Having a Holiday

I am just back from spending a few days on a choir trip to Normandy where I had a fantastic time.

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This was the horse drawn shuttle bus for Mont-Saint-Michel.  I didn’t get to have a ride but it was good to see that it was there.

Obviously, I couldn’t take the ponies so my sister was looking after them for me.  At one point though, somebody left a gate open and Cookster got into the garden.

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Naturally, Galahad is far too well behaved to do something like that – he was there to show where they were meant to be!

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Shepherd Pony

We had a very exciting ride yesterday  – we were halfway up the hill when a lamb appeared in front of us.  Then there was another one and soon the ewe materialised as well.

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We obviously wanted to get them off the road and back into the field.  Unfortunately,  they took one look and ran away from us – and the gate.  I left  my sister and the ponies guarding the gate and set off in pursuit,  wondering how I was going to pass the sheep to turn them back.

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Luckily they darted off to the side and it looked like they had found the spot where they escaped.  They popped back over the bank and into the field.  It may have been the wrong field but at least they were safe and off the road.  It was a very satisfying job done.

Sheep Cross Country

We have had a proper deluge this week.  I think all the rain we haven’t had over the autumn fell in just a couple of days.  The last few days have been much better though and we have had some absolutely beautiful starlit nights.

It was looking pretty ominous when we went for our ride this morning and it was freezing cold but it stayed dry which was the main thing.  There were some loose sheep in the lane who ran round the edge of the field as we approached and jumped back in.  They were pretty athletic.

I stopped for no more than a quarter of an hour to speak to my neighbour and by the time I left there were already four back out of the field.  We herded three of them back but the fourth was the wrong side of us and ran ahead of us down the hill,  She kept thinking about turning and coming back but in the end we had to wait for a handy gateway so Galahad and I could scoot past.  She was fast enough going back up the hill then and I felt safe leaving her there until I came back on Cookster to herd her back in.  Of course, by then there was another sheep with her too.

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The farmer is aware that they are getting out – I didn’t just leave them to get on with it!

Mountaineering Ponies!

Since the ponies’ field is still lacking a bit grass-wise I decided to let them loose in the lane.  There is plenty of grass there  – nothing gets to eat it!  I tied the gate onto the road shut for extra security and parked the car across the house end.  It seemed fairly certain that would work  – the lane was completely blocked and besides, why would they want to leave all that grass?

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When I opened the field gate they came running but their heads went down as soon as they were through and they didn’t move any further!  They were definitely happy.

However, when I went to get them in it was dark and they were nowhere to be seen.  We scoured the entire length of the lane and even started checking for hoof prints at any potentially weak point in the hedge.  They definitely hadn’t got through the gate but I was getting seriously concerned until I spotted them right down by the house.  They had climbed the bank to get round the car.  They were fine but they are certainly determined little ponies!

Escape!

Two days ago, when I was calling the ponies in for their dinner, a gate got left open.  It only led into another enclosed paddock so it wasn’t an issue and besides, they wanted their dinner.  They wouldn’t be going away from the stables.

It turns out that fresh grass – greener than the stuff in their current field – is much more interesting than hay or even hard feed.  Both ponies went straight out of the gate and were soon munching away happily.  Sadly the excitement was a bit much for them so they also had to run around a bit.  The thing is, there’s a reason they haven’t been allowed in before to eat all that lovely juicy grass.

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It is on a pretty steep slope which is lovely in the summer but all the rain we have been having lately has made it just a tad slippery.   The ponies are both fine – they are not exactly delicate creatures – but the ground got surprisingly cut up in five minutes.  All gates will be kept firmly shut in future!