Active Rest 

The horses usually rest on Mondays but I like taking them for walks so that they can stretch their legs.

Popgun and Shahina came along for a 20 minute walk with Adam and myself today while a million fluffy snowflakes made there way down to join their friends on the ground. 🦄❄️🌨☃  


Baby Arshaq came along for the next 20 minute walk and enjoyed stealing some treats while we were wandering around. 🐴❄️🌾☃

Adam got to lead Arshaq for a while and I took the chance to film them for a few moments. 
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Exciting rides and Ponyspa

Today Arshaq and Popgun both got out riding and I took the chance to try out a new bridle to see who it suits best. In my personal opinion I would say that yellow looks best on baby. 


Arshaq was not only looking cute today but also equally sweet to ride. We walked and trotted in all the figures I could think of and practiced stopping and moving sideways. 

Some kids were playing in the woods and two other horses were cantering on a field close by but he didn’t bounce around. Not once. 

I was pleased to see him behave as well as he did and I trusted him enough to ride with the reins attached to the sidepull and not the bit. 

A good deal of this security from Shahina being there to supervise. She was there bra she my Dad was helping me bring her for a walk after her ponyspa treatment from our equine physiotherapist Susanne Ernäs

Susanne was so nice to make time and come out today to help Shahina after a rather scary incident that happened yesterday. I will talk more in a later post about what happened but for now I can say that she is shaken up but is going to be alright. 

After bringing Arshaq and Shahina out to the pastures, I brought Popgun in and saddled up.  

Pretty Popgun and I then warmed up by walking actively for 20 minutes. First, we went around the big field twice (800 meters * 2 laps) and then walked around the summer pasture (300 meters). 

We trotted two laps in both directions and did some of our dressage homework before starting our planned canter training.

I kept Popgun collected in the corners in order to keep the canter smooth and organized and keept our speed equally calm on the long and straight bits. 

I would prefer finding a bigger track to canter train on but this worked fine for the slow pace we kept today. The ground was also soft in the grassy pasture and more suitable ground is impossible to find during this time of year. 

It was a fun and interesting ride and he felt relaxed yet eager in just the right porportions. 

While unsaddleing I noticed that he wasn’t at all swetty anywhere on his body. His muscles also felt great while I checked him over and massaged him, which makes me feel confident that we didn’t do too much for his level of training. 

Below is a summary of Popgun’s canter session. 

Our ride in detail:

  • Walking 20 minutes (300 meters + 800 meters * 2 = 1,9 km)  
  • Trotting 2 laps in both directions (300 meters * 2 laps = 600 meters) 
  • Cantering 5 laps anti-clockwise (300 meters * 5 laps = 1,5 km in 5 minutes) 
  • Trotting 1 lap clockwise (300 meters * 1 lap) 
  • Cantering 5 laps clockwise (300 meters * 5 laps = 1,5 km in 5 minutes) 
  • Trotting 1 lap anti-clockwise (300 meters * 1 lap) 
  • Cantering 5 laps anti-clockwise (300 meters * 5 laps = 1,5 km in 5 minutes) 
  • Trotting 1 lap clockwise (300 meters * 1 lap) 
  • Cantering 5 laps clockwise (300 meters * 5 laps = 5 minutes) 
  • Trotting 1 lap clockwise (300 meters * 1 lap) 
  • Walking 20 minutes (300 meters *3  + 800 meters = 1,7 km)  


Approximate time and distance in each Gate: 

Walking: 40 minutes of walking a total of 3,6 km (20 minutes * 2). 

Trotting: 8 minutes of trotting a total of 1,8 km (300 meters * 6) 

Cantering: 20 minute of cantering a total of 6 km (1,5 km * 4 laps) 

Total: 11,4 km in 68 minutes. 

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Dressage in the Dark

Tonight Maja came out to the stable to ride some unicorns. We were initially hoping to go trail riding and meet up with Maria and her horse in the woods. But the roads were so icey that we decided to do some dressage in the paddock instead were the ground was better. The roads looked so strange, almost like the inside of a freezer.

I rode a well behaved Popgun and practiced riding lots of figures and moving laterally. Maja rode Shahina and I tried to supply as many Princess charming tips as I could think of. We finished after a little more than an hour and I rode her for a little while during the last while. I had a good time riding her around a saddle but she was a little bit less interested in dressage than usual.


Shahina worse a hackamore as usual and Popgun wore a new sidepull bridle that I bought second hand this week for a great deal. I am so loving the yellow. 💛🦄

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Crashing

Last night Popgun went to our weekly jump training without Shahina there as moral support for the first time ever. 

I was a little worried about whether Mom, Adam and I would even be able to load him into the trailer or not but, luckily, that went smoother than expected. 

We used the step-up instead of the ramp as a little experiment (since that is what his old owner used) and that seemed to make a lot more sense to him. But since I want him to be able use both, we will need to train more with the ramp on days when we aren’t in a rush. 

He also traveled very calmly, despite being by himself in the trailer for the first time since he came to us.  

The training in it itself could have gone better but it could also have gone worse. Popgun is very excited to jump but since we are both very inexperienced when it comes to jumping it doesn’t always go as planned. We landed halfway over two jumps and had some miscommunications. 

I need to work on my seat and we both need to work on our timining but we stayed brave for each other even after the weird jumps so things kept going better and better. 

We are noticing a lot of improvement in amongst all the chaos so I think we stay motivated we will be able to do some pay and jumps in the spring. Or we could just go within the next few weeks and get a few giggles from the judges. I don’t know. We’ll see.  

For the moment I am just happy with us calmly getting there every week an soaking up all these new things we are learning there. Patience is key, after all. 
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Another Adventure

We are on our way to somewhere special again! It is just past 9.30 am on a Sunday morning and we are well on our way to an endurance training just outside Popgun‘s old hometown Flen. I am sure he will be happy to show Shahina around. Maybe if we are lucky his old owner Helene will get a chance to stop by. 💛

Both Shahina and Popgun are standing patiantly in the trailer and we are somewhere between Enköping and Strängnäs on our way from Uppsala to Flen. Since we’ve been driving for 1 hour already, we’ve now only got 1,5 hours left. 💙


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New paths

The ice is beginning to melt off the roads and the birds watched us as we rode by their bushes. Spring is on the way? 🎶🕊🌿🦄

Maja rode Shahina and I rode Popgun on our ride down past the lakes which lasted 2,5 hours. We mostly walked but trotted some to stay warm. ❄️🙏🏻


After about an hour, we passed by a stable where we stopped to talk to two girls. They were very friendly and told us about some nice riding trails nearby that I didn’t know of.

We heded up towards one of the new paths but decided to turn back after just a few steps. The first hill was steep and rocky and covered in ice so we tunred back. As soon as all the ice is gone I will go back. I love finding new places to ride.

As an endurance rider, it gets boring quite quickly if you don’t have more than one or two short paths to ride on.

What a dream it woud be to be able to find a long loop we could ride on instead of having to ride backwards and forwards.

Tomorrow Mom, Adam, Dad and I are getting up early to go to Flen and ride a training ride for the endurance trainer Ella Lindblom.

We are bringing Princeess Shahina and Prince Popgun so both Mom and I will be riding this time.

I am really looking forward to this!

Adventures in far-off places with my unicorns is my idea of a great Sunday!

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Talent over love? 

Maria rode Shahina and I rode Popgun this evening for about 1 hour.We trained dressage in the paddock and then cooled off by taking a walk outside around one of the fields. 🌾🐎✨🌙 

With Popgun I focused mainly on extending his strides while carefully trying different lateral movements. He was very well behaved and soft today, which made everything feel a lot more fun and easy. 

Afterwards, young Arshaq got fussed over a little more than usual, which he really loves. I feel very blessed to have such kind horses who really love cuddles. 🍼💕

I don’t think I could ever own a horse who I didn’t deeply love, no matter how talented the horse was. It is wonderful to win, sure, but I could never put that above a loving bond with my horse. I need to feel my heart melt every time I look in to their big brown eyes. This way I remain inspired and even the longest days feel worth while. 

But how could you not love these faces? 

As you can see, Arshaq got to act like a big boy today and wear a saddle while I finished up the rest of the stable chores. Pink isn’t exactly Arshaq‘s color so I can barely wait for the flashy new blue and gold saddle pads I have ordered from my dear Sponsor Exclusive Horsewear. They are going to look great on all of them! 

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Poopgun

Shahina and Adam joined Arshaq and myself for a refreshing 35 minute walk in the paddock today after finishing the chores. 

We changed directions often and I tried to keep Arshaq thinking as much as possible by mixing in some trot and asking him to stop and then back up. He tried to dance around the first time we started trotting and made a (not so graceful) bounce when one of the other horse cantered close by us (one time), but other than that he was very well behaved. 

Afterwards, Popgun and I followed mom and Nipeta for 11,15 km on the hilly road down past the lakes. We kept the tempo quite slow since it was a little icey in places so the ride time ended up being almost exactly 2 hours.

I had to dismount (and then get on again) 5 times during our ride, which took a good deal of extra time. (I got off twice to help adjust my mom’s stirrups, once to push Popgun‘s poop off the road, once to pick up mom’s glove and then finally at the end before going back into the stable to thaw out my toes..)

I would have had to jump off yet another time if Popgun, or Poopgun, hadn’t luckily managed to poop while I was still on the ground helping mom. 

For some reason I wasn’t properly dressed today so I almost froze into a popsicle, even after all my gymnastics while getting in and out of the saddle. But now, after some pony cuddles and a warm shower, I am able to properly move my toes and face again enough to feel happy after a long day. 🦄💛 

Jump training

We liked the jump training at Johannesberg’s Castle so much last week that we decided to go back again today with Popgun. We brought Shahina along as company again too. 

Popgun more than lived up to his name today and was almost as strong as a Shotgun instead of a toy gun. He practically dragged me around the course, which is not exactly ideal. At last he shows a lot of enthusiasms. So all I need to do now is install a set of breaks and we will be good to go. (Or not. Our technique needs a lot of work as well.)

The fact that Popgun had rested both yesterday and the day before probably didn’t make things easier either. Yesterday evening, my mom and I went to a an interesting presentation on equine respiratory conditions. The night before I needed to do school work and my mom went to a presentation held by Endurance rider Annelie Eriksson (which I was told was really great). Both days we only had time to do the chores and neither of us got out riding at all. 

But I am really hoping this jump training thing has turned into something we will do every week. Not only do we get to work on our jump moves, Popgun also gets some extra trailer training. 

The only problem for me is that my own confidence level can, at times, get properly pushed down. We are both so new to jumping after all so sometimes look, quite frankly, ridiculous. It takes quite a lot of rider meditation to tell yourself that it is alright to always be the one that the trainer needs to lower the jumps for. You’d think I’d get used to it but apparently not. I will be singing with joy on the day when we are on the same level as everyone else. 

I put together a little movie of both good parts and mistakes so try not to laugh too hard when you watch it. The music is fun too so make sure to turn it on by turning your phone off silent mode. 

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Overcoming Fear

Our dressage trainer Per came out today and trained Arshaq and myself.

We worked mainly on my own confidence as a rider since that needs a bit more improvement.

My main problem right now is that I need to stop letting my mind paint up a million scenarios which all end with Arshaq bolting home and falling on the ice.

The idea of any one of the horses getting hurt terrifies me more than anything. But Arshaq is the youngest and the one most likely to do silly things while riding, so naturally I worry most about him.

This fear of him falling on the ice has been stuck in the back of my mind for the past month and I feel like it makes me look tense and ride worse than I can. I really want to (and know that I need to) work on it and eventually get over it. But it doesn’t get better when the best place we have to train dressage right now happens to be in such an open and vulnerable place as the summer pasture. It felt so much easier in the paddock that isn’t right next to the other pastures (with horses in them that love to join in on our fun games).

I keep telling myself that I love the opertunity to practice these sorts of things. (But right then, as I sit in the saddle and wait for Popgun or Shahina to set off at a canter right next to us, I quite honestly do not.)

A trainer like Per being there to supervise makes all the difference to me. He tells me when to “be brave and do my job” and when to let myself feel proud and take a step back.

And thank goodness for Adam who joins us out in the freezing cold during every training, just to film and make me feel more safe and confident.

So today we took some steps back to work on my attitude. We walked around in big circles, changing directions and trying to keep Arshaq’s (and my) mind busy. It was cold and a little windy and I could feel that Arshaq was a little excited. We kept turning, stopping and walking while I tried to separate the safe reality from the endless number of “what ifs” that were starting to tunnel their way through my brain.

Once walking felt natural to me again, we started trotting for a little while and nothing dramatic happened. We then went back to a walk and tried working on some “baby leg yields” which went surprisingly well despite me still being quite distracted. Arshaq appreciated all the praise and I started to feel a little bit more confident.

We then tried trotting again in a big circle and I gradually felt like I could breath properly again and trust him enough to ask him to trot faster. All of a sudden I could laugh and smile again!

Since this felt like a big sucess and the perfect time to stop, we finished up and walked back to the stable while I still felt like we could conquer the world again.


After Arshaq’s dressage lesson, we brought in Popgun and Shahina and let Arshaq out in the pasture to play with Nipeta.

I then rode Popgun while Maja rode Shahina for 13 km in almost 2 hours. 🦄👑 We went on the road down past the lakes and took it quite easy due to all the ice.


The best part about riding on those roads is, without a doubt, all the climbing. It makes even the calmest rides feel like a good workout.
My Shahina loves cantering, especially up mountains, and was a little excited on the way back but otherwise it was quite a nice calm ride. Popgun was still quite poppy again today but was looking quite nice I thought while we were practicing our dressage homework out on our trailride.

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