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!

Cosy Evenings

This week I decided it was time to switch the ponies to being stabled at night. It has been raining so much and at least if they are out during the day we can see if they are being stupid standing out in the rain getting cold (Cookster especially is very prone to to doing this) and do something about it. At night they are just left to their own devices.

Of course, the ponies were not aware of this and were waiting impatiently to be brought in on the morning of the day of the change. They were very miffed to be left out in the field! Then in the evening I had to traipse across the field in the dark (because of course I didn’t remember a torch) to find them. By the next evening though, they had it sussed and were all ready and waiting for their dinner.

It is obviously much more work to have the ponies properly stabled but there is something so cosy and satisfying about tucking them up in bed. Plus, it guarantees me the best welcome in the mornings!

Autumn Habits

Every autumn I dither about when to start bringing the ponies in at night.  Yes they are Exmoors and and are perfectly capable of staying out all winter but they do get fat on thin air and need their grass intake to be monitored somewhat.  Besides that, it helps to save the ground a bit.

Throughout the summer I go out to do evening checks on them in the field.  Often they ignore me, sometimes they skitter away as if they think I might actually make them do some work and sometimes they come to say hello.

However, for the past couple of evenings the ponies have started whickering when I go out to see them and even run over to say hello.  Then they have followed me back to the yard and stood about looking hopeful.  I’m pretty sure they were asking for dinner!

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Therefore they came in for the first time last night.  It does mean a bit more work for me but there is something very cosy about having the ponies all tucked up in bed.  Autumn is a lovely time.

Spring Cleaning

The ponies being away last week seemed like an excellent opportunity to get in some spring cleaning.  It was more than time for me to properly clean the rubber mats in the stables and the beautiful weather made it seem like an even better idea.

It was a difficult job getting the mats out of the stables – they are very heavy and the dog didn’t help by jumping all over them.

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Having got them all out but done no actual cleaning I then swanned off to a riding lesson leaving my sister with all the mucky work.

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I was not expecting her to finish the job but she worked incredibly hard and not only cleaned the underside of the mats themselves but scrubbed out the stables as well.

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All that was left for me to do was clean the other (less dirty) side of the mats, wait for everything to dry and put it all together again.  It was actually extremely satisfying to clean something which was so very dirty.  I could definitely see that I was making a difference!

The stables looked beautifully clean afterwards.  Of course, now the ponies are home again they are not quite so pristine but at least they won’t need such a thorough clean for a while.

Time Away

I am just back from a week away in Dartmouth.  There were no ponies but I did find these ones for hire!

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They were at Greenway – Agatha Christie’s house.  The stalls in the stables there are beautiful.

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I had such a wonderful week and it was lovely to have some time to relax.  It is always good to be back behind these ears though.

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Apparently the children on the yard have had a whale of a time riding the ponies whilst I was away – my instructor said they had been well exercised but she couldn’t guarantee they hadn’t turned wild.  I almost feel bad for reclaiming them!

Being Eaten Alive

The time of year has come when the flies are getting to be a bother.

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It turns out that it is very difficult to photograph the flies bothering your pony.  If you look carefully you can just about see them!

The deosect worked very well for us last year and is being useful again this year.  The ponies have also been wearing their fly masks for a good couple of months, although Galahad’s could definitely do with a few repairs!  He has been very good at keeping it on recently but normally he is a proper Houdini and I am constantly having to hunt the field for it.

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We have a new fly zapper in the stables.  The old one was really only designed for indoor use and the stables are not indoor enough.  The ponies are not at all keen on the noise it makes when a fly is killed and run out of the stable every time.  We are working on desensitising them and they are definitely improving.  I am loathe to turn it off as it has had a visible effect on the number of flies around the yard.  The ponies don’t seem to be suffering so I am hoping that it will work out well in the end.

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