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.

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Sun in our eyes and wind in our tails

Sunday was a beautifully sunny day so Galahad and I went out for what should have been a lovely relaxing hack.  It seemed like I was constantly riding into the sun and spent the whole time squinting.  It really was a beautiful day though and the views were gorgeous.

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It was also a very windy day.  Galahad isn’t usually too bothered by the wind but it does get to him occasionally.  Sunday was one of those days and he was looking for things to frighten him.  I had been planning to take him for a canter in my neighbour’s field but I knew that in that frame of mind there would be monsters in every hedge and it didn’t really seem worth it.  We stuck to the lanes but did manage a canter up the grass in the middle.  The sheep all ran away as we came up the lane but once they decided we weren’t coming to get them the started running back towards us.

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It was somewhat unnerving but not unkown in these particular sheep.  We once cantered through their field, went through the open gateway and heard the thunder of hooves behind us.  For a moment I genuinely thought they were going to stampede us but they didn’t go quite that far!

Ponies by Torchlight

You may have noticed that winter is almost upon us.  It is pretty cold and the days have suddenly got a lot shorter.  I am having to check the ponies in the dark most evenings now.

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Obviously this was not taken quite in the dark, alough it was pretty dim.  I tried taking a photograph by torchlight and funnily enough it didn’t work!

Galahad is so much better with the torch now.  He used to refuse to come anywhere near it but now I can walk right up to him with the torch shining.  He is quite happy for me to talk to him as well.  He is getting so brave!

Schooling Catch Up

For one reason or another our schooling has been a bit lax of late.  I have always had a reasonable excuse for not schooling (the builders are here/it’s too windy for Galahad to concentrate on me/the field is too wet…) but I have definitely been feeling a little guilty about it.

Yesterday was pretty windy, the builders were still around (although they had stopped for lunch) and it was raining but I decided enough was enough and Galahad and I marched purposefully into the field.  I was actually pretty impressed with him.  He could have had a bit of a better bend and we had a couple of moments when he tried to nap towards home but in general he did what I asked.  His turns on the forehand even felt amazing, possibly better than ever.  Of course, they may have looked terrible!

We did have one major spook (my entire weight went into one stirrup and it actually felt like we stretched the leather a bit), apparently at nothing.

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I realise there are several potentially scary things in my neighbour’s field but as they have probably been there as long as the pony they seem like a poor excuse.

Overall though, Galahad tried pretty hard and I was pleased with him.

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Sunny Sunday Rambling

Today has been a mixture of beautiful sunshine and heavy showers.  Luckily, Galahad and I went for our ride in a gorgeous, sunshiny part of the day.

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We had a lovely hack, enjoyed some cantering in my neighbour’s field but also spent some time walking round the field to make sure he doesn’t think we always canter.

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It has been a wonderful day!

Pheasants!

It seems that pheasant season is upon us.  Almost every time we ride out we are met by a whole flock of juveniles which run along the lane or field ahead of us before giving in and flying over the hedge.  The ponies have got fairly used to them now, although we can still get taken by surprise occasionally.

A few days ago Galahad and I met this little one who seemed younger than the others, as unlikely as that sounds.  It was cheeping like a chick and when the rest flew off it got left behind and just ran into the fence.

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Eventually it managed to squeeze itself through the fence but was then trapped in the lane with us until it climbed into the hedge, still cheeping madly.

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Hopefully it found its way through the hedge to rejoin the rest of the flock!

Galahad Behaves Well

This morning was absolutely beautiful.  Clear blue skies and bright sunshine, if rather chilly.  We went for an early morning ride which apparently meant my brain was not working.  I tacked up my pony, went to put on my hat and came back to find this.

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I hadn’t tied him back up at all.  Luckily he just stood in the doorway gazing at the world.

We had a lovely ride though.  Once we got above the mist in the valley the sun was actually pretty warm.  It is a lovely feeling to be up and about before anyone else.