I had been planning a post about the pheasant shoot on the farm behind us. As the season is just starting there are pheasants everywhere and I was going to write about how this meant that the ponies are not really bothered by them any more.
Most of the time that is true but this week I was riding out with my sister and I got a very sharp lesson. We were meandering along, having a chat and not paying a great deal of attention to our surroundings. At least, I wasn’t. I knew there were pheasants about but Galahad wasn’t reacting to them so I didn’t think much of it.
Almost without warning I suddenly found myself sat on the floor whilst my sister and both ponies hightailed it back down the hill. It was terrifying – there is a main road at the bottom. Luckily my sister managed to stop at the top of the really steep bit of the hill so Galahad stopped too. I am fairly sure though that neither pony would have gone as far as they did if they hadn’t been winding each other up.
I had no idea what happened but apparently a pheasant flew up on the other side of the hedge right next to us. I imagine Galahad heard the noise but couldn’t see what it was – that would certainly be enough to spook him.
It was a very practical lesson in why one should wear long sleeves when riding (technically I was but it was warm so I had rolled them up). I hit the hedge before landing on the road so my arm is a mess of thorn scratches and tarmac grazes.
On the other hand my leg was well protected by my jodhpurs but it still got a nasty graze. It also shows that however much trust one has in a horse it doesn’t pay to daydream when riding. Especially on a spooky pony like Galahad!
I was feeling rather battered and sore but was determined to finish our ride as I didn’t want Galahad to stop on a bad note. The rest of it was lovely!