Thursday, 13 September 2012

Winter has begun

The boys are now down the hill in the bottom two fields again, 2 weeks earlier than I put Merlin down there last year.  It seems much earlier than that, probably because I was able to get him back into the top fields for some grazing later on in the year, but I doubt that will be an option this year as we've had the remains of two hurricanes dumped on us over the past 24 hours and the top two fields currently resemble an olympic swimming pool, despite the new drains put in last year.

I was going to strip graze them, but my neighbours have advised keeping the grass as long as possible for as long as possible (if you see what I mean!) while it's this wet to prevent it turning into a bog, so the gate to the bottom field is open and two happy naked horses are stuffing themselves on what is basically standing hay.  They have half a bale of hay spread out round the inside of the field shelter if they want it, but they much prefer to be out in the rain and wind eating the real deal.

Talking of the field shelter, look what my lovely other half arranged last week:

That's 24 tons of hardcore and the slope sorted out so the water drains away down the field into the drains rather than leaving Merlin with a moat like last year.  This area is going to be fenced, so if it gets as soggy and boggy as last year, I'll be able to shut them onto this with hay and they can potter in or out as they want rather than having to stable them.  If Carlsberg did husbands.... :o)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


No, not the horses, me!  But up until yesterday we'd had a rather good week...

On Tuesday morning I thought I'd better see if the stand still for mounting lesson had translated successfully, so off we went to the road where Finn duly stood like a pony-shaped boulder for me to get on and was rewarded with a bit of carrot fed from the saddle.  I rode off down the road feeling rather chuffed with my l33t p0ny sch001ing ski11z, only for him to grind to a halt 10 yards later and look round going 'Oi! More carrot!'  I asked him to walk on, he started nibbling my boot!

Twenty minutes later I'd tried waiting him out, flapping reins and legs, growling, slapping my whip on my boot, waving it around his backside...and we'd got another 70 yards down the road, at which point he decided if he wasn't getting any more carrot he was going home and turned round.  At that point he got a smack on the bum and told to effing well get on with it - and he was a total angel for the rest of the hack! 

Having won that battle, I'd hoped for an easier time on Thursday morning, but he'd decided that the turning round and heading for home trick was one he wanted to repeat and tried it every minute or so for the first quarter of a mile, so we waltzed down the village in a series of small circles until he got to a manhole cover that he's walked past at least eight times before without noticing and decided that it was a pony-eating dragon that I needed protecting from and therefore he was taking me home.  I'd planned to take him out of the village and a little way up the main road, but didn't think it was particularly safe to be circling my way up a road where logging lorries come down the hill at 60mp, no matter how much high viz stuff I was wearing, so after I'd got a reasonably sensible five minutes out of him, I turned him round.  And, you guessed it, perfect hacking pony all the way home, until he realised that I was going to make him walk past our drive.  He tried a half-hearted dive to each side, got a strong leg and a growl and then gave in, so I rode him down to the road fork, gave him another bit of carrot and then went home.

The weather forecast is great for this week and I was hoping to ride at least three times, but yesterday rather put paid to that idea.  My husband stuck his head round the office door mid-morning to say that the breeze had dropped and the midges were horrendous, so I picked up the fly sheets and headed out to the field.  I'd done Merlin's and was just finishing up with Finn, who was standing at the small gate between us and the neighbour's field.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Merlin stalking up the field with his "I'm going to bite the pony on his arse" face on.  What I should have done was left the last strap on the neck cover, chased Merlin off and then gone back and done it up, but I thought I had time to get the strap done and then jump out of the way.  Wrong.  Horse teeth met pony bottom and Finn's only exit route was through me.  He barged past, knocking me over onto the stone dyke wall and then trod on my foot, which was sideways on the ground rather than flat.

By 3pm yesterday afternoon it was hurting like you wouldn't believe and alternating between nearly numb and almost pins and needles, so I took myself down to the surgery where they pronounced it probably not broken.  I'm hobbling around the place with the assistance of a wooden staff and swearing a lot!  I'm guessing that's the running knocked on the head for a few weeks - I'd just started really getting going with it again - but since it's the right foot, I may be able to scramble back into the saddle by the end of the week.