The ponies being away for a few days doesn’t just give me a chance to use the school. We also get to explore some different hacking routes which is always a nice change.
The other day I arrived a bit late but I had been looking forward to my hack and the sun was still a little way off setting so I decided I could get out as long as I was super quick getting ready. I was soon on and we set off up the drive – me giving firm instructions that we would be walking nice and fast and trotting as much as possible.
At first Galahad was not impressed but before too long he decided it was quite fun after all. In fact, I’d wound him up so much that he didn’t really want to walk at all and thought that canter would be much more fun than trotting. He had a whale of a time!
I was not quite so convinced but it did the job – we got home before it was too dark!
The ponies are spending a couple of weeks with my riding instructor – partly so Galahad can have a bit of a trim and partly so we can get to our dressage competition in a fortnight.
Of course, I am taking full advantage of the facilities while they are there. They were collected on Friday afternoon and I went over straight after work to school Galahad. He hasn’t been ridden under lights for months – probably not since last winter – so he was a little tense at first and had to have a very good look at the darkness beyond the lights to make sure there were no hidden monsters.
I just worked him quietly round the school and before long we could ride on a loose rein with no problem.
We actually had a very good session. Galahad was working nicely, although he did tire a bit. He got pretty hot as well – definitely time for that clip.
As it has been so warm here recently I am finding that I am riding late in the evening more and more often. It is just more comfortable – for both me and the ponies. I have been enjoying it more than I thought I would and it is not just being cooler. I also get to enjoy beautiful sights like this.
The picture makes it look like I am riding in the dark but I promise I am not! When my camera is not pointed directly at the sunset things look more like this which is much more reasonable.
The schooling itself has been going pretty well too. Galahad is a little stiff to the right and I have to work hard to get the correct canter lead on the right rein but otherwise I am very pleased and having a lot of fun.
You may have noticed that winter is almost upon us. It is pretty cold and the days have suddenly got a lot shorter. I am having to check the ponies in the dark most evenings now.
Obviously this was not taken quite in the dark, alough it was pretty dim. I tried taking a photograph by torchlight and funnily enough it didn’t work!
Galahad is so much better with the torch now. He used to refuse to come anywhere near it but now I can walk right up to him with the torch shining. He is quite happy for me to talk to him as well. He is getting so brave!
This week the ponies went away for a few days which meant Galahad and I were able to have our first lesson in months. It had to be after work which meant Galahad was also ridden under lights for the first time ever. He has never been particularly keen on things like torches which I have always assumed is because he can’t see anything behind them. I wasn’t at all sure what he would think of the floodlights but actually he wasn’t too bad. We had a bit of stopping and staring and quite a lot of bending away from the lights but he settled pretty quickly.
I was very pleased with him. He was looking at everything very carefully but felt very relaxed and not as if he might explode at any moment. My instructor was impressed with him too and thought he was moving better than the last time she saw him which was very gratifying. I was paranoid for a few days before that he would have stiffened up again. In fact the only problem – and is wasn’t really an issue – was that he is starting to grow more of a winter coat and is obviously not as fit as he was a few weeks ago when I could ride every day. He did get a bit tired but was working hard.
We even managed a little bit of jumping which of course Galahad enjoyed very much. Again my instructor could see an improvement in him. At one fence we saw a really long stride but he now has the strength to keep going and not send everything flying.
It was a very good lesson and I came away feeling very positive. Looking forward to the next one now!