Sunday, 28 September 2014

And today's lesson is....

Practise! Now I know I am brilliant but Mum sometimes forgets I'm only 5 years old and we haven't actually done that many circle competitions, ok so I always bring a rosette home, well that was until today. 

What was different today? Well we have have done no circle practice for weeks!  Well depends if you count the half hearted 30 minutes we squeezed in before Mum went to work on Friday. We have been too busy having fun going on long hacks with Eric and Dusty and then Fun rides with various pony friends. Plus to be fair to Mum she has been very busy working most weekends. 

My first circle test Prelim 4 started very promisingly with an 8 for my trot entry and then lots of 7's for my trot work. Then I had to canter, it all went down hill after that with 4's I was too tired to keep cantering and then 3's. Mum still hasn't mastered right hand canter! She really does need to practise more before asking me to do these circles tests, at least we had sort of practised this one on Friday. I got 55.45%.

My next circle test we hadn't practised at all and I have to say a big thank to Mum's friend Claire for reading both tests so well, we knew where we were going, because I can promise you Mum had no idea!  We did better getting 57%. But still 3's for right hand canter mostly because it was actually left hand canter instead!  Oh yes and I put a mighty big buck in when Mum used her stick, I took exception at that even if I did then pick up right hand canter!!!!!!  But I did get a 7 and then a 6 for my left hand canter, just show we have the potential, I thought Mum needed the encouragement by then so I helped her out a bit.

No rosettes today, but hopefully this valuable lesson of we need to practice if we want rosettes will have been drilled home to Mum and she won't have such unrealistic expectations next time.  

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Up at dawn

Wow Mum got me up early this morning, the sun was only just rising.  So I stood admiring the view while Mum acted as my personal hairdresser and got my mane and tail organised.

I wasn't going out on my own this morning, we had the wonderful company of grumpy Eric - not too sure he's a morning Dales pony.  We have been hacking out together quiet a bit recently and he's getting used to me, but today he wasn't so impressed so I kept my distance,

Personally I think it was worth the early morning wake up call we got to go up the hill for some fun canters and in the last field heading home our canter, turned to a gallop, turned to a faster gallop I was determined to win the race to the gate, I think I just about managed it - well if you don't count Benji, because he always wins!

Is that not an amazing view?

The other good thing about these early morning hacks is I get to have a big breakfast afterwards, so its head down and eat up time.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Trotting tarpaulin

Zippy and I were put through our paces yesterday. Mum decided to cover the back paddock in lots of different things, blue tarpaulin, black tarpaulin and even a red carpet - now that's more like it.

Zippy was not impressed.
 She stood looking at the tarpaulin going I'm too old to learn new tricks. Sally had come to play with Zippy and she got her walking around and through the poles but Zippy didn't really want to go anywhere near the tarpaulin. So while Zippy stood her ground I thought I had better play ball and demonstrate how it's all done.

Well I'm a highly experienced tarpaulin walker by now.  We started by just walking over the edges and it wasn't long before I was walking over everything, and prancing along the red carpet. Mum had me on a long lead rope so we started doing circles in trot and then Mum asked me so nicely that I though I'd show off and trot over the tarpaulins and carpet all on my own.

Hey, how shiny am I? You can see Mum's shadow of her taking the photo of me on my bottom, how clever is that!

I even stood very still on the carpet so Mum could get the photo evidence.

I need to understand this brownie point concept because I seem to have a lot of them, but they don't seem much use to me, I wonder if I can sell them on eBay for carrots?

I was released from duty and allowed to wander around on my own while Mum took Zippy to task.  Zippy had being trying the old pony trick which had fooled Sally but Mums not quiet so easy to fool especially when Zippy takes exception to the tarpaulin and manges to canter off and give Mum rope burns - classic mistake Zippy, now Mums got no old pony sympathy for you any more.

So it wasn't long before Mum was using the stamping on the tarpaulin and the swinging rope to put some 'pressure' on Zippy and she soon was quick stepping over the tarpaulin, I was helping Zippy with avoidance tactics by standing loose in the middle, so Mum had to chase me off before she could get Zippy to go over.  

It was then Sally's turn and Zippy and given in by now so obediently walked over when Sally asked, knowing if she did this it would mean we could both have tea sooner - thank goodness.  One bonus though we have been moved back to the big field so at long last we have more grass to eat - hurrah!

Don't know about you ponies but I think it's getting a bit chilly at night, are you wearing rugs yet?  Mum can't decide whether Zippy should be rugged yet, we usually use the 10c rule but the iPad keeps saying it's going to be mild overnight and each morning we wake up it seems to be much colder than that.

Still running around keeps us nice and warm.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

I've jumped around Badminton, how cool is that!

Mum says I have so many brownie points now she is going to have to find a new tin to keep them in. Why? Well today I achieved something I'm not too sure many Dales ponies have done, I have jumped around Badminton!

Mum loaded me up into the box on wheels, I walked straight in, well I hadn't done anything for a few days and it's getting a bit boring in the back garden now we have eaten all the grass!  Wow when I walked out the whole world of box on wheels must have been there.  There were literally fields full of boxes on wheels!  I don't know how Mum managed it but she managed to follow my friends Cinders box of wheels into the field even though we had set off at different times and from different places, sometimes my Mum can be very clever.  It meant we got to park next to each other, I don't think we would ever have found them otherwise!

This is me after Mum had put my girlie plait in!!!! It does keep me cool even if I don't look cool. Cinders rider is an old friend of Mum's called Lynda, we kept an eye on Cinders while Lynda entered us. She came back reporting 650 horses had already started on the course - wow now that's a lot of horses, this was going to be exciting.

The first mile was very exciting and I had to jig jog, I wasn't sure where to look horses in front, horses behind and horses overtaking us but I decided this was going to be hard work if I kept this up, so in the end Cinders and I settled to a walk and started to enjoy the views.

I have been teaching Mum showjumping and we are getting on great but I have never jumped any cross country jumps before, the last ride we did we kept away from the jumps. I had presumed we would do this again as Cinders has just recovered from poorly ligaments and so is not allowed to jump.   But no Mum had different ideas, so we had a go at all sorts of different jumps from small logs, trains, brushes, log rolls.  Mum needs to work on her steering as I tested this out several times and found I could go round the jumps sometimes, but Lynda made Cinders stand still at the edges so she became a huge horsey wing and then I had no choice really but to jump the jump - thanks Cinders!  

When Cinders wasn't standing as a wing she kept me company trotting or cantering along next to the jumps.  We eventually arrived at Badminton house, which you can see over my head. There was a photographer on site so hopefully I can persuade Mum to track down and buy some of the photos of me leaping over the jumps.  Mum says I make a great parabolic shape over them, goodness knows what that means I just make sure I tuck my feet up and give them plenty of air.

I have to say a big thank you to my friend Cinders she was great company and we were both very sensible and grown up, below is us at the end of the ride sporting our rosettes. Mum and Lynda were thrilled with us, the going was perfect so hopefully Cinders legs will still be fine tomorrow, we both had such fun.  Hope you can come out and play agin soon Cinders xxx

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The hairy pony camp gang and GRASS

Well here it is I have tracked down the photo of the hairy pony camp gang....

From right to left, we have Izzy on the lovely Amy, then Caroline on the beautiful Iona, then Penny (owner of Nashend Highland Pony Stud, from which a lot of these ponies have come) on the wonderful Willow.  Then we change colour slightly and have Rachel on Izzy, then Meeeeeeee with Mum, situated next to Rannoch's backside, ridden by the lovely Jeanette and finally Wheatsheaf with his owner Claire on foot.

Zippy and I have been lucky enough to be moved into Mum's back garden (also known as our winter paddock).  She wants us to top the field ready for some last minute autumn growth ahead of the winter.  Now when does a Dales say no to an opportunity like that!  Just have a look at the grass we have to munch!

Zippy likes the lush looking dressage paddock so she has started trimming that up nicely.  She was complaining it was getting too long when she was giving Sally her lesson yesterday, no doubt she will soon have it shortened to a more suitable length!

Did you want me Mum?  I'm rather busy trying to eat all the grass for you!

Happy days, whilst I'm busy munching my thoughts go out to all those ponies grazing with muzzles on, especially my dear friend Zoe, you are welcome to visit anytime, no muzzles here (yet!).  It all seems too good to be true, but Zippy and I are determined to make the most of it!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Deploying my new hairy pony camp skills

Well who would guess that I would be putting all my new found hairy pony camp skills to the test within the first week of getting home.  It's been a busy week with a circle lesson which included a lot of sideways work on Tuesday evening at Helen Coles yard in Stockley, only to be followed by another lesson with Janice at Hulberts Green on Wednesday morning!

Wednesday was extra interesting as I was not travelling alone and I was not travelling in my box on wheels.  Instead Mum had attached her car to a very different box down the road and it turned out to belong to my relative Eric.  Eric was not keen about going into his box on wheels and after messing the humans about Mum had a turn and made it very clear very quickly to him he had little choice and he soon decided the safest option was to jump in.  Eric's box on wheels does not have a ramp.  I've never seen a box like this, so I had to take a step up to get in.  Well who would guess all that different surface practice at hairy pony camp and climbing on boxes would come in useful so quickly.  Totally un-phased I hopped straight in.

We had a great lesson with Janice, Eric was a bit rusty but half way through the lesson remembered his lateral work and gave his rider, Jo, a massive shock when he side stepped like a pro to the edge of the arena, making Mum and Janice laugh with her squeal!  I was my usual calm and professional self and made sure I left a good impression on Mum's instructor, Janice.  I like her as we were allowed to do some jumping at the end, which was great fun.  Eric hasn't jumped since Mum used to ride him several years ago but he was up for it and dashed in enthusiastically, while I maintained a very sensible and steady canter and popped the jumps like the pro I'm becoming. 

Sadly Mum is not very experienced at parking the new box on wheels which meant as she had parked it down hill, Eric and I now had a HUGE step to climb to get back in.  Ok we managed but Mum next time just remember we have been carrying you for an hour and maybe park it the other way round so we only have a small step next time!  Eric didn't take as long to load going home and I clambered straight in like a good pony should.

I think Mum must like Eric's new rider, Jo as we seem to be doing a lot together and I needed more of my hairy pony camp skills on Saturday when we went for a ride together up on the hill.

The first skill I needed to deploy was the walking on words, as we reached a 'slow' on the road.  I obeyed and slowed just a little to take a look and then walked right over like it wasn't there.  I got lots of big pats for that, ok so maybe they are not too scarey now.

As if that wasn't enough I then had to show Eric my galloping and Le Trec skills.  I had mastered trotting under the fake branches at camp but decided to up the ante out on the hack and opted for the full speed gallop (as practised in Cirecenster Park with Amy) under very low hanging branches (as per Le Trec training though I'm not sure we even had the legally required 10cm clearance) Mum's crouching was excellent and I came through a long line of trees with my rider still on top!

Jo also managed to stay on Eric, though I'm not sure we didn't give them whip lash from the pinging branches as we fell underneath.  It was a good ride and Benji had come along too, so by the time we got to the bottom of the hill we were all ready for a slow walk down the lane to cool off, before tucking into a big tea.

Who would of thought I'd be able to use so many of my newly learned skills so quickly, I wonder which skills I will need next?

Spook busting hairy ponies at camp - Part a Five

Oh if I thought the arena was scarey on Friday, I was not prepared for what I saw on Sunday afternoon.  You would think after all the fun and games doing Le Trec on Saturday afternoon the humans would have got bored of challenging us - evidently not!

We all trooped into the arena to find what I can only say was a picture of complete chaos like a bomb had exploded in a rubbish tip.  There was tarpaulin, a big pile of plastic bottles, flags, flying fish, jumps, poles everywhere, even a curtain of ribbons. Ok humans what's going on?

We were introduced to a very clever human called Shelia Reed  Now this lady knows her stuff.  She knows how us ponies think and work and she was soon telling the humans how to get the best out of us - hmmmmm can't decide whether I like this or not.  I think as hairy ponies one and all we like to have the upper hand, well it wasn't to be today!

Shelia explained about body language and how to move our feet (very important for Highland pony owners, Highlands like to plant their feet and never move again - so this was an essential skill for their humans).  Me I like to move and play so Mum doesn't need to worry about moving my feet, normally she has the opposite problem and it's about keeping them still!!!

Tired from the galloping ride around Cirecester park that morning I decided to take the path of least resistance and humour my human as much as possible.  This meant trouble as there were a lot of different things on the ground that she wanted me to put my feet on!

We started with the big rubber mat that had a STOP written on it in big white letters just like you see on the road.  Up until now I generally dance around such writing when I find it on the road. I'm a pony and can't read for all I know it says 'trolls'!  However it didn't take long for Mum to persuade me to stand with all four feet on it and STOP - I liked the concept of stop, it means a rest.  

But not for long, then we headed up to the other end for the terror of tarpaulin. Now remembering I wouldn't put my feet on the carpet during the Le Trec training yesterday, Mum was going to have her work cut out trying to persuade me to step on crunchy tarpaulin. We walked around and around it, Mum jumped up and down on it to kill it for me - thank you Mum, owe you one.  By now I was fairly sure it looked quite safe so ventured some front feet onto the edge.  Chuffed Mum gave me a massive pat and we headed off to do easy stuff like reversing around L shaped poles and bending between cones.  Below is us doing the cone walking. 

Just when I thought I had got away with it, she headed us back for some more stomping on the tarpaulin, by now I was getting bored so decided to walk across.  Standing in the middle I thought I'd check to see if it was edible, errrrrr definitely no, as I shot off at super rapid speed when it started to growl and crackle at me - Mum are you sure there are no trolls hiding underneath?  Mum just laughed at me, which made me feel silly, so I had to step back on just to keep my pride intact.  Actually it's quite boring after a while and by the end of the afternoon I plonked myself right in the middle with Mum fanning me quite nicely by opening and closing a golf umbrella in my face - very cooling.

I haven't found any pictures of me on the tarpaulin under the umbrella but below is Whaetsheaf and Iona looking a little bemused at the umbrella's - humans it's not raining, I think you only need them when it rains.  I think they were tired too and had somewhat lost the plot by this point.

Much to the humans disappointment all us ponies enjoyed clattering through the pile of flattened plastic bottles, though we did test the humans at their pony control when they asked us to go under the ribbon curtain.  Again I'll try and find some pictures.  The lovely Shelia helped the humans with this task by first parting the curtain completely, so the humans were confident to lead us through and then slowly she put one, then two and then lots of ribbons hanging down from the pole.

Mum thought it was very funny when she walked through and I stopped and just poked my head through the ribbons, anything to please and bring a smile to my human. After opening the curtain up a little I came through and by the end of the session I was happy to walk through, though goodness knows why I would need to do any of this in real pony life, but hey it kept the humans amused for the afternoon.

I think all of us ponies mastered all the challenges very well as you can see from above, we were all enjoying strutting our stuff.  

Sadly that was the last event of the camp. All that was left was to tidy up my stable, pack away our bits and load up.  While all the other ponies headed off somehow I was asked to model a driving harness.  Honestly whatever next.  For the second time that weekend I patiently stood still while the humans tried on various bits of driving paraphernalia to see if they fitted me - I'm a riding pony humans, I don't need driving stuff, errr do I? Well I guess only time will tell.

I have to say a lovely thank you to all the Highland ponies, I enjoyed your company, especially Rannoch my next door neighbour (whose company meant I got three square meals a day) and Amy my galloping partner in crime, without whom I'd probably have had to walk the whole ride!  

Also a big thank you to Claire Schimmer (owner of Wheatsheaf) for organising the whole weekend and a very very big neigh to Iona's human, Caroline, for inviting me in the first place (even though I am a Dales and not a Highland pony) and for letting us all stay at her amazingly calm and relaxing yard (H&B Equestrian - which is now on my wish list of places I want to move to).

Here's hoping we can get the whole gang back together soon for another hairy pony camp adventure.

Galloping good time at hairy pony Camp - Part Four

Sunday morning at camp meant we had a line up of seven hairy ponies for a photo shoot - yeah not as easy as it sounds, a few of us were fidget pants and Rannoch wanted to make sure they got his best side - which he thinks is his backside! So we ended up with some interesting photographs.  I haven't got my hooves on any of these yet but as soon as I do I'll make sure to post them for you. You won't be able to miss me in the line up six cream/grey Highlands and a black dales - Mum keeps calling me a the black sheep of the family, Mum I'm a horse not a sheep, sometimes I do worry about her!

Still all seven of us paraded out of the yard, across the road and into the lovely grounds of Cirencester park.  This was looking good copious amounts of grass in all directions it was hard to decide what to do first, eating was up there but Mum was on her 'it's not a picnic' mode so snacking seemed out of the question. 

Rannoch tried to liven the ride up with some jigging and jogging, he got sent to the front for his misbehaviour, which was all in his plan and he settled into the lead with Willow.  I decided to take the rear guard along with my new pony friend Amy.  I think I like Amy because she is 24years old and reminds me of my field companion Zippy whose 28.  These wise old birds have a lot going for them and having a toy boy is great for their street cred! However our ride was only going along at a boring walk pace.  Ummmm humans wide expanse of grassland being wasted just doing a walk.

Mum obviously read my thoughts and hatched a plan with Amy's rider Izzy.  While the rest of the gang walked (boring) off down a track, Amy and I suddenly headed off in the opposite direction across some very lush grass, the going was good.  Our walk became trot, became canter to the end of the grass field.  At last some fun, after discussion with Amy and Izzy, it was agreed to have a race back down the field, the first to the road would win.

Mum even gave us both a count of three, then zoooooom, off we dashed in a gallop.  I guess it was a bit unfair because I'm only five and quite fit I soon showered Amy in a cloud of dust and easily won that race.  Yipheeee, that was fun, Amy was now jig jogging and we slowly trotted to catch up with the others. 

We carried on through the park with the rest at walk again (boring). You can't believe we were walking along such lovely grass rides like the picture below.

It was too much for Mum and me and so we agreed with Amy and Izzy (our partners in crime) to head back along the wide grass path we had just come along.  To start with Amy and I were a bit confused but as the others disappeared into the distance and around the corner I suddenly had a sneaky feeling Mum and Izzy had something fun planned. 

Yes another race.  This time Mum thought Amy and Izzy should have a bit of a head start, which left me dancing on the spot for a while, then eventually Mum let me go and I went charging off to try and catch Amy - I tell you what for a 24 year old she can't half shift, it took all my zooming to catch up with her and when I did she put in another spurt by the time we got to the top of the ride we called it a draw and we were allowed to walk and catch our breath back.

All four if us were grinning all the way home. I had the last laugh though, being black the mud doesn't show too much, but Amy being a beautiful white colour (well she was when we left) had to have a proper scrub down when we got back, which she did not appreciate.  Below is my partner in crime Amy with Izzy, before the ride when she looked Persil White (or any other brand of good washing powder white). 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Hairy pony camp does Le Trec - Part Three

Le what? Le Trec? Now that just sounded like a lot of hardwork slogging miles along tracks up highlands and down dales....get it?  No that's wrong it should be up dales and down highlands?  Only joking my new friends were great and wow were we in for a fun afternoon of laughter and entertainment (ok a few very scarey things too).

Iona pony is champion at Le Trec, so she showed us how to do everything. She is very clever and very calm and just takes everything in her pony hooves, nothing is scarey to Iona, she is well cool. This is her showing us how to canter down a narrow corridor of poles, no pressure with all of us watching!

So what did we have to do, well clearly no trekking was involved.  Our first task was to canter as slowly as we could around a u shape and then walk back as fast as we could.  Mum wasn't concentrating so I gave her left canter around the right bend, but evidently that doesn't matter, shame. Walking fast is quite hard.  Our next challenge was to do a figure of eight around some blue barrels, which we just about managed ok. Mum is using one hand honest. 

Then the tricky s bend of sticks.  If your feet touch the sticks the trolls will get you, so you have to go very carefully. We also had to walk down a line of sticks and reverse back.  Reversing is easy so that was no problem at all, it's my favourite evasion tactic for so many things so it's makes a change to be asked to do it. 

Then it got scarey.  I understand grass, Tarmac, gravel, rubber matting and puddles, but don't ask me to my feet on anything else, I don't need to.  Humans can be very silly sometimes.  Someone has left an indoor human carpet outside on pony grass.  It's not very wide so it's very easily avoided and any sensible pony would just walk around it, but for some reason known only to those crazy humans they want me to walk on it - get a life people!  And don't think making the carpet green is going to fool me into thinking its grass, it only took one look of my very experienced pony eyes to tell me it was not grass!

I think that's close enough. 

Iona pony humans may call you brave but I'm not going near it, even if you show off and give me a lead. Ok that's one to the highland ponies, sorry dales ponies. I wasn't any braver going over the pretend tarpaulin river. 

Then came what the humans called the scarey corner, oh humans you are going to have to try harder than that, I didn't blink an eye as I trotted through and nor did any of the other highlands either. 

The next test was definitely my favourite, bending through cones.  You are allowed to walk, trot or canter through them.  We trotted down the line that was easy, so Mum decided to test out how good our canter had got and we attempted to canter the whole line of cones bending between the cones as we went.

No problem at all, we did the whole line and I even threw in a couple of flying changes just to show off.  It was great fun and finished to much cheering, and I was the only pony to canter through, so definitely one to the dales pony!

There were still more tasks to complete, next ducking under fake tree branches, well we hack out and have to do this sometimes, though I caused much laughter as when Mum ducked I didn't think we were low enough so I bent my knees and ducked some more too, personally I don't see what was funny about that, I thought it was terribly sensible to protect my human from bashing her head.

As cantering is now causing us no problems it was easy for us to canter through a narrow channel of poles.  However the next task was more challenging but nearly as equally stupid as walking over green carpet, Mum asked me to walk over a fake bridge. Why? There was no river to cross, the grass all around was perfectly safe enough to walk on, no dangerous bogs to disappear in, so why? With some persuading I thought I had better humour Mum and put my nose on it (yes I know the other highland ponies were watching but it needed a very thorough health and safety check).

Iona pony was happy to walk on it so I thought I had better show willing and put my front hooves on it - happy now Mum?  I'm not going any further.

Oh how naive I was, by Sunday afternoon this bridge was going to seem like a walk in the park and I'd be wishing that was all I was being asked to walk over!!!!!

I have lots of footage of all my new highland pony friends and I'm going to put a video together for all of them of their best bits, but these are my choice edits....

Wheatsheaf trotting a super straight line through the stick channel.

Amy and Izzy cantering through the fake tree line, I wasn't brave enough to canter but the old girl Amy sure showed us youngsters how it should be done. They were never going to hit the branches. 

Isla making a great job of bending around the cones in trot, she was being sensible and not showing off, unlike me!

My mate Rannock running rings around those barrels, aren't we ponies clever to still know what you humans are asking even with one hand behind your back.

Obviously Iona pony was the best of us all, but she's a professional at this, I think it's fun and Mum says if I'm good then I may be able to practice with Iona pony some more and maybe even do a pairs competition together, now that does sound like fun.

For us ponies by then we had earned our tea and a good kip in our stables, while Mum and the other humans went off to visit the famous Nashend Highland Pony Stud, where the queen has kept some of her highland ponies - now that's posh!  Mum got to pat a lot of Highland ponies but thankfully none of them particularly took her fancy, I think I have done a good job of ensuring she is proud to own a dales and so far I don't think I have let us dales ponies down too much. Mum had a feast and I watched her return to the box on wheels looking very tired, something tells me she was going to sleep well Saturday night. I wonder what adventures were going to await us on Sunday?

Jumptastic at Hairy Pony Camp - Part Two

I love waking up to find a big bowl of breakfast at my feet, I mean how good is that.  So I tucked in along with my new best mate Rannock. I think I have to thank him for getting so many yummy meals as Mum felt she needed to feed me too.

Rannock, Isla and I were all grouped together to have a fun jumping lesson on Saturday morning. Now existing readers will know I am starting out on my jumping career and I am quite enjoying it but generally I like to have a look at the fence first to do my standard health and safety check and make sure there are no trolls the other side. Mum was hoping that I could learn to be brave enough to risk jumping them first time without carrying out my checks. Ok Mum I'm up for the challenge. 

It started easier enough trotting over a green and orange pole on the floor, yeap I can do that without stopping, easy peasey.  My new admirers watching and filming me said I had a great trot, that's what we dales do.

Our teacher Janet was being particularly kind and then gave us a challenge of just a slopey pole, no problem I can do that too. It's at this point I have to digress slightly as Rannock was not at all keen about the purple and white poles, even though I had gone straight over without looking.  Now I have a theory about this and I believe it's because Highland ponies are very colour adverse. I mean you only have to look at all the ponies at camp and with the exception of myself and Wheatsheaf they are all going to grow up to be white.  They may be fancy cream Duns, or greys at the moment but evidently they will all go white. So this is my theory, if you live in the highlands and only have white coloured friends then purple is a seriously scarey colour, wherease us dales come In all sorts of strong bay and black colours so purple looks a little dull to us.  Well that's my reasoning why Rannock doesn't like purple anyway.

Back to jumping and the purple slopey pole became a cross pole....

And then we started to out a course together jumping a slightly narrower upright...

A super scarey super bright jump, but I was so on a roll I never considered stopping to have a look I was having too much fun.

And then finally to finish the last jump was a plank.

Do you know I never stopped and looked at one of the fences, I was so caught up in the moment and concentrating so hard on not letting all you dales ponies down in front of the Highlands, I completely forgot about my health and safety checks!  Mum was very pleased with me and I was the only pony to do the complete set of jumps including the plank. 

Rannock did master trotting over the scarey purple poles, below he is going over his favourite green and orange pole (green for grass and a lot of the dun highlands look orange - that's why it's not scarey to him), doesn't he look smart. 

Isla was very good at jumping and she did all the jumps she was asked to jump, she did stop and check a couple of times but like me she's learning and obviously has been taught by other ponies the importance of health and safety, so thank you Isla for checking the jumps for me. Here she is in full flight over the highland scarey purple cross poles.

Well what an entertaining morning, we all had so much fun, ponies and humans had big smiles on their faces.  As a reward Rannock and I got turned out into our small electrickery fields for some serious eating.  Little did we know we were going to need all our energy and concentration for the afternoon session doing Le Trec????????

Amazing adventures at Hairy Pony Camp - Part One

I can't believe what Mum has done to my box on wheels. She has only gone and turned it into a mobile bedroom. Yes she has gone and installed a single bed, just look at the picture below if you don't believe me.

Now of course my next decision was whether I wanted to share my box on wheels with the bed.  To be honest there was so much hay in there I didn't notice the bed and jumped straight in. Well I was also curious about this hairy pony camp I was supposed to be going on. So Friday lunchtime off we set for H&B Equestrian Centre in Daglingworth.  Wow it's an amazing place. It turns out Mums friend Caroline and her husband Huw run the yard. Take a look at my stable, how cool.  

I got my own window that looked straight out onto the field where Mum was parked, so I could keep an eye on her and make sure she did not make too much mess in my box on wheels.  I like this place, I got three square meals a day, yes three whole meals, plus grazing on very yummy knee high grass and unlimited amounts of hay.  I wonder if we can move here?

I have to say thank you to my friend Rannock, he was my next door neighbour and his Mum was very clever and brought electrickery fencing so we could have grass. Mum please take note for next time just in case we don't meet such a nice human.  

It turns out the hairy pony camp was full of Highland ponies and some had travelled miles and miles, like from Devon and Rugby. As well as Rannock (my new mate) there was Amy (she is a very experienced Highland pony at 24 years old), Iona, who belongs to Mums friend Caroline, Willow who lives at the famous Nashend Highland Stud, Wheatsheaf, a very handsome mouse coloured dun, Isla (Mum's favourite), Ruari (but he was too old to come play with us) and me.  I was the only Dales Pony so I had a lot of pressure to show all those Highland ponies what us Dales can do.  I think I did ok, I tried hard to convert the Highland humans into Dales fans.

Mum and I arrived first as she wanted to practice our circles in the lovely 60x20m arena. It's got an amazing surface you can't help but bounce along, though the far end is quiet scary with holes in the hedge that cars and bicycles suddenly pop up and disappear in, and along one edge there is a massive spooky tall hedge so with a strong wind blowing I had lots of excuses to test my spinning speed.  Mum didn't seem to mind especially as I gave her right hand canter when she asked, I think she has got the knack of getting my shoulders in the right direction.  Mind you if I thought that was spooky then I had no idea how spooky it would look by Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!

The humans were all put through there paces Friday evening running and boxing with instruction from an ex army PT instructor. Us ponies were hoping the boxing practice was just for the humans and they weren't practicing to box our ears if we were naughty. They settled into tea while we tucked into our yummy hay. I watched Mum safely walk to the box on wheels and tuck herself into her new mobile bedroom for the night.  I liked being able to keep an eye on her, and it did mean if I got scared and called I knew she would hear me too, but no need, the yard felt very safe and us ponies were all soon fast asleep.  I don't think all the humans had quiet as much sleep something about lots of rain and thunder but they were still all up bright and breezy on Saturday morning.  More about that tomorrow, I need to sort out my pictures first.  Night night pony friends xxx