Time to Stop and Stare

Things have been a little hectic here recently.  I do get very busy in the run up to Christmas but this week does seem to have been particularly busy.  Therefore, it was especially nice to have a pootle round the lanes with the ponies this weekend.

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It has been very cold for the last couple of days but there was no rain so we had a lovely, relaxing time.  I was very proud of Cookster for not batting an eyelid when a pheasant flew up very noisily right next to us – even though I jumped out of my skin!

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Galahad also made me proud – we had to squeeze through a narrow gap between the hedge and a car with an open boot and the hazard warning lights flashing.  He did hesitate but when I asked him to move forwards he did so.  He rather wanted to rush through but managed to contain himself.

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There are beginning to be a few signs that Christmas is coming.

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Galahad may have wanted to eat the wreath!

Chilly Riding

It is pretty cold here at the moment but there are signs that spring is on the way.

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The snowdrops have been out for a couple of weeks but now we are starting to see some primroses and even some brave daffodils.

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Galahad and I had a lovely hack today.   It was very cold but a beautiful day and I took Galahad into my neighbour’s field for the first time this year.  Partly I wanted to see what sort of state the ground was in – some of it was fine, other bits were still very squelchy.  I  also wanted to show Galahad that we don’t always have to canter in the field.  When we started riding in there he learned very quickly that it is a place where we canter and he can be inclined to take off sometimes.

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We kept strictly to walk and went round the whole field.  Galahad behaved much better than I expected – he did walk a lot faster once we had turned the corner back towards home but he didn’t try to take off once.  I was incredibly pleased with him and I think it was definitely worth doing.  I really need to remember not to canter every time we go through the field!

Galahad Behaves Well

This morning was absolutely beautiful.  Clear blue skies and bright sunshine, if rather chilly.  We went for an early morning ride which apparently meant my brain was not working.  I tacked up my pony, went to put on my hat and came back to find this.

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I hadn’t tied him back up at all.  Luckily he just stood in the doorway gazing at the world.

We had a lovely ride though.  Once we got above the mist in the valley the sun was actually pretty warm.  It is a lovely feeling to be up and about before anyone else.

Galahad’s New Clothes

Galahad’s haircut obviously necessitated an addition to his wardrobe.  It is a bit too cold for him to be without a rug now!

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Unfortunately I forgot to take a photograph of it when it was brand new and clean and it didn’t take long for Galahad to make it look rather used.  It isn’t just the mud – he has caught it on brambles several times and has even managed to tear the lining a bit.

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He has been very good about wearing it though.  He still sometimes rolls his eyes a bit when I approach him with it but he stands still to let me put it on.  He even lets me do it when he is loose which is very useful!

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Look how smart he is!

I have also finally been able to use his fleece blanket in earnest.  We went out with the riding club last weekend and as it was rather cold and drizzly I kept the blanket on whilst I was riding around outside the ring.  I was sure he would not like that at all but he barely seemed to notice.  Which was great as it meant I could use the front of the blanket to keep my own legs dry when it started raining properly!

Feeling Well Again

Both ponies seem to finally be over their colds.  They have certainly taken their time!  They are no longer coughing,  the runny noses have stopped and we are all much happier.  Not that the ponies ever gave any signs of actually feeling unwell but they must feel the difference.

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From a selfish point of view it is lovely to be able to ride without constantly worrying about pushing for too much when they are not feeling fit – or even making them cough.  Galahad appears to be back to his normal level of fitness for the time of year  – that is to say not very fit but a lot better than he was.  He can at least trot a reasonable distance without puffing!

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It is so good to have them back to normal.  Once the light gets better we’ll be able to get some decent rides in.  Not to mention that now we will be able to go out and compete again, hurrah!

Stormy Weather

I seem to be writing a lot about the weather recently but it has been pretty dramatic.  On Monday we were hit by Storm Imagen with the wind gusting at 45 miles an hour and causing a power cut.  I was obviously at work for most of the day and missed a lot of the excitement.   The power stayed on there with just a few flickers of the lights.  It was very windy around town though, especially when I walked along the river to and from my car.  I had hoped that the wind might dry the fields out a bit but we are still having very heavy showers which are undoing any effect it might have.

Driving wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be, although a tree in the village had completely snapped in half.  I got home to find that there was still no power so I had to see to the ponies by torchlight.  Galahad has improved immensely when dealing with torches.  He always used to absolutely hate them, which I assumed was because he couldn’t see what was behind them.  It’s a pretty sensible stance to take really.   However,  he does seem to be getting used to them.  He is still wary of them but I can at least catch him when I am holding a torch now and even check him over when he is loose.  It makes things so much simpler!

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The ponies’ colds are still improving.  They are not better yet but they are definitely getting there.  The other day though Galahad sneezed all over my sister’s freshly washed hair.  She was not impressed!

Coughs and Colds

Both of the ponies have developed a cough and runny nose.  It is not really surprising given the weather and they are actually fine but it can’t be very nice for them.  I want to tuck them up in bed with a lemsip!  They however are behaving entirely as normal and getting absolutely covered in mud.

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Our rides have now been reduced to a gentle poddle along the lanes.  I think a bit of exercise is a good thing but we can’t do too much.  I am rather enjoying myself!  I have withdrawn from the dressage at the weekend though.  For one thing, nobody would appreciate me taking a coughing pony to spread his germs!  He is also obviously even less fit than he was and it just wouldn’t be fair to him.  It is a shame but there will be plenty of other things we can do in the future.  Hopefully by then there will be more light, I’ll be able to ride a bit more and Galahad will be rather fitter!

Brrrr!

Didn’t it get cold suddenly!  I was not at all prepared for that.  Obviously I knew that cold weather was forecast but somehow that didn’t translate to, ‘Wear more clothes.’  It was rather chilly riding on Saturday!

Monday morning was absolutely beautiful.  The ground was completely white with frost and the sun was beginning to think about coming up so the sky was turning pink.  It was magical.  I was rather cautious when riding though – once last winter we went up the hill and hit a patch of ice at the top.  Poor Galahad had a proper Bambi moment and I definitely do not want to repeat that!

I am doing less work without stirrups this month than I had hoped simply because the field is too wet to school.  What we have done has gone well though.  Walking is no problem at all and trotting is fine as long as I remember to cross my stirrups.  Galahad is not a fan of them dangling down and hitting him!  My sister’s pony seems to find the whole thing fascinating; but then he has always been a fan of boots.

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Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Hasn’t it got cold suddenly!  A few days ago I was riding in a t-shirt, then September started and someone realised it should be autumn so turned the temperature down.  Now I need my coat.  Until I start grooming/mucking out/riding and it doesn’t seem cold at all!

It is gorgeous when I go out to the ponies in the mornings.  The valley is full of mist but the sky is usually blue above and everything is beautiful.

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It certainly makes the early mornings less painful!

September also means that the hedges up the hill have been cut so I don’t have to get wet riding.20150903_193316

If it has been raining the grass in the middle gets slippery and Galahad does not enjoy it on that slope (who can blame him?).  He walked carefully to the side which meant that all the wet bracken could reach out and get me.  It got me nearly as wet as the rain itself would have done.

The blackberries are ripening now and there is something very nostalgic about picking them as I ride.  When I was little one of my favourite things was eating blackberries on hacks.DSCN3495

Autumn is definitely here but I am loving it!