We do not have the best hacking out here. Everything involves a long trek on a road and there are no bridle paths near us. I have, however, been very lucky with my neighbours and a couple of them let me ride over their fields.
Unfortunately those fields have both been sold but I have relatively new neighbours in the other direction who have now given me permission to ride in their fields.
This is a lovely space for riding and I am so grateful to have access to it. We can wend our way round several fields (and a bit of woodland!) and make a very decent length ride with only a short amount of roadwork to get there. It is wonderful.
Galahad has always been good at escaping into places he should not be. If there is a way out of a field he will find it so I really need to be extra careful about checking all the gateways when I turn him out. Sometimes though, I have moments of careless oversight.
I recently turned the ponies out into a small paddock without realising that a hurdle was slightly out of place and had left enough room for a pony to squeeze out. Luckily it only led along our stream, not onto the road and even more fortunate was the fact that I came out and found him very soon afterwards.
I wasn’t too worried – I just had to catch him and take him back. Nobody was in any danger. Then he decided he wasn’t ready for that and jumped into our neighbour’s field (there isn’t much of a hedge there – it is mainly a ditch and a drop from our side). The grass next door was pretty long and it’s quite possible that Galahad did not realise how far down he would actually go.
I had to walk round to the farmhouse and apologise profusely for my pony, whilst still observing social distancing. Then I had to try and catch him. Galahad found himself in a large field filled with far more grass than he has at home. Why would he want to be taken away from that? I spent a very embarrassing time completely failing to get hold of him. He did try a couple of times to climb back over the hedge but it was much harder going the other way!
In the end I resorted to trying to herd him which was also pretty difficult – again, it was a large field and there was only one of me. Eventually though, he allowed himself to be moved up to the farmyard where we could corner him and my Dad could grab hold of his fly mask. I got out of there as quickly as I could!
Galahad had looked very beautiful in all that long grass but it is definitely not an experience I want to repeat!
The fields have been getting to the point where they needed topping again and this weekend we had a window where the grass was actually dry enough to do so. My Dad started off but got a little stuck in some soft ground so I had to help push him out. It turned out I was not strong enough and I ended up driving while he pushed.
After that I just carried on because it’s actually quite fun when you don’t get to do it very often!
I’m not the best grass cutter in the world but I did a good enough job and enjoyed it too so I call that a success. Obviously the real horse power is best though!
Yesterday my sister and I went for a ride through the fields together. Galahad was again very well behaved but with a little more energy – he was perhaps a bit too slow last time!
This time we had a proper gallop but it was planned and definitely not just Galahad taking off. He did spook once but we think my sister touched him accidentally with her whip. It’s excusable to spook at that!
We had a lovely ride. The weather was perfect and the ponies were well behaved. What could be better?
Last week I mentioned that that I was hoping to have some good hacks this week. I was not disappointed! We have had a glorious week of sunshine and some wonderful rides. We also managed to get into my neighbour’s fields for a canter for the first time this year which was excellent!
The first time we just stuck to a fairly steady circuit of the smaller field. Both ponies were very well behaved and quite sedate really.
A couple of days later we rode up again and also went into the larger field. We had a lovely canter up one side and then walked past the pheasant farm which seems to have grown. We stopped to have a better look – until Galahad decided it was far too scary and took off across the field. He even threw in a few bucks for good measure which is something he hasn’t done for a long time. I did manage to pull him up and we did walk down the hill but we did have to have to have a bit of an argument first.
Once we did get down the hill we had a lovely canter back up again and we did then have another nice canter back in the first field. We even walked sensibly away from Cookster so my sister could take the photograph.
Galahad does seem to have got into a bit of a habit of taking off sometimes when we go out for a canter. I think it is more joie de vivre than anything else but it is still not a good thing. It is definitely something we need to work on.
We still had a lovely few days though and are so much enjoying ourselves.
Today has been a mixture of beautiful sunshine and heavy showers. Luckily, Galahad and I went for our ride in a gorgeous, sunshiny part of the day.
We had a lovely hack, enjoyed some cantering in my neighbour’s field but also spent some time walking round the field to make sure he doesn’t think we always canter.
It has been a wonderful day!
After our busy weekend we have had a nice, quiet week. It has been a bit slippery to ride in the field so we have had some lovely hacks. It has all been very relaxing! We did manage a good gallop in my neighbour’s field before that got slippery and Galahad behaved very well, although we were surprised by a herd of sheep over the brow of the hill. They are the sort of sheep that stand and stare instead of running away which made it a bit unnerving even for me!
However, the idea of Galahad taking off wasn’t too much of an issue. The grass was very lush and it was taking all my energy to stop him eating. He had been in the yard all day and was very determined!
We still had a bit of an argument about direction and speed – I wanted to walk down the hill away from the gate so we could canter round the field and back to the gate. He didn’t see the point and wanted to cut the corner at speed. I won though and I think the lesson has been learnt.
Galahad has also been acting as a table this week. I dropped in to see my neighbour and as she wasn’t in decided to leave a note. There was nowhere else I could use!
He made an admirable table and stood stock still so I was very pleased with him. A good week all round.
Over the winter our fields can get quite cut up which means that once the ground starts to dry out we are left with all sorts of lumps and bumps the ponies (and I!) can trip over. It can make schooling rather difficult as we aren’t confident enough to go forward properly. We haven’t jumped at all this year yet because the idea of tripping as we do is not pleasant.
However, we finally managed to get the fields harrowed. The fields are looking a lot better already and once the grass gets growing properly they should start looking lovely again.
I schooled this morning and it definitely felt a nicer surface to ride on. We didn’t trip once and I wasn’t at all worried about working Galahad properly. Now I should finally be able to use the lovely jumps I got for my birthday. I can’t wait!
We have had some glorious weather recently. There is a bit of a cool breeze but most days the sun has been shining and it has been simply lovely. Our morning hacks have been pretty good but riding after work has been wonderful – the evenings have felt particularly beautiful.
The ground is drying out nicely now too and we have managed to go out for a canter in our neighbour’s field a couple of times this week. The first time this year! It was very exciting for me but Galahad was very good and not over excited at all which was comforting. The first time we rode out with my sister but the second time we were by ourselves. Galahad was maybe a little stronger by himself but was still completely under control. We had a great time.
I don’t think I have ever seen the fields so wet. Every so often we get a rain free day or two and things start to dry out a bit. I get very optimistic about it and then it starts raining again. At the moment my schooling field looks like this.
It makes schooling a bit difficult. We have another dressage competition soon and this time I am doing two tests I have never ridden before. Given that I forgot part of the test I was riding for the first time at the last show I am not too confident about this one! Obviously trot and canter are out of the question but I have managed to ride through the test at walk which hopefully will be enough. Galahad doesn’t really like being ridden on slippery ground but once we get started he has been settling fairly well.
I am still only managing to ride a couple of times week but it is definitely getting lighter in the mornings and it shouldn’t be long before I have time to ride before work. In fact, I am hoping to get a couple of sessions in before our competition just to get Galahad’s fitness up a bit. Fingers crossed!