Since getting our new pony, Mara, we have been working on getting to know her and building a bond between her and my daughter.
I believe a bond comes much quicker when you are looking after the horse yourself. I think in full livery where another person manages your horse's daily routine it takes that bit longer.
So, whilst we have been getting to know her and having regular lessons we have been enjoying some mini hacks out round the village and you may have seen us.
I didn't put my 9 year old daughter on her straight away, as Mara (our new pony) has only been hacked on a very quiet lane for the last two years and for three years before that she wasn't out on roads but hacked on the farm where she was kept.
For me it has been important to ensure she remembers village hacking, she's 14 years old so has been there and done it in the past. I've ridden her out and also competent friends have ridden her too in a variety of manners such as alone and with my horse April. Mara has remembered the noises, sights and smells and has been brilliant out around the village.
We started then with my daughter where I was on the ground walking with her before building up to me riding my horse with our trainer walking on the ground with us. Only when we felt we were in a great position to go out with both our horses alone did we do so. Of course all of this had been practiced in our field at home before we even set out on the roads.
It's been such a pleasure hacking out together and knowing we have considerate drivers in our village is super too.
They really do pass wide and slow and with a young, but competent rider out with me, I fully appreciate their patience.
So if you see us out - thank you in advance for passing wide and slow. I always try to nod and raise my hand but it's not always possible.