Exciting Weather and the Cutest Henhouse!

My riding over the weekend has been rather damp.  I managed to avoid the real downpours but there was a nice steady drizzle.  The whole valley was looking pretty grey.

Today was much drier but oh, the wind!  It was very exciting and did some rather interesting things to Galahad’s mane.

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Last week I went out for lunch at a local farm shop.  The food was very good but even better was meeting this lovely foal and her beautiful Mamma.

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They also had the cutest henhouse!

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Beautiful Fields!

My schooling field is looking very pretty at the moment.  Just look at all the clover!20150720_210123

In all that sea of white there is a little patch of pink making me very happy.20150720_210311

Galahad is schooling very nicely at the moment.  He usually takes a while to settle before he starts really listening properly but this week he has been good right from the start.  Hopefully that is something which will continue.

Today though we went out for a hack.  When we got to the top of the hill we made a very exciting discovery:DSCN3412

Our neighbour’s fields are being cut for hay!  Hopefully it will mean that a) the flies will be less bothersome and b) we will soon be able to go in the fields for a gallop!  Both ponies saw the open gate and thought it looked very inviting.  They took some persuading that going into the field right now would not be an acceptable thing to do!

Lazy Days

Things have been a bit quiet pony wise this week.  My riding time was severely limited but we did manage a couple of nice lazy hacks.

We have been having a bit of a play with liberty training which I love doing.  We are not very advanced – things like bowing are difficult for Galahad as they require a lot of trust.  We have fun playing though.DSCN3406

I moonlight selling vintage books at the odd book fair.  I spent today at a fair and was very excited to pick up a couple of new pony books which I am so looking forward to reading!  I read a LOT and obviously I love horses so I am always looking for more pony books, especially vintage ones.DSCN3411

Show Time

Sunday was Show Day for Galahad.  He travelled to my instructor’s yard on Saturday so she could take us to the show and we could run through our dressage test.  The test went fairly well and we had a go round the jumps as well which he loved, even with all the scary fillers which we don’t have at home.

Sunday dawned grey and drizzly and stayed that way all day, with the odd heavy shower thrown in by way of a change.  A little water won’t put us off though and we arrived at the show – which was basically in the middle of a cloud – with an hour to spare before my test.

This was the view we had pretty much all day.

This was the view we had pretty much all day.

However, as Galahad had jumped so well the day before I managed to get persuaded to jump a higher class than I had intended.  Which not only meant that I had to hurry to be ready to jump early in the class but also that instead of starting his showing career in a nice quiet dressage field he was thrown right into the middle of all the hustle and bustle.

He was very vocal as his best friend had not come but was surprisingly calm about all the things I thought would scare him.  The tents were not an issue at all and although he was aware of all the people and horses he didn’t really mind them.  We hopped over a couple of practise fences and hurried into the ring for the 2’3” class.

I thought I was in trouble when the tannoy crackled and he skittered sideways but it wasn’t a major spook and he had no trouble with the actual voices.  He jumped really well.  He was backing off some of the jumps with fillers but was happy enough to jump with a little encouragement.  The only real issue we had was with a very scary filler hiding in the hedge which made us knock a pole but he didn’t stop or run out at anything.  Strangely enough the flappy sponsor’s sign at the side of the ring was not scary at all.  He jumped a lovely round and I was so proud of him.DSCF5431

We then dashed along to the next field for our dressage test.  Galahad had a good look at the flowers at A but thankfully decided that neither they nor the boards were actually scary.  He felt really nice during the test and although he got a little distracted and nearly drifted out of the ring he stayed nice and relaxed which was the main thing – I wanted his first showing experience to be a good one!DSCF5442

We had a pause after that, during which I had a complete costume change for the mountain and moorland class.  I sent my sister off in the rain to enter for me and report on the class currently in progress in the ring.  In the end I was still mounted far too early as they split the class into in hand and ridden so we spent a long time walking up and down between the rings.  He was a bit on edge to start with as it was very busy but he did settle down nicely and it was a very good experience for him.

He behaved very well in the ring itself and did his individual show much better than at home.  He wasn’t particularly keen on standing next to the clear round jumping ring as the man in charge was wonderfully encouraging of the riders but he actually let the judge hand me a rosette (a special – we weren’t placed) which was unexpected.  He did win the prize for the best Exmoor (he wasn’t quite the only one!) which qualified us for the Moorland Exmoor Pony Breeders Group show at Brendon.  We may not be able to go but it wasn’t bad for his first effort!DSCF5448

I decided that was plenty for him to do so tied him back up with his haynet and went in search of our dressage score.  That was a very pleasant surprise as we got some nice comments and placed third! We obviously have a lot to work on but I was thrilled.DSCF5450

The rest of the day was a lot of waiting around for him but although he was starting at a lot of things he was generally very well behaved.  I had the most fantastic day and I could not be more proud of him.

Raindrops

I had to stop on our ride this morning to take a picture of the rain on this grass.  Isn’t it beautiful?

20150707_081438Remember how long the grass was in my neighbour’s field?  Look what the rain over the past few days has done to it!  Clearly the docks are made of sterner stuff.20150707_080342

Given Galahad’s mild panic on Sunday some desensitisation seemed like a good idea before taking him to a show – I can be as aware as possible of what might scare him but I can’t actually stop people running about and flapping things.  When we got back from our hack my Mum followed us across the field whooping, clapping and waving her arms about.  Galahad was obviously aware she was there but apart from turning his ears towards her he didn’t really react and walked the whole way on a loose rein.  This is progress indeed!

We have some new residents on the yard:DSCN3386These are Flopsy and Mopsy.  Cottontail just made it into the hedge before I could take the picture.  For about a week Flopsy was in the yard whenever I went up there but she has got braver and joined a little gang in the field now.  There are so many baby bunnies about this year!

Dodging the Thunderstorms

The thunderstorm we have been expecting for weeks finally broke this morning. It came with a proper downpour and hail. The ponies of course decided that it was the ideal time to come out of the stable and stand outside.DSCN3347

As soon as it stopped raining the blue skies were back and we rushed out to ride. I rode through our dressage test which went quite well except for him trying to get back to the yard.

I know my head is chopped off but how cool does his mane look!

I know my head is chopped off but how cool does his mane look!

We also had a little jump. He did get a bit excited then as my sister’s pony had gone back to the yard and Galahad was very keen to go too. Once he settled he jumped very nicely.DSCN3376

He jumped the actual tyres for the first time and that was probably the skinniest jump he has ever tried as well.

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No jumping in this one but do you see how the sky is beginning to get a bit ominous?

Then there was a huge clap of thunder and pretty soon this was happening.

We called it a day then which turned out to be a very good plan – the heavens opened and in the two minutes it took to get to the stable we got absolutely drenched. It was hailing too! My sister came running across the field after us with coat and tabards flapping which nearly caused Galahad to panic. I had to scream at her to stop because the hail was so loud. We survived though and by the time we had finished and were back inside the sun was shining again.