Feeling the Chill

The day after Galahad had his back check he and I went out for a hack.  It was the first time in a while that we had hacked out from anywhere other than home and to start with he was a bit reluctant to leave.  Once we did get going though he was very keen to go indeed!  So much so that I decided to go a bit further than I had planned just to work off some of his excess energy.

He was very jolly though and I’m not really sure that it made much difference.  However, we had a good time even if we were going faster than I would have liked.  Unsurprisingly I have no pictures from the hack though – I did not think it would be safe!

That afternoon was haircut time for Galahad.  Cookster is definitely moulting now and since Galahad won’t for months yet he needed doing – he had enough hair to fill an entire wheelbarrow!


He is now a two rug pony.  It seems odd for an Exmoor but he has been wearing a rug for the last month anyway to help his sore muscles and we needed to replace the warmth of his coat with something.


Apparently he was still full of energy even then but behaved pretty well.  He certainly looks very smart now.



Bouncy Pony

This has been a busy week for the ponies.  On Tuesday they went away to my instructor’s yard so Galahad could have a follow up back check on the Wednesday.   I managed to squeeze in a lesson on the Tuesday night first and it was somewhat interesting!  He was full of energy and bounced around the arena.   Cookster was in a stable very close by which was probably the main reason.


Galahad took quite a while to settle but once he did we had a really good lesson. We are even starting to get the hang of quarters in!

His muscles were still pretty tight when he had his back check but thankfully it could be massaged out rather than needing a full treatment.  It’s the first time that has ever happened and I couldn’t be more pleased.   It definitely pays off to make his back checks more frequent!

Riding Out of the History Books

Last week I received a very exciting parcel – a riding skirt from Klesarven in Norway.  I have been admiring them from afar for ages and finally persuaded myself to order one.  I am so glad I did!  The fabric is lovely and it is so nice to wear, even when I am not riding.


It took me a week to actually wear it riding as I wanted other people to be around when I tried it on Galahad for the first time – I had no idea how he would react!


In the end he was remarkably unfazed by the whole thing.  Even when the wind caught underneath it (I chose a very windy day to try it out!) I jumped more than he did.


I so much enjoyed wearing it and I was almost sorry it wasn’t raining so I couldn’t see how dry it kept me.  Not quite though – it was a beautiful, sunny day and I wouldn’t have changed it at all.

Sunny Sunday

This weekend my sister and I have been for some lovely hacks.  We didn’t go anywhere exciting but it was so nice just to ride out and enjoy the company of our ponies.


We don’t get to ride together that often these days so it’s great when we can.


As far as I can tell, the vaseline has done a good job of stopping pinworm eggs sticking to Galahad’s skin but it has caused a problem of its own.   Where he has swished his tail he has transferred a good amount of vaseline to his coat.  This isn’t pretty and it is a nightmare to get rid of it.


Soap and water doesn’t really work, although I did make the mistake of using cold water which makes it worse.  Cornflour or baby powder is going to be my next attempt but if anyone has any better ideas I would be very grateful to hear them!

Worming Woes

Not very long ago I found a live worm in Galahad’s droppings.  I felt terrible for letting it be there but also bemused – he is wormed regularly and when we had an egg count done the results came back completely clear.

I did some research and it turns out that what he had was pinworms.  They are apparently notoriously difficult to kill because they live just inside the rectum – most modern wormers are too effective as they are absorbed much earlier in the digestive system and so never reach the pinworms. That made me feel a lot better – perhaps I hadn’t been failing my pony after all.  Another thing that reassured me was the fact that pinworms cause very little internal damage to the horse.  The main problem is that they make the horse very itchy.  I have noticed that Galahad has been itching his tail a bit recently so that does make sense.


I was recommended to try a double dose of Strongid-P which I did.  Two days later I found quite a lot of dead worms and I have never been so happy to see them!  The wormer certainly seems to work!

I have also been using vaseline on the skin around the rectum.  This should make it harder for the eggs to stick if there are any worms left behind.  Pinworms have a relatively long life cycle so it may take more courses of wormer to clear them up completely.   We have made a promising start though.


Glorious Mud

It seems to have been raining solidly for the past few weeks and I have never known the ground to be so wet.  We will definitely not be schooling here anytime soon!


However, on Monday Galahad and I got out for a hack which was miraculously dry.  We got a little further afield than usual and found distinct signs that spring is on its way.


It’s hard to tell in the picture but there is a whole bank of snowdrops in front of Galahad. It was beautiful!

There have been primroses out since before Christmas and the snowdrops have been around for a while too but a bit further up the road we found daffodils and even some campion.


Then on Thursday morning I stepped out of the door to find the sky was a gorgeous blue and the birds were singing like crazy.  Make sure you have the sound on when you play the video!

It was a beautiful morning until the rain came back.  Definitely promising signs of spring though – it’s amazing how much better it can make one feel!

A Pony Called Secret

It is no secret that I love reading pony books.  I have never really grown up I think and I read all I can get my hands on.


I was therefore very excited last year when Nosy Crow sent me a review copy of A Pony Called Secret: A New Beginning – the first book in a new series by Olivia Tuffin – the author of the very popular Palomino Pony series.


Secret is the son of Lily – the Palomino Pony – and belongs to Alice Smalley who featured in The Palomino Pony Wins Through.  Secret is rather a handful and Alice is beginning to wonder if she’ll ever be able to train him.  Then she meets Finn – a fearless rider who has an amazing way with horses.  He could be just the help Alice needs – if only he wan’t so moody!

I enjoyed the Palomino Pony books so I knew I would like this one but it was even better than I expected.  Alice’s struggles with Secret reminded me very much of the problems I had with Galahad and it is always good to feel that you are not suffering alone!


It took me a few months to get around to reading this but I will definitely be reading the second book in the series which has just recently been published.  I can’t wait!

Running Repairs

Right at the end of last winter Galahad pulled one of the surcingle buckles off of  his rug.  I didn’t fix it at the time because he stopped wearing it and I’m really rather lazy.

I finally got around to sewing on a new buckle (I never did find the original one) last week as Galahad is now wearing the rug again to keep his back muscles warm.  I was pretty proud of the job I did.


Unfortunately,  the hole in the new buckle is slightly smaller than the old one and as I hadn’t changed the other half of it I could not quite twist it closed.   It did stay done up though so I sent Galahad off in hopes that it would hold.

He hadn’t been turned out in a proper field for over a week and I think he enjoyed himself!


When I brought him in again the buckle had turned itself and was fully closed.  Which was great … except that I couldn’t get it open again – less than ideal.  I had visions of us having to cut Galahad free and I thought that at the very least I would have to replace the other half of the buckle.


Luckily my Dad managed to cut the rubber band off and although it was still very stiff I could at least open (and close) the buckle.  No more mending for me – until he rips it again!

Full of Beans

Sunday was a beautiful day sandwiched between many days of rain, for which we were very grateful!  Well before it was light the yard was a hive of activity with ponies being brushed and plaited left right and centre.  Of course, as Galahad and Cookster are native ponies, we don’t have to worry about plaiting which saves a lot of time.  Although, I did quite enjoy it when I had to do it.

We arrived in plenty of time but had some confusion with the parking so my warm up was a bit shorter than I would have liked.   Galahad felt pretty good though and I was fairly confident when we went into the arena.

We walked around the arena once before Galahad decided that he would really rather be outside with Cookster and started cantering towards the gate.  The only show he had ever been to been to with Cookster before this was a cross country event so, although he felt a bit wound up in the warm up there, it really didn’t matter once we started as I could let him run.  It turns out it’s a bit trickier when you are trying to do a walk-trot dressage test!

Of course, it didn’t help that this time Galahad could actually hear Cookster calling him.  They were both incredibly noisy – so much so that I didn’t hear the judge telling me I could start.  We ended up doing the worst test of my life.  Galahad never really relaxed,  we  cantered several times and our steering left a lot to be desired.


My sister was waiting outside and our instructor told her Galahad was being a toad.  He was – he can do a very nice test – but it was also a learning experience for both of us.  I learnt that Galahad needs much more time to settle when Cookster is there!

As soon as we finished I took Galahad as far from the arena as I could as I didn’t want to wind Cookster up if I could help it.  It was just as well – Galahad was still calling and was extremely loud and shrill.

The judge evidently did not notice me leaving – she finished writing her comments, looked up and demanded the next competitor, even though my sister had already said hello to her.  I suppose one Exmoor does look very much like another!  Cookster and my sister did a very nice test and managed to come seventh.  Unsurprisingly Galahad and I came last but the judge did commend me for keeping my composure.


We had a much better warm up for the pairs test, although when we practised passing each other the ponies were still calling.  The test itself went very well – they worked together much better than they had been.  We could ride much closer together than before as well.  The sections where we had to work apart were still the best though – at some points the ponies’ steps were pretty much in sync and most of our crossings were spot on.  There was just one where we were too much of a mirror image and my sister had to walk to avoid a collision.  I was very pleased with the overall test though, especially as it was our first attempt.  We managed a  fifth in that class which I thought was pretty good.


I spent the rest of the afternoon wrapped in blankets writing for the judge.   It was absolutely freezing but it is a job I quite enjoy as you can learn a lot from it.  Plus it meant that I got free hot chocolate and cake which was very welcome!

Galahad and I may not have had the best of starts to the day but overall I think it went reasonably well.  Cookster was amazing though and I was so proud of him.


Feeling Better

On Friday I lunged Galahad again – this time whilst my sister was riding Cookster in the school as well.  That was mainly because we were aiming to enter a pairs dressage test on Sunday and we wanted the ponies to get some practice at working independently in the school.  It wouldn’t really make for a good test if we couldn’t get them apart!


They actually worked very well.  We even ran through the test with me leading Galahad and although it wasn’t a great performance it showed that they could work well separately.  Cookster wasn’t too keen on my running about near him but that wouldn’t be an issue in the real test!

On Saturday evening I was allowed to ride Galahad for the first time in a week and he felt really good.  The back treatment had definitely improved his way of going.

We ran through our individual test which was nice and forward.   I decided to stick to the walk and trot test as he  had just had the week off and it felt like it rode pretty well.



We also practised the pairs test.  We had thought the parts of the test where we separated would be the hardest but those bits went fairly well.  When we had to actually ride as a pair though we really struggled to keep them close enough together.   It did improve with practice but there was still a long way to go.  Still, it was fun and we hopefully won’t disgrace ourselves in the competition!

On a side note, Galahad has been wearing a rug since his back treatment to keep his damaged muscles warm and it is amazing how shiny his coat is now.  Even his tail lies flat!