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!
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?!