Every year we make sure to wassail our apple trees to ensure that we get a good harvest in the autumn. Our wassailing last year was certainly effective – we had an excellent crop of apples and we still have a good number of jars of apple jam waiting to be eaten. We almost left it too late this year (today was the last day for wassailing) but we weren’t going to leave it out.
On the odd occassion in the past the ponies have joined in this ritual. This year they were just bystanders – but they were very interested in what was going on and followed us from tree to tree to see if there was anything in it for them.
They were not fans of the noise intended to scare away evil spirits though!
The dog has always accompanied us on these ritual trips but like the ponies she has normally been a bystander. This year she was an enthusiastic participant – she barked and even played the tambourine.
With all that noise we should have a bumper crop of apples this year!
Galahad and I had one last ‘outing’ for the year when we took part in the utility pony class for the Christmas Exiefest. I was very tempted by the dressage and Prix Caprilli tests as well but decided that the field was too soggy for us to perform at our best. The utility pony gave us plenty of work to do by itself!
Most of the obstacles didn’t worry us too much but I did have some issues with the curtain. Galahad didn’t even want to go near it to start with and it took a lot of patience and cajoling to get him walking through. Even then, we had to pin the curtain to the side. Luckily the test sheet specifically stated that we wouldn’t be penalised for dismounting for this obstacle.
Any other problems were mine rather than Galahad’s – things like my getting the scarf completely tangled up in the reins on our first attempt. Galahad stood like a rock though, just turning his head to see what on earth I was trying to do to him.
Despite letting myself get frustrated by the curtain I had a lot of fun doing this class. I didn’t think we had done well enough to place but I was glad we had taken part. I was therefore astonished to get the results sheet and find that we had won the class. Galahad had worked very hard though and he definitely deserved the win.
I was so proud of him and I would definitely recommend that anyone who gets the chance to do a class like this should take it – it is a lot of fun!
Much of the country has had snow over the past few days. We have not but we did get some heavy hailstorms and as it has been so cold the hail didn’t melt but lay about on the ground looking absolutely beautiful.
We went out for a little potter on the ponies to enjoy it. We had a look at the roads but decided they were just too icy to be safe so we stuck to riding about the fields and up our own lane. Its surprising how much of a ride you can get in a few fields!
Both ponies were feeling very jolly and bouncy so I was fully prepared for them to explode and for me to end up on the floor. However, they behaved impeccably and we had what may have been the most sedate trot ever. That was a relief and so I had a lovely time admiring the view. It was the best way to start the new year!