Saturday, 23 July 2011

Hay everywhere and no rain

It has been quite rainy in Wales of late – not so surprising really for Wales and yet it somehow always seems to be a cause of upset.  “It is summer.  The sun should be shining!” we cry.  But the weather is not considerate of our preferences – and so it rains despite the name of the month.

I love the way the rain rolls off a horse's coat and they do not seem to mind it too much on a mild day.

About the only drawback of which I am aware of liverying at Briwnant Riding Centre is the scarcity of stables.  The number of horses seriously outnumbers the number of stables.  This does not bother Red at all as he hates being in the stable.  He was a naughty and difficult horse when we liveried at Wyndham because he spent so much time in the stable, especially in the winter.  Dee does not mind the stable and is quite partial to a cosy night in, but she never makes a fuss about going back out to the field, whatever the weather.  They are, when all is said and done, horses – animals that live on pasture.

As there was no available stable on our last rainy visit to Briwnant we tied Dee up in the hay barn to groom her.  She seemed quite happy with this arrangement and enjoyed a happy half hour munching.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Cheeky hi-viz jacket

I bought this great hi-viz jacket from JMP Saddlery in Llanishen, Cardiff.  From a distance it looks like a police jacket and the word 'polite' could be mistaken for 'police' – which means that perhaps a motorist will be more likely to slow down when they see you.  The jacket is police approved.  It is more comfortable than my old one and doesn't ride up when I am riding.  It also has two useful zip pockets.

I often shop at Julie's – JMP Saddlery.  I think we are really lucky in North Cardiff to have a shop like this so close to a number of livery yards, a riding centre, and the Wenallt horse trail.  As well as selling a good range of quality goods, they also offer a clean-and-repair service for rugs which I use every year.  I personally think it important to support small family businesses like this, and I would highly recommend them for a friendly and personal service.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hugs in Fforest Fawr

Last week we went on a hack which we haven't done for a long time.  Having prepared the horses at the top field we started the Wenallt trail at the top.  Then we rode over to the Ganol via the steep path.  At the end of the 'gallop' (which we cantered not galloped!), Red was a little reluctant to turn right and head for Fforest Fawr.  He knows the trails well now because he hacks out regularly for Briwnant.  Once I'd asked firmly he carried on okay though.

After a couple more good canters we arrived at the car park at Fforest Fawr and decided to let the horses graze for a while.   They were both happy to do this and Red submitted to being hugged.

Then it was back through the Ganol and into the Wenallt.  After crossing the stream we decided to go back to the top field via the steep part of the trail.  To go the other way would have taken us past the track to Briwnant and we felt the horses might not be too keen on carrying on up the hill past there.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Roadside preparation

We had a bit of a messy start to our ride on Saturday.  First of all we walked across the bottom fields to catch Dee, having seen that Red was already in, only to discover that the horses had been moved to the top fields.  Then we were told that the girls were getting Dee in for us, but we couldn't see her anywhere.  At last we discovered that the girls had kindly tried to bring Dee in for us, but she had refused to cooperate and they'd had to give it up.

Dee has quite strong opinions about who should and should not be asking anything of her and can refuse to be led in.  She occasionally does this even with 'ö-Dzin and I—if she is on new grass for example—but we have not had this happen for a long time.  As two attempts had already been made to bring her down to the yard however, we decided not to risk her running away from us, but to take our tack up and get her ready up at the top field.  So we tacked up Red and 'ö-Dzin rode him up to the top fields while I drove up there.

I don't really like dealing with the horses by the roadside.  It always feels a little bit risky – horses can be quite unpredictable.  Fortunately there is a bit of verge by the gate so they are quite well off the road itself, and there is very little traffic.

Dee came to call immediately – in fact she cantered down the field to me and was happy to have her head collar put on.  'ö-Dzin and Red arrived at about the same time.  We set up haynets for them and got Dee tacked up.  They both behaved well and we were soon ready to go.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Coming to call

We had visitors from the USA staying with us recently and I took them up to Briwnant to visit the horses.  Sergio took this great little video of Red coming to call.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Horse swap

Red: That was a fun hack.
Wow!  Where did June go?  The horses are well and enjoying the warmer weather.  It took Dee a little while to pick up after the winter, but she is fully fit now.  The last time we rode out we decided to swap horses.  Red can be a little stubborn and refuse to canter for 'ö-Dzin, which can be a bit frustrating for us both.  I am a more experienced rider and know more how to deal with Red's stubbornness, so we thought we'd give swapping horses a try.  It worked a treat and we had a few good canters on the Wenallt trail.  Dee happily cantered for 'ö-Dzin following behind Red and we all had a lovely ride.
Red: No more treats?