Life With A Friesian Dream

Batman Blue mane flower clips is back in stock!

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Sponsored by Fleur À Cheval, photo by Une Susrud

Did you know that Batman have his very own collection of mane flower clips named after him? 💙 He do! In California, actually! The midnight blue mane flower clips from Fleur À Cheval he wore during our 7 year-photoshoot become very popular – and now they are back in stock on www.fleuracheval.com!

Fleur À Cheval is a startup ran by the two friends Maryam & Kayla. They are based in Southern California, and their hand made mane flower clips for equine mane and tail are shipped to horse lovers from all over the world. I’m proud to be an ambassador for these girls, they are doing a great job and their product is perfect for decorating both you and your horse for photoshoots and special occasions. Build your favorite set of flowers yourself and support their brilliant work!

Follow them on Facebook 💙 Follow them on Instagram

Processed with Rookie Cam

Life With A Friesian Dream

The secret behind Batman’s long mane: Best tips on mane growth and care

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With over 1 meter of hair attached to his neck, reaching all the way down to his knees, Batman has got quite a lot of mane. Mane and tail growth has most to do with genetics, and it is difficult to change your horse’s genes. What you can do on the other hand, is to simply take good care of the mane your horse actually have. Protect it! New hair will grow out, and when it does, you can actually prevent damage with a few easy steps.

When I got Batman, his mane was so cute. Short, not very thick and matched his baby face perfectly, haha. I never expected his mane to get any longer. He looked like a completely different horse, and over the past seven years, lots has happened indeed .. Here’s an old photo, just for the sake of comparison.

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Photo from 2009, our first day together. Not a typically hairy Friesian!

The truth is that I really don’t to much to take care of Batman’s mane, and maybe that’s the key? This is what I do:

1. I never ever use any brushes

Over the past 6 years, I have touched Batman’s mane with a brush three times. On a daily basis, I only use my fingers to carefully go through the hair and manually get rid of the knots and tangles in it. It takes more time, but it works. Brushes and combs are effective, but they do remove lots of unnecessary hair, which I prefer to avoid. I’m also careful when I groom the coat underneath the mane, so the mane won’t fasten to the brush.

grow-long-maneMane flower clips sponsored by www.fleuracheval.com.

2. I wash the mane only once a year

I only wash Batman’s mane with shampoo one time per year. He gets shower more often, but a real wash happens only once each summer. When I wash his mane, I prefer Cowboy Magic’s products and I also leave the conditioner in for a couple of minutes before I rinse it out. The result is a clean, shiny and soft mane that is easy to handle and looks stunning. I have used Cowboy Magic for 6 years, but I’m sure other brands will do the job too ;) I have tried several others, but I always end up going back to Cowboy Magic. I use the Detangler and Spray a couple of times a month in mane, taile and on coat, and always before photoshoots. The products turn a dirty and dusy grey-ish horse into a shiny, black Batman ready to take over the world. Cowboy Magic’s Detangler & Shine is my number one favorite when it comes to grooming the tail too.

Products I use in Batman’s mane

long-mane-friesianBatman in 2016.

3. I makes sure he never lacks minerals and vitamins

Correct nutrition is vital for both mane, tail, hooves and coat. I’m always making sure Batman gets the correct feed and supplements, so he never lacks any minerals and vitamins. The diet is very important, and I recommend you to dig deeper into the nutrition in both the hay and supplements. Always have an analysis on your hay/forage, and give supplements based on the results. Don’t buy supplements just because the label says that it will make your horse’s mane grow! The more we can cover through the basic diet, the better, but if the hay lacks minerals or vitamins, the horse will need supplements. I regularly take blood tests to make sure everything seems okay.

Vitamins and minerals that are essential when it comes to hair growth

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  • Protein (amino acid methionine)
  • Omega 3 fatty acids

equine-nutritionBatman eating hay with braids.

4. I keep his mane in braids all year around

My next advice is braids. I braid Batman 24/7, simply to avoid unnecessary amounts of hair to fall off. The most important part is the mane further down on the neck, because if you are riding, and your horse have one meter of mane, you will have so much trouble with the mane tangling around your hands, under your seat and in your face. It is nearly impossible to ride Batman in trot without braids, the hair is literally everywhere. Braids also help the horse avoid being sweaty underneath the mane. A horse sweating under the mane will eventually start itching, which can lead to large amounts of mane breaking and falling off. I have around six braids hanging down, and use rubber bands to fasten them. Simple as that! His mane gets breaks from braids a couple of weeks here and there, especially in the winter.

Tips on braiding

  • Be careful when you starts each braid, let them hang a little loose so the hair won’t be pulled in different directions when the horse bends its neck and moves around
  • Fasten each braid before the hair gets too thin at the bottom
  • Rebraid every two weeks, spray with showshine, and get rid of tangles by using your fingers

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The first braid I ever made on Batman, in 2009. 

horse-braidsBatman with braids in 2015. The mane grew rapidly in 2015 and 2016.

5. I avoid neck-covering winter rugs

I don’t recommend you to throw away the rug when your horse needs it just because you want a longer mane, but rugs, especially the ones covering the neck, will lead to more damage on the mane. Batman never wear a rug because he don’t need it, and I don’t think his mane would be that long if he wore heavy rugs from September to April every year.

long-mane-horseFall 2016, with a super long mane.

6. I never pull or sit on the mane

Don’t pull the mane when you are mounting your horse; be careful when riding without braids so you don’t end up sitting on parts of the mane. I remember going for longer hacks with a higher tempo, without braids, and the mane sneaking under between the saddle and my seat. Every time I touched the saddle, I pulled hairs out. Not optimal – a thousand long hairs fell out along the way.

horse-mane-growNew hairs growing out, even at the age of 12.

7. There are no mane-hungry yearlings around

Foals and youngsters can be the devil themselves when it comes to preserving an impressive mane, because some young horses tend to love biting and pulling the mane and tail on other horses. I’m actually glad we don’t have any mane-eating yearling monsters around, haha! They are lovely and playful and fun to watch, until the moment they show up with 10 years of hair growth in their mouth!

Trees on the other hand, is it plenty of in Batman’s home, and so far, no unfortunate meetings with mane-eating trees either!

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Life With A Friesian Dream

The day I got a selfie with the famous Friesian stallion Frederik the Great in Central Park

I just got home from New York, and wow, what a trip it has been! I had a blast! It has been the three best days ever, I have met a bunch of wonderful people and I’m still smiling from ear to ear.

The first day I went to Central Park, which was an amazing experience. I walked around in the park, took some pictures and enjoyed the nice weather. And then suddenly … A horse!

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It turned out I had walked straight into the Rolex Central Park Horse Show-arena.

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And then I noticed a familiar face .. Frederik the Great, the famous Friesian stallion! He has been all over my Facebook feed for many years – I could recognize his stunning apperance from hundred meters away! The photos of him taken by my Facebook-friend Cally Matherly, an extremely taltended photographer from Michigan, has gone viral. He is known to be the “most handsome horse in the world”, and it is easy to understand why.

I spoke to a lady outside the entrance, and asked her if there still was tickets available. Unfortunately not she said, – and I was heading back to Norway Friday evening too, so my chances of getting a glimpse of Frederik’s performance was small.

I was super disappointed, and then the lady told me that the horses was stabeled only a few minutes a way, right here in Central Park, and that I could go there and maybe get to see Frederik there instead. I went to the temporary stables and messaged Frederik’s owner, Stacy on Facebook, and since Frederik had not arrived in Central Park yet, I headed home for the day.

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Stacy soon got back to me on Facebook, telling me that I could stop by Friday afternoon and say hello! I was thrilled – and headed back to the park on Friday. Super excited, a little bit nervous and very happy, I waited outside the gate. Frederik was, obviously, under high security, and I could barely believe that I was going backstage at Central Park Horse Show to meet a stunning Friesian in the middle of Central Park during my first visit to New York! What are the odds?!

Stacy greeted me, and a little bit starstruck and shaky, we walked towards Frederik’s box. And there he was! Standing right in front of me, the one and only Frederik the Great! WOW!

He was absolutely stunning in real life too. Stacy walked in to him and I got some pictures of them two together, you could clearly see how close they were. Such a wonderful thing to watch – the bond between horse and human. Frederik behaved like a true gentleman, and his personality reminded me so much of Batman.

Then I got to say hello, and what an amazing experience it was! He was absolutely adorable, so sweet and gentle! A true Friesian for sure. It was lovely to talk to Stacy, about Friesians, the life long realtionship you get to have with them and their big hearts. I was so grateful for the experience. Thank you SO much dear Stacy!

After the visit, a cameraman suddenly asked me if he could ask me a couple of questions. Yeah, sure, why not? And then I found myself being filmed and interviewed about the experience – haha! Awesome. I might appear in a documentary about the magnificent Frederik the Great soon ;)

I LOVE YOU NEW YORK CITY! And check out my epic selfie with the smiling Frederik! :D

Check out Frederik’s Facebook page here ❤ Pinnacle Friesian’s website here ❤ The Youtube video with over 5,628,100 views here

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New York treated me well, you can say … And I know I’m writing about horses, but yeah. Except from a stunning Friesian, I even met Sam Heughan aka Jamie Fraser from Outlander! Again: WHAT ARE THE ODDS? How lucky is it even possible to get?! I was in the city the same day as Sam, and because of a horrible nightmare that woke me up in the middle of the night, I ended up as number 5 out of 20 in line to meet Sam in a Barbour store!

He rides a Friesian in the show too, so we do have something in common haha.

Peace, love and Friesian hugs,
Batman + one lucky lass from Norway

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outlander-horse

Life With A Friesian Dream

From Friesian to Icelandic: Challenge accepted!

Pick an instructor from www.pluvinel.com, choose from 36 different disciplines and get a free lesson? I’m in! I was absolutely on board when the lovely Camilla, founder of Pluvinel, asked me if I wanted to find an instructor from the platform, and get a lesson in a discipline of my own choice. Challenge accepted, and at first, I searched for a clicker/liberty trainer, planning to have a lesson with Batman. But then I decided to try something new instead! Pluvinel is filled with great trainers and instructors from all over the world in 36 different disciplines. That’s pretty much amazing! I mean, to have everything from pleasure driving to skill at arms on one single platform?! Awesome!

I decided to challenge myself a little and try something completely different .. But:

  • I would have to borrow a horse, because I could not ride Batman at the moment. The horse had to be super cold headed and easy to handle
  • If I fell off, I wanted to be as close to the planet Earth as possible
  • A little bit of action is more than enough! (I am currently suffering from the “speed is scary because my seat is completely out of balance-disease”. I am still searching for a cure)

I had barely been riding Batman the past year, and could only go for short walks with him. Because of my long break from riding, I did not feel completely comfortable with trying a new horse. Jumping? Too scary! Dressage? I have doing that for a decade. Reining maybe? Polo? I would fall of after two minutes. Working equitation? Would love to, but only with Batman.

And then I suddenly realized what I was looking for … Right in front of my nose – ICELANDIC OF COURSE! I would love to try tölt with guidance from an experienced instructor!

I used to ride Icelandic horses as a child, and remember the feeling of comfort and power at the same time. They are truly amazing horses!

A couple of weeks later I suddenly found myself on the back of the gorgeous Icelandic horse Edall, in tölt on loose reins, deep in the woods outside of Kongsberg.

We were greeted by the talented rider and instructor Kristina Madsen, at her beautiful farm a morning in August. She introduced us to my horse for the day, a gelding called Eðall frá Bræðratungu, owned by Laila Merethe. (Thank you so much Laila Merethe, for letting me ride him!) Or just Edall, for us without fancy Icelandic letters on our keyboards. Edall was stunning – a palomino with one blue eye and mane like silk. He was tall for an Icelandic, lucky for me with my 184 cm!

And finally my lesson began. I warmed up in walk on loose reins to get to know him a little bit before we started, and he felt much bigger than he looked like. He was sensitive and forward-thinking and after a few minutes I got used to his movements, which was, obviously, a bit different from Batman’s! I felt one hundred percent safe on his back from the first moment – I could really relax with him. Such a wonderful feeling!

Then Kristina started to give me some tips on how to collect him a little bit more through half halts. I got a good response from my palomino partner in crime, and it felt nice with more self-carriage. He moved elegantly between my aids. We worked in walk to prepare from trot, and Kristina described in detail how I could ask him to tölt, and how it was supposed to feel like. I had tried something tölt-ish two times before, but only by trying and failing on my own out in the woods. Kristina focused a lot on the transition itself. When I got to try, I actually got it right on the first attempt! It felt completely different from everything else I have tried, so much movement, yet so easy to sit on! After a couple of meters, I got a feeling of Edalls also comfortable trot. Back in walk again, we tried a couple of more times, and I managed to keep him in the gait on a circle. With small adjustments in my seat and legs, I got a great response from him right away it felt awesome! Kristina guided me safely through the experience, and for every step Edall took, I understood more and more of Kristina’s explanation from the beginning of the lesson. It was really helpful to combine her words with trying it on my own, and Edall did a great job!

After working a little on a circle on both hands, we went out on the oval track. With more space, I got to try tölt in an even higher tempo! It was really fun to use my seat to ask him to move faster, without losing the collection. We managed to get a couple of okay rounds around the track, and towards the end, I tried without reins too! Of course I had to try .. Haha! It was difficult to keep the balance without reins, and we ended up in trot at least ten times before we got it right. But we managed to get some steps in handsfree tölt. Mission accomplished.

Kristina was a truly wonderful instructor and lovely person with great knowledge, and I had the best day ever. All I wanted after the lesson was to do it again and again, haha!

Thank you so much to Pluvinel and Kristina from Hestelykke for this amazing opportunity!

Want to try something new, or find a great instrcutor in your area? Check out www.pluvinel.com! If you are an insctructor yourself, I highly recommend you to register today.

Afterwards, we did a short video interview with me about the experience. I am absolutely not that comfortable on video compared to photos, I just found out! Christ. And of course I wanted to do it in English, just to make it even worse for myself. I was like “Hi I’m Matilde andourhgjk holy banana let’s try again” a thousand times. Haha! I must admit that I have not even seen more than a few seconds of it myself … Maybe in ten years. A special thanks to Camilla for being the most patient person ever.

Scroll down for video! We should definitely do a “bloopers” video too, haha my very first video “interview”! 😂

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