Lazy Days of Summer?

Not for us! More like lively days of summer! If the weather's fine, we want to be out, taking advantage of it. And when we're not actually riding and our ponies are relaxing, we have to be attending to all those jobs we couldn't do in the rain and wind.

Summer's the time to check fences, spray - and later, pull - ragwort, tidy buildings, getting ready for the new hay crop (which we hope will be as good quality as last year), walls to be limed and doors to be painted, deep litter beds to be cleared, muck heaps to be burned, rugs to be washed, etc etc.

When you find time to ride, if we've had a week or more without rain, bear in mind the effect this can have on the off-road ground. Under the grass, the surface can be as hard as the road - and you wouldn't canter on the road, would you.

Of course, the grass itself will absorb some of the shock as hooves hit ground, but if the grass is short, it won't help much. Look after your pony's legs!

If you have a pink-nosed pony, you'll also need to protect him from sunburn. Ideally, keep him from eating hogweed, but if you fail in this, use a high factor sunblock on his muzzle. You may need to keep an eye on his heels, too.