Training for endurande riding starts NOW! + video

I'm not a competitive person when it comes to dressage or show jumping. Even thinking of them gives me stress. I don't want to win, but I don't want to be the last one either. I also stress too much how my mount behaves before, during and after our turn. I think it is even worse if Muuli would rear and bolt before and after the course than during it.

But endurance riding is something different. I don't think the same about it. Endurance riding (at least in Finland) feels to be open for everyone and the feeling at the competition is nice. Everyone is welcome because Finnish endurance races has had to be cancelled because lack of participants.

I haven't compete in endurance ever, but I hope we could start one day with Muuli.

We have already started practising, a lots of trail riding with different friends and different routes. Sometimes I ride first and sometimes my friend. Off course Muulis main job for me is to work on trail riding, but beside it I can practise towards endurance riding.

Last weekend my friend excited me to ride with her on the great and big sandpit near us. I don't mean children's playsquare but really big area of sand.

The place is only 10 kilometers from us, but with this experience it would be not possible to ride there with Muuli, then lope around the pit and walk back home. So we borrowed the trailer, loaded my friend's horse Väiski, then drove to our barn, loaded Muuli and haul them both near the sandpit.

I equipped Muuli with bridle already at home and left rope halter under the bridle. I have always loaded her with the rope halter but I have changed the nylon for her for the drive. This time I left the rope halter on her all the way and even tied her with it in the trailer. If you are from US, you might think, why in the hell am I telling this.. I tell this because rope halters are not common in here and so many people won't never tie a horse with the rope halter to anywhere because the horse might panic, bolt and break his neck. Maybe people should tie their horses more when they are foals? I don't know, but I will be using rope halter in the future too.

I have had problems with loading Muuli. I can load her by myself, but I have to tie her to the front in the trailer and then wait until she walks inside. When she comes forward, I tighten the rope and then wait when she takes another step. When she has her head completely inside the trailer she walks straight in.

I don't like this way of loading, it is not safe and it takes time. Not much, I have loaded her maximum 10 minutes, but she is worried and is stressed.

I always give her treats when she comes forward but she won't eat them near the trailer. That means A LOT of stress alltought she looks fine. She is not panicing or rearing or anything, she just stands her mouth shut. I would like to be able to send her inside the trailer, but that doesn't work with me. When I keep her busy when she is not looking at the trailer and let her stand when she is near it, she starts to bolt and really escapes from me.

My friend thought that maybe travelling with a friend and to nice places like trail riding would help this problem. And hauling also for very short trips would help. Usually when we go, it is at least 1 hour drive, this was only 15 minutes.

So when this trip was great change to train for endurance riding, it was also great place to train loading too!

Pic: Tiina Lepojärvi

We unloaded at the yard of an empty barn and rode 1,5 kilometers to the sandpit. It was huge!! I had never been in there before but my friend had rode there many times. We trotted, climbed to a small hill and then loped, a lot! Longest stride of lope was 2 minutes! It was recorded with GoPro on Tiina's helmet.

Total length of our trip was 10 kilometers and it took 1,5 hours. That included walking from and to the trailer, all together 3 kilometers.

Muuli behaved so well! I mounted quite easily and she didn't bolt. She was so brave and loped at the front allmost all the time. My friend had hard time trying to keep her horse from not galloping. Muuli was loping/cantering so nicely!

When Muuli gets tired, she starts to jump a bit and pulls her head down when I give her leg. At that point, we walked and trotted a bit to let her "load". When she felt okay again, we could lope a little more.

She was very swetty! But not under the saddle. I was hoping I could get great informative pictures under the saddle to check how it fits her. Depending on these pics saddle seems to fit fine.

We didn't take any pictures from the sandpit but I edited nice video from there!

Muuli was easy to load when we headed back home and she was more relaxed inside the trailer too. She ate treats (oats) from my hand and also hay that was in the net inside the trailer.

Back at home I blanketed her, let her dry a bit and brushed her. I left the blanket on for the rest of the day to prevent stiffness in her muscles.

The next say I lunged her and she seemed to be fine.

Ps. Read also my last post when I tried Boa horse boots on Muuli!

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Boa Horse Boots on Muuli

I bought Muuli used Boa Horse Boots. I have one pair in size 0 and another pair in 00. I thouthg that Muuli's size is 00 (the smallest one) but it seemes that 0 is better for her. Muuli's hoof is 10 cm long and it means that 00 should be okay, but it is very small. I could wear them, but it was much harder than with the bigger size.

Muuli is used to hoof boots but this was the first time she was wearing Boa boots. Boas felt quite heavy but still elegant. I liked when there weren't any velcro straps on them.

First I was a bit afraid about how are these going to stay on in a sylinder shape mule foot, but they stayed on very well! I didn't yet try these on the saddle or in the trail, but I will.

I think I will keep these as my summer boots and I will screw studs back on to my another boots.

This is the size chart for Boa boots in case you are interested.

Even that our arena wasn't THAT wet, there was plenty of water inside the boots when I took them off. These boots don't really have holes for water to come off.

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Muuli's October in pictures

Even that this post is supposed to show pics only from my mobile, this is taken with my camera. It is so dark already after work that it is impossible to take pics from moving objects with my phone.
Based on my Finnish blog that has been online since 2015 it seems that October is the worst month for blogging. It it starting to get dark earlier every day and I need to leave work very early that I can ride in the day light. From November till end of February I don't have that kind of problem. It will we dark even that I leave work early, so I don't have any reason to go to the sable early.

But let's go to my October!

I was working at the farm last month and I took Muuli with me. I had got my drivings license for a horse trailer a month ago so I borrowed the trailer from our barn and drove to Porvoo to get Muuli. I backed the trailer pretty nicely in the arena so I could close the gate when I loaded Muuli. My cas was in the safe place at the other side of the gate.

Then I hauled Muuli back home. It was dark and rainy but we managed the 50 minutes drive.

Back at home Muuli had her first night inside her box since last spring. At our stable horses are turned out 247 during the summer time.

I use rug on Muuli during the winter time. Usually she has a rug on when it rains. If the weather is clear, she doesn't have the rug on. But in my area we have a lots of rain, so Muuli will have a rug on almost every day.

So you might quess that I have to wash all my rugs regularly, usually I do it once in a year. Last summer I washed many of them but I still had one dirty one. We horse owners from our barn were planning to send our dirty rugs on a laundry but I couldn't find the dirty one! It was blue striped 150g rug and last thing I remember was that it was very dirty and stinky. So how can I loose that kind of rug somewhere in our garage?!

When I was trying to find it I found another rug that is in the picture. I had no clue where I had gotten it from. It was used maybe couple of times and it fitted Muuli well. I posted a picture to my blog's Facebook and asked if someone had sold it to me. It didn't take long time until one of my friends replied that I had bought the rug after her pony passed away.

Finally I also found the rug I was looking for and sent it to the laundry.

Then I tried to find information about "uneven nostrils". My mule does that when she relaxes after the training session. She is not doing it right after the training but does it occasionally if I stay in the arena with her and for example chat with someone. So it might also indicate that she is getting bored.

I took a picture from her uneven nostrils and asked about it in Mule Girls Facebook group. I got many replies but no-one thought that it is okay and that it is a mule thing. It might indicate pain in her mouth, teeth or somewhere else. Her tooth has been floated in every 6 months and the next time is tomorrow, so I'm interested to see what the vet will say.

I also read a couple articles about new research about horses' calming signals. If you are interested about that, please go to this page. It is quite interesting and now I'm looking all the videos and pictures from a bit different angle.

Swedish donkey breed society is making a book about donkeys and they asked pictures for it. I had pics from my mules' hooves so I sent them. They also need picture taken from the front so I tried if mobule picture would work or do I need to use my camera.

I want to feed straw for my mule to keep her in good shape. She gets fat easily. Our hay producer brought us a handfull of "hailed crop" to taste. Off course Muuli loved it, but it is not good feed for equines. It has way too much sugar, starch and protein.

Here in Finland it is fed for cows but not for horses.


I don't usually ride much at the arena but in October I had to ride there a couple of times. I don't want to go hacking when it gets dark. I'm pretty sure Muuli doesn't have any problem with darkness but because she is still quite green, I don't want to risk my life.

On the arena I focused on mounting (hard for Muuli) and standing still (hard for Muuli). So mainly I just mounted, unmounted and stood still. I trotted couple of circles and did some lateral exercises.

Muuli also pooped on the arena so I had to clean it. I took the pictures after. I don't know how Muuli would have reacted if the fork would have fallen down. So please don't do this at home.

During the night time Muuli has only straw in her box. And during the day time she gets hay. This should keep her fit and in normal weight. the first winter that I had her she got quite fat and I don't never want to see her like that. She is still too fat and could loose 50 kilos.
I bought the rug on the picture from my friend. Horseware rugs are very good quality and quite expensive, so I was happy to get this one for 50 euros. Horse rugs are usually too big for Muuli at the neck, so I sewed this one smaller and took 20 cm off from the neck. Now it seems to fit fine. I had already sewed the rug for this pictures.

I don't like the rugs that have fleece liner inside. This one is 50g slippery liner so it is as warm as fleece lining.

Even that I didn't have much time to ride Muuli, we were hacking too! We had very nice weather this autumn and these pictures are from the last warm day at this year. We were hacking with Muuli's friend Elsa and her owner. We had great time and Elsa and Muuli works great together! They are both slow ones.

I bought a new helmet last month, Back on Track EQ3. I really like it! It fits my head extremely well and is light. This is the most expensive helmet that I have had, but it only cost 170 euros when I got great discount. Mu previous helmet was 30 euros via Facebook flea market.. It is not very vice to buy used helmet but at that time I didn't have money to buy a new one.

After our trail I let Muuli to roll on the arena. She really liked it!

I had bought 12 round bales of straw for our barn and it was time to get first 2. We don't have space to keep them all and I don't have a truck to get them all from where they are located. This straw is from my parents' field but the field is rented to the neighbor who cut them and baled them for me. They have 4 layers of plastic so they won't get bad.

This straw is much more moist than average straw that doesn't have wrap over it. But it smells good and is not dusty at all. And Muuli and the horses likes to eat it!

After 2 weeks the first patch of mold appeared. It seems that weather is too warm to open this kind of straw. Luckily the patches are easy to take off and the rest of the straw is good quality.

This picture shows how small spot I managed to back up the trailer!

I had bought this giant sized slow feeder net last summer. Finally I remembered to take it with me. Now there is no need to fill her net every day. We five straw from the slow feeder to make the loss smaller. If we gave it straight to the box the horses would just stomp and pee over it and wouldn't eat it anymore.

Muuli has Flex Hoof Boots already but I found another boots at her size for very reasonable prize from Finnish ebay. The size is 000 and it was supposed to fit her.. Well, they were way too small and now I need to resell these.  Luckily they were cheap.

We also had the biggest horse show in Finland in October! Helsinki International Horse Show. I got press pass because I have my Finnish mule blog and I was there for 2 days. It was great and I promise that some day we will be there with Muuli.
I also bought Muuli a bag of Stud Muffins. Mainly because Stud Muffins sponsors Wallace the great dressage mule in UK. Wallace was in the news this summer when her rider wanted to compete with him in dressage but mules weren't allowed. It took only a week until the rules had changed and they could join.

So if I give Muuli some Stud Muffins too maybe she will become as good as Wallace..
I ordered measure made tack for Muuli and finally I got the first pieces. I got bridle and padding for her britchen. The padding is almost as expensive as the britchen was but the padding is much better quality!

I will post better pictures from the tack as soon as I get them all. I ordered a lot!

I fit the bridle on and noticed some thinks that need to be fixed. And it was my mistake to tell wrong size for the nose band. It is too tight in the picture and it is in the last hole!

I love the browband!

At the end of the month I also received Boa hoof boots from Belgium. My friend from Hepscheid Longears Trails is very good bargain hunter from local ebay so she bought these boots for me!

I now have 2 boots size 00 and 2 boots size 0. The chart told me that smaller size, 00, is better for Muuli but when I tried these on, 0 is better. I can use bigger ones on front hooves and smaller ones on the back. Now I will use these on the summer time if Muuli gets sore and I can use my another boots during the winter time with studs on.
I also posted a short video in Facebook to show how Muuli walks and trots with Boa boots. She is also wearing her new bridle.

The last pic is taken bu our barn owner. It is taken after a short 1  hour trail ride in awful weather! Usually I don't even go to the stable if it rains but we had already made a plan of trail riding together so I needed to go. And I'm happy I did.

Pic by: Heidi Blom
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