After a rough few months, Nat's back in action and has plenty to tell us...
I have two rather exciting things to tell you this month.
First of all, Diva is now sound and feeling very, very well (more on that in a minute..!) and I’ve been back on board Polly after nearly four months off.
Honestly, there’s been more activity in these last couple of weeks than the whole winter, but I'm definitely not complaining!
The Diva - feeling fabulous
After a stop-start January with Diva, I arranged for her physio to come and have a look at her. All was looking good, so the physio advised I start bringing her slowly back into work to see what happened.
What happened was that the Diva found the whole coming back into work thing terribly exciting.
She chose a day when we were out hacking around the farm to grab the bit and bog off with me at some considerable speed. She's only done this three times in the whole time I've owned her.
She'd taken exception to the fact that it had started to rain. I was just about to insist we do another lap of the farm tracks, but her answer to this dilemma was to return us both to the yard.
Fortunately, she didn’t make it the whole way back, as I was able to haul her to a halt.
Being of a rather stubborn nature, as is my wonderful cob, I insisted that we turn back and continue with my plans… which she did, with very little fuss. An alarm bell went off in my mind.
The Diva likes to have an opinion about everything (as you have probably gathered by now) but she’s equally not afraid to exact her revenge at a later point.
So as we set back off around the farm tracks, I did so with some trepidation. I wasn’t going to get away with it that easily and I absolutely knew she had something planned.
It didn’t really come as much of a surprise when we turned along the next hedge line and she set off like she’d been fired out of cannon, with her head between her knees and puffing away like a 50-a-day smoker.
She didn’t stop for the whole hedge line, which is a pretty long way.
By the half-way point I was laughing so hard that my limbs had gone weak and I just had to cling on and wait for her to stop, which she did, rather abruptly at the end, depositing me onto her neck.
I managed to scramble back into the saddle, at which point she turned around, very sweetly, checking I was back where I should be, before setting off at a walk again and behaving impeccably for the rest of our ride.
I swear that animal is more intelligent than anything I’ve ever sat on in my life!
I’m pleased to say that the rest of her return to work has been mostly without incident, although her ground manners went completely to pot when we were in the midst of the Beast from the East.
I did excuse this on the grounds of extreme conditions, even when I was trying to extract her from a load of wheelbarrows that she'd become tangled up.
Turns out she'd barged her way into the spare pony stable to remove herself from the arctic conditions.
Polly - making progress
Moving on to an animal with slightly better manners, Polly’s rehab has been going well. In fact, we were all geared up to get back on board, after six weeks of in-hand pole work and a lot of long-reining, but I came down with a horrible flu bug and only just about had the lung capacity to stand and muck out, let alone anything else.
I had just about recovered enough after a week to think about riding again and the snow arrived, which plunged us into chaos with frozen taps, thick ice and rutted ground.
Fortunately, it disappeared almost as fast as it arrived and after five days of it, we woke up to snow one morning and by lunchtime it was gone.
So it was back to it and I took advantage of the better weather to get back on board Polly before anything else could interrupt us. She was, as predicted, a super star.
Polly is a quirky little soul, things like rugging-her up in the mornings is somewhat like trying to dress a Waltzer, but outside of the stable she is an angel and if nothing else, these last few months have cemented our relationship even more, so there are silver linings to everything.
We'll now spend the next month interspersing ridden work with long-reining and yet more in-hand pole-work.
It was lovely to be back on board and although I know we have a long road ahead and we might not be able to achieve everything we had hoped to, we will still enjoy whatever it is we are able to do together.
I hope you all got through the bad weather safely!
‘Til next time,