Thursday, 29 April 2010

Working, not riding

This time of year is always tough. I am still working 7 days a week, I am tired, the days are getting shorter and I don't get to see my horses. Just when I really need a horse hug, I don't have time to visit them.

This is what I get to see. So much for the glamour of the wine industry, eh? Mind you, there is a pretty good view just out past these tanks -

But that isn't really much compensation. Sigh...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Max's New Friend

Meet Mount Tulloch Royal Dynasty, aka "Dinky". He is Max's BFF since they moved into the Tank Paddock together at the weekend. Dinky is a part-bred Morgan who has retired to the country and now does his favourite thing - eating- all the time.

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The two boys are having a great time together, running up and down the hills, sharing hay (and Max's feed!) and lots of wither scratching. Bliss! The only problem is that Max is now reluctant to leave his buddy and his nappiness has returned. But that is just another learning opportunity for me, and I have better skills to deal with him now.

We might enter the Winter Dressage for next month and see if we can get into an arena. And preferably stay there for the test too!!! That means we have to do some float loading training too. Oh boy, it might be quite an adventure just to do Pony Club test D. Yikes....

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Speigels in the trees

Can you see them?

They are there, I promise you. You just have to look at bit harder.

No, look again.


Well, Max tells me there are speigels* in them there trees, and that we should be very, very careful when going past. It is best if we are with Rose the Grey Mare, as she scares them away. (She is very scarey). But last weekend, as it was Easter I got a whole day off work and I made Max go past the speigels ON HIS OWN!

Everyone else was busy so I thought it was time we put our Big Kid pants on, and go out on our own. We had tried this once before about 6 months ago, but it all went pretty pear-shaped and Max was very nappy, and I have to admit he scared me. Now, after months of hacking out with Rose, I was feeling more confident on him and (almost pretty) sure I could deal with any shenanagins.

So I tacked him up, and led him up the driveway, past the speigels in the trees and into the cricket paddock. This is a big paddock full of thistles but he knows it well from previous adventures. I did take the precaution of taking him into the smaller paddock to get on him. And just as well that I did, as he took advantage when I let go of the reins, and buggered off, trotting around looking for any horsey friends. I quickly shut the gate and recaptured him, got on and did a little bit of simple schooling (at the walk).

Once I was more sure that he wasn't going to run off in a panic, I moved on to the bigger part of the paddock. I took things very quietly, just walking around practising our contact, steadying on sloped bits, changing the speed etc. This also meant we got to harrass the sheep in the paddock, as they tried to stay out of our way. As sheep are not very bright, this was on going as they moved to be in the way every time.

Satisfied that we had achieved our goal, I didn't try for anything faster, although Max did offer some jogging and half-hearted trot. There was a bit of napping towards the gate which earned him a walk up the track to the woolshed. Apparently there are speigels under the woolshed too, but they didn't come out and chase us, so we safely made it home.

"Phew, made it home in one piece and with no speigel bites"

* Speigels are not very well known as they are very hard to see in their native habitat. Animals are particularly good at spotting them, and I first learned about them when I was a kid. Our dog, Cara, would see them, and she was really good at hunting for them in long (about knee-high) grass. She had this cool method of running along and periodically leaping up into the air to see ahead of where she was going. Although she never got near one, it was great fun to join in the chase. We would also tease her at home by saying "Find the speigel, Cara" and set her off on a wild goose chase. Hours of fun!