I am always trying to find new things to keep the ponies interested in what we’re doing. They don’t want to be doing the same thing all the time any more than we do so this week when my sister came over for some socially distanced riding my parents and I set up some games for us to play. They were a medley of gymkhana games and some trec style obstacles which were a lot of fun and were also good for the ponies.
Anything that involved me on Galahad picking up a pole was obviously scary for him, although the flag race went pretty well. Our version of tent pegging however took us a long time to get through. Perseverance did pay off but it’s never going to be something he’s desperate to do!
Another very good game was a kind of maze made with poles on the ground. That was excellent for the ponies’ flexibility and it was gratifying to see just how bendable they are.
My favourite activity though was riding under low branches. When we first approached Galahad was having none of it but we worked patiently and before long we could canter through. He does work so hard and makes me very proud!
Today I got to be an honorary child and join in with the children’s gymkhana games.
We had a big group of children and kept swapping ponies. That meant that not only did I get to ride a lot of different ponies – which doesn’t happen often for me these days – but my own ponies got ridden by many different riders. The children were arguing over who got to ride them – I hadn’t realised they were quite so popular!
It was a fantastic education for them – it isn’t often that they get ridden by anybody else, let alone so many within the space of a couple of hours. Plus, naturally a gymkana involves a great many scary things like flags but they both just took them all in their stride. I was so proud of them!
Equitation goes a bit by the board in gymkana!
Cookster in particular did very well in the bucket elimination round – especially as he has not done it before. We got down to three buckets before we were knocked out and came second in the older group.
I also helped out with the younger children which for a gymkhana means lots of running up and down leading ponies. I haven’t run so far in ages!
This was also the first time in years that I have taken part in gymkana games with other people away from home. I had so much fun!