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!
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!
In a normal world I get Galahad a full clip around February time. Exmoors don’t tend to get clipped but he is so slow to lose his winter coat that if I don’t he still has the dregs of it in June and he gets far too hot when I ride him.
This year, however, his full clip got delayed until mid March and we all know what happened then! He is therefore left with just his original clip (done in November I think) and I have not one but two moulting ponies to contend with. Every time I brush them I get absolutely covered in hair.
On the bright side, I am at home all the time so it’s not like I’m short of time to groom them. Constantly grooming can get a little wearing though so I’m trying to spend just some time every day working at getting rid of the loose hair. Luckily the exercise they’re getting has dropped too so they’re not overheating!
Galahad and I made full use of the whole twelve days of Christmas – we have been wearing our Christmassy outfits all week.
On New Year’s Day we went for a hack with my sister and Cookster, then came back to wassail the apple trees. This is something we do every year, although the ponies don’t often get to join in. They definitely appreciated the apples!
Yesterday was our last Christmassy ride and we had a lovely time, pootling along the lanes which were, for the most part, nice and quiet.
We had a couple of stops along the way – we met some new friends.
We admired the view and we even spotted a few signs of spring.
It was a perfect day – sunny but with a chill in the air. Wonderful.
Now we have finished the work on the field we can get the jumps out again. It has been seven or eight months since we have been able to jump at home so this was a very exciting moment.
We went out to jump as soon as we could but as it has been so hot recently we wanted to ride reasonably early. We got out into the field by about eight but even so the sun was blazing and it was still very hot.
Considering how little jumping the ponies have done recently, they both did really well. Galahad and I had a few run outs to start with but once we got going he jumped really nicely.
The run outs are mostly my fault. I know very well that if I look down at a jump Galahad is almost certainly going to try and run out. The trouble is that if I think Galahad will be worried about a jump I find it very difficult not to look at it. At least I know what I need to do to get better!
We had a lovely play in the sunshine and even the lambs next door seemed to enjoy it!
It is wonderful to have the jumps out again and we are looking forward to using them over the summer. Let’s just hope the ground doesn’t get too hard!
It is rather hot at the moment and we are doing everything we can to keep cool. Even when the ponies have full access to the field they more often than not choose to spend the day in the stables as it is so much cooler inside.
So far this week I have ridden at eight in the morning and eight in the evening. It is still very hot at both of those times – 28°C this evening! That’s uncomfortable enough and I’m not sure Galahad and I could cope with riding in the middle of the day.
We are therefore taking things pretty gently at the moment. We have a very steep hill at the end of our lane which we normally trot up but we have been walking for the past few days. One benefit of overgrown hedges is that when the sun is getting low they provide plenty of very welcome shade.
I hope you and your ponies are managing not to overheat!
We have been having some lovely hacks recently. Just Galahad and I meandering through the countryside in the evening sunshine.
We get to see some wonderful things. The hawthorn is particularly beautiful this year.
There are also some interesting things. This patch of road for instance.
It is always wet, even in the middle of a heat wave. It is not under any trees and the water does not appear to be coming from the hedge. I can only assume that it has managed to make its way up through the tarmac. It is pretty powerful stuff!
Then, of course, there is the wildlife. Isn’t this eggshell beautiful?
Horsey adventures - We are all told, “live your life to the fullest”; I am here to do just that. Horsey adventures serves as a vessel to project my passions, and clue in my loyal readers as to what inspires me in this crazy world. So, sit back, relax, and read on.