I wish I could go back

Hi guys, it’s been some time since I blogged here again. But I wanted to share this little, short video I made yesterday. This little memoir means alot to me. Especially sorrounding the cancer, things that shouldn’t have happened, and how I wish we could go back to the time when life was free from worries.

I am not going to go too deep into introducing this video, so here it is.

Tackless jumping!

It’s been a good while since I uploaded my last video, so it was about time! A couple days ago, we worked more on jumping tackless. Or, with a neckrope, but it’s basically tackless!

Baldur did very good! He was a bit energetic a couple of times, and sometimes he would ignore me, but other than that, he did great!

I do hope I keep posting more videos. I brought my camera stand to the barn, so it’s somewhat easier for me to get videos even if no one can do the recording for me. I’ll just set up my camera and record on my own!

Would you like to see more videos?

 

Bitless and bridleless

It has been a lot of focus on working the tölt for the competition lately. And since we had such a great experience at the competition, Baldur has had a little break from the hard training. It’s important to give the horse variation in training, so that he won’t get bored or lose interest. 

I’ve tried to be a bit spontaneous lately, which has resulted in some nice hacks, bridleless work and some trick traning! Baldur has been very relaxed lately, and I think that has to do with the temperatures rising. But it’s quite nice to have a calm, steady horse(apart from when he spooks, though)!

We rode bitless and bridleless, but with a saddle this day. I can’t lie, Baldur is horrible to ride bareback. His trot is almost impossible to sit down to, so I safed it by choosing my sturdy saddle. We haven’t done much bridleless work lately, but Baldur still remembers it. He behaved like a gentleman and gave me such a good feeling. It was pure joy to ride, and that is exactly what I strive for in my riding and horsemanship.

Although I don’t ask much of him in collection, we like to work on the basics like turning, moving the front end and moving the hind end. One of the things we work most at is actually the “stop”. It is an essential thing to have when riding with less gear. So I try to make the stop a fun and rewarding exercise. It has helped in many situations where I for example lose balance and need a quick break.

However, we can’t get too dreamy just yet! There is another competition coming up in just two weeks! So we will hopefully be ready by then to show everyone what we can do!

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Photo above: Baldur trying to be a dressage horse perhaps? Sadly no activity in the back!

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Photo above: This is more like what I want. Relaxed top line.

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Photo above: When something is spooky and your horse forgets how to horse. His legs came to half the length!

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Photo above: No hands, no problem!

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Photo above: My absolute favorite picture!

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Photo above: You can see how loose my girth is! I think Baldur does blow in air to make himself fat when I tighten the girth. But the saddle stays!

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Moving forward and working out

I can easily say that I am glad we are having a “break” with all the cancer drama. It’s not gone, but it’s not now, do you feel me? The specialist is not worried, which makes it a heck of a lot easier on my behalf. I am finally starting to stress a little less and I can focus on the good stuff.

So today(this was a few days ago, but I wrote it at the same time day I posted this blog post) we got to try the new bit I bought! I was looking at a specific bit from Skoies that has an anatomic double jointed mouth piece. I was literally drooling just looking at it, but it is on the expensive side. So it was pure luck that I saw an ad that was just posted by a woman who was selling hers in the size I was looking for! It was never used and she sold it for half the price – a steal! I had no doubt when I told her I’d take it. A couple days later, it came in the mail!

Moving on to today, we finally got to try it out! It has a little bit longer shanks than the one we tried, but it fits him perfectly! It couldn’t have fit him better, as quoted by Madeleine who helped me fit it! Baldur was literally a dream to ride today. We have only been hacking for over a week, and he was fit for fight! He had so much willpower and energy, he was fantastic!

We will be riding for an instructor hopefully next week and then keeping it at a regular basis. We haven’t ridden for an instructor in half a year, so I think it’s about time!

I am looking forward to developing myself and Baldur even further this year, who knows how far we can reach? I am not going to stop trying, my motivation is back!

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Photo above: There is definitely no lack in hind end action!

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Photo above: Something that we have to work on is the slow tölt. I need to get him to sit more on his hind end and really work!

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Photo above: Tölting on loose reins – no problems! Maybe we will enter T2 one day? T2 is a  tölt class where the focus is on riding without contact on the reins!

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Photo above: One of my favorites! Fabulous hair and fabulous form!

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Keeping it going

I am currently still waiting on the phone from the Veterinary University in Oslo. I really want to get our appointment sooner rather than later. I have to admit that I am getting a bit tense, but at the same time it’s okay, because I know it’s just to get an appointment and nothing else. 

Anyhow, the day after Baldur got yet another round of chemo treatment, we went back to training! The good thing about his treatments is that I can ride him like normal. And this time I am making myself be more active in riding. So far it’s going great! My motivation is still up for competitions(even though I have no idea if we can enter or not, I have hope).

I tried Baldur on a new bit, mostly used for competition and training for competitions. An Icelandic shanked bit. This one is the EE bit, with shorter shanks making it milder. This was my first time riding Baldur on a shanked bit, and I get the feeling that he has been ridden in one before by the previous owners. He took it really good and the ride was incredible! He really worked hard for me!

I will be testing this bit a little more, but I think I will be buying one for myself in the future! Maja filmed the last 20 minutes of our session, and here is the result!

A snowy workout – part two

Better late than never, we also got some video clips from the session. I was actually pleasantly surprised that it didn’t look too bad. It felt much worst than it looked, trust me!

I am not really going to blabber too much about this, since I wrote the most part in my previous blog post here.

Oh, and don’t forget to turn on the high quality!

A stormy workout

I can safely say that yesterday’s workout was rather interesting. There had been a storm during the night, so I guess the horses were a bit tense. And as if that wasn’t enough, it was windy as hell and snowing. Great day to ride outside, am I right?

Well, the workout did not go smoothly. We had our disagreements and Baldur was more spooky than ever. He bolted more than he behaved and it was definitely not a pleasant ride. It was cold as well, so we were extra tense. Not a good combination at all.

But we got through it. Even with a little episode of a big bolt, sharp stop and a straight up on two feet. I had to back him up multiple times as he literally shut me out of communication. It was really not our day at all.

So, to conclude yesterday’s training session: I have learned to take him inside the riding halls if the weather is bad and there has been a storm at the night. I guess I have to take extra precautions for my sensitive horse. And I am choosing to share my bad experiences with you so that I can look back when we hopefully have emerged from it. And it is of course a learning experience.

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Photo above: Little to no action and not collected at all, leaving him look very long.

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Photo above: Much better here, but still very stiff.

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Photo above: I got absolutely nowhere for asking him to collect in the trot, as his mind was everywhere but on me.

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Photo above: The same goes for the canter as well. Very stiff and unfocused again. I didn’t even bother to try and collect him as I was too busy trying to keep the canter clean and not let him bolt off in a pace.

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Photo above: Baldur did not care much for the headwind either. He bolted, I stopped him, and he went up. I sticked the rear and moved him forward again to let him know it did not affect me. It was however an unexpected rear, so I did not get the time to prepare, hence the bad hands. 

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Photo above: We ended it when he started to listen a little bit to me, and he would relax a little. It took a while, but I feel like I can’t end a session in a bad way.

 

Finally back on track

I can finally say that we are headed in the right direction training-wise! We have started to settle at the new barn quite well, and we are loving it. It’s less stressful to get to and from the stables, and the routines are just going like a dream. Having a riding house really gives me no excuse to not ride, which in return gives me a lot more motivation to go on.

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Until now, he has been ridden every day this year except two(January 1st when I flew to Hamar and yesterday, I was exhausted from work), so we are going strong so far. But what is really incredible is how he is still the same horse – I know, right? Totally weird. But he has so much energy, and his personality is exactly the same. He has so much determination and I just love that about him.

So I can conclude and say that I am really looking forward to the rest of this year. And I will pray to every God and holy creatures that the cancer will not come back. That is the last thing I need after how 2017 went on.

We have also been on a couple hacks so far, and Baldur is loving it. There are so many more hacking possibilities here, and that is of course most of his nature. He even bolted with me last time, but it wasn’t to be mean or anything. I think he just missed being able to go full force. His ears were pricked the whole time and I just took myself the time to slowly get him down to a walk instead of panicking. He did so well and we could walk home with one hand on loose reins.

I will do a stable tour in a little while, hopefully sooner than later! I am so excited to show you the place!

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Photo above: There is absolutely no problem with the flow in trot!

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Photo above: I was not actually expecting and lift or speed in the tölt(it takes a lot of energy), but Baldur had no problem and he gladly went all force without me needing to ask.

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Photo above: No problem with hind leg action, either!

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Recap of the year 2017

As most of you can probably understand, 2017 has been a hell of a year for me. It has consisted of unsteady water and rocky roads as far as eye can see. At least the last six months have been a struggle, to say the least. So I’d like to like to take a look-back at the year.

The year started off with riding moderately. I was very focused on the show jumping and entering shows. So we had regular lessons for a trainer and we entered one competition(it didn’t go very well though). We even experienced some falls along the way. One due to bolting, one due to rider’s error in jumping and one was an accident where Baldur spooked and gently tipped me off. It’s weird how all these falls came in a two-month-period, after not falling off for 2 years. I guess the time was due?

Moving on to spring break, I took Baldur back to Ålesund for the break. That’s when my likings for the gaited bloomed once again. I came back into a gaited environment, and both I and loved it. We got the chance to ride for a world champion and we had great feedback, which really sparked my motivation to get back into gaited competitions.

The fall came and we went back to Hamar for studies. At that point, my interest and motivation was at it’s peak. Me and Maja would ride literally every day. No dressage, no jumping, just hacks. She would ride as usual, and I would push Baldur in the tölt-training. Turns out training tölt on hacks is great for building muscle! And it really showed. Baldur was in great shape and ready for fight. We entered our first gaited competition in Hamar and it was amazing. I was thrilled.

Little did I know that it was drastically going to change when I noticed that Baldur’s sheath was swelling. I tried to wash it out to see if anything changed, but a couple days later, the swelling was still bad. But the veterinarian was on the way to float the horses, and I asked her to check him in the same day. Baldur was drugged and his sheat and penis was cleaned. There were some spots and skin that raised suspicion, and a biopsy was made two weeks later(the day after the gaited competition).

And we all know that the results were positive for cancer. After getting that message, everything went south. My mood dropped and I became so vulnerable, anxiety really took me by the ear and didn’t let go. I was totally unstable and anything could make me cry. But I had to keep going, there was no other option for me but to keep my head high and move forward.

Baldur was treated with chemo therapy every two weeks and when almost all the cancer was gone and I was starting to feel the relief, something had to happen. Baldur was suddenly lame and couldn’t walk. He would fall with every step and it was horrible. The veterinarian came(this was in the middle of treatments) and checked for bone breakage first. No breaks. It turned out it was a hoof crushing, and it had to be drained of blood. Baldur recovered in a couple of days, and we shoed him with pads to prevent him from taking more damage to the already thin sole.

I handed in my exams and before leaving home for the holidays, I finally able to breathe. We had another veterinary visit, and this time there was no need for another treatment as everything was gone. It was exactly what I needed and more. I could cry of joy. I know it’s not over yet, there are follow-ups to do, but man, I was relieved. It was the perfect end of a hectic year. All I can really say now it that i really look forward to the new year.

Baldur with a fresh rider

So, last weekend Anneli came to Hamar to visit me and Maja. We ended up going on a little trip to Sweden, going out to a restaurant to eat pizza, and then Anneli got to try out Baldur a couple of times! 

According to Anneli, Baldur is pretty much the opposite of her Icelandic Horse Kári, and it was a new experience for her. It was also good for me to see him with another rider and how he reacts to Anneli. It’s also a great way for me to see him being worked, without seeing him from above.

Anneli was really excited about trying out my Geysir Gold Plus saddle as well, as she is interested in buying it. I think I can say that she was very happy with it, and she liked it very much! So I don’t think it will be long until she gets one of her own, haha!

I think Baldur and Anneli were a great match! Some confusion in the start, since Baldur isn’t like what she is used to. If he understands what you ask, he is not hard to ask at all. But if there is confusion, he will clearly notify that he does not understand.

So I learned that Baldur indeed is a little bit tricky to ride in before you really get to know his riding “style”. I do also enjoy having a tricky horse, so when I actually have progress with him, it isn’t taken as lightly, if I can say it that way.

Anyways! It was fun to watch Baldur being worked by Anneli and how he responded to her. The weather was great, and the mood for the day. It was also fun for me to photograph my own horse in action and capturing the moments.

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Photo above: I absolutely love the light in this photo. It is subtle, but strong. And the new snow makes everything better!

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Photo above: Moving those hindquarters like a champ!

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Photo above: At it again with the lights! 

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Photo above: I think both the horse and rider enjoyed themselves.

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