Now the weather is less rainy the fields have dried up beautifully. Which of course means that we are able to school again. Not only that – we can jump!
It has been a good few months since the ponies have jumped so I like to start them off with pretty simple jumps and not rush into anything too big or complicated. Galahad loves to jump though – he really comes alive when we get the jumps out. In fact, he can get a bit too strong if I don’t watch it. On Thursday I kept him to a strict trot over the fences for serveral minutes as I had felt he wasn’t really listening to me.
We have had a lovely few sessions playing with the jumps and my sister has even been able to join us a couple of times which just adds to the fun. For one thing, it means we can have a go at pairs jumping which can be hilarious.
I am so much enjoying having the jumps out again!
It seems that the fly season is upon us already. We have had to fish the deosect out of the tack room and have sprayed the ponies. Galahad hates fly spray so he didn’t enjoy it at all but at least deosect doesn’t need to be applied so often.
The fly masks are back out as well. It seems very peculiar to have Galahad’s rug on at the same time but it’s still pretty cold here at night and not warm enough to leave it off yet. He is enjoying the time without it during the day though.
Of course, all of this means that hunting for lost fly masks in odd corners of the field is once again a regular part of my life. That’s how I’ll be spending the next few months!
What with all the excitement of Badminton last weekend, I never posted about the ponies’ birthday.
Since they are moor bred we don’t know when they were actually born so we gave them a shared official birthday on the first of May. A May Day birthday seems lovely!
They both had apples and carrots added to their breakfast and they seemed very keen to eat them – they both stood there whickering until they had the food. In fact, they tried to storm the feed room and we had to move the dog out of the way before she got trampled. Normally they just stand and beg from a distance.
After work I watched the trot up at Badminton, then I was off out with the ponies again. Galahad and I went for a hack in the evening sunshine which was just beautiful. It’s what I would enjoy on my birthday – hopefully he did too!
We used to go to Badminton every year but haven’t managed it for the past few. However, Badminton weekend is still very special for us and we always make sure to watch as much of it as we can.
I so much appreciate the live stream on the Badminton website – I got to watch the first trot up after work on Wednesday and my breaks on Thursday and Friday were spent cooped up in the staff room with the dressage. It never gets shown on television so it was wonderful to be able to watch it. Oliver Townend’s record score made it extra exciting too!
I rode both my own ponies on Saturday morning (listening to Radio Badminton as I did so!) before making my way inside to settle down for the cross country. This is obviously the big draw of eventing and is always very exciting but this year I knew it would be even more so – the new dressage scoring meant that the scores were tight and time penalties were going to be very influential.
I thought Eric Winter’s cross country course was brilliant. There were lots of difficult questions which caused problems for the riders without too many falls. It was wonderful to watch and the riders seemed to like it as well – they were all commenting on how great the course was and that the going was perfect. I was particularly taken with the Nyetimber Heights, Shogun Sports Hollow and Outlander PHEV Bank combinations which at first glance looked impossible but mostly rode very well. It was a fantastic day of sport and I was glued to the television.
This morning I was up bright and early to see to the ponies before the final trot up. We always make ourselves the same picnic breakfast we would have had if we were actually at the event and it was a lovely, leisurely way to start our Sunday. My sister came round to ride and, feeling inspired, we did some jumping of our own. It wasn’t quite up to Badminton standard but we had fun!
Today’s show jumping was nail biting, especially when we got to the final few riders. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to win – I am a huge fan of both Piggy French and Oliver Townend. I really wanted Piggy to win her first five star but for Oliver to claim the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam would also be great. Either way, I was thrilled with Piggy’s clear round – it meant we had a British winner.
Oliver Townend had one fence down but he could afford that as well as a couple of seconds over the time. Even as he cleared the last fence we thought he had won – I think everyone did – but the clock ticked over just enough to drop him behind Piggy French. I was so disappointed for him but absolutely delighted for Piggy. She definitely deserved a win.
It has been a wonderful, if somewhat lazy, weekend. It’s a shame it has to end!