Summer Joys

We are certainly having some lovely weather at the moment. We have had rain but most days have been beautiful.

In the mornings when I bring the ponies in they loom up at me out of the mist.

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If I ride in the mornings we go up the hill and pop out above the mist into glorious sunshine.  The view is wonderful,  especially looking down over the mist in the valley.

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If I ride in the evenings after work the sun is generally shining everywhere.  My sister and I have had some beautiful  evening hacks this week.  We don’t get to ride together too often these days so it is especially lovely when we do.

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Galahad Goes Adventuring

Galahad and I have been exploring new horizons.

We found some new off road riding.

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It was too stony to canter but lovely and peaceful with no worry about cars.

We admired the view.

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We were met by an ambush.

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We even battled our way through a jungle.

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We had a lovely time and Galahad was brilliant.  I set off early to avoid hoardes of children on holiday but ended up going through the village just as people were leaving for work.  It wasn’t ideal but the only problem we had was a dog barking through a gate at us.  It was a fantastic way to spend a sunny summer morning.

Part of a Team

Galahad and I have made our debut as part of a team!  It was incredibly exciting as I haven’t been on a riding team since I left university and Galahad never has.  I was nervous I would completely mess up – not on my own account but I did not want to let my team down.

The day didn’t have the best of starts as the warm up fence was on grass and it had been raining.  Galahad was jumping well but slipped over just after landing and we both ended up on the floor and pretty muddy.  Luckily neither of us was hurt and after getting the worst of the mud off Galahad we were ready to go again.  I was a little concerned he would have lost his confidence but he popped back over the fence with no problem and we were all set.

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I needn’t have worried at all – Galahad was a star and flew round the course clear.  Each team member jumped a different height and had two rounds – the second against the clock.  Our practise over angled fences gave me the confidence to push Galahad a bit harder in the timed round and again Galahad was super and flew round. I could not be more pleased with him.

We ended up coming second in the class and were only beaten by a boy on another team from my yard which wasn’t so bad.  Apparently there wasn’t much between us time wise and I was absolutely thrilled (the fact that I had done well for the team definitely helped with that!).

I spent the rest of the day manning the arena gate (and getting sand constantly blown into my eyes).  It was good to feel part of the team and I got to catch up  with a few friends I hadn’t seen for a while so I had a great time.

The next member of my team won her class, then the other two came tenth and eighth.  It was a very close run thing but overall as a team we came fourth which I was very pleased with as a first attempt.  We were second out of the three teams from my instructor’s yard and as we were the least experienced I thought that wasn’t bad either!

Overall I had a fantastic day and was very pleased with the way Galahad went.  He has improved so much over the last few months and I have a lot more confidence in our ability now.  It feels great to take him round a course and I can’t wait for the next time!

Playing in the School

Whilst I was away at camp the ponies spent a few days at my instructor’s yard which meant that I got to use the school when I came home.  We were going to a showjumping competition the next day so I wanted to make sure that we were still working together after my week off  (Galahad didn’t get a week off as I had asked for him to be ridden a couple of times).

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He was nice and responsive and we had a lovely evening schooling session.  I didn’t want to jump too much but we did pop over a couple of fences which felt really good and gave me confidence for the next day.

I was delighted to find that somebody had cleaned Galahad’s tack so I just had to wipe it over and load my stuff into the lorry.  I very much appreciated that after a week’s camping!

Beating the Flies

We are getting towards the end of the fly season  (hopefully!) but we are still working hard to fight them off.  Battling the flies is probably the hardest thing about horse ownership.   I had a few bad years where Galahad got nasty bites which didn’t seem to cause him any pain but looked horrid.  Thankfully we have had a couple of good years now where that hasn’t happened.  I put that down to my being much better organised at treating the ponies with deosect once a month instead of just spritzing them with fly spray every day.

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The trouble is that Galahad hates the spray bottle.  He has improved immensely  – I used to have to sponge the fly spray or deosect all over him.  Now I can actually spray him although he still has good days and bad.  Some days he stands like a rock, others he completely panics.  At the beginning of the summer he climbed up this giant step to avoid being sprayed. Needless to say, I no longer attempt to spray him there!

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We did try using garlic in the ponies’ feed as well but Galahad did not like it and would just leave it.  Strangely, he does like the garlic Horslyx – although as he only gets that as an occasional treat I don’t suppose it does much to put off the flies!

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Jumping Angles

The other day Galahad and I went for a hack with my sister and Cookster.  On our way back we decided to have a pop over a couple of fences.  Galahad is really starting to jump nicely and we had a lot of fun.

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I mentioned recently that he has started taking off further from the fences which is lovely but was feeling rather odd as I wasn’t used to it.  It is feeling almost normal now and we are much more together again over the jumps.

We even had a go practising jumping some angled fences which Galahad completely took in his stride.  The angle isn’t obvious in the video but the fences were not lined up at all.  Good news for future jump offs (if we get into them)!

Hidden Danger

It turns out that it is not just the horses on a yard which can be dangerous.  Danger can hide in the most unexpected of places.

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Yesterday morning I was opening Galahad’s stable door and probably thinking more about Cookster behind me than about what I was doing.  After all,  how hard is it to open a door?  Quite hard apparently – I opened it straight into my face and now I have a lovely lump on my forehead.  It was painful!

 The ponies had a day off today which meant I was a little late going out to see them this morning.  They were pleased to see me and I felt very loved.  It doesn’t matter that it was probably all cupboard love!