And so the summer..

..holidays ended for us with our final Own a Pony Day. It rained most of the day and so we didn’t get out on a hack but played some fun games in the indoor school instead, ribbon snatch and fox and hound and laps. After that we ran our mounted games competition and finished just in time for a massive lunch of pizza and chips and donuts (not all at the same time). The afternoon was showjumping and prize giving. Instead of rosettes the riders won chocolate for the mounted games and earned their rosettes for the showjumping.

Not all the schools are back yet but after Monday we had to get ready for our outing to the Pony Club Championships at Chalmondeley Castle in Cheshire. We are sending down 3 polocrosse teams and so needed to make sure we had all the tack fitting and in good repair and clean and the lorries ready for our early departure Thursday morning.

All the ponies that were going stayed in Wednesday night and we set our alarms for 2.45am. By 3am we were up and out on the yard amd loading ponies and horses into 2 lorries and off to Chalmondeley Castle.

The journey down was great and we arrived by 11am where our lorry promptly broke down in the middle of the camping field. Fortunately we werr all safe and had arrived and we had roadside assistance for the lorry so we called up the nice people at SEIB and they sent a recovery van and by friday night the lorry was completely repaired.

And meanwhile i had had a mad dash to Crewe station where i had only just caught my train home and our 3 teams of players had had a hugely successful weekend winning 3rd place in the minis…

Our novice juniors came second..

And our intermediate juniors came first..

Our teams all paraded..

And everyone had a great time..

And after spending Sunday morning walking around the Pony Club Championships we had a leisurely drive home.

And so the summer..

Senior Pony Club Camp.. over for another year. But what a camp it was. The weather was great so all the riding was in the field, the tents stayed up, the horses went well, and the dressage tests were (almost) all remembered.

Monday started with a light day with everybody getting into the swing of it. Obviously we had tack check, turnout check and stable check. Each morning Beki and I checked the horses, tack and stables and scored them for cleanness. And already some if the riders started to get adventurous…

Tuesday we started working on our badges. Fitness and Training. My group got the stethoscope out and learned how to listen to their horses heart rate. We also founf the pulse points on the inside of our horses knees and jaw. We measured their heart rates at rest in the morning. Then in the afternoon worjed out a 350m course in the pony fiels with 4 jumps in it and took it in turns to ride the course 3 times in 3 minutes and as soon as we had finished took the heart rates again and then after 5 10 or 15 minutes. We were looking to see which horses heart rate elevated least and which dropped down to its resting heart rate soonest. Guess which horses was the fittest out of Sploge, Snoop, Monty, Boysey, Princessa and Polo. Well here are the results…

Tuesday finished with pony club and then a camp fire as the night was clear and dry.

Wednesday we practised schooling our horses using the Scales of Training and swapped horses at the end of the flatwork session to see if we could learn anything from feeling how other riders had got their horses going. And in the aftermoon it was grids of jumps in the field to focus on keeping a line and riding a horse through jumps and finished off with a little gallop..

And wednesday evening was of course…

Thursday was a very special day. It was someones birthday. Can you guess who?

So we had birthday breakfast and then went out on a 24km hack to Dollar and back through the Ochils stopping for a picnic half way around. We had some great views..

You can see the route we took on the following two maps..

So that left Friday for dressage tests, jump cross and prizegiving. Everyone finished with big smiles and hopefully looking forward to doing it all again next year..

And so next week is the final Own a Pony Day of the holiday and then we are heading off to the Pony Club Championships with 3 polocrosse teams but more of that next week.

Senior Pony Club Camp..

How time flies..

.. when the sun is shining. It seems like only yesterday that I was posting a blog and it was actually the middle of January with short days, dark nights and the threat of snow.

And now we have long days and we have had about 5 weeks of non stop sunshine. We have put the time to good use and have sprayed the fields and fertilized them and we are sitting watching the grass grow feeling rather pleased. And as the grass is now growing and hopefullt horses are putting weight on its probably worth a cautionary tale.

At our annual licence inspection, the vet was checking our horses to make sure they weren’t too under weight and he starting telling us about equine metabolic syndrome. Apparently because we try to keep horses conditioned throughout the year this is becoming a problem. In nature horses have reduced grazing through wi tet and early spring and so have evolved to be able to increase fat stores over summer and autumn and then use these stotes up through winter so a horses weight and condition should fluctuate throughout the year. Because we are now able to control and increase a horses food intake through winter there is now less of a fluctuation in condition leading to all sorts of metabolic issues for horses. Obviously you dont want your horse dropping to a 1 on the condition score but 2/3 over winter and into early spring might actually be a bit beneficial.

This got me doing some research. I happened to come across a really interesting article by Blue Cross, the charity dedicated to helping sick, injured and homeless pets, called Fat horse slim. Did you know that after colic the biggest cause of equine deaths is obesity related illnesses. Read the article here.

So since january we have had half term activities and Easter activities with camps and own a pony days and polocrosse…lots of polocrosse. Over winter we have been practicing polocrosse on foot and building up a large group of keen adults and children. In fact so keen that we led a polocrosse expedition to the Early Season Tournament.

And now the summer holidays are almost over and our programme of summer camps and activities nearly finished. So lets have a recap shall we?

After passing his forgework certificate Hamish has moved to Kent to work as a horse trainer for Jason Webb. You can find out all about Jason’s Australian Horsemanship by clicking here. He has also been playing plenty of polocrosse, including some a grade tournaments. he has also bought himself a new horse and so Indie is coming back to Scotland! So once again you will see his giraffe like shape in the fields.

This year we ran a record number of camps. Our polocrosse camp was very busy and timed so that we could get alot of training in before the start of the pony club home nations competition. This meant that the English schools hadn’t broken up so we didnt get any visitors from England.

And after the polocrosse camp we headed off to Chester for a week before pur Scottish Pony Club Polocrosse team took on the might of the Irish, Welsh and English. What a weekend that was. Any readers on facebook can see all the pictures and action on our facebook page Scottish Polocrosse Team. Our minis came third after a thrilling and exciting final match against Ireland. Our juniors came fourth. despite this they played brilliantly and kept on fighting the the very end. Not once did they start bickering or blaming each other.

The final game was over shadowed by an accident to John and he had to be taken off to A&E and then driven home as he was hit on the face and the blow damaged his eye and he didnt even get a goal on the board. But seriously, despite his iris changing colour the consultant thinks he will make a full recovery but he is off riding and polocrosse for at least the next 6 weeks.

So after the Home Nations it was a late night dash home from Chester on Sunday to get ready for Junior Pony Club camp. At this we covered feeding and grooming and all the riders were awarded to Pony Club achievement badges. We also awarded badges for the Pony club progressive tests.which was a first for us and very successful. the final day of camp was dressage tests and showjumping. Katie amd Beki did a great job scoring the tests and running the final day as well as celebrating freyas birthday. Meanwhile Shaun was driving to Worcestershire with Ru to play polocrosse. But not before waking Freya up very early to give her her birthday present….

..tot, curly and berry.

Next week its our final week long camp. Senior Pony Club Camp. Lots of camping, (hopefully) nice weather and swimming in the river and lots of horsey stuff. Then its back to school and Pony club championships. But more of that later..

How time flies..