This morning my sister and Cookster joined Galahad and I for a very exciting hack indeed. Partway up the hill I got off to replace the lid on a pheasant feeder.
I found there was a mouse trapped inside it and although I’m sure it was very happy with all the food, I couldn’t just leave it there. That meant I had to rescue it which was much easier said than done – it was not at all keen on being caught!
I had to stick my whip in the hole at the bottom to stop it hiding in the actual feeder part!
Further up the lane we stopped to look at the sheep when a pheasant ambushed us from the hollow tree right by Galahad’s head. I was very impressed by how little he spooked but apparently Cookster’s heart rate noticeably increased.
We did have fun!
Last week I mentioned that that I was hoping to have some good hacks this week. I was not disappointed! We have had a glorious week of sunshine and some wonderful rides. We also managed to get into my neighbour’s fields for a canter for the first time this year which was excellent!
The first time we just stuck to a fairly steady circuit of the smaller field. Both ponies were very well behaved and quite sedate really.
A couple of days later we rode up again and also went into the larger field. We had a lovely canter up one side and then walked past the pheasant farm which seems to have grown. We stopped to have a better look – until Galahad decided it was far too scary and took off across the field. He even threw in a few bucks for good measure which is something he hasn’t done for a long time. I did manage to pull him up and we did walk down the hill but we did have to have to have a bit of an argument first.
Once we did get down the hill we had a lovely canter back up again and we did then have another nice canter back in the first field. We even walked sensibly away from Cookster so my sister could take the photograph.
Galahad does seem to have got into a bit of a habit of taking off sometimes when we go out for a canter. I think it is more joie de vivre than anything else but it is still not a good thing. It is definitely something we need to work on.
We still had a lovely few days though and are so much enjoying ourselves.
This week Galahad has been learning to wear his saddlebags. I bought them in the summer before we went on our trec expedition but decided not to use them as we didn’t really have much time for him to get used to them. He was facing a lot of new things at once and I didn’t want to push him too far and make him panic. I have now finally got around to using them when I am riding and Galahad behaved very well – he didn’t really react at all.
I picked a great day for it though. We started out for our hack and were almost immediately faced with our neighbour’s recycling bin. We ride past it every week but we had to stop and stare at it before we could walk past. Next I noticed that the paper had been delivered for another neighbour so I picked it up to take up the hill. I decided not to put it in the saddlebags because I wanted Galahad to get used to the idea of them before I started putting things in them. We set off up the hill with only one and a half hands on the reins.
Just as we got up the first slope a squirrel ran across the road and up a tree. It was very scary and we had to shy at it (of course). Luckily Galahad didn’t actually spin all the way round and charge off. I’m not sure I was in a state to stop him!
Next we met my neighbour driving down to collect the recycling box. He stopped the engine but for some reason Galahad wasn’t at all keen to go past. He didn’t spook but he did have to walk very slowly towards the car! Almost as soon as we were past I heard the beep of a lorry reversing. I waited in a spot where it would have room to turn and discovered that it was a man delivering coal. Not something we meet every day! I was convinced Galahad would be terrified but he didn’t turn a hair – just stood there calmly watching. I was so proud!
By this point I had decided that Galahad was fine with the saddlebags so I stuck the newspaper in and we trotted off up the rest of the hill.
We delivered the paper with no trouble and set off for home. Most of the excitement was over by then but we did have to stop for a good look where the squirrel had been. It could easily have been lurking ready to pounce! As we got closer to the main road it seemed as if almost every lorry in existence was driving past. They don’t come up the lane but it looked pretty hectic in the valley.
Despite all the excitement we had a lovely ride. Now I can look forward to longer hacks and picnics in the summer!
For one reason or another our schooling has been a bit lax of late. I have always had a reasonable excuse for not schooling (the builders are here/it’s too windy for Galahad to concentrate on me/the field is too wet…) but I have definitely been feeling a little guilty about it.
Yesterday was pretty windy, the builders were still around (although they had stopped for lunch) and it was raining but I decided enough was enough and Galahad and I marched purposefully into the field. I was actually pretty impressed with him. He could have had a bit of a better bend and we had a couple of moments when he tried to nap towards home but in general he did what I asked. His turns on the forehand even felt amazing, possibly better than ever. Of course, they may have looked terrible!
We did have one major spook (my entire weight went into one stirrup and it actually felt like we stretched the leather a bit), apparently at nothing.
I realise there are several potentially scary things in my neighbour’s field but as they have probably been there as long as the pony they seem like a poor excuse.
Overall though, Galahad tried pretty hard and I was pleased with him.