Worming Woes

Not very long ago I found a live worm in Galahad’s droppings.  I felt terrible for letting it be there but also bemused – he is wormed regularly and when we had an egg count done the results came back completely clear.

I did some research and it turns out that what he had was pinworms.  They are apparently notoriously difficult to kill because they live just inside the rectum – most modern wormers are too effective as they are absorbed much earlier in the digestive system and so never reach the pinworms. That made me feel a lot better – perhaps I hadn’t been failing my pony after all.  Another thing that reassured me was the fact that pinworms cause very little internal damage to the horse.  The main problem is that they make the horse very itchy.  I have noticed that Galahad has been itching his tail a bit recently so that does make sense.

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I was recommended to try a double dose of Strongid-P which I did.  Two days later I found quite a lot of dead worms and I have never been so happy to see them!  The wormer certainly seems to work!

I have also been using vaseline on the skin around the rectum.  This should make it harder for the eggs to stick if there are any worms left behind.  Pinworms have a relatively long life cycle so it may take more courses of wormer to clear them up completely.   We have made a promising start though.

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Glorious Mud

It seems to have been raining solidly for the past few weeks and I have never known the ground to be so wet.  We will definitely not be schooling here anytime soon!

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However, on Monday Galahad and I got out for a hack which was miraculously dry.  We got a little further afield than usual and found distinct signs that spring is on its way.

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It’s hard to tell in the picture but there is a whole bank of snowdrops in front of Galahad. It was beautiful!

There have been primroses out since before Christmas and the snowdrops have been around for a while too but a bit further up the road we found daffodils and even some campion.

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Then on Thursday morning I stepped out of the door to find the sky was a gorgeous blue and the birds were singing like crazy.  Make sure you have the sound on when you play the video!

It was a beautiful morning until the rain came back.  Definitely promising signs of spring though – it’s amazing how much better it can make one feel!

A Pony Called Secret

It is no secret that I love reading pony books.  I have never really grown up I think and I read all I can get my hands on.

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I was therefore very excited last year when Nosy Crow sent me a review copy of A Pony Called Secret: A New Beginning – the first book in a new series by Olivia Tuffin – the author of the very popular Palomino Pony series.

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Secret is the son of Lily – the Palomino Pony – and belongs to Alice Smalley who featured in The Palomino Pony Wins Through.  Secret is rather a handful and Alice is beginning to wonder if she’ll ever be able to train him.  Then she meets Finn – a fearless rider who has an amazing way with horses.  He could be just the help Alice needs – if only he wan’t so moody!

I enjoyed the Palomino Pony books so I knew I would like this one but it was even better than I expected.  Alice’s struggles with Secret reminded me very much of the problems I had with Galahad and it is always good to feel that you are not suffering alone!

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It took me a few months to get around to reading this but I will definitely be reading the second book in the series which has just recently been published.  I can’t wait!

Running Repairs

Right at the end of last winter Galahad pulled one of the surcingle buckles off of  his rug.  I didn’t fix it at the time because he stopped wearing it and I’m really rather lazy.

I finally got around to sewing on a new buckle (I never did find the original one) last week as Galahad is now wearing the rug again to keep his back muscles warm.  I was pretty proud of the job I did.

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Unfortunately,  the hole in the new buckle is slightly smaller than the old one and as I hadn’t changed the other half of it I could not quite twist it closed.   It did stay done up though so I sent Galahad off in hopes that it would hold.

He hadn’t been turned out in a proper field for over a week and I think he enjoyed himself!

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When I brought him in again the buckle had turned itself and was fully closed.  Which was great … except that I couldn’t get it open again – less than ideal.  I had visions of us having to cut Galahad free and I thought that at the very least I would have to replace the other half of the buckle.

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Luckily my Dad managed to cut the rubber band off and although it was still very stiff I could at least open (and close) the buckle.  No more mending for me – until he rips it again!

Full of Beans

Sunday was a beautiful day sandwiched between many days of rain, for which we were very grateful!  Well before it was light the yard was a hive of activity with ponies being brushed and plaited left right and centre.  Of course, as Galahad and Cookster are native ponies, we don’t have to worry about plaiting which saves a lot of time.  Although, I did quite enjoy it when I had to do it.

We arrived in plenty of time but had some confusion with the parking so my warm up was a bit shorter than I would have liked.   Galahad felt pretty good though and I was fairly confident when we went into the arena.

We walked around the arena once before Galahad decided that he would really rather be outside with Cookster and started cantering towards the gate.  The only show he had ever been to been to with Cookster before this was a cross country event so, although he felt a bit wound up in the warm up there, it really didn’t matter once we started as I could let him run.  It turns out it’s a bit trickier when you are trying to do a walk-trot dressage test!

Of course, it didn’t help that this time Galahad could actually hear Cookster calling him.  They were both incredibly noisy – so much so that I didn’t hear the judge telling me I could start.  We ended up doing the worst test of my life.  Galahad never really relaxed,  we  cantered several times and our steering left a lot to be desired.

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My sister was waiting outside and our instructor told her Galahad was being a toad.  He was – he can do a very nice test – but it was also a learning experience for both of us.  I learnt that Galahad needs much more time to settle when Cookster is there!

As soon as we finished I took Galahad as far from the arena as I could as I didn’t want to wind Cookster up if I could help it.  It was just as well – Galahad was still calling and was extremely loud and shrill.

The judge evidently did not notice me leaving – she finished writing her comments, looked up and demanded the next competitor, even though my sister had already said hello to her.  I suppose one Exmoor does look very much like another!  Cookster and my sister did a very nice test and managed to come seventh.  Unsurprisingly Galahad and I came last but the judge did commend me for keeping my composure.

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We had a much better warm up for the pairs test, although when we practised passing each other the ponies were still calling.  The test itself went very well – they worked together much better than they had been.  We could ride much closer together than before as well.  The sections where we had to work apart were still the best though – at some points the ponies’ steps were pretty much in sync and most of our crossings were spot on.  There was just one where we were too much of a mirror image and my sister had to walk to avoid a collision.  I was very pleased with the overall test though, especially as it was our first attempt.  We managed a  fifth in that class which I thought was pretty good.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon wrapped in blankets writing for the judge.   It was absolutely freezing but it is a job I quite enjoy as you can learn a lot from it.  Plus it meant that I got free hot chocolate and cake which was very welcome!

Galahad and I may not have had the best of starts to the day but overall I think it went reasonably well.  Cookster was amazing though and I was so proud of him.

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Feeling Better

On Friday I lunged Galahad again – this time whilst my sister was riding Cookster in the school as well.  That was mainly because we were aiming to enter a pairs dressage test on Sunday and we wanted the ponies to get some practice at working independently in the school.  It wouldn’t really make for a good test if we couldn’t get them apart!

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They actually worked very well.  We even ran through the test with me leading Galahad and although it wasn’t a great performance it showed that they could work well separately.  Cookster wasn’t too keen on my running about near him but that wouldn’t be an issue in the real test!

On Saturday evening I was allowed to ride Galahad for the first time in a week and he felt really good.  The back treatment had definitely improved his way of going.

We ran through our individual test which was nice and forward.   I decided to stick to the walk and trot test as he  had just had the week off and it felt like it rode pretty well.

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We also practised the pairs test.  We had thought the parts of the test where we separated would be the hardest but those bits went fairly well.  When we had to actually ride as a pair though we really struggled to keep them close enough together.   It did improve with practice but there was still a long way to go.  Still, it was fun and we hopefully won’t disgrace ourselves in the competition!

On a side note, Galahad has been wearing a rug since his back treatment to keep his damaged muscles warm and it is amazing how shiny his coat is now.  Even his tail lies flat!

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Riding Under the Bright Lights

Galahad and Cookster are spending the week at my instructor’s yard.  As they went for the back check on Friday and will be staying until at least Sunday for the dressage, it seemed like a good opportunity to use the school.

I have been working all week so my riding has been restricted to after work hours.  Obviously it is dark then but being away means we have the luxury of lights!

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Cookster has never been ridden under lights before but, although he was a bit nervous about them (or the inpenetrable darkness behind them) at first, he settled really well and we had one of the best schooling sessions we have ever done.

Galahad is used to the lights but has been having a few days off after his back check.  I was allowed to start lunging him today and I think I can see some improvement in his movement which is good news.  I will be able to ride him again on Saturday so I’ll be able to see haw he feels then.  Hopefully, we should be able to do our dressage test on Sunday after all!

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This week hasn’t gone quite to plan.  On Friday Galahad had his regular back check and was found to be pretty sore – the back lady thinks he may have fallen over.  I am not aware of him having done so but it is more than possible as the fields have been so incredibly wet lately.  I am not even allowed to lunge him until Tuesday and can’t ride him for a week after that.

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The poor pony seems perfectly cheerful though and just can’t understand why he isn’t allowed out when we ride Cookster.

We had been going to do a pairs dressage class next Sunday but obviously that will have to wait for another time.  In the meantime we are now aiming Cookster at the individual walk and trot test.  It will be the first he has done away from home but he did pretty well in the practice today.

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My sister was riding him and despite the tractor moving about, other horses running around and the practically gale force winds he was very well behaved.

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I on the other hand was absolutely freezing.  I’d forgotten I would need more clothes to sit still watching than I do when I’m riding!

New Year New Haircut

For a few weeks now I have been thinking that it was time to give Galahad a haircut.  Specifically his tail – it might not be very thick but it does get rather long.

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It is not technically correct to trim native ponies but that has never stopped me clipping him.  We don’t tend to show much anyway so it really doesn’t matter.  Besides, when it rains as much as it has done this last week this is the sort of thing that happens.

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It can’t be particularly pleasant!

I didn’t want to wash the whole tail but I did clean off the ends before I trimmed them – the mud wasn’t just wet it was cold too.  Plus, clean hair is much better for the scissors!

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Galahad looks much smarter now and I should think is more comfortable.  I seem to have neglected to take a picture of the finished product though – I wanted the hair to dry first so we went for our ride and I forgot all about it.  It was a lovely hack though, even if it was blowing a gale!