Days Off

Yesterday was an off day for me riding wise.  I mentioned in my last post that I have been watching a lot of the Olympics recently and as it is in Korea most of the coverage is overnight here.  Which means that I have missed quite a bit of sleep over the past few weeks.

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I am one of those people who need about eight hours sleep a night – although I’m not very good at making sure that I get that!  I have therefore been suffering a bit from lack of sleep and yesterday I ended up not riding at all.

Sometimes that’s okay though.  The ponies don’t care – as long as they are warm and fed they are perfectly happy.  There are some days when it is important to take time to recover.

Not that I didn’t spend time with the ponies.  I still had stables (and a sheep pen!) to muck out and a dog to exercise.  She tried to be helpful too by carrying a whole section of hay across the yard.  I was not impressed and neither were the ponies who exploded!

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It was a beautiful day and I very much enjoyed my time outside.  The time to rest definitely helped too and this morning I was back to business as usual.

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#5Photos1Day

Sam over at Haynet recently set a challenge for horse bloggers to post five photos showing a day in our lives with the horses.  I chose to use a work day – it might be less interesting but it does give a much better idea of what a typical day is like for me.

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At the moment my days all start with me turning out the ponies.  They are kept in at night over the winter – more to save the ground a bit than to protect them from the elements.  It is still too dark to ride before work at the moment, although it won’t be long until it is possible.  There are very promising signs already!

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I have to drive ten miles to work every day.  On the day I chose for the challenge – last Friday – it happened to be a frosty morning and my windscreen was simply beautiful.

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Lunchtime at work is usually the time I take to update myblog’s social media accounts.  I might also do a bit of writing for the blog itself and I will almost certainly be reading as well.  I do like to get outside when I can and I love to sit and read outdoors but it was far too cold on Friday!

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It is definitely also too dark to ride after work at the moment, especially as most days I have other commitments as well – things like dance classes and a book club.  The ponies are often waiting at the gate for me when I get home – they can be very affectionate when they think they might get some food!

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Once the ponies are tucked up in bed I can sit down with a cup of tea by the fire. At the moment I am watching a lot of Olympics and this is often the time when I will type up my blog posts.

Sam will be collating the statistics for the hash tag at the end of the month and it will be interesting to see what kind of reach it has had.  I am already enjoying seeing everyone’s pictures and I look forward to reading blog posts about it.  Go and search for #5photos1day or maybe try the challenge for yourself!

Hail!

This week we went out to tack up the ponies in beautiful sunshine.  It was a glorious day and I was looking forward to a lovely, relaxing ride.

By the time we started up the hill,  the sky behind us had gone ominously dark and we could see the weather closing in.  It was still beautiful though.

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Before long the hail started and Galahad’s mane was filled with pretty beads.

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For the first time  I felt that my riding skirt was serving a genuine purpose – protecting my poor little clipped pony from all those hailstones.

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We did have a lovely ride nonetheless and despite the hail it was nice and relaxing.  A wonderful way to spend a morning.

Feeling the Chill

The day after Galahad had his back check he and I went out for a hack.  It was the first time in a while that we had hacked out from anywhere other than home and to start with he was a bit reluctant to leave.  Once we did get going though he was very keen to go indeed!  So much so that I decided to go a bit further than I had planned just to work off some of his excess energy.

He was very jolly though and I’m not really sure that it made much difference.  However, we had a good time even if we were going faster than I would have liked.  Unsurprisingly I have no pictures from the hack though – I did not think it would be safe!

That afternoon was haircut time for Galahad.  Cookster is definitely moulting now and since Galahad won’t for months yet he needed doing – he had enough hair to fill an entire wheelbarrow!

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He is now a two rug pony.  It seems odd for an Exmoor but he has been wearing a rug for the last month anyway to help his sore muscles and we needed to replace the warmth of his coat with something.

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Apparently he was still full of energy even then but behaved pretty well.  He certainly looks very smart now.

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Bouncy Pony

This has been a busy week for the ponies.  On Tuesday they went away to my instructor’s yard so Galahad could have a follow up back check on the Wednesday.   I managed to squeeze in a lesson on the Tuesday night first and it was somewhat interesting!  He was full of energy and bounced around the arena.   Cookster was in a stable very close by which was probably the main reason.

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Galahad took quite a while to settle but once he did we had a really good lesson. We are even starting to get the hang of quarters in!

His muscles were still pretty tight when he had his back check but thankfully it could be massaged out rather than needing a full treatment.  It’s the first time that has ever happened and I couldn’t be more pleased.   It definitely pays off to make his back checks more frequent!

Riding Out of the History Books

Last week I received a very exciting parcel – a riding skirt from Klesarven in Norway.  I have been admiring them from afar for ages and finally persuaded myself to order one.  I am so glad I did!  The fabric is lovely and it is so nice to wear, even when I am not riding.

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It took me a week to actually wear it riding as I wanted other people to be around when I tried it on Galahad for the first time – I had no idea how he would react!

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In the end he was remarkably unfazed by the whole thing.  Even when the wind caught underneath it (I chose a very windy day to try it out!) I jumped more than he did.

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I so much enjoyed wearing it and I was almost sorry it wasn’t raining so I couldn’t see how dry it kept me.  Not quite though – it was a beautiful, sunny day and I wouldn’t have changed it at all.

Sunny Sunday

This weekend my sister and I have been for some lovely hacks.  We didn’t go anywhere exciting but it was so nice just to ride out and enjoy the company of our ponies.

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We don’t get to ride together that often these days so it’s great when we can.

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As far as I can tell, the vaseline has done a good job of stopping pinworm eggs sticking to Galahad’s skin but it has caused a problem of its own.   Where he has swished his tail he has transferred a good amount of vaseline to his coat.  This isn’t pretty and it is a nightmare to get rid of it.

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Soap and water doesn’t really work, although I did make the mistake of using cold water which makes it worse.  Cornflour or baby powder is going to be my next attempt but if anyone has any better ideas I would be very grateful to hear them!

Worming Woes

Not very long ago I found a live worm in Galahad’s droppings.  I felt terrible for letting it be there but also bemused – he is wormed regularly and when we had an egg count done the results came back completely clear.

I did some research and it turns out that what he had was pinworms.  They are apparently notoriously difficult to kill because they live just inside the rectum – most modern wormers are too effective as they are absorbed much earlier in the digestive system and so never reach the pinworms. That made me feel a lot better – perhaps I hadn’t been failing my pony after all.  Another thing that reassured me was the fact that pinworms cause very little internal damage to the horse.  The main problem is that they make the horse very itchy.  I have noticed that Galahad has been itching his tail a bit recently so that does make sense.

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I was recommended to try a double dose of Strongid-P which I did.  Two days later I found quite a lot of dead worms and I have never been so happy to see them!  The wormer certainly seems to work!

I have also been using vaseline on the skin around the rectum.  This should make it harder for the eggs to stick if there are any worms left behind.  Pinworms have a relatively long life cycle so it may take more courses of wormer to clear them up completely.   We have made a promising start though.

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Glorious Mud

It seems to have been raining solidly for the past few weeks and I have never known the ground to be so wet.  We will definitely not be schooling here anytime soon!

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However, on Monday Galahad and I got out for a hack which was miraculously dry.  We got a little further afield than usual and found distinct signs that spring is on its way.

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It’s hard to tell in the picture but there is a whole bank of snowdrops in front of Galahad. It was beautiful!

There have been primroses out since before Christmas and the snowdrops have been around for a while too but a bit further up the road we found daffodils and even some campion.

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Then on Thursday morning I stepped out of the door to find the sky was a gorgeous blue and the birds were singing like crazy.  Make sure you have the sound on when you play the video!

It was a beautiful morning until the rain came back.  Definitely promising signs of spring though – it’s amazing how much better it can make one feel!

A Pony Called Secret

It is no secret that I love reading pony books.  I have never really grown up I think and I read all I can get my hands on.

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I was therefore very excited last year when Nosy Crow sent me a review copy of A Pony Called Secret: A New Beginning – the first book in a new series by Olivia Tuffin – the author of the very popular Palomino Pony series.

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Secret is the son of Lily – the Palomino Pony – and belongs to Alice Smalley who featured in The Palomino Pony Wins Through.  Secret is rather a handful and Alice is beginning to wonder if she’ll ever be able to train him.  Then she meets Finn – a fearless rider who has an amazing way with horses.  He could be just the help Alice needs – if only he wan’t so moody!

I enjoyed the Palomino Pony books so I knew I would like this one but it was even better than I expected.  Alice’s struggles with Secret reminded me very much of the problems I had with Galahad and it is always good to feel that you are not suffering alone!

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It took me a few months to get around to reading this but I will definitely be reading the second book in the series which has just recently been published.  I can’t wait!