Character Study

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!

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!

Working Hard

You might expect me to have a relaxing day for my first day off after going back to work. In fact, I spent the afternoon having a mammoth tack cleaning session. It was still a nice way to spend the day – especially as the sun was shining and I could sit on the grass in the garden with a cup of tea. I even managed to get my sister to join me in cleaning Cookster’s tack which added to the fun.

As well as cleaning though, I also embarked on a mending session as all the ears of Galahad’s fly masks were full of holes but were otherwise perfectly sound. It seemed incredibly wasteful to get new ones so some darning was obviously in order. This is one of those tasks I’ve been meaning to do since last autumn but which has somehow never got to the top of the list. It just wasn’t a priority in the middle of winter! Now though the flies are starting to show their presence and the masks are definitely needed.

As you can see, I decided not to be subtle about it. There was very little chance of my mending them invisibly so I thought I might as well make a feature of the darning. I rather like the effect and Galahad doesn’t seem to mind!

The blog is up a little late today as I have been watching the Kentucky 5* Horse Trials. It was so good to have some eventing to watch again and it really was a nail biting finish. I was literally on the edge of my seat and my Mum couldn’t watch at all! It was wonderful to see Oliver Townend win and lovely to have Harry Meade in the top five too. It has been a great weekend!


This week I have been working several twelve hour days in a row so I have seen very little of the ponies. My parents have been looking after them for me and my Mum has written a guest post.

As our daughter is spending a week working very long hours, it’s fallen to us parents to keep an eye on the Exmoors. I suppose this is reasonable really. It was me that suggested we buy them for our teenage daughters – it seemed a good idea at the time.

I say us – in reality it’s my husband who does the hands on stuff. I am one of the world’s organisers. I have the bright ideas and others carry out the hard work. Hours in the cold and rain helping my youngest daughter to catch half wild six month old colts fell to him. I put the kettle on for when they finally succeeded.  He has spent many days over the years supporting our eldest daughter competing in  jumping and dressage competitions.  Anxiety stopped me from following his example. I stayed at home waiting for the text saying all was well. On the days I plucked up courage to go, I have been known to hide behind the tea tent or walk the dog while she was competing. I am getting better at this now. She looks so good when competing, it is a pleasure to watch her – if only between half closed eyelids or from behind parked cars.

So this week, after our daughter has fed and mucked out the ponies early in the morning, it is up to us to put them out to their fields at the right time and make sure their grass intake is restricted so they don’t get fat which they will do without any encouragement at all. It’s me who reminds my husband it’s time to let them out of the yard. He who has to stop whatever he’s doing to let them out. Me who decides which grass they should be grazing. He who has to move them to the right field. 

Our reward for all this is the pleasure they give my daughters, the sight from our windows of two beautiful Exmoors grazing in the fields and the way they wicker at us when they think it’s time for food. Also some beautifully rotted down muck, just ready for putting on flower and vegetable beds over the winter.