SGW Clusius 2017 – My first eventing experience


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Hope you’ve had a good weekend! As per usual nowadays mine been filled with all things horsy.

For the first time in my life I went to a eventing competition on Saturday. Manege Beukers and Clusius were organizing their yearly SGW which was also the qualifiers for the Dutch Eventing Championship. Lotte from my stable was going to compete, so I tagged a long to see how a day in a life of an eventer looks like.

I must say I’m so envious of the things she dares to do. She only 14, but the determination and winning mind that she has will take her far. She competed two horses yesterday, as one finished, it was straight onto the next one to compete that one. It does help a little that she’s not scared of a thing in the world. I often stand with my mouth open when she practices jumping 1.20m without hands back at the stable. Can’t wait to see how the National championship will go as she’s trough with one horse.

I was standing on the top of a hill taking the photo above and they told me the hill was used in the higher classes. pffft. If I were to try this I would probably close my eyes, pee my pants and squeal like a baby while Grumpy would take me around the course. For those that doesn’t know, Grumpy is an old eventing horse that used to compete internationally on 1star level. Knowing that the obstacles I saw yesterday were small compared to the ones he did I don’t understand how he did it.

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Eventing is so incredible cool! The atmosphere at the event was so different from the typical dressage competitions. People were really chilled, talked to each other and helped each other out if need to be. All the horses had their ears forward and seem to love life. Most of them were so used to tents, cars, people and so forth, so it was nice to be in an environment were everyone were just buzzing around. It was my first SGW competition, but definitely not my last.

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My top 10 annoyances with horse riding

You know, whether we like to admit it or not. We all got our annoyances when it comes to horse riding. Below you can find a list of mines. And before you go ahead and read about them, just remember to take them with a pinch of salt. Taste better that way. 

1. It’s a beautiful day outside. You decide to take your horse out for a little ride. Little did you know that protein was on the menu that day and you would end up eating about ten flies. Mmmm. Yummeh

2. Unlike us humans, horses can poop wherever they want to. Lucky them… for some horses they seem to truly enjoy this being in the cleaning area. This isn’t really an issue, the issue is their humans who just thinks that it’s a bouquet of flowers and leaves it there for the next person and horse that comes around. Thanks, really appreciate that.

3. You are about to mount your horse before the group lesson. As the good human being that you are, you use a step up(so that  the horse back stays good). However you’re horse thinks otherwise and starts moving. Then you hear this little squeaky voice behind you “oh what a naughty horse, isn’t he trained”. Thanks for your comment dude, exactly what I want to hear at that moment. Next time your horse is naughty it’s going on Facebook!

4. So you’re in the arena, doing your thing. Having that Anky moment. And this person, who thinks that no one else is there cuts straight in front of you. Anky moment gone.  Gosh, sometimes I really hope I never meet these people in traffic. I don’t wanna know how they are there. 

5. “Maria, move your right leg and left hand, and Grumpy will do this, this and this”. Right. Let me just spend another 1 minute to remember which side was left and which side was right and I’ll come back to you… #slowbrain 

6. Amma just leave my wip here for one second and once I come back Abrakadabra, it’s gone. In some people’s head they consider it “borrowing”. Sorry mac, let me give you a newsflash, if you “borrow” my wip and I don’t get it back. That’s stealing. 

7. “Oh, you were supposed to lunge in the paddock at 7?” “Sorry, I was just zipping my tea, chatting along and the time just flew away” no worries mcflurry, you just wasted my time that I unfortunately won’t get back because at 730 it’s someone else’s turn. “Oh come on, don’t be so strict on the time”. Lady, let’s do this discussion over again when your horse gets five min less every time because of me. Bet that pipe will have another tone. 

8. You’re ready to rock and roll and put your cap on. Little did you know that the hair monster was out to get you that day and that one stray of hair will almost make you wish your horse would buck so you would forget it. 

9. Tar. Probably if not the worst smelling thing in the world. Hence why I do not touch it. Call me primadonna, I don’t care. It’s either that or my whole stomach turning. But then, you got those people loving to tar the hoofs of their horses and in the meanwhile they tar everything around them as well. So there I am, walking around with no worry on my mind and I step right into it….. damn you human being!

10. It’s been beautiful weather all day. So you buckle up to lunge and then as you step into the paddock or wherever you do it, the floodgates open. It’s like heaven thinks you’re dirty and needs to get a wee bit cleaner.  Not only is lunging boring enough, but let’s get that shower in as well shall we. 


Hair Hair Hair and some eventing 


I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy over an animal shedding its coat, but Grumpy has finally started shedding. Now I only have to spend a month brushing him, but oh well, I’m still happy with the fact that he soon won’t be a bear anymore. 

Someone didn’t like me after I lunged him today. Haha 

Anyhow, over to something completely different. Eventing. I’m kinda trying to decide whether these people are just completely insane or just doesn’t have a mind at all. Somewhere in between there they must be. I was watching the cross part from Badminton this weekend and I must just say wow, big respect to the people daring to do that. I for one would pee my pants and faint if I tried. I might go to my first Dutch one to look on Saturday, depends how the weather goes, we shall see.


Just a little bit can’t hurt right? 


So today was the day to try out the new mouthguard on Grumpy, so that he can go on the land with the other horses. 

The reason why he has to use the mouthguard is because he has almost had laminitis(hoefbevangen) in the past and to avoid this coming back he can’t eat grass. 

A lot of people find this type of mouthguards really sad looking and not nessescary. I can’t tell how many times someone has told me “oh, but just a little bit of grass can’t hurt”. So to ensure I wasn’t being a overprotective nelly I had yet another talk with my farrier about it. 

He straight up told me that the best thing I could do for Grumpy, was to not let him out without the mask, cause the chance of him getting laminitis was way to big. He told that he faced huge issues with people standing at big stables being overhauled by people saying their opinion without really knowing and him ending up with yet another horse with laminitis. He said he would advice people not to let the horse grass and then they wouldn’t listen and afterwards come crying back to him. 

I often feel I overreact and become overprotective of Grumpy because other people say “pfft, it’s not that bad”(something I got to learn not to listen to). So today, getting the validation that I am not, that I am just looking out for the well-being of my horse feels good. Laminitis can be extremely painful and even deadly for horses. Advising someone that has almost had it to go out and grass isnt good. Unless you know the horse inside out or am a farrier, you shouldn’t give any advice. 

Luckily Grumpy didn’t react badly to the mask. He just had a bit of a walk around the field and quickly settled down to watch whatever was happening. Which again means that I next week can let him out for more hours. So overall win- win today!


PS of Sweden halters 


I’ve written about the product of PS of Sweden before, but then about the saddle pads. Yesterday I came across their leather halters which are stunning. I like that they try to think new and comfort for the horse. All of them are made in a way that releases pressure around the ears. 

I would love to own the first one, but at 148 euro it’s a bit expensive, the two last ones are around 100 euro. You can buy them on the site of Ps of Sweden


Lunge lesson 

Ola Ola,

A while ago I started using a lunge girth when lunging Grumpy, but I felt a bit insecure about using the ropes. So today I had a lesson with my trainer. 

Grumpy is a horse that loves walking on his forehand instead of using his back legs. Which in return isn’t good for his back at all and his backlegs kinda just dribbles along. Not the best look. So today my trainer showed me some techniques to get him more forward and on his backlegs. I have noticed that since I’ve started using the girth he has built a lot more backmuscles, which is really important for him. He still has a long way to go, but we have at least started moving. I need to work on becoming a bit more dominant which became very apparent as my trainer only had to say hoopla and he started cantering. So if anyone got “dominance” tips, feel free to share them. 

He was pretty sweaty after the lesson, so I let him chill out and roll around in the sand before he got a good brush. 

Girth, ropes and underlayer all from Harry’s Horses. 


Love is in the air 


Hope you’ve had a good Sunday. 

Mine was packed with nice stuff. First I went to the stable to let Grumpy out. He got to go outside with his friend FBI. He can be a bit “grumpy” towards horses he doesn’t like, but FBI is a part of his gang so they had a good little chat out there.

While he was outside I checked out a clinic given by one of the judges who often judge the competitions given at my stable. I must admit that I often don’t agree with her scores, but she gave a very good clinic. A lot of technical information I think a lot of the riders found useful.  

Thereafter I went to meet my new “aunt” kid. I’m the one in the group who will most likely never get children(own choice), but I get to be aunt for a cute little bunch so that’s nice. Feels good to give them back when they start screaming. Haha. 

Finishing this Sunday watching Designated survivor on Netflix. Only seen 3 episode, but it’s pretty good so far. Hope yours have been good as well! 


Grumpy being grumpy 


Gosh, I should have known that if you have a great ride the day after won’t be that amazing. Typical typical. 

Today we never found the flow in our riding. To be able to properly warm up Grumpy I need to ride him forward before I focus on the connection on the bit so that he start moving  his back legs, however as there was so many people in the lesson this was more or less impossible as I seemed to end up behind slow ones continously or someone would cut in front of me. For the most part I do enjoy group lessons, but today several could literally stuff it. Towards the end of the lesson we got somewhere, but it was a fight and a half and my riding was overall pretty useless.  

Afterwards Grumpy got a good shower as he was pretty dirty before I let him dry up. However Grumpy showed his Grumpy side when I tried to brush him and he started attacking  the horse in the box beside him. Generally not a problem, but he keeps forgetting im there. So I took him outside to brush him instead, but then he decided to just move around and be annoying.  As I was already in a pretty bad mood by then I figured I would just let him be and put him back after telling him off. Gotta work on that discipline next week. Some days it literally feels like he is going into his second childhood and just want to test all my buttons. But I guess you wouldn’t manage to distinguish a good day from a bad if they were all good, so it can only go better from here.

Tomorrow I am going to sleep till I wake up and slowly start my day before checking out a clinic at the stable. Luckily I don’t have to ride so me and Grumpy have a day apart. Distance makes the heart grow fonder right? Haha 



Happy Friday 

Ola Ola,

Happy Friday to you! 

Today me and Grumpy had such a good lesson. It feels like some of the pieces are finally falling in to place now. I still need to work on my connection with the bit and my  own legwork, but finally feel like we are moving forward. I’m also noticing that the physio work I had done on my back has helped me a lot, as I now sit better in the saddle. I just wonder why I spent 1 year considering going to the physio instead of just going, lesson learnt for next time. 

Grumpy is finally getting more buff again.

I was hoping Grumpy would have started to shed more hair by now, but he is letting me wait very patiently. I’m almost at a point where I am considering shaving him, but as I need to sedate him with a needle for that I’m a bit unsure if I bother to, knowing he should start to shed within a couple of weeks. Will just have to spend hours cleaning that sweat in the meanwhile. 

Tomorrow morning I have the last lesson of the week before I get to pick up the boyfriend at the airport again. It’s our last Saturday together before the crazy summer touring starts. Until end of September we have about 2-3 weekends together. Luckily I have Grumpy as a second boyfriend 😉 

Have a good weekend.


Kingsday dressage competition


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Kim Kranenburg – Tristan O

Happy Kingsday to all my Dutch readers!

For those who aren’t Dutch, this is the one day a year that the Dutch dress up in all orange, drink one too many beers and generally are happy go lucky people. I for one haven’t grown up with the tradition, so can’t really say it does much for me. haha

As I felt like I wanted a low-key kingsday this year I decided to go to the stable and watch the dressage competition going on there instead of being downtown with one too many people.

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Lotje Schoots

Normally when there is a competition at the stable, most of the competitors are horses that are also stabled there. However today there were mostly people coming from the outside, which meant there was a lot of new horses to look at. Like the one above here which is the professional international rider Lotje Schoots. She rode two really beautiful horses. I can sit and look at such movers forever. Seeing them dance down the centerline. Then I heard the price and my gut sank, why oh why does such creatures need to be so bloody expensive.

Whenever such a rider with such an horse visits the stable it makes it automatically hard for whoever rides after in the competition. Because you know its going to be hard to beat such a good mover. Today that task laid on my instructors shoulder, but instead of letting that get to her, she goes in there with a winning mind and puts down a test that almost made me go teary eyed. yeah yeah I said almost. But gosh I’m so proud! Most people would crumble and get stressed out cause know you need to compensate in other ways. So do that dab girl, you deserve it.

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Kim Kranenburg – Tristan O

After the competition I had Grumpy move on the line, which wasn’t very exciting, but had to be done. He has been a bit slow from behind the last few days, so I was hoping it would get better with some movement, which it luckily did. Gotta get that rump and feet moving tough, so will plan in a lesson next week to deal with it beside normal training.

Rest of the evening is going to be spent on the sofa editing some photos. Got to try out my new lens today which was a lot of fun. Can’s wait to try it out some more now. Got to practice.

Hope you are having a nice evening!


Ps. photos below have been resized, for original versions, please contact me.

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Michel van Loon – Four seasons 

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Laura Konijn – Karajan 

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