Brego’s new halter

Handmade… By me! Brego’s previous handmade leather halter (not made by me) got pretty ruined that one time he tried to eat it for lunch. He’s been using a rope halter since then, as his head is so large I cannot buy anything from the store, but a few weeks ago I got super mad at the rope halter, and made this one in three evenings.

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I still consider myself a noob at leatherwork, but I have realized I keep comparing myself to all these amazing artists that have a completely different style than I do. I absolutely love the look of the fantasy tack people make, and would want it for myself. But I think I am starting to realize that even though I love the look of it, I have to look at different styles of leather craft as I do with every other kind of art too.

I would love to own a realistic oil painting. I hate to paint realism. I would love to own some beautiful fantasty tack. But I think I won’t be making it, and I think I perhaps should stop comparing my stuff to others stuff, especially when they make completely different stuff than I do.

I am a person that beat myself down over these kinds of things, so I think it is important for me to put it out there. I struggle to be happy with things I make, and the biggest compliment I’ve managed to give myself is when I forget about the fact that I’ve made something. Because it means the quality and function of the piece of tack is so “normal” that it works just like everything else bought from a store. I think I have to get better at complimating myself.

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I’ve used this halter for a week or two now, and I think I like it. It surely fits Brego very well, and it looks very good on him. So Merry Christmas, little pony, your gift came early!

Emma

How to love a horse

How much do you love your horse? Unconditionally, obviously. But what do you do to show your horse you love him? What specific things will tell your horse about your undying devotion to his well-being? 

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Everyone will answer this question differently.

And after having a look at all 3 of our horses, I realized something.

I would answer this question differently based on which horse I were to talk about.

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I would never show Diego the same love I show Lillen. I would never show Lillen or Diego the same love I show Brego. Lillen’s way of showing – and receiving – love, is not the same as Diego’s or Brego’s.

And it occurred to me that these differences make up so much of their personality type. It also demands a lot from me as a person; I cannot push “my” love onto them all. I have to adjust to them, and show them the love they want me to share.

Lillen is in my mind a very hands-on horse. He wants pets, scratches, he wants to be stroked, touched; he wants to feel us being there. He enjoys a good hug. He likes to give kisses, he likes to touch us back – to feel us with his oversized upper lip, to run his whiskers along the different textures of our clothing.

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Diego enjoys all the same things as Lillen – but with him, I have felt that even though he enjoys it, it is not the love he wants, or need. Diego loves to look into our eyes. He will go out of his way to catch us in a corner of his box, only to lower his head, put his eyes a few centimeters away from ours… And look at us. And we will look back. God forbid we tried to say anything, or do anything but to look back.

Diego can stay like this for minutes. He will not be satisfied until we’ve dropped all of our “should be doing this” and “don’t have time for that”, and taken our time to look back at him. If you are of the spiritual type, you will read a lot into this. I take it for the thing it is. Diego wants to spend time with us. With us. Not with us as we do something else, he just simply receives love best when it’s just him, and his human.

And then there’s Brego.

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Brego has been one hell of a hard horse to figure out of. He wants none of that touchy-cuddly nonsense, and what on earth are we doing when we LOOK at him the same way we look at Diego? NOTHING. We are doing NOTHING, says Brego.

I’ve tried, and I’ve really tried to find a sweet spot. Find some place he enjoyed getting scratches, or hugs, or kisses, or simple strokes or pats. But Brego wants none of that, and if you try… Oh lord, he will make you hurt. Not because he attacks you, but he doesn’t want any of that romance thing you’ve got going on, it annoys him and he wants you gone. And he is not the best at communicating this, so I think by now he’s nearly broken my nose twice, and almost slammed my front teeth through my lip a couple of times. Because I have been so caught up in this web of “I have to show him my love”, that I haven’t even noticed how he doesn’t care for that.

I think Brego would be very happy with a sturdy smack on the neck once a week. That’s all the physical contact he needs. So how do I show Brego love?

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Look at that moody face! 

Lately I’ve shown Brego love by hacking him out. Just me and him, out discovering the forest. Long reins, going at a pace he enjoys, allowing him to stop and observe nature when there is something he wants to have a look at. Allowing him to take me with him, to go on an adventure together.

The feeling I get from him when I hack him out like that, is the same feel-good feeling of love Diego sends when we look deep into his eyes, or what Lillen sends when we play around with kisses and giggles. Love, in Brego’s mind, is a lot more practical than what both Lillen and Diego thinks. Brego sees our hacks as the prime time of his day, it’s our quality time together. He needs to do things, to send and receive love. He needs a job to do, he needs us to do that job together. He is a very communicative horse, but the “slow dance” of pets, kisses, hugs and looking into his soul, is nothing he finds interest in.

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You never see this happy-face this happy, unless he is doing something.

So, how do you love your horse?

Do you love him the way he wants to be loved? Or do you love him the way you want to?

Emma

 

New in; Scharf Freedom

Annonse/Product sponsored by Nygaard Nordic

By now, this girth is dirty, well used, and hanging permanently on Brego’s saddle. Why does it look so funny? What is it good for? What does the horses feel about the girth? Well, good thing you came here, because I’ve used this weird-looking thing for a while now, and I am more than ready to let you know what I think about it.

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I guess you, by the name of the product (“freedom”), can get a slight idea about what it is supposed to do. It is supposed to give your horse more freedom. Does it, though? Good question.

The girth is made up by four different parts, two to go on each side of the horse. The larger parts are connected by a sturdy, leather clad nylon strap, and each part can move independent from each other. The idea is that the middle section stays clear of the externum (boney part where the ribs connect), whilst resting calmly on the pectroalis muscle (which is a three-parted muscle, going from your horses man boobs, to in-between the front legs, and further back where the girth goes, picture here). The two side panels are designed to independently follow the intercostals muscles. Lot’s of fancy muscle words here, but if you know your equine anatomy, you’ll catch my drift.

Sounds good in theory though, but I had a few more practical worries from looking at it. It seems to have several weak spots – HOW weak are they? Will it act wobbly on the horse because of all the different sections and “joints”? What does my horse think about it, and is it worth its price?

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I have tried this girth on all my horses, and at least none of them are mad at it. Out of the three of them, I surprisingly realized that Brego is the one to enjoy it the most. I was a bit “yeah right, it’s just a coincidence” the first times I used it on him, but the more I have changed girth back and forth to check, the more I realize that his stride is A LOT bigger, and A LOT calmer, with the Freedom girth. A match made in heaven!

Lillen doesn’t care about what girth we use, which might be because it sits so far back anyways, that regular girths won’t disturb his movement in the first place. Diego recently had a bit of an injury to his pectoralis, and will get upset if anything rests too direct on it. Which I totally understand. Before the injury he had no problems with it, and even though I didn’t get around to use it properly, I did notice the same tendency in his strides as I have done to Bregos.

I have tugged, I have pulled, I have twisted and I have inspected, and what I believed to be weak spots seem to be sturdy as all hell. Weak spots? Nah. I do however inspect the girth on a regular basis, just to make sure – but come on. We all should do that on all of our equipment anyways. Scharf themselves have this to say about what I thought would be a weak spot:

“The Scharf Freedom girth is the only girth on the market with an integrual structure made of non-deformable synthetic fibre. This material works as an inner “body”, and practically impossible to break. The synthetic fibre can withstand 750kg of force, while the Showjumping, Eventing and Western versions of the girth can withstand up to 1500kg!”

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I am usually scolded for riding with my girths too loose, but the girth does come with a manual telling you how to tighten it properly, and I suggest you read it carefully. Is it wobbly? Not when tightened. When it’s properly strung up, it does feel like a “solid” piece of work, and it will gently move along with the horse. I was worried it might pinch his skin when he moved, but it won’t even pinch on Brego’s massive winter coat, so I think we’re good on that department too.

Is it worth the money? If you don’t own a 1200kg draft with a body not suited for saddle placement, or a horse with an injured pectoralis… Yes! Yes indeed! I am so happy I have this for Brego, and even though it does cost a lot of money, so does the other well-thought through anatomical girths on the market. I have nothing to negative to say about the quality of the leather, buckles or elastic, it sits very nicely, it seems to hold its promises and most importantly to me: Brego loves it.

Go Scharf! Well done for making an excellent product.

At the bottom of this post, I feel obligated to remind you that yes, this product was indeed sent to me for free to try out, but I am not getting paid to say anything positive about it. I wholeheartedly stand behind what is written in this post, and would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself.

Emma

Vikings!

Adventure avaits! For Narnia! And Aslan! And no we aren’t going to let those two hobbits behind, so we have to go and pick up those two too! Alright, let’s drop the fantasy and have a look at history. We Norwegians were pretty feared as the vikings we were, and to celebrate their culture, their handcraft and their legacy, we teamed up with Iver and Matilde to be vikings for a day.

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Borrekaupangen, a viking market hosted every second year. People travel from the entire country and from abroad to attend the marked with their handcrafts to sell, or to buy, or to just relax in the athmosphere. We went with our horses to ride through the narrow market in order to set the mood a little. Horses have always been important in our history, and bringing them to such an event made an impact on a lot of the attenders.

The horses did absolutely amazing, and didn’t even spook once. We encountered a lot of things we’ve never been forced to deal with before, yet the amounts of people was probably the biggest challenge (even though the horses were completely calm, so I guess it wasn’t that much of a challenge). Children of all ages, people who have never seen horses before, old people, wheelchairs and strollers – all cramming togheter in the marked to get a look at all the crafts presented. Brego even at one point had a toddler repeatedly slapping his eye, because the parents didn’t realize you need to guide a toddler to actually pet an animal. Brego handled it very well.

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Emma

In the sunset

As the temperatures in Norway have been absolutely burning the past two months, none of our horses have had a very active lifestyle. Training increases the risk of overheating, sadly, and even though they spend a lot of time in their cooler stable, it doesn’t help how many cold showers you give them. Hot is hot!

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So the solution has been to train more during the evening. Diego is no evening horse, and neither is Lillen, but Brego gets super excited when I bring out his tack! So I’ll take that as a hint!

Out of shape and out of balance, but we got some cute pictures in the sunset yesterday, so here you go.

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Emma

New in; Nature’s Botanical

Reklame/produkter sponset av Nature’s Botanical

All Natural fly repellent? That actually works? Sounds a little too good to be true. I’ve tried my fair share of fly repellents that haven’t done the job, all of them varying from super-not-natural to super-very-natural to home-made. I was thrilled when Nature’s Botanical offered to send me some of their products to try out, and oh boy!

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Most insect repellents in Norway are based on Permethrin or DEET. The Permethrin based ones have been working pretty well, but the chemical is heavily regulated and is a danger to water supplies (and not recommended for use on skin). Several of my friends horses have had some pretty bad allergic reactions to DEET, so I figured I wasn’t thrilled to try that out either.

When Nature’s Botanical say they are all natural, they mean all natural, and having their products based on Rosemary and Cedarwood oils gives of an incredible scent too! Not lemon-y, just fresh and a little rosemary-y? (Wow, Emma, I wonder why *hark* rosemary oil *hark*). I also think the fact that their natural ingredients aren’t any wonky natural ingredients, is a huge plus. Lot’s of things can be labelled natural, and still be rather dangerous.

I tried it out on myself first, and let me repeat myself; oh boy! When they said that the cream needed to be applied as if it was sunscreen, they weren’t messing around. Once my arms and neck was covered, the mosquitos got so offended they tried crawling into my nostril and into my ears! I was quite quick to cover up those areas too! x) Once I had mosquito-proofed myself, they didn’t even bother to think of me as a potential meal. For other bugs, you probably don’t have to be as thorough when applying. Or if you have more lazy mosquitos where you are from.

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After a quick patch test on Lillen, we hacked out into mosquito land (and horsefly land! ugh) the next day, and even though he was sweaty and quite the luxurious target for flying terror bugs, they kept their distance. They still came to check us out, but didn’t find anywhere good to settle down, so we had a fairly quiet and calm hack. Applying the cream thoroughly on more exposed areas (face, prive parts, chest area etc.), and the rest in a light mist of the spray, we were more than covered enough!

Although their products work as an insect repellent, the ingredients are also quite useful for a lot of other stuff. I’ve applied it to itchy mosquito bites and had quite the sudden relief, I’ve used it as a hand lotion after a long evening of leather crafting, and I even had one of those kinda ingrown (sorry, gross) pimples that made half my face a swollen and sore, and go figure, my skin calmed down a lot after applying the cream.

The lotion comes as a roll-on (50ml) and on a spray bottle (125ml, 500ml and a 5L refill), and even though the roll-on is made for humans, it makes applying it on a horse face a lot easier. The spray works like a “normal” bottle of bug repellant. They also have a cream version – I have my 100g down in the stable for pony faces (because my roll-on is never where I need it to be) and one 50g by my bed, because I cannot sleep when itchy and that cream is a life saver.

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Lillen is thankful for his new bug repellant, and is super happy to know it works! Why add lots of stuff to a repellent when there is a natural alternative out there – and that natural alternative is safe to use as well. He is however a bit insulted that he isn’t allowed to eat it, and that the one time he actually did manage to eat my hand with the cream on, it didn’t at all taste as good as he had hoped it would. Brego was offended I applied it to his face, but that is the norm with him, and after a headbutt (and a little pep talk about anger management) I think he too learned the lesson; the fresh smelling natural bug stuff is doing its job! Wohoo!

If you wish to learn more about Nature’s Botanical, you can check out their website at https://naturesbotanical.com/, where you also can ask whatever question you want, or order their products. They are Australia based, but ship worldwide without any fuzz. I got my parcel less than a week after they sent it, and I live on the other side of the world!

Nature’s Botanical were kind enough to send me their products for free, but that does in no way alter my view on their products. I decided to write this blog post out of my own will, and trust me when I say my 50g cream and the 50ml roll-on is going EVERYWHERE with me this summer! And for all of those out there who follow me on Instagram; pay attention to Monday. We have a little surprise for you! 😀

Emma

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New in; Scharf nr. 9

Reklame; helmet sponsored by Nygaard Nordic

I love blogging about new equipment, and I’ll make no exception for my new helmet either. I had tons of fun reading about your thoughts on helmets on Instagram, so I thought it was about time to share with you my new one! This little review is something I’ve taken a long time to write to make sure I have a proper feeling of the product.

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I love trying new brands and experimenting with new designs, but when it comes to helmets, I’ve been addicted to the simple velvet helmets. They look great on the dressage arena and I absolutely love the look and feel of them. But my god are they heavy! And my god do they lack proper ventilation for those summer sessions in the sun. They are the helmet equivallent to a couch potato.

And seeing as my couch potato velvet helmet “expired”, I had to look for a new one with the proper approvals for competition. You need the VG1 approval here in Norway, and my old one simply did not have that.

So I started searching around for a new helmet. Should I go with the same one I already had? Or should I try something new? And if I were to try something new, what on earth should I choose? (Fun fact; on Instagram, only 30% of you said you were comfortable with trying new brands of helmets!) There’s an entire jungle of helmets out there, and once you think you have control, a new brand pops up and catches your eye.

And that is kinda what happened with Scharf. I had seen them slowly pop up in stores here and there, and I liked the look of them. Especially those with a velvet look on the sides. It provided enough “dressage feel” for me, and the ventilation wasn’t shouting in your face. Also the top part came in a matte finish, which is great for those who want your pony to shine brighter than your head.

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My helmet is the Number 9 helmet in black, and the size S/M (you can also get XS/S [48-52, great children’s helmet!] and L/XL [57-62]). It can be adjusted from size 53 to 57. I feel like the helmet is a bit generous in size, so if you’re worried your head might be too big for Scharf’s size 57, don’t worry. I’ve used 58 (in more expensive brands) and 57 (cheaper brands) and have plenty of room in it. This also applies for the other people I know who owns the same helmet – they all agree it’s a bit generous 🙂

I can also add that it fits my egg-shaped oval head, which is yet another bonus. Most of the helmets I try on tip sideways and out of “position” when I move my head, which can be a serious problem if you’re thrown off your gentle steed and land on your head.

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The helmet feels great and have many neat details, especially the silver piping along the top which is also reflective. Love it! It’s very lightweight, and has so much ventilation I have yet to break a sweat when I ride with it. I was a bit worried that the brim on the helmet would be too small and look silly on my head, but it doesn’t! Props to having it made of leather, it looks cool and will bend away if you faceplant in the dirt. I think my neck would appreciate that, if I ever were to land face down from a fall.

The brand is on the more expensive side of the scale, but I feel that the quality matches the price, so if you do decide to buy one I’m sure you’ll be very happy with yours too.

It comes with a little bag to keep it in, and the packaging looks secure. I was a bit worried the post office would murder the package and damage what was inside, but the helmet is well protected in the box and if you do decide to order it online, it’ll arrive safely.

Now, for reading through all this text, I will award you with the virtual blogger cookie known as some extra pictures! If you have any questions about the brand or the helmet, please let me know!

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At the very end of this blog I want to reassure you that a sponsorship does not alter my opinions on the product I am given. I am picky, I do not sugarcoat things, and I’ve used this helmet for over a month before I sat down to write this blog. That ensures I am comfortable about recommending it to you all!

Also, sorry for having a slightly dusty (and/or snowy!) helmet on the pictures! That’s what you get when you freak out about the amount of daylight you (do not) have left and forget to wipe it off. I must say however, whenever I do bother to clean it, it looks brand new again.

Emma