Acrobatics

Yesterday was quite the adventure.

I took both ponies out for a gentle hack around the fields (separately – not together) and as Galahad and I were heading home I thought it would be a good idea to canter up the grass in the lane. The fields are absolutely sodden at the moment so it’s the only place we can actually canter.

The field gate leading back to the stables is halfway up the lane and I knew Galahad would want to go that way. Usually I can keep him going past it but he breaks into a trot in doing so. This time I was determined to keep the canter. I was actually successful in that but I failed to keep him straight and he ducked into the gateway. That wouldn’t have been so bad but the gate – which I had left wide open – had swung until it was almost closed. There was just about room for an Exmoor pony to squeeze through but not so much for my legs, one of which got caught on the latch and I was pulled out of the saddle. The next thing I knew, Galahad pulled the reins out of my hand and galloped for home.

No, I should not have been wearing wellies for riding – I was lazy and hadn’t bothered to change them. Chances are I might not have come off if I had. I was incredibly lucky – no broken bones, just some bruises and pulled muscles. Galahad too was lucky – he could easily have seriously damaged himself on the bolt on the gate. That being so, my training kicked in and I got back in the saddle – which is now covered in mud and in serious need of a clean – and we cantered past the gate a few times. This time though it was firmly shut!

My clothes were in no fit state to go in the washing machine and as the hosepipe is frozen I made use of the stream to get rid of the worst of the mud. It’s an incredibly useful resource!

Still Working Hard

We are still working hard at our gate opening for the next trec competition.

20170419_193133

We are at the point now where it is not so hard for us to get the gate open.  Even walking through the gate is going well.

20170419_193139.jpg

The only real difficulty now is trying to close the gate again.  Our rein back when neck reining is not great at the moment – we can go backwards but not in a straight line!

20170419_193200.jpg

This makes it just a little hard to get the rope back on the post.  My arms just aren’t long enough!  It is such huge progress though and I am sure the rest will come in time.  At least he does not seem to be afraid of the rope any more.

Escape!

Two days ago, when I was calling the ponies in for their dinner, a gate got left open.  It only led into another enclosed paddock so it wasn’t an issue and besides, they wanted their dinner.  They wouldn’t be going away from the stables.

It turns out that fresh grass – greener than the stuff in their current field – is much more interesting than hay or even hard feed.  Both ponies went straight out of the gate and were soon munching away happily.  Sadly the excitement was a bit much for them so they also had to run around a bit.  The thing is, there’s a reason they haven’t been allowed in before to eat all that lovely juicy grass.

20160212_094201

It is on a pretty steep slope which is lovely in the summer but all the rain we have been having lately has made it just a tad slippery.   The ponies are both fine – they are not exactly delicate creatures – but the ground got surprisingly cut up in five minutes.  All gates will be kept firmly shut in future!

Gate Troubles

I was rather short of riding time the other morning – I think I have mentioned before that I am not the best morning person!  I decided that it would be a good use of our time to do some work on opening gates or – more specifically – rope pretending to be a gate.  I have booked a trec training day with mini competition in December and I know that one of the obstacles is likely to be a rope tied between two posts which needs to be opened and closed like a gate.

Galahad is normally pretty good with gates but not so great if I try to keep hold of them – which I would need to do with the rope!  One of our gates has a piece of rope tied to it and I have been getting Galahad used to me moving it about.  I have never actually managed to use it like a gate and it seemed  like a good time to try.

20151117_085313

Unfortunately though, I picked a bad day weather wise.  It wasn’t raining that hard but the wind was blowing well and so Galahad wanted to turn away from the rain.  That was unfortunate as it meant he absolutely would not stand parallel to the gate but was determined to face it and so I couldn’t reach the catch to open it.

In the end I got off to open the gate.  Galahad doesn’t really have an issue with gates and I wanted to spend the time playing with the rope.  I finally managed to be in the saddle holding the rope when  Galahad spooked.  It was only a very small spook but it was enough for the rope I was holding to slam the gate hard – right in his ear.  I then dropped the rope – which probably hit him – and we went charging across the field.

I decided to call it a day.  I was already going to be late leaving for work and it was clear by that point that I wasn’t going to achieve a great deal.  We’ll have another go soon but I’ll pick a day when it is neither windy nor raining!