Sonny and Ruby had their breakfast hay and were comfortably nattering over the intervening panel in the stable when Jen came to take Sonny out. This time, as she's finding the 17 inch saddle that came with him rather too deep for her comfort, she used my Thorowgood 17 1/2 inch synthetic, which is very nice to ride on. With its endurance pad underneath, it gives a really wide bearing surface so is likely to be comfy for Sonny too. She mounted off a tack box outside the stable, and Graham let them into the field. Jen reports that Sonny expected to go wild - after all, this is the field where we let him and Ruby go to graze and play - and he walked "with a quiver" for some time, but when she sat still and let him quiver without picking up the rein or kicking him on, he decided he would rather wait to be told what to do. She does think though, that if she had grabbed him by the bit, he'd have tried having a gallop and a buck.
After they'd been walking big circles for a while, and up and down the rocky bits of the field, I went out to take pics. That was the only time Sonny planted himself! Jen moved him from side to side with her legs, and backed him a few strides, and after that he went forward again nicely. She trotted him in big circles and figures of eight, and up and down the slopes, and he offered her a canter so she let him stride on.
They walked in after that, doing more big circles away from the gate, and Sonny behaved well in spite of the 7 or 8 clegs on his neck and flanks. Jen unsaddled him and walked him down to the hosepipe - which he thinks is a snake. He wasn't very happy about being washed, but when he realised that the water cooled him off and got rid of the flies, he tried very hard to be brave (better than Ruby who swings about when washed).
I had cleaned out the stable and given both him and Ruby fresh hay and water, so they are now indoors away from the heat and the clegs.
The afternoon cooled pleasantly around 4 pm so I harnessed Ruby and set off to Greenholme. She was happy on a loose rein, walking nicely, so we just kept going, up the hill towards Orton, left at the guidepost for Scout Green, along to Sproat Ghyll farm where the cows were being turned out after milking. We walked along behind them and behind the boys on the 4 wheeler motorbike who drove them into their field and shut the gate. We passed the couple of cars that had been held up by meeting the cows, and walked steadily on. I saw clouds of pollen being blown from a field of flowering grass, and the gate of the Roman road bridleway was open so we trotted up it, just to the brow; turned there and came back. I was glad we had gone up, because the view across to the Howgill Fells was fantastic, all the way from the Lune Gorge round to Wild Boar Fell beyond Kirkby Stephen. Amazing how the view opens out with just another fifty feet of elevation. Ruby strode on happily back to the guidepost and steadily trotted home. I was very proud of my cheerful, shiny mare.
I put both ponies out for half an hour while the breeze was there to keep the clegs off, and mucked out and put hay and water in for them. They didn't really want to come back in, but they didn't object and Sonny managed to be brave about the dog, without trying to crush up to me for safety.