Monday, 29 December 2008

Happy Christmas...for last week!

What a great Christmas present we have had here - cold, clear, DRY weather since Christmas Eve, and we are all LOVING it! True, the temperature hasn't risen above freezing for the last couple of days, and the ground has turned into permafrost, but the skies are clear, the sun has been shining, the stars twinkling and it has felt wonderfully wintry and Christmassy.

The horses are chomping through haylage at a terrific rate, and are slightly bemused by the fact that for the first time in about 18 months (perhaps longer!) they are not sinking into the ground...None of us are complaining, but we have already lost our first days' hunting to the hard ground and no doubt will lose more before the high pressure leaves .

Meanwhile, we have 3 new horses here, Pickles, Dually (aka George) and Snips, and they are settling in well, even though we are limited in the work we can do with them because of the frozen ground which has rendered fields and the arena off limits. Still they are quite happy for the moment being led out, and not having to put up with the usual rain and fog :-)

Friday, 19 December 2008


Here are some shots of Erik's worst foot, left front. These photos were taken 12 weeks apart, and you can see that his rate of hoof growth is relatively slow, as he was not in full work while he was here.

However, the line of change in his hoof wall once the shoe came off is clear, as is the different way his hoof will load once he has grown the whole new hoof capsule in.

Although Erik has made good, steady progress so far, there is still several months of work to go before his feet are as good as they can be. We hope that now he has a foundation of better hoof health, he will continue to go from strength to strength at home, now that he has the green light to come back into full work.

We will keep in touch with Erik of course, and update the blog with his news in the New Year!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A lovely day

...yesterday, when Kelly, Dexter's owner, came up with a friend and we took Charlie, Hector and Felix out hunting. Its been an incredibly busy week here, so it was lovely to get out for a day and it couldn't have been more perfect - the sun was shining, it was almost warm, and horses, hounds and riders were all on top form :-) Stupidly I didn't take my camera, but it was a day to remember!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Good progress!

Erik has had his pre-going-home check up from his vet, and its good news. He is still at a relatively early stage of his rehab, but is making good progess. He has been here nearly 3 months, but his hoof growth has been slower than normal bcause (due to his hind leg issues) we have been limited in the work we can do with him.

Despite this, he has improved steadily, and both front and hind legs are doing well, and with continuing work over the next 3 or 4 months he should carry on getting better and better.

Interestingly, he is radically changing how his hooves are loading - the improvement in medial/lateral balance has helped him move straighter even though he has only grown about a third of his new hoof capsule - hoof photos are overdue and will be up here shortly!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

80 inches of rain, and Erik braves the hail

There is at least a reason why we are all obsessed with the appalling weather at the moment - we have apparently had more than 80 inches of rain here since the beginning of May - in other words since the "summer", when its normally (relatively!) dry here...So by the end of this winter, unless it dries up radically (some hope!) there will probably have been much, much more than 100 inches of rain :-(

Poor Erik, who comes originally from a slightly more salubrious climate than Exmoor, has no opinion of being made to go out in the rain (its just about bearable if he has a thick full-neck rug on!), but today he had no choice. His owner came and rode out again, as he should be going home in time for Christmas, and he went out with Felix and Bill for company.

It was hailing and sleeting, and of course both the other two are clipped, and were convinced that the only reason we would possibly set out in such vile conditions would be something really worthwhile, like hunting ;-) Erik shared this enthusiasm, and despite (or perhaps because of) the weather, he apparently felt like a coiled spring the whole way round :-) They were all good boys, though, and contained themselves despite at one stage being covered in hailstones...

Maybe it will be sunnier tomorrow...

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Hail, sun, hail sun....

Its been a pretty weird week for the weather...Monday: glorious blue sky, cold but wionderful, perfect visibility. Tuesday: fog, hail, sleet. Wednesday: lethal black ice but wonderful blue skies again by first thing in the morning and another gorgeous cold crisp day. Thursday: sleet, torrential rain, hail, freezing cold. Friday: same - totally vile. Today: glorious sunshine again. What on EARTH is going on? The ground is waterlogged and the stormwater streams, which normally only run at the tail end of the wettest winters, haven't stopped running all summer - they are in spate at the moment. The silver lining is that it is forcing us to seriously consider putting in hydro power for our electricity!