You have to fall off your horse 100 times before you are a good rider!

You have to fall off the horse 100 times before you are a good rider!

Have you ever heard the expression in the horse world: ‘You have to fall off the horse 100 times before you’re a good rider’? It was common in riding schools when I rode (at least in my time, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth :)), and I’ve always thought it was a poor consolation when you were lying on the ground, writhing in pain. I don’t know who came up with that rhyme, but to me, it sounds like something an old rodeo rider would say.

What can you really learn from falling off a horse, besides that it hurts? Well, you can learn falling technique (which maybe should be introduced in riding schools), but you don’t learn to ride by falling off. Instead, you can learn other things, like why the horse threw you off, or maybe that you should have dismounted before the horse started acting up. In my world, you learn much more when you’re in the saddle than when you have fallen off your horse.

Imagine if the same thing were said in driving school: ‘You have to crash 100 times before you learn to drive a car’?

Being scared and timid doesn’t belong in a stable; you have to show the horse who’s boss!! That’s also an expression you’ve heard a number of times…

What if instead, we listened to the horse, cooperated, and did everything at the right pace? Can’t you become a good rider that way too?

I think there are many clichés in the horse world that should be killed off, but they persist even though we know better. At my place, you don’t get any extra points for falling off. Instead, we focus on making sure the horse is comfortable with you being on its back and that you trust both yourself and the horse.

If you’ve fallen off one too many times or feel unsure about getting back on your horse, feel free to reach out to me. I have many good ways to work with the horse so that you don’t have to fall off again 🙂

Do you need insurance for your horse?

Insurance!

A few years ago, when I was involved in horse trading, a prospective buyer approached me with her husband, who happened to be a pet insurance salesman. We had a good conversation, and he naturally inquired about whether my horses were insured. I explained that I had so many horses that it was impossible, and despite the number, I had never had a reason to take any to the veterinary hospital. In fact, I had earned millions by not insuring them. He laughed and agreed, “You really have a point. You have no idea how much we make from pet owners. There’s no limit to what people are willing to insure their animals for, and most will never even use the insurance.”

I then shared that I had, in fact, insured a horse. It was a pony I had traded for, and it came fully insured. Many private owners prefer their horses insured, so I transferred the insurance to myself. It later turned out that the pony had joint inflammation and needed to go to the veterinary hospital. I thought, “What luck that it was insured,” but it cost me 2000 SEK to have the pony insured. The insurance only covered part of the vet costs, and the rest I had to cover myself.

I understand the concern about potential high costs, especially given today’s veterinary prices. The decision to insure a horse is personal, and I’ve personally saved a lot by not doing it. A piece of advice for those who want to save money but still feel nervous is to deposit the money they would have paid to the insurance company into a separate account. Make monthly transfers equivalent to the insurance cost, and you’ll have the money if needed. Many follow this advice and can practically buy a new horse every other year if they had full insurance.

Remember to be critical when taking out insurance. Read through all the exceptions to avoid surprises! Insurance companies are there to make money, so always negotiate to get something extra if you’re critical 🙂

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Hay- when it is best!

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with the farmers around our summer cottage in Blekinge. They were small, self-sufficient farmers with 3-5 cows, a couple of pigs, and a few horses used in both agriculture and forestry.

I loved helping out. For a city girl like me, being surrounded by animals and fresh air was pure joy. The farmers enjoyed having me around, as I willingly pitched in with tasks like mucking out stables, taking walks with the bored hunting dog, and joining in the haymaking – which felt like a celebration. The work was strenuous, but it also served as a testament to one’s prowess as a farmer.

The fields were harvested with horses and a mower. It wasn’t straightforward; it required a specific technique and the horse’s labor. After a few days of drying, the hay was turned, also with the help of horses. When the hay was almost dry, we made haystacks, hanging the hay by hand with a special technique. It was a bit clumsy for me at first, but I soon mastered the technique. Rain didn’t matter much when the hay hung on the haystack; it simply ran off.

Once the hay was completely dry, it was brought home with a wagon, horse-pulled. It was worth the effort when you got to ride in the hayloft. The scent was fantastic, and there was nothing more enjoyable than riding with the horse. One time, we got a flat tire on the way home! Since the load was high, and we sat at the top, we slid down with half the hay when the wagon tilted. It was just a matter of reloading when the wagon was fixed.

After the hay harvest, we went to the lake to bathe and wash off the dust and sweat. It sounds romantic, and it truly was. Despite the hard work, there was a certain self-satisfaction when the hay was finally home.

The loose hay was then piled up on the haystack and stayed there until it was needed. The scent was fantastic, allowing you to relive summer when feeding the horses in winter.

The fields were fertilized with cow dung and horse manure, burned together and spread with the horse.

The grass grew for many years, and it was rare to sow new seeds in these fields. Today, grass is almost sown every year – quick-growing grass that is even fertilized to grow faster. Plowing and spraying remove all native plants, including herbs and weeds that horses normally eat in the wild.

The hay is turned a few times with a tractor and never gets a chance to hang and dry properly before being pressed into bales. If you use tightly packed bales, the sides are also cut off, increasing the risk of mold during storage. Nowadays, larger bales are more common, preserving at least the straw.

Today, the goal is perfection, analyzing hay to determine its nutritional content. In the past, it was known that the hay was good when harvested in the traditional way.

Even though it’s nice to avoid working so hard with the hay, I think the charm of the hard work is something special. Especially when the wife or sister brought homemade treats and strawberry juice, I knew I was the child who had the most fantastic summer of all my classmates 🙂

Do you believe in miracles?

Do you believe in miracles?

I do! I’ve seen it with my own eyes and sometimes even helped them along the way 🙂 Because sometimes that’s what you need to do. Miracles happen suddenly and seem to have no reason, or is it really so? I believe that miracles occur when you truly wish for them, and when you have a strong desire, you tend to focus on what can contribute to realizing the miracle.

What do I mean by that? Well, consider this example: If you get sick, you start taking care of yourself, think about your health, maybe adjust your diet, change your job, or rest more. Then, as if by a miracle, you suddenly get better. It’s called a miracle, but it could simply be the result of the actions you’ve taken to change the situation. I believe that our thoughts influence the possibility of experiencing a miracle or not.

If a miracle were to happen to you, what would you wish for? Think carefully about your wishes and consider if you can contribute a little yourself to facilitate the miracle.

If your miracle involves you and your horse, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I can do my part to help you experience your miracle.

Do I really need to sell my horse?

Do I really need to sell my horse?

I’ve had the privilege of assisting many women in finding their way back into the saddle when life throws challenges their way. Sometimes, it’s truly in the eleventh hour:) It feels amazing to be able to set things right before they go awry.

Let me share Lena’s story with you. Lena booked a consultation with me but changed her mind at the last minute, stating it was too late. Her horse was already advertised, and potential buyers were in the picture. I suggested we could still discuss the situation, knowing how challenging it is not to succeed in what you deeply wish for. We had the conversation… Lena revealed that she had a previous horse where everything was fantastic, but it fell ill and had to be put down two years ago. She bought her current horse hoping it would be gentle and trouble-free. After two years, she still didn’t have complete trust, especially when riding out. The horse was nervous, wanted to turn back home, and it felt uncertain.

We discussed various strategies, and the day after, Lena decided not to sell her horse. Potential buyers had found another horse. Lena chose to work with me for three months to see how we could improve the situation.

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending. We quickly addressed Lena’s concerns and found ways for her and the horse to communicate and build trust. Now, Lena rides her horse and is grateful she didn’t sell it. The challenges aren’t over, but Lena has the tools to improve and build trust for the future.

I share this story because I know many ponder whether they have the right horse or if it’s possible to change both their own and the horse’s behavior. Selling and looking for a new horse isn’t always the best solution. There are always challenges, and one should consider what’s best for the horse.

Before you switch horses, consider whether the one you already have in the stable might be the best for you. I also recommend taking the time to work with your horse yourself. Sending it to someone else for training means losing your own valuable experience in different situations. It’s not difficult, but a little help in the beginning is good.

I hope this can help someone in a situation similar to Lena’s, someone who loves their horse but is unsure whether it’s right to keep it.

If you also have a problem with your horse, you are welcome to schedule a free call with me on www.anneaxell.com/appointment

Breed shows 50 years ago!


From my childhood and youth!

Do you remember the wonderful little breed shows we used to have? My childhood and youth summers were spent training horses for the show that took place at the end of the summer. I lived in Denmark, but my parents had bought a summer cottage in Blekinge, where I spent all my breaks. I was always with the farmers who had horses, especially with an old man who had a North Swedish workhorse. They had an association that owned stallions, and he was one of those who took care of one of the association’s stallions. I was allowed to care for and ride his horses, and it was a dream come true for a girl like me. It was a mutual service, as it was an advantage for the old man to have a girl who could and wanted to ride all the horses, whether they were ridden or not 🙂 He taught me everything about presenting horses, and later I was even allowed to show the stallions, which was an enormous privilege. I took the job very seriously; there wasn’t a foot that should be out of place when I showed.

In one picture, you see that I appeared in the newspaper after showing the stallion Kerrim so well that Gösta Bengtsson, who was one of the judges, thought I deserved a prize. It was a book he had written, “Handbok i ridning,” and he signed it for me! Talk about being proud!!! The book was handled as if it were gold, and I still have it 🙂 More people then wanted their horses shown, and I volunteered. There was never any talk of it being too much work. I worked hard and trained, and the results were fantastic. I had been given the task of showing a very beautiful black mare, and I polished her for several hours and had learned the little trick that you could use alcohol on a cloth and wipe the horse with it, making it shiny. The owner came and inspected the horse before it was shown and had a satisfied smile behind the beard and muttered that the flies were slipping on the horse.

At the show in Letesmåla, there were a few Shetlands, some Icelandics, a few Fjords, North Swedish and Ardennes. Then there were a few warmbloods, which were considered incredibly stylish! It was the dream to have one someday. The man who had warmbloods was also known to be a bit “fancier.” He had a large estate in Svängsta, and there was a very fine lineage in his horses. When he saw that the flies were slipping on my North Swedish, he came in and asked me if I could braid horses. If I could… I was like the best in the world at it 🙂 Then I was allowed to braid his mare, and when he saw how nice it turned out, he asked if I could take care of the foal too. I had to hurry so I could show the horses I was supposed to, but the foal got braided, and the mare got the top grade. The owner thought it was my merit because they looked so nice. Then you were about to burst with pride. It was a great honor to be appreciated and needed, and you needed no compensation for it 🙂

It was the big day in Letesmåla, and in the evening, there was a party, and everyone could celebrate a successful day. It was fun and a bit strange actually; I was there year after year, and never was the weather bad on the show day, the weather gods were simply with us every time 🙂

Are you a good stable mate?

Are you a good stable mate?

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room and turn to those who share a stable with others! Of course, you believe you are! It’s rarely intentional to be unkind to others, but sometimes it happens, even if unintended. I’ve seen many times on Facebook that people find it challenging to enjoy the stable environment due to the comments directed at them. Is it the stable mates being unkind, or are you perhaps sensitive?

Nothing can be more infuriating than when your child, dog, or horse is criticized, and naturally, you feel offended when you’re doing your best for everyone to be well. But then comes the big question… who is right? Who takes care of their horse optimally? Who says that what you’re doing is the only right way?

I often say that one should take a closer look at the horse’s needs. Perhaps it’s not the horse’s need to have the latest saddle pad or blanket. What I hear most about is feeding or the horse’s exercise/riding routine. It’s a topic that can be discussed for weeks! Who is right?

How do you eat at home? Are you following the right diet plan there? Who decides how the horse should be ridden and how much?

If we stick to the subject, maybe you think you know better than your stable mate (even if you’re a new horse owner and the person you criticize has had a horse for 20 years). Ask the person if they want to talk about it. They may not want to discuss it, or they may have found their way to socialize and care for the horse. Is the horse in distress? Is it being mistreated?

No one likes to be pushed, so ask first if you can help the person. Talk about their horse and gain insight into why they treat their horse this way. Be careful not to talk behind someone’s back and spread rumors; it could be you who suffers later.

For those who feel affected! Listen to what others say and try to sift through what is worth listening to. Take advice from others but be cautious and only take advice from those who truly have experience and know what should be done. Talk to each other and learn from each other; don’t make it so complicated!

Have you ever accidentally bought the wrong horse?

I believe we’ve all been there, to some extent, especially if we’ve had more than one horse. What is it that makes us fall for the horse that unintentionally comes home with us when we’re in search of one? Perhaps it had beautiful eyes, maybe it had a fantastic gait, or perhaps it was your trainer who liked the horse, not you?

I often say that you need to figure out at home what kind of horse you should primarily look for before heading out to find one! If you don’t, there’s a significant risk of coming home with something you hadn’t planned. I’ve heard people say more than once, “Well, I didn’t really want a young horse this time, but it just happened.” After a while, you might realize that you’ve taken on too much, and time and energy aren’t sufficient for a young horse. Then it’s a bit late because, of course, you like the horse (it’s very kind on the ground), and it’s challenging to sell. You don’t know where it will end up and how the next owner will treat it.

It could also be that you invest a lot of time in the horse, and yet it doesn’t quite trust you, leading to complications.

What do you do in such situations?

Many give up and look for a new horse that “fits” better, while others keep the horse for many years, feeling disappointed in themselves for not getting back into riding. Some persevere without really knowing how to fight, and it feels like they’re not getting anywhere.

What should you do?

Contact me and schedule a call! I can certainly help you. Even if you’ve decided to sell, there might be a solution. In the worst case, if I can’t help you, at least we’ve tried:)

I’ve helped many people return to riding, understand their horse, so they don’t have to make that tough decision they might regret for the rest of their lives. It’s not a pleasant life for the horse either if it has to move from place to place. It’s better if we can avoid that.

Take this call with me – it only costs your time, it’s free. Let’s talk about your situation. Sometimes a simple conversation can untangle a big knot, and if nothing else, you get to talk to someone about the problem, which can clarify its core.

Should you mount your horse directly when you fall off?

Getting Back on Your Horse Immediately: A Critical Discussion

A common phrase in the equestrian world is that when one falls off a horse, they should immediately get back on to overcome the fear and not be discouraged from riding. This idea is based on the notion that by regaining control, one conquers the danger. However, it’s crucial to reflect on this perspective and examine if it’s the most beneficial approach for riders.

With over 50 years of experience in the equestrian field, I believe it’s essential not just to remount and continue riding but to thoroughly investigate the reasons for the fall. Understanding the causes of the accident is necessary to prevent its recurrence and to create a safer environment for both the rider and the horse.

Allowing oneself a moment for contemplation is as vital a part of the healing process as getting back on the horse. It permits reflection on the incident, offering opportunities for learning and improvement. Through contemplation, we can learn to avoid similar situations in the future and foster a safer and more rewarding relationship between rider and horse.

Taking time for self-reflection doesn’t mean letting fear take the reins, but rather taking an active step towards understanding and improvement. Analyzing the incident helps in developing our knowledge and preventing similar situations in the future, enhancing safety and confidence for both rider and horse.

Getting back on the horse and continuing to ride is a part of the process, but understanding and learning from the incident is equally important. Knowing the reasons behind a fall is necessary to avoid repetition and improve the overall riding experience.

Should you stay on a horse when its afraid?

“Understanding When to Dismount During a Horse’s Spook”

Many equestrians face the dilemma of whether to stay mounted or dismount when their horse becomes frightened or spooks. It’s a situation where conflicting advice is often given, with some suggesting that remaining mounted shows leadership, while others believe that dismounting can be the wiser choice. Let’s delve into this and shed light on a perspective that prioritizes safety and the well-being of both rider and horse.

Firstly, it’s essential to clarify that a horse’s reaction to a scary situation is not a battle; it’s a response to fear. Horses, like humans, can get frightened or anxious, and their spooking is a natural instinct to perceived threats. So, when faced with a spook, it’s crucial to understand that the horse isn’t attempting to challenge the rider’s authority but is genuinely afraid.

The decision to stay mounted or dismount during a spook depends on various factors. Remaining on the horse while effectively calming it down can indeed exhibit strong leadership and confidence, which reassures the horse. However, here’s an alternative perspective:

If both the horse and rider are feeling overwhelmed by fear and are unable to manage the situation while mounted, dismounting might be a prudent decision. By doing so, the rider can step away from a potentially dangerous situation and take charge from a safer vantage point.

It’s important to note that stepping down isn’t about conceding to the horse or giving in to fear. Instead, it’s a strategic move to ensure safety and regain composure. Once on the ground, the rider can focus on calming the horse, regaining confidence, and then resume control with a clearer mindset.

Being a leader isn’t about bravely staying mounted despite overwhelming fear. True leadership involves making decisions that prioritize the safety and well-being of both horse and rider.

In the end, every situation is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. What’s crucial is recognizing the limits of one’s abilities in a tense moment and making decisions that prioritize safety and a positive outcome for both horse and rider.

Remember, it’s not about who “wins” or “loses” in this scenario, but about fostering a relationship of trust and understanding between the rider and the horse.

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