I am always trying to find new things to keep the ponies interested in what we’re doing. They don’t want to be doing the same thing all the time any more than we do so this week when my sister came over for some socially distanced riding my parents and I set up some games for us to play. They were a medley of gymkhana games and some trec style obstacles which were a lot of fun and were also good for the ponies.
Anything that involved me on Galahad picking up a pole was obviously scary for him, although the flag race went pretty well. Our version of tent pegging however took us a long time to get through. Perseverance did pay off but it’s never going to be something he’s desperate to do!
Another very good game was a kind of maze made with poles on the ground. That was excellent for the ponies’ flexibility and it was gratifying to see just how bendable they are.
My favourite activity though was riding under low branches. When we first approached Galahad was having none of it but we worked patiently and before long we could canter through. He does work so hard and makes me very proud!
The ponies being the colour they are, they very rarely get bathed. Even when we go to a show, a proper bath isn’t strictly necessary to get them properly clean and, of course, this year we haven’t even had shows to clean for.
Even so, I do like to bath them sometimes – Galahad can get quite dandruffy and Cookster’s mane gets very greasy over time. Obviously I don’t want to overdo the bathing – they do live out after all – but I have been meaning to bath them for a long time. Sadly, when I’ve had time to spare the weather tends to be cold and windy – the hot, sunny days are all very busy!
Today though, the ponies had got very hot and sweaty on a long hack so they needed washing down anyway and I took the opportunity to give Galahad a proper bath (my sister was in charge of Cookster). It felt amazingly good to be doing it (nostalgic too – it took me right back to my childhood) and it certainly made Galahad look very sleek and shiny.
He was very well behaved too. The last time I bathed him I had a terrible job rinsing out the bubbles – he wouldn’t let me near him with a hosepipe and a bucket of water was even worse. This time he thought about panicking but actually just stood still and even relaxed reasonably well.
Bathing is tiring work!
Naturally neither pony stayed clean for long but I was very pleased to have finally got round to it and it was a lovely way to spend the morning.
As I am not spending any money competing or going out with the ponies at the moment I decided it was time to treat myself to some new show jump wings. I have been wanting some for a long time and finally had the impetus to do it.
They came flat packed but were easy to put together. Cookster was very interested in the process!
It is lovely to have some extra fences up and it has made me feel able to use two whole sets of wings for a small spread fence. The ponies have both jumped fences like this in lessons and at competitions but we have never done it at home before. The added variety is good for all of us and the ponies seem to enjoy it just as much as I do!
Despite that, Cookster decided to put in a very dramatic stop in front of a fence he’s been jumping quite happily for weeks. For a moment I thought we were both going over.
That didn’t stop me having a fun evening playing with both ponies and I can’t wait to do it again!
We have been having a run of very hot and muggy (up to 99% humidity!) days so we are surrounded by people making hay at the moment. The field up behind us is being baled as I write and the ponies have been taking a great interest in that. On the day it was cut Galahad thought it was very interesting and was tryng to eat it through the fence. I’m not sure he was particularly successful though!
The ponies quickly got bored by the whole thing and have been largely ignoring the tractor buzzing about. Of course, they still have moments when they run around but I’m sure that a lot of that is just for fun.
This year I have even been getting involved in the haymaking process myself. Or rather, my neighbours made the hay and I went up to help load the bales onto the trailer and then unload it again at the other end. It was hard work but it was good to be involved in the actual production of the ponies’ feed for a change. It feels almost like proper self sufficiency!
We do not have the best hacking out here. Everything involves a long trek on a road and there are no bridle paths near us. I have, however, been very lucky with my neighbours and a couple of them let me ride over their fields.
Unfortunately those fields have both been sold but I have relatively new neighbours in the other direction who have now given me permission to ride in their fields.
This is a lovely space for riding and I am so grateful to have access to it. We can wend our way round several fields (and a bit of woodland!) and make a very decent length ride with only a short amount of roadwork to get there. It is wonderful.