..and July and the summer holidays are just around the corner. Yesterday was the last of the Sunday Funday activities. It was our Sunday school style teddy bears picnic. We took horses and teddy’s and picnics into the cradle field and played games on horse back and on foot…
This was us setting off from the yard all decked our with bunting..
..and here we all are sitting down to out picnic…
..and we had homemade lemonade and lashings of ginger beer ready in the back of the car…
The weather stayed dry once again until about 3pm just as we were hea ding back to the yard to feed the ponies so all the riders stayed dry (ish).
We finished the Sunday with another mounted polocrose session with 15 riders practicing their stick skills picking up the ball and some longer distance passing and a cheeky little move passing the ball over your head to a player behind when you are being sandwiched. We then did a little bit of the numbers game and guess what…
..the riders made longer passes and we evenue had a couple of cheeky over the head passes that we had been practicing used. Successful training really.
So now it’s the last few days of school for most and we are just gearing up for the first week of the holidays. It’s happy hackers first and an own a pony day and then the show jumping crash course.
..heading our way. Last Sundays was the games day. Mollie and Beki were running it because we were meant to be playing polocrosse at Rugby. Really bad rain in England meant it was cancelled so we stayed at home and instead of playing polocrosse I put my first batch of elderflower champagne on. We have 3 huge elder trees and they are all about to flower so I think I am going to be making quite alot of it.
As every cloud has a silver lining this did mean that we could run some mounted polocrosse training Sunday evening and so a post went up on facebook. I was planning to run it in the field rather than the arena but in the last half hour of the Funday the heavens opened and the field got very wet and slippy. The riders on the Funday had just finished riding so they stayed dry and by the time polocrosse started it wasn’t raining but the field was wet. We ended up training in the arena.
So Monday came around and the arena has started to dry out again after a fair amount of water fell over the weekend. As well as teaching lessons and running the Funday Sunday workmen the yard has involved clearing the car park and strimming the banks around it. Tidying up the verges (and strimming). Keeping the yard swept and tidy. And planning the details for the summer holiday activities. At the moment we are planning the Showjumping Crash Course. It isn’t actually intended to have any crashes in it. We will have 4 days to get the riders showjumping skills up there with the best. Day 1 will be focusing on balance in the saddle on the flat and over single fences. Day 2 us going to be about using grids to build jumping confidence and skills. Day 3 will use mini courses and jumps at related distances to improve the riders movement around a track of jumps. The final day will be a series of showjumping competitions to put all the skills learned into practice. And with all our newly painted jump wings and poles we will be able to get the arena looking like this…
..everything is looking good for Indie. The fluid in his sinuses has gone right down and a callus is forming over the break. There was one small bit of bone that had detached and could cause a reduced rate of healing as a sight of infection and so Hugh removed under local anaesthetic.
We are also taking advantage of the dry sunny weather to tidy up the arena and yard. As we are running a gymkhana on sunday we thought we had better give the jumps a spring clean..
..by spring clean we mean repainting them so they will be shiny and bright.
The weather appeared to finally break and the weather has been colder and wetter. However it isn’t that wet at the moment with only a light drizzle and most of today (Saturday) has been dry. All the lessons have been in the outdoor arena.
And on Sunday we had the second of our Sunday Fundays in June. It was a gymkhana and we took our newly painted jump wings into the outdoor school and made a 13 on lbs tale showjumping course which our 17 competitors had great fun riding over. Here are a few of the photos from the bigger class..
Of course we then did a Maxi-mini chocolate pairs class. For those of you that haven’t done one before all the younger riders paired up with an older rider and the younger riders rode the first half of the course which were all low jumps and the handed over to the older riders jumping the second half of the course at a more substantial height. The round were timed and the fastest pair won. Any knocked down jumps added 4 seconds to the pairs time.
And of course the prize was chocolate!
So in the afternoon the final class was a handy pony class with challenges like hanging up washing on a washing line and mounting on the wrong side.
And Sunday then got busier with a polocrosse training session from 5.30pm to 7pm.
And the great news is that we will do it all again next Sunday. Well except it’s a mounted games day.
..whoop! Another sunny blue sky day. Seriously this is getting better and better.
Anyway with all the blogging about the weather.and the Sunday activities I haven’t really written about what has been happening in lessons.
Saturday was fairly busy. We had a couple if lesson swaps with girls riding later in the day so they could go to the Dollar Gala. This meant the we had a space for a staff lesson in the middle of the day and we did some jumping. Caitlyn was back from Uni as well and joined in. I tried taking some photos of the lesson and the jumps everyone was doing…
.. The second photo is Heidi showing what a massive jump she has.
..that Over Dalkeith Stables is a magical place that has its own time stream and often at events (like the Gymkhana we are running this Sunday) time goes more slowly than in the rest of the world. Parents come down at finishing time only to find that we are still in the midst of an activity. Well the magic extended today and while all around us people were experiencing flash floods and heavy rain we continued to experience glorious sunshine, blue skies and hot temperatures.
So today we got all the jump wings out and searched out all the poles and jump cups and made the biggest jump course we could in the outdoor arena. We managed an 11 jump course and it included the rainbow jump. We may well get the wall out for the gymkhana on sunday. The trick is going to be to efficiently move all of the jumps out into the field for the Queens Birthday Gymkhana.
And while we work on that we also have to design a handy pony course for the day. I am not sure whether we will be staking blag plastic bags to the ground and having to ride across them, popping balloons is another good challenge and then there is also hanging washing on a line…
So at Pony Club we had team scurry and several of our new members came along so we had some new teams. The seniors had two classes tonight so I was allowed to pop the jumps up for the second class and really challenge through riders. The winning team was Ross and John. Their second round was fast and even more impressive because John lost both stirrups half way around. He kept on jumping stirrupless and pushed the time. Mind you I need to make sure in future he doesn’t let his feet come out of the stirrups.
So after another gloriously hot day I have a new game. It’s the “will the sun still be shining tomorrow game”…
The sick bay got turned out into an even bigger paddock today..
..and while they were eating the grass I repaired the table and benches that sit out in front of the arena. I then went on to start tidying up the outdoor arena.
With the weather we are having its hard not to imagine that this heat wave will last forever and also just to get up and expect it to be hot and dry. We keep having to remind ourselves to remember this weather as a happy picture for when it gets cold and wet.
And before the weather turns (which it’s meant to do today) we are going to collect all the broken jump wings from around the arena and take them into the dairy so we can repair them and repaint them ready for the Queens Birthday Gymkhana this Sunday. We will be watch the forecast closely and hopefully we will be able to ride in the Pony Field. There are still horses and ponies available if you still haven’t decided whether to come along. The forecast is for 16°C and cloudy but dry…
Sunday Funday in June and it was a polocrosse day to kick start the month. Saturday evening was spent strimming the docs from the polocrosse pitch and so we woke up Sunday morning to sunshine and the task in hand of line marking the pitch…
..We used the controversial Doc leaf line marking – if you were riding in a patch of docs then you had crossed the line and were out.
But first we had to muck out the sick bay as the horses in there will get very excited when they hear their field mates coming onto the yard and we don’t want them in the garden when that happens.
And by 10am we had allocated riders to groups, got ponies and horses in and started the briefing. Everyone was told who they were riding and what groups and we started with some on foot target practice.
After about 30 minutes we got on on our horses and set to work. Ru took one group in the field and I took the other in the arena. We practiced until lunchtime and then in the afternoon we all went back out into the field to play chukkas in the glorious sunshine.
We had 7 sections in two grades and everyone played at least 3 chukkas. The sun shone and the temperature stayed high and the polocrosse was fab fun..
…and so by 4.30 we had finished the chukkas and brought the horses back and fed them and turned them back out and then had the usual ritual of searching for lost balls…
…and now we are all sitting down in the garden enjoying the sunshine and starting to plan next Sunday’s Queens Birthday party – even the cat..
..Well he isn’t actually doing any planning but I’m sure he is offering his moral support.