Life With A Friesian Dream


First of all, thank you so much for all your kind messages and prayers today. I did not feel alone when I stood by Batman’s side today thanks to you guys. I’m forever grateful for your support. This is not a topic I find it easy to write about.

Today we went back to the animal hospital with Batman, eight months after our first visit. I have been nervous about this day since we left last time, because we were going to measure the development. See how fast it progresses, whatever it is that is causing Batman’s problems.

We started with a general health check and a quick status, and as you know, Batman has been great this year. Against all odds, we had a great summer with no problems at all. He has been happy, only lame once and that was because of some pelvis issues, and in general, in good health. I walked with him back and forth in both walk and trot and the vet had a quick look at his movement. He seemed fine in both gaits, thankfully.


Next step was a scary thing called x-ray. They reveal the angle of the joints. Last time I was in that room, it was the worst day of my life. I could barely stand on my own legs when I understood that they had found something abnormal. Afterwards I felt like a ghost for weeks. I never got rid of that feeling. It was so painful.

This time we did the x-rays it without sedating Batman. We have never x-rayed him without drugs before, and I had something to focus on. To keep him stand completely still! Instead of drugs, we used carrots, and it worked out fine. Even when horses was moving outside the door, he stood still like a hero. The Chief of Carrots-task kept my mind off the x-rays itself, and suddenly, they were done … I got the results and they showed barely any change at all since last time. THANK GOD. This was exactly what I was hoping for.

This means that for now, he is stable, and the problem is more likely to be local, and not caused by something worse, for example DSLD/ESPA, which we are also testing for. It is likely that he has a pair of abnormal looking hind legs, and no, it is not optimal, but it could be a thousand times worse! DSLD/ESPA is a generative, systemic and deadly disease, and the most common symptom is dropped fetlocks, just like Batman’s. Therefore, we had to test for this too, but with so little progression after 8 years in training, and still no severe pain, problems with walking or positive ultrasound-results, it seems more likely to be a local problem. But you can only imagine my fear, having this in my head 24/7. ESPA is the worst diagnose ever. He is still suffering from dropped fetlocks, but it is local.

We will check him again in the spring, we can of course not be 100% sure, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. So far, it looks like we gets the best outcome possible. He will never “get well”, but he can be stable, happy and live a great life by my side. I’m relieved and happy, he is a warrior, and he is NOT done yet!


Life With A Friesian Dream

8 things you’d never guess I’ve done

Unless you have read my blog for many years, this blog is filled with surprises! Enjoy!

I had my first meeting with bridleless riding in 2007

Looking back at this bring tears to my eyes; Belinda was the world to me and I had the honor to spend time with her every week back in 2007. I was 13 at the time and getting the chance to enjoy long days in the stable with this incredible Fjord mare meant everything. Long hacks in the forest, canters through the field, friends, laughter, safety and trust. I will never trust a horse like I trusted Belinda. She was a special lady at the age of 27 when I met her, but she felt like she was half that age. In June 2007, Belinda gave me the first meeting with “liberty” riding; a sunny, lovely day I walked around in the arena with her with only a halter on. She felt great, so I tried to remove the reins and made a neckrope. It worked out very well and that experience definitely planted a dream in my mind. I am forever grateful for the years I got to spend with her, I think being with a horse like her in such a lovely stable is the best thing a 13 years old girl can do.

matildebrandt-neckrope1 matildebrandt-neckrope

I was a fancy bling-loving dressage rider with shiny black boots and matching tack

When I got Batman, dressage was the discipline I wanted to succeed in. I took lessons, attended to many clinics, had expensive boots, a hundred different saddle pads with matching fleece bandages and so on, inspired by the Swedish blog Dressyrmupparna, I showed my readers the new tack and today’s outfit. Omg. Although I only went to two competitions and it was definitely not something for me. I first disqualified in the easiest class in the country (and I was the only one riding that class), and the second time I got the last place. Haha! After an unfortunate experience with a violent trainer, I took distance from all unethical training methods and learned a lot about how dressage is supposed to build the horse up. I was aiming for classical dressage with a big focus on biomechanics, correct movement and a healthy, strong horse. Even tho I do dressage bridleless now, my number one priority is still listed above.

But all my photoshoots included matching bandages and saddle pads, bling browbands and polo shirts, hahha! I was the worst shopaholic! GOSH, this is so weird to look back at. Later, I step by step moved to a more tackless apporach. I can’t remember the last time I used a regular saddle pad and all my colorful ANKY pads is sold.

matching-dressagehv-polo dressage-horsedressage-friesiandressage-matildefriesian-dressage

I traveled across the country for a clinic with Grand Prix dressage rider Marc-Peter Spahn

In 2013, I sent Batman across the country, to Stavanger in the western part of Norway, 554 km away, with a horse trailer, to attend to a clinic with the famous dressage rider Marc-Peter Spahn! I headed to the airport while he was on the road, and I stayed in Stavanger for a week. I lived in a small cabin during the stay, and it was the first time in my life I traveled alone, haha. It was a success for us both and we learned a lot!

matildebrandt-stavanger1 matildebrandt-stavangerpeter-spahn

I trained Batman for a western competition

I actually did! I liked western a lot and trained to get Batman ready for a western pleasure class (easy level). We never got to the point of actually attending to any shows unfortunately, but I had a blast. We also tried barrel racing and a simple reining pattern. This is the reason why Batman knows neck reining very well and is easily ridden without rein contact.


I trained Batman to drive all by myself

In 2011 (I was 17), I started the process of teaching Batman how to pull a cart. I had never driven a horse before, Batman had not been trained to drive, and it was a long process. I spent a long time on all the important steps of preparation, and did a lot of long reining with him. Later I taught him to pull a tire, and then water cans for the horses. I was patient and careful and everything went very well! We did not have any problems along the way, and the first time I put him in front of a cart, I had professional help by an experienced trainer. Except from that, I was on my own. It was a super fun project and Batman is excellent in front of the cart. Nobody believed we would ever make it but we proved them wrong! Best feeling ever. In 2014 we even attended to a driving competition and Batman behaved so well!

friesian-driving-harness teaching-horse-to-drive-cartbatman-cartfriesian-cartfriesian-drivingfriesian-driving-cart

I learned most about horses in a field in Sweden

From 2006, I spent many of my holidays in Sweden, at my godmother’s farm. The best place in the world. I watched Nevzorov’s videos, learned about bitless riding, horsemanship, body language, keeping horses barefoot, I rode long hacks in the forest bareback and spent hours and hours in the horse’s huge pasture, just observing them, being with them, playing with them. Once in a while I climbed up on one of the horses and held on for my dear life when the herd cantered around, playing. I was simply close to the horses.

Here, I realized that I had not learned anything from the riding school at all. It is not reins, legs and aids that matters! It is being WITH horses! It did definitely change my way of thinking forever. I remember the first meeting with the Haflinger who lived there, I could not have been older than 9, and he was young too. I walked towards him in the paddock and I have never respected anything living that much in my entire life. I asked him if it was okay for him to have me there as it should be the most natural thing in the world. I’m still holding on to that question. It is not our right to be around, and absolutely not on horses.

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I have way too many saddles!

At the moment I have one dressage saddle, a Fryso Legacy, one western saddle, unknown brand, one Wintec jumping saddle, one Marjoman baroque saddle, a complete harness and one Christ bareback pad for Batman. And I can’t even remember how many times I struggled with deciding what tack to use when! NEVER have this many saddles!

western-saddlemarjoman riano matilde brandt saddle1anky-pad

I celebrate Batman’s birthday with cake and balloons every year

And I have been doing it since 2009! I love this tradition. We gather human friends and horse friend and celebrate with colorful balloons, presents, lots of apples and carrots, and of course chocolate cake. I have photos from every single birthday and it is so nice to look back at them!

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Did you find something you did not know from before?
Life With A Friesian Dream

Black Friesian Friday

In collaboration with Hardy Etc

Batman and I headed out in the November sun yesterday, sporting my new clothes from Hardy Etc!

It was the first time I rode Batman in a while, but he has been looking very good the past 1,5 weeks. Today I saddled up for a short walk with him, and it turned out to be a day full of surprises …

After walking a little, we went out to the field. I asked him to trot, the plan was to just trot a few meters and see how he felt, and then he suddenly, out of the blue, went over in canter! And not flat, boring canter! POWER-canter! I was sure I had my last canter on Batman in February, but he chose to give me the feeling of flying again today. I was first shocked, Batman is not supposed to canter with me on, but he did get four steps before I managed to react and stop. I was literally in shock, smiling from ear to ear, I felt free again. Free from this rollercoaster-year, just back where I belong. I know he is running with his herd every single day and chose to think it went fine with his legs with me on, and will never ever forget the amazing feeling of flying 2 meters above the ground with my pegasus. Thank you Lisa, for capturing everything!

My jacket, top and breeches are from and right now you will get 25% off their entire web store by using the code BLACK25 at checkout. I instantly fell in love with the jacket, it is super comfy and kept me warm in the cold November temperature. The top is made of breathable fabric, offering cool-dry, moisture control and ultra-breathable function. I can definitely recommend it for people who are looking for something practical to wear while riding! They do of course have international shipping.



Happy Black Friesian Friday, go crazy today!

Peace, love and Friesian hugs,
Batman & Matilde

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Life With A Friesian Dream

Interview with!

A week ago, I had the honor to be interviewed by, the largest portal for horse lovers in Norway. It was a dream coming true to be featured on their front page with Batman by my side! I think I have visited almost every single day the past ten years.

In the interview I talk about role models, how I succeeded with Batman by ignoring advice from others, why I started riding and why I think the dressage sport is the most fascinating dicipline.

Read the full interview with me here! (Norwegian)