Welcome to our feature, 10 minutes in the tackroom. This is a regular feature where we ask riders, businesses and charities 12 questions and they have a maximum of 10 minutes to answer them.
This week in the saddle we have Roosa Rantanen. Roosa has kindly blogged for Equissimo before, it is a fantastic piece on positivity and beating online bullies which you can read here.
Tell us about your horse!
I have 2 horses, Basse and Vallu. Although they are both 15 years old, they couldn't be more different personality wise! Vallu (who is also known as Heart Attack Horse or His Royal Highness) is your typical schoolmaster - he knows everything, but you need to learn to push the correct buttons as you get nothing for free! He has been trained up to PSG/Inter I and he’s been teaching me all those party tricks for the last 5 years and now that he is starting to calm down (or I’m starting to feel more confident) I'm going to try getting him out to a few competitions - but shhhh, don't tell him that or he WILL injure himself somehow! Basse is the total opposite of Vallu and he's a real gem, he's so laid back and calm all the time. I call him my Fat Unicorn because he is so special but no matter what diet he is on he is always a little bit chubby! He is my first horse and I've had since he was 2 so he's my forever baby - we competed lots when we were both younger and he's seen me through my terrible teenage years. He's currently my happy hacker, but he's moving so well now that I might drag him to some competitions soon as well.
Tell us a horse joke!
Q: What is your horse’s favorite song?
A: Watch Me (Whip/ Neigh Neigh)
What do you do when you aren’t with your horse?
I am currently in the middle of my master's degree in European Studies (majoring in political science) so when I’m not with my horses I'm reading scholarly articles, catching up with the news or writing essays/my master's thesis.
I'm really into blogging, so whatever free time I have left I'm either writing blog posts or creating other social media content which means I spend a lot of time on Instagram, twitter and Pinterest!
What do you love about the horsey community?
There is so much support out there! I have lots of horsey friends from around the world which for me makes the horsey community so special, I have 'strangers' from the other side of the world supporting and encouraging me.
Also, I have met several of my closest friends thanks to the horses and I'm so grateful for these friends - thank god for horses or I would've never met these friends! I also think horsey people are all slightly special so it's always great to find like-minded people who always put their horses first.
What do you dislike about the horsey community?
Strangers criticising others when they don’t know the background or history of a rider or horse. I also despise the fact that there has clearly been a rise in online bullying which can be seen with the creation of Facebook groups that are there purely to criticise a certain equestrian blogger as well as Instagram 'equine shade rooms'. It's made me even more determined to blog more about positivity to try and counter these bullies!
Do your family share your passion of horses?
My mum quite literally put me on a horse at 6 months old, way before I could walk! I don't think there was any other option but to become horsey with both my mum and my older brother being really devoted to horses.
To this day my mum still rides and looks after the horses and my brother has his own selling/training yard in Germany and he can regularly be found at international dressage shows, competing for team Finland!
Tell us your funniest horse related story!
When I was really young, I wanted to ride the horse that my mum was leasing at the time so mum decided that the safest thing would be to take me for a walk around the fields. She was giving me a leg up in the yard but was distracted by something and so she actually managed to push me over the horse’s back and I fell to the ground on the other side!
I then spent 5 minutes lying on the ground laughing because I thought it was hilarious but mum still to this day doesn’t agree with me, hahaa!
Who is your favourite famous horse rider?
Carl Hester! I've learnt so much from just reading articles of his clinics and lessons that I think he is brilliant. I agree with everything he says and I love the direction that he is pushing the world of dressage towards – lightness and happy horses!
What also makes him absolutely great in my eyes is the fact that he is teaching as many people as possible and spreading this way of thinking and riding.
Read more about Carl Hester here
Who is your favourite famous horse?
I know most people would chose Valegro but I'm going to say Totilas, simply because he made lots of people pay attention to dressage again!
I saw him winning at the 2009 European Championships in Windsor where he was just magical with Edward Gal and I fell in love with the horse. He also broke his own Grand Prix Freestyle record there with an amazing 90.75% and although there was a lot of controversy surrounding him, I do think that he is the original wonder horse of the dressage world!
Read more about Totilas here
How many times have you fallen off?
I lost count after 30+ times thanks to my pony, but I must be well in the high 50s by now. Last year I fell off twice and the second time I ended up in A&E as Vallu threw me off against the wooden boards of the outdoor arena and not only was I severely concussed I was also bleeding from my eye… Two stitches in near the corner of my eye later and luckily still with 20/20 vision and no broken bones, I have become VERY determined to keep this number as low as possible!
What horsey product can’t you live without?
My Equ Streamz bands. I have a pair for both my boys and their legs are SO much better for it. Vallu’s windgalls are nearly gone after 2 weeks even though we are experiencing really hot weather which is normally when his legs are the worst! Basse no longer looks uncomfortable walking out to his paddock in the mornings after a night in his stable, so the Equ StreamZ bands are the product I cannot live without!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!
I speak Finnish and English fluently, and German and Spanish not so well but enough to understand if someone is talking slowly to me! Spanish thanks to doing my GCSEs at secondary school in the UK, and German because I spent 6 months working at my brother’s yard in Germany.
Well done Roosa you have completed the 10 minutes in the tackroom challenge. If you would like to take part in the challenge, email email@example.com.