On Boxing Day my sister came round to ride and we set off for our very tinselly Christmas hack.
I always love riding out but it is especially great at the moment – it is such fun to dress the ponies up and carol our way along the lanes. Good King Wenseslas was obviously the first choice for Boxing Day singing!
Added to that, our parents usually come out on Boxing Day as well – their company is lovely but it also means we may get some tasty treats which are very welcome!
On Friday we made our annual Pony Post excursion.
When I was a child I once rode out with my instructor’s daughter to deliver their Christmas cards and it seemed so wonderful that I have always been determined to do the same with our ponies.
The tack is still mostly decorated from the tinsel ride so we were very festive again.
We didn’t actually meet anyone on our rounds but when we got home we went carol singing at our own front door and the ponies were rewarded with apples. We had a lovely time.
On Monday my sister and I took the ponies on our instructor’s annual tinsel ride. It has been so long since I have actually been able to go with the group instead of having my own private ride and I had a wonderful time.
Waiting for our lift!
We could not have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and we all got rather warm. One of the valleys was full of mist and the views were absolutely beautiful.
I was a little concerned about the ponies’ fitness levels for a long ride (four hours!) but they actually kept up pretty well. They even had rather too much energy in a couple of places where they shied spectacularly and barged into other ponies. We were fine but I am always terrified of making a small child fall off.
In fact, the only issue we had was that Galahad felt a little footsore on some of the stonier tracks – he pretty much dragged me through a hedge at one point so my knee is a mess of bramble scratches. I expect Cookster to be footsore sometimes but it is most unusual for Galahad.
My sister also came away wounded – she banged her knee on a fence post at a gallop. She has an impressive bruise!
At one point we took a shortcut to avoid some particularly stony tracks and began walking down the grassy gallop to meet the others half way. Of course, they could not pull up so rushed past us but I was so proud of our ponies as they didn’t whip round and take off – we were very much in control.
I had a wonderful day and even came away with a lucky dip Christmas present. I am not a proper grown up yet!
On Sunday it was time for the pony post to make its Christmas deliveries again.
It was a lovely morning with just a bit of fog and we got a bit excited about our decorations. Galahad had glitter in his mane and tail but Cookster even had it on his ears!
I was going to paint their hooves with glitter as well but it was a bit too muddy for it to seem worthwhile.
As we rode up the hill it started to get foggier but it was still a lovely ride. Both ponies behaved very well and waited patiently at each stop.
We stopped for a chat at one house and the ponies got some apples which they very much appreciated. We were stood there for at least twenty minutes without the ponies making a fuss so I was really pleased with them.
When we left we found that the fog had got even thicker and we rode back down the hill through a white world. Down in the valley though it was still a beautiful, sunny day. We had a wonderful ride and a lot of fun dressing up. We’ll do it as much as we can over Christmas!
The time has come to introduce a bit of festive cheer when we are riding. As ever I built things up slowly for Galahad. He started off with some antlers on his head just standing in the stable. He was not keen on my putting them on! Once they were on though he was not bothered at all.
Next came the tinsel on the noseband.
That was no trouble at all and we went out for a lovely hack. After that I added the antlers again.
These days he seems to take it all in his stride. Next will be the jingle bells!
On New Year’s Day my sister and I planned to go for another tinsel ride, this time with half time snacks and hot chocolate. However, the weather was absolutely vile and the idea of standing about in the driving rain wasn’t exactly appealing. We scrapped the snacks part but still rode – we are not fair weather riders!
There was a rather large puddle at the end of our lane when we went out. More of a flood really as there was no way round it. By the time we came back it had visibly grown and we had great fun splashing through it. I did anyway. Galahad wasn’t too sure at first – he thought the main road looked more fun but was persuaded otherwise.
I am actually wearing a riding hat underneath the hood but I didn’t want rain going down my neck!
When we got back I had a go at practising the dressage tests for an upcoming riding club event. The fields are definitely too wet to do any proper schooling but I ran through both my tests in walk just so we could get the shapes. The first test is Intro A which we have done a couple of times before but the second is Prelim 12 which I have never actually ridden. I am a bit concerned about remembering that one. I run through it in my head all the time and am constantly drawing it in the air but it isn’t the same as riding. I won’t get a chance to do that until the competition itself so I’ll have to hope for the best.
Galahad behaved fairly well. He was a bit cross as my sister’s pony had gone back to the yard and he doesn’t really like being ridden on slippery ground anyway but in general he was listening to me. There wasn’t much more I could ask of him.
When we got back we had our hot chocolate and mince pies indoors. It wasn’t quite the same but much warmer and very cosy.
Ever since I was small my riding instructor has held tinsel rides at Christmas. We used to dress up the horses, go for a long ride and if we were lucky we would get mince pies or sweets from parents’ houses along the way. This year we weren’t able to go on hers but we did hold our own.
It wasn’t quite as long as her group rides but we had a lot of fun. We even got a mini canter on a verge which Galahad enjoyed – once I could persuade him off the road. Apparently the gateway was rather scary! It was a nice companionable lazy hack and I loved it.
I did order some glitter for the ponies but forgot to do it in time so we made do with our usual antlers and tinsel which was just as good really. We had a great time and the ponies were very relaxed about the tinsel. We even met the alpacas again which the ponies found rather boring this time – very good news!