Taking a Break

As the ponies had been staying away I took the opportunity to hack over some different routes to our usual fare and also to squeeze in a couple of lessons. Galahad and I had a lovely time roaming around the countryside and it was amazing what a change had come over him in little more than a week. He was beginning to get a bit fluffy before he went away but now his winter coat is most definitely coming through – even his ears are starting to look fluffy!

The lessons were great too and I was plesaed with the way both ponies went. Cookster especially jumped beautifully – once you get him straight he really does have a good jump.

Despite enjoying the time away it was good to have the ponies home again. There is nothing quite like walking out of the door and the ponies being right there. However, I don’t get to enjoy that for long. My parents and sister are taking over the care of them as I am going away for a fortnight to work at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. I am so excited about going but I will miss the ponies and I know I will feel the lack of riding when I get back! I have decided to take two weeks off from writing the blog as I will have no pony content to share – and I know I am going to be incredibly busy while I am away. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks desperate to share everything the ponies have been doing!

Changing Seasons

Autumn is definitely creeping up on us. I have actually had to turn the tack room light on in the evening a couple of times – it has been a while since that was necessary! I would have liked to turn the stable light on too but the swallows have a second brood in the nest built against the light so that is not currently possible.

The ponies’ winter coats are starting to come through too. They aren’t very fluffy yet but the effect of even that small extra amount of hair is already showing itself. We had a pretty hot day yesterday and Galahad got surprisingly sweaty very quickly as we went over a few jumps. So much so that I cut our schooling session a little shorter than I had planned. We need to go a little bit gently until Galahad is clipped. At least while this warm weather lasts.

Not that we didn’t still have a good ride – and this evening Galahad and I went out for a post work hack which was delightful. In fact, I love autumn – there is something about the crispness of the air in the mornings and evenings which is wonderful. Plus, we will start lighting the woodburner in the evenings – something which always makes me happy, even if it does encourage me to spend more time inside.

I actually spent a fair bit of yesterday indoors anyway though – it was wonderful to be able to watch the five star eventing from Bicton which made for a very exciting couple of days. I have missed having the big events to watch, although I very much enjoyed what I could see of the Paralympcs over the past couple of weeks. Sadly most of the dressage happened whilst I was at work but I watched what I could and I loved it. Now I’m very much looking forward to the next one!

Taking Time Out

This has been another busy week for me – what with work, an agility competition with the dog, taking my stationery to another summer fête and photographing a whole load of new cards for my online shop I haven’t had much time for myself. However, I have been making a point of going out to ride every day when I get home from work and that has definitely been beneficial.

It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the to do list and focus on getting that completed before anything else but I have learnt from experience that it is not a good idea. It is so much better for my health – both physical and mental – if I get outside, even if it is just for a half hour hack.

This evening – after the photography session – Cookster and I went for a lovely little jaunt. Not very far really but enough to blow the cobwebs away. It was a gorgeous evening and it was wonderful to be out in it. We even had a beautiful sunset to enjoy – although as usual it has not photographed well!

Getting Things Done

Friday was all about chores for me. I had several jobs that had needed doing for a while but sometimes it’s hard to make the time after work. I’d much rather be in the saddle! On Friday though I used my day off to actually get them done.

My Dad and I started by collecting a load of posts and rails from where they were lying about in a field that’s just had some work done on it. That was pretty easy but then I had to sort out the hay. The hay store needed a new roof in the spring and while that was being sorted some of the hay got a bit damp and mouldy. Obviously it couldn’t stay so I pulled out anything that looked a bit dodgy and carted it off to the muck heap. The ponies were very interested indeed!

The muck heap itself needed some work as I have not done a good job of keeping on top of the weeds this summer and just getting to it had become a bit of a fight. While I was sorting the hay my Mum did a sterling job of pulling up the weeds so access is now perfectly easy.

By that point I had got quite enthused by the tidying and even straightened out the tack room a bit. Not that it was too bad to start with but I was shocked by how much I swept off the floor! Rug washing and mending is an ongoing chore at the moment but the end is in sight!

After all that it was good to take Galahad out for a hack. We needed some time to relax and I picked our first blackberries of the season. A very good end to the day!

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.