The dark time of the year.

Now we are almost in the month of December.

The cold starts to set in and in some places it gets muddy, slippery and dirty.

It’s hard to keep your spirits up in these dark times, so that’s why Christmas was invented.

It’s fantastic to see all the Christmas trees in the gardens and lights in all the windows. It gives us a little coziness and anticipation.

While we had the farm in Sweden, we have for many years had a Christmas market and Lucia train. It also creates an expectation. It’s fun and you meet a lot of people.

Arranging a Lucia train does not require much, so anyone can arrange it. You just have to have the will and make up your mind. Then you have to contact a few people who want to join and most of them show up, if nothing else to watch.

It is about doing things in winter that bring expectations and joy. It doesn’t have to be perfect but can give reason to practice new things, for example riding in the dark.

Everything has to be practiced and you can get a lot of pleasure out of it later, because anyway, it’s easier to pull yourself together and get it done if you have a nice event to look forward to. You can also practice riding with one hand and train the horse to wear a riding blanket. If you have a purpose and a goal, training becomes fun.

I have also driven Lucia with my horses and then you can have a few in the carriage. It’s always fun to have the family with you and there can also be a little baskets with fluff buns and hot chocolate.

Being with other horses and people creates community and that is what we all need.

About leather

Today I thought I’d go over some facts about leather.
Several people have asked me how to know that it is quality or not.
It is not always so easy to see through if you have not worked with it, and even for an expert it can sometimes be difficult to determine straight away. There are so many synthetics out there today and very well made, so it can even be hard to tell if it is actually genuine leather or leather.
Why does it have to be real leather then, if synthetic is just as nice and good?
Genuine leather and leather is still much more durable than synthetic and leather and leather “breathes” so it is much more comfortable to wear whether it is bridle saddle or gloves. If you have, for example, a synthetic saddle, you should know that you can get very hot in the bottom if you ride a lot. The synthetic is synthetic and in my opinion you should not use it either for yourself or for your horse. Yes, but don’t you think about the poor animals that have to die, just because you want real skin and leather? No, the animals are slaughtered anyway because people want something to eat. I personally think it’s better to use the skins instead of going to waste.
How can you then determine whether it is quality or not?
A safe bet is to choose English or Swedish leather, you can never go wrong there.
What is it due to?
First of all, the animals were raised in a harsher climate, with a lot of rain and snow, and therefore from birth have a more durable solid skin to protect themselves. If you take, for example, a buffalo hide, which many believe is a sign of quality (advertised), it has lived a life in warmer climates and therefore has both thinner skin and porosity to be able to sweat and ventilate the body.
If you buy, for example, a bridle or a saddle from India, you can be sure that the leather is dry and it is simply not possible to lubricate it smoothly. It will crack and break in no time. It can be difficult to see the difference when you have so much you can paint on and make it look “real”, but if you are used to it, you will feel it right away. You should feel it. If it is flexible and smooth, it is almost certainly good quality.
You can also see and notice it in the price, because compare a saddle from India and from England, and the English one probably costs twice as much.
It is better to buy good used than new and cheap!
A lot can also depend on the tanning, and they are very good at that in Sweden and England.
So ask in your store what the country of origin is for the goods, then you have at least taken a step on the way.

Bridles and spurs.

Double bridles and spurs why that?
Recently read that the FEI had proposed that it should be made optional if you want spurs and double bridle in the higher classes in dressage!
I could only clap my little hands and think it was the best thing they had ever come up with, but the proposal didn’t go through!
Quote from Equestrian: In its work for the welfare of the horse, the International Equestrian Federation, FEI, has discussed removing the requirement for double bridle and spurs in international Grand Prix – there are suggestions that it should instead be optional if the rider wants to use it. In an open letter to the FEI, the International Dressage Riders’ Club and the International Dressage Trainers’ Club have opposed the proposal – they want to keep double bridles and spurs as mandatory.
I’ve always been against spurs and can’t see why you have to wear them and instead make “dummies” because you don’t want to ride with them. I also remember when I rode a lot of dressage and would prepare to ride with double bridles as I approached the classes where it was compulsory. My horse was used to double bridles but I thought it was terrible when I had to bridle him. The small mouth (had a thoroughbred at the time) and as much junk as it could fit in there. I was terrified to take the reins and only rode the bridong. Why have so many aids when it went just as well with a normal bite and without spurs?
However, I was pleased to see all the comments, in Ridsport, where everyone agreed with me on that point.
It is so nice to see that there is an awakening in the horse world, where you look out for the horse’s best interests and can move away from the old classic methods. We know better today and the internet does its part to ensure that you have a better grasp of what benefits the horse and what does not. We have changed our entire horse management, stable equipment, fodder, etc. Now is the time to deal with the torture aids used against the horse! This applies not only to the world of dressage but also show jumping etc.
What do you think?

What treats does the horse eat?

What treats does the horse eat?

When I was young, it looked a little different with treats for the horses.

Today, bags of horse treats are bought for expensive money.

My mother always put away the dry bread that was left over and was too dry for us to eat. So I got a bag of dry bread to take with me to the horses when I went around to visit them. It was both French bread and rye bread and sometimes it could be some old dry cake as well. The horses ate it with gusto and I never experienced that anyone was hurt by it (but of course you can’t know for sure) I even knew several people who had an agreement with the baker to collect the old bread and fed their horses with it .

However, it is not possible to know how horse treats stored in a plastic bag, made from a lot of sludge products, affect the horse’s intestinal system.

When the bread ran out, sugar cubes were stuffed, which was much appreciated by the horses. However, you shouldn’t take too many, because then you would be scolded, by mother, as sugar was expensive in those days. I often gave that to the horses throughout my youth, as horse treats in plastic bags had not been invented at the time. It was easy to keep in your pocket and I am someone who advocates rewards for the horse. Of course, there were also leftover carrots and apples and pears, when the time came when there was a lot of fruit on the edge of autumn.

Later I was told that you absolutely must not give the horse sugar and you should be very careful with fruit for them as well. Is it something that has been invented or are there really studies on this? I actually wonder if it is the people who invented horse treats in plastic bags who have come up with this to sell more?

Of course you shouldn’t give them quantities, but I have little faith that sugar is not dangerous if you get a little from time to time. Now you’re also not allowed to give bet fodder and many of my horses have eaten bet fodder throughout the ages and have been absolutely fine with it. Same as us humans. We ate sugar as kids but because it was expensive, we didn’t get much. Today you can buy candy for no money and the gods know what it contains

Today I live in Hungary and here there are a lot of fruit trees, naturally out in the pastures. My horses eat quinces, apples, pears, plums, peaches and apricots that fall down a little here and there, and they love it! When they eat the peaches, they actually spit out the core. I let them eat it, I don’t rush into the paddock and take away what is inappropriate, I guess the horse has instincts that tell it what it can and can’t eat, as long as it has a choice.

We also have a lot of walnuts and they don’t touch them.

What do you give your horse as treats?

Två sidor av en sak!

Ponnyn som var livsfarlig!

Under tiden jag var sadelmakare träffade jag väldigt många olika människor eftersom det var inte bara sadlar och seldon jag fixade utan även väskor gevärsremmar och ibland presenningar.

En dag kom en man till mig och skulle ha något jobb gjort och helt plötsligt frågade han om inte jag var intresserad av att köpa en ponny. Jag är ju alltid intresserad om där är en bra handel att se fram emot, så jag bad honom berätta om den. Det visade sig att jag faktiskt hade sett den, för den gick i en hage inte så långt ifrån mig och jag hade några gånger ridit förbi och sett den.

Det var en fantastisk vacker welshponny, mörk skimmel, så utseende var det inget fel på. Det var bara det att efter mannens beskrivning var den både elak och livsfarlig, så skulle jag köpa, fick jag själv hämta och själv lasta, han skulle inte i närheten av den igen!

Det visade sig att de hade köpt en oinriden 3 årig hingst till dottern. De hade dock fått den kastrerat trots allt. Vi kom överens om ett drägligt pris och jag frågade en kompis om hon ville följa med och hämta den, då jag var inställd på att det skulle bli en ordentlig kamp, efter vad mannen hade berättat. Jag hade tagit med diverse rep och andra verktyg till lastningen och vi skämtade om att jag kanske behövde ett svärd om det nu var en drake:)

Da vi kom stod hästen inne i en box och mannen talade ännu engång om för mig att det var på eget ansvar, men jag tyckte för det första att den var inte så stor och den såg faktiskt inte så fientlig ut. Jag tog dens grimma, gick in i boxen och la på den, satte dit grimskaft och ledde ponnyn direkt upp i släpet. Den inte så mycket som fnyste på vägen. Mannen tappade hakan och sa att jag nog hade haft tur och jag lovade jag skulle vara försiktig i framtiden.

Ponnyn var ur snäll, det enda den ”gjorde” var att den var väldigt pillig med mulen, men bet inte eller något. Vi fick den inriden och där var aldrig några problem med den, hur snäll som helst. När mannen skulle hämta sina grejer som jag hade reparerat, undrade han ju hur det hade gått och jag kunde ju bara vara ärlig och säga att jag inte ansåg ponnyn för att vara en problemhest, så vi gick ut och hälsade på honom i stallet. Mannen gick bort och skulle klappa honom på mulen och ponnyn pillade lite med mulen och mannen drog tillbaka sina fingrar snabbt och halv skrek: Ser du han bits?

Ja, så kan det gå, jag bara höll med honom och tänkte, att det var ju bra att ponnyn kom till mig och mannen var nöjd med att bli av med den, och jag undrar om inte ponnyn också var ganska nöjd med att byta ställe.

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Two sides of a case!

The pony that was dangerous!

During the time I was a saddle maker I met a lot of different people because it wasn’t just saddles and bridles that I fixed, but also bags, rifle straps and sometimes tarpaulins.

One day a man came to me to have some work done and all of a sudden he asked if I was interested in buying a pony. I’m always interested if there’s a good deal to look forward to, so I asked him to tell me about it.

It turned out that I had actually seen it, because it was walking in a paddock not too far from me and I had ridden by a few times and seen it. It was a stunningly beautiful welshpony, dark mold, so there was nothing wrong with the appearance. It was just that, according to the man’s description, it was both nasty and life-threatening, so if I were to buy it, I had to pick it up and load it myself, he wouldn’t go near it again!

It turned out that they had bought an unridden 3-year-old stallion for the daughter. However, they had had it neutered after all.

We agreed on a reasonable price and I asked a friend if she would come along and pick it up, as I was prepared to have a good fight, from what the man had told me. I had brought various ropes and other tools for loading and we joked that I might need a sword if it was a dragon:)

When we arrived the horse was in a box and the man once again told me that it was on its own liability, but I thought, for one thing, that it wasn’t that big and it actually didn’t look that hostile. I took its halter, went into the stall and put it on, put the halter shaft on it and led the pony straight up into the trailer.

It didn’t so much as snort on the road. The man dropped his chin and said I must have been lucky and I promised I would be careful in the future.

The pony was out of sorts, the only thing it “did” was that it was very playful with the mule, but didn’t bite or anything. We got it in and there were never any problems with it, no matter how what we did.

When the man went to pick up his stuff that I had repaired, he wondered how it had gone and I could only be honest and say that I didn’t consider the pony to be a problem horse, so we went out and greeted him in the stable. The man went over and was going to pat him on the mule and the pony fiddled a little with the mule and the man drew back his fingers quickly and half shouted: Do you see he bit me?

Yes, it can be, I just agreed with him and thought that it was good that the pony came to me and the man was happy to get rid of it, and I wonder if the pony wasn’t also quite happy to change places.

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Riding schools! What do you learn?

What don’t you learn at riding school?
It has been many years since I started my career as a horse girl at a small riding school in Denmark. It is actually 55 years ago. Many of the memories are still strong and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago.
It was of course completely different then, but many things are still the same. The horses are doing much better today, as they usually come out daily. The horses used to be in the stall and they had to obey, otherwise they would be spanked.
One thing we didn’t learn was how to get along with the horse. When we were supposed to have a riding lesson, the horse was saddled and ready and it was far too big a risk to let us little ones go into the horses’ stall. Not all horses were kind, not so strange, so we didn’t get to do that horse-care thing. When you got a little older, you could be lucky enough to become someone’s attendant, but you hardly knew how to do it.
I got my knowledge of horses elsewhere. My parents bought a summer cottage in Blekinge and with a whole long summer every year, with nothing to do, I roamed around and found all the horses in the area and fed them sugar and bread. The old men who owned the horses and had them on the farm thought it was funny with my interest in horses and I learned a lot. There I gained insight into how they should be looked after, what they ate and how to take care of hooves and the like.
I don’t know how it is at riding schools today, but I have heard several people who have thought that there is far too little information about the horses beyond the riding. I have naturally noticed that there is a big difference in how you take on the responsibility of teaching the children everything around them.
I had an intern once who came from Kiruna, who was amazingly talented and hardworking. She told me that there was a long queue for the riding school and if you were to have riding lessons, it included work in the stable, otherwise you were simply not allowed to ride there. Very clever! Then you found out if the interest was big enough, for the horses, at the same time you got to learn all the important things.
What are your experiences? Do you learn things about riding at the riding school, or can they get better at such things?

Why can’t I just take a walk with my horse in the forest?

Why can’t I just take a walk with my horse in the forest?

A very common question that I often get and I can understand that it feels strange if we think human-think! We like to relax, look at the birds and the leaves in the forest and it has a calming effect on us. The horse thinks the opposite: Help, should I be here alone, where are my friends, here are lions and saber-toothed tigers!!!

As long as you are in the yard and there are other horses around and you are in the place that the horse is used to, it is not that difficult for him to relax and concentrate on riding. The horse is a flight animal and these instincts are more or less present in all horses.

Temperament also plays a role, just like with us. Some are calm and others more nervous. Then it also has to do with status in the herd. If you ride a “scout” that usually has the task of informing the herd that there is something dangerous out there, it can be an “exciting” experience to ride out alone with one.

How can I manage to get out for a walk in the forest without being afraid that the horse will come home alone?

You can never be completely sure. Riding is fun but also associated with risks. However, you can work towards a good collaboration with the horse, so the risk is reduced and you can have fun together. It requires a lot of work, especially if you have a horse with a lot of nerves and who has not undergone the right training together with the rider. It requires community, training from the ground, leadership, etc

If you have a horse that doesn’t find it fun to ride alone in the forest, the best thing is to have another horse with you, who is calm and used to it, but if you are a rider who just wants to ride in the forest, I can only recommend to buy a horse that is made for this. The right breed, temperament, etc.

If you have a horse that you have had for a long time and don’t want to get rid of, but which is a bit “difficult” to ride, you can expect that it will take a lot of work before everything falls into place.

If you have a situation like this and would like help, I offer a free call where we can find out what you should do to succeed.

Order it at anneaxell.com/appointment

Run a “Safety Briefing” on the horse before you start riding!

Run a “Safety Briefing” on the horse before you start riding!
Before starting an airplane, you go through all the safety tests, to make the travel as good and pleasant as possible. This is of course so that you don’t crash or that mechanical faults occur during the journey.
It is no different when riding, then you should always check the horse and the equipment before you get on the horse. Some do it per automatically while others “forget” it.
It is of course important to do so and even more important if you are a little scared to get on the horse.
Checking the equipment means checking whether the bridle fits correctly, if the bit is in the mouth correctly, if the horse behaves in any way differently than usual. Perhaps the horse is more reluctant to take the bite than usual, raises its head, or yawns several times when you have put the bridle on. Does it avoid the saddle, does the skin twitch when you saddle, does it sag in the back, or wag its tail?
Maybe it usually does things like this, but then you as a rider should also know what is normal for the horse and what is not normal. You have to feel if the horse seems irritated or unusually lethargic. If you pay attention and check all these things, if you grooming for a long time and spend a little longer with your horse before riding, you can avoid many misunderstandings. If you are in a hurry and just throw on the saddle and jump up, the horse can react immediately if there is something wrong and it can end in disaster.
As riders, we have to pay attention to the horse 100% as it is the one we have to cooperate with and depending on the status, you get better conditions for a good ride.

Imagine walking several miles with a stone in your shoe. Not particularly pleasant, and the horse must be allowed to protest if something is wrong. Try your hand if you are unsure where it is best for the horse to have the bit, etc. and check and feel how it reacts. It can’t talk but it can show if it is happy or not.
When we are stressed and don’t have time to get to know the horse, it is often when there are misunderstandings.

Focus on the horse is necessary and don’t be surprised if you forget these things, the horse might tell you about it in a way that might not be so popular!

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Why can it be difficult to lift the horse’s leg?

Before thinking about riding a horse, it can be good to get to know the horse and build trust.

Those of us who have had horses for many years know that it is important that the horse has learned to lift its feet, but how many actually know why? It’s not just to make it easier for the farrier to work on the hooves, but it’s actually also a matter of trust.

As you know, the horse is a flight animal and taking and lifting a foot cuts the horse off from running away, in case things get too dangerous. That the horse is at full tension when you have to lift the feet is not a good concept, as you can count on the foot to be put back down, whether we want it or not.

As humans, we can forget to measure forces with the horse. Even a small shetlandpony we have nothing to say about, if it is not willing to cooperate. Therefore, we have to teach the horse that we are not dangerous and that we do not want to eat it.It can be easier said than done in some cases, but it pays off in the long run to work with cooperation and security when we spend time with our animals.

Like so many other things, you should take it step by step and not rush. Start with the horse getting used to you touching its legs and you being around it. Do not tear the hooves up in the hoof beard or tap the leg. The easiest way is to press a little on the chestnut or just above the vertebra and praise the horse a lot if he only makes an effort to lift. We also want the horse to lift independently in the future and we also want it to be able to hold its hooves by itself, so you don’t have to stand with a 600kg horse in your hand when you have to scratch the hooves.

Some horses are sensitive on the legs and it is not so strange, because often the horses can bite each other’s legs in play or when it comes to fighting for the place in the herd. You have probably seen the colts bite each other’s front legs to bring the rival down to his knees. So it is not obvious for the horse to lift its legs when you ask it to. It requires long and patient training and lots of praise.

Always start stroking with the hand high up on the legs, even on a experiended horse. The horses also use their legs when they wave away flies, so if you tickle the horse’s legs without it paying attention to what it is, it can easily get a hoof in the air.

Train your horse for a long time before the farrier comes. It is not his duty to teach the horse and we should care about our farriers who do a hard job for us so that we can ride our horses!