Training tölt

On friday we finally got the chance to get some new video clips filmed with my DSLR camera. Usually we go for my small Handycam videocamera, but there is no matching the quality on my Canon 5D Mark II. The only downfall to recording video with the DSLR camera is that there is no auto focus, so the focus has to be done manually. But I think Maja did a great job filming these clips(she also shot the photos).

Back to the riding! It was a very hot day, and Baldur was very slow, with not as much energy as he usually has. This is mostly because his fur has already grown so long for the winter, so I will be clipping him very soon(I am actually planning on filming the session with my GoPro). Hoping he will be able to endure a bit more without the warm coat holding him back!

And we are by the way still loving the Geysir Gold Plus saddle! It is so comfortable to ride in, and I actually think Baldur likes is too. He has been such a gentleman with this saddle. As a rider, we all know the stress of finding a perfect saddle. I do believe this one is perfect for us.

I am still very excited for the competition coming up in a month! There is a lot to work on till then, but I do feel more prepared than I ever have before a gaited competition, and there is still a month left before we go in the ring!

Anyhow, enjoy the new photos and video!

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EQmach and it’s effect on Baldur

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While I was at the Nordic Championships for Icelandic horses this summer, I visited EQmach’s stand. One of my good friends is actually one of their salesmen, and she recommended me to try out EQmach. Stian Pedersen(who I rode for in this blog) also recommended me to try EQmach on Baldur. So long story short, we have been using this product for a month now, and I am positively surprised!

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EQmach helps the horse by reducing the lactic acids. This means that it is possible to work more intensively without the horse being bothered by the lactic acids that usually occur when being worked hard and after a hard workout. In other words, there is less lactic acids under training and the chances of having a stole horse after an intensive workout is reduced.

But going back to our own experience! We have, as mentioned, tried EQmach for a month now, and I have actually noticed a lot of changes! As it it wasn’t enough that Baldur can endure more in the training, he is also way more focused than he used to be. He doesn’t pay as much attention to his surroundings, he is more focused towards me and the work he is doing.

He has also calmed down considerably, and he takes life with a relaxed mind. He still does have a crap ton of energy, but he manages to “keep it in” and not use his energy unless it is necessary, it that makes any sense?

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If you guys have read my other recent blogs or follow us on Instagram, you may have noticed that I and Maja have started to ride a lot of hacks including speed(such as hacks with the horses at full speed in galopp). Earlier this year, riding hacks like this was something I could only dream of. I remember from this spring when both Baldur and Maja’s horse Drifandi would bolt at any time. So hacks with only walking and many precautions were our standard thing. But the horses have until now not bolted once!

As many of you know, I entered me and Baldur in a gaited competition that will be in the start of October, something we are looking forward to! And with preparations for the competition, comes the intensive training. We have been working out pretty hard lately with fast tölt, and it is really giving results. I am hoping we can show this at the competition. It is hard to put this down how much Baldur has changed for the good by eating EQmach in black and white in this little period of time, but we are definitely moving in the right direction!

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I will most likely keep updating on the effects EQmach has on Baldur and how it works, but I can, with my hand on my heart, recommend this product. As of right now, EQmach has released a new taste to their product, so that the picky eaters will eat this too. So of course, they are having a campaign right now where they sell single EQmach for their standard monthly subscription price(reduced in other words). If you are interested in knowing more, you can get more information at EQmach’s websites. I know for sure that I will keep using EQmach.

And for you who are considering to order, use the voucher code 009 when cashing out, and there is a little discount as well!

Have you ever heard of, or tried EQmach? 

GOPRO – Trick training

Today was a bit of a special day. To be completely honest, me and Baldur have not been trick training since forever. We are completely rusted down, but I believe we are ready to rinse off the rust and get back to tricks again!

The weather was beautiful today, although it was windy. I focused mostly on tricks that Baldur is familiar with, but we are also sniffing the possibility to learn the classical bow. I am planning on taking this trick very slowly, as this puts him in a vulnerable position, and Baldur does not even let me come to him while he lies down, so I need to be patient and earn his trust on this one.

I did also record my daily routines today, but I had put the camera on photo mode, so instead of getting a long video including all of my stable routines, I ended up with probably ten thousand blurry photos. Yay me! Better luck next time, I guess.

Baldur’s first meet with the walker

After the lesson we had with Stian Pedersen, we decided to introduce Baldur to the walker that they have at the facility. According to how he reacted towards the walker, it became clear that this was his very first time. He didn’t understand the mechanics at first, but he quickly got the hang of it!

There were a few times where he was “caught” by the separation walls inside the walker, so he would spook a little bit and jump forward, but that was only in the start of course. After a while he got used to it, and he seemed to enjoy it a lot! He really got to use his body at the walk, longing his steps and engaging the behind. It was a beautiful sight! This was also a few days after his chiropractic treatment, and it clearly made a big difference!

Another cool thing about their walker was the fact that they have small hills that the horses have to walk over, both uphill and downhill!

This was not a very long post, because how much detail can I give you from a 10-minute session? Enjoy the photos!

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Over: The hind leg action is real!

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GOPRO – Sunny hack with Baldur

So this day was really something! If you know me and Baldur, you would definitely not believe it if I said I was on a hack with Baldur and another equipage cantering and tölting on long reins. For about a year, it has been almost impossible to hack Baldur together with other horses other than at a walk. Because if we went any faster, I would have a bolting horse.

But Baldur has been absolutely amazing lately, and I do believe our new feed is helping a lot in that department. I will be writing more about the supplement I have started using in another blog . But that will come later! Anyhow, I know that it has had a big effect on Baldur. He is much more calm and relaxed, and even with traffic he is a gentleman(he is normally a very nervous and skittish horse when it comes to traffic).

Back to this day, it was me, Baldur, Maja and Drifandi riding a small route(about 40 minutes) in the beautiful landscape we have in Hamar. It was so sunny, warm and it was just a delight with calm and relaxed horses as a cherry on the top. A success if I can say so myself!

Training tölt – Aztec Diamond Equestrian

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I just have to start this blog post by expressing how awed I am by Baldur today. He was an absolute champ and he worked his heart out. He really did impress me big time, he delivered in so many ways!

I recently received two base layers from Aztec Diamond Equestrian, and I have to say that I had a little doubt in them. But they surprised me by the quality of their products! I have only used the navy base layer once yet, but so far I am in LOVE with it! It fit me perfectly and it breathes so well, perfect for training in hot weather, as we did today. And of course, the design is beautiful. I believe this is the kind of training/workout sweater I have been looking for. It fulfills all my criteria. It is a tight fit, it breathes, and it looks awesome. I will of course be testing these base layers more, and I do believe they will be a standard in my riding wardrobe.

But moving on to today’s workout, Baldur was superb! He was calm, but he still had a lot of energy to bring on the table. I was worried about action as I forgot my whip(not for touching him), but he really proved that he was in the game today! He was light, energized and so focused on his job. He was such a delight to ride.

Oh, and I almost forgot that I entered us in a competition that is in a months time. I feel like we are ready to get back into competing now. I am not expecting much, but a B-finale would be so cool. I am hoping for the best, so now we are focused on working hard and enjoying the ride!

Oh, and an update on the saddle front! I am again just more and more in love with this saddle, and I am so confused on whether to purchase it or not. I am planning to try out another saddle very soon, so I am guessing that my choice will be made between those two saddle. Exciting!

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Riding at the speed of tölt

It took some time, but I finally managed to finish making the video from the lesson/instruction we had for Stian Pedersen. We are still not very stable at the tölt, but I do believe we are moving in the right direction!

As I informed in my last blog about this lesson, we had a lot of fun and we learned a great deal about how to improve and what to work on. I am also planning on entering me and Baldur at a competition in the start of October, so I am really excited about that! I will be entering us in the V2(four gaits) and T3(tölt) classes, so hopefully we will be able to show some progress from now to then!

I also just invested in buying a new camera, the GoPro Hero 5 Session. I have been drooling over the GoPro’s since forever, and now it was time to grab the bull by it’s horns and buy the thing once and for all. I am currently just waiting for a memory card, and after that, we are all set to get some videos going! I don’t have many ideas yet, so if you have any ideas or requests for what kinds of videos I can publish using the GoPro, I will be forever grateful!

And as a little update on the Geysir Gold Plus, we still love it! I keeps growing on me more and more. I can absolutely recommend this saddle, gaited rider or not, this saddle is GOLD.

But enough chatter, here is the video!

A much needed hoof-makeover

Today Baldur got a much needed appointment with the farrier. It has only been 8 weeks since the last time he was shod, but his hooves are so dry that they are cracking. The cracking makes me nervous of course, but I was assured it was not a crisis. 

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Baldur’s shoes before taking them off to start the trim. On the right front hoof, I actually pulled off one of the seams, as Baldur had stepped on himself, bending the seam outwards. At first I used a hammer to get it back in place, but the next day the result was the same, so I simply pulled it out. Better than having it in, and the part of the hoof was gone anyhow.

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Baldur’s bare feet ready to be transformed!

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Baldur is actually very good when it comes to being shod. He is a spooky and careful horse, but with the farrier he chills out as if nothing is going on. He is also the type who will lift his feet before the farrier even asks him to pick it up – such a gentleman!

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I am always fascinated with how light his hooves can be when they are filed. But the next day they go back to being tan again. I could of course scrub them every day, but who does that?

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Baldur thought it was smart to lean his head and use the farrier as a pillow. At least he doesn’t have trust issues with him!

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The finished result – before I go crazy with the hoof oils!

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If you focus on the tip of the shoe, you can see an upside-down Icelandic horse doing the tölt! One detail that I love about these shoes!

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Shiny feet after being thoroughly oiled by me, an attempt at keeping them moisturized to prevent cracking!

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While I was at it, I also decided to take a photo to show you guys Baldur’s confirmation. Right now he has a little bit of belly fat and not much in the muscle front, but he hasn’t been worked as hard this summer.

Tips&Tricks – Photographing horses

Have you just started photographing horses, or just want to learn some quick tips and tricks? Then you have come to the right place! In this blog,  I would like to share some of my personal tips when it comes to photographing horses. As we all know, horses are unpredictable animals, so knowing how to be able to freeze and capture a special moment, is a big factor in photographing these precious creatures. Here are my tips and tricks to photographing horses!

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Clean horse – It is important to always start with a clean horse. If the horse is not clean, groom it well so that there will be no dirt visible when photographing. It is important that there are no stains, as mud or any other kinds of dirt will be a disturbing element in your photo.

Lens use  An optical zoom lens is what gives me the best result in photographing. What I use is a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens which is able zoom in a great deal. Stand around five to ten meters away from your horse and zoom in. This will cause the background to be blurry and will create a soft and professional look.

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Shutter speed – A fast shutter speed is always important when photographing horses. If the horse spooks, jumps or starts running, you’ll need a fast shutter to freeze the moment. With a slow shutter, the photos will most likely just get blurred.

Background choices – Use a clean background, preferable nature. Keep the background plain with no disturbing elements as fences, buckets or anything that will cause disturbance. What I do is to bring the horse and model to a place where there is either mountains in the far background, a forest or a field. That way it will be even easier to create a blurry background(because of the distance from the horse to the objects behind him).

Lighting – Lighting is an important factor in any photo. To create a silhouette, place the horse and/or model between the camera and the sun. This will create a light background and a dark object(horse), which will result in a silhouette. For better silhouette results, photograph in the sunset or sunrise! The best weather for photographing(my own opinion) is when the sun is slightly covered by cloud. This will create a soft, but still light photo with details. Shooting in the broad daylight on the other hand, will create sharp shadows and a great deal of contrast(what is bright will be brighter, what is dark will be darker) which will create too much contrast and is not what I prefer when photographing – I would rather add more contrast when editing the photo later.

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Perspectives – Shoot your photos from a frog perspective, get down on your knees and hold your camera at about the height of the chest/shoulder of the horse you are photographing. Notice that if you go too far low down, the legs will look longer, but if you go too far up, the legs will look shorter.

Attention, ears forward – Get your horse’s full attention. One of my great tricks is to download horse sounds in to your phone. Have a variety of whinnies and snorts to play. This will get your horse’s attention, and ears will most likely prick forward wherever he may look.

Be innovative – Try new and different angles of the horse and model(if you have a model with the horse).

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Be careful – Remember to be careful! Don’t put yourself, the horse or the model in any unnecessary danger. The model’s poses can be done on the horse’s back, on the side or in front of the horse. Placing yourself under the horse is risky and I do not recommend doing so. Remember that a horse is a wild animal, and there is not much that will come in between a horse’s fight or flight instincts.

Have fun – Make the best out of the photo session. The more fun you have(both photographer, horse and model), the better photos you will be able create!