We have been having a run of very hot and muggy (up to 99% humidity!) days so we are surrounded by people making hay at the moment. The field up behind us is being baled as I write and the ponies have been taking a great interest in that. On the day it was cut Galahad thought it was very interesting and was tryng to eat it through the fence. I’m not sure he was particularly successful though!
The ponies quickly got bored by the whole thing and have been largely ignoring the tractor buzzing about. Of course, they still have moments when they run around but I’m sure that a lot of that is just for fun.
This year I have even been getting involved in the haymaking process myself. Or rather, my neighbours made the hay and I went up to help load the bales onto the trailer and then unload it again at the other end. It was hard work but it was good to be involved in the actual production of the ponies’ feed for a change. It feels almost like proper self sufficiency!
As ever, we are busy fighting the flies this summer. The ponies often get quite nasty bites but thankfully that hasn’t happened yet this year. Fingers crossed that it will stay that way. I did try a deet fly spray for the first time but it made Cookster’s skin peel a bit so I have gone back to the plain citronella version which does seem to be pretty effective too.
More of an issue than the bites is Cookster’s eyes. A combination of flies and his long forelock mean that they can get quite weepy. The fly mask obviously helps with that but often I go out to find the ponies looking like this.
Then of course, I have to go off and find the missing mask. Cookster spent a whole day without his mask this week which led to slightly swollen eyelids and a fair bit of discharge. That prompted me to plait his forelock up – it keeps it out of his eyes and definitely makes a huge difference as they are fully back to normal again. I like to think that it makes him look a bit like a unicorn too.
Sometimes I quite welcome the wet and windy days – there are far fewer flies about then!
I am not riding as much as normal at the moment – work is still a bit strange and stressful and when I get home all I really want to do is collapse in a heap. I am therefore mostly riding on my days off. I am hopeful that will change soon but for the moment that is how I am coping.
However, when I do ride I am so grateful that I can. There is nothing quite like taking Galahad out for a hack to make me relax and calm down a bit. We are not going as far as we might otherwise have done but it is so peaceful poddling along the lanes. Ponies really are the best kind of therapy.
As I’ve mentioned before, the lockdown meant that Galahad did not get his second clip this winter. That didn’t really matter all that much – especially as I didn’t ride him for so long. It is just a bit annoying that he is still moulting!
More irritating for me though was the fact that his bridle path was growing out. He has so much mane that the bridle path is very useful to have – plus it looks pretty silly when it is growing out and sticking straight up in the air!
I decided though that this at least was something I could deal with and attacked it with the scissors. It may not be quite as neat as it would have been with clippers but it did the job and he looks much smarter again. Perhaps this year I’ll remember to trim it throughout the summer too!
I wouldn’t have believed it a couple of months ago but we are in desperate need of rain. The grass is just not growing and any already there is burning brown in the sun!
I also have the problem that the ground – particularly in the yard and stables – is getting very dry and dusty. Cookster is quite sensitive to dust and so is liable to cough if he’s kept in at the moment. The ponies are therefore currently turned out all the time. With the grass not growing they shouldn’t get too fat.
I’m also giving the ponies some time turned out on the lane each day. That way they have access to some nice, fresh grass which has got to be more appetising and is more nutritious too.
I have to supervise these forays though – otherwise the ponies are liable to wander off. Yesterday the ponies grazed happily for an hour. Then Galahad determinedly walked back to the field with Cookster trailing in his wake. Cookseter was happy to stay and eat but Galahad had clearly had enough!
I know lots of peopgle are still able to ride during the lockdown but there are many who like me have chosen not to and more who just cannot.
For those of you who are missing your riding, I invite you to join Galahad and I on a hack from last summer. Think of it as pony ASMR!
This week has been an exciting one for the ponies – they have been spending a few hours each day in their summer pasture. This field has a stream in it and tends to be quite wet in winter so it can only be used when the weather is dry enough. We have been having such lovely weather for the past couple of weeks though that they have finally been turned out.
Only for a few hours each day though – they haven’t been in there for about six months so it it full of lovely, lush grass. The ponies love it but it would not do their waistlines any good at all if they were turned out there full time!
I thought this first turning out might be very exciting to see but it turned out to be rather dull. They weren’t at all interesting in running about – all they wanted was to eat that delicious grass. Very disappointing!
On Friday my riding club had a fun ride around the grounds of a local National Trust property. I have done a couple of sponsored rides before but never a fun ride and I was very keen to go. I couldn’t get Galahad there but my instructor had a horse I could use and I jumped at the chance.
The weather could not have been better – we have been having a heatwave recently but this was an evening ride so everything was much cooler but still lovely and dry. Even better – we were barely bothered by flies at all!
The ride was a mix of woodland, quiet lanes and open fields. We had some great canters but also plenty of time to walk and absorb the surroundings – there were some stunning views.
It was a lovely, sociable ride with the added interest of a treasure hunt to follow – I do love looking out for clues! We even had a barbecue waiting for us when we got back which was just wonderful. Of course, as we hadn’t started riding until nearly seven, it was getting dim by this point and it was properly dark when we got the horses home. In a way that just added to the excitement though. I had a fantastic time and I can’t wait for the next ride!
As happens most years, this week I went up the lane from our house for the first time in a couple of weeks and poor Galahad had to fight his way through a wall of greenery.
I’m sure it’s worse this year than it has been before – probably thanks to the rain we have had over the past few weeks. The picture doesn’t quite do it justice as I took it on the return trip after we had already trampled it down once.
It’s amazing how quickly it gets overgrown – nature rally is powerful. Galahad was also extremely impressive in the way he just ploughed through it all – I wouldn’t have enjoyed it much on foot! As it was I got badly stung by all the nettles. We managed to bring a fair bit of it with us too.
It was pretty dark under the trees, hence the rather blurry picture.
It was an exciting adventure but I must remember to keep using all our routes regularly if I don’t want to get stuck!
It seems that the fly season is upon us already. We have had to fish the deosect out of the tack room and have sprayed the ponies. Galahad hates fly spray so he didn’t enjoy it at all but at least deosect doesn’t need to be applied so often.
The fly masks are back out as well. It seems very peculiar to have Galahad’s rug on at the same time but it’s still pretty cold here at night and not warm enough to leave it off yet. He is enjoying the time without it during the day though.
Of course, all of this means that hunting for lost fly masks in odd corners of the field is once again a regular part of my life. That’s how I’ll be spending the next few months!