My Mum’s horse has come for boot camp whilst Otis is off work. We bought him as a youngster and I backed and rode him for seven years and then Mum took over the ride, predominantly hacking and light schooling with him. My aim is to compete at the riding club area dressage qualifier at the end of October. Matt is a 15 year old, 14.2hh Welsh Section D. For a bit of fun, I thought I would share his first week with you.
I knew something wasn’t right. Auntie B always brings me in with her horse Chelsea for dinner. But she didn’t today. I had to wait hours in the field until eventually Old Mum and Young Mum came to see me. Young Mum abandoned me six years ago, so I never know whether to be pleased to see her. But I was hungry so I whinnied. Old Mum hasn’t been to see me much since she’s been poorly so I gave her a whinny too. It was nice to see her.
On the yard I realised something was up. The trailer was out in the middle and within minutes my boots and bandages were whipped on. “Hang on!” I thought, “where’s my dinner?” I always have dinner before a sponsored ride.
So naturally it took me a couple of tries to go into the trailer. There was a lot of stuff in there. No room for Chelsea, who usually comes with me on sponsored rides.
Before I knew it, we were off! What a journey. I can’t fault the driver, but it was so long!
When we eventually got to the destination I walked off the ramp to find myself on a strange yard. Perhaps now I’d get my dinner? I followed Young Mum into a big barn and there was this loud neigh. And then I saw him! It may have been six years, but Otis still has that innocent, butter wouldn’t melt expression. I said hello back and gave a cursory sniff as I was tied outside his stable. While I waited for dinner I looked around. Otis craned his neck as far as possible to carry on licking me – he’s still as annoying as ever!
We both had some dinner and I was rugged up – my first rug of the winter. It must be colder here. Young Mum led me to a field with so much grass! I tucked in straight away, I could say hello to my neighbours later!
I was still asleep when Young Mum came to get me this morning – doesn’t she realise how many hours of beauty sleep it takes to maintain my good looks?!
She brushed me and lots of people came to say hello. I tried to make a good impression, and when a gorgeous mare walked in, I lifted my tail and arched my neck – that will get her attention!
It turns out I was going on a hack with this lady (and some of her friends) so I made sure I was on my best behaviour, not even spooking at the river we had to walk through. Even when the water splashed my belly!
It was breakfast time after the hack, and to my delight, there is also a dinner time! It was a bit strange eating in the field while Young Mum did some funny things with a wheelbarrow…
Another early start – I really must tell Young Mum that I am not a morning horse. Today we went in the arena and I tried to remember everything she had taught me, but it’s been a long time. She even let me jump at the end!
To my surprise, and horror because I’m still acclimatising to this heavy workload, I was brought in in the afternoon too! Thankfully, I only needed to have my mane and tail trimmed. After a bit I gave in to Otis’s nudging and let him scratch my neck.
I didn’t have to work this morning, just had breakfast in the field while Young Mum did her funny wheelbarrow thing. She told me off for standing at the far end and killing the grass. Doesn’t she know I’m making a dust bowl to roll in? I’m going to need it with all this exercise I’m doing!
Anyway, I carried on my day in blissful ignorance. And then in the afternoon I was caught and lunged. In some strange contraption Otis called a Pessoa, which hit me up the bum with every stride. Trotting was ok and I found it easier when I stretched my neck out. But canter was horrid! So I kept bucking! Young Mum still made me canter though!
After she told me I needed a new cavesson because mine was rubbish – how rude!
Now this truly was a day off. It passed pleasantly enough with the exception of Young Mum fencing off my dust bowl.
I realise now that dinner is always served near the gate, so to get in her good books I whinny and walk over to her.
My toughest day yet. Young Mum had a dressage lesson. On me! At seven thirty IN THE MORNING! I was still wiping the sleep from my eyes when we went to the arena.
My brain hurt after the lesson, we did trotting “long and low” and stretching in trot, shoulder in, and transitions. My canter was very good apparently so I didn’t do very much.
Another early start! This time it was for a hair cut. But I was preparing for the wet Welsh winter! Apparently I need it off for our sponsored ride on Sunday – finally, some fun!
I’m getting the hang of life here now, I know when dinner’s due to wait by the gate, and I no longer get scared by the silly creatures that jump on everything. Otis told me they are called goats. Apparently they sometimes share the fields with us! All I can say is they’d better not eat my grass!