We have some new lodgers!
This is the third year we have had a nest in the stables – we have had wrens and swallows before but this year we have a much messier nest.
Visually this is the most boring video but the sound is what told me that we actually have some chicks.
It took me a while to discover what kind of chicks as the parents always flew off too quickly for me to get a good look at them. One of them very obligingly perched on the gate the other day though so I can definitely say they are sparrows. I feel very honoured!
On a slightly related note, we also have a colony of snails in the gate post. It is very interesting but I’m not sure they are quite so welcome!
I have mentioned before the trouble we have with fly masks. Firstly, the ponies are constantly losing them. Secondly, they tear many holes in the ears. Since the main reason they wear them is because they get terrible bites inside their ears, the holes make the masks practically useless.
This week I decided to do something about it so I marched into our local tack shop and demanded a mask with heavy duty ears. I came away with a LeMieux one which has two layers of nice thick fabric on the ears and which will hopefully do the trick.
Galahad has been wearing it now for three days and has managed to lose it three times.
However, so far the ears have no holes at all so I am very hopeful.
I have never owned anything from LeMieux before – I feel like a proper equestrian!
Over the winter my parents have been working hard at tidying up the ponies’ summer paddock. Brambles have been cleared, fences mended and hedges wrestled into shape.
I have helped a bit too of course but it was barely anything compared to the amount they have done. The field is looking so much better for it too.
On Sunday the ponies were turned out in the field for the first time this year. Instead of running out – like they have been into their old field – they stopped not far in and their heads went straight down. I think they were very happy!
Obviously, there is a lot of grass in there at the moment so we have to be a bit careful they don’t put on weight. Hopefully we can keep them in check!
My parents have done an amazing job and the field is looking beautiful. The ponies – and I of course – are so incredibly lucky.
It is always good to have productive days of schooling, fun jumping sessions or exciting competitions. Sometimes though, the best times with the ponies are much more relaxed.
Today I had two lovely hacks with the ponies. They were feeling lazy, I was feeling lazy and we just pootled along the lanes having a great time.
Besides that though, time spent around the yard doing the chores and just spending time with the ponies is wonderful.
One of the best parts of my day is turning out the ponies in the evening and watching them as they wander out.
We are having such lovely evenings at the moment that I could stay and watch them for ages.
Monday was a glorious day so Galahad and I went out for a hack. The road was quiet, the birds were singing and everything was right with the world.
Until we came home.
We had to come down a narrow lane which is closed off by a hurdle at the top. The hurdle needs lifting and really needs to be opened dismounted. As it is a little awkward to manage I always seem to end up on the off side of the pony when I have closed the hurdle again. Without much room to manoeuvre it is far easier to hop on from the wrong side and on Cookster I do that without thinking.
Never with Galahad though. I tried it once at home and he panicked. Partly because he isn’t used to it and partly because my muscles aren’t tuned enough to mounting from the wrong side so it isn’t as smooth as my mounting usually is.
On Monday I was feeling lazy and hopping up from where I was seemed a good plan. After all, sometimes trec competitions ask for the rider to mount from the off side so practising is a good idea. At least, that’s what I told myself.
It did not end well. He shot off forwards when I was only half on. I ended up in a patch of nettles minus my hat cover and with only one boot. I had to paddle through the mud to find that – there is a spring at the top of the lane so it is wet all year round.
We were only about a hundred yards from the house so as I plodded home I was imagining the concern Galahad would cause when he careered into the yard witout me. In the event, nobody saw him and I found him unconcernedly munching grass. He was nicely decorated though!
Obviously mounting from the wrong side is something we can work on – especially if I want to be able to use it in a trec competition. I will improve my own ability by practising on Cookster before I try it on Galahad again though!
I very nearly didn’t ride Galahad this evening. I had a busy day yesterday, I was at work all day today and had already ridden Cookster out so I was pretty tired and wanted to curl up with a book. However, I told myself that was not the right attitude and tacked him up. It was too good an evening to waste anyway.
We had a pretty decent schooling session. The ground is a little rutted from the winter but is actually in surprisingly good condition considering how wet it has been. I was pleased with Galahad too – we don’t manage a lot of schooling over the winter but he worked well and is even improving at picking up the correct canter lead on the right rein – he got it right nearly every time today!
I was hoping to get in a little jumping as well but I was more cautious with that. We hadn’t jumped at all yet this year and in the past if Galahad has had a break from jumping he has had a tendency to get over excited when we pick it up again – he either rushes at the fences or gallops off after them. I made sure he was calm and listening to me before I attempted a jump, then I introduced some very small fences, keeping strictly to a trot.
I was very pleasantly surprised as he popped neatly over them and showed no sign of getting above himself. Before long we were happily cantering over the bigger, scarier jumps.
It was a very positive start to this year’s jumping. We will hopefully manage to harrow the field this week and then I’ll be able to put out the rest of the jumps. I was lucky enough to get some new fillers for my birthday this year and I am very excited about trying them out!
The ponies are constantly escaping from their fly masks. At the moment it is just a fact of life that when I go out to see them the chances of them both wearing hats are fairly slim.
When we first put them on this year they actually managed not to remove them for a couple of weeks and I was very hopeful I would have a summer without having to walk round the fields hat hunting.
Obviously that is not going to happen but I have found I can make use of the ponies – or at least Cookster – to find them.
As you can see, Cookster is great at this game. Me – less so!
I haven’t tried it with Galahad yet – mainly because I haven’t had the chance. I’m sure it is something which will scare him at first but it’s probably quite a good exercise to try and it might even help us with our trec obstacles. Plus, it’s fun!
The weather this bank holiday weekend has been glorious. Blue skies all day with just a bit of mist in the mornings. We went out for a lovely ride early yesterday morning and then spent most of the rest of the day in front of the television. It is Badminton weekend after all!
I always try to keep this weekend free because even if I can’t actually get there I love to watch. I even watch snatches of dressage in my breaks at work. On Friday I had an almost perfectly timed break and managed to watch Jonty Evans’ test.
I was one of the many people who chipped in to pay for a tail hair of Cooley Rorkes Drift last year so I was very pleased with that.
As always, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Badminton. So far I am a fan of the new scoring system without the dressage coefficient – recently eventing has felt a bit like a dressage competition!
It has been a great weekend and we are now just out for what will hopefully be another lovely hack – an evening one this time.
For the past few days Galahad has been feeling nice and forward. Not in a spooky or dangerous way – just in a not having to push him on way. We have had some lovely hacks! Perhaps it is the springtime.
Cookster has also been feeling the spring in a different way – he is moulting with a vengeance. I’m sure I spend more time grooming him than I do riding!
I happened to pick up a magic brush at my instructor’s yard one day and I loved it so much I bought one for myself. It is great for cleaning hairy ponies!
Yesterday was the ponies’ official birthday – they were born on the moor so we don’t know their actual birthday. Of course, we couldn’t let it pass without a carrot at dinner time!