I brought Ben and Rosie home just after Christmas, hoping for some good rides on Ben. It was good to have them home! While I have not missed the daily mucking out, I have indeed missed them. Ben celebrated coming home by herding Rosie at speed around the track. I watched in amusement, feeling my energy lifting in response to theirs. Then I noticed Ben’s head tossing in my direction. A challenge! I ran around the track and Ben charged off, bucking and kicking with Rosie neatly dodging out of the way.
I used to think I could connect with Ben by sharing time with him, sitting nearby, and sometimes I can. But there are times when he tosses a challenge and at the end of my response to this we have re-connected. He is then keen to let me into his space, keen for contact and a rub.
The weather has been what, three years ago, I would have called typical for an Irish winter. The long big freezes of the last two years were an exception. We have had gusting rain, bursts of sunshine, hanging grey clouds, showers of hard hitting hailstones, strong winds and more rain. And more rain. And, did I mention? more rain.
This is what has happened to the ground by my haynets under the trees:
Ben and Rosie have cleverly positioned themselves to the side, out of the worst of the mud. I have scraped back that thick, cloying mud many times. I have thrown stones in there. And the mud keeps coming up. I think I will have to put rubber mats down. I like that place under the trees otherwise. The ponies like it too and it is the best place for those haynets, providing shelter but being away from the stables. I have also left haynets in the stables, but Rosie never goes in, and Ben only rarely.
They do use all the track however, and like to shelter at the top with their backs to the hedge. So they move on hard ground and crusher dust as well.
I did not get in one ride over the holidays. Ben’s coat was far too wet. I did walk him in hand out the road a couple of times. My husband came leading Rosie and, while Ben strode over all the rough bits, Rosie chose the grass verge. But she is moving very well, better than she has all year and she was happy to walk on the road where it was smooth. Ben initiated the first walk out the road. Shortly after he was home he strode up to the back gate and looked over it, then he looked back at me and then over the gate again. As clearly as if he spoke aloud he was saying “come on, isn’t this why you brought me here?”
I have also done work with Ben in the picadero which he has been enjoying I think as he has come up looking for more.
We go up to Dublin to my parents tomorrow and Ben and Rosie go back to the lake. In preparation for that exposed place I left them in the stables overnight to dry out so that I could put rugs on; just a rain sheet on Ben and a heavier rug on Rosie. Ben seemed quite happy to be in the stable. Rosie was clearly disgusted. Of the two, Rosie is the truly wild one.