Popgun and Shahina were amazing during the 40km qualifier ride yesterday. 

As you can see in the video, they were very happy to be out competing. 

Popgun was rather excited before the start and was neighing some when Shahina wasn’t right next to him. During the first trot up I felt like I was running next to a show horse but his puls was only 42 bpm so it wasn’t a big deal. 

We were running a little late so we started 7 minutes after everyone else. It was lucky that we had planned on starting after everyone else anyway order to get to an as calm of an experience at the start as possible.  

Shahina was a little bit too excited out on the track and loved all the hills that Bjursås had to offer. Poor mom didn’t exactly get to just sit and enjoy the scenery this time.

Popgun was very cheerful and had a real blast parading around with his mare up and down the snowy paths.

The track was all covered in a blanket of snow so most of the parts were excellent for riding except a few that had hidden rocks and uneven ground. 

It was quite tricky sometimes knowing what the ground looked like underneath the snow but we were intentionally riding so slowly that it didn’t cause much of a problem. But I kept an extra eye on the ground the entire time, looking were the people ahead had stumbled or slid. 
I got extremely cold while mom got too warm so we spent some time planning what we would like to change for the next loop.  

Popgun stuffed his face with sugarbeetwater mixed with müsli when we got to the vet gate after the first 20 km.  

During the 30 minute break that followed I was really cold from the first loop so I tried to keep warm by massaging ponies and putting on some more clothes. 

It was a few degrees under freezing so we made sure to put wintercovers on top of the ponies insidecovers too and tried to keep the wind from blowing up under their tails as we prepared for the next 20 km loop. 

Popgun and Shahina stayed happy and enthusiastic during the second loop and my Shahina was listening much better to mom. I was happy to see them getting along and things felt much more cheerful and relaxing. 

It was so beautiful watching the sun set from behind the snowcovered trees.

Mom’s stirrup needed adjusting at one point so I took the opertunity to take a few pictures of the sun while we were stopped. 

At times it felt like we were riding on a roller coaster as we rode up and down the many fun hills. 

Popgun really needed this race for his qualifications and it was very important to us that exactly nothing went wrong. For this reason we carefully planned out to ride as slowly and as carefully as we possibly could and kept track of everything with both of our GPSs. The maximum ride time was 5 hours so we also needed to make sure that we wouldn’t end up out riding longer than that. 

Just as long as we got passed we knew that we would be thrilled. Especially after the long day that came before.   

As the sun set it started feeling colder and colder so we started trotting more to keep us warm. 

It was amazing seeing our horses complete this ride with such great energy and happy attitude. Popgun really proved to me that he absolutely loves this sport and Shahina was practically singing to herself, she looked so happy as she floated forward on the trails.  

Popgun’s vetcard. 

Shahina’s vetcard. 

We didn’t rush and took our time to mess with covers so the times to get to the vets were unnecessarily long but I was so happy to see both the vet cards look so clean with all A and low pulses without any worry. 

The only thing I was remotely worried about was them getting to cold but I think we did a good job keeping them nice and toasty. 

I on the other hand was freezing cold after the competition and tucking the ponies in for the night. 

When we got back to the hotel after the competition I was still cold so we went down to the pool and sat in the hottube for 30 minutes. If you are jealous now you will probably hate me for telling you that mom an I  then went and got a 1 hours long massage. Talk about a different sort of competition experience from what we otherwise sometimes do. But we had decided to call it a vacation after all and both mom and I really appreciated it after a cold yet amazing day.  

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