Life With A Friesian Dream

Winter happiness and Friesian power

In collaboration with Horze

Finally we got some real snow! I have waited not so patiently since November, and when the winter wonderland suddenly appeared outside my window, the first thing I did was to head to Batman. Playing with the horse in the snow is literally the best thing ever. And Batman did not hesitate and gladly joined me in the field for some winter fun!

Today was also the perfect day to show you my new breeches and sweater from Horze. I finally ordered the Desiree-breeches, which you have probably seen on my blog before in a wish list or ten! My last pair of quality breeches from Horze got eaten by my rabbit last winter(!), and I have worn jeans in the stable ever since! I never wear them out, my rabbit eats them. True story. #lifewithrabbit

What I look for when I shop breeches:
– Pockets large enough to fit an iPhone or 4 carrots, also when you sit on the horse
– High quality fabric, a flexible feel and elegant details
– A good fit around the ankle
– Must be super comfortable during riding, walking, running and when sitting in a car

It felt amazing to finally ride in the Crescendo Desiree-breeches, and what I love most about them is the high waist and lovely details. I can’t stand riding, or walking, in breeches you can’t feel comfy moving around in. When I’m in the stable, I’m running, jumping, climbing and even crawling on the ground. I need a pair of breeches you never need to adjust. What. So. Ever.

So with a high waist, perfect fit, stretchy fabric and decorative silicone knee patch, the Desiree-breeches is by far the most beautiful and the most comfortable pair of breeches I have ever worn. I could easily wear them outside the stable because of the stylish look.

My lovely new sweater is the warm and comfy Reykur Fleece, also from Horze. I have many old fleece sweaters in XXL, looking more like a tent really, and wanted something a bit more feminine and practical to wear while riding. The Reykur fleece looks great on, it’s got large pockets with space for iPhones and carrots, and during the session with Batman in the field, I did actually not freeze!

Enough outfit-talk, enjoy the sight of my incredible, playful, proud and gorgeous Batman!

A huge thanks to Stina for today’s amazing photos, I’m forever grateful.

Peace, love and Friesian hugs,
Batman & Matilde



 

Life With A Friesian Dream

Six common mistakes to avoid when you are riding bridleless

Riding horses without a bridle or reins, with a so called neckrope or cordeo, is becoming more and more popular. I’m a huge fan of bridleless riding, and think most riders would learn a lot if they ditch the reins every now and then. But riding bridleless is not about simply removing the bridle!

DON’T FORGET TO READ: Bridleless for beginners

We all do mistakes, and that’s natural. Starting to ride bridleless is a journey – and you will be learning every single day. But in the beginning, it can be smart to keep this list in mind to make the process a little bit easier.

1. You are placing your cordeo higher to gain more control

I often see riders pull their neckrope waaay to high and then use it as a pain device to gain control. If you do so, you are so far from soft riding and equal communication as possible. This is an extremely vulnerable part of the horse’s throat! You can actually do damage to the arteries, and other vessels and pipes located in this area almost unprotected. Never place your neckrope higher because it makes the horse easier to ride. The neckrope are supposed to rest on the chest and only be used for seconds at the time, with a light hand. Every tool used wrong can easily be turned into a torture device.

horse_neck_anatomy
Correctly placed cordeo and the anatomy of the horse’s throat.

2. You are removing the bridle on a horse who is not ready

Riding bridleless is not riding with a cordeo or neckrope, it is about riding with your body and seat as your primary aid, not using the rope to steer with. Simply taking off the bridle of a horse that has always been ridden with reins is dangerous. Learn more about how you can prepare a horse for bridleless riding here.

3. You are pulling the neckrope in frustration

Just because you are without reins, it does not mean that you can’t cause damage. A rope around the horse’s neck is a rope around its neck, so handle it with care. Pulling harder to make your horse stop won’t help. Never use force. Use a bridle with reins for safety and use the reins instead if needed.

cordeo neckrope

4. You are trying to ride in trot or canter before mastering the walk

The first time you are trying to ride without reins should be a shorter session with focus on walk and halt-transitions for light signals. Don’t run around. If you master the walk, you will also master the canter. Focus on the small, important things. Feel how the horse responds to your seat, and praise a lot when he willingly does a good halt for a very light signal. If you spend time in the beginning perfectioning the walk, canter an trot will be easy. If the first thing you do is to gallop around, you will lack a lot of perfection of signals later.

bridleless_dressage_neckrope_cordeo
You’ll get to do anything you usually does bridleless as well pretty soon – don’t hesitate in the beginning.

5. You are not inside a safe area

The first times you are trying neckrope without a bridle on for safety, you should be inside an arena or paddock with fences – not on an open field or on a hack. All horses can spook. When you are going outside the arena for the first time – use a bridle with reins and let the reins rest on the horse’s neck. You can pick them up if you need them.

bridleless_hack
Hacking bridleless is a lot of fun – but behind this photo? Five years of hard, dedicated training.

6. You are constantly giving signals with the neckrope

When you ride with a neckrope, you should only lift the neckrope slightly for a few seconds when you give a signal, and then let it rest on the horse’s neck again. There are no need for having contact at all times. Give your signal, and release. Follow the horse’s movement with your body, and keep attention to its body language. That should be your main focus.

DSC_3726 copy

 

Do you ride bridleless?

Peace, love and Friesian hugs,
Batman & Matilde

Life With A Friesian Dream

New cordeo

Wohoo! Another yellow package arrived from Denmark, and it is Batman’s new cordeo! Daniel was like “Yep, more Danish tack for Mr. Batman!”, haha! Of course handmade by the one and only and now officially Batman’s tack designer Ronja Overgaard! ❤ (Follow her Instagram here)

I love everything about this cordeo and it will be perfect for this years photoshoots!

What do you think? It is gorgeous, right?

cordeo1 cordeo2 cordeo3 cordeo4cordeo5 cordeo6

Life With A Friesian Dream

The narrow-minded Matilde versus draw reins

Personally, I have never been very fond of quick fixes, especially not when it comes to animals. Through many years, I have spoken against the use of draw reins, and other similar gadgets used to place the horse’s head into a certain position. I’m against draw reins simply because there is many other alternatives.

And because of that, I have been called narrow-minded. I’m narrow-minded, because I’m open to healthier and more long lasting solutions. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

If you have a problem about the position of your horse’s head, it’s a sign of something else being wrong. Then, you have two choices: to hide the symptom (the horse protesting, refusing to stretch his neck etc) or to actually solve the problem.

Maybe the draw reins will work for a year, but after that, you might face even bigger problems. It’s so much easier to simply start educating yourself and the horse from the beginning! A horse bending its neck is not a sign of correct training. Its the horse bending its neck! That alone is not good for anything but your own ego.

Dressage is about educating the horse to use his body to carry his rider in a correct way – without taking damage, building correct muscles and move with pride and joy for light signals.

If you find your horse protesting, you are doing something wrong. The best thing you can do at that point, is to do your very best to try to get it right – not to make it even more wrong. Pay attention to the horse, every little signal he gives to you is more valuable than a hundred lessons – if you chose to listen. And yet, many riders today choose to shut the horse’s mouth and “solve” the problem with even more gadgets …

Equestrian logic.

Do you look at the head position … or do you look at the horse’s body?

dressage collection tackless