Thursday, 27 December 2007

Happy Christmas all!

...even if I am a couple of days late in posting :-)

We had a lovely few days, with Christmas Day itself very quiet, but hunting on Christmas Eve (Charlie and Bailey, who were both superb) and on Boxing Day (just me and Felix, as Andy was off visiting his mother).

I was especially proud of Charlie, who was at his biggest ever meet with lots of people, traffic, and excitement. He was 100% settled at the meet, and seemed to really enjoy himself, and then we were out almost all day, getting home about 4pm, after going up hill and down dale, as always, and home in time for a huge tea for the horses :-) He is turning into such a fun hunter - sure-footed, confident and with a surprisingly good turn of speed; he will be a quick horse certainly next season, when he is stronger and even fitter.

Felix and I had a short day on Boxing Day, as low cloud and poor visibility cut short the day, but he had a few good blasts, which he needed, and we will be out again on Tuesday, so he does not feel too hard done by. I am not sure he approves of me hunting Charlie as well (!).

Finally a quick update on the others: Jack is still doing well, but has had a quiet week, along with Monsoon and Lucy, and has just done some nice work on long reins. Conto and Ghost have worked lightly- I was going to hunt Conto today but decided that the week has been busy enough, so he will go out next week. All in all a lovely week, and I hope all of you had a lovely break as well!

Anyway, happy Christmas and happy New Year to everyone, and there will be more soon...

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Time is flying!

Can't believe its the 22nd December already...

We have had proper winter here for the last 10 days, but today its suddenly got milder and cloudier - a shame, but the ground is thawed, which is no bad thing really, and makes riding out more pleasant.

I have had a UKNHCP farrier with me for the last couple of days, and had an interesting time looking at and trimming hooves, obsessing about diet, and talking about balancing feet - always fascinating to a hoof anorak ;-)

Jack Frost got his first trim here, and was a star, and he has also continued to work very nicely over the last few days, so I hope we will make even more progress with him over Christmas.

The other horses were also all trimmed, and work-wise have been ticking over, although the hard frosts of the last few days have limited the exercise for all of them. Thank goodness for the tracks, which have allowed them to move around as much as possible on good surfaces.

Monsoon and Lucy are the only ones not in work at the moment, as both of them are still recuperating (in Lucy's case from the original tendon injury she came with, and in Monsoon's case from a knock she acquired a couple of weeks ago). Both have improving feet, so keep your fingers crossed for them!


Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Jack Frost more ways than one :-) Its been freezing here for the last 10 days - literally - but beautiful, almost perfect winter weather, as long as you have a dozen layers on.

None of us are complaining, because the sun is shining and although its windy and cold, its fantastic to have dry weather (!)

Our own personal Jack Frost is also doing well. We have mixed his work between leading him out from another horse and long-reining on his own, and thats been working well for the last couple of weeks.

He had learnt an effective evasion in his previous home, which was to turn his shoulder into whichever side he was led from, and then simply trot off to wherever he wanted to be (usually back in the barn with the other horses). He didn't object to being caught again, so presumably it was just his way of saying he would rather be doing something else.

Using the long-reins means he can't just whip round, and it is also a good way to build his confidence and get him working through from behind.

We are doing everything very gradually, as he is very green for his age, but he is being a very good boy, and apart from his original trotting off, has excellent manners :-)

Foot-wise, he is rock-crunchingly sound, and trots happily over our flinty yard and tracks, but has an evident twist to his right front. I am hoping Mary Bromiley will be able to help us work with this in January, but for now its not a problem for him.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Western Morning News article!

We were thrilled that Susannah Commings and the Western Morning News wanted to run an article about barefoot and navicualar horses, and it came out last Friday with a lovely photo of Ghostie jumping at Pontispool to illustrate it :-)

If you are in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset, its page 2 of the West Country Horses section. For those of you elsewhere, here is the link to the article on their website:


Thursday, 13 December 2007

Crisp, clear, sunny - unbeatable!

The forecasters were spot on - as from Monday morning the weather has turned completely, and we have been sitting under some fantastic high pressure, with cloudless blue skies, crisp frosty morning and, thank goodness, everything has had the chance to dry out :-)

All the animals are much happier, and the horses have resumed mooching about up and down the tracks rather than being glued to the barn, and are loving the chance to sunbath both on the tracks and in the fields.

Jack Frost and Lucy are now intergrated in with all the other horses, and seem to have settled in well. Lucy won't do any work for a few months, but Jack has been led out several times now on exercise and has also started doing some work in-hand.

He seems to lack confidence on his own, but is a very quick learner, and as he is settling in is calming down rapidly.

Charlie and Felix have been superstars, both going hunting and having a ball, and Charlie was an especially good boy to rise above Bailey's bad behaviour, who was a complete minx on Wednesday and wanted to tank everywhere instead of being a well-behaved nanny...Bless her...At least she feels better...(!)

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Bored of this weather now...

...and we have 2 more days of it, according to the BBC forecast :-( The horses seem much more resigned, but are still very reluctant to venture out of the barn.

I got Conto and Jack Frost out yesteday, and they were both very well behaved, and Charlie did some work in the school, but I gave Felix a day off hoping to get out hunting this morning.

As it turned out, there was driving rain, a howling gale and thick mist (what else is new!), so I didn't venture up to the top of the hill, where the meet was, as I assumed that they didn't get out. I am not sure what I will do with them today, as there are severe weather warnings out for the rest of the day, and I am running out of waterproofs!

Ghost and Felix will definitely be OK to go out, but I will probably not take the chance with the newbies or youngsters, as it wouldn't be terribly fair on them.

Here, anyway, is a picture of Jack Frost, and I will post a photo of Lucy shortly - both are definitely on the wild and wolly side at the moment :-)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Storm force....

Well the wind here is howling, the trees are swaying, the stormwater is flowing at flood levels, and its been like this for nearly a week...!

The horses are in the barn - they have free access to the tracks and for the last 3 days have refused to set foot outside the barn - despite the fact that they all have thick, waterproof rugs on. Even the dogs have spent the minimum time outside (Rufus' total - 5 mins in 24 hrs) and everyone is agreed that the only thing to do is batten down the hatches...

As if there wasn't enough going on, we have 2 new horses who arrived in the midst of the worst weather on Sunday night. They have been very brave and very good, and have behaved impeccably since then, despite the dark and rain...

The two orphans of the storm are Lucy ( a 15.3 TB ex-flat-racer) and Frosty (aka Jack Frost), a 16.1 fluffball who used to live in Yorkshire :-) They are pretty amazed by the weather, but are well rugged up and are very happy with unlimited organic haylage rations, a lovely sheltered yard, and each others' company.

More on these charming new additions once the weather eases!


Saturday, 1 December 2007


I haven't had a chance to update the blog for a few days because we have just had a 2 day clinic which Mary Bromiley very kindly agreed to do for UKNHCP.

We had the first day at Mary's centre, and the second day here, and we spent a mind-blowing couple of days trying to soak up a tiny proportion of Mary's vast knowledge, and wishing our brains were bigger...

Too much to even think about posting for now, but more soon!