Having Fun

Sometimes it is good to get back to basics and just have a little fun with the ponies. For my sister and I today that meant building some obstacles and playing some gymkhana style games – things like rearranging my dressage letter cones on the top of some jump wings. I had intended to spell the word cake but as I couldn’t find the A I ended up just alphabetising them.

We also did some bending, threw socks in a bucket, walked over a tarpaulin and navigated our way through a maze of poles.

I spent quite some time working on neck reining with Galahad too. It isn’t something we practise often but he isn’t bad at it – at least at walk. Our ability to do it properly decreases as we speed up. Trot is okay but canter definitely needs some work. Having said that, I also played with riding without reins and even at canter that went pretty well – although my steering was somewhat limited. The brakes weren’t bad though.

I had a very fun afternoon and it has reminded me how much I enjoyed playing with the ponies when we first started riding them. I really should do it more often.

Father’s Day Fête

Today being Father’s Day, we held a little summer fête style event in the field. We had a lot of games to play – things like archery, cheese rolling and wellie wanging. We even built a coconut shy on one of the cross country jumps and at one point I found myself climbing a tree to retrieve my paper plane. I actually very much enjoy the climbing. It’s the getting back down again which scares me a bit!

We set up the gazebo with plenty of bunting to look pretty, although we ended up having to eat indoors because it absolutely poured down over lunch time. That didn’t stop us going out again for more games though – including a scavanger hunt. That offered extra points to anyone who found a fly mask in the field but sadly nobody earnt them. I know there are two lying around somewhere so I need to make the time to go and have another hunt for them soon – I did have a look when they were first lost but as I was in a hurry to get to work at the time it probably wasn’t the most thorough of searches.

Our day ended with turning the ponies out and I had a turn riding Cookster out bareback. I’ve never done that in a dress before so it was quite an experience. I wouldn’t risk it on Galahad – I am extra cautious when I ride him bareback anyway as he always feels ready to explode. Trying it wearing a skirt would be pushing it a bit too far I feel!

Summer Games

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Galahad’s Gymkhana

Today I got to be an honorary child and join in with the children’s gymkhana games.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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