I can say I’ve been able to tick something off my bucket list now: I managed to mount and ride a camel – a brilliant experience!
I had great fun grooming my one, named Baxter, and I think the people running it were happy they had people that were used to dealing with big animals and weren’t afraid to get stuck in. I do have to thank Bob though as, from riding him, the height on the back of the camel wasn’t a problem and nor was it when Baxter got spooked by a couple of horses that surprised him on the trek. My partner had been a bit scared by that incident as he was a slightly nervous on his camel (although he did brilliantly), but I laughed it off as it wasn’t much compared to Bob’s usual spooks.
I do have to say that if you get the opportunity, definitely have a ride on a camel – you can feel how their gait is different from a horse’s, but after a few minutes you settle right in, plus their saddle was so comfy. The lovely farm we went to was in Warwickshire, surrounded by countryside and camels. Very many thanks to Jason and his amazing camels for the fabulous time!
After the fun, it was back to reality with yard work and getting things in place from the last storm, like re-cementing round Aria’s stable where we found water had got in at the side, and a few other jobs I had been putting off. We have another weekend coming of work and jobs up there, but not before the annual trip to Your Horse Live. My partner is dreading it and has requested I leave him by a cake stall for the day, so I’ve compromised by saying he will be well fed throughout the day and have a cake bag to take home. I’m really looking forward to it again, although I’m sure the bank balance won’t say that afterwards!
The horses have been behaving well. We sat with them during the three nights of bonfire weekend and had to sedate them for the big farm party opposite on the Saturday night. Bob, luckily, was completely zoned out when the big bangs went off. Aria watched them (with Martin standing by her stable) and Autumn scoffed treats from her treat ball with me by her stable just for support. I hope everyone else’s neddies and other animals coped okay, as I know how traumatising it can be for them. I found acoustic ear bonnets helped on the other nights where the noise wasn’t as loud. There were still bangs, but the horses didn’t react as much when wearing them.
Bob has been progressing well in his lessons and with the homework. We have been increasing the jumping and canter work – and we have no charging behaviour, which is great. He is really working hard in the sessions and, with his fluffy coat, is starting to sweat a fair bit, so in the next week or so I am breaking out the clippers to give him a shave. I think he will have an Irish clip with his full neck off to hopefully stop him overheating, as I’m planning on doing a lot more work and competitions with him this year. I’ll be clipping Autumn too as, although she will only be on light work, I don’t like the thought of her overheating. She will get a large bib or small Irish clip – let’s hope I can keep the lines straight and tidy!