Some good news – and a change

On Thursday Galahad had his six monthly back check.  For the first time ever he was fine and didn’t need any treatment.  I was so pleased!  It is wonderful to know that we are doing something right.

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Apart from the obvious benefits for him healthwise, it is great news as it means I have been able to ride him instead of giving him a week off.  We had a lovely hack out on Friday evening and even managed to arrange a jumping lesson yesterday morning.  Galahad flew around the jumps in a lovely, flowing round.  Things are looking up.

I have mentioned before that I have a vintage book stall which I take to local shows.  I have now started a blog to go with it and have started to struggle a bit with the schedule of maintaining two separate blogs.  Therefore, I am going to cut this blog back from twice a week to once a week.

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If you are interested in following my bookish adventures you can find them here.  Otherwise, I will be back here with Galahad next Sunday.

Galahad’s Gymkhana

Today I got to be an honorary child and join in with the children’s gymkhana games.

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We had a big group of children and kept swapping ponies.  That meant that not only did I get to ride a lot of different ponies – which doesn’t happen often for me these days – but my own ponies got ridden by many different riders.  The children were arguing over who got to ride them – I hadn’t realised they were quite so popular!

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It was a fantastic education for them – it isn’t often that they get ridden by anybody else, let alone so many within the space of a couple of hours.  Plus, naturally a gymkana involves a great many scary things like flags but they both just took them all in their stride.  I was so proud of them!

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Equitation goes a bit by the board in gymkana!

Cookster in particular did very well in the bucket elimination round – especially as he has not done it before.  We got down to three buckets before we were knocked out and came second in the older group.

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I also helped out with the younger children which for a gymkhana means lots of running up and down leading ponies.  I haven’t run so far in ages!

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This was also the first time in years that I have taken part in gymkana games with other people away from home.  I had so much fun!

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Time Away

I am just back from a week away in Dartmouth.  There were no ponies but I did find these ones for hire!

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They were at Greenway – Agatha Christie’s house.  The stalls in the stables there are beautiful.

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I had such a wonderful week and it was lovely to have some time to relax.  It is always good to be back behind these ears though.

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Apparently the children on the yard have had a whale of a time riding the ponies whilst I was away – my instructor said they had been well exercised but she couldn’t guarantee they hadn’t turned wild.  I almost feel bad for reclaiming them!

Summer Grazing

As the heat wave has killed off so much of the grass, we are having to get inventive in the ponies’ turnout.  Not that they need too much to eat – they are practically bred to live on air!  They do need something though and we have been making the most of the land.

There is a lane leading up over the stream which is very overgrown and muddy – you wouldn’t get a car along it.  I have written before about riding up it but now the ponies are eating it.

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It is actually very useful as they trample the undergrowth as well as eating it so hopefully it will be a bit clearer next time we ride!

A New Pony Sport

On Monday my sister and I took the ponies for a canter in the field up the lane.  We had a lovely time but – as is now usual – it was very warm and we had to wash them off when we got back.

We them turned them out and naturally they wanted to roll.

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I think they have invented a new sport – synchronised rolling.

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It was great fun watching them but of course the covered themselves in dust and as the vet was coming in the afternoon to give them their annual vaccinations we had to clean them off all over again.  It was worth it though!

Summer Shows

The summer show season is definitely upon us.  For us it started with Woolfardisworthy (Woolsery) Show at Clovelly Court.

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I spent a lovely day inspecting the livestock and watching the horses.  The heavy horses were great but I especially loved the driving classes.  How amazing is this mane!

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Today we were at the Exford Show.  It is always good to see the Exmoors and mentally compare them to Galahad.

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I also love to see the inter hunt relays.  There was one at each of these two shows and they are always fun to watch.

We have also had our local village garden show.  There were no ponies there but I did enter some of the competitions.  I maged to get thirds in the poetry and painting classes (it was a painting of Galahad!) and I won a photography class with a picture I took on one of our hacks.

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I also had my book stall at the show and had a lovely time selling pony books to the local populace.  It was a great day.

Reliving My Childhood

As a child I loved to ride my instructor’s ponies in from the field (and indeed back out again) bareback.  It was something everybody did in my pony books and it was the best feeling.

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On a visit to Scilly I saw a girl riding her pony bareback along a road in flip flops and that seemed like the ultimate goal for me.  I should mention that this was one of the islands with no cars and obviously I am not advocating the wearing of flip flops around horses – it is dangerous.  To a child it seems idyllic though!

I have always wanted to be able to do the same with my own pony but Galahad has been too tense and spooky for me to feel safe. The trouble is that if I’m nervous he can tell and it makes him nervous and tense which makes me worse.  It’s a vicious cycle.

The last time I tried it I ended up being thrown into the fence which is never good.  It was a shame as it was going so well before then but he did not react well when I got unbalanced.  That was two years ago now though so I would really like to try again now.

In the meantime, I have Cookster to ride and he is not fazed by much.

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Riding a pony in from the field at home is every bit as good as I imagined.

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Wilton Horse Trials

I am just back from a great weekend at Wilton Horse Trials.

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Wilton ’18 was written incarrots and bananas!

We had a small setback to start with as we were staying in Wilton very near to the main entrance to the house but hadn’t realised that the only way in to the horse trials was two miles away round the other side of the park.  We knew that was the main gate but not that it was the only one.  It was a shame but we’ll be better prepared another time.

I don’t get to go to many of the smaller events but I do love them – you can be so much closer to the action.  I spent Saturday morning basically sat in the warm up area watching the dressage and showjumping.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many horses.

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Once the cross country started we obviously had to walk the course and apart from being a little wary of approaching horses (there are less string fences than at the bigger events so we had to be very aware of where the horses would go) it was fantastic exploring the course and being able to get a good look at the fences.

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Saturday morning was novice cross country but I had a look at all the jumps we passed and I was particularly interested in a double on the BE100 course.  I could see several different ways to approach it and I was curious to see how it rode.

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Once the BE100 class started I went to have a look and the first two riders took one route but both had a run out at the second element.  The third rider took a different route and made it look easy so I thought that settled the question.

It’s never as simple as that though – over the two days I saw all possible routes taken and all of them cleanly so my first look must have just been bad timing!

Saturday had been mostly sunny – although very windy – but rain was was forecast for Sunday.  We knew that but the long dry spell has made us a bit complacent and although we had brought waterproof jackets we hadn’t really considered how cold we might get and we had actively decided not to take waterproof trousers.  It rained all day so we learnt our lesson!

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Even the horses were hiding from the rain!

We arrived on Sunday to find that the majority of the trade stands had packed up which was a real shame.  We hadn’t had time to look round them the day before and had planned to do so on Sunday morning.  The few remaining food stands were doing a roaring trade though!

First up on Sunday were the intermediate classes and it was great to be able to get a good look at the riders warming up.  I hope that I managed to learn something.

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We didn’t walk the whole of the cross country course this time – partly because we now knew it pretty well and partly because it was pouring with rain and blowing pretty well too.  I had dreadful trouble with my hat and ended up looking like Paddington.

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The hat will never be the same again.

We picked out a few of our favourite jumps and went to watch those.  The furthest field from the main showground had a fantastic group of trees where we could sit in comfort and watch six fences (eight or nine jumping efforts depending on the class).

I really think we had the best seats on the course, although a coffee van would have been nice!  We were also sat right by the double I had been interested in the day before so I not only got a good view of it being jumped, I also got to watch many different people walking it and it was fascinating to see all the different approaches.

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Despite the weather we had a great weekend and I’m already looking forward to the next event.

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