Evening Saunters

Galahad and I have had some lovely evening hacks this week. By the time I get home from work the heat has somewhat lessened and it is good to get out in the fresh air. We had one particularly good ride where we went a little further than usual. The sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze and with no reason to rush we had a very relaxing saunter through the countryside.

There is something very special about the light and the air in the evenings – and the early mornings too. There is just a wonderful feeling which isn’t there in the middle of the day. Riding out in it is always a treat.

In fact, the only problem is that as the sun is getting low it can be difficult to see. We cope but it does make me wonder if a car driver will be blinded by the sun and hit us. Of course, we are very careful and it really is beautiful – still the best way to end the day.

Easter Sunshine

A combination of lockdown and work commitments has meant that I haven’t been able to ride with my sister since before Christmas, so it was for the first time in months that we hacked out together on Friday. In a socially distanced manner of course!

It was so lovely to have the company. I do enjoy the peace and time to think when I ride out by myself but there is nothing quite like having a friend with whom you can chat as you go along. We are having the most gorgeous weather for the Easter weekend as well so it has been delightful to be out and about.

Cookster is moulting well now, whereas Galahad – predictably – is not. My sister therefore took longer to get ready than I did – you could keep grooming Cookster for hours and still be getting hair out. That meant I had some time to kill and I decided to experiment with plaiting Galahad’s feathers. I’ve seen pictures of this being done beautifully and although Galahad has nothing like the hair you get on a cob I thought it would be fun to try. I could have done with slightly longer hair but still it wasn’t bad for a first attempt!

Sunshine and Sheep

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!

Grazing Woes

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!

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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.

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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!

Moulting Monsters

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.

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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.

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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!

Signs of Spring

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.

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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!

Spring is Springing!

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.

 

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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!

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The lambs are alreading pinging around the fields and everything seems right with the world.

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Winter Chills and Signs of Spring

Galahad and I made full use of the whole twelve days of Christmas – we have been wearing our Christmassy outfits all week.

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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!

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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.

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We had a couple of stops along the way – we met some new friends.

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We admired the view and we even spotted a few signs of spring.

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It was a perfect day – sunny but with a chill in the air.  Wonderful.

Jumping!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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We had a lovely play in the sunshine and even the lambs next door seemed to enjoy it!

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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!

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Keeping Cool

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.

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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.

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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.

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I hope you and your ponies are managing not to overheat!