Before I tackle your updates, I want to quickly answer a few things-
I have started this process by hiding him under a pile of blankets but you know... When someone is a model, he looks good no matter what he wears...
I couldn't have put it better myself.
These are the letters we use here in Finland.
OH. You know, when you said you wanted 'dressage letters like the ones in Finland,' I was expecting crazy letters, like Å, Ä, Ö, Š... maybe a marker with two ii's together....
Vesihiisi sihisi hississä.
THANK YOU for reminding me of this; I've been going insane trying to remember it. I'm going to write it down on the back of the print I bought in Finland right now so I don't forget it again.
Yes, I'm enjoying this winter which is doing its best to kill me (it looks like this outside and here is me trying to cope with it)
This made me laugh. Poor grandma Luna, slipping on the snow! I would have happily switched with you! Our summer was horrible and dry and dusty, none of those beautiful blue skies and happy flowers as in Europe. But I did, at least, get to have a few nice days which ended with- you guessed it- I made sure to drink extra, on your behalf.
Okay, onto the next thing:
Prepare yourself to way too many pics...
No. Such. Thing.
Okay, maybe there is such a thing. But there's no such thing as too many pictures of the glorious Ratsumäki, especially in the frosty winter time! I love the way you pair cold and warmth in your photo sets. AND I LOVE THE TABLE CLOTH IN THE ATTIC. The colours and the cute, quirky decor in that moody dark space; it's just perfect.
The photo of Kuiskeen Akseli and Vilja together is so peaceful to look at; something about it too makes me think of the body heat, the warmth, of a horse and how much it makes you want to snuggle up to them when it's cold.
After new year celebrations, when all the pancakes eaten and tropical drinks drunk during the night have been forgotten (now it's only hot cocoa for January, right?), it's the time to get back to the saddle!
No! No no no! Put mine in the freezer! Save me some!!
- oop, I've been distracted because I've read on and hello, it's my favourite, Mr. Metsälä. I'm kind of disappointed you didn't make a close up while he's wearing that hat, but then I wouldn't have gotten the full effect of those loud yellow accents on his boots. Juha, working it, as ever. Sorry to Viktor, Siru, Hestia and Mimoona, but he steals the show. Again. Every picture.
(.... Side note, though: Hestia is a really good-looking mare- I love her stocky conformation!)
Love the lighting in the indoor arena, in the photograph of Seela and Viktor. Queen of lighting, I tell you.
Not sure if that is actually helping if you ask me,
HAH! Sabu knows what's up. That is definitely not helping, Vilja. I like the way you dressed her- I've said it before: your sims are always looking stylish.
(... though... none are as stylish as Juha)
(sorry, other staff...)
Really cute to see Tuikku thriving with a junior rider. I'm probably going to pass down two of my older horses to young hands this year, too.
Now: Salla and Piki. What a lovely gift you've received! And they look perfect for each other, they both have this dark and elegant look about them. A perfect pairing. I'm definitely going to be keeping my eye out for these two. Also, I like the indigo sky you chose to photograph them against, it just works so well.
... I keep staring at their pictures. I'm quite taken with them. Promise me you'll publish more photos of these two!
Big hugs to you, my dear friend. I hope you are looking after yourself and that spring will come soon to Finland, so you aren't suffering any longer with trying to cope with the snow. Thank you for sharing your wonderful updates with us; what you've created is so distinct and it's a genuine pleasure to read your writing and view your art; each time I open your album I feel like I am taking a trip down the road to visit Ratsumaki for the afternoon (ooh! next time I catch up on your updates I will eat pancakes and listen to youtube videos of people speaking crazy Finnish, I think it will add to the experience... )
So I know I've been quiet and many people know why and I've been doing my best to keep show entries going for horses while I dont have a laptop and sadly Michael forgot his laptop charger at my house so now I definitely don't have a laptop lau
As many have seen I do have a leasing thread up and do have a lot of horses that still are looking to find a leaser.
please let me move in ❤
Your facilities are absolutely amazing! You make me want to finally build my own (yes my horses are still homeless..since 2016 i think 😂) but unfortunately it makes no sense with my game so we're all just gonna move in with you, okay? Great 🤗😅
England has a long tradition of the equestrian sport. It is a perfect place for top-class sportsmen and horses. No surprise then that this talented rider has found her home here. Janet Sevujar is a French-born British dressage rider. Together with Valegro, a Dutch warmblood stallion, she has trotted her way into the history books as the National Champion in individual competition and played their part in Team GB’s latest European Championship gold. As a reporter of Horse & Hound, I had a unique chance to spend a day with Janet and share my experience with the readers.
I have arrived at Harbledore Acres, a prestigious equestrian centre not far from Windsor. It offers a wide range of services for riders and horses of all levels and is the training facility for Janet and her pupils. Together with the photographer, we head to the VIP barn, where the most prestigious horses are boarded. We find Janet with Valegro — they are getting ready for the workout.
Horse & Hound: How did your story with Valegro begin?
Janet Sevujar: I bought him when he was four. I’ve never ridden a horse with a power like his. As a youngster, he had a massive canter beat which he literally couldn’t control. Four strides — and he has already made it to the other end of the arena. It took me a while to improve his canter. I still remember those judges saying that he won’t be successful with such paces.
H&H: How wrong they were!
JS: Yes, he is a local superstar now (smiles). But we still treat him like other horses. I mean, he is a stallion but has windows in the stall. He communicates with other horses and goes to the pasture with them. This way he doesn’t think of himself as somebody more managed than the rest. But having such a talented horse doesn’t mean that I don’t look through the sales threads. I’m always looking for a future star. I have high hopes for the horse called LMEC Lametta. She’s a lovely black mare by Dimanche du Tussock. She has great paces and a competitor attitude.
At the same time, as she talks to me, Janet keeps grooming and tacking the horse up.
H&H: Not every day you see a Grand Prix rider doing everything herself. What is it: the attempt to control everything or…?
JS: When I can, I prefer to spend as much time with my horses as possible. But this can be very difficult when you get torn apart teaching, your own workouts and administrative responsibilities (Janet is the Head dressage trainer and facility manager of Harbledore — Ed.). It all takes a lot of commitment and dedication. Of course, I have a team that I fully trust. It is crucial. I know that they will do everything exactly how I want.
In a few minutes, we are back outside walking towards the main dressage arena. The territory of Harbledore can be divided into two parts. The show area has bigger arenas surrounded by cafes and bleachers. The training area is hidden behind the buildings so that the sportsmen can peacefully work at competition days. As we reach our destination, Janet begins the warm-up.
JS: I work on different things with my horses depending on their age and level. A dressage rider should have the mentality of a kindergarten teacher: be patient and make the instructions easy to understand. Then the horse will work with its rider as one unit. Otherwise, they won’t stand a chance. You can always tell when a bond is strong. If there’s lack of harmony, the quality will be poor. Things go wrong when a rider and horse don’t work together.
Watching Janet and Valegro dance in the arena, one will never think that this rider has nearly lost everything.
JS: At the age of 20 I had a nasty fall. I had multiple complicated fractures of both arms. I couldn’t do anything myself for six months. The pain was unbearable. The doctors said that I would never ride again but I decided not to put up with it. I started riding in secret, overcoming pain and psychological barriers. Slowly I went from walking to cantering. The more I got into, the more hooked I became. My goal was not to get back into the saddle but to compete in Grand Prix. William Thompson, my trainer, has influenced me a lot. She built a new version of me and didn’t let to give up. He played a crucial role in having such a successful first season when I came back to shows. He taught me that life is about challenges. We don’t know what’s going to happen but we must pick ourselves up after every failure. If you follow your path, you’ll eventually get where you want to be.
The workout with Valegro is over, but it’s not the time to rest yet. Grabbing some take away from Harbledore Cafe, we join Janet’s pupils in the indoor arena.
H&H: If there was a motto for your teaching, what would it be?
JS: “Perfection is mandatory”. dressage is the most technical sport of the equestrian sports. It is a unique mixture of ballet, athletics and weightlifting. Yes, perfection is above all. Every rider, every judge is a perfectionist. I don’t think anyone has ridden a perfect test yet in dressage. There’s always room for improvement. Any rider, especially at the top level, should have this attitude. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there. The psychological side is very important too. A rider should remember that they perform in a partnership. There’s a horse to rely on. Support the spirit of your horse and he will fight for you.
H&H: But does this perfect test even exist?
JS: Certainly it does. We all have ridden it in our heard many times. Have we achieved it? No! (laughs) I want to be the best in what I do. The night before a competition, I visualise the test in my head when I go to sleep. And once I ride down the centre line, it’s just me and my horse. It becomes an instinct for me.
The sun is setting as we leave Harbledore Acres. We are so amazed at what it takes here every day to turn the horses and riders into elite, very specialised athletes. But it doesn’t matter how much effort you put unless you as a treat to be able to ride and enjoy what you do.
So much going on
Life never stands still and we're always one the move. Be it for a show or to pick up a new horse. This time however, it's both! I and the team traveled to compete in the Barcelona Grand Prix, with amazing results! One of the highlights for me were Claire with Cisco Benz. Their show carreer started roughly though they are finally getting a steady round with a third place as a result!
The new horse we've picked up afterwards, is this lovely stallion who we bought from @Callixta-Rosella! This gorgeous boy, called Honeybrook Stormageddon also joins our show jumping team!