Managing the Heat

We have been having such a heatwave this past week! The ponies have been spending as much time as possible in the shade and the riding has taken a bit of a hit as well. When we did manage to get out it was always for something very gentle to keep down the temperature. Having said that, on Friday morning I took Galahad out for an early hack only to find that the dog had tagged along too. She isn’t really safe on the roads without a lead so our hack turned into a schooling session – albeit one that was still not too strenuous.

The evenings have been so much nicer and cooler this weekend that I have been able to get out again after work. Both ponies have enjoyed some lovely hacks – at least, I enjoyed them and I hope they did too!

I have also been very much enjoying the snippets of the Olympics I have been able to watch in between working. I will watch pretty much any Olympic sport but of course I am enjoying the dressage and am so looking forward to the team final on Tuesday which just happens to be my day off!

Evening Saunters

Galahad and I have had some lovely evening hacks this week. By the time I get home from work the heat has somewhat lessened and it is good to get out in the fresh air. We had one particularly good ride where we went a little further than usual. The sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze and with no reason to rush we had a very relaxing saunter through the countryside.

There is something very special about the light and the air in the evenings – and the early mornings too. There is just a wonderful feeling which isn’t there in the middle of the day. Riding out in it is always a treat.

In fact, the only problem is that as the sun is getting low it can be difficult to see. We cope but it does make me wonder if a car driver will be blinded by the sun and hit us. Of course, we are very careful and it really is beautiful – still the best way to end the day.

Dodging the Showers

This has been rather a disappointing week for me riding wise. I had my covid vaccination on Wednesday and I have been exhausted pretty much ever since. I have been managing to get through a day at work, then coming home, turning out the ponies and collapsing on the sofa.

Today however, I was determined things would be different. I had a difficult day at work but I made myself go out and tack up – between tennis matches and, fortuitously, between the rain showers.

I was so glad I made the effort. The exercise and fresh air definitely did me good and it was lovely to be outside. The rain shower that had just finished had got rid of the mugginess for a while and everything was wonderfully fresh. It was the best way to set up the week.

Playing in the Sunshine

It has been an absolutely glorious Bank Holiday Weekend here, with barely a cloud in the sky. Of course, I wanted to make the most of that with the ponies and luckily my sister was free this weekend too so we have been having a lovely time.

Yesterday we went for a relaxing hack around the lanes. Nothing too strenuous, just a lazy poddle which was very calming. It is nice for the ponies to get out together as they don’t necessarily do that too much at the moment.

Today we worked harder and got the poles out for the first time this year. It was still a lot of fun of course – and the ponies definitely seemed to enjoy it too. I did try some harder things though and even got Galahad jumping at an angle – something we very rarely do.

He jumped it beautifully and in fact didn’t put a foot wrong the whole time. It has been a great day.

Chatterbox Pony

The long dry spell we have had recently meant that I finally felt comfortble riding round my neighbour’s fields again. I am paranoid about damaging the ground by riding when it is too wet but I am definiutely safe at the moment.

Having once made the decision to do so I was quick to take advantage of the fact and within a couple of days I had taken both ponies out for a spin. They both seemed to very much appreciate the change in scene – Galahad in particular was suddenly very full of beans and happily speeding over the grass.

Cookster was less speedy but I have never known him to be such a chatterbox! He wanted to talk to all the horses we saw and spent the whole time we were in the fields giving little squeals of excitement. They sounded exactly like he was planning to buck and go charging off but he was far too sedate to do that!

I had two lovely rides – it was so good to be exploring different horizons again. Every little change in scenery is always an excitement and I am very much looking forward to going out again.

Hacking Joys

The easing of Covid restrictions this week has seen me returning to work for the first time in three months. It has been nice to talk to people about books again but it has still been pretty stressful – I am just not used to seeing people! The ponies have been a huge help to me though – if I’m having a tough time I just remind myself that in a few hours I can go home and take a pony out for a ride. It really does help me get through the day.

I have been very lucky too that the weather has been glorious all week. There has been no chance of me being reluctant to ride out in the rain. Instead, every evening I have been desperate to get out to the stables, tack up as fast as I can and make the most of the dying light. It has been simply beautiful.

It is a lot of fun too. Ten year old me would have been so happy to be able to do this after school and in a way I feel I have created a lot of that same feeling for myself now. There has been no pressure to do anything clever or exciting – it is just me and a pony poddling around the fields and enjoying each other’s company. It is a balm for the soul.

Easter Sunshine

A combination of lockdown and work commitments has meant that I haven’t been able to ride with my sister since before Christmas, so it was for the first time in months that we hacked out together on Friday. In a socially distanced manner of course!

It was so lovely to have the company. I do enjoy the peace and time to think when I ride out by myself but there is nothing quite like having a friend with whom you can chat as you go along. We are having the most gorgeous weather for the Easter weekend as well so it has been delightful to be out and about.

Cookster is moulting well now, whereas Galahad – predictably – is not. My sister therefore took longer to get ready than I did – you could keep grooming Cookster for hours and still be getting hair out. That meant I had some time to kill and I decided to experiment with plaiting Galahad’s feathers. I’ve seen pictures of this being done beautifully and although Galahad has nothing like the hair you get on a cob I thought it would be fun to try. I could have done with slightly longer hair but still it wasn’t bad for a first attempt!

Spring is Springing

This year I have been riding around our own fields more than ever before. It’s always been something I might do occassionally but it wasn’t until we went into lockdown – and riding away from our own property got restricted – that I fully appreciated how lovely it could be.

For lazy days like today it is the prerfect activity. There is nothing strenuous required as there would be in a schooling session and no need to keep an eye and ear open for oncoming traffic on the roads. Of course, we can’t go any great distance in a straight line but we can certainly do a decent amount of pottering – and now the ground is drying out we can even get in some reasonable canters.

The terrain is beautifully varied too. Our hills and stream might take more maintenance work than a flat paddock but they do make riding a good deal more interesting. Particularly if the pony is feeling fresh and we have to navigate a steep descent!

Some of the main joys at the moment though are the signs of spring which are popping up all over the place. The flowers are always a delight but again I have become particularly aware of them since lockdown. Very excitingly, the bare, churned up patches of mud are now showing tiny green shoots. The grass is growing!

Serene Sunday

This weekend has been an interesting mix of very busy and lazy hours. Yesterday we had a delivery of what will hopefully be our last load of hay for the year and it is very satisfying to see the shed full again.

I haven’t been getting much riding done during the week recently – I have been using my time at home to work on creating some stationery which I will be selling online very soon and it has obviously taken quite a bit of work to set up. Whatever happens during the week though, I always make sure to ride the ponies at the weekend. Yesterday’s rides were a bit rushed due to the hay delivery but this afternoon Galahd and I had a simply lovely hack around our fields. We even had a delightful paddle in the stream.

It’s still a bit wet for much cantering but we managed a bit on the grass in the lane and spent the rest of the time enjoying being out in the weather. It was a lovely breezy afternoon with just a hint of drizzle – wonderfully refreshing.

The dog had a great time too – she found a lovely bunch of feathers and very much enjoyed having a chew on them. Thankfully there was nothing else left of the pheasant for her to eat!

Tranquility and Chaos

As I was riding home on Galahad today I realised that the air was feeling slightly less wintry. Yes the fields are still absolutely sodden – no chance of recording a dressage test just yet – but there was that undefinable feeling in the air that perhaps spring is not so far away after all.

I know I have shared this view many, many times before but it gave me such a wonderful feeling of peace and tranquility today. Just that small effort of getting on the pony and riding out is so good for me and it really does make all the difference. It was a lovely feeling to have as I got home.

Then I opened the tackroom door to find this scene inside. The dog can’t be trusted out on hacks so I shut her in as I left. She has a perfectly good bed in there but she had to pull out the clean numnahs and curl up on them instead. Naturally she was wet and muddy too so I have plenty of pony laundry to do now. There is a bright side though – I had been putting off the laundry and these were the only two clean numnahs left. It was definitely time to get them washed!