After my very exciting hack with Cookster last week, this week has been a lot more relaxed.
In fact, I haven’t been able to ride all that much as I have been having to work extra hours. I have managed to get out a few times but the ponies have also been spending a lot of time in the field. Not that they mind that at all!
We had a lot of rain last weekend but for the past few days we have been back to glorious sunshine. It has been perfect for riding and when I have managed a hack I have very much appreciated that!
There is nothing quite like a gentle hack to make one feel happier and relaxed. I would recommend it to anyone.
Cookster and I had a most exciting ride on Monday. We got to the top of the hill and were walking along happily when he suddenly noticed that the alpacas were back in the field on our left. Then he remembered how terrifying they are and spun around to go home.
I stopped that idea and we faced the alpaca again. We took a few tentative steps and then stood stock still, head in the air and eyes bulging. He has a very ewe neck so his head can go extremely high when he chooses! In the end I got off to lead him past. I could probably have eventually forced him to be ridden but neither of us would have enjoyed it and it wouldn’t really have done any good.
On our way we stopped to look over the gate at the awful animal. By then Cookster seemed pretty calm but kept staring off along the lane – it wasn’t long before a van turned up and we had to scurry out of the way.
We continued our hack – at a very fast trot – and had a lovely time until we had to pass the same field going home. By then the alpaca was nowhere in sight but Cookster was wary in his approach and as soon as we got past the spot where it had been earlier he was ready to fly again.
I had to keep very awake to stop him bolting for home. We had to navigate a steep downwards slope and despite my best efforts we descended at a very fast walk!
Of course the whole thing was my fault – I hadn’t been feeling too well but wanted to ride anyway. Stupidly I had said, ‘I’ll just sit on a pony and ride up the lane. What could happen?’ That’ll teach me!
For obvious reasons I took no photographs on this particular adventure. Instead, here is Cookster looking beautiful in the evening sunshine.
Yesterday I was fully intending to ride after work. The trouble was that the World Equestrian Games cross country was running and I really wanted to watch that…
The ponies did not get ridden because, well, they would be around today and the cross country would not.
The cross country was fantastic. The course was really interesting and I especially loved the water jumps featuring fountains and actual waterfalls. I think it’s safe to say that Galahad would not have liked them at all!
Of course, it was also great to see the British team doing so well – five clears, four within the time, is very impressive and it will make the show jumping phase extra exciting to watch tomorrow. I will certainly be doing my utmost to be at home to watch it.
It has been wonderful being able to watch the dressage too and two bronze medals is a great achievement. It is just a shame that Florence has forced the cancellation of the freestyle – always my favourite part. I am looking forward to the rest of the games though, especially the driving marathon which I love.
As there was no eventing or dressage today due to the hurricane I did get out for a hack with Galahad this evening. We had a lovely time riding through a fine drizzle which was very refreshing. A wonderful way to end the day.
We have been having a pretty quiet week here. After the excitement of a show it is good to have a bit of a rest. Galahad and I have been out for some lovely hacks.
We have been working too though and have had some successful schooling sessions. It does however currently seem to be my fate to get absolutely soaked whenever we jump. I don’t think it has rained any other time I’ve been riding this week but when we had a play over the jumps there was an absolute downpour.
Galahad has been having fun too – he seems to permanently have a mane full of burrs and I have to spend ages working them out. I then have fingers full of splinters for hours afterwards. It is pretty painful!
Last Sunday was our inter-club team show jumping event. Cookster came with Galahad and I so for the very first time I had two ponies to compete. That really is the dream!
What wasn’t the dream was the weather – it poured down all day and I don’t think I have ever been so wet. I have certainly never been able to pour water out of my riding boots before and they are still not quite dry now! Luckily, the long dry spell meant that although the ground got a bit soggy it was nowhere near as slippery as it might have been. We had to be aware of the footing but there was very little slipping.
The teams consisted of four riders, each jumping a different height. As my two ponies were the smallest on our teams I jumped the lowest height – 50-60cm – on both of them. Cookster was first up and stopped at both of the first two jumps. After that though he suddenly seemed to wake up to what we were doing and flew round. He sadly knocked two poles down but he was jumping beautifully and I was so pleased with him.
As soon as we were finished I got straight onto Galahad (who had been warmed up by one of the children – such luxury!), had a practice jump and within a few minutes we were called into the ring. As we went through the gate my instructor – who knows all my weaknesses – said, ‘Keep those eyes up!’ It was good advice and it worked as Galahad jumped a lovely, flowing clear round. It was so good to feel him going forward confidently.
After a break whilst the higher rounds were jumped Cookster and I were back in the ring. This time Cookster knew from the start what was going on and he jumped a beautiful round with only one fence down. We also had a silly stop which was entirely my fault – there was a bit of a dog leg line which I messed up, tried to correct and ended up completely confusing him so he slid to a stop. It was annoying but I was so pleased with the rest of the round and, again, it was definitely not his fault.
Then it was another quick change onto Galahad – and another instruction to keep my eyes up! Once again, Galahad jumped a super round but we did have a stop as the same fence as Cookster. Again, it was my fault – I think I was worried about it after Cookster’s round and that made me mess it up again. Definitely need to work on dog legs! Galahad was great though and I was so pleased with him.
In fact, I was very proud of both ponies. Cookster has really come on with his jumping and did so well, especially as this was his first show. Galahad is really jumping nicely too and feels wonderfully confident – which is not always the case! They both also coped very well with the ground – Galahad can be a bit tentative on slippery surfaces but that was not a problem at all.
Cookster’s team came third and Galahad’s second so it was a pretty successful day results wise too. Definitely worth braving the weather!