Now that I’m home again it is lovely to be spending more time with the ponies. It is good just having them to talk to but of course I am appreciating the riding as well.
The big field up behind us has just had its hay crop cut which means we can now use it for riding. It is very exciting and definitely livens up our hacks. The ponies love it too!
I always try to keep Galahad to just a steady canter the first time we have the field each summer. In the past he has been known to get far too overexcited and just take off across the field and I don’t want him to get the idea that that is okay. Speed is fun but I do like to know that I can stop if I want!
Once we’ve established who is in charge we can have fun and Galahad likes to go fast!
He only has little legs though so Equilab still thinks we’re trotting some of the time!
We have been having a great time – it is always good to get a new place to ride!
I recently took Galahad for a spin in my neighbour’s fields and for the first time I tried riding him there in a kimblewick. He can be inclined to take off a bit in the field – he certainly enjoys going fast – and I wanted to try the kimblewick to see if it would help me maintain a little bit more control.
It definitely seemed to work. I kept to a walk far longer than I normally would and although he was obviously keen to go found it very easy to keep him walking. We then trotted for a bit before breaking into a canter.
Again, it was much easier than usual to keep to a steady canter. When I finally let Galahad gallop he was more than ready to go and we sped across the field. Crucially though, he was no trouble at all to pull up again.
The main thing was that at no point did I feel he was going to take off and I would be unable to stop. I felt perfectly safe and it was definitely a successful experiment.
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.
On one of my rides with my sister this week we went for a canter in our neighbour’s fields – for the first time in ages. Galahad can get overexcited when we do that and has been known to take off across the field from a sheer love of going fast.
This time however, he was incredibly steady and his canter was in fact slower than Cookster’s trot. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time and I was never worried about him running away. We even separated the two ponies so my sister could take a couple of photographs and they were both as good as gold.
Later in the week I took Galahad in the field by himself to see if it was just the company which kept him steady. He did go considerably faster that time but I still felt pretty much in control and was very happy with him. It has been a lovely week!
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.
Schooling this week has been interesting. I went out on Tuesday and although I didn’t feel like I had Galahad’s full attention – he felt very distracted and full of pent up energy – he was at least doing what I asked when I asked. Then my sister walked into the field, he apparently found her terrifying and we went tearing up to the other end of the field. I wasn’t too concerned by that – he can still be very spooky – but he then galloped right back to the other end again which is less common. The neighbouring farmer had just come into his field to feed his sheep which seemed like a possible reason for the second dash.
We went back to walking in circles and my sister went back indoors. I was very aware of the farmer going through the next gate but Galahad didn’t react and I hoped that was it.
It wasn’t. Next thing I knew we were galloping up and down the field again. I think it wouldn’t have been so bad but that particular field is very long and thin so Galahad can really get going before he has to stop or turn. This time he ran into the field shelter which was rather scary as I had no option but to duck right down. I did manage to stop him though and got off as it seemed safer! I led him round the field a few times until the farmer had left and Galahad seemed more settled. I knew I had to get back on but I got my Dad to hold Galahad as I did so. I was barely back in the saddle before he took off again, straight into the shelter. This time though I managed not to let him gallop up the field. We walked a lot of circles near the gate and then ventured a little further which was going well until we turned back and Galahad tried to take off again.
This time though, I was starting to get the hang of him. I couldn’t stop him immediately but I could direct him so we cantered several circles, then trotted a few and finally walked again. When he eventually started to relax I stopped him and got off. It seemed like a sensible idea to stop while we were ahead and not try to push it too much.
It was rather an unnerving experience but hopefully we were just having a bad day. I have ridden several times since then and although he once tried to canter home across the field we haven’t really had any more problems. Everyone is entitled to an off day once in a while!
This has been a very exciting week for me. As Galahad is an Exmoor he needs very little stuff – no rugs or anything. This is a shame because I love buying horsey things. However, since we have started going to a couple of shows it seems like an excellent excuse to do some shopping! Hence – Galahad’s first boots.
Sorry the video is rather short, my camera ran out of battery. He was surprisingly unfazed by them. I also bought him a tail bandage. Unfortunately I needed it at rather short notice for our show last week and the only colour left was bright pink:
In the end it didn’t come in time and I did consider returning it in favour of a blue or green one but as I would have to pay the return postage which would be more than the cost of the thing itself it didn’t seem worth it. Galahad is going to be one snazzy pony!
In other news, we are able to gallop on our neighbour’s fields again, hurrah! We have a lovely wide path to play with, although Galahad still thinks that sometimes it is fun to swerve into the long stuff. My boots get filled up with grass seeds!