Trying to become left-handed

Well, not really, but I am trying to become more equilateral. I am right-handed, and as such I do everything with my right hand, pretty obvious and rather natural I guess ;) Recently though, I’ve had some trouble with pain in my left shoulder while mucking out the horseboxes.

So in order to let my left shoulder get some rest (I think it is overstrained and also too stiff), I am switching my grip on the pitchfork and trying to teach myself to muck out from the left side instead of from the right side as I usually do. I’m not quite sure whether this actually helps with the shoulder issue, the pain is still there (I think I have to visit a masseur), but on the other hand I guess I need to give it some time too.

It’s incredible how difficult it is to do things with your left hand! It just feels plain wrong haha, but either way, this will help me to become more equilateral and I will benefit from it for sure. I mean, we demand from our horses that they should be equilateral and equally supple and soft in both sides so why shouldn’t we demand the same of ourselves?

Everybody wins if both horse and rider are equilateral. Something to think about for sure.

‘Jag ser det snöa,

jag ser det snöa, det var väl roligt, hurra!’ ;)

I guess all of my Swedish readers recall this classic children’s song but for those of you who think this looks like utter gibberish (it is Swedish) I’ll go ahead and translate it for you:

‘I see it’s snowing, I see it’s snowing, that’s funny, hurrah!’

Seems like winter doesn’t want to let go just yet….. We have had more snow in a couple of days now than we have had for the entire winter I think. The fluffy, wintry, white blanket is at least 30 centimetres thick and the snowflakes just keep on snowing down day and night, so it will be thicker still. I’m not completely happy about this, whether it is beautiful or not, give me my spring back! The horses enjoy it though, jumping up and down in it, rolling in it, getting up on their hind legs and bursting out in sprinting episodes :)

February 29th

Leap year day! Not every day you can say it is February 29th. Four years until the next one ;)

I haven’t been very active here lately, well, the show season is around the corner but spring hasn’t really picked up pace yet although we’ve had quite some sunny days. Anyway, the horses are still doing basic cardio and strength work. Nothing too exciting to write about really ;)

In between all the cardio and strength build up I’ve been focusing on basic dressage/flatwork. You know, like, all the small details that are just supposed to work. I’m really making an effort trying to be/ride very correct ‘by the book’, consistent, aware of both my own body and the horse’s body and all the small signals we communicate to each other. All my careful consideration of these details really pays off because as a result I’ve got supple, attentive and dutiful happy horses.

When the snow was still around we did a lot of cantering on the fields (it’s incredible how great deep snow is for the stamina of a horse) and I also invented a new sport; ‘snowenting’, a combination of snow and eventing, great fun! :D

We’ve been to our first jumping practise of the year with both Indore and Confect. Both did well and jumped nice. Indore was a little hot at first (not very surprising bearing in mind that she has not jumped for months) but she calmed down nicely after a while. Especially Confect got a gold star because she has really risen up to the task as a showjumper! She did her first real course consisting of about 12 jumps at about 80 cm height, jumping every jump flawlessly and not even bothering with so much as a flinch at waterjumps, walls and other ‘spooky’ jumps. Looking forward to her first show!

Pamela mostly enjoys the sun and riding in woods these days, she is getting rounder, not too long now until we will get to meet her foal! Very exciting! I am having fun coming up with names and wondering whether it will be a little mare or a little stallion :) A few days ago Pamela and I also celebrated five years together <3

‘Til next time! :)

I think I broke my toe… No, wait! I’m fine!

Okay, so, just fyi, it hurts like hell to get trampled by horse with ice studs on! Ouch!!!! At first I thought that I had actually broken my toe because, man, it hurt! But you know, as the tough horse girl I am, I kept my mouth shut (screaming out loud wouldn’t have helped anyway – and it probably would have scared the horse too), waited patiently for the horse to step off my foot, then cursing the (stupid) horse and muttering a few swear words…. Finished what I had to to in the stable and then I went in to examine the damage.

Ice studs

I concluded that I had not broken my toe, I can move it after all, but it is not a pretty sight! My little pinkie toe isn’t that small anymore, all swollen, pulsating, red (and blue) and I am painfully aware of it every time I happen to move it…. Oh and, the skin actually broke as well! Interesting, considering the shoe I wore didn’t suffer any damage?!

A hint, don’t get trampled by a horse, especially one wearing sharp ice studs, take my words for it, it really hurts……..

(Another hint, getting kicked in the chest and the air knocked out of you also hurts, don’t try it at home! That happened almost a year ago, I wonder if getting hurt by horses early in the year is becoming a new tradition? I most certainly hope not……)

Horse people are (not) completely sane!

You know you’re a hillbilly when….

….you’re not surprised at all that you have to go get a chainsaw because there has fallen a tree in the middle of the road!

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Seriously?! Hahaha! :D Oh well…. Nothing here surprises me anymore because literally anything can and WILL happen! The life of the hillbilly, true story ;)

There has obviously been a storm around here, Helga I believe it was called, but the road is clear once more (almost feel a little proud, made a difference for the neighbourhood!) and all is well again.

In between my last show and the storm a lot happened! Second day of the show also went well, though a pair of poles down – thought first day was the best but people around me argued that the second day was equally as good as the first one ;) My trainer was there as well and saw me ride which was very practical because she instantly saw a couple of details to work on (and luckily enough I also got to borrow her daughter’s showjacket! I forgot my own at home hehe…)

At the training last week my trainer was very focused on the details she saw at the show! She wouldn’t let me get away with anything! Very demanding, just what I need, so grateful for all the help I got :) Straighten up! S t r a i g h t e n  u p! I haven’t really noticed it myself before but I tend to position myself too much forward ‘in front’ of the horse, it should be the other way around! With Indore balance and position is everything and it’s incredible what a difference straightening up made, I got a much better quality and balance in the canter which in return resulted in great jumps. And it was also so easy to see distances! ‘Is it supposed to be this easy?’ I asked myself haha, because suddenly I had all the time in the world to get my distance and we were both relaxed and calm approaching the jumps. We also practised a lot of counter canter which helped immensely with making Indore cantering straight, in one line! Definitely something to do more often.

I’ve also been riding Confect out in the woods together with my father and Indore and she is doing so good! She seems to have quite a good basic stamina, though she needs more strength still of course. Haha she is even doing better than Indore when it comes to being brave, not a single flinch or jump for anything (whereas Indore, the supposed adult horse, is all over the place for seemingly unthreatening things….) Confect has also done some jumping again, jumping like a cat, high, round – very scopey! :D (Phew, it’s much more ‘work’ involved jumping a 3-year-old compared to an adult horse – got to use a lot of leg to make sure she is within the frame! I was more tired than the Confect I think, trying my best to really do everything right). Next week we will go to her first ‘training’ in preparation for her first ‘show’, how exciting! Wasn’t completely honest when I said that the latest show would be the last show of the year I guess! Haha, no, but it is just a pay&jump so nothing fancy, just to get her more used to jumping courses ;)

Today I did my final examination in Dutch, and you know the feeling you get when you ace it?! I’m high on that one ;) Probably will be for some time! God I LOVE language!

Happy weekend everyone! :D

First show done, one more to go

Like I predicted, the course designer put a challenging course in front of us! He is just splendid, turns literally everywhere, making use of exactly every inch of the arena! But the courses he designs are always fair – if you answer his questions correctly then your journey through the course goes smoothly. If you make a mistake though, you get to know about it immediately.

I’m happy with Indore and my riding today! Indore made a couple of suuuper jumps, elevating with her hind-legs high up in the air. We had the canter, you know, the ideal canter and I managed to use it to our advantage, forwards to the jumps out from the turns. We had a great tempo, not hasty but definitively fast, 52.11 seconds! 2.21 seconds faster than the winner…….. I did a mistake or two though, and we had one pole down, it annoys me of course but there were a lot of good things in this round as well, so I am also really happy. I’ve never before ridden this fast I believe. We were also soft, calm, relaxed and confident in our approach.

I make 1 & 1/2 mistake you could say. The first one being the “1/2” mistake, towards the double where she is too open in her canter resulting in a too flat jump where the pole comes down. BUT it was also “1/2” right, I saw that we got a forward distance, decided to go for it and stuck with it – really riding it through. It was the “wrong” decision but the key thing here is the decision and being bold enough to go for a forward distance. One issue with my riding is that I am too cautious from time to time. Now I followed through my decision and that’s the right thing to do, even though the result didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted.

The second mistake I make is towards the second last jump, the water jump – I’m not making my turn round enough and that messes up our distance, Indore is a clever horse so she pulls to the right (from our point of view) to make more room for herself to make the jump, she is clear even though I don’t present the jump to her in the best way, good horse! :) Throughout the course I actually make good turns, except from that one.

A lot of good things in this round and happy horse and rider! We’re not too far away from the goal :) New gameday tomorrow! :D

Winter is coming

Hahaha, I just had to make a GoT reference, if you catch my drift ;)

No, but seriously, winter IS coming, at least the non-GoT version. Yesterday it was actually snowing, though it didn’t stick to the ground and today the temperature went below 0! Huuah! As if it wasn’t bad enough with the sun setting at 4 pm, leaving us completely in the dark… You might sense that winter isn’t my favourite season, eh? ;)

But anyway, yesterday Confect practised some more leg-yielding and she also got to jump a little course at about 50 cm height and 10 jumps. She did a couple of really great jumps! Really looking forward to next season with her. Indore did a bit of cardio work and after that a little bit of flatwork.

Today Indore got to jump a little bit in preparation for the show we are going to tomorrow and on Sunday. She is in great shape, fit and strong and also jumping very well, especially when I manage to use her canter forwards to the jump but still remaining calm and relaxed.

Really looking forward to the show! It is the last show for the season actually, which is a little bit sad in a way but spring is around the corner (okay, not really but I’ve got to keep myself positive you know!) and then there will be new shows :)

The course designer for this show is my absolute favourite by the way – Eduard Petrovic! He is an international course designer actually and he always creates such interesting and challenging different courses, in a good way. So this national show is going to be a splendid ending to the 2015 season :D

Oh, and look! Our new plank jump! Designed and created especially for me by my father :)

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