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.
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.
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.
The issue when media have bought into a stallion show is that they won’t tell the truth about what really happened, so that they can stay friends with everyone.
Ever since Saturday I’ve been reading several news posts about the KWPN life of Valegro show, not one being really honest about what went down. Luckily for me, I have not paid anyone or am paid by anyone, so I can write whatever I want (such a rebellion).
Before you read further, please don’t get me wrong, seeing Valegro dance trough the arena was an amazing view, but I felt I had to walk ten miles to get there.
As I wrote yesterday, the Life of Valegro show was a part of the KWPN stallion show. The first part after the auction was a u25 Grand Prix dressage freestyle to music, thereafter the actual Valegro show would start. Unfortunately due to the auction running late the freestyle started two hours late. two hours. I mean, how do you manage to mess up the planning that badly? Even Justin Bieber aint that late.
However moving on, the Grand Prix was ridden by 4 dutch riders : Denise Nekeman, Anne Meulendijks, Jill Huijbregts and Maxime van der Vlist. I don’t know if it was because they had been warming up for too long, but in my opinion none of them truly blew my mind nor the others sitting around me. Anne and Jill definitely rode the most friendly and harmonious. Anne unfortunately got disqualified, but as I sat on the other side of the arena when it happened I don’t know why and Jill’s horse was extremely spooky due to the huge arena with a lot of noise. She explained later in her own vlog that she saw this as a training and then I totally see why she rode the way she did. It was nice to see how she continuously tried to make the happening a nice one for her horse. Denise rode her horse so tense that when she asked the horse to release the neck, it couldn’t….
After the Freestyle a 18 year old dutch dressage rider did a freestyle to music. Didn’t really see the added value of this, but it was ok to watch. After her it was finally time for the actual Valegro show to begin. It started off with 15 min of Safri Duo music before a man dressed in white started telling the story of Valegro. From when he was born until today. It quickly became quite apparent that the show was written by a non-horse-person. Certain parts where so slow and dull that people around me continuously picked up their phone to surf instead. We – for example – got treated to look at a picture of the stallion Negro for 10 min or a random school stable showing of their horses for 15 minutes. After x amount of dancers, singers and even drummers people were becoming so impatient that you could feel the frustration of the people. They didnt came for a Circus de soleil show, they came for Valegro and for about 1.5 hour he was nowhere to be found.
Because the show dragged out so extremely, people started to shout, boo-ing, and a big amount of people even started leaving. Some had to leave as it was becoming so late that those who came with public transportation had to catch the last bus while others got to annoyed by the show. When the last performer came and started singing opera you could hear the whole arena sigh and not one person clapped when it was done. Besides seeing the foals run and the showcase of different Negro offsprings, there weren’t much to scream hurray about.
But then finally, after what felt like two hours waiting at the doctors office he finally came. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro rode a freestyle to music which really showed off his spectacular movements. I must say that seeing him on tv doesn’t compare at all to how it is seeing him in real life. However, as Carl Hester enters the arena he says “We were meant to give a masterclass, but because the show is so late we had to cancel it”. Most people’s mouth fell open. There we had sat, looking at dancers and whatnot instead of a masterclass by Carl Hester – Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. As they stood on the center line, the arena slowly became empty behind them.
Most of the media have written about how amazing Valegro was. And yes, he truly was amazing. However, they’ve forgotten to mention how poorly put together the show was. Some of the music was stolen directly from youtube. Which in my opinion is extremely unprofessional. I truly felt Valegro deserved more. The evening ended for me seeing Valegro walk out the door with a very agitated Allan Davis by his side, probably thinking the horse had been warmed up for too long.
I know I’ll probably be called a whiner for putting up this post, but the media is not portraying the full truth about this show. There were times I could only laugh at what was happening while people around me were getting angrier and angrier. Maybe its because I’ve been to so many shows that I expect more then the regular person. I just think that when you plan a show like this for months, being on time and use of proper music is the least you can do for the people. People don’t want 5 min of Valegro in a 1.5 hour show. They want more.
What do you do when all your girlfriend’s are to busy living life and you got no one to go to the stallion show with? You bring your boyfriend.
So last Saturday we went to the winter version of the KWPN stallion show. For those that have never been, it’s the show where they select the stallions they want to take on in their stud program from the 3 year old KWPN stallions. It goes on from Thursday till Saturday with stallion approval, clinics, auctions, shows and so forth. Its held at a huge conference center called Brabanthallen in the south of the Netherlands.
As the stallion approval took up most of the day and we mainly wanted to go for the Valegro goodbye show, we decided to go a bit later in the day. As we were walking in, they were selecting the last stallions to move on to the next round of the approval for the studbook. I had never been to such a show and was surprised at how close you got to the stallions. I truly wish I could take one with me home, but yeah, what would I do with a 3 year old not broken in stallion?
Joop TC – (Ravel x Krack C)
Jureno – Negro x Johnson (top mover of that specific round), He was so calm while waiting.
After checking out the stallions for a while, it felt a bit repetitive as there were so many of them that we decided to check out the rest of the area. There were loads of shops, but as I didn’t really need anything and none of the brands I like had a stand I ended up not buying anything.
By accident wondering around we ended up at the stalling area for all the stallions and were able to take a closer look at many of them, like for example the more well known ones like Jetlag, Journalist and Jerez(which got sold for 160.000 euro later in the day). I stupidly happy said to my boyfriend that they were all only 168cm tall, so that they would also fit me. Later realising that they are all 3 years old and will grow a lot still. haha. Someone need to come up with a growth serum for human beings so that I can get taller.
Standing in one corner was a stallion called Jack Sparrow BF which I completely fell in love with. He had such gentle eyes and wanted to cuddle the minute I stepped close to his box. When he came for sale in the auction I almost lifted my hand to bid, but at the end he ended up going for 30 000 euro, which I unfortunately do not have on my bank account.
Jack Sparrow BF – (Millenium x Faustinus)
After wondering around we went back to the large arena to check out the auction. Most of the horses that doesn’t get approved for the studbook ended up at that auction. I thought that most of them would go for a lot of money, but some even went for as “little” as 15.000 euro. Which in my eyes is little considering the top dog got sold for 160.000 euro. It was really interesting to see how people were bidding more based on blood then actual movements. Fun fact is that Valegro went to the same show when he was young, but didn’t get approved. However instead of placing him in the auction, the breeder Van Olst sold him to Carl Hester for 6000 euro. In other words its possible for us all to end up with an olympic wonder if we’re lucky.
Jerez – (Vivaldi x Ferro)
The rest of the day was spent at the Valegro goodbye show, but as this post is getting to long I will write a post about that tomorrow. I must say I found it really interesting to check out all the different stallions. Truly enjoyed seeing so many beautiful creatures and I think even the boyfriend found it interesting. I realised how much I still have to learn about bloodlines and so forth though, time for someone to sit down and study again.
Van Olst, which is one of the top breeders in the Netherlands are continuously looking for people to work at their breeding stable. So if you either like to ride young horses or being a groom, you should check out some of their job openings here.
Anyone else than me addicted to the tv series The O.A? I started watching it last night and completely lost track of time.
Boy did I feel that this morning when not one bone of me wanted to get out of bed. The serie is really good so far though, so for those liking a bit weird sci-fi stuff it’s a good one.
Another one who was having a hard day today was Mr.Grumpy. He was so incredible stiff that for the first 30 min that I was on him I was contemplating calling on my instructor to help me out.
But then I figured out I had to do it myself if I wanted to call myself a proper horse owner. So on we went with loads of transitions, excellerations and sideways movements and little by little he got better. It took me about an hour to get him relaxed, but at least we got there. You know, that turtle that won the race? Haha . In the end we got to practice the left canter transition as well. I am practicing to get him into the canter wherever I want. Three corners went alright, but the last one I probably had to do ten times before he did it, but at least we got there. Afterwards we spent a long time to slow down to avoid his muscles turning sour.
After the session he got some snacks with vitamins to help with his muscles plus he stayed under his therapy rug for a while. Considering trying out the solarium/sunbed tomorrow to see if it will help him a little.
I am happy that I decided to go on by myself. It feels good knowing that I can now get him relaxed on my own, which wouldn’t be possible a half a year ago. My own riding today was both good and bad. My hands are slowly moving towards where they should be without to much movement, but I still give to much aids which I need to work on. Luckily tomorrow is another day and another day to practice to getting better.
Boyfriend is gone for the next two days because of a radio show, so this lady is going to enjoy a Melanzane I just made and some Netflix series.
Today me and this handsome fella above have been to a dressage competition. My instructor Kim went for her first competition after giving birth to her candy as I like to call her child (Snoepje). Together with Ivonne, we had a really nice day filled with laughter and Kim did great for her first time back competing since ten months time.
The competition was around 20-30 min from our stable, so not too far away, and it wasn’t so busy which was nice as well. However walking away from the competition I had a bitter taste in my mouth.
Growing up I played handball. Handball it’s pretty easy, you score the most goals, you win. You got no one else to blame, but yourself if you don’t score goals. However in dressage it all falls in the hand of the judges. I know they should be, but do they really manage to stay objective? Do they remember that they should look at how handy a rider is and how well he or she does the movements and not at how spectacular the horse is? Will you get more points if you got longer legs cause that looks “prettier” or when you got an expensive attire?
I have my doubts..
What I find good horse riding can be completely different to what another person finds good horse riding. I want to see a relaxed combination that flows together where you see both enjoy what their doing in harmony. Not a horse forced into a specific position with a rider riding with a harsh hand.
Watching the combinations warm up today I noticed a girl that was riding a really nice horse, but she rode the horse in a way that I would almost call animal abuse. Her aids were all over the place and as the horse didn’t understand what she asked the reins became shorter and shorter until the horse had its head on its chest. She moved the horse around the arena in a way that made me want to gag.
The fact that the horse didn’t buck her off, showed how much shit he actually put up with. At one point I stood with another groom that I had never spoken to before and this rider comes in front of us and clearly makes a point of that she could steer the horse in extremely small circles. The other groom looked at me and we both start laughing at how redicolous it looked. But then she goes in and got second place, because today, tight riding on”spectacular” moving horses was what the judge found good riding.
But what can we do about it? Not much. As long as there isn’t a general guideline to what good (animal friendly)riding is, there is going to be loads of different opinions and scores depending on the judge. I get that it is that way, but I must say, my “overly fair heart” bleeds just thinking about it.
A bit of a late one today, but I wanted to share this picture below that might also help you guys out how it helped me. Mostly how I do it when I want to learn new movements is that I check out other riders(people I know do them well) and YouTube videos that include explanation. However sometimes it’s a bit hard to see how the back of the horse should really be positioned, which I think this picture shows very well.
Unfortunately I only have it in Dutch, but think it’s pretty self explanatory.
Today’s lesson started a bit slow, think Mr.Grumpy was a bit stiff and had a bit of pain in his back as his movements weren’t like they were last week. However after a proper warmup he felt better and we did some pretty decent travers. Luckily for me he is pretty good at them so I can learn from him. My own riding was so so today, I was quite tired which translated into flying arms and legs again. Gotta find a way to keep those hands still. If you got tips, feel free to holla.
Today I got to play around with my new camera at the dressage competition at the stable. For a while I’ve been wanting a proper camera to be able to take nicer photos at for example competition or life in general. As I’m the kind of person who has to research everything I buy before I buy it and the selection of cameras out there is so incredible huge it took ages for me to decide which one I wanted. I wanted it to be small and handy, but to be able to take photos with good quality. In the end I ended up with a Nikon 1 J5, which is apparently one of the best ones when it comes to action photos. Below you can see some of the shoots I took. Bear in mind I need to figure out all the settings and such. They’ve also not been altered except for the watermark as I wanted to leave it up to each individual on the photo to be able to edit them themselves.
After taking a look at some of the combinations competing it was time for Mr.Grumpy to get moving as well. Unfortunately not in the dressage ring, but in the lunging circle. Not super exciting, but it was nice weather so it was nice to be outside. The farrier told me that his hooves are becoming better as well on Friday, so overall we are moving forward!