We are certainly not fair weather riders!
On Friday I had some books to deliver to my neighbour and Galahad and I got positively soaked. I had to dismount to hand over the parcel and by the time we had finished my saddle looked like this.
Thankfully my neighbour offered a cloth to dry it so the ride home was not too uncomfortable. Galahad got an apple so he was happy too. The rain wasn’t even all that heavy – it was very fine and misty. I actually quite enjoy riding in weather like it and it certainly can be beautiful.
I am off camping now so won’t be posting for a week or so. Hopefully the weather will improve!
My routine has changed a little this week. I have been too tired and/or lazy to get up in time to ride before work so I have had to do so afterwards. I have been getting home a bit later than normal but thanks to the lovely long evenings there has still been enough time to ride.
We have had some wonderful, relaxing hacks in the evening sunshine. The evenings have been very still and beautiful this week and it has been lovely to be outside.
I have been enjoying myself very much – our rides have been the perfect way to end the day.
Usually by this point in the year I have written at least one post about battling the flies, if not more. This year we have had much less trouble but part of the reason for that is that the ponies spent so long away from home!
As usual the ponies are in their fly masks, although they seem to spend more time escaping from them than actually wearing them. I have four at the moment – two are fairly decent, one only has one ear and the other is almost unusable but is useful in an emergency. If I don’t have time to traipse round the field looking for lost masks I do at least have backup!
I have also been trying NAF’s citronella gel which appears to have been very effective. It is obviously more labour intensive than a spray but given how much Galahad hates the spray I am more than happy with it. For one thing, I don’t have to persuade him it is safe which is a great time saver!
One of the reasons I have been enjoying riding early in the morning is that there are usually less flies then. That’s not always the case though – Cookster and I were bombarded the other day and I had to resort to sticking some elder leaves in his browband. They seemed to work pretty well – when he shook his head one side fell out and after that there were definitely more flies on that side.
Overall we do seem to be winning the battle and it has definitely seemed less of a hassle this year. The system must be working!
Last week Galahad had another back check – just to make sure everything was progressing as it should be. Thankfully he was showing some improvement but he still had the full treatment and a lot of work on his quarters to try and help them work properly. I was pleased with his progress though and I just need to keep working at the groundwork. Obviously I’ll be keeping an eye on him and if I think it necessary he can always have another check.
Galahad had a day off afterwards and we then spent a few days just going out on gentle hacks.
Most of our riding has been done in the early morning before I go to work. I am not really a morning person but once I have managed to force myself out of bed I love being outside early – spending time with the ponies and hacking out. Even the sheep have still been asleep!
An added bonus is that there are usually less flies around then! It has been a wonderful week.
Last Sunday Galahad and I went to a jump-cross challenge competition – a round of show jumping followed by a cross country course. Given our last cross country outing had involved a lot of stops I was feeling a little apprehensive. However, Galahad was jumping very well in training (barring some braking issues). That and the fact that his back was probably a bit sore last time gave me some reason to hope we would manage better this time.
We entered the 50cm class and the show jumping went pretty well. We had one stop – I still don’t know why – but the rest of the round felt really good and back up to our normal level. We made our way to the cross country course and actually managed to get over the first fence at the the first attempt. That was much better than last time – as you can hear if you watch to the end of the video and listen very carefully!
In fact, the whole course was miles better than last time. It was almost the same course and the only fences we stopped at were the quarry (which we had previously only jumped with a lead in the pairs class) and the chair (which was the fence we had to miss out last time). Everything else we just flew over. I was enjoying it, Galahad was enjoying it and it was so much fun.
We had too many stops to place in the cross country or the combined competition but as the show jumping was split into senior and junior riders we managed a fourth place for that which was very welcome.
We also entered the show jumping section of the 65cm class. Galahad felt even better and I was much more confident. I did however completely misjudge the turn into the double and presented Galahad with a horrible angle at one of the widest fences on the course. I was convinced he would either stop or just crash through it. He did hesitate slightly but popped over it and the second part of the double with no problem at all.
We did knock one fence down but in a completely unrelated incident. We claimed fifth place in that class which felt very good indeed.
It was good to feel that Galahad was enjoying his jumping – the rosettes were a bonus and we had a fantastic day.
We recently had to have the fields topped again, which meant that I had to put all of my jumps away. Then it started raining and we couldn’t cut the grass. It didn’t seem worth getting the jumps out when I would only have to pack them up again so it has been a couple of weeks since we have been able to jump.
Last week however, it was finally dry, the grass was cut and the jumps came out of storage. I found this lovely moth on one of them – it was huge!
Its wings were open when I first saw it but it closed them before I could get to my camera. It was beautiful though.
I’m sorry the pictures are rather blurry. Apparently the camera couldn’t cope with the light levels!
Galahad seemed as excited as me to see the fences – he was rushing rather to start with and he was putting in some enormous jumps. We then had a horrid jump over the filler and completely demolished the fence. After that he was much more sane!
He was actually jumping quite nicely and we had a lovely evening in the field. We didn’t overdo it though – it was still pretty hot even at nine o’clock in the evening!
As it has been so warm here recently I am finding that I am riding late in the evening more and more often. It is just more comfortable – for both me and the ponies. I have been enjoying it more than I thought I would and it is not just being cooler. I also get to enjoy beautiful sights like this.
The picture makes it look like I am riding in the dark but I promise I am not! When my camera is not pointed directly at the sunset things look more like this which is much more reasonable.
The schooling itself has been going pretty well too. Galahad is a little stiff to the right and I have to work hard to get the correct canter lead on the right rein but otherwise I am very pleased and having a lot of fun.
Since Galahad has now done two whole cross country competitions I decided it was time to get a hat cover and saddlecloth to match my cross country colours.
Obviously that’s just an excuse to treat myself to some horsey goodies (although I do have another competition coming up soon).
I went through a phase a few years ago when I fell off every time I wore something new. Even now I still make sure that I never wear anything for the first time at a competition – just in case.
Naturally this meant that I had to try out the new colours on a normal ride and I am pleased to say that they worked very well and fit nicely. I am starting to feel like a proper competitor! Best of all, I didn’t fall off – hurrah!
We have had a lot of rain this week. The tack room ended up looking like this.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal! It seems we need to do a little work on the roof.
On the bright side, the torrential rain does seem to have stopped for now and the weather has been wonderful over the weekend.
We went out for a lovely long hack through the fields. The rain had flattened the grass and was still sitting in the seed heads. The whole field was sparkling and it was absolutely beautiful. I has been a good day.