Friday, 28 November 2008

All about Erik

Tuesday was a big day for Erik - his owner came to visit, and the pair of them went for their first ride in a long time :-)

Fortunately for all of us, and particularly Erik (who does not approve of Exmoor rain), it was a beautiful day, with cloudless blue skies and fantastic views across to Dartmoor. Stupidly, I did not take my camera when we rode out :-(

Erik is a very sweet boy and took his first ride out very seriously. He would have been forgiven if he had forgotten his manners after 5 months off work, but he was perfect and worked nicely right from the start. We had a quiet stroll round the farm, with me taking Bill for company, and he didn't put a foot wrong.

Erik is far from rock-crunching - he has only just started to be able to land consistently heel first on hard surfaces, and has only grown about an inch of better hoof capsule over the 2 months he has been here. Nevertheless we are all pleased to see him making steady progress, and he should be home in time for Christmas :-)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Hector looking smart!

Its so much easier taking photos when you are on foot (!). Here's one of Hex looking as if he thinks he knows what he is doing :-) Charlie is behind him, back in his normal role as field horse and wishing he was out in front with Tony ;-)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Horse and hound...

...the report on the Exmoor Foxhounds is in today's edition, and its a nice enough write up, with a lovely picture of Tony and Tom Fir heading it up, and some pretty shots of the moor looking picturesque, BUT sadly no nice close-ups of our horses (although Felix, Charlie and Jack are in the middle of the wide angle shots, and you can pick them out if you know them!).

The article is particularly interesting from one point of view: the reporter had never ridden a barefoot horse, and comments in the article on what a good hunter Charlie is, but managed to write the whole article without even commenting on the fact that our horses hunt without shoes ;-)

I'm not sure whether she just wasn't interested, or whether it was too controversial to even surface as a one-liner in the Nag and Dog...What do you think? :-)


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

It wasn't enough for the master to be barefoot!

After Monday, I had Charlie ready for our master to take out today, but clearly someone had other plans...

As it turned out, she had to take another horse home after an hour or so, and Charlie ended up as the huntsman's horse :-) Tony is a lovely rider, but I wasn't sure Charlie was brave enough to be out on his own all day, but he rose to the occasion and thoroughly enjoyed having such an important job. He loves hounds anyway, and was more than happy to have them trotting along with him - they were obviously all the company he needed ;-)

For a while I kept pretty close on Conto, in case Charlie wasn't up to the challenge, but it soon became clear that my nannying was redundant, and Con and I would do better keeping out of the way...!

We had a great day, and Charlie has definitely earned himself some big brownie points :-)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Good boys!

Our master is short of horses at the moment - typically (as horses always do) hers have both injured themselves at the same time...So Felix was delighted yesterday to be promoted to Master's horse :-) He took it very seriously and was obviously determined (even more than usual) not to let our huntsman out of his sight. He would actually prefer to be the huntsman's horse, but as I keep telling him, he is just not big enough :-(

I took Hector, and its just amazing how grown up he is now - we went over really horrible ground in places, as some of the paths were only fit for skiing down, so he did ;-) He is as happy as anything now when he is out, really knows his job. What good boys!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

...and again.....

It must be the short days, that plus the fact that we have had lots of horses out hunting the last few weeks! I seem to be living in the barn at the moment - still, thank goodness we HAVE the barn - its been incredibly wet and without it both we and the horses would be miserable!

Erik has made good progress again over the week, although he hates this weather, poor boy :-) He is strding very confidently on the concrete, and is landing far more correctly than he has done before. I will try and get more photos and post them soon.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

How did that happen?

Can't believe its a week since I last blogged! And what has been going on? Other than wet, wild and windy weather, and terribly short days (dark by 4.30...), I am not sure why the week has flown by so quickly!

Most of the hunters have had a quieter week, after a very busy fortnight, although Bill and Hector have both been out.

Erik has been working nicely, combining short sessions in the school with strolling around the lanes with Conto or A N Other. He went on his longest lead out yesterday, and was volunteering to trot up the hill for the odd short burst. Today he was less than impressed with the weather, and possibly feeling his exertions yesterday, but was cheered up by a visit from his owner who brought treats and gave him lots of extra TLC :-)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Raising the profile!

As if it wasn't enough to have H&H out with the Exmoor last week, finally yesterday an article appeared in the Telegraph, written by a journalist who came out in March or April last season, which I had given up looking for!

Its not the most well written piece in the world - they got the huntsman's name wrong, for a start (!) but its improved by a great photo of our very own Sarah Braithwaite and Fari (barefoot, of course), and lots of quotes from her about how much fun she has had coming hunting with us :-)

My own contribution was to take Big Bill hunting on Friday - he is the 17.1hh gentle giant who came to us at the start of the summer. He had very significant bony changes in both front feet, and took a long time - 4 months or so - to become comfortable on tougher surfaces. Once he was landing heel first on concrete, though, there was no stopping him and we have now discovered that - surprise, surprise, he loves hunting (!).

I am hoping to get some nice photos of him up on here soon - if the others are all going to be pin-ups in the broadsheets or mags, it seems only fair for Bill to get on the blog!