get Pete to do our horses is because he has a 100% equine dentistry caseload, split between routine and advanced cases, and he also teaches equine dentistry to vets and EDT’s, both on courses and in daily practice. He is a founder committee member of EVDA (Equine Veterinary Dental Association) and his special interests are periodontal disease, minimally invasive extraction techniques and restorative dentistry. So a proper specialist who knows his stuff!

Vallu, Erik and Melisse all got okayish reviews. Erik and Melisse have both got a chipped tooth (looks like a very old chip in both) but all three had peripheral caries. Dental caries are defined as “decalcification of calcified dental tissues by microbial acids, with resultant microbial destruction of the organic matrix" which in layman’s terms is that they are cavities/areas of tooth decay. Caries is the destruction of dental tissue by bacteria in the mouth, in a similar manner to people.  Most horses have peripheral caries, and peripheral caries rarely cause any problems. Commonly you see peripheral caries in horses leading to other dental problems and there could be a link between dental caries and diastema formation (gap between teeth) and associated gum disease, and as I want to prevent this leading to any of them getting a diastema, they are all going on a very low sugar diet as well as using Hexarinse twice weekly to help keep it clean ๐Ÿงผ


How to wash and look after your saddle pads and other products

Although you don’t get any extra marks for the turnout of you and your horse and it makes absolutely no difference to how happy your horses are, but a well presented combination does give others an impression of professionalism and tidiness. I love my matchy and will always buy high quality products for myself and my horses, and having us dressed smartly makes me feel more confident. There are PLENTY of days where I am definitely more mismatchy than matchy, but most days I do try to semi-presentable with my outfits! Recently I've often seen lots of people asking about how to look after and wash your your saddle pads, bandages, boots and other equipment to make sure they stay looking like new, so I thought I'd share my tips and tricks of keeping them looking their best. Let’s find out! ๐Ÿ’ญ
1. Buy quality products:
In general, the price of the product will influence its quality to a certain extent. It's logical that a saddle pad which costs £50 will last longer than one that costs £5 ๐Ÿ’ญ For example, cheaper saddle pads usually wear more quickly than expensive ones and soon become tatty after multiple washes, whereas quality ones can last years and years of consistent use. So the old saying that "you get what you pay for" certainly applies to all equestrian products, but especially saddle pads.

2. Washing different coloured saddle pads separately:
Whether you are washing dark or light coloured saddle pads, use the coldest possible water (I use between 20°C to 40°C depending on how dirty they are!) and wash them separately. I tend to put my matching saddle pad and bandages in the wash together, then after that do another quick wash with my bandage pads, over reach boots and any other products that need washing. I very rarely wash two similarly coloured pads at the same time, and so far nothing that I have owned has ever gotten damaged in the wash ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป And whites are always washed totally separately!! I know some people soak their pads before washing them - whilst soaking the pads won’t necessarily get the dirt out, removing the dirt and hair will be helpful. I personally don't have the time for this, but I'm sure it helps.


The new plan for 2020

When this year started, I was very, very excited about the plans that I had made for the year and I can't remember when I’d ever felt better or more prepared for the competition season with my horses. I had weddings in America and Majorca to look forward to as well as my brother competing in the 2020 Olympics and therefore a trip to Japan was also planned! I had so many plans for arena hires, hacking out and competing once I'd had the flu jabs done for all the horses in mid-March. And then Covid-19 hit the UK. Of course, whatever great ideas I’d had were thrown out the window, and after nearly two months of grieving for a year where everything is cancelled or postponed, I feel like I need to make a whole new plan for 2020. And with more change coming soon (I cannot wait to share with you all about this, it's SO exciting) here's the new plan for 2020 ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

The plan for Vallu:
I'd planned on hacking out, going to the gallops as well as doing the E-Riders veteran series competitions with him. Nothing too stressful for me and nothing too strenuous for him and his legs, and to be fair this won't be changing much apart from getting the chance to take him out hacking in the local woods or going to the gallops. Despite the fact that taking your horse out for a lesson/hack is now deemed to be okay, I don't feel comfortable enough yet doing so as we should still be staying at home as much as possible. Luckily, I'm fortunate in the fact that I can ride him around our bigger back field which can temporarily replace our hacking out plans! He just gets slightly more time in his paddock than I'd originally planned.
The plan for Erik:
The new plan for 2020 with Erik is to just focus on putting in the time to make him as strong and adjustable and relaxed as possible and for his injured leg to be able to cope with the advanced level training and competing that I want to do. When we come out on the other side of the pandemic, maybe I’ll have a few lessons with him to see how the leg copes and then if everything is good then look at a few arena hires before even thinking or looking at competing. In the meantime, I'll carry on working hard on the basics, making sure he has the strongest body possible and that he continues to put on all the muscle that he lost due to his time off and over the winter.
Not looking too bad here!


#rootd: pistage

Saddle pad: Equestrian Stockholm pistage
Bandages: Equestrian Stockholm pistage
Over reach boots: Kingsland
Top:  Primark sweatshirt
Gilet: Spooks crown 
Breeches: Pikeur grey Gia leggings


Lockdown horse interviews

I thought I'd join in on a fun lockdown horse interview that I spotted floating about on Facebook. There are quite a lot of new followers & readers on here so I thought it would be a nice way for you to find out a little bit more about my horses! I have no idea who created it despite searching (if this is something you created, let me know and I'll obviously tag you) I hope you join in and share this wide and far, god knows we need things that cheer us up at this point ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป
Registered name: Val De Mar
Barn name: Vallu
Nicknames: handsome, pig, William
Colour: bay
Gender: gelding
Disciplines: dressage
Personality: happy, kind and genuine ๐Ÿ˜
Hates: puddles, pigeons, not being able to go in his paddock
Favourite treats: EVERYTHING! ๐Ÿท
Age: 18
Height: 17.1hh
Funny habits: likes giving kisses, will lift his hind leg up if he wants belly scratches and snores when he sleeps
Best feature: biggest heart, kindest soul, knows all the party tricks
Worst feature: costing money from numerous vet visits, having crappy legs!
How long you have had them: 8 years


Brinicombe Equine Think Fly spray review - sponsored blog post

Whilst warmer weather and longer days means more hours to spend with our horses, after a very wet but warm winter, it seems like we're going to have a summer that is full of flies, bugs and other annoying insects. It's only mid-April, yet I'm already having to use fly rugs and masks as well as using fly spray to keep the horses happy when turned out. Which is why when Brinicombe Equine got in touch with me about their new fly spray, I was more than happy to trial it out!
For me, the best fly sprays are long-lasting so that there isn't a need for constant reapplication, as well as being highly effective. I think it's pretty nifty if they don't smell horrible - a few that I've tried out over the years have not been a pleasant experience for me, never mind for my horses with their sensitive sense of smell!! The design of the spray on the bottle also plays a big part for me, especially if your horse is anything like mine where finding a gentle and quiet spray with good coverage is 100% important in order to have a calm and stressful turnout routine. Vallu is the most ridiculously sensitive creature to noisy sprays (as in if it's too noisy he won't let me anywhere near him when he spots the fly spray) so it's been fabulous to notice that he isn't getting tense at all about the Brinicombe Equine Think Fly spray being used before he gets turned out ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป


Feather & Fell limited luxe equestrian sweater review

Now that I've had the sweater at home for a few weeks and had the chance to use, test and wash it, I'm so excited to share with you my review of Feather & Fell's limited edition Luxe sweater. And as we're in lock down, I've only had the chance to wear it at home but it is the sweater that I always go to grab whenever it comes out of the wash. The limited edition Luxe sweater looks lovely whether you're riding or going out to the shops or grabbing a bite to eat (whenever that's allowed again!)  For only £30 I think it's great value for money, and if you use the code ROOSA10 you can get -10% off! Everything always comes beautifully packaged, which is a lovely touch ๐Ÿค
I think it's a gorgeous sweater - it's SO soft & incredibly comfortable. It's not too thin or too thick, so you can wear it for pretty much the majority of the year, right through from autumn to spring very easily. I hate when I end up buying a sweater or hoodie that is too thick and then there's only a limited amount of time throughout the year that you can wear it, but the Luxe sweater has got just the right amount of thickness. I have practically lived in it, and despite washing it constantly the logo is intact which in my opinion is a rarity, and the sweater itself hasn't shrunk in the wash either. I've lost so many sweaters to this, so I'm over the moon that this one looks and feels EXACTLY the same each time it comes out of the washing machine! It's a sign of great quality when it doesn't shrink and the logo stays in tact, and unsurprisingly this Feather & Fell sweatshirt is definitely a quality product! The reason why I waited to share this review was so that I could have the chance to test it out, to make sure it withstands day to day use in order to be able to tell you guys everything about it ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป


10 things you can do to cope with COVID-19

With the country experiencing a lockdown it's no surprise that competitions and arena hires have been cancelled, all but essential travel has been banned and most full care livery yards going into lock down and owners not being allowed to visit and a lot of people not riding at all, I know that a lot of horsey people are struggling. Not only is the situation terrifying, but to then also lose what keeps us sane means that 2020 is turning out to be a bit of a disaster. With the government recommending to practice social distancing and self-isolation, I’m sure a lot of people have found themselves es with some extra time on their hands and not quite sure what to do with it.
So, aside from riding/exercising your horses (if you're allowed to go to the yard and if you want to ride!), here are a few things you can do to keep yourself busy:


Blog hop: Gratitude

Through several blogs that I follow, I found this fabulous blog post from Liz who started a blog hop guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's face. She writes: In an effort to introduce a bit of positivity and happiness amidst uncertain times, I thought I would share some of my gratitude items here in the hopes that our lovely little community of bloggers will echo back with some of their own. It's been awhile since a blog hop has gone around, but perhaps our little group can come up with a suite of them in the coming weeks to ease us through these unknown times?

I have so much to be grateful for at the moment. In no particular order, I'm grateful that:

1. My horses are at home - having seen so many yards go into lockdown and not allowing owners to come and even look at their horses, I am so conscious of the fact that I am very lucky to have mine at home. I don't know how I'd cope without them. On Tuesday the only time I actually laughed out loud that entire day was when I was riding Vallu, so if I didn't have that I don't quite know what I'd do. I really feel for those who can’t see their horses or ride at this horrid time - it’s horrible to even think about.
2. My family and friends are still safe and healthy. I have several friends who are nurses, paramedics  and other GP support workers, and family who are doctors who are all spread around Europe and so far everyone is doing okay. Nothing would be greater if we all made it through this pandemic without having to lose someone.


Trends to watch out for: Eskadron Classic SS20 collection

Hello weekend! Let’s give you some new trends inspiration, and this one features the one that I always look forward to the most, the Eskadron collection! Normally there are always leaks a few days in advance but this time Eskadron managed to keep it under lock and key right until the release date... ๐Ÿ”‘ So let's have a closer look at Eskadron Classic SS20 collection
To be honest I am a little bit disappointed in the colours, it definitely has the feel of more like a Platinum collection - papaya, sky blue, cool grey, navy and brown!! A spring summer collection should be filled with colour and Classic is normally one of my favourite collections because its bright and fun. It's basically tradition for Eskadron to always release navy with each collection, but a brown as well? Since when was brown a spring summer colour?? I for one cannot take anymore brown. And a pale beige grey, again... ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผ‍♀️ This feels like they have left over material from their AW19 soft grey collection and have decided to use it up. I really do miss the old summer colours like berry, mint, mango etc which really pop and make you think of summer! I miss all of those vibrant and different colours. Don't get me wrong I really like the blue and the orange - it's been a long time since they've done a lovely pale blue - but a collection with just two nice colours? ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป Also, a Classic collection to me means a proper big square saddle pad with a stripe. This new style isn't it for me. 


Equestrian self-confidence

Riders often criticise themselves when things don’t go to plan and many others frequently doubt their  own ability. Whenever I've taught riders giving them more confidence and belief in themselves has always been the thing that I've worked hardest on, because it's always been the one that they needed most support for. I've heard so many people wondering if they’re doing their horse justice, if they’re making the people who support them proud, if they’re really a good enough rider to achieve their goals ๐Ÿ’ซ Often this leads to perfectionism, overthinking or over-riding... Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone! I wanted to share with you how to develop your self-confidence/self-belief, because I know so many riders who aren’t pursuing their dreams because of self limiting beliefs and their fear of the judgment, defeat or embarrassment - and I do include myself in this group. Why do you think it's taken me YEARS to get back out competing again? Out of fear of the judgement of others and from crippling attacks on my self-confidence. It's a feeling I know so well.
Essentially, there are two elements that affect your riding confidence: the technical skill/your ability and the mental skill/your mindset. Have you ever seen a less technically skilled rider get better results than someone with more skill at a competition? I've seen it a lot! Whilst it can be due to a lot of reasons, it could also be because your mindset is so incredibly important. And here I have point out that self-confidence is not something that you inherently have or don’t have! Self confidence has nothing to do with talent. Self-confidence and self-belief come from hard work and from your willingness to experience vulnerability. It comes from your willingness to experience judgment from other people, failure and embarrassment at a show, at a clinic or at your yard. Which is why the more you go out, whether it be competing or training, the less nerve wracking it becomes as you get used to it. 


Trends to watch out for: Anky SS20 collection

Another new week, another new spring summer collection release! ๐Ÿ’ Although it really doesn't feel like it with Storm Ciara currently making her presence known, spring is definitely starting to get closer and closer as we've had another release of a new spring summer 2020 collection. This time we're lucky to be getting NINE new colours from Anky: silver, sand, rose, azalea, teal green, island blue, lagoon, dark navy and black. Anky have decided to make half of these with their normal suede material and the other with a silver coloured glittering glow! The ones that are sparkly are: silver, sand, island blue, dark navy and black - and they look ridiculously lovely in the real life photos that I've seen floating about on social media ✨
In the photo above from right to left the colours are: rose, azalea, teal green, island blue, lagoon, dark navy, silver, sand and black. Nice and simple names which we like, so that I don't have to start making up names for them ๐Ÿ˜‚ I know some people will be a bit grumpy with these colours as they're not anything new. Silver, sand, navy, black, pale pink and the light blue are ALL colours that have been done before and pretty recently too (tut tut Anky, but they're not the only brand to do this!) but lagoon, teal green and azalea are different and the fact that half the colours are sparkly does mean that there is a significant enough of a difference to warrant you getting them ๐Ÿ’ซ


Trends to watch out for: Equestrian Stockholm SS20 collection

Well hello second spring summer collection release of 2020! My goodness these companies are starting earlier and earlier each year, I think there might be a competition to get customers' attentions and get the customer to stick with them rather than going for other equestrian companies ๐Ÿค— Which is good for us, because we need something to distract us from the miserable weather we've been having recently! So, let's have a closer look at Equestrian Stockholm's spring summer 2020 collection...
So the first colours that they've released are the lovely steel blue and the fantastic amazonite - which I renamed as denim and peacock when I was trying to explain them ๐Ÿฆš It's brilliant to see that both colours have clothing that matches, but also boots as well as over reach boots so that those who don't like to bandage have something else - much more fair! Although I was initially worried that steel blue would be very similar to ES's ice blue colour, having now seen the comparison photos it is indeed different, it's a deeper and darker shade of blue - there is a definitely a big enough difference to warrant you getting both. I had the same worry for amazonite that it would be close to emerald, and although it is closer to emerald than steel blue is to ice blue, it is still a shade or two different. And before you go, oh they're doing just two colours? ES have a naughty habit of releasing more colours later on, and from the sneak peaks that they shared online whilst they were shooting these photos I spotted at least two other colours - a pale green reminiscent of pistage with a cream binding, as well as a grey pad with Bordeaux binding to match their new competition jacket in bordeaux. So more than likely, these will be released in a few months time!


Introducing Feather & Fell

Well 2020 has started off very well! ๐ŸŽ‰ With all three horses in work, the days starting to get longer and the competition season starting to get closer, it really does feel like 2020 will be a lot nicer to me than last year was. On top of all of that, I have some very very exciting news to share with you - which you already know if you follow me on Instagram or my blog's Facebook page (and if not, then you've probably guessed for the title of this blog post) but I am SO delighted to share with you that I'm officially a brand ambassador for Feather & Fell! ๐Ÿ’š✨ This is a company that suits me down to the ground - country lifestyle gift boxes as well as products for both dogs and horses, and I know you'll love them too! Let me introduce them to you a little bit more.
So Feather & Fell is a small business run by a country couple who saw a gap in the country life market of subscription boxes.  Their aim is to deliver a touch of the country side within a luxury gift style box on a quarterly basis and for the box to be an ideal indulgence for all lovers of the country whether you're a full time farmer, happy hacker, a game keeper or an occasional dog walker. Their products range from practical to very very pretty, also there's something for everyone! You can find out what's inside these boxes by clicking here. And it's not just subscription boxes, there are also gift boxes for us equestrians which I think will be perfect for birthdays or Christmas, or whenever you're in need of a lovely gift! ๐ŸŽ


Trends to watch out for: Le Mieux SS20 collection

Wow! We're only half way through the first month of 2020 and already we have our first spring/summer collection being released! I for one am very very excited to start seeing more and more collections, I adore the brighter colours that companies bring out and it makes me feel like we are on the home straight towards spring. ๐Ÿ’ But first of all, let's have a closer look at this year's first collection which is by the fabulous British company Horse Health who produce all the Le Mieux products.

The beautiful new spring/summer collection from Le Mieux includes four new colours: champagne, french rose, mint and citron. Whilst champagne looks rather similar to caramel/beige, the other other colours are rather exciting! ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ’šCitron and mint are also in the new Mini collection which is aimed at 5-12 year olds. I mean how cute is it that if you have kids you could do the ultimate matchy and have everyone dressed in the same colour?! I also really appreciate the fact that a company is being inclusive enough to create products for kids too. French rose, mint and citron have got matching hat silk, base layer and t shirts, but champagne doesn't so you'll have to hunt down matching rider clothing from somewhere else!


The trouble with travers

Travers (also known as haunches-in) is one of those movements that I hardly ever ride, and I know I really should ride it more often but for some reason I've never really liked the movement. I first learnt about it with Basse when I was having lessons to try to help him to learn half pass, as this movement is often used in schooling as a way to prep the horse for teaching them half-pass but it's never been one of my favourites to ride.
 So let's just recap what travers really is - when riding this movement the horse is asked to bring their hindquarters to the inside of the line they're being ridden on, whilst maintaining bend through the poll, neck and body in the direction of travel. So essentially, if you're riding this on the long side of the arena the horses bum is 'in' and the rest of their body is still on the long side. You can ride it on any line and it is particularly useful for communicating to the horse the meaning of your inside and outside legs. If you really want to challenge yourself and your horse, ride travers on the 3/4 line and if you can get it perfect you know your travers is in fine shape! ๐Ÿด