The Rains Came Down

Whilst the rest of the country seems to be knee deep in snow we have had a veritable downpour.

When I got up on Sunday morning the rain was lashing down and it was blowing a gale.  It was not ideal riding weather but I had to go out so any riding had to be done then or never.  The field was in a terrible state!

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As it happened, the rain eased off slightly while we were riding so we were well rewarded for taking the plunge!

I was out for the afternoon and during that time the rain got worse.  There was water flowing out of the drystone walls around our yard and the stream rose alarmingly.

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As I was out my Mum left a marker stone to show me how far it had come.  The gates had to be opened because there was a lot of debris building up against them.

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The water levels went down again surprisingly quickly but the fields are still sodden.  There will be no riding on them for a while!

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Time to Stop and Stare

Things have been a little hectic here recently.  I do get very busy in the run up to Christmas but this week does seem to have been particularly busy.  Therefore, it was especially nice to have a pootle round the lanes with the ponies this weekend.

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It has been very cold for the last couple of days but there was no rain so we had a lovely, relaxing time.  I was very proud of Cookster for not batting an eyelid when a pheasant flew up very noisily right next to us – even though I jumped out of my skin!

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Galahad also made me proud – we had to squeeze through a narrow gap between the hedge and a car with an open boot and the hazard warning lights flashing.  He did hesitate but when I asked him to move forwards he did so.  He rather wanted to rush through but managed to contain himself.

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There are beginning to be a few signs that Christmas is coming.

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Galahad may have wanted to eat the wreath!

Championship Pony!

I have written before about the dressage tests Galahad and I did for BHS Somerset’s online competition over the summer.  As we had two scores over 64% we qualified for the championship in October – quite an achievement for us!

I  was very aware that the main comments we had for our previous tests were that Galahad needed to be more forward so I was really focusing on that for this test.  I struggled to get him bending to the right but at least he wasn’t feeling sluggish.   In fact, he felt far too rushed from on top.

When I watched the film back, however, it didn’t look rushed at all – clearly I have got too used to Galahad’s usual pace so that the right energy feels too much!

My score sheet just came through along with a lovely rosette and the best score we have ever received.  We actually got the same score as the rider in fourth place but didn’t do so well in the collective marks.

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We got some wonderful comments from the judge and it was a great way to end the season.  We will definitely be taking part again next year!

A Very Horsey Day

This morning we went to our local fatstock show.  I love to go every year but this time there seemed to be even more horses there than normal.

First of all we saw a pair of shire horses giving rides on a rather nice farm cart.

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A little way on we found a stand belonging to the Exmoor Pony Society who had a pen with a couple of ponies – a yearling and two year old.  It was great to say hello to them.

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Inside the pannier market there were some festive donkeys who were very friendly.

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Then we found we had another opportunity for a horse and cart ride!

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The highlight though was the farriery demonstration.  They were making the shoes from scratch which is something I have never seen before.  I found it fascinating and I stood watching them for ages!

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It is a lovely local show with a fantastic atmosphere and I had a great day, even though it meant I didn’t get to ride my own pony.

Highwaymen and Frozen Gates!

 

20171129_080621We had a heavy frost again this morning – so much so that the latches on the gates were frozen shut and I couldn’t shift them.

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Luckily, one of the gates also has a bolt which was still movable so the ponies were able to go out!

I was also fascinated by the hurdles  round the sheep pen – they are hollow and the uprights fill with water.  This is what had happened this morning!

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I love these mornings, despite the bitter cold.  They are really beautiful.  Plus, they mean that it is finally cold enough to wear my highwayman hat cover.  It is lovely and cosy!

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Mud, Glorious Mud

We have had a lot of rain over the past few days.  Also hail and sleet.  Things are starting to look a little soggy!

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In fact, the gateway into the yard got to the point where we just had to do something about it.  We had some branches taken out in our woodland and the work has left us with a large pile of wood chippings.  These are excellent for putting down on the mud!

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My parents were very kind and put down a load of chippings on Friday.  They are wonderful!   I can now get into the yard without having a struggle and getting covered in mud.  The dog likes it too – she might be a country dog but she hates mud and will do her best to get round it!

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The rain hasn’t stopped us getting out and about though – although other people’s fields are looking even wetter than ours!

The Gathering Gloom

Things are getting pretty dark here.  It has been dark when I get home for weeks but now it is also almost too dark to ride before work as well.

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Not quite though – I can still squeeze in a hack if I am super quick and don’t go very far.  In fact, the only good thing about working on Sundays is that when I have to do so I start an hour later  – plenty of time to ride!

It hasn’t helped that this week I have had a terrible cold which has made my energy levels plummet.   Getting up in the morning has been even harder than usual.  I am on the mend now though and hopefully I’ll manage to have a few more early morning rides before the darkness sets in.

Autumnal Ramblings

Things are beginning to look wintry here.  A lot of the trees have lost their leaves and the countryside is starting to look a bit brown.

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The hedges are taking on a new kind of beauty – there is a lot of lichen visible now the leaves have gone.

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Every so often though, we still come across a tree which is a blaze of colour.

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Galahad and I had a lovely lazy hack today, rambling through the countryside and enjoying the autumnal scenery. It is a good time of year.

Being Realistic

This week I have not ridden much at all.  Partly that is because I am currently in sole charge of all the animals.

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When there is a limited amount of daylight I have to prioritise.  The ponies can run around the field and exercise themselves to some extent.  The dog doesn’t have that opportunity!

Although I miss the riding I still get to spend time with the ponies.  They are always pleased to see me in the mornings and especially the evenings when I feed them!

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Plus the dog and I always stop to say hello.

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Every winter I have to accept that my riding gets curtailed – it won’t be long now before it is too dark to ride in the mornings as well as the evenings.  It’s just a case of adjusting myself to a new routine of only riding a couple of times a week.  There are lots of compensations though – things like log fires on cold evenings!

 

Freezing Rain

It has been rather cold here for the past few days.  The wind is biting and the rain is freezing.  Literally  – there were bits of sleet in it today.  Luckily it stayed dry for our hack today but we got pretty wet yesterday.

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Our neighbour has moved out and the new people were moving in yesterday – we met one very fast small van and a slower, larger one.  That one got slightly wedged between two cottages and we had the fun of watching it try to extricate itself.  The ponies were fascinated!

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They were very well behaved though.  We have a field right on the side of a fairly busy road and lorries frequently drive past it very fast.  It has been invaluable in making sure the ponies are not traffic shy.