We have had rain nearly every day for weeks. The fields are absolutely sodden and the ponies are very often dripping when they come in.
However, we do have the odd day when we can really feel that spring is coming. I rode out on Tuesday in beautiful sunshine – it was still rather cold but perfect weather for hacking out.
Galahad and I had a lovely time pottering along the lanes. The primroses and daffodils were out looking cheerful and making life feel good. It is amazing how uplifting a bit of sunshine can be!
Every year I seem to write a post about the joys of spring but I just can’t help it! There is just such a wonderful feeling in the air as the season changes.
Of course, all the blossom appearing helps a lot too but one of the very best things is having enough light left to ride out after work. That’s even before the clocks go forward!
The lambs are alreading pinging around the fields and everything seems right with the world.
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?
Mainly though, it is just good to enjoy the view.
The past few days have been rather warm to say the least!
Our hacks have been very gentle and meandering and we have been seeking out whatever shade we can find.
I do love to sit in the shade – I enjoy the dry weather but I can’t stay in the full sun for too long.
Unfortunately the horse flies have suddenly materialised too and, as this rather blurry photograph shows, some headshaking has been going on.
We added some citronella to the water when we washed the ponies off after today’s hack – hopefully that will discourage some of the flies.
I think that spring can definitely be said to be here. We have had some beautiful days this week – the sun has been shining and things are beginning to blossom.
I’ve talked about the primroses before but it is a really good year for them!
I have been routinely riding without a coat and have even brought my short boots out from their winter retirement. It has been a lovely week.
There is a downside though – the flies are suddenly about in droves. It was only a few weeks ago that we were covered in snow. How can we possibly need the fly masks already?!
Yesterday was simply beautiful and the ponies took full advantage of the sunshine by simply walking through a gate that was accidentally left open and gorging on the lush grass. It wouldn’t really have been a problem except that it is quite a steep slope and the ground is still very slippery. Luckily they were far too interested in the grass to run about!
We thought we would have terrible trouble catching them and dragging them away for a ride but actually Cookster just stood stock still.
Galahad was another story and would not let me near him.
He was quite happy to follow Cookster up to the stables though! We found some very interested visitors when we got there – waiting for their breakfasts.
Sadly we didn’t have any for them.
When we did get out for our ride we had a lovely time. The primroses are suddenly flourishing – I thought there were plenty of them before but overnight they seem to have multiplied and now there are whole banks covered in them. They were beautiful!
After our busy day on Saturday, Sunday was wonderfully restful.
I had two lovely hacks, the ponies behaved well, the sun was shining and everything seemed right with the world.
My reward for riding and looking after Cookster – my sister’s pony after all – was to find him absolutely covered in mud.
At first I thought t was highly ironic that I was wearing my ‘Living the dream’ gilet. Who dreams of spending their Sunday afternoon scrubbing mud off of a pony? Especially one who is moulting.
However, as we pottered up the hill, I realised that actually it was an amazing day. If anyone had told my twelve year old self that one day I would be able to spend a sunny afternoon playing with two ponies and riding them I would have been thrilled. I really am living the dream.