I have mentioned before that in my non-pony life I sell books. That meant that I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Pony on the Twelfth Floor from Walker Books.
The book is by Polly Faber and illustrated by Sarah Jennings. It is obviously aimed at children but it is no secret that I love pony books so I was excited to try this one.
Kizzy finds Flapjack in the bakery isle of the supermarket and he is everything she ever wanted. The trouble is that it turns out it’s quite hard to keep a pony in a twelfth-floor flat without your Mum finding out.
Apparently, saddles are very comfortable to lean on. Also – the apples are nearly ready!
This is a fun story and I very much enjoyed reading it. I also loved the illustrations, especially those of the twins Lopa and Ali who are adorable. It is a great read for any pony lover – especially those who long for a pony but cannot have one.
After the excitement of getting the jumps out, I finally got the chance to use some of my birthday presents (from March!).
First I had a wall jump for the first time. It’s a great design and fits neatly over a straw bale.
It might be meant for the ponies but the first jump belonged to the dog.
When I did get to jump it with Galahad I was fully expecting him to try to run out so I set up some guide poles but he actually popped over it with no trouble at all. I think my face shows how astonished I was.
The wall is double sided so of course we had to jump it both ways. This time Galahad did run out at our first attempt but as usual it was because I didn’t keep my eyes up.
I also got some pole sleeves which just needed trimming and sliding on. As always, my Dad came in very useful.
Once again I looked down at the jump and Galahad ran out. After that he jumped very well but I really must work on looking up!
As you can see, there were enough trimmings to make an extra interestingly coloured pole.
We had a great time playing with the jumps and I am looking forward to using them more. It is good to get Galahad jumping as many different things as possible but apart from that it is fun!
One of our hacking routes takes us up a very overgrown lane. Galahad used to object strongly to walking up it but now he amazes me by the way he so willingly walks through a wall of greenery.
He normally comes out the far side rather well decorated. I haven’t managed to get a great picture but he does tend to look very pretty!
It is definitely worth fighting our way through though – we get to go much further afield this way and the views are stunning.
We have been having some lovely hacks, meandering through the countryside. It is too hot to do anything too strenuous but we are enjoying exploring nonetheless. I think Galahad enjoys his baths afterwards too!
Now we have finished the work on the field we can get the jumps out again. It has been seven or eight months since we have been able to jump at home so this was a very exciting moment.
We went out to jump as soon as we could but as it has been so hot recently we wanted to ride reasonably early. We got out into the field by about eight but even so the sun was blazing and it was still very hot.
Considering how little jumping the ponies have done recently, they both did really well. Galahad and I had a few run outs to start with but once we got going he jumped really nicely.
The run outs are mostly my fault. I know very well that if I look down at a jump Galahad is almost certainly going to try and run out. The trouble is that if I think Galahad will be worried about a jump I find it very difficult not to look at it. At least I know what I need to do to get better!
We had a lovely play in the sunshine and even the lambs next door seemed to enjoy it!
It is wonderful to have the jumps out again and we are looking forward to using them over the summer. Let’s just hope the ground doesn’t get too hard!
Until last winter we had been using the same muck heap for several years. Unsurprisingly it had grown rather large and needed sorting out but luckily, as we hadn’t used it all winter, it was well rotted down and disposing of it wouldn’t be an issue. Less good was the fact that it had also got very overgrown with docks and nettles which all needed removing before we could do anything else.
Over the course of a week we loaded the whole thing into our little trailer and carted it out to the field where we dumped each load in a pile.
The piles were then spread out as much as we could by hand (and foot!).
Finally the field was topped to get rid of the docks and also harrowed.
The field is now looking beautiful and all ready for schooling the ponies. I am so pleased with it!
It is rather hot at the moment and we are doing everything we can to keep cool. Even when the ponies have full access to the field they more often than not choose to spend the day in the stables as it is so much cooler inside.
So far this week I have ridden at eight in the morning and eight in the evening. It is still very hot at both of those times – 28°C this evening! That’s uncomfortable enough and I’m not sure Galahad and I could cope with riding in the middle of the day.
We are therefore taking things pretty gently at the moment. We have a very steep hill at the end of our lane which we normally trot up but we have been walking for the past few days. One benefit of overgrown hedges is that when the sun is getting low they provide plenty of very welcome shade.
I hope you and your ponies are managing not to overheat!
As I mentioned in my last post, the ponies went away for a few days so they could see the dentist. Before now I have always been at work when they have seen him but this year – although I didn’t see him with my ponies – I managed to get a look him working with the other horses. The tools do look a little bit like instruments of torture but it was fascinating.
While the ponies were there though I took full advantage of the facilities. I managed to school one pony every day and I had a lesson almost every day. I worked on quarters in with both ponies as they both need to use their hindquarters more. The exercise definitely helped both of them and Cookster in particular was working better (and straighter!) than I ever remember him doing.
As well as the school, I also had access to plenty of hacking. It is always nice to have a change of scenery so every day I hacked out with whichever pony had not been schooled. Most of the time that was with company too which was lovely. We had a great time!
Monday was a very exciting day for the ponies as they went away for a little working holiday.
My first job was to load all their stuff into the car. With two ponies’ worth of tack, plus my own riding things, my boot gets pretty full.
By the time I finished our lift was due to arrive so the ponies had to make the trek to the road and the horse box.
It always amazes me how well the ponies load. They obviously arrived in a trailer but they then didn’t see another one for seven years. Yet they just walked in with no trouble and have done ever since. Even when they needed to get into a big horse lorry for the first time they weren’t worried.
Galahad always loads first, then Cookster follows him in. Normally I would follow them down the road to the stables but this time I had a lesson booked later in the day so I just waved them off and went back home for a cup of tea. It was all very civilised.
As today is Father’s Day I wanted to acknowledge how much my Dad does to help with the ponies.
If ever I need help moving the ponies he is there – even when it’s an odd time of day and they have got themselves into an awkward situation.
His is my biggest supporter at shows but he doesn’t just come to watch – he is quite ready to help out too.
He is also our chief groundsman – I have mentioned before how my parents spent the winter working on the summer paddock – the work doesn’t stop just because summer is here! Now it is the docks which need to be kept in check.
The farrier almost always visits when I am at work. Sometimes my sister is home but more often than not it is just my Dad and it is up to him to hold the ponies while they have their feet trimmed.
For someone who isn’t actually horsey himself, he does an awful lot with the ponies. Thank you Dad.
The ponies have had another new visitor recently.
The lamb actually lives in the field next door but its mother died and now it spends most of its time in our field instead.
Normally I find it right across the field from the ponies but it turns out it isn’t bothered by them at all. It’s always nice to make new friends!