Oh no. It’s happened. Just as we feared it would.

Trouble arose last week when thanks to that easterly snow beasty, the yard got through our haylage supplies far quicker than anticipated, and so there were a few days where I had to buy in some hay to tide us over until the next delivery. This wasn’t a problem for the majority of the horses, in fact they were all quite content with the change in menu. Except from Charlie.

Mariah, as he shall hence forth be known, was not impressed and what started as cute little squeaks and chortles, quickly escalated in to violent bashing of his stable door and launching anything in the near vicinity across the yard. All the while loudly protesting “Do you not know who I am?!”

Clearly his recent little snippet of fame has gone to his head and with the way he has been behaving I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his next diva demands included a crystal decanter of only green skittles and a basket of snow white kittens.

Hacking out Charlie

However, unfortunately for Charlie, I refuse to negotiate with terrorists and so the not so peaceful protests and the acts of vandalism continued, that was until his humble breeding and therefore inevitable hunger won out. He is now eating his hay, although he does persist in frequently reminding me that he’s not at all happy about it. On the plus side, his feeble attempt at a hunger strike does appear to have made him a tad slimmer!

In other news, we finally managed to get out cross-country schooling and despite his diva behaviour at home, Charlie was actually really rather good. We had the usual play over a variety of fences, bossed some tricky lines and then towards the end I located my brave pants and had a go over some of the larger novice stuff.

Charlie and I cross-country schooling

I can’t say he’s the sort that fills you with confidence on the approach to a big fence, that is probably something to do with his apparent lack of forward momentum. But having said that, he’s got a fair bit of scope for a horse shaped like a potato and he made light work of them all, which almost made up for the cheeky stops he had earlier at two very simple jumps.

Last Saturday we also managed to get out to a combined training competition and thus subject Charlie to his first dressage test since last September.

I don’t tend to do a great deal of schooling at home with him, partly because we lack an all-weather arena, but mostly because he’s just not the sort of horse that appreciates being drilled over and over on the flat. Which is fine. Instead we do lots of hacking, making good use of the miles of woodland tracks and open fields where we can practice our transitions, lateral work and pretty much anything else a grassroots dressage test is likely to throw at us.

Now considering I can count on one hand the amount of times we have properly ‘schooled’ since our last dressage outing, I was pleasantly surprised by his efforts. For the most part he remained in front of my leg without too much effort and generally speaking bumbled about obediently while not making it too obvious that he would rather be anywhere else than between the white boards. Of course the test wasn’t without mistakes, mostly where I had forgotten that the vital element of a circle is that it is round and not more resembling the shape of Canada. But other than that I thought we did okay.

Charlie with his rosette

So boring bit over and a quick tack change later, it was off to the jumping. I’ll confess that Charlie doesn’t have the most textbook approach to jumping a course. That is to say he pretty much rides like a 128cm showjumping pony, but to be fair it is very rare for him to have a pole, even if he has more than once insisted in putting three strides in to a one stride double!

The course was straightforward on a basic figure of eight design and Charlie had lots of fun taking out strides at some jumps and then adding at others while I resigned myself to just steering him in between. Clear round in the bag and it was back to the trailer to pop him away before heading over to check out the scores. We completed on a respectable 67.75% for third and less than two marks behind the eventual winner, so it was a good day at the office indeed.

Continued below…



I was desperately sorry for the several events that have had to cancel recently due to the hideous weather, especially Tweseldown where I headed over to on the Friday to support a friend in the novice. The event team were absolute heroes doing everything possible to keep the show on the road and the ground was holding up really well until that final deluge of rain overnight. Such a shame for the weekend competitors.

We finally got our first entry in last week and having survived the ballot, our season starts in 12 days time at Munstead, weather permitting. Now what’s the chances of Charlie’s halo staying put until then?

A x

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