Christmas Cheer

The ponies and I have been having a lovely, restful Christmas. It began for the ponies on Christmas Eve with apples and carrots added to their dinner. Then they had treats brought out to them early on Christmas morning.

The dog was very interested in them too – she has brilliant balance on two legs!

Today we went for our Boxing Day walk (yes we were a day late but I had to work yesterday) and I brought Galahad along too. He was somewhat inclined to think that the slower pace was designed to allow him to snack but was otherwise well behaved and happy to amble aong with the others. He may have been influenced by the knowledge that these rare walks together usually mean apples at some point! I on the other hand was kept going by chocolate coins.

We had a lovely time and had plenty to look at – the river has burst its banks and is rushing along very noisily. The weather was glorious while we were out but by the time I finished untacking it was hailing and the dog and I were glad to get back indoors for hot chocolate and stollen. For me at least – the dog had to make do with water!

Once we’re back on our own land the dog can come off the lead. She’s getting much better at coming along with me on a pony but is definitely not ready to do so on the roads!

Soggy Dressage

This has been a busy end of the year for Galahad – from no shows at all we have been to several in the past few weeks – at least virtually! The latest was the British Riding Clubs’ Christmas Cracker online dressage competition.

Given our lack of practice over the summer, the sogginess of the field and Galahad’s reluctance to canter on such wet ground I had intended to enter the intro level test as an easier re-introduction fo us. Sadly I realised that my one novice level test (not on Galahad) last year disqualified me from that class so I ended up doing the prelim riding test instead. I had never done a riding test before so I wasn’t quite sure how it would go but as I was expecting our performance to be somewhat under par anyway I wasn’t too worried and just gave it a go.

It definitely was not our best effort – Galahad was very reluctant to go near the wettest part of the field and it really showed in the test. On the other hand, we hadn’t ridden a whole dressage test for a year and we had fun trying so it was still a good experience for us. When the results came through we had scored 65% which considering everything was not a bad effort. We ended up coming 18th in the class – not brilliant but not last!

I had a lot of fun filming the test and I will definitely be entering more online competitions in the future. Hopefully the ground will dry out a bit before then though!

Pony Express

Today it was time for our annual pony post excursion to deliver our local Christmas cards. This year my sister was able to come too so we had a socially distanced hack around the lanes. I had a parcel to deliver this year as well so the backpack was dragged out for the first time in months and we were ready to go.

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This is one of my favourite traditions – I love dressing up in tinsel and Christmas outfits, singing carols as we ride. Although not much singing was done this year – the pandemic means that I don’t get to see much of my sister these days so a lot of chattering went on instead! Sadly it was pouring with rain just before we started so I had to wear a jacket but if you look closely you can just about see my elf hood and bell.

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We had a lovely time – the rain eased off and in the end we barely got wet at all so it was a fun jaunt around the lanes. I wanted to do this from the time I helped my riding instructor’s daughter deliver their cards when I was about ten and it still feels very special every time. Christmas is definitely coming now!

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Houdini Pony

The ponies have definitely given us some excitement this week. First of all they have been clipped – which isn’t hugely exciting in itself, although they do look very smart now.

We are not normally quite so Christmassy so early in December but we dressed up for an online competition and I didn’t want to take it off again!

However, we then had two days of heavy, very cold rain. These ponies are apparently not all that bright and stand out in the rain even when they have access to shelter. When I went to get them in for the night Galahad was definitely cold and I changed their rugs for nice dry ones. The rugs are waterproof and the ponies were still dry but all that rain meant that the fabric was cold and would take a long time to warm up.

The rugs were still wet and cold in the morning – and the weather hadn’t warmed up – so I left Cookster’s stable rug on underneath his turnout. It was a big more rug on him that I would have liked but his turnout rug is basically just a waterproof sheet so I knew he would be fine for a bit and I intended to take it off again before long.

I obviously wasn’t quick enough though – when I went out again in the evening this is what I found.

The impressive thing is that he was still wearing his turnout rug which showed no signs whatever of being disturbed. It’s a new talent I didn’t know he had and it’s a good job the stable rug was so near the yard so I saw it before I inspected Cookster. Otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue what had happened!