Beautiful Tuesday

This is Galahad waiting to go for a ride yesterday.  I was not impressed.

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It was an absolutely beautiful day and we had a lovely ride.

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We didn’t get out until lunchtime but there were still patches of frost in the shade.  In fact, they were still there at the end of the day.  It was cold!

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There was even some ice left on the puddles.

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We had a wonderful time.

Sheep Cross Country

We have had a proper deluge this week.  I think all the rain we haven’t had over the autumn fell in just a couple of days.  The last few days have been much better though and we have had some absolutely beautiful starlit nights.

It was looking pretty ominous when we went for our ride this morning and it was freezing cold but it stayed dry which was the main thing.  There were some loose sheep in the lane who ran round the edge of the field as we approached and jumped back in.  They were pretty athletic.

I stopped for no more than a quarter of an hour to speak to my neighbour and by the time I left there were already four back out of the field.  We herded three of them back but the fourth was the wrong side of us and ran ahead of us down the hill,  She kept thinking about turning and coming back but in the end we had to wait for a handy gateway so Galahad and I could scoot past.  She was fast enough going back up the hill then and I felt safe leaving her there until I came back on Cookster to herd her back in.  Of course, by then there was another sheep with her too.

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The farmer is aware that they are getting out – I didn’t just leave them to get on with it!

Autumn Loveliness

Galahad and I had a wonderful ride last week.

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We went along a route we don’t use very often and went a little further than usual.  The valley was looking absolutely beautiful and we had a lovely, relaxing time.

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We were very lucky and only met a couple of cars.  There was also a van (with a lovely driver who turned off his engine) Galahad tried to shoot past him and slipped a little on the new tarmac where the road had been resurfaced.  It was nothing major though and we got home fine.

When we got back though I realised that Galahad had got pretty sweaty (he was fine!).  I think it is time to admit that he either needs to be clipped or not do so much work.  I don’t really like to keep him clipped over the whole winter.  It just doesn’t seem fair on him to have him bald and rugged up when I can only ride him a couple of times a week.  I’ll clip him when the days get longer and in the meantime we’ll just have to go for shorter rides.

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Wheeee!

We have had rather an exciting time recently.  I was riding down the hill towards home when three girls walked across the bottom of the lane and stopped to have a good look at us.  They walked on before long but they kept bouncing to see us over the hedge.  Galahad was very intrigued and really sped up to try and see what was going on.  He does like to walk much faster towards potentially scary things which can be unnerving.

We were just getting to the bottom and I could hear a large group of cyclists approaching along the main road so I pulled up to let them pass before we emerged from the lane – sometimes that seems like the most sensible option.  The road is very popular with cyclists, although I wouldn’t like to ride the ponies along it.  It is very twisty and cars can drive incredibly fast along it.  I would feel very unsafe on a pony.

Unfortunately Galahad got spooked by a walker and shot out towards the cyclists – I thought he was going to head straight into their path.  One of the cyclists shouted, ‘Tally ho!’ which I’m sure was very amusing but was not entirely helpful.  Luckily it didn’t affect Galahad who pulled up without any trouble.  All the same, I was rather angry and a bit shaky too.

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The next day I was riding Cookster down the same hill and thought I would take a picture to illustrate the scene.  I wanted to wait until something passed the end of the lane though which meant a bit of waiting about – something at which Cookster has never excelled.  He started moving just as I took the picture (hence the blurriness !) and as I was messing about with my phone I automatically pulled on the reins.  That doesn’t really work too well with Cookster – he responds much better to the legs than the reins.  He strode down the hill and before I could stop him he was cantering along our lane for home.  Apparently the cat was watching us through the window and the sound of hoof beats made her run away!

I took Cookster back up the hill a little way and then walked all the way home.  I had to force myself to keep the reins slack and just use my legs to slow him down if he sped up.  It was very hard work but we managed it and I think we learnt our lesson.  I did at any rate.

Super Moon!

We may not have been able to see the super moon on Monday night (it was very cloudy!) but it still made itself felt.  It shone down on the clouds and illuminated the whole sky.  It was beautiful.

It was also incredibly bright.  We could walk around in the dark – or what should have been the dark – without torches and it was really magical.

Sadly though it didn’t photograph well so instead here is a picture of what I found when I came back from riding Cookster yesterday.  Apparently Galahad got a little impatient  – that bucket had been hooked over his door when I left!

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Wedding Fireworks

On Tuesday the next farm to us hosted a wedding reception at their restaurant and warned us that there would be fireworks in the evening – a £600 display.

Since the ponies panicked at a similar display last year we have kept an eye on them whenever there are fireworks about.  This time we decided to stable them as it kept them almost as far from the fireworks as we could get them.

It had been pouring all evening so I was not sure they would go ahead but not long after nine there was a huge bang which made me jump and started the dog barking.

The fireworks were certainly impressive and the bangs echoed round the valley most dramatically.  They can be heard in the video but the volume may need turning up!

The ponies were actually fine with the fireworks.  They were perhaps a bit more tense than normal but certainly not panicking.  In fact, they sometimes looked as though they were enjoying they show!

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Delivery Service

The ponies and I have again been acting as a delivery service for my neighbour.  She had asked me to get some shopping which Galahad and I carried up with no trouble in a backpack.  The pony express is a lot more fun than using the car or delivering on foot!

I then rode out on Cookster and noticed that there was a newspaper waiting at the bottom of the hill so we took that up as well.  It is something we have done often before but this time I was wearing a hoody so I could actually carry it hands free which was such a luxury!

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It was good to have two hands for the reins but the paper was a little in the way of my arms.  I probably didn’t look the most elegant!

Tale of a Tail

Galahad’s tail is usually pretty pathetic.  He has a gorgeous, thick mane and forelock but his tail – despite being long – is also normally very thin and weedy.

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Funnily enough, I don’t go around photographing his tail. This was the best illustration I could find.

It does improve slowly over time and then disappears again, so much so that people actually ask what I have done to it.  The answer is nothing but I think this could be said to be the culprit.

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Galahad spends a lot of time in fields enclosed by hedges and he likes to eat things from the hedge.  Clearly this means his tail has to be punished!

Horse Drawn Boating

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Last week I went for a trip on a horse drawn barge – one of only four left in the country.  It was a wonderfully relaxing trip and the autumn colours were glorious.

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The horse was a beautiful four year old part bred Comtois called Teddy.  He only started working at the beginning of the year and had the summer off as it was too busy for him then.  He just came back into work this month but you wouldn’t know it – he behaved very well indeed.

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He was very keen on all the polos he was given at our half way stop.  I think he must have eaten a couple of packets!

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It was fantastic to be able to travel on a proper horse drawn canal boat.  It was incredibly peaceful, especially when everyone was quiet for a couple of minutes.  A perfect way to spend the afternoon.