Warning: Graphic content

So I just spoke to the vet and showed her a picture of the incisions and she said that everything looked fine! So I’m one happy girl right now. I will post a picture of the wounds below so please scroll past it if you don’t want to see it! 😊

Anyway, my plan was to take a walk with Vidar today but I realized that I’m out of treats/feed so I decided not to go. #firstworldpositivereinforcementproblems 

But… Whoa, wait a second! Did I just say that I won’t take a walk with my horse unless I have treats with me?! That is exactly what I said. Vidar is so used to getting treats when we are out walking that it would be unfair of me to not bring any. He usually does target training on scary objects (without me asking), I reward him with food when a scary vehicle has passed us etc. It’s not that I couldn’t take him on a walk without bribing him with treats, it’s about my way of training and what he’s used to. If you watched my livestream (on instagram) from a few days ago when I took a walk with Alvin you might have noticed that I don’t just walk from point A to point B.

I engage and encourage my horses to actively work and walk with me instead of just being dragged along in the lead rope. And since Vidar is so used to ”asking” for treats by showing desired behaviors it would be unfair of me to stop doing that. As he gets older the treats will be phased out to like 90% but as of now I want him to constantly work his brain and at the same time get really good at just taking a walk. Even when I’m driving Humle I still get out of the carriage to give him a treat from time to time, as a reward for doing something really good.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a bunch of BS to you, it’s hard to explain in another language than your native one. 😅 So instead I will focus solely on getting orders out to my customers today and take a walk as soon as I have gotten more treats. And again: keep scrolling if you don’t want to see a picture of Vidars incisions!


From the bottom of my heart

Thank you for reading my blog post about veganism that I wrote yesterday. The post actually got more clicks than I thought it would. Veganism is now a big part of me and who I am so of course I will write about it from time to time, or post a funny meme about it. But I promise that my blog will not be bombarded with vegan propaganda so don’t worry!

Anyway, since this blog is mostly about my horses maybe I should give you a quick update. Vidar is still healing after being gelded and I think the healing process is going a bit slow actually. But I hope it will heal soon or else I’ll just have to call the vet. My goals for this spring is to be able to ground drive him alone and feel safe and ‘in control’. In control for me does not mean that I want Vidar to obey my every word or that I want to be some sort of dictator. It simply means that I want to feel safe and I want Vidar to be calm and responsive. Some trainers are very anti-control but I don’t see a problem using the word or wanting to achieve it. But of course it depends on what the word means to you.

To me, you can be free and in control at the same time. You can let loose and still be in control. Being in control is a good thing and it does not necessarily mean that you are controlling your horse. It can simply mean that you are in control of your own emotions. Anyway, ground driving is a big goal that I would want to achieve and I won’t rush to get there. It will take the time it takes and we are not in a hurry. Besides the ground driving I want to go on longer walks again after our training break and maybe even take Humle with us if and when Vidar feels ready.

I don’t have any goals for Alvin and Humle, we’ll just do a little bit of everything. I have put their training on hold until our big move (which is quite far away in the future still) but the boys don’t seem to mind it at all. And as long as they are happy and healthy it can wait. Just being horses and doing what they please is like the ultimate dream life for a grass-loving pony.

Some people are like ”but why do you have them if you aren’t using them”? But they are entitled to their own lives and are not here to serve me in any way. And I believe that they are happy doing ‘nothing’ (besides the occasional walk or training session) and that is all that matters to me as long as they are healthy. 😊

By the way, Humle and Vidar are best friends nowadays! Sticking together almost like glue, haha. Look at their cute faces, it was almost impossible for me to leave them for the night.

A month that changed my life

Today is the last day of Veganuary. The month where I accepted a tough challenge of eating vegan for 31 days.

I was definitely prepared to have cravings, to have to skip a lot of my usual foods, to not be able to eat a lot of the tasty things out there and so on. But the thing is that it didn’t even take 3 days before I completely forgot that I was being part of this challenge. To be honest I’ve never even had a single craving during this month. I also never felt that I was missing out on things since I realized that there’s tasty cruelty free options to almost all of my usual foods! 

And despite the fact that I’ve been eating like a ”junk food vegan” I already feel huge changes in my body. I have much more energy, less joint pain, I’m no longer having a chronically stuffed nose, my eczema is gone and my husband has almost stopped snoring.

We didn’t even eat that much dairy and eggs before but apparently even small amounts can have a big impact on your body. But the coolest (and hardest) thing during this month has been waking up from the deep sleep that I’ve been in my whole life. Finally waking up and actually understanding the lies I’ve been told my whole life, is hard. Admitting that I’ve unwillingly contributed to mass murder and torture my whole life is hard. Seeing your friends and family still in their deep sleep is hard too. Otherwise caring and compassionate individuals who choose to still take part of the animal abuse is hard to accept. Not that I want to force anyone to change, I just wished for them to wake up like I did.

Another thing that is hard to understand is that vegans are considered extreme. 

– If you saw someone hurting a dog in the street, would you try to save it?

– If you saw someone trying to kill a pig in the street, would you try to save it?

– If a cow escaped from slaughter and came running along the street, would you help get it back to the slaughter house or would you want it to live?

– If I placed a soft baby chick in your hands, would you look at it as food?

– If you put a rabbit and an apple in a room with a baby, what would the baby do? Which would he play with and which would he try to eat?

– If I placed a strawberry in your hands, would you start salivating and thinking about eating it? What would happen if I placed it under your nose? Would it still smell delicious? If I cut it in half, would you still be hungry and want to eat it? Well, if you like strawberry I’m guessing that the answer is yes.

– But if I placed a piglet in your hands, would you start salivating and thinking about eating it? What would happen if I placed the piglet under your nose? Would it smell delicious, like food? If I cut the piglet in half and put one half of the piglet in your hands, would you like to eat it then? Even though you might like bacon I’m guessing that the answer is no.

The thing is that if we were meant to eat meat on a regular basis our bodies and our brains would be completely different. 

We would have sharp teeth and a jaw that couldn’t move sideways. We would have acidic saliva. We would have claws instead of finger nails. We would have shorter colons and strong hydrochloric acid. We would not be able to feel the emotion called ‘compassion’. Because which predator feels sorry for their victims? Which predators know about the harm they’re causing but does it anyway?

I don’t believe nature would ever give us the ability to feel for others if we were meant to kill them. And science says the same thing. But despite this, vegans are the extreme ones? Please think about that for a minute.

And about drinking milk. We are the only species on this planet who drinks breast milk as adults. And even more strange is the fact that we are drinking breast milk from a species completely different from us. Why not drink breast milk from the chimpanzees who share 99% of our DNA? But that would be disgusting, right? Drinking milk from a dog would be disgusting, right? Drinking milk from a cat would be disgusting, right? Drinking milk from a hippo would be disgusting, right? But when it comes from a goat or a cow it’s totally fine!

In Sweden we have a law that says that foals need to be with their mother for at least 6 months before you are allowed to sell them. And puppies need to be with their mothers for at least 8 weeks before you can separate them from their mothers. It’s to mimic how and when the weaning process would take place in the wild and to ensure the best start possible for the baby animals. But what about calves? It’s completely normal to remove them from their mothers right after birth so the mothers milk can be taken and sold to humans. It’s like the laws don’t apply on beings who can bring in money.

I could go on all day about this but I bet it won’t even matter how many facts or statements I can come up with. People are so far away in their deep sleep that they just can’t hear or see the thing standing right in front of them.

After this month, that has truly changed my life in so many ways, I will definitely stay vegan. I can never imagine myself going back to contributing to the mass slaughter and torture of innocent beings ever again. I love animals too much to value my taste buds over their lives. And the next time you come across a vegan, don’t mock them – feel jealous of them instead. 🌱

If you want to educate yourself please watch Food choices, 101 reasons to go vegan (YT), Forks over knives etc. They are not gruesome and very educational. If you feel really brave you can also watch Earthlings and see if you still won’t go vegan after that…

Are you having a dialogue or a monologue with your horse?

One of the things I get asked a lot is ”what is most important when you are working with horses?”. It’s a hard question to answer but I’ve really thought a lot about it lately. What is it, exactly, that I aim for and how do I get there?

If someone hands me the lead rope of a horse that I’ve never met before I usually feel very misplaced. I actually don’t enjoy handling other people’s horses in most cases. Why? For me it’s kind of the same as trying to communicate with a stranger who doesn’t speak my language. I can often make myself somewhat understood by exaggerating my body language and pointing to show them what I mean but I miss the ability to really talk and have a meaningful conversation.

So the number one goal with any horse that I meet, own or train is always to teach them my language. I want them not to guess but to understand what I’m saying. I want them to understand my ‘words’ so well that they can put them in a full sentence and make sense of it.

But that’s the easy part! Anyone can talk TO a horse, but listening is a lot harder. The reason listening is so much harder is because so many horses are quiet. There’s simply nothing to listen to. And we all know that communication takes place when two individuals are having a dialogue, right? So why is it that so many horse trainers claim to have such a good communication with their horse when the training is in fact nothing but a monologue?

It’s just the trainer’s voice echoing against the horse like a brick wall. What kind of communication is that?

When I’m working with my horses I always encourage them to use their own voices. To speak up. To make themselves heard. I try to engage them in a conversation. To have a dialogue. It’s important for me that they are confident enough to talk to me – always.

If there’s something that I’m asking that they would rather not do, if they have ideas they want to try, if they are too tired or if they need to eat or scratch their leg. No matter what it is I always try to be sensitive to their wants and needs. When us people decide that our goals, our accomplishments, our plans, our thoughts and our needs are more important than theirs – that’s when everything goes wrong.

That’s when our horses shut down and stop talking to us. That’s when we no longer hear a voice talking back at us when we try to listen. I always encourage my horses to speak freely and loudly. I wish that I was perfect and all they needed to do was to whisper, but sometimes they need to raise their voice for me to hear them. 

By punishing their ideas and ignoring their needs you are basically telling them to shut up over and over again. And believe me when I say that they will. How long would you try to communicate with someone who didn’t listen to you? How long would you try to speak to someone who were ignoring you and showed no regard for your feelings? I myself would give up pretty quickly.

So the next time you are watching someone doing amazing things with their horse, take a closer look. Is the trainer having a monologue or a dialogue? 

Bye stallion, hello gelding!

Yesterday was the day for Vidar to lose his jewels, or should I say manhood? 🙈

I was so worried before the procedure since Vidar would be under anesthesia instead of sedated and standing up like I’m used to. It went well though and I’m so relieved!

The first step was to shave him on the neck, which he didn’t like. He’s a gentle and well behaved horse so he didn’t make a lot of fuzz about it, but I wished that there was more time for me to make him calm about it instead of forcing it on him. I’ll work on that later!

After that he got a mild sedative to make him sleepy. Then the vet listened to Vidar’s heart and made sure he was healthy. Then he got the anesthetic and after a few minutes it was time to get him ‘on the ground’. That was the part that I was most nervous about but the vets did a great job and he went down smoothly on the side.

 Then they covered his head and pulled one of his back legs up in the air and started cleaning the area. 

After the procedure was done he got back up fairly quickly (but very unsteady on his feet) and was back to his old self in just a few minutes. Of course he was a bit groggy but I expected him to be more tired than he was.

He was been on stall rest with Humle as company since yesterday and today I started walking him. His temperature went up this afternoon and I was just ready to call the vet when it went back down to normal again. I hate it when my animals aren’t feeling well. By the way, look how comfy he was this morning. 😍👇🏻

So now I’m hoping that everything heals quickly! The vet was very happy about the fact that I gelded Vidar this early. The incisions were very small now but if I had waited until he got older it would have been a bigger procedure that would take a bigger toll on his body.

Right now, as I’m writing this I’m actually sitting in the stable with them. Listening to my favorite songs surrounded by my favorite horses. ❤  But now it’s time to sleep, good night!

Who am I?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I have decided to only write in english (except for a few posts here and there) since it takes too much time for me to post in both swedish and english like I used to do.

Hopefully my swedish readers will still follow my blog and of course it’s okay to post swedish comments, just like before. This blog is mainly for documenting my training with my foal (soon to be yearling) Vidar, but also for expressing my view on horses, horse training, dogs, cats and life in general. I will of course also write about Alvin and Humle, so don’t worry. 😉

My name is Paulina and I’m 24 years old. I can never remember my age though and always have to ask my husband about it. 😂 I’ve been around horses almost my whole life and after focusing only on dressage all that time, something suddenly changed. I gave up riding and decided to get a mini (Alvin) and he changed everything for me. Since I couldn’t ride him I explored the vast world of trick training, liberty dressage and all other aspects of being friends with a horse instead of making it do what I want. That was 7 years ago.

It has now been about 10 years since I rode regularly and the past few years I started feeling it again. The same feeling that I got when I quit riding. It was (once again) time to change. For the first time in all these years I finally felt worthy of riding again, like I had earned it. I wanted to take my years of learning how to cooperate, communicate and bond with horses up in the saddle. I wanted to ride again, but not to control, force or win ribbons. I wanted to ride WITH my horse.

And since I love to shape my horses after my own way of training it felt right to start from the very beginning instead of getting a horse that was already trained to perfection. I wanted a foal, a clean slate, to do everything myself. If I were to sit in the saddle again I wanted to have earned it. I wanted a horse who would be as new to riding as I am after all these years. So in the beginning of 2016 my journey of finding the perfect horse began. I will tell you more about how it went later on! ☺️

Some quick and random information about me. Things you really don’t need to know but also things I would really love to tell you.

  • I have two dogs, four cats and three horses.
  • I’m married to my first ever boyfriend that I met 9 years ago, we’ve been together since then and have now been married for 2 years.
  • I just went vegan after 1,5 years as a vegetarian. 
  • I have my own company and work from home. Best colleagues ever (PETS!!!)
  • I have a dream of becoming a writer.
  • I’m left handed, a gemini and INTP personality type.
  • Besides animals my hobbies include video games, movies, TV series… Anything calm and away from people!
  • I’m obsessed with potatoes in all forms (fries/mash/boiled/whatever)
  • I swear too much
  • I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, neither have I ever tried it. Not even once.
  • I have never tasted coffee
  • Cute animals literally (!) make me cry
  • I have ADHD. It makes me impulsive and I have a hard time concentrating for longer periods of time .
  • I cannot STAND loud noises. It makes my brain go crazy.
  • I have never spent a single night without our dogs.
  • I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome when I was younger.
  • I love to sing even though I suck at it.
  • Disney movies are amazing (not a fact abut me, just a statement, really)
  • I hate raw tomatoes and all types of mushrooms.
  • I have a scuba certification but no driver’s license.
  • I have three tiny scars on my face. Two from when I was attacked by a rooster and one from biting through my bottom lip.
  • I have a tattoo of a dolphin on my wrist in memory of my mother who died in a scuba diving accident (she was a diving instructor).
  • Before I dyed my hair red i had never even dared to get highlights. Most random thing ever.
  • I’m more of a cat person than a dog person, although I love them all.
  • I’m literally the most introverted person on this planet. I hate leaving the house, socializing, etc. I don’t answer my phone when it rings and I never open the door if it knocks.
  • The thing I hate most about myself is my bad memory. I ALWAYS forget where I put my things and I have the memory of a goldfish. Okay, a goldfish has probably better memory than me to be honest.

Lite och ofta gör en bra vana

Bloggen blir lite lidande nu inför jul när det mesta av mitt fokus hamnar på att få iväg alla beställningar. Den senaste månaden har mer än väl kompenserat för min lugna höst, jobbmässigt. Har ca 30+ beställningar som väntar nu så det är vad jag pysslar med om dagarna. ☺️

Vidar har fortsattningsvis kommit ut ungefär en gång i veckan dem senaste tiden. Jag är verkligen supernöjd med mitt upplägg av hans träning för allt det vi kämpade med i början har lagt grunden för det vi gör nu. De första veckorna tog jag ut Vidar varenda dag, utan undantag. Vissa dagar tog jag till och med ut honom två gånger! Den första veckan togs han bara ut från stallet och direkt in igen. Sen gick vi lite längre varje dag tills vi kunde gå 20 meter från stallet och sen hem igen. Bara på med grimma, ut ur stallet, gå några meter på vägen och sedan tillbaka i hagen. Varje dag.

Redan i början var han duktig men det är fortfarande enorm skillnad om jag jämför våra promenader då och nu. Då stannade han och bajsade bara vi kom ut på vägen (av nervositet), han reagerade på trafiken och jag märkte på honom att han tyckte att det var jobbigt att gå ifrån kompisarna. Han behövde stanna ofta och jag fick påminna honom om hur/var han skulle gå. Han var rädd för cyklister, högljudda bilar och det mesta som såg läskigt ut. Han bajsade ca 5-10 ggr per (superkort) promenad.

Idag är det som att ta ut en vuxen häst. Han står tålmodigt med boxdörren öppen och huvudet stilla så att jag kan få på grimman. Sedan följer han mig självsäkert ut på vägen, bort från flocken. Han reagerar inte på bilar, mopeder eller lastbilar. Han bajsar väldigt sällan och går större delen av tiden med huvudet lågt. Han vet precis var han ska gå vid min sida och jag har även börjat skicka fram honom framför mig lite då och då (som förberedelse inför tömkörning). 

Vi går på den stora 70-vägen hela vägen in till byn och traskar omkring vid tågstationen, ålderdomshemmet och mellan alla lägenheter helt utan problem. När vi sedan kommer hem väntar han utanför stallet medan jag öppnar boxdörren och väntar på tillåtelse att gå in. Väl inne vänder han sig om själv så att jag kan ta av grimman och håller huvudet lågt och stilla medan jag tar av den. Alla rätt i min bok! ✔️

Så länge det går såhär bra kommer jag fortsätta med dett konceptet. Längre promenader med längre mellanrum! Då kan vi upptäcka nya platser utan att påfresta hans unga kropp och han får gott om tid att smälta intrycken mellan varje gång. Till våren kommer jag börja sikta in mig lite mer på tömkörning om allt känns rätt, men behöver han fortsätta längre som vi gör nu så får vi givetvis fortsätta. Och skulle det vara så att jag märker nu att han halkar tillbaka en bit i träningen (helt normalt) börjar vi om lite med fler och kortare promenader för att friska upp minnet igen.

Jag tror att intensivträningen där i början har gett mig väldigt mycket gratis. Att börja i andra änden med en promenad per vecka och sedan utöka till fler ju duktigare hästen blir är nog vanligare. Folk tänker nog att de inte vill att det ska bli för mycket för den unga hästen. Men jag upplever det lite som att man får börja om varje gång hästen tas ut då, den där ”edgen” försvinner aldrig. Nej, in med rutinen i benmärgen! Lite och ofta är mottot för att skapa en bra vana, sen när det sitter så kan man göra det mer sällan och ändå få bra resultat!

Ps. Vi gick till byn igen tidigare i veckan för andra gången någonsin. Stjärnan Vidar mötte för första gången två högljudda långtradare och det är egentligen vad jag har förberett honom för hela tiden. När den första passerade blev han spänd men fick massvis av godis som belöning. När nästa kom några minuter senare var han verkligen 100% avslappnad. ”Titta, matte, godismaskinen kommer igen!”. 😂😍 Kan inte beskriva med ord hur stolt jag är över honom!