The ponies have definitely given us some excitement this week. First of all they have been clipped – which isn’t hugely exciting in itself, although they do look very smart now.
However, we then had two days of heavy, very cold rain. These ponies are apparently not all that bright and stand out in the rain even when they have access to shelter. When I went to get them in for the night Galahad was definitely cold and I changed their rugs for nice dry ones. The rugs are waterproof and the ponies were still dry but all that rain meant that the fabric was cold and would take a long time to warm up.
The rugs were still wet and cold in the morning – and the weather hadn’t warmed up – so I left Cookster’s stable rug on underneath his turnout. It was a big more rug on him that I would have liked but his turnout rug is basically just a waterproof sheet so I knew he would be fine for a bit and I intended to take it off again before long.
I obviously wasn’t quick enough though – when I went out again in the evening this is what I found.
The impressive thing is that he was still wearing his turnout rug which showed no signs whatever of being disturbed. It’s a new talent I didn’t know he had and it’s a good job the stable rug was so near the yard so I saw it before I inspected Cookster. Otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue what had happened!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Cookster has had to start wearing a rug to stop him freezing himself in the rain. Obviously, we have had rather a lot of rain over the last week so the rug is very much needed at the moment.
However, although he measures for the same rug size as Galahad, the old rug he was using had rubbed his chest a bit. Nothing too bad – his skin wasn’t raw, he just had a bit less hair than before – but he clearly needed something a bit better.
My sister therefore went shopping and decided on a much more exciting rug than Galahad has ever had.
Sadly, it didn’t stay looking like this for long – most days he is just a muddy shade of brown. Occasionally though, the rain manages to wash off some of the mud and the stags shine through once more.
When I bring the ponies in for the night I quite often stand and watch them eat for a few minutes – just enjoying the peace and the sound of the munching. It turns out that it’s actually a very valuable stable management tool.
I was watching them on the evening of Boxing Day and realised Cookster didn’t look quite right – a little tucked up and shivery. It had been cold and drizzly for most of the afternoon and Cookster is not always sensible about seeking shelter. He was eating okay though and seemed fine in himself so I dried him off as well as I could and tucked him up in bed in pyjamas.
He was very quickly himself again but the next morning I sent him out with a thin waterproof rug on – he’s barely clipped so I didn’t want him too warm, just kept dry because apparently he can’t look after himself.
Now of course I have the extra dilemma every day of wondering whether he should still be wearing it or not. If it’s just cold and not wet then he doesn’t really need it but can I guarantee no rain? Thankfully, as it is just a thin rug the risk of over rugging is pretty slim at the moment and he has certainly shown no signs of being too hot. It’s a bit of a different experience for him though – he didn’t roll in the field for two days, although he was quite happy to lie down in the stable!
After Galahad tore his rug last week, Cookster has been causing problems of his own. I had left Galahad’s old rug and a stable rug hung on the wall between the two stables and Cookster pulled them off and trampled them into his dirty bed.
I picked them back up – several times – but he kept pulling them down again. I should have known better – he is constantly taking stuff down. I have to keep a very close eye on him if I want to put my saddle on the wall or door as he can be quick to knock that down too.
The rugs were too disgusting to put in the machine so I had to wash them by hand. It was actually a lot of fun, although I got very wet and it was freezing cold. It should be more of a summer job really!
Just before Christmas I decided it really was time for Galahad to have a new rug. His old one was reasonably sound but, even though it didn’t actually let the rain through, the water wasn’t really repelled either. The outer layer of the rug stayed wet so effectively Galahad was constantly wearing a cold blanket. That’s not really ideal so a new one was procured.
I was rather pleased with it and for a few days Galahad really looked very smart. Then, of course, he had to roll in the muddiest part of the field.
Still, it could have been worse – this week he has decided to tear it.
He probably caught it on the fence, although Cookster does like to play with fabrics so I’m not yet convinced of his innocence! Either way – it looks like it’s time for me to get out the sewing kit.
Before we went out to dressage last week I had to mend Galahad’s fleece rug. He has been wearing it under his field rug for the past month and one of the shoulder seams had completely burst. He had torn around one of the front buckles too and I couldn’t really take him to a show looking like that!
My evenings running up to the weekend were spent in front of the sewing machine.
I am not a natural at sewing and the fleece had stretched a bit so the seam was not perfect but I don’t think it turned out too badly. I especially like the natty striped patch inside the buckle!
It certainly does the job and I think Galahad looked pretty smart on Sunday!
The day after Galahad had his back check he and I went out for a hack. It was the first time in a while that we had hacked out from anywhere other than home and to start with he was a bit reluctant to leave. Once we did get going though he was very keen to go indeed! So much so that I decided to go a bit further than I had planned just to work off some of his excess energy.
He was very jolly though and I’m not really sure that it made much difference. However, we had a good time even if we were going faster than I would have liked. Unsurprisingly I have no pictures from the hack though – I did not think it would be safe!
That afternoon was haircut time for Galahad. Cookster is definitely moulting now and since Galahad won’t for months yet he needed doing – he had enough hair to fill an entire wheelbarrow!
He is now a two rug pony. It seems odd for an Exmoor but he has been wearing a rug for the last month anyway to help his sore muscles and we needed to replace the warmth of his coat with something.
Apparently he was still full of energy even then but behaved pretty well. He certainly looks very smart now.
Right at the end of last winter Galahad pulled one of the surcingle buckles off of his rug. I didn’t fix it at the time because he stopped wearing it and I’m really rather lazy.
I finally got around to sewing on a new buckle (I never did find the original one) last week as Galahad is now wearing the rug again to keep his back muscles warm. I was pretty proud of the job I did.
Unfortunately, the hole in the new buckle is slightly smaller than the old one and as I hadn’t changed the other half of it I could not quite twist it closed. It did stay done up though so I sent Galahad off in hopes that it would hold.
He hadn’t been turned out in a proper field for over a week and I think he enjoyed himself!
When I brought him in again the buckle had turned itself and was fully closed. Which was great … except that I couldn’t get it open again – less than ideal. I had visions of us having to cut Galahad free and I thought that at the very least I would have to replace the other half of the buckle.
Luckily my Dad managed to cut the rubber band off and although it was still very stiff I could at least open (and close) the buckle. No more mending for me – until he rips it again!
On Friday I lunged Galahad again – this time whilst my sister was riding Cookster in the school as well. That was mainly because we were aiming to enter a pairs dressage test on Sunday and we wanted the ponies to get some practice at working independently in the school. It wouldn’t really make for a good test if we couldn’t get them apart!
They actually worked very well. We even ran through the test with me leading Galahad and although it wasn’t a great performance it showed that they could work well separately. Cookster wasn’t too keen on my running about near him but that wouldn’t be an issue in the real test!
On Saturday evening I was allowed to ride Galahad for the first time in a week and he felt really good. The back treatment had definitely improved his way of going.
We ran through our individual test which was nice and forward. I decided to stick to the walk and trot test as he had just had the week off and it felt like it rode pretty well.
We also practised the pairs test. We had thought the parts of the test where we separated would be the hardest but those bits went fairly well. When we had to actually ride as a pair though we really struggled to keep them close enough together. It did improve with practice but there was still a long way to go. Still, it was fun and we hopefully won’t disgrace ourselves in the competition!
On a side note, Galahad has been wearing a rug since his back treatment to keep his damaged muscles warm and it is amazing how shiny his coat is now. Even his tail lies flat!
We have had some wonderful weather over the past few days. The sun has been shining and it has been really warm.
Galahad has spent most of the days without his rug and he has definitely been making the most of the time – he is constantly covered in mud!
Yesterday I was out for the evening so it was my Dad who had to put the rug back on. Galahad did not want to cooperate. He was apparently quite happy for my Mum to feed him apples but he kept one eye firmly on my Dad and whenever he moved the headcollar Galahad would jump away.
In the end, he had to catch Cookster and take him up to the stables. Galahad then followed, walked straight into the stable and was quite happy to have his rug put on. He is usually fine to catch but he certainly likes to keep us on our toes!
The forecast suggests that we should continue to have some good weather for the next few days so I am looking forward to some lovely hacking.