Sunday, 26 June 2016

Somethings are just not meant to be

Humans could learn a lot from us Dales ponies. We just get on with whatever task is given to us and generally we do this quiet happily. Humans do seem to get upset about things. Take all this EU stuff, no one asked us ponies and we have been around a long time, shaping the future of this great nation. Did we get upset about not being asked? No of course we didn't. Did we help the humans in this big decision, of course we did. 

This is one of my relatives, Aunty Lakin, (short for LadyKin) she kindly took her human, Lois, to vote. I'm sure she would have provided some sound advice too. She used to be a nurse in Romeo and Juliet, I'm sure that's what her human said. 

Me, I took my Mum showjumping to distract her from worrying about the result. 

Ok so some humans are celebrating and others aren't so sure. Let me tell you this, us Dales ponies will help out as we have always done. Whether it's mining, working on the farms or going to war (though personally I'm a pacifist so I'm hoping it does come down to war) You can rely on us to keep Britain great. 

Though I might need Aunty Nurse Lakin to take a look at my poorly face before I can help with the morale boosting effort. 

Mum's not so happy with me. Today was going to be THE day. When I say THE day, I mean THE day I was to do my first ever one day event. This is something Mum has been training me for, for the last four years. It's been her dream. So you can imagine how pleased she was having worked into the night cleaning two saddles and numerous outfit changes (it was also to be our first public side saddle appearance) and then getting up at silly o clock this morning to complete final preparations. Only to find me with a lopsided grin. 

Mum, it's a hard lesson but some things are just not meant to be. The vet says I'll live (if I survive my mothers scorn) and don't worry pony friends, I still managed to eat my breakfast in record time and munch the soaked hay Mum had prepared for the journey. 

Let's hope Dales ponies now we are out of the EU, they will stop importing all these fancy horse types and get back to buying British!  Native ponies rule and Dales ponies are what makes Britain Great. 

Please note my patriotic red and white England rug. 


Monday, 20 June 2016

How Champion am I?

Mum has been keen that I get out and about and do LOTS of other activities as well as my competing at my core discipline of dressage, so I don't get bored.  What Mum didn't figure on is I'm brilliant at everything, well OK we are still working on jumping.

We have been doing very well at dressage and so far this year having already competed at the NPS Dressage Championships, I am now qualified for British Dressage Native Pony Championships at Prelim and Novice, Petplan Area Championships at Novice and Midway Dressage Championships, also at Novice.

Well on top of all this I went with my Highland pony friend, Iona, to do a 'fun' pairs Level 1 Trec competition.  Mum and I have never done a full Trec, we go and dabble with the control of paces and fun obstacle courses.  It was agreed all round that we would just do it for fun.  It's been part of a secret deal as Iona has agreed to do riding club pairs dressage with us (its top secret, practice is ongoing - as long as Iona's poorly paw gets better soon - we made it a bit sore doing Trec).

Anyway we met at Bibury.  The first bit I love, you have to canter as slowly as possible, I so have this licked I can practically canter backwards, so I get a maximum 30 marks.  The downside is we are supposed to walk back as fast as we can and while my little legs and short stride help loads with the canter they are useless for the walk back and we only got 1 mark.  Iona pony is slightly faster cantering but her little legs are quite speedy coming home!

Next was the obstacles.  Some are really easy, like opening the gate without Mum letting go and cantering the clover leaf, though Mum and I absolutely love cantering the bending poles, definitely our favourite exercise.  I'm still finding jumping strange jumps I have never met before a bit more daunting and I do like to stop and have a look first, though Mum has me out and about practising this, so hopefully I will get braver at that.  Iona had to contend with a horse and rider who didn't know the rules about letting a better (Iona pony) go past when she got caught up.  This threw Iona out a little but she was still oresome and scored lots more points than me, but she does have a lot more experience and doesn't find jumps scary.

We got a little rest before we set out on our 'hack'.  This meant the humans had to read a map, Mum made us go round in circles, so next time I think Iona's human should take control of that element.  We had to kick on as the times were between 7-8kph and I know from my Endurance pony training earlier in the week that you need to keep moving, especially if you need lots of pee stops like I do!  Sorry no pictures of the lovely poppy fields we passed as Mum had to keep her mobile turned off so we didn't cheat - we don't need to cheat, we are just fabulous as we are.

The humans seemed pleased and we all had a good time.  I didn't think anymore of it as I had promised to accompany my horse friend Lara out on a fun ride the next day, so I was keen to get my head down and have a rest.

This was on our renamed fun 'gallop'. 

Well Mum has just turned up and told me that Iona pony and I have come 3rd and qualified for the Level 1 Trec pairs National Championships - can you believe it.  I'll have to consult my diary and see if I have time to fit another Championships in.  Hopefully I will get to add some more pretty rosettes to my Championship wall.  I've got a day off today, so I had better go eat and rest, goodness knows what Mum will be having me do tomorrow!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Me and my new friend Charlotte Dujardin

Cyril here, I have finally found Woody's hiding place for my iPad he stole off of me. Honestly brothers, nothing is sacred!

I've been super busy doing lots and lots of different things from learning to carry Mum sideways while she is playing in fancy dress, showjumping, cross country, endurance training, tent pegging, and of course my core skill of dressage. 

Now while humans lust after the opportunity to ride Valegro, us ponies we are more in awe of the humans who ride them. Can you just imagine how amazing it would be to be ridden by the top human professionals who actually know how to ask correctly for a right hand canter transition!

Well last weekend my most wildest dreams came true and I got to meet one of the ultimate human dressage professionals - Charlotte Dujardin. Rumours were rife when we arrived that she would be there and this was substantiated when we spotted her 'gold' lorry parked next to us. 

Well that was it I just had to meet her. Mum said if I behaved and did a good test she would ask Charlotte to come and say hello to me. Right that was it, I needed to buckle down and put my best ever performance in - well Charlotte might be watching and I wanted to impress her and show her how wonderful us Dales ponies are. 

I've just started doing Novice BD tests and to ensure a good level of impulsion Mum has taken to wearing spurs, humph. Fortunately we were at one of my favourite venues, Summerhouse, it was a long arena test and one of the things I'm really good at is a straight line, so I bagged an 8 straight away. Mum seemed to be having fun so we both relaxed and strutted our stuff, I made sure I gave Mum correct canter leads whatever she asked - couldn't be seen to be doing anything other than correct manoeuvres with Charlotte watching!  

Mission successful, my best ever Novice dressage test coming first in my section and third overall. Mum was thrilled as we had matching rosettes to Charlotte. 

Well come on then Mum, I held up my side of the bargain. So true to her word she found Charlotte out and asked if I could have my photo taken with her. I played it very cool and pretended I met my idol every day of the week.  I even got a hug. The humans were both super pleased to have their photo taken with me, look at them grinning. 

Don't tell Mum but I have put a copy of the picture up in our field shelter, so I can go sleep each night looking at Charlotte and imaging how amazing it would be to have her in the driving seat - one day maybe.  I'm sure I'll bump into my new best friend again and hopefully I can persuade her I'm worth taking for a test drive. 

Figure I need to move up the levels now, so off to practice my piaffe so I'm ready for PSG, if Mum ever develops enough skills to learn to ride me at that level that is, but need to be ready for when Charlotte asks. Take care pony friends, sorry no autographs!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Birthday party with balloons

Woody here, Cyril and I had our birthdays last week and Mum promised me I could go to my own party.  I even got balloons. I'm two years old now.  

It was great fun, I got to play with lots of toys and we played hide and seek. 

I'm not too sure what Mum was doing hiding behind the plastic, she looked very silly.  I think she thought I couldn't see her, but of course I could! 

I then tried to hide behind the washing. Peek a boo Mum. 

I was hoping for a birthday cake, so I tried eating everything in case something was cleverly disguised as cake!  

Nope the washing wasn't cake. Maybe it's hidden under the sack?

Or in the box?

Maybe they put it in the dustbin by mistake?

Never did find the cake, but I had a great time looking. I'm hoping I can go to another pony party again soon, maybe with some more friends this time. My friend Sunny the cob arrived a little late, by which time I had to go home, so I left Sunny exploring all the toys.  I wonder if he found the cake?

Here's hoping I don't have to wait until I am three before I get to go to another party. See you all soon pony friends, in the meantime, eat cake!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

I have my own rosette wall

Woody here, I have finally persuaded Cyril to let me have a go on his iPad thingy cos he's just way too busy doing stuff to write about it. 

I've been busy too, these are all the rosettes I've won all on my own and I'm only just about to turn two years old. 

Oh yes and don't forget as well as all my shiny ribbons I was the first pony to bring home silver, even before Cyril.  I think that's pretty clever. 

I have been learning long reining, just on my circle halter, not with a proper bridle but it meant I got to walk (drag) Mum around the farm. I wasn't sure what she wanted first of all but then she explained I needed to go in front and drag her along, I got the hang of it very quickly and went marching across the fields. Aunty Nicola came too but I was walking too fast for her to keep up but she helped look after me when I got to have a go walking down the road. Cyril was a real wuss and galloped around the field crying while I left him. I don't know he needs to grow up even I don't behave like that when he leaves me. 

Mum says I'm growing up very fast and I look very handsome at the moment. I'll get Mum to take some pictures of me as I'm going to a pony party on Saturday to meet some of boys my age and we are going to have a competition to see who is the bravest and most grown up. I wonder whether I can get another rosette? Or at least some carrots? I've just checked with Mum, she says no rosettes but if I'm good I might get a very special treat of polo's. Yummy, I'll have to be on my best behaviour. I'm hoping all these outings will get me lots of points and I can win my silver plate again next year. 

Cyril has been so busy his championship rosettes have taken over Mum's mirror.  If you look carefully you can see my silver plate. Ok so he has a trophy now too but I got mine first. 

A lot of my relatives seem to be finding new human homes. Brian has settled in well with Claire and has even been wearing a driving harness. Joe has now found a new Mummy, Karen, and moves to his new forever home in Guildford on Sunday. Vince has been strutting his stuff doing dressage (Mum says he is way better than Cyril at dressage - but don't tell Cyril I said that, else I'll be chased round the field!) and now lots of people are interested in buying him too. 

I'm glad I don't have to move, it's too much fun chasing Benji dog around the field and racing Cyril when he's not too tired to play. I'll report back on my Saturday pony adventures, hope I get to go in the trailer I like travelling, it makes me feel all grown up. Signing off for now, Woody xxx