Weekly Update – Life of Hamish

So this week has been totally different to my normal weeks. I was away on holiday (it a rare thing!!) in Snowdonia earlier in the week and so haven’t been at the yard as much as usual. This has meant Hammy has had a much quieter week (much to his happiness I am sure…!!). He spent Monday out in the field with his friends pampering himself with a face pack, courtesy of the nice muddy field. How on earth he managed to get mud down the very centre of his face I will never know?! Lucky I wasn’t there, I think seeing him come in so covered in wet mud before bed would make me feel a little uneasy…! If I had it my way, Hamish would always look immaculate. Don’t get me wrong though, there is something lovely about seeing them rolling and covering every last bit of bare skin in mud and having a good old scratch.

Katie my close friend and riding instructor was looking after ham until I was back on Wednesday night – there’s something lovely knowing your horse is being looked after with just as much care as you would normally, when you are away.

It got to Tuesday afternoon and I’m sure Hamish thought he was probably getting the beginning half of the week off , that is until Katie walked around the corner with his tack – this means work, real proper work! And by the sounds of it, that’s exactly what he did. Katie was pleased with the canter work, which we can now start bringing into his schooling earlier on in the session and this really helps improve his trot work afterwards. As a bit of a side story, at the yard we were at before, the school surface wasn’t great and it meant that we were only able to walk and trot in the school which wasn’t ideal and it did limit us on our progress. Nearly a year on at the new yard and his canter is so much stronger and I am really able to push him and ask for more from the canter. Anyway, back on track… schooling session was overall really good. Katie did say he needed quite a lot of support on the left side, but with firm left leg and a secure left hand he was able to push through a lot more. I was really pleased to hear this from Katie, to know he is improving and that Katie can feel this when she rides him as well as see it from the ground when teaching us, gives me a huge sense of achievement (I wonder if Hamish feels proud of himself too?).

On Wednesday we actually travelled down from North Wales a lot quicker than planned – still a good 6 hours or so in the car but we were home by 2pm. Now of course, this means I was straight up to the yard as soon as we were back – I can’t be the only one who does this, right?! It was so worth the 6.30am start. I was only away for 4 days but I missed Hamish and the stables, I think I even missed that homely smell of the muck heap. Isn’t it crazy, we all need and want a break away, to relax and take time for ourselves but it’s never too soon to be back up at the yard with the ponies? Despite the windy weather, we went out for a ride with Katie and her horse Tigger around the park. Hamish and Tigs have become quite the duo in the field since Tiggy arrived late this summer. They often play together in the field, clashing teeth and seeing who can gallop to the bottom of the field the quickest; mud splatters on their faces being a key indicator of this. I think Wizard is quite pleased, for Tiggers arrival has meant he can play on his terms, grazing normally comes first (sensible boy!). Wednesday’s hack was different to our usual ‘Ham and Tig rides’. Hamish is normally very sensible when he hacks with Tigger – I think he could sense that Tig was a bit nervous and took the lead, never retaliating and getting silly too. But not on that day. Tigger has gotten more confident hacking at the new yard and they are also now best pals and didn’t they both know it! From the moment Katie walked onto the yard to get on, you could see Tig’s face light up at the sight of Hamish tacked up ready to join him! They were very good on the hack really, just the odd little spook and silly moment here and there – at one point Tigger even lead the way past a car because it was just way too scary for Hamish! Hamish makes me laugh when he does things like this, he is generally so sensible and so he should be at the age of 23, but just very occasionally he likes to have a little moment. I am sure it is just to test me, see I am still concentrating. But I can’t complain, these silly moments reassure me he is still feeling good – he’s very young at heart. Katie and I got back to the yard deciding we were happy to have hacked together, its much nicer being able to laugh at the silly, spooky moments with a friend as opposed to being on your own – maybe I am a wimp but I always think things seem worse on your own, harder to deal with and slightly more scary!

Thursday was a day off for Hamish, weather was pretty rubbish in the morning when I wanted to ride. By the time I had turned out and finished my jobs the sun was out, typical. I am not too much of a ‘fair weather rider’, but after a whole winter of horrid weather, I have started to lose the motivation to ride in the miserable weather. I faffed around with Hammy’s mane in an effort to make him look a bit more presentable, didn’t quite get to tackle his long curly legs, I’ll save that for next week.

I woke up on Friday and the weather was surprisingly better than I had thought, I went up to the yard nice and early, managing to turn out the boys (Wiz & Ham) and get all of the stable chores done quite quickly. This left me loads of time to ride in the sun that afternoon. He was really good in the school. We just did a stretching schooling session, I normally do this once during the week just to give him a gentle ride, good leg stretch and just work on some more simple work – it just means he doesn’t have to work too (physically) hard every time we go in the school, it would be a little tough on the old boy otherwise! I couldn’t believe how warm it was, for the first time this year the sun actually felt warm on my skin and I was able to walk around the yard in just a long sleeve t-shirt without freezing to death – it felt like spring could finally be here, ahh bliss.

Okay… so I was totally wrong – spring is totally, most defiantly, 100% not here and it feels like a very long way away. The wind was blowing a gale and by 10am, it was snowing! Julia was back from work for the weekend and we had planned to ride in the morning, I got a text from Julia saying she wasn’t sure whether to ride, I thought, oh don’t be silly we can ride it’ll be fine. As soon as I stepped out of the car at the yard I changed my mind! There was only one thing for it – a girls trip to our local horsey shop for a bit of retail therapy (a lot more browsing than buying – why can’t I be rich enough to afford those lovely £250 full seat breaches with the diamante pockets?!) before driving back to the yard to bring the boys in (who were all waiting at the gate looking very sorry for themselves, heads down and rain dripping off their noses), for a duvet day! Hopefully this earned me a few brownie points with the Hambo.

Ahhh Sunday, the blissful lie in; I didn’t get up until at least 8am. 8am may not be a lie in for most on a Sunday, but it sure is a lie in for us horsey people! When I woke up it looked surprisingly light through the blinds and I thought perhaps we’re going to actually get the sun back after yesterday’s miserable weather. I was wrong. Our driveway was white and the cars were covered in snow. I got into the car and the temperature read 0 degrees, I drove to the stables optimistic that somehow the weather would be better there. It wasn’t, the snow wasn’t really heavy but there was a covering over their field and the wind blow a cold, icy breeze and it was definitely not a day for riding. Hammy stayed in with a hay net for as long as he could, before going out with the boys for a snow morning. We hayed the field and decided they would just go out for a few hours this morning, before coming back in for an early night. God, I am so done with winter now and I think Hamish is too.

So there it is, an end to another winter week. On a positive note, it was lovely to have a few days off of work, to spend time at the yard. It makes a huge difference for me to be up there without the time constraints of getting to work by 8am and then trying to beat the sunset of an evening, to be able to ride in the day light. The thought of going back to work tomorrow is horrible, back to reality, no more horsing around all day… The only thing getting me through is the fact that it’s officially British Summer Time next Sunday, meaning we have an extra hour of day light in the evenings to ride in and hacking on a weekday evening will soon be just a part of the normal routine. So, here’s to another week, and officially the last winter week.

Wishing you all a great week.

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