Sunshine and Sheep

This weekend has been another filled with glorious sunshine. It makes such a difference not to be battling the elements when I am out with the ponies and of course the sunshine does a lot to make everyone smile too.

Cookster is now fully recovered and is pottering along on ours hacks just as usual. He may even be feeling the joys of spring himself – he had quite a turn of speed when we cantered this morning. The ground is not quite up to schooling yet – it is so much drier but very thick and sticky. Not at all conducive to nice riding!

Galahad is also carrying on as usual. We had a fun experience yesterday when a whole flock of sheep looked like they wanted to see us off the premises.

Galahad knew what was happening long before I did, standing stock still and staring up the hill. I assumed he was just aware of the pheasants in the hedgerow but no – all the sheep in the field came running over to see what we were up to. That was one thing but when they started following us along the fence line it became somewhat unnerving.

I assume they were just looking for food but it was still quite a surreal experience. They did the same thing when we came back the other way so it really seemed a bit personal. Luckily Galahad was not fazed at all – we used to keep sheep at home so he is used to them. Not that that would stop him spooking at them if he felt like it!

Mounted Shepherds

Over Christmas Cookster and I had a Very Exciting Adventure.  We were riding up the hill and met a flock of sheep – not actually all that unusual but these sheep were neither in their field nor accompanied by a human.  We drove them back up the hill away from the main road and hoped that they would be obliging and slip back into their field.  Of course, they didn’t.

Luckily my parents were also out with the dog so my Dad could skirt round them and drive them back towards me and the gate.  Cookster had been boggling at the sheep the whole time so it was a lot easier for us to stand still and block the way back to the main road.


This time the sheep were very obliging.  I swung the gate open, they trotted in and I shut it behind them.  All very simple really in the end!


Making Friends

The ponies have had another new visitor recently.


The lamb actually lives in the field next door but its mother died and now it spends most of its time in our field instead.


Normally I find it right across the field from the ponies but it turns out it isn’t bothered by them at all.  It’s always nice to make new friends!

Shepherd Pony

We had a very exciting ride yesterday  – we were halfway up the hill when a lamb appeared in front of us.  Then there was another one and soon the ewe materialised as well.


We obviously wanted to get them off the road and back into the field.  Unfortunately,  they took one look and ran away from us – and the gate.  I left  my sister and the ponies guarding the gate and set off in pursuit,  wondering how I was going to pass the sheep to turn them back.


Luckily they darted off to the side and it looked like they had found the spot where they escaped.  They popped back over the bank and into the field.  It may have been the wrong field but at least they were safe and off the road.  It was a very satisfying job done.

Sheep Cross Country

We have had a proper deluge this week.  I think all the rain we haven’t had over the autumn fell in just a couple of days.  The last few days have been much better though and we have had some absolutely beautiful starlit nights.

It was looking pretty ominous when we went for our ride this morning and it was freezing cold but it stayed dry which was the main thing.  There were some loose sheep in the lane who ran round the edge of the field as we approached and jumped back in.  They were pretty athletic.

I stopped for no more than a quarter of an hour to speak to my neighbour and by the time I left there were already four back out of the field.  We herded three of them back but the fourth was the wrong side of us and ran ahead of us down the hill,  She kept thinking about turning and coming back but in the end we had to wait for a handy gateway so Galahad and I could scoot past.  She was fast enough going back up the hill then and I felt safe leaving her there until I came back on Cookster to herd her back in.  Of course, by then there was another sheep with her too.


The farmer is aware that they are getting out – I didn’t just leave them to get on with it!

Sun in our eyes and wind in our tails

Sunday was a beautifully sunny day so Galahad and I went out for what should have been a lovely relaxing hack.  It seemed like I was constantly riding into the sun and spent the whole time squinting.  It really was a beautiful day though and the views were gorgeous.


It was also a very windy day.  Galahad isn’t usually too bothered by the wind but it does get to him occasionally.  Sunday was one of those days and he was looking for things to frighten him.  I had been planning to take him for a canter in my neighbour’s field but I knew that in that frame of mind there would be monsters in every hedge and it didn’t really seem worth it.  We stuck to the lanes but did manage a canter up the grass in the middle.  The sheep all ran away as we came up the lane but once they decided we weren’t coming to get them the started running back towards us.


It was somewhat unnerving but not unkown in these particular sheep.  We once cantered through their field, went through the open gateway and heard the thunder of hooves behind us.  For a moment I genuinely thought they were going to stampede us but they didn’t go quite that far!


Look what we now have enough light for before I go to work!


It has been wonderful to be able to ride every day.  No one else is about so it is just me and the pony.  Plus a lot of birds singing.  It is the best start to the day!  We probably haven’t been riding for quite as long as normal but that is no fault of the light – I am just struggling to adjust to the earlier mornings.  They are so worth it though.  We have enjoyed several misty hacks and have seen some pretty dramatic clouds forming.


Luckily we haven’t got too wet though!  We have however made friends with this year’s crop of lambs.


At any rate, we looked at them and they looked back.  I’m pretty sure that counts!

Here be Monsters

As we started up the hill the other day I could see three sheep in the road at the top.  I wasn’t worried – after all, Galahad lives next to a field of sheep.  In reality he was a bit reluctant to head towards them but yielded to persuasion.  When we got a bit closer they jumped into the hedge which I thought would put an end to it.  I was wrong.

Galahad immediately stopped dead and refused to move.  He couldn’t possibly go any further because there were monsters in the hedge.  It took a lot of work to persuade him to carry on and even then he kept stopping – at least until we were almost level with the sheep when we shot past at top speed.


From then on we had a lovely ride until, coming back down, we met the sheep again followed closely by our neighbours’ car.  We had a bit of impatient twirling which was worse than it should have been because I managed to completely entangle my reins, whip and hands in Galahad’s mane.  We trampled on the neighbours’ grass a bit but luckily didn’t seem to do any damage.  I’m not quite sure how.

Once the car was past it was my turn to follow the sheep.  I didn’t dare trot because we were heading towards a main road and I didn’t want to panic them onto it.  I thought at one point I would be able to overtake them but they shot forward again and I was just debating when to telephone someone to block their access to the road when they jumped back into the hedge.  This time we had no trouble getting past and we very much enjoyed the last few minutes of our ride.

It was certainly an exciting time.  Evidently being accustomed to something doesn’t make it any less scary!

Autumnal Riding

We have been  having some glorious weather over the past few day.  There is still an autumnal chill in the air but it has been beautifully sunny.  The crisp air is gorgeous to ride in and everything seems so peaceful.


We have managed to enjoy several hacks and have reacquainted ourselves with the sheep who have moved back in to the field up the lane.  They appear to be fascinated by us!


We had a shorter hack the other day and had a play over the jumps when we got back.  This time I took care to do some circling and transitions first just to make sure Galahad was listening to me and the jumping was in a much better rhythm as a result.  He was also jumping the new tyre jump without a second thought so I will be filling in the gap a bit next time.  I am going to need more tyres soon!