On Wednesday my parents and I went out for our traditional Boxing Day walk/ride. Yes Boxing Day was on Sunday but I’d been working since Christmas and Wednesday was my first opportunity. Cookster had apples, I had chocolate coins and everything was lovely.
At midnight on Friday evening I went outside to see if the church bells were ringing in the New Year. The ponies came over to see what was going on and whether there was any food in it for them. Naturally they ended up having a midnight feast!
Seeing in the New Year with the ponies was lovely and I have been enjoying the time I have been able to spend with them since then. It is amazing how much thinking time you get when you hack out alone. I started this blog because I found I was writing about the ponies in my head as I rode and I needed an outlet to share that.
Since I opened my stationery shop I have found that I am more likely to be designing new cards and letter paper as I ride. In fact, I have often wished that I could sketch as I ride – I end up taking a lot of pictures to try and keep the images in my head!
My stationery business has been taking up more and more of my time and as I only have limited free time I have reluctantly made the decision that it is time to stop writing this blog. I will still be posting on my Instagram account and the ponies definitely pop up on my stationery account too.
I have loved sharing my pony adventures over the past few years. Thank you for reading.
This week the time arrived for our annual pony post deliveries of local Christmas cards – and even a small parcel. This is something we’ve done ever since we’ve been able to ride the ponies – all inspired by one evening many years ago when my riding instructor’s daughter took me with her to deliver their cards. It seemed like something out of a story book and I was determined to do the same when I could.
The ponies have been getting more festive as we get closer to Christmas and we had a lovely ride, singing carols as we went. It was especially nice to have my sister with me again as covid kept her away last year. We were even rewarded with a beautiful view of the moon over the valley. It couldn’t have been a better afternoon really.
Cookster and I have had quite the adventure this week. We were heading out for one of our usual hacks when we met the new owner of one of our neighbouring fields. We stopped for a chat and were invited to have a ride round the field while he collected logs. Of course, we jumped at the chance.
For one reason or another it has been a while since Cookster has been ridden in such an open space and he was somewhat excited – he held it together to walk down the hill but when I asked him to canter at the bottom he took off into a full gallop. All I had to do was sit there and steer – I was quite grateful the field was so big and I didn’t have to worry about any sharp corners at full speed.
Cookster is not normally a very forward going pony but he had plenty of energy for once and we had a lovely time stretching his legs. I was slightly worried about brakes to start with but he always slowed down when I asked and kept nice and steady when it was needed. It ended up being one of the nicest rides we’ve had and he definitely enjoyed himself too – even if he was rather puffed afterwards!
This weekend my sister and I have been out riding together for the first time in weeks. I am very used to riding by myself but it was absolutely lovely to have someone with whom I could chat as we were riding along for a change.
It may be somewhat early to properly tinsel up the ponies but as my riding with tinsel is of necessity a bit limited I couldn’t resist getting some out and making a start. The good news is that the ponies have never seemed to mind our strange antics.
What they did mind was the incredibly heavy hailstorms we had yesterday. Most of them didn’t tend to last particularly long but they were vicious while they lasted – and the hailstones were huge too. Galahad very definitely wanted to turn his back to the weather and wait for it to be over. I was much more keen to carry on and get home!
The most exciting bit though happened when we were tacking up. The sudden downpour of hail made the most tremendous noise on the roof of the stables and made us all jump. Galahad’s rug – already undone – fell off and scared him even more, making him break the string to which he was tied. I had to hang on tight to keep him in the stable and even then he might have got away if my sister hadn’t swung the door shut. She wasn’t quite so lucky and Cookster was halfway across the field before he stopped. Thankfully though, he did not have trailing ropes like Galahad and everyone was safe. It was quite an experience!
Having the ponies in at night gives me a fascinating insight into some of their differences which are not normally particularly apparent. Cookster, for example, will almost always leave a neat little pile of droppings all in one place which makes mucking out quick and easy. Galahad leaves his all over the stable and tramples them in well. Of course, the trampling is aided by the fact that he invariably lies down on them.
On the other hand, Galahad is a fairly neat and efficient eater – he may leave a few wisps of hay about but it is very minimal. Cookster dribbles his hay all over the place and is incredibly wasteful (he doesn’t have a problem with his teeth – both ponies have just seen the dentist).
It is very interesting to compare them but on the whole I think I prefer Cookster’s brand of untidiness. It is easier to clear up afterwards!
When Galahad and I went out for our hack yesterday morning he was clearly feeling particularly nosy. At every single gateway we passed he wanted to stop and have a look at what was going on in the field or garden. Or perhaps he just wanted to admire the view.
We took a letter which had been delivered to us in error round to our neighbour and were rewarded by a lovely ride through their woods. I hadn’t ridden that way before but I will definitely be doing so again – we had a great time! The leaves are looking glorious at the moment and as off-road riding is so scarce here it was a joy to find some more we can use.
Riding along a different track we came across a horse which has been turned out there to graze. He seemed delighted to see us and followed us for some way. I began to be worried that he would follow us out onto the road but thankfully he eventually grew bored with us and went back to the grass.
It was a gorgeous morning and and there can’t have been many better ways to spend it.
The ponies naturally keep me pretty busy. I ride them as much as I can and they are always needing feeding, grooming, turning out or bringing in. My parents are very generous with helping out but I always feel guilty if I go away and leave them in charge.
When I was away last month though, my sister decided to take charge. She came over every day to pick out feet and spent hours here most days practising for the Exiefest competition. There was an in-hand jumping class which she did with both ponies and of course the utility pony class needed a course to be built and practised. You can’t really present a pony with scary objects and expect them to just deal with them!
By all acounts it was a lot of fun. Cookster in particular took great delight in apple bobbing and would clear out a bucket very quickly. Galahad did not really get it – he just drank the water!
I have never particularly liked getting up in the morning. I want to get up early but sometimes it is very hard to actually get out of bed. Of course, having the ponies means I don’t really have a choice and I have to force myself up.
There are a great many compensations though. Obviously I get to play with the ponies but I also get to see the sunrise – and be outside to appreciate it fully rather than just noticing a bit of pink through the window. We have had some glorious sunrises recently and I have even taken the dog for an extra bit of walk just to soak it in. All the mist in the valley glows pink and it is wonderful.
The ponies are spending a week away with my instructor which made Friday evening feel very quiet and odd. However, when our neighbours said they were holding a fireworks display, for once I didn’t have to worry about how the ponies would react – not well usually – but instead I could just enjoy the show.
The clocks going back this morning, I decided to forgo the extra hour’s sleep and squeeze in a ride before work instead. It has been too dark in the mornings to do that for several weeks now and I was very much looking forward to the excursion. Of course, what I had forgotten was that if I got up an hour earlier it would still be as dark as yesterday.
However, it did get light in time to ride and Galahad and I had a lovely poddle along the lanes. Nobody else was about and it was just wonderful. I have never been very good at getting up in the mornings but this is definitely worth it.
It was a contrast to the rush to finish filming my Exiefest entries this week but we finally got them all done on Thursday and my sister very kindly uploaded the videos for me as her internet is so much faster. We had a lot of fun doing it and couldn’t resist some Halloween additions to the jumps. The ponies were not at all bothered by jumping pumpkins which I found very encouraging indeed.
Horsey adventures - We are all told, “live your life to the fullest”; I am here to do just that. Horsey adventures serves as a vessel to project my passions, and clue in my loyal readers as to what inspires me in this crazy world. So, sit back, relax, and read on.