This is a post which I have been wanting to write for a while but younger horses kept getting in the way. Finally, though, it's the turn of the old codgers.
On our last day's hunting at the end of April I was reflecting on how well our horses had gone during the season and how good they looked despite coming out of a long, wet, winter and at the end of a season which had begun (as they do on Exmoor) 9 months' earlier.
We had no injuries - in fact Kiara, who arrived with us in November in shoes, had exceeded expectations by not only coming back into full work barefoot but finishing the season with a week where she covered over 50 miles in 2 days' hunting.
This is, I think, even more impressive since we realised recently that she was not 15 (as we had thought), but 18 years old and had previously been shod all her working life. She even came out at the weekend to steward at our point to point and had another lovely day!
I then realised that the other hunters were 17, 16 and 15 years old respectively and had clocked up 34 seasons' hunting between them - all barefoot, of course - and none of them show any signs of slowing up at the moment, so I am hoping for many more barefoot seasons to come!