All of a sudden yesterday it decided to stop being wet and windy and start being cold and windy instead. I sat with a hot water bottle on my lap as I couldn't seem to get warm. I wasn't expecting to drag the thermals out yet, but I might have to if this carries on.
I went straight out this morning with no breakfast, as I usually come back in about 10 o'clock, and grab something to eat then, but it was so nice today I decided I had to ride. I tacked Max up and set off for the school.
I'd better explain about this. Back in January I had a teensy accident where Max bolted with me and jumped a five-bar gate and threw me off. It turned out he'd jumped into a field full of horses. Although I was in some pain, as two women helped me up to the yard, I noticed a manege. In my one lucid moment, I said, "Oh, you have a manege! Do you ever rent it out?" and they said I'd have to ask the farmer, which I did once I was well enough to go back down there. I think the farmer must have felt sorry for me, as I injured myself on his land, and said I could use the school, as long as I didn't broadcast it.
This is such a godsend, I can't begin to tell you. We don't have a manege on site, so this is the only way I get to school any of the horses. On the same day I had the accident, I'd phoned the local riding school to see if I could hire their arena, but they said no, so I am thrilled to have access to this one.
It's great because I've never had to share it. I can obviously go during the day when everyone's at work, so I always have it to myself. Obviously the liveries have priority, so if anyone did want it I'd go for a hack instead, but it's never happened. It's not very big, but it's perfect for me, and it's meant I've been able to keep Max fit and supple. He has a little whinny when he gets there as he likes to let the other horses know he's arrived. He's much admired there, too, and so is Barnaby, which is always a thrill, isn't it? I've really got to know some of the girls up there, which means I stand there coffee-housing a bit, but Max doesn't seem to mind.
So off we went this morning. Max was unusually well behaved and co-operative, and it was a really good session. I would love to jump him up there, and I've noticed some new jump wings, so I'll have to ask if I'm allowed to use them.
I came back and turned him out, then mucked out my three stables. I went in for lunch, sat down, and saw L's dad turning in at the gate on his chubby little Massey Ferguson with a trailer load of straw on the back, so went out to see if I could help.
We had to get our John Deere out of the barn (good name for hubby, don't you think?) and our trailer. Our eyes lit up at the sight of a man in daylight with a tractor, as every day Missis has been bringing some of our showjumps up near the gate so we can bring them all in. So we persuaded her dad to hitch up our trailer and drive it over the road. We loaded up all the jump wings, all the fillers and most of the poles, and he drove the laden trailer back, which is fantastic. It saves us having to carry each piece across individually.
Then we had to hitch his tractor back up to the straw wagon, and reverse it into the barn, so the straw stays dry. It was quite difficult as our lorry was in the way. We did try to start it up, but the battery is flat. Luckily Missis's dad managed to manoeuvre the trailer in, after about six attempts and nearly taking his wing mirror off on the corner of the lorry. We need to get the lorry sorted as we are going out in it on Sunday, and IT HAD BETTER WORK!
By now it was nearly three o'clock (and I'd had no breakfast and no lunch) so we decided to risk it and tack Polo and Lindy up. We went over the road, down our two fields and turned right into the farmer's field. It was very deep mud, and has been sown, but Lindy hated it and was plunging about all over the place. I was lucky to stay on. I didn't dare look behind me, but it's going to be a bit obvious. I am so very sorry! We had quite a nice ride round after that. Lindy always goes away from home very slowly and speeds up as soon as he realises we are headed for home. Today was no different, except that as we rounded the corner, there was a group of alpacas in the field looking at us. Alpacas were not on Lindy's agenda for today at all, and he stood stock still, transfixed. In the end Missis had to come back, grab the reins and drag him past. He was totally astonished at the sight of these animals. I must admit, I was quite taken aback myself, although Max has passed them at Welbeck and was fine.
We decided just to keep it steady and not canter as Pongo is coming on the pleasure ride on Sunday and we need to know that Lindy will stay calm and not want to go steaming off with him. He was quite good actually, but hard work compared to Max. He yanked his neck forward at one point, which has jarred my neck. I desperately need some Deep Heat on it before I go to bed.
Anyway, we were home in time for tea and medals, so we got the other horses in and fed them.
I came back in and struggled to keep warm again. My legs were completely numb, so I made myself a hot water bottle and sat cuddling it for a while until Mr O came home from work. Really I should have a shower and get changed, as it's when you sweat up and the sweat dries that you can't get warm. I can see how people could be outside walking and get lost, then when they find shelter somewhere they die of hypothermia anyway.
It's on days like this that I miss my bath. We only have a shower here and I'd love a good soak. The only cure is a cup of hot chocolate and an early night I think.
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