My man Loretto

Loretto was the first horse I bought for my own money. He was old and thin and a little awkward, but I spent all my money on him and before I knew it, he was mine. We were able to stay together for close to four years. He developed PPID (“Cushings” syndrome), and we managed to keep him healthy and fairly sound for a while. Sadly his eyesight became so poor in the end that we chose to let him go.

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I am not a person who is afraid of death. It is just as natural as the birth of something new, except you trade happiness and excitement for sorrow and grief. Being able to allow Loretto to pass on when he no longer could find joy in his everyday life was an honor. Being able to allow him to pass on before it was “too late”, was also an honor. He left us in November 2015, which seems like ‘yesterday’ to me.

It is always bittersweet to say goodbye, yet I know I’d much rather let them go a week “too early”, than realize I’ve waited for too long.

I was able to plan ahead for some time, and booked a session with Anette Augestad (hestefotograf.com). She is on the top 3 list of my favourite equine photographers and I was honored she could make room for us before his passing. It was late November, and if anyone was wondering; yes, the water was very cold. Loretto being as blind as he was, trusted me completely, and did not ask twice about standing beside me in the water. My dress flew in between his legs, I had my barefoot feet right next to his studded hooves, underneath several feet of freezing dark water, and I felt as safe as ever.

Thank you Anette.

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It might just be me, because I knew him so well, but in this picture you can see very clearly how blind he was. That head tilt and those ears gives it away to me.

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I don’t have red hair anymore and I kinda miss it, yet I don’t at all because blond goes so well with everything else! I barely used any red/orange/wine red/dark red/brown clothing because it didn’t match at all. Now I can use anything and still look tidy. Also my fringe is easier to keep; it doesn’t show as well when it decides to curl up and sideways, and that’s actually a bit nice.

Emma

2017 in pictures

I’m not going to write a whole lot, but I really love looking back at all the pictures I’ve taken through the years. Late December I always throw my favoutites in a blog post to re-share with the world, and here we are!

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Most of these pictures are either taken by me, or my mother, who kindly offers to photograph me and my horses from time to time.

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… and that’s all for today I think, lots and lots of pictures!

My camera is collecting dust at the moment, because I work ‘nine to five’ and there’s seriously no daylight to shoot in when I’m not working, and because with the holidays and such, I’ve been busy with panicing rather than doing something smart about my life. O-boy!

Emma

Stan the shire

What a good way to start the day! This morning, a kind follower alerted me that Lillen had been put up for sale… On the german Ebay site. I am of course not fond of people who tries to scam and fraud people, but I am not that kind of person who freaks out or gets sad when people do this. Let me all introduce you to Stan the shire!

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In this ad, you will be presented with four pictures of Lillen, picked from my Instagram Account.

As this wasn’t unoriginal enough, he is stated to be 10 years old and 189cm tall. Which is absolute true of course, seeing as they’ve picked the information straight from my account.

However, in order to disguise their fraud, they’ve renamed him. Because was they selling Lillen? Oh no. Their horse was a totally different one.

Named Stan.

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I don’t speak german, but Google Translate gently guided me through his ad. He is apparently a very kind horse, gentle in all imaginable situations. Also we apparently know this person, since the horse is advertised on our behalf. Now; which one of you crazy guys is behind this?? *glaring at my follower count, since it probably has to be one of you* (just joking here)

He is also valued at 9500€.

But is it Lillen?

Of no no; this is Stan.

I immediately reported the ad, not because I was offended, but because of the obvious reason that I don’t want people to be seriously interested in a horse that turns out to be pure scam. I always report ad’s where I suspect there is a fraud behind it. I only hope the scammer hasn’t found any victims yet.

This of course only goes to show how important it is to never buy a horse you have not seen in person. Also make sure that his identification papers are correct and matching the horse you are looking into, and do search the web for information about him. Google Searching the pictures in the ad will also give you an idea if the pictures in the ad is stolen. It’s not a guarantee, but it can help.

I tried to get in touch with the person responsible for the ad. I sent him/her a message (in English, not sure if the language barrier is there or not) “kindly” asking the ad to be deleted. I also told him/her to ‘please fuck off <3’, just to increase the potential of some drama. I have also requested the person to say something, and alerted him/her that this is going to be posted online for everyone to see.

The pictures is a bit blurry, but trust me; the details are not very important. It’s a very basic ad, except their lack of being able to state properly what kind of education he has, and other details you expect to find in an advert. Yet; nothing too alarming honestly.

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So far I haven’t gotten a response. Which makes me sad :c Was I too hash in the message I sent? Are they afraid to create drama?

The ad was taken down within 5 minutes after reporting it; I would suggest the person behind it deleted it him/herself after my lovely message, as Ebay themselves weren’t able to check out the ad themselves.

I hereby declare November the 18th the official Stan-the-Shire-day. It is celebrated by having a laugh at that time a person tried to sell Lillen’s identical twin named Stan.

If I do ever get a reply from them, I’ll let you all know ❤

Emma

Thursdays are for throwbacks

The age old TBT, often accompanied with a hashtag, is actually one of my favourite trends in the online community. I love looking back at old pictures, and I love sharing them with everyone! For this TBT I want to share some pictures from a shoot I had with Brego last autumn.

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The Norwegian equine blog platform hest.no is great at highlighting its best bloggers, and every month they crown a dedicated individual to be their “blogger of the month”. If you win, you are awarded with one of their famous woollen rugs, a rug most bloggers really really really want to be able to put on their horse.

They also have a “blogger of the year”-award, where they have several different sub-categories, in addition to the prestigious “THE blogger of the year”. In this competition, you can also win rugs, books (about horses, you can choose from a huge selection!) or clothing. And if you were nominated, but didn’t win, you get a little prize nevertheless, because you deserve a little something. hest.no is awesome like that.

Somehow I was awarded Blogger of the Month for August 2016. Or, the ‘somehow’ is thrown in there to show some modesty, if I’m allowed to be honest I put a lot of work into my blogs that August 😛 And sure enough; two weeks after I was crowned winner of the monthly competition, the famous rug turned up at my post office.

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And being an equine blogger, we of course had to do a Photoshoot with the rug.

Sadly, I am not very good at posing, so when I’m in front of the camera I rely on my horses to look pretty.

Sadly, Brego has no idea how to look pretty. So we ended up with a lot of goofy and straight down unsuccessful pictures where none of us look good, and we look random enough for none of it to be funny. Oh well.

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“NO apples before you look pretty, alright?”
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… the size of his head… 

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(Don’t worry, I did share with him)

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“See, Brego, THE CAMERA IS OVER THERE. Pose in that direction! Ears forward!”

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Also a typical Brego pose. What, why do I need to be in the picture?

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Also, I know the bit is too big, he had to borrow Lillen’s snaffle who had huge D-rings, in order for the bridle-thing to actually fit. This was around the time when Brego decided to out-grow my entire wardrobe of bridles, so I had to improvise, alright? 😀

Emma

The baby Brego

Many dream of buying a foal so they can “create” their own dream horse. One that’s well behaved and kind and who trust you 100%. One that might excel in whatever sport you’re doing (even if that sport is cutting your lawn), and who neighs at you when you say his name. A few of you guys have noticed that I got Brego when he was just a colt, and one asked me how it was to have a baby horse in the stable. Asking me a question that might take a long time to answer is dangerous, guys – but alright, lets go!

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Buying a little colt or filly can be great. They are curious (adorable!), they are totally dependent on you (aww!), they are in serious need of bonding and guidance (how cute!), and you can describe them as blank canvases ready to become the most exquisite artwork (perfect!).

But take a deep breath. You’ll need it.

Having a baby horse is adorable, yes. Having a baby horse will also test your knowledge about animal behaviour, your ability to guide and teach, your timing, your patience (oh gosh your patience is up for a 6+ year trial) and your ability to hang in there.

See; a baby horse doesn’t know shit.

Or, as a matter of fact, he knows shit. It is about all he knows. He knows how to put things in his mouth and make poop. He also know that eating poop from healthy horses might be good for him if his tummy feels weird. But can he be lead around in a halter? Nope. Can he walk inside the stable without freaking out because the ground looks different? Nope. Does he understand you better if you get frustrated? Also nope.

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See, when you’re tired and just want the dang (adult) horse to listen to you, you might just end the argument with a grunt, some angry body language, or a whip (single smack, only used by people with short temper who feel very ashamed afterwards). And here’s the thing; the adult horse usually get’s it. They have lived long enough to have an idea of what humans want and don’t want. They have us humans figured out pretty good,, as long as they’ve spent enough time with us. They know we can get fairly angry fairly quick.

The baby horse, however, doesn’t know this. The baby horse has no tools in his toolbox. He has no screwdriver for when his drill stops functioning. A smack doesn’t give him knowledge. He doesn’t know how to behave “better”. And if you put him in a situation without giving him the correct tools, he will have a meltdown. That meltdown might happen in the riding arena (safe place), or in the middle of a road (not a safe place). And that situation might be a situation you had not planned or prepared for, which still happened, because you know; the world does not adapt to your needs.

A human baby can be picked up from wherever the meltdown started and carried to safety, where they can finish the meltdown and restart their brain. The same does not apply for baby horses. They’re flight animals, who’s brain doesn’t restart. When they’re out of capacity, they’re out. Good luck dealing with that.

I still remember that time I took Brego out for one of his first strolls – along a quiet gravel road just to keep it calm and safe. Guess what we met? A fire truck! And all you riders out there know the deal about large trucks slowing down. You know, that hydraulic “PSSHHHTT”. Yeah. Yes, exactly. Me, and my little baby horse who had not seen anything else than a regular sized car in the distance, had been forced off the road and into a ditch when this unpleasant noise was thrown right at us. But we sorted it out, after Brego almost ran face first into the side of the truck because he was so blinded by fear.

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There’s also a lot of things you can do wrong. There are about 20 different ways to create a well behaved, kind individual, and about 6000 ways to create a four legged piece of terror.

He will learn everything you teach him.

Good or bad. Things you meant to teach him, and things you most definitively did NOT mean to teach him. Positive reinforcement is defined as positive by the horse, and if it makes him feel good, he will want to do more. When having a baby horse, you will experience this a lot. After all, this is what we should base our training “system” on.

I had worked very hard at teaching Brego that hacking = exploring and not parking head-first into a bush to eat leaves, when I ruined it all by laughing my ass off that one time he reared up to eat from a tree hanging over the road. Brego’s mind said “hey, this was fun!” and there you go. Now he rears up to eat leaves like a damn giraffe no matter who he has on his back, and what I thought was hilarious one time has turned into something that will scare little children away from ever getting up on a horse ever again. Way to go, Emma, your horse now scares baby humans. Great job.

DSC_0017Brego and his Mr. Pengwing (named after Benedict Cumberbatch inability to say ‘penguin’)

Watching him grow and develop is moving, and I feel like a proud parent whenever he calmly lets younger and inexperienced kids fix his hind hooves.

Because I still remember that god damn time he had a meltdown whilst I was trimming his hind hooves, and he sat down on me. And not just a slight lean, but with such force my only option was to counter his weight by picking up his entire hind and slam him into the closest wall, so he could support himself on it whilst I got away. Surely; he was only two and a half years old at the time and not the biggest horse, but I did lift his entire hind (bum and two legs included) up from the ground with my thighs, and moved him a few feet to the left in order for me to escape unharmed. He was just as surprised as me. Let’s just say he stood very still the next time I picked up that leg.

The thing about having a baby horse in the stable, is that you never know what he might do. I’ve taught him how to be lead in a halter, but do other people use the same body language as me? Have I been thorough enough in my teaching so he is equipped to understand more people than just me?

If something scary happens, is he as calm with another person as he is with me? Does he look at other people and think “this person knows what’s up! I’ll trust her!”, or is it just with me? Have I taught him to trust other people of all ages and levels of experience? How will he ‘test’ others?

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that your baby horse has to become a dream horse for other people too.

 

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Sure, I don’t get scared when he rears up to eat leaves. Will someone else get scared? Most definitively. Will they end up punishing him for rearing? Most definitively. Because scared humans do that.

And my biggest concern with Brego has not been how he would handle a rider once he got old enough for that, or what we would do if we met a truck on a narrow road. My biggest concern has been whether I’ve taught him humans good enough. I don’t punish my horses. Other people might. Have I taught him that ‘shit happens’ and that he shouldn’t take it personally? Have I taught him that different people behave differently? Have I prepared him for the outside world? If I died tomorrow, would he find ease in someone else’s hands?

After getting my own ‘blank canvas’-horse, I’ve been very aware of painting a picture that everyone can enjoy. I don’t want to be selfish. I want him to go out there and say “HELLO I’M BREGO AND I’M THE BEST AND I LOVE ALL HUMANS” instead of “hi I’ve lost my mommy and I don’t know what to do now”.

The secret is to give your baby horse a hell lot of self-esteem, and a massive interest in paying attention to what humans do. Boost their self-esteem without making them spoilt or blind. Once your baby horse thinks he’s the best, AND wants to play along to anything you do, you just have to go ahead as a good example and he follows as a great one.

It sounds easy, but it’s not.

Having a baby horse in the stable has been funny and nervewracking. But when I see my ‘baby’ walk around like the handsome young man he has become, boy has it been worth it!

(I know I sound a bit overly dramatic but it’s true!)

Emma