Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Hello, I'm Brian the imposter!

Hello, my name is Brian the Dales pony.  I've come to stay with Cyril (my half brother) and Woody (my little full brother). My mummy's not very well, so Cyril's Mum is looking after me for a while. 

I am staying in Cyril's indoor bedroom so I have to be extra clean and make sure I keep it nice and tidy for him. He forgot to pack his iPad when he went on holidays so I thought I'd use it to say hello. 

I've been here just over a week now. I prefer it to my first new home, it had horrible horses that were mean to me. I much prefer it here. I live next to Zippy cob at nighttime and share a field with her during the day. She's ok. She was a bit scary to start with so I made sure I kept my bottom and heels towards her, but she's quite old so doesn't hurt me and we have now become friends. 

Cyril and Woody are in the field next to me, so we get to chat over the ouch fence. 

I'm here to learn to carry humans and become a grown up horse. Aunty Lynette said I had to be brave and start as I meant to go on. Which means I've been walking with Zippy up and down the road. We didn't have cars in Wales and in my new home I had only stayed in the field, so being at Aunty Lynette's has been quite scary. I used to jump every time a car went past, the first time I nearly squashed her - oops!

Zippy says they are nothing to worry about, and I'm getting a lot better though I can't quite ignore them like she does, well not yet anyway. I've even walked down the road without her, so I have to listen to Aunty Lynette even more carefully then. 

I like it here I have my own bedroom and I get breakfast and dinner everyday and I get to go out on grass everyday, the field is full of it, very yummy. 

I have started work and I have already passed my saddle exam. I have been revising my lunging and by day two I was doing walk and trot and halt foot perfect. It was too windy and wet today to work but I'm hoping I can do some more tomorrow. 

I hope Cyril doesn't mind me using his stable and borrowing his Mum while he is on holiday. I have promised to be good. 

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Last hack before holidays

Mum says I've worked so hard this year I can go on holiday. I'm not sure this is a good idea with imposter Brian nicely settled into my bedroom, what if Mum falls in love with him? She might forget about me and I may never get to return to my bedroom and carry Mum on all sorts of adventures. Zippy says I shouldn't stress, Mum calls me her forever pony so I'm stuck with her, which is great news cos she's not bad as humans go, but don't tell her that. 

We were very lucky with the weather yesterday after a sprinkling of rain first thing the sun came out and we had blue sky, yes honest after weeks of dull grey it was joyful to see the sun. 

Mum brought me back to the house yard to get me ready and as I was shiny and showing off my dapples she decided she would take a photo of her handsome pony. 

But Zippy kept photo bombing the pictures much to Mums amusement. She did finally get a portrait of her forever pony. 

Ok I'm munching hay but I was hungry and needed to fuel up for my last hack of 2015. 

Mum loaded me onto the box on wheels and we set off for Barbury. Wow what a view when we arrived. 

I stood getting tacked up with the sun shining - lovely. 

Soon my new horsey friend Vana arrived with her Mummy Clare, in her gorgeous big truck, I'd like one of these Mum, it's deluxe travelling. I know this because I hitched a ride in it last week, when Vana and I went to the Water park. 

Benji was allowed to come in our last hack too. He loves this ride with all its smells and big fields to run around in. 

I got to show Vana a new route and she was fascinated with Benji dog, couldn't quiet suss him out as he kept popping up in hedges and then disappearing across the fields. 

We all had the most fantastic ride and I feel very lucky the sun shine was so glorious for our trip. The humans let us run along the grassy gallops up Smeaths Ridge which was the perfect end to our ride. You can see Vana and I were very happy content ponies by the time we got back to our box on wheels. 

When I got home I had to make my final preparations for going on holiday. Mum has decided I don't need to pack my rugs or plait my hair, I'm going to be allowed to be a roughty toughty pony for a couple of months, so all I had to do was apply my own mud pack rug. 

Still needs some work but plenty of time for that!  Thank you Vana and Clare for a lovely last ride. Not sure what 'endurance' means but going to look it up after my holidays as it sounds like Vana and I might be going on one of those rides next year. Too much like hard work to need to worry about it now. 

Time to put my hooves up and enjoy my nice outdoor bedroom with 24x7 access to grass. It can't get much better than that, take care pony friends xxx

The best Christmas present ever

It's been reported I have an imposter in my stable but I have no way of checking because a couple of weeks ago Aunty Jo was left in charge and abandoned Woody & I in the field. It's true! I know I couldn't believe I had been kicked out of my lovely warm stable never to return!  Woody loves being out 24x7, he's died and gone to heaven. I'm not so sure. It does have its up side as we have 24x7 access to grass. Now I know all Dales ponies love grass, but I LOVE grass. 

The downside was our outdoor bedroom was rather wet and muddy, well until Christmas Day!

Mum has given Woody & I the best Christmas present ever. Christmas morning she arrived with the box on wheels full of straw. Off I thought. 

However she got her food wheeli machine and put tarpaulin and straw in it and dragged it through the mud to the other side of the field and started building in our outdoor bedroom. I sent Woody to check out the scary tarpaulin. 

Then Mum covered it in lots and lots of straw. 

Again I sent Woody into check all was safe, he's a sucker for that. It all appeared safe so I decided to join him. 

Ohhhh yummy hay in here and our favourite salt lick. Life is good. We now have a warm dry outdoor bedroom and 24x7 access to grass, thank you Mum this is the way a Dales pony is supposed to live. 

Errrr imposter Brian here, what about me and Zippy?

You've stolen my indoor bedroom Brian, so you are not going to allowed into our outdoor bedroom, sorry. 

Thank you Mum best Christmas present ever - errrr are you going to muck out our bedroom, because Woodys already done a poo?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Don't I look handsome

I know I am a very handsome pony and I know it gives my Mum great pleasure when I toss my head and show off my mane, as I get so many admiring glances. People love to comment on how amazing my mane and tail are. I have to laugh because humans your horses could have gorgeous hair too if you didn't keep pulling it all out!

I have to say a big thank you to Caroline Harwood of H&B Equestrian (whose yard I want to go live on if I ever have to move - it's the best) who I think has done rather a fine job of capturing all my handsome good looks in my portrait below. 

Thank you Caroline there is no end to your talents. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Slip sliding away

Mum has been on a mission lately to make me more traffic proof. Two days ago she took me and Benji up on the hill and instead of our usual route round the fields she decided to take us out on the road to Salthrope. It's a relatively quite road but there is a steady stream of cars. Benji was put on the lead and I happily walked and trotted along the road with Benji next to me and the cars going past with no issue at all. 

So Mum decided to up the anti today and take me along the main road, which does have a big wide verge, then through the housing estate and back down the hill home. By the time she finally had me tacked up it was raining but as she had put my bright yellow sheet on I didn't mind as it keeps me dry and warm.  Though with my legs bands, rein and reflective nose and I did feel like a glowing yellow target, but Mum matches me in her yellow coat and hat, so we were a walking ray of sunshine on a very dull and wet day. 

I really can't remember the last time we went down the main road, or even for that matter up the lane to the main road. Mum got on at the wall outside the house like usual so I went to turn right - well we ALWAYS go that way, but Mum said no and turned me left and then right up the little lane. 

I should point out at this juncture we had be treated to a marathon 2 hour grooming session the evening before but more importantly we had had our legs sprayed with pig oil in the morning - this will become very relevant very quickly. 

So I headed up the lane snorting my uneasiness at not going out on our usual route. It's hard work going somewhere new on your own, you never know where the monsters are lurking. I can tell you they were not lurking on this ride they were in plain view and HUGE. I soon discovered this when we turned left onto the main road and a massive juggernaut headed towards us, it was at about this point that Mum realised she had absolutely no grip on my reins - why? Because it was raining and she was wearing the same gloves she had been wearing when she had sprayed us with pig oil that morning - yeah not clever. 

I'm not too sure whose heart was beating the hardest or fastest at this point, but I had no intention of hanging around, so executed an immediate pirouette with the full intention of legging it home as fast as I could. Mum had other ideas but was being hampered by not being able to actually take a firm grip on the reins, so we ended up just spinning on the spot, which was making me dizzy so I stopped, and much to my relief couldn't see the killer Lorry anymore. Mum decided to press on (never one to give up!) we hugged the hedge side of the super wide verge while cars zoomed past us. I don't mind cars but the huge lorries scare me, and without my faithful Zippy or for that matter any other horse to hide behind I was finding it hard to man up, especially as Mum was struggling to give me any confidence down the reins. So several pirouettes later we made it to the roundabout and turned left.

Mum had planned to take me through the housing estate at this point but finally her common sense prevailed and decided we would head home, but not before another juggernaut descended towards me with absolutely no intention of slowing down, and this time I didn't have a wide verge to dance on.  He slowed down when I started spinning into his path.  The driver just gave us a dirty look, which Mum matched and some, as she had been signalling him for him to slow down. Having scared myself, Mum and all the traffic around us at this point we sedately headed for home, with the rest of the traffic funnily enough giving us a wide berth.  Two other lorries passed us but they slowed down, which made them much less terrifying. 

We finally turned left back into the lane, phew. I did take some time to stop and watch the traffic up on the main road as we headed home.  That was a big lesson for me, I kinda think I did ok really. But wow Mum learnt the biggest lesson of all - never, ever ride in gloves covered in pig oil, especially in the rain because they were just slip sliding away from her. Queue music from Paul Simon - Slip Slidin' Away!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Brrrrrrrrr it's cold

Hello everyone, I've been so busy practicing my dancing I haven't had a chance to say hello for ages. I've been working hard and qualified for two British Dressage Petplan Area Championships.  Mum completely forgot where we were going at the first competition and we were lucky not to get eliminated. We did better at our second attempt but not quiet well enough to bring home a pretty rosette. 

I did cover myself in glory at the Great Britain Dressage Championships bringing home lots of pretty ribbons. I scared all the competition by winning the first warm up class, which was a great tactic, but sadly I couldn't maintain that relaxed energy level for the whole competition. I found it all a little overwhelming and just became too tired to bounce my way to another win, though I did come 6th in the freestyle to music, as well as managing two more 9th places in the other warm up classes. I now have my own championship rosette wall, so I'm going to work hard to see what other championships I can get to. Below are my rosettes from the Great Britain Dressage Championsips. 

As part of this plan for more Championship wins Mum has decided to give me a brrrrrrrr clip - I'm freezing cold now, the silly woman has cut all my hair off - errrrr Mum I can dance if I'm shivering. Thank goodness she did have enough respect to leave my legs and mane alone, for one minute I thought she was going to turn me into a fully hogged cob! (Sorry Zippy cobs are cool). This has been done on the recommendation of our dressage instructor, Becky. I have to say I'm not much of a fan of Becky, she's put me on a diet and now has got all my hair cut off, all so I go more forward. I'm going forward now straight into my stable and I'm going to demand a super thick duvet tonight and I'm not coming out till I'm warm - I fear though my wishes will not come true and I'm going to get some poor thin rug so I can shiver off the little weight I have left, at least I still look handsome at the moment. Are skin and bones a fashionable look? As I think that's what I'll be by the morning. Night, night from this pony block of ice, ohhhh hay yummy munching lots of this should help keep me warm. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

My first show

Woody here, having a Mum is great fun.  Mum took me to my first show on Sunday. She entered me into showing classes - BORING! I did the young stock and Mum says I was perfectly well behaved and stood still very well, unlike my fidget pants brother. 

However I didn't really see the point in trotting, so I didn't. Mum says that's why I came last. I didn't care (and I know Mum wasn't really too bothered either, I was being so well behaved in all other aspects).  I got to speak to the ambulance men and lady in their spooky green tent, walked past some noises generators and watch the big flag flapping in the breeze. 

Then I spotted all the showjumping classes, now I wanted a go at that. So we went to watch and the nice lady in the clear round showjumping ring let me have a go.  I brightened up no end and leapt round the course (they could have put the jumps higher but Mum had to jump them too, so I thought they were best left low for her).  I won my first ever rosette, Mums in absolutely no doubt now that I'm definitely going to be a showjumper. 

I have to say a big thank you to Aunty Lynda, as she spotted another horse going around in hand and suggested I have a go, but even better she managed to capture it on video but you will get a crick in your neck because I can only watch it sideways but I did manage to extract some photos

I was supposed to do the in hand large M&M class but I couldn't be bothered. Mum could tell I loved the showjumping and she didn't have the heart to drag me around the show ring again. There was a very handsome dapple grey dales gelding I chatted to, and he liked showing, so he was happy to represent our breed, there were a lot in the class - too boring. 

Mum is still laughing and said only I, at 1 year old, could come home with a showjumping rosette.  So my young pony friends you are never to young to decide on your dream and there is always a way to show you human want you are good at. 

No idea where Mum is this week, she's disappeared again!

Happy munching, Woody xxxx

Thursday, 16 July 2015

How to give your human a heart attack.....

Woody here, now pony friends, you all know I want to run away and become a circus pony.  Well today I added the best trick yet to my repertoire.  You just have to try this....

This morning Cyril and I were laying asleep in the field with Zippy standing guard duty.  Mum arrives, no one stirs - I was actually fast asleep dreaming of being a showjumper.  Mum and Benji start walking across the field with a wheel barrow full of yummy feed bowls.  Cyril decides to get up as it is clearly breakfast arriving.

Zippy and Cyril wander across to the gate to greet the food barrow.  I lay dead still, haven't moved a muscle.  Mum looks slightly concerned but lets Cyril through the gate so he can have his food.  Mum then comes through the gate to say hello to Zippy.  I still haven't moved a muscle.  Perplexed Mum calls my name - now the trick pony friends is to still keep really still, even if your tummy is rumbling and your human is calling you.

Mum starts panicking and calling my name and running towards me, I still don't move, then just as she is out of breath and has reached for phone to call vet, lift you head up and go, oh its you, is breakfast here, yummy.  At which point your human cries with relief and after you get up gives you loads and loads of massive hugs.

Promise you it will works every time - give it a go pony friends, its hilarious.

Monday, 6 July 2015

My first affiliated dressage competition

Sunday was a VERY big day.  I could tell straight away, because Mum woke me up early and gave me a yummy breakfast.  While I ate I had her washing and cleaning and scrubbing and shampooing my little white socks - it was going to be an important day.

Once scrubbed and plaited I was loaded up onto the box on wheels - it was going to be a VERY, VERY big day - I had haylage in the box.  I NEVER get haylage.  The last time was when Woody arrived and I got to eat his leftovers.  Hmmm I'm liking this.

We arrived at Hunters Equestrian Centre, which we have been to before so Mum and I were quite relaxed until she found out she was running late.  Honestly you'd think for such a big day she would have at least got her information correct, we were due to compete 10.20am not 10.33am like Mum thought.

It's quiet intimidating warming up at an affiliated competition.  We were surrounded by loads of big warmblood and thoroughbred dressage horses and then there was little me.  To be fair there was an even smaller pony with a very small human on, I hope they did well.  This was us in the warm up arena.

So after a quicker than planned warm up we were asked to enter the indoor arena.  We have competed indoors before so Mum and I were quite relaxed - to be honest I think Mum was so concentrating on relaxing, she forgot to ride me and left me to get on with the test.  I did my best, listening carefully to Aunty Alison who was reading the test for me.  You can see the results at  Even doing the test on my own I still managed to come 3rd with 63.75% and gained my first 2 BD points - soooo exciting.  The judge was really nice but said I needed more energy and Mum must keep quiet and stop clicking her way around the test!!!!!

We didn't have long before our second test and after some sage advice from Aunty Trish (who was also part of our cheer leading team and videographer) who told Mum to keep quiet (quite agree) and instead of clicking use her whip (not so sure about that advice).  Mum decided she had better ride me this time rather than be a passenger and the results were much more pleasing. Aunty Trish recorded it all for us and Mum has uploaded it for me at so you can see for yourselves what you think.  But the judge liked it lots more and gave us 68.95% which meant I came 2nd.

I got prize money for coming 2nd.  Mum how many carrots does £12 buy me?  If I keep this performance up I might be able to keep Woody, Zippy and I in an unlimited supply of carrots - yummy.  Now I know why I like doing dressage! Mum when can we go shopping for carrots, I need to spend my winnings?

Saturday, 4 July 2015

June has been full of fun, fun, fun

Mum has been letting me have lots of fun last month going on some very enjoyable fun rides.  Its hard to know which has been the bestest fun.  My friend Lara, the posh dressage horse has been allowed to come out and play with me on each of our rides.

We started at Pickwick Fun Ride.  This was a beautiful ride, the humans loved the scenery and we had to keep stopping so photographs could be taken of the view - to be fair to the humans it was really lovely countryside and very varied.  One minute we were hacking through some beautiful woods with a lovely lake in the dell and then we were roaming across fabulous valleys that allowed me to start teaching Lara racing.  Now for a 14.2hh pony its quiet hard to keep ahead of my nearly 17hh friend - but I can promise you fellow Dales ponies, you would have been impressed with my turn of speed.  I was hot on her heels.

We did quiet a bit of galloping but by the time we met the photographer, David Betteridge we were starting to chill out.  I know humans say that their owners look like their dogs but from the picture below I would say our humans are well suited to their steeds too!  Tall and elegant and short and dumpy (Mum please read compact and powerful - I love you just the way you are, but if you do want to loose some weight, you won't hear me complaining)!

The funniest thing on this ride though was Lara jumping an invisible 3ft log.  We had been cantering along a field and the humans kept thinking we might jump the smallest little dips in the ground, which we didn't and then just as they started to relax I cantered up a little hollow, it was a very shallow dip, nothing there at all - however Lara thought otherwise and just took the most massive leap over the whole dip.  We then nearly lost both our riders because they were laughing so much they lost their balance and nearly came off.  After that we managed one more super fast galloping race before we came to the end of a lovely ride.  Thank you Avon Vale Hunt, we will be back next year.

Our next trip out was to Oaksey and we started out as a gang of five ponies and their humans.  My friend Lara again with Aunty Trish.  Caroline on Phoenix (who I have been on a fun ride with before). Aunty Lynda was riding Cinders (my black cob friend who I like lots) and then Fiona on her speedy mount, who was so fast it was hard to catch her name but I think it was Nina.  Nina led the way and we were all soon speeding along the tracks, this was going to be hard work, as it was a hot day.  Cinders and I decided to keep to the back of the field but Mum made me jump while Cinders ins't allowed, she has poorly legs and needs to take care as jumping can hurt them.

So I made sure my litttle legs did their best to keep up with the racehorse who was jumping everything, so I did my best to jump everything too - well the jumps Mum liked the look of anyway.  She made sure I jumped the wall next to the photographer - nice picture, thank you Mr Photographer.

After that Cinders and I thought better of trying to keep up with the hunting pace being set and decided to chill and let the others gallop on while our humans chatted and admired the views.  We returned with fresh legs and smiles on our faces and met up with the rest of the gang at the boxes on wheels car park where we got treats and cake!  Thank you Vale of the White Horse Hunt for organising such a good ride.

As if two fun rides were not enough this month, last weekend Lara and I went to mix with the animal stars of CountryFile on the fun ride Adam Henson has at his Cotswold Farm Park.  Of course being a rare breed I felt right at home.  This was a special outing and Mum took me over to Lara's house as I was allowed to travel in her huge lorry.  It meant climbing up a very steep ramp but I managed that and loved travelling with my friend Lara - I just ignored her grumpy faces, it was too exciting being up high in a lorry.

This was a great fun ride, Mum had been before as had Lara and Aunty Trish but it was all new to me.  We got to paddle in the river, which was great fun.  

They had lots of lovely jumps of all shapes and sizes and we jumped quite a few.  Yes I know Mum is riding me in a dressage saddle but we have the saddle on trial at the moment and I really like it.  It's much more comfortable, its a Heather Moffatt saddle and I surprised Mum as I started to drag her into some of the jumps, which I haven't done in a while, so she is hoping that I will go back to enjoying jumping now I have a saddle I like.  Benji dog came with us and while he would have loved to come with us he had to stay and guard the lorry with Aunty Alison who had been kind enough to drive us all the way to the ride.  He looks a bit bored here!

We had a great day and got some lovely rosettes at the end of our ride so we posed to show them off.

A special thank you to Lara and Aunty Trish for keeping us company on our rides and I hope we can do some more soon.  This wish extends to all my pony friends, I love exploring new countryside.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

All grown up

Hello, Woody here. I didn't run away to the circus, mostly because I have started going out on my own adventures. For the past couple of weeks Mum has been walking me up and down the road and I even got to go out with my big brother for a ride up to Chaddington Farm. I'm not allowed to carry Mum, Cyril says that's his job, but I'm hoping if I'm really well behaved she will let me carry her soon. 

I'm way more advanced than Cyril. Mum says I have now got my box on wheels certificate, which Cyril only got when he was three, I'm only one.  My first trip ever was when I came home to my new Mum and then I was allowed to travel loose but had all the doors shut, so there was nothing else to do but eat. Now I'm all grown up, I get to travel properly.  So Mum cross ties me in the box on wheels, just like my big brother. 

My first proper outing did look a little dodgey. Mum loaded me up. I love the box on wheels I was allowed to play in it for two whole weeks while we ate grass at the house. It's fun and has stuff you can eat, plus buckets that you can throw around, so I always walk straight in, well you never know what new toys might be in there. Anyway back to my first trip I was all loaded up and left Cyril neighing asking where I was going - errr I'm not psychic how do I know - like he knows where he is going when he gets loaded up. So I left Zippy and Cyril behind and it turned out we were just going to the roundabout and back, so not a long trip. I did scare Mum though because even though I was cross tied I still managed to turn around (my reserve ambition is to be a circus pony, if I don't make it as a showjumper) so I thought this was a useful trick to add to my repertoire. Mum had other ideas and pulled into the lay by to check what I was doing - I forgot she has a spy camera in the car and can see my every move. When she opened the jockey door I thought she wanted me to come out so I started reserving to come out and she slammed the door on my bottom - really!

I turned round to see why she had done that and she was gone and we were moving again - after due consideration I decided maybe she doesn't like me travelling backwards, even though I got a good view over the top doors, which I supposed I could have jumped if I wasn't tied up. So I finished the journey facing forwards. I was a bit hot and sweaty, Mum says it was emotional sweat, I just think she should try standing in a tin can in hot weather and try standing upright AND not sweat - go on Mum I dare you. 

Anyway my second trip was much longer and Mum got Jo to accompany her. Cyril has told me about his dressage and fun ride friend Lara, he was dead jealous when he found out I got to meet her and all her field friends. The box on wheels took me straight to Breach Lane Equestrian centre where she lives, and I got to meet Aunty Trish and Aunty Alison - Mums human friends. 

When we arrived I had to stay in the trailer just for a little while - this is because Cyril used to come straight out and now when he arrives anywhere he expects to be let out straight away.  Oh big brother you have so much to learn, though I do like his stamping trick. I tried it but it didn't seem to work, I was only let out once I was quiet. 

Aunty Jo took me for a walk around the big outdoor arena, with people and Cyril's friends watching I didn't want to let Mum down, so just strolled around very casually, exploring stuff, a picture of calm relaxation - gosh it's quiet hard to pull of the nontulant look while your actually quiet nervous, but I think I passed muster - maybe I could be an actor? We did a little bit of trotting too and Jo got told to keep up with me, note I didn't get told off!

Then Mum took over and took me into the brightly coloured indoor arena. I still had the humans watching but I couldn't see the horses any more. That was fine. I just wandered around explored the corners, tried eating the carpet off of the mounting block - yuck, but it did smell interesting. Then Mum got me to do a trot up down the centre of the arena, Aunty Trish said I wasn't tracking up. I wasn't going to fail on my first outing so when Mum did the second trot I did my very best and managed to track up - whatever that means but I did it. 

Mum called the whole visit a resounding success and I then impressed everyone even more by just walking straight back into the box on wheels - well I wasn't going to walk all the way home and I was very excited to tell Zippy and Cyril all about my big adventure. Plus Mum says I can have my box on wheels certificate I was that good. It's only provisional at the moment. 

When can we go out again Mum so I can get my proper certificate?

Saturday, 27 June 2015

A testing day

Well I have had a very busy and productive day today.  I was allowed a lie in this morning and took best advantage of that.  Well why stand when you can lie down?

Mum disappeared off early and came back with a super large pile of pallets, I'm sure when she left she was saying it was for hay.  More worrying by the time she came back she said some were so strong they could be made into a trec bridge - hmmmmm!

However along with all the pallets she brought lots of yummy food, so I'll ignore the trec bridge comment in the hope she will need all of them for the hay.  The only problem is while we are at the house I have to share my food with the chickens - yes seriously I have to share with chickens!

But back to my testing day.  Mum loaded me up into the box on wheels and we headed off to Greenlands Farm in Great Cheverell to compete in the KVRC Mufti dressage competition.  It was hot and they were running late when we arrived so Mum and Jo got me ready in slow time and spent a lot of time chatting rather than warming me up.  This was fine by me, it was far too hot to be doing too much running around.

My first test was Prelim 13, which we have done quiet a bit recently.  We started well and with it being so hot meant I was more than happy to have a stretch when we did the free walk on a long rein, which got me a 9 - Mum was thrilled.  However Mum then rediscovered the ghost of right hand canter lead, I always think its good to keep her on her toes and its important she learns to correct my mistakes - which she didn't!  However I did such a good job in helping her out that even on the wrong canter lead we got a 5.5 - well I was very balanced and I got a 6.5 for my transition to trot.  Overall we got 72.1% and came 2nd.  1st was one collective mark higher than us - Mum you threw that win away.

No rest for the wicked we returned to the warm up arena for some medium trot practice ready for Novice 24.  I did one good medium trot in the warm up, Mum should have saved it for the test!  They are hard to do, especially in very hot weather.  I got 6.5 for my medium trot and canter in the tests, which I know Mum was happy with (for the moment!)  However Mum did not learn from the errors of our first test and did not correct my wrong canter lead so we only got a 3 and 4 - come on Mum, really!  If we are competing at this level you really should have this sussed by now.  This was my second ever Novice test so 65.8% is not too bad and we came 7th (which was also last - but as we got a rosette, it's 7th in my book!).

Normally we only do two dressage tests but today Mum wanted me to do three - errrr its hot, is this really the day to be doing three tests?  The reason why, Mum read both Novice tests and didn't like either of them, so we had to do both - I have no idea where that logic comes from?  So back to the warm up arena for some walk canter transitions and then straight back in to the competition school.

The judge thought I had some lovely walk paces giving me an 8.  I also got an 8 for my half 10m circles from E to X and X to B.  Third time lucky, when I gave Mum the wrong canter transition she finally recognised this and got me to change my lead - hurrah!  Novice 30 is tricky having to change your canter lead across the diagonal.  Mum was well impressed with my last transition which got me a 7.  Ironically we got a higher mark for the harder test, scoring 66.9% which got me a 5th rosette.

It was a hot day and doing three tests needs lots of concentration but as this was my second and third Novice tests ever, I thought we did OK.  Hopefully Mum will pay attention to the canter leads I give her now and will be brave enough to correct them if she thinks I've got them wrong.  That's your homework Mum.

I have to say a big thank you to Eric's rider, Jo, for coming out and grooming me and more importantly reading the tests for Mum so she knew where to go - Jo she couldn't have done it without you, thank you xxx

I'm off to share my tea with those greedy chickens!

Friday, 26 June 2015

To jump or not to jump?

I've finally managed to get my ipad off of my little brother who seems to be hogging it all the time lately. I caught him googling circus pony job adverts - honestly I have no idea why?

Mum and I have been disagreeing on how to teach me to jump, we both have different ideas of how this should be achieved, so in the end I had to put my foot down and make it very clear how I want to learn.

I've been doing quite a few lessons with Polly, and we have jumps at home, and I have been out on fun rides which have jumps too, so I'm starting to get quite a bit of practice in.  My cousin, Eric, and I went on a fun ride with Avon Vale Hunt in May.  I seriously wonder about our humans sometimes, we might have set out in lovely sunshine but we soon got stuck in a thunder and lightening storm.  Being sensible ponies we wanted to turn our back to the rain and standstill and wait for the storm to pass, but oh no the stupid humans kicked us on and made us walk and trot into the rain - not happy.  

So I don't know why Mum was surprised that I wasn't that keen to jump the jumps on the ride, it was hardly the weather.  I jumped a couple but decided I wasn't jumping anymore, which Mum wasn't too happy about, but as we were soaking wet and she was wearing buckets for boots, we agreed a truce and headed home.

Our next disagreement was at a private cross country lesson with Polly, my favourite instructor - well she was.  Mum had explained about me stopping on the fun ride, so when I stopped at the first jump in the lesson, i got told off, but came around and thought I had better jump it the second time around.  At the next jump I decided I didn't want to be hit for stopping so executed a fabulous napping manoeuvre left while Mum tugged my head right. Ohhhh she was not happy and when she finally pulled me up I got a very sore bum - ouch!  After that I decided I had better do what I was told and she whizzed me up so much we charged around the rest of the cross country course, jumping, water, ditches, steps, logs etc.  I went home tired but with a very happy Mum, so that was all good, but I was dwelling on my beating.

Our next outing was gridwork with Polly at our usual venue in Hankerton.  The lesson was being shared with some other KVRC members.  It started OK but I got a bit confused because Mum couldn't decide on whether she wanted me to canter, gallop or trot.  She was asking me to canter and then gallop down the longside of the arena and then asking me to trot into the jumps - can't you just decide on one pace please?  Eventually I had enough and just stopped, Mum asked me to go forward but I didn't want to go, this wasn't fun and I was just getting confused and then I was getting hit.  Mum realised her mistake and burst into floods of tears. Polly kindly put all the poles on the floor and I reluctantly agreed to go over as a truce.

Mum went away scratching her head and after a good nights sleep worked out she needed to make jumping fun for me.  So we went to a combined training competition and Mum made sure she didn't put any pressure on me, so I enjoyed having a jump around the course, I did stop a few times, but did get all the way around.  My friend Emma did a video of me jumping which you can see here

Next came an outing to another new venue, Trow Lane, where Mum entered me into their clear round showjumping.  We started small and then it got a little bigger each time, Mum was so proud of me, as I got three clear rounds.  I didn't stop once or knock down a single fence.  I wonder whether I will be going next?

Will I jump or not..........

Growing my fan base

Hello to all my new friends at Sparsholt College, I loved meeting you all.  I was very happy to stand and chat to all my new friends and posed for selfies too!

It was a great trip.  I didn't realise when Mum took me home to Wales I would be making lots of new friends and showing everyone how fantastic us Dales ponies are.

Mum spent a couple of days helping D clean everybody up so we were all sparkling shiny.  June was chosen to be the confirmation pony, so she got all dressed up in her white show halter and pretty pink ribbons, she looked beautiful.  Though Katy did try and steal the limelight.  D had brought June out and was surrounded by 20 odd students, and she was being all serious telling the students all about our fabulous confirmation, while Katy stood at the back pulling faces and distracting the students by demanding rubs and trying to eat their handbags if they did not oblige.  Naughty Katy.

My new friends then went on a tour of the stud and got to visit both my Dad and my friend Eric's Dad, Laddie.  He's pictured below having cuddles with the students too!

Before the students had arrived I had been turned out into the big caravan field, so I thought I had better put in some practice of doing a REAL dales trot, rather than Mum's fancy posing dressage trots.  My secret practice got caught on camera, well not too bad I think.

My first job was to show my new friends how good Dales ponies can be at dressage.  So Mum asked me to do one of my Prelim dressage tests.  I can do that.  Mum and I warmed up while the students finished their tour of the stud.  They then stood at the bottom of the arena and it was time for me to strut my stuff.  So I headed of down the centre line in trot - errrr emergency stop required - Mum there are twenty faces peering over the end of the arena - that's quite scary, normally there is just a random car, not loads of people.  Ok Mum says move on, so I did, around the arena on the right rein - wait Mum, another emergency stop required, they are still there and they are ALL watching ME.  Nerves were starting to kick in and I was getting a bit anxious so when Mum asked for canter, I kind of over reacted and put in a big buck, which made the students giggle.  I'm sure Mum didn't do the test right because I seemed to be doing a lot of circles down by all my new friends.

Then Katy and Nondus came to join me and Mum and we were allowed into the big field, yiphee. I started by showing off my jumping skills while Katy practiced her Dales trot - shes good at that.

Katy and I were then allowed to do a trotting race and then to the amusement of the students we showed them how fast we could gallop across the fields too.  We loved that, its not often we are allowed to charge around.  It took Katy a little while to calm down after racing around, but we both enjoyed the cuddles of the students and stood very still while they all took selfies.

I'm hoping some of my new friends might send me some more photos to add to my blog.  Loved meeting you all, thank you for taking the time out to meet us.  I wonder whether I can become a professional demo horse, telling the world about how amazing us Dales ponies are?

Sunday, 24 May 2015

New tricks

Woody here!

Having mastered showjumping I thought I should turn my hooves to something new. So I decided to help my big brother Cyril out. He has to wear a big ugly fly sheet and neck cover (which he hates) it's to keep his mane all flowing and long - well that's what Mum says anyway. Cyril thinks it's because she's too lazy to brush all the mud off. Though to be fair to Mum Cyril does get brushed every time he's ridden even if he is wearing his rug, so I'm not too sure he's right about that. Plus I get brushed loads too and I don't have a rug and Mum won't ride me yet, wish she would so I could go on all the exciting adventures Cyril gets to go on. 

Anyway I have discovered not only am I good at jumping but I can also help Cyril get undressed. It turns out if I use my teeth, I can grab the sticky stuff Mum uses to keep Cyril's neck cover on and if I pull it makes a funny sound and then comes undone. It's great fun. 

I am now in an ongoing battle to help Cyril undress each day. Everyday Mum does his neck cover up and everyday I have to try to undo it, I normally manage to get it completely undone and you should see Mums face, I'm sure half the time she questions whether she even did it up in the first place, I'm doing such a good job of undoing it. 

Hmmmm think Mum may have just foiled my efforts.  She's brought Cyril a new rug thing that goes all over his head and neck but it does not have any sticky stuff to pull off.  She has to pull it over his head.

Cyril is super embarrassed about his new look and is threatening to run away and join the circus.  Well he does look a little like a clown horse, so I'm sure he could get a job.  

Maybe I could go too and get a job as a trick pony, what with all my jumping skills and undressing Cyril.  Wonder what Zippy could do?  Now that we are a gang we have to stay together, perhaps Cyril and I could earn enough money for the three of us to feast on carrots everyday.

Mum when is the circus coming to town?

How to win over a grumpy old mare.....

It's Woody again!  I said I would charm my grumpy old field companion into liking me, and I've managed it with some help.

I'd been chatting to my big bro, Cyril about how to win over Zippy, but he was out of ideas, thanks bro for nothing.  Benji dog didn't have any ideas either, in fact the only thing he does is shout at me if I go into the feed store, it's not like I'm stealing his food!

So I got chatting to some birds and bees and they came up with a great strategy.  So after some discussions we decided the best way to win Zippy over was to behave like a stallion.  Mum arrived at the field to hear Zippy squealing, while I was jumping all over her.  It's hard work so after a while I had to have a rest but it had worked Zippy was making loving chewing faces at me.  Phew!

We are now best mates, especially as Cyril keeps disappearing off on his own adventures and leaves us behind.  Mum says Zippy has come into season now because she likes me so much, so we will be expecting our first baby soon, then we can have a little me, well that's what the birds and the bees says.

I also let her share my food, I find that really helps get brownie points with her too.  Mind you I don't get that much, just a handful of nuts and vitamins.  It's not fair because Cyril gets LOADS.  Zippy doesn't get much either but I'm not allowed to eat her food because she has her old horse medicine in it.   

So the three of us are a real gang now.  Cyril is still 'God', because he is very clever and gets to do lots of fun things.  I'm hoping Mum will take me out with him soon, so I can do some show jumping with him.  Please Mum, you know I can jump.....