I have been working very long hours this week – almost double what I normally do. I am utterly exhausted now but I have actually had a great time working at the Appledore Book Festival and I wouldn’t want to change it.
However, it has meant that I have had to neglect the ponies a bit. Obviously I have made sure that they are fed and watered but that has been about it. My Dad has done a sterling job of turning them out and bringing them in when necessary.
I think they have been a bit lonely though – they have started turning up at coffee time looking for company (and possibly treats!).
This coming week should be more normal and I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle. First though I need to sleep!
The ponies can be very good at letting us know when they are hungry. I got home the other day to find them waiting patiently for lunch.
Today being beautifully sunny and the ground drying up nicely I took the opportunity to give the ponies some extra grazing. It is always good to make as much use of the grass as possible so I padlocked our gate (just so nobody could accidentally let the ponies out onto the road) and turned them out into the lane.
They certainly appreciated the grass and cantered off happily but they would keep coming back. I had parked my car across the lane to keep them in but they climbed round it – it seemed that all they wanted was the grass just outside their own gate!
This week the ponies have actually been earning their keep.
Our lawn mower broke and the grass needed cutting. There is a shortage of hay in the UK this year so we have been trying to make the best use of the grass we can. Therefore, the ponies became living lawn mowers.
Of course, I couldn’t just leave them to get on with it as there is a drop at the edge of the grass and I had to make sure they didn’t try to jump down. Besides, I didn’t want them tearing up the lawn!
I had a lovely time sat out with a book and enjoying the ponies’ company. It is something I would thoroughly recommend, although I did get rather chilly!
As the heat wave has killed off so much of the grass, we are having to get inventive in the ponies’ turnout. Not that they need too much to eat – they are practically bred to live on air! They do need something though and we have been making the most of the land.
There is a lane leading up over the stream which is very overgrown and muddy – you wouldn’t get a car along it. I have written before about riding up it but now the ponies are eating it.
It is actually very useful as they trample the undergrowth as well as eating it so hopefully it will be a bit clearer next time we ride!
On Thursday Galahad and I were very lucky and were given permission to ride in a field on our neighbouring farm.
We were very happy to set out exploring and it was wonderful to have such a big field to play in.
There is a wood along one side of the field with lots of little entrances I would have loved to explore if I hadn’t had Galahad with me.
In fact, I did dismount and take him along this path. It led to the most delightful glade.
It had been a pretty stressful day at work and by the time I got home I was not feeling great and wasn’t even sure I wanted to ride. The lure of the field took me out though and before we got round it once I felt so much better.
In fact, the only (unimportant) downside was that my boots filled with grass seeds. They look so beautiful though.
It was the best end to the day.
Over the winter my parents have been working hard at tidying up the ponies’ summer paddock. Brambles have been cleared, fences mended and hedges wrestled into shape.
I have helped a bit too of course but it was barely anything compared to the amount they have done. The field is looking so much better for it too.
On Sunday the ponies were turned out in the field for the first time this year. Instead of running out – like they have been into their old field – they stopped not far in and their heads went straight down. I think they were very happy!
Obviously, there is a lot of grass in there at the moment so we have to be a bit careful they don’t put on weight. Hopefully we can keep them in check!
My parents have done an amazing job and the field is looking beautiful. The ponies – and I of course – are so incredibly lucky.
Galahad has had some time off this week as I am just back from a couple of days in Surrey. I had a lovely time pottering about and found a simply wonderful bridlepath.
I would love to have that a little nearer to home!
I came back home to some very good news. Firstly, the grass is starting to grow.
It’s a bit hard to see in the picture but I promise it is sprouting!
Secondly, the field is finally dry enough to school in. It is still a little soggy down one end so we have to be careful but today I managed to school both ponies and Cookster and I even had a little jump.
I didn’t jump Galahad – instead we did some semi cross country training. We went up and down pretty steep hills in a different field and splashed in and out of the stream.
I had a thouroughly good time and I think Galahad enjoyed himself too.
Yesterday was simply beautiful and the ponies took full advantage of the sunshine by simply walking through a gate that was accidentally left open and gorging on the lush grass. It wouldn’t really have been a problem except that it is quite a steep slope and the ground is still very slippery. Luckily they were far too interested in the grass to run about!
We thought we would have terrible trouble catching them and dragging them away for a ride but actually Cookster just stood stock still.
Galahad was another story and would not let me near him.
He was quite happy to follow Cookster up to the stables though! We found some very interested visitors when we got there – waiting for their breakfasts.
Sadly we didn’t have any for them.
When we did get out for our ride we had a lovely time. The primroses are suddenly flourishing – I thought there were plenty of them before but overnight they seem to have multiplied and now there are whole banks covered in them. They were beautiful!
The fields have been getting to the point where they needed topping again and this weekend we had a window where the grass was actually dry enough to do so. My Dad started off but got a little stuck in some soft ground so I had to help push him out. It turned out I was not strong enough and I ended up driving while he pushed.
After that I just carried on because it’s actually quite fun when you don’t get to do it very often!
I’m not the best grass cutter in the world but I did a good enough job and enjoyed it too so I call that a success. Obviously the real horse power is best though!
After weeks of no rain it is suddenly raining a LOT. At least, we have been having some very heavy showers. Which means that the grass is finally starting to grow a bit. Of course, it isn’t growing as much as the weeds so the fields needed topping to control them. Which was rather sad as the buttercups are beautiful.
Still, it had to be done and it is looking a lot better for it. The next job will be harrow the fields and they will be perfect!