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?
I think Galahad enjoyed his week off.
He managed to cover himself in mud and is looking a bit tubby!
It was lovely to get back in the saddle this weekend. As neither pony had been ridden for a week I just took them out for a hack. It was a glorious morning and we had a great time. Galahad and I acted as a newspaper delivery – my neighbour has a delivery every day but it is dropped off at the bottom of the hill about a mile from her house. If it is there when I ride past I tend to take it up for her.
It is times like this that I realise how far Galahad has come. He stood like a rock while I messed about with the paper and behaved very well when I was carrying it up the hill. There are two papers on a Saturday which makes it more tricky and it was only as I went past that I remembered I hadn’t ridden him that way since I fell off the other week. I was a bit concerned he might get worried whilst I was riding one handed but he didn’t react at all.
I also took him for a canter in the fields. They are always a bit wet even in summer and I think they are getting past the point where they are rideable now. It’s not dangerous yet but we left quite a few hoof prints and as it isn’t our field I don’t like to make a mess of it.
Galahad was feeling rather fresh and he showed that he really does like going fast. I got asked a couple of weeks ago if I can stop him when he takes off and I found that the answer is, ‘Sometimes.’ If I catch him early enough I don’t have much of a problem but it is harder once he gets going properly. I discovered that I can be quite ineffective as a rider too – once I start to think something risky is inevitable I tend to just hang on until it is over and then start trying again afterwards. Not that Galahad is actually dangerous – he just can gallop rather fast!
In other news we have had some work done our trees which has left us with a rather large pile of logs to burn but we also have these to jump:
I can’t wait to get them moved so we can jump them before the ground gets too wet. As you can see we are rather excited!
Whilst I was at the Europeans Galahad had a holiday as well. Of course, his consisted mostly of standing in his field eating grass but I am sure he enjoyed himself very much.
Being away reminds me just how far Galahad has come in the last year. Not so very long ago a week’s break would have had him shying away from me in the field and we would have taken several steps backward. This time however he walked up to me just as usual despite my torch – he isn’t a fan of torches! When it came to riding him the next day he was quite full of energy but behaved very well. He really has improved.
We had a lovely hack in the fading light and the sky was absolutely beautiful. It doesn’t really come out in the photograph – they never do.
Sadly in that week the light has changed so much that I no longer have enough of it to ride both ponies after work. I try to alternate them which means Galahad will only be ridden half as much for now. Less once it gets too dark to ride at all.
Thursday, however, was my day off. My sister was able to ride too so we hacked out together. We had a good gallop in the fields up the hill and the good news is that the hay bales are not really scary anymore. We canter around the original ones (looking a bit sorry for themselves now) quite happily and although we might roll our eyes a bit at the new ones which have appeared in the next two fields they didn’t stop us cantering there either. All of which is very good news despite the fact that my sister’s pony makes a beeline for the bales now he has worked out they are made of hay.
We had glorious sunshine for the whole of our ride even though we had a short drizzly shower too. The ponies got hot enough to need a wash down and I was back to riding in a t-shirt. We had a gorgeous time and I think the ponies enjoyed it too. Galahad certainly enjoyed his galloping, I’m not so sure about his partial bath afterwards!
It was finally dry enough for me to be able to get some schooling in over the weekend. Galahad can still take a while to start listening properly but once he is listening he does try hard. We even did a little jumping which excited him very much. It is definitely his favourite thing to do. I would love to take him cross country jumping so now he is happy jumping tyres laid flat I have started introducing upright ones as well.
We are just jumping the pole in the middle at the moment. It took him by surprise the first time he saw it and he slid to a stop but after that he popped over it happily. I will fill in the gap soon so we are actually jumping the tyres themselves.
I also schooled my sister’s pony on Saturday. He is completely different to ride and is a pony of extremes. It is either a struggle to get him moving forward or he is nice and forward but with dodgy brakes and steering. Saturday was a dodgy brakes day! We still had quite a good session though and jumped a few jumps. He is really good for my riding as he forces me to use my legs not my hands and I always feel I have learnt something when I finish riding him.
Yesterday Galahad and I rode out with my sister and we braved the hay bales in the field up the hill. They are apparently safe enough to ride past now, although they still have to be closely watched. We had a couple of proper gallops again but this time Galahad went where I was intending and stopped when I wanted. He is clearly a lot fitter than he was a few months ago as he can now canter the whole way up hills where he couldn’t before. It is something that seems to have happened all of a sudden without me noticing! It’s rather gratifying – we must be doing something right!
This has been a fun week for Galahad. We don’t have any shows lined up in the near future so we have been having a bit of a play. We had a go at some gymkhana games which can be tricky as things like flags are often scary. Just how scary varies day to day. We haven’t played games for a few months now so Galahad needed building up to the real scary stuff. I got a very bad grip on a pair of socks and dropped them. They hit one of his forelegs and he took off across the field. Still a lot of work to be done!
Jumping is something Galahad really does like though. He is always keen to jump and touch wood seems to run out a lot less now. He has been such a good teacher for me. Looking down has always been a bit of a weakness of mine but I found that if I looked down at the jump he almost always ran out. That gave me an incredible incentive to look up!
Yes that pole is going flying. It was the only jump he knocked down but the best photograph by far!
Our hacks have been pretty wet, over the weekend especially. It turns out that my waterproof trousers are now not so much waterproof and more just trousers! In one of our dry spells we went up to have a canter in the exciting galloping field only to find that it had sprouted scary round things.
After a careful look we decided perhaps they were safe.
I didn’t ride him round them though as he felt pretty wound up and I was by myself so thought I’d be sensible. The next field hadn’t been cut so we had a nice canter round that. At least, that was the plan. He started the first canter with his head well down which always unnerves me as I remember his bucking very well! The next canter started better but I could feel him wanting to go and as we got round the corner he took off and properly galloped up the hill. I don’t think we’ve ever been so fast! I almost left it at that but decided to try the last canter. Before we had even got down the hill Galahad was ready and he galloped across it then round in a nice curve. That was enough and we went home. Without someone to watch me it seemed a bad idea to have an argument with him when he was so wound up.
All in all it has been an exciting few days. This evening is much calmer – I rode before work so am now catching up on the European showjumping. I will miss having the Europeans to watch every day!