3rd February 2012
Woke up to temperatures of -7. Horses now finding ground a bit too hard in some places, but all enjoying the brilliant sunshine, they truly know where the warm spots are. We fed the herd and bottom yard then spent 3/4 of an hour getting running water to the stables, even the switches in the kettles were frozen so we were unable to use these to defrost the tap. We have worked out that if we switch on the kettle and turn off at the socket this will cure the problem. Changed Chuck's dressing on his leg, mucked out and fed them all. Enya our youngest foal, is showing signs of anxiety of food, over the next few days we will overcome this, it's just a learning curve for her. You would have thought Basil had a herd of elephants or a party in his stable as everyday is a huge task mucking him out. Frodo after many years has decided the stable is safe enough to lie down in, although this is only the 2nd time he's been in a stable for winter, but he does deserves it, he's 36. Then back to the office to get warm and catch up with emails and paperwork. Got some paperwork and stuff for website done, worked on some remedies for horses ailments then back to the evening routine, which is very similar to the morning routine, muck out, bed down and feed. Water thawed reasonably quick, although Toby and Roy decided to kick their bucket over and make their stable incredibly wet. Back to office to send emails out for the Whole Horse Weekend.
4th February 2012
Not as cold today as it has been, ground is still incredibly hard, weather a bit overcast with a bit of snow. All horses good, except all the sugar beet was frozen solid, had to carry water to the bottom yard as the water hadn't defrosted. Main herd are very lucky as they have a running stream through their field which I've never known to freeze. Although the water is frozen, we still manage to find one of the main pipes to one of our big drinkers has sprung a leak, it's surprising how water can keep running where you don't want it. At long last my old sheepdog Fly has decided to come in at night although she's lived out all her life even having her pups outside. Spent over 2hrs trying to sign up to BT Broadband, how can something so simple take so long, it could be my rubbish knowledge of the internet. Evening Routine is similar to the morning routine, muck out bed down,fed and changed Chuck's dressing. Horses in the stables still having buckets of water until drinkers defrost.
5th February 2012
A lot warmer start to the morning, ground is still frozen solid with that thin layer of ice across the surface after the drizzle of last night. Its amazing how difficult it is to try walking around the fields when that top 1/4" has thawed but is still frozen solid beneath, you spend most of your time trying to avoid hitting your rump on the ground!! Well I do anyway!!. The horses are still a bit wary about walking around. Enya's anxiety over her food seems to have been cured as she now goes to the back of her stable when we are putting in her hay, I think she has realised that we are not going to forget her, she just has to wait until we get there. No need to thaw the tap as it was running but the drinkers are still frozen. Took Chucks dressing off and decided to leave it open to the air and just put Aloe Vera Gel on. Realised that we have a major leak on the yard!! but we have probably got about 1,000 metres of piping underground and overground, so goodness knows where it is, it is going to be a point of elimination in some areas. It is amazing how easy it is to forget those "I must do jobs in the summer when it is dry" and don't remember again until the pipes freeze. Have spent the day looking for the leak, found that Ollie and Kevin had remembered water used to be in this drinker in the field, where is it now and kicked it around snapping the main water supply!! I thought thats it found the major leak, but Oh No!! we still have another one somewhere, think I have pinpointed it to somewhere near the house but until I dig some incredibly deep holes I'm not going to be 100% sure. Water is now running (somewhat slowly) everywhere except the bottom yard and Chris'. Evening routine pretty standard, poultice on Chucks leg as there still seems to be some infection will start him on a course of anti-biotics tomorrow to get on top of this. The response from invitation e-mails sent out for The Wholehorse Weekend has been really good, so hopefully we seem to be getting somewhere. Some of tomorrows plans have gone out of the window as I must find that leak!! Fly is almost voluntarily coming in now but she finds the step a little too high so I have to lift her to get her in.
6th February 2012
Horses are a lot happier today, grounds softer so they can move about a lot easier. Morning routine all went well, removed Chucks dressing, still a bit weepy, will leave it off for the day and will put new poultice on this evening. Now we appear to have no water anywhere apart from one tap on the allotment. Hired a mini digger, hopefully it will arrive shortly so we can locate the burst. Digger arrived at about 11am spent the next 4 hrs locating and mending pipes so not a very horsey day, it is really good to have flowing water everywhere now except on the bottom yard where it is still frozen in the ground somewhere but with previous experience it will be back in a couple of days. Hopefully now that the thaw is here we can get on with clearing the bottom yard. Re-dressed Chucks leg. We are getting a good few enquiries regarding The Wholehorse Weekend, one of tomorrows first jobs after the morning routine is to get on and answer these. After all the effort on Saturday to swap to BT internet only to find out today that I still have 6 mths left on my existing contract, if I wanted to opt out it would cost me £360 but amazingly it appears they have been over charging me so are going to refund the difference and reduce my monthly fee by £14, why can't they do this before you threaten to leave!! Thats my gripe over lets see what tomorrow brings.
7th February 2012
A bit chilly today the horses are a bit confused but are still able to move around freely. No water on the bottom yard until this evening, so now have water everywhere. Toby and Roy decided it would be fun to knock their water bucket over, this seems to be getting a habit now. Frodo is starting to be a little vandal, trying to find something, in particular in his bucket, poor bucket has never been horse handled like this before!! Enya is starting to get used to people but is still adamant on keeping her ears back, she is learning so can't complain.Another blip to the start of my day, early morning phone call saying my dad had been taken into hospital in the early hours, spent a lot of the day on the phone to hospital etc but all is reasonably ok now, London does seem an awful long way when there is a hiccup!! I guess at some point this week I will get on with some real horse work, its good that Chris can now cope with the general routine of the yard, she changed Chucks poultice today and we have started him on his 5 day course of anti-biotics to try and get on top of this infection. Did manage to put Horse Agility dates on site so this years plans are slowly coming together, roll on summer!!
8th February 2012
Weather has gone cold again, horses aren't very happy today with the ground being frozen solid. More water frozen everywhere and another burst in the lecture room!! Spent ages thawing it out, most of it back by lunch time but gone again by 5pm, the good thing about these hard frosty days is all the horses that are out don't get to bury their hay!! Toby and Roy have now decided to wreck their water bucket completely, will not hold water any more!! Enya is coming around to being handled, still not sure about the touching though, but will have a rope around her neck, lots of strokes around her head, down her face and scratching under her mane, she is a very alert little pony, ears everywhere even though a lot of the time they are back, she is going to be a chunky little mare and she is definitely coming good. New poultice on Chucks leg it was a lot cleaner this morning, this evening it is a lot better put on another new poultice and he had his 2nd jab, he is a lot happier in his self. Spent a lot of the middle of the day fuffing with the new computer system, I guess it beats being out in the freezing cold but all these electronic gizmos does my head in so would rather be out with the horses in the cold!!
9th February 2012
Cold again this morning, no running water anywhere, did the usual morning routine. Was all prepared to fill canisters up with water from the tap at the allotment only to find water had returned to the bottom yard, so that saved the trip of carrying water. The weather has since warmed up and most of the water has returned until it freezes AGAIN!! It's funny how water can thaw so quick but stay frozen around the ball valve and cause it to overflow and flood a stable, the joys of winter!!! Chucks leg is improving tremendously, wet poultice this morning and a dry poultice tonight, still pulling a little bit of gunk, the third day of anti-biotics is obviously working, next stage natural yoghurt to replace the good bacteria in his gut that the anti-biotics has killed. Enya is coming really well, 3 sessions today could have put the head collar on but didn't because I didn't think it was the right time, had to explain to her that I didn't want her groom me with her teeth while I was grooming her!! High energy in my voice seemed to do the trick (a loud NO). Most areas touchable now but still thinks I might be a fly when touching her belly, she actually managed to lift both her front right and back left almost together!! New computer is getting there touch screen is working needs some internet to it now!! Fly manages to run and jump to get up the step to come in for, since coming in she seems to have more mobility and new lease of life. We have a huge gathering of wild birds pheasants, blackbirds, dunnock, sparrows and robins all waiting for us to feed the bottom yard morning and night, they think it's their feed time as well!!
10th February 2012
It was a chilly start this morning, the routine was a lot easier not having to thaw pipes and lug water everywhere. I think the horses find it colder on these damp dull mornings more so than on the frosty sunny mornings. This sort of day certainly brings out the selfish gene in most of them. Enya is doing really well has got used to having her belly rubbed now, lead rope over her body and head, lots of ear and face touching, this will all make putting the head collar on simple. I know the theory of de-sensitising and familiarising at a really early age (close after birth) is practised by many including me but now believe it is better to let the foal bond with its mother and learn from other horses and then get them used to humans. I will write up on Nicks Thoughts my observations of foals born in a herd environment, which will go part of the way to explain my thinking now. Chucks leg is looking a lot pinker but still a little bit of gunk coming out, I hope we are nearly there. I really wish that the horses who use the school overnight to shelter could also learn to poo pick!!! On starting the evening routine we noticed Flo had gone a bit lame, we took her into the stable, checked her over and couldn't find anything immediately apparent maybe she just wanted to see how her daughter (Enya) was getting along, will keep her in overnight and check her again in the morning. Had our first mare booked in to our stallion Ollie, she was here 2yrs ago so obviously pleased with the resulting foal, he does produce good natured foals.
11th February 2012
A better start to the day, bright and sunny with the ground still quite firm. No frozen water but it must have froze overnight which caused Enyas drinker to overflow when it thawed so one big puddle!! luckily she has a good solid floor so not yucky. Chucks leg is coming well, weeping just a little bit, he is much sounder now. Flo still baffles me, no immediate signs anywhere but still a bit lame so maybe she pulled something, there is no sign of heat so keeping her stabled for a little longer. Managed to get a head collar on Enya quite easily and leading her on her left side is good she goes forward, stop and has managed one step back, a short session tonight swaping sides but was totally confused but we still managed to get a few steps forward and left it on that positive note. It appears the herd have detached one of their drinkers from the main water supply too lazy to walk to the stream I guess! Spent the middle of the day constructing the syllabus for the new course on Horsemanship My Way which we plan to launch mid April/May. The flock of birds on the bottom yard gets bigger ever day I reckon the go home every night and tell their friends where there is easy access to food!!! We have 5 horses in the indoor stables at the moment which we just flick through and pick the poo at night, we don't quite get a barrow load out of 4 but we always manage to get a barrow load out of Basil!!! Oh the joys of winter!!
12th February 2012
A warmer start to the day, the horses are moving around the fields a lot more, it was the usual routine with nothing out of the ordinary. Worked Enya in the alleyway of the stables on a head collar and then with a neck line and head collar, she is learning really quickly, still a bit awkward on her right but has grown to love having her bum scratched!! Flo is still a bit baffling but Chris put her hands across her and found some warm spots on her back, she worked these and by Flo's reaction of stretching, movement of her legs and yawning this was obviously helping, I took over and worked down her tail finishing with a gentle tail stretch. The night routine was uneventful, did another 20mins with Enya, Chris worked Flo's back again and changed Chucks dressing, there is a vast improvement. Spent some of the day working on the new course.
13th February 2012
Continues quite warm although it got a bit wet later on. Ground starting to dry, thank goodness although in some places the rice is still growing!! The bottom yard found their way into another paddock by dismantling part of the electric fence which was not on at the time so first job was to put the horses back where they belong. Morning routine after that interuption to the schedule was normal. Chuck is now moving quite freely but still a small amount of gunk coming from his leg but now has turned the corner to a full recovery, only doing the dressing once a day now. Flo appeared to be a lot easier in movement, Chris worked her again this morning and again this evening. Decided to do lots of silly things in the stable with Enya just to familiarise her without over loading her, Enya is my youngest grandaughters pony and in a year or two will be one of our demo ponies so have lots of time to take it nice and steady and as in trees the wider the root base the stronger the top. Spent 3hrs in the middle of the day getting one Mk10 and one iBex chariots ready for delivery, this is the first iBex I have worked on so it is a learning curve for me, I'm sure most of it is in Simon's head which isn't a lot of help to me!! Spent some time getting The Wholehorse Weekend booking sheets etc organised to hopefully make it run as smooth as possible. Moved big bale hay around the yard ready for feeding this evening which went smoothly.
14th February 2012
Morning routine appeared to start as normal except on reaching the bottom yard noticed that the permanent electric fencing has been dismantled overnight (destroyed) all the horses were where they should have been so no escapees, post that holds the tap and the pipe to the drinker had been totally snapped and the pipe twisted!! horses all seemed fine except a small graze on Matties shoulder so whether he was the culprit I will never know. Went up to the top yard to start the morning and noticed that Kevin was dragging something behind him, he had the electric fence wrapped around his tail and the post dragging close behind and the remainder of the fence everywhere!! the non-planned work for the day seems to be mounting, thank goodness he is a well behaved horse, asked him to stand and cut the fence free from his tail, he still has about 3" of tail dragging along the floor even after his hair cut!! I like to leave my horses tails and manes alone as I believe they have evolved they way are for a purpose. All the horses in the stables are fine...no mishaps!! Carried out the morning routine, Chuck is now 97% sound so nearly there, will still put a clean dressing on this evening. Walked Flo and she is about 99% sound so Chris and I working on her back has resolved the problem, we have also increased her Linseed intake to help her joints, I feel this is a better way of getting oil into the body. Went off to the farmers co-op to pick up some unmolassed beet, a bit of chaff for Frodie (the old boy) and of course the bits to mend the fences. Main herd spent most of the middle of the day in the big field not hanging around the school, so this bit of warmer weather must have encouraged some of the grass. Mended the top fence 2 new posts and a handful of clips, its kicking really well, its most unusual for Kevin or Ollie to go anywhere near the fence whether its on or off. Down to the bottom yard one section very simple just knocked one post back in and re-connected, second section where the tap was was a bit more mucking about as the twisted water pipe took longer to mend, whilst doing this bit Mattie didn't leave he just stood there watching me in his docile manner!! Went over to the small stable to re-connect the bottom yard fence that had not been on all winter but acted well as a deterrent keeping them in or out, after last nights episode decided that we had better switch it back on as a reminder, my fear is that the night they decide to get out will be the night the gate is left open and end up in the posh houses gardens at the bottom of my lane, although my true belief is they wouldn't leave the yard they would go up to the hay barn. Most of the daylight hours have now gone!! evening routine, feed, muck out etc changed Chucks dressing it is looking really good, Enya coming really well on left and right, getting Chris to do a bit with Enya as well, back to the office to get on with building the new course and work on my next thoughts which is The Selfish Gene.
15th February 2012
Weather still warm and dry, ground drying quite well, the horses are a lot happier. Morning routine went smoothly thank goodness, my conclusion to yesterdays episode is that you must turn on your electric fences occasionally just to remind them. Swapped Enya and Frodo around in the stable, Frodo has now got the concrete floor and Enya the stone, she finds this not so slippery. Chris worked Enya gently today, she is picking it all up really quickly, you can almost see her thinking!! Mended the bottom yard drinker that was overflowing after yesterdays episode. Two of our grandchildren William and Abbie turned up this morning for their sleepover and our youngest grandaughter Amber-Leigh visited this afternoon, going to spend the rest of the day playing with horses with Chris and Abbie, got Alice in first (Abbies own horse), Abbie groomed her and led her around I guess they were teaching each other, we got her a nice new pink headcollar and lead rope Abbie was over the moon, a little bit of a learning curve for Alice as she has either had a neck cord or knotted head collar. We then got Flint in (a mature New Forest pony) to teach Abbie about hoof picking and then to ride, Abbie led him around the school, Chris then rode him for a bit then Chris and Abbie rode him for a bit we then put Abbie on him on her own and after a couple of circuits of the school realised she would be better without the saddle just on a numner, she has super balance and her posture was pretty good for a not quite 4yr old, she has total confidence in the horses, not much fear and total respect, Chris took lots of photos, so all in all a good afternoon. Now its the start of the evening routine with the help of William and Abbie, did Chuck and I don't think it will be too long now before we can stop the dressings and let the air get to it, Flo is now good so will be joining the herd in the morning. Now booked into Cheltenham Horsemanship Club on 2nd June to do a saddlechariot and iBex demo. This years diary is slowly filling up, so with a bit of luck should be able to pay the bills!!
16th February 2012
Weather continues warm and dry, ground drying incredibly well and even the midges have returned!! Started the morning by feeding the herd and bottom yard, there must be a bit of grass growing as the consumption of hay dropped slightly. Abbie rode Flo bareback back to the herd, her little legs need to be a bit longer to get around the barrel shape of Flo, this time Flo immediately took her position in the herd without any squabbles. Put Roy and Toby in the top paddock on their own, they have recently been gelded, they will join the herd in the next week or so, they're paddock is adjacent to the main herd. Mucked out and fed the top including the vacated stables, they are now ready if needed, I really believe that stables are only to be used for the benefit of the horse not for the convenience of the owner. Off for breakfast, back now to get Flint so that Abbie could do some ground work with him then have a riding lesson, she is proving to be a born natural, her balance is excellent, William had a go, he was a bit hesitant to start with and had a funny posture but by the end of the session he had vastly improved. We returned Flint to the herd and bought Alice down for William and Abbie to groom and do some ground work with. Prepared orders for despatch in the morning. It was now Basil's turn to come into the school, he was a bit energetic, trying to buck, gallop and flick his back legs, with such a big boy it looks really odd!! I think he found Williams' energy a bit high for him, he is a sensitive big boy, he reacts to voice commands when freely moving, stop, walk on, back, Abbie thought she would like to ride him but once she was on him her little legs just aren't long enough to stride him and even with her good balance it was impossible to keep her in any sort of position so abandoned that idea and took him for a walk down the lane, lots of hedgegrow munching which he loves. Back into his stable and time for the evening routine. All pretty normal but with 3 less in it was slightly easier. Worked Enya, progress continues to be good, Chucks leg is still weeping although vastly better and almost sound, Frodo has decided he doesn't like Honeychop at all after purchasing 2 bags for him!!! Tomorrow will seem incredibly quiet without the grandchildren!!
17th February 2012
It was an overcast damp day but still warm, still midges about and the birds think it is spring. Usual routine on the main herd and bottom yard, the number of birds on the bottom yard has at least doubled!! Only 4 in the stables now so the top routine is a lot easier, Enya is progressing really well and coming good on both sides and has learnt to have her ears middle or forward not always backward, we have found her scratchy points on her neck and she does that silly head and lip movement, its great! Have encouraged Frodie to eat his honey chop by mixing some un-molassed beet and a bit of our own course mix, bit of extra linseed stir it up and he munches away at it, Chuck is progressing really well, changed his dressing twice today, Basil is just Basil probably eating a bale and a bit of hay a day but maintaining his condition. Toby and Roy have settled and spend a lot of time at the fence talking to their dads, if they are not being aggravated by our neighbours horses on the commonland, where they just squeal and show off!! Put new fittings on the drinker in the stallion paddock, re-inforced it this time with a big fencing stake to try and slow them down from destroying it again, finally sorted out the ball valve in the bottom yard, its amazing how cold cold water can be!! Replaced ball valve in the horse agility field, mended the damaged pipe in the field where the herd are, this just leaves the burst pipes to mend in the lecture room and then all the water will be back to normal thank goodness, till the next time!!! Had extra ram (whatever that is) put in our main computer, I'm told it will make it work faster, only time will tell. The main computer is now connected to wireless, posh touch screen (thats confusing!) Evening routine un-eventful. Was a pretty quiet day without the grandchildren here (well not so many questions!!) If you are following this diary and find it interesting or have any comments please say so on our blog.
18th February 2012 - diary done by Chris
What a miserable day, wet and windy. Horses are fine just annoyed that the weather has changed again. Morning routine as usual I changed Chuck's dressing, it looks really good. Nick led Enya down the alleyway of the stables, seems to be something about a different halter. Evening routine as usual all by myself as Nick has gone to a party in Bristol, although he's on the end of the phone. Thinking all my jobs were done a lady turned up asking for nick, I explained he wasn't here, she wanted the use of a stable, I was unsure what to do. She looked at the stables up the top and by the time she came back down I was on the phone with Nick so she spoke to him. So all has been sorted now and we have a horse coming for a month. It will help pay the bills.
19th February 2012
Arrived back on the yard early afternoon having been to a great family party in Bristol overnight. The new horse had arrived and looks well. Chris had managed the yard very well even with this unexpected emergency arrival. The new owner of Love (Carol) turned up to do some work with her although it was feed time she had a really good session both slowly understanding each other, Love is a very experienced horse but Carol is a totally different person to her previous owner so there was a slight language barrier but nothing that can't be overcome, both with good horsemanship skills but in slightly different languages. Chucks leg continues to improve but it is still being dressed. Chris is continuing to do work with Enya and achieving good progress, we are doing this very slowly as she is still not quite 1yr old. I have to find some space to turnout Crasher (the new horse) which will be difficult this time of year as most fields are pretty yuck!! There appears to be a big increase in enquiries for the saddlechariot, spring must be in the air!! I'm not complaining, as most of you will know running a yard at this time of year is quite financially draining so every little helps!! Its good to go away and see the family but it is also incredibly good to be back on my yard, I consider myself to be very privileged to spend most of my life with super horses and a plot of land I truly love.
20th February 2012
Another damp start to the day, I've just heard that the South East have got a drought so reckon we should bottle our rain and send it to them!! Morning routine went smoothly, new horse and owner went out for a hack accompanied by my 2 dogs, Fly the older one stopped half way and waited until they returned, Mo decided to play in the bracken then jumped out and spooked Crasher, I guess it's a learning curve for Crasher but Mo was just chasing rabbits!! That's what terriers do best!! Back to the office to do E-Mails and more planning for The Wholehorse Weekend, setting up a data base, this is all technical stuff, but I will be organised at some time!! Worked on the saddlechariot and iBex to get this order completed but was interrupted for about hour and half by Simon (the designer and partner) of these vehicles. Now it's time already to start the evening routine (where does the time go!!) All the horses outside were certainly acting differently today, the herd were sharing with horses they don't normally share with, it all seemed very odd, until Flint decided he wanted to go somewhere else which wound William up so we were back to normal!! The bottom yard all decided they would eat out of different buckets but it worked so guess it was OK. Stables were as usual, Crasher spends a lot of time looking about wondering who all these new mates are, tried a different head collar on Enya and it seemed to suit her better. Back to the office to do a few more E-Mails for The Wholehorse Weekend.
21st February 2012
Quite a mild day with drizzle on and off. Morning routine as normal. Went off to pick up the car passes for The Wholehorse Weekend, some feed and bits for the chariot. Tidied up the muck heap before it reached the stable doors!! Went down to the bottom yard to shut the horses into their field before clearing their muck but they were already in the field I guess they must have known!! Clearing the muck was pretty easy with the tractor but under the shelter it was incredibly hard,made me realise I'm getting older I've got aches and pains everywhere but at least I know why!! Straight into the evening routine, Chucks leg had a light dressing on tonight just to keep any dirt out, the hole is now the size of a biro point, put wood shavings under Frodie as the straw just wasn't absorbing the amount of peeing he does!! hopefully this will help. Enya was really good arms around her neck, belly and hands all over her face and patting her back, by jove she has grown in the last couple of weeks she can now get her head right over her door!! I guess under normal circumstances when they are out with the herd you just don't notice them growing, hopefully mid to end of next week we will have her in the school around the agility course and familiarising her with all those strange things!! Crasher has settled in really well.
22nd February 2012
Weather, wet and windy. Horses are all ok. Morning routine as usual. New horse Crasher spent most of the time in the school for a bit of exercise. Evening routine as usual - Chuck's dressing has been taken off but not put back on, applied cut and heal. Played with Enya, she's doing really well you can now stroke her over her stable door. Had a delivery of hay this evening, more money spent but at least horses won't go hungry!! Its amazing how Winnie can share the hay with Flint as he is a right grump with all the others, he is amazing with humans as we proved last week with my grand children. Mended yet another leak in the lecture room, its on the same supply as the school so had to be done, only about 5 more leaks to go!! I am so pleased that I can isolate all the units.Spent a couple of hours organising The Wholehorse Weekend and Chris spent quite a lot of the evening sending yet more e-mails!!
23rd February 2012
Well weather is a lot warmer, poor old Basil, although I had clipped him he was sweating quite a lot today, looking at his mate opposite 'Crasher' who is still fully rugged, he must have thought 'how come he's not sweating'. The horses are happier and more willing to roam and find their food rather than wait for it to just turn up!! Morning routine as usual. Levelled the sand in the school, Chris and Mary gave it a good watering, its looking good. Had a health and safety lady turn up today which took longer than expected but all went well, we got that right!!. We had to get Winnie in this afternoon for her Tetanus booster, I have never seen a horse jump about so much and all the vet wanted to do was listen to her heart !! she did manage to stand still for her jab!!. Decided to take William's rug off, it was half hanging off anyway!! had put it back on lots of times, I think he's telling me he doesn't want it on!! In between all that I managed to get some chariot work done even though I've managed to go through yet another 5mm drill!! Chris continued to build the data base, it must be almost finished by now!! Time for the evening routine as usual, still no dressing on chucks leg just cut and heal. Frodies wood chip bed seems to have done the trick, it keeps it nice and dry, I don't like wood chips normally as they take too long to break down so much prefer straw. Enya's coming on really well, Chris has managed to brush Enya but very slowly and gently. Enya's learning really quick. I managed to comb through her tail, she appears to really enjoy it, that's a good start.
24th February 2012
The weather was a bit gloomy today with drizzle in the air. The horses were wandering around after their breakfast foraging. Morning routine went fine apart from Basil who tried to escape from his stable so we decided to put him on the bottom yard, that way he can cool himself off or even have a roll!! the silly boy had forgotten all about the electric fence and stuck his nose straight on it, that's Baz all over!!! I would certainly leave him out 24/7 but at this time of year I just can't get enough food into him this way. Continued with chariots/iBex burnt out 5 drills drilling just 3 holes!!! When it was time to do the evening routine we got Basil and put him back into his stable to munch his way through a stack of hay!! Played with Enya, lifted my energy slightly today but she soon got used to it, she's enjoying all the scratches and slowly learning not to return the favour, although she does find it very difficult sometimes as this is what they would naturally do to each other (you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours).
25th February 2012 - Diary by Chris
The weather was a bit gloomy this morning, but by mid morning the sun was shining brightly. It was so much warmer when your in the sun, horses have moved around a lot more now the weather has got warmer. Some of the horses have twigs in their tails, so I guess they've been in the hedges. Morning routine as usual, decided Basil was better off left in his stable, this way he can get more hay. Chuck's leg is a lot better, he's putting weight on it. Decided to take him for a walk down to our wooden gate and back, then we put him in the school where he rolled several times, must of felt so much better after being kept in a stable for so long. Put Chuck back in his stable and put cut and heal on it. Had 2 people arrive to see the saddlechariot/iBex, they're very interested in buying one. Abbie came up for a bit, backwards and forwards to see horses. Evening routine as usual, Abbie gave a helping hand as usual with gathering hay. Nick managed to rub straw over Enya, she doesn't seem that bothered with it.
26th February 2012
7 O'clock this morning the sun was bright and a beautiful blue sky, one of those days when it is well worth getting up!! All the horses were relaxed and absorbing the suns rays. Morning routine as usual, we decided to put Basil and Frodo on the bottom yard, the exercise and sun will do them good. Crasher went in the school for most of the day (his owner came out of the side door and pulled a muscle in her shoulder, so no riding today, it appears there was an incredibly scary puddle on the Crug!!) but had the back door open with the gate closed so he couldn't get out, this way he could look out and see the other horses. All the horses mix together but being a new comer on emergency livery wearing shoes he has not been introduced to the others yet, to avoid injury we keep him in the school with hay and water and the chance to talk to the others over the gate. Evening routine as usual, we decided to leave Basil and Frodo out overnight and will review it tomorrow, in my opinion horses are better off out than in, we only ever bring them in for their benefit and very rarely for ours. Chris stroked Enya, and we put cut and heal on Chuck's leg.
27th February 2012
Well what's happened to the weather, it's gone dull and horrible but still warm. Had a bit of rain this afternoon, horses are not impressed. Morning routine as usual only 2 horses to muck out so the routine is a lot quicker. Horses on the bottom yard are still puzzled why Basil and Frodo are still out causing a bit of disruption. Basil doesn't think he's the boss, he just goes where he wants to, no one will argue with him. He's oblivious to whats going on around him, he's just so big and very rarely shows any sign of aggression. Crasher went in the school again and seems to be enjoying it, talking to the other horses, especially William. Went off to a clients yard to trim the feet of 5 of her horses, from thoroughbred to shetland. Sun could have come out, as I got soaking wet, not heavy rain but constant drizzle. An appointment has been made for 4 weeks, for further treatment on 2 of them. Chris done the evening routine as I didn't get back on the yard until about 7pm.
28th February 2012
Its has been a very dull day, but surprisingly warm. Morning routine as usual, walked Enya down the alleyway and in and out of the stables, she's really getting the hang of this. Basil and Frodo are still out, the others have accepted them into the group. Put Crasher in the school again for some exercise. Worked on saddlechariots one is almost finished just got the harness to do, hopefully by the end of this week beginning of next it will be shipped off the its new owner. Evening routine as usual, had to move bales of hay to the bottom yard and the herd.29th February 2012What a lovely day, morning routine as usual. Horses on bottom yard decided that they would go into the field to look for grass to make a change from hay!! Horses in the herd moved around spreading themselves about. After the morning routine was over we went off to Horseworld Bristol as it was our grandaughter Abbies 4th birthday, being a leap year baby she only has her birthday on the right day every 4 years!! Abbie and Will (her brother) really enjoyed themselves. I met up with some old friends. Chris did the evening routine all went as usual without any hiccups.
1st March 2012
What another lovely day, the horses are enjoying this weather, the grass has started to grow, hopefully spring is on it's way!! Morning routine as usual. We took Enya into the school for the first time without her mum, she is a brave little pony, not many things concern her, she had a good run around, stretching and rolling, she has a super action, after her play it was down to the serious stuff, lead rope on and teaching her to walk forward, stop and start, she even managed to weave between a few barrels, she chose to walk over the tarpaulin herself!! We then walked her back to her stable steadily and very controlled, not long now and she will re-join the herd. Put Chuck in the school to help with the stiffness in his back legs, owing to being stabled due to his injury, his hind legs had gone a bit stiff and filled, he enyoyed a lovely roll and created what looked like a crater in the sand!! After half an hour of free exercise in the school he was moving much more freely and his legs had gone down considerably. We put Toby and Roy into the herd, the herd have about 25 acres so lots of room for them to all move about, introduction went smoothly but it will be a few days before they find their level within the herd. Discovered lots of frog spawn in the pond, doesn't look as if it will be too long before they start hatching, hope there is not too hard a frost!! Bought Flo (one of our demo ponies) into the school, she is Enyas' mum so has done very little other than be a mum for the last year, tacked her up to long line her but the first bitless bridle I fitted on her she didn't quite understand, swapped bridles and we were suddenly talking the same language, did a few circuits of the school on both reins then time for some obstacles, a few barrels, gates and weaving cones it wasn't long before she remembered how to do it all, stopping and backing on voice command then handed the reins to Chris to repeat the process but in a slightly different language, Flo responded very well and Chris' confidence has increased tremendously. Evening routine already (where has the time gone!!) Put Flo back in the field to join the herd. Bathed Chucks leg and put more cut and heal on, Enya was waiting by the stable door for hay, no more jumping around, so the little play in the school has helped. Kevin and Ollie were wondering where the youngsters had gone as they were in the adjacent field.
2nd March 2012
What another lovely day, the horses are happy with this weather, hope it lasts. Morning routine as usual, we put Enya in the school for some more lessons in leading, she remembers everything from yesterday and is unfazed by most of the objects in the school, not surprising really as she was bought up in and around the permanent agility course so, from an early age she had access to the bridge, tyres, seesaw, trailer, tunnel and lots more. Spent most of the afternoon dismantling the round pen that had been in our front field for nearly a year, getting everything organised now ready for The Wholehorse Weekend, some time off but it does take time to get everything ready. By the time we had the pen down, had a quick cuppa ( whilst having our cuppa a pair of long tailed tits decided to catch flies around our kitchen window, amazing to see how they hover and fly around the edge of the window, oblivious to us watching) it was time to do the evening routine. Toby and Roy seem to be more in the herd tonight, sharing hay with Sweetpea. Its nice to have the evenings getting lighter, the downside is, it will make the working day even longer!!
3rd March 2012
It was a really damp start to the morning after quite a lot of overnight rain, when the sun did come through it was quite warm!! Despite the rain the majority of the fields are quite dry apart from the gateways, if it stays like this I will be able to get on them and harrow them. Horses are a bit fidgety. Morning routine as usual, we took Enya down to the wooden gate to collect the post, she's not fazed by anything, she is coming really well and will be back in the herd by the middle of next week to be just a horse once more. Put Chuck in the school for a bit of exercise to help the stiffness and reduce the filling in his back legs. Worked some horses today, first we had Dougal in, we wasn't sure if we had long lined him before but he was fine, just a bit confused and soon got the hang of it so obviously we had long lined him, he has been backed and is brilliant at Horse Agility but I now want to get him ready for driving as well, him and Flo are the best of buddies and have been bought up together, living out 24/7, they will make a good pair. We then bought Flo in, she seemed to have something in her head, rushing around ( I've done this before so hurry up and let me get back into the field), I added a few more obstacles, narrower gateways, poles for her to step over then I backed her over them, she found this a little awkward to start with so we put a single pole out, drove her over it half way and then made her come back, we then progressed to 3 poles and backed her over all 3, I really like my horses to know where their feet are!! We put 2 poles and drove her through them and then backed her out of them as her backing tends to be all over the place and I want her to get it straighter, this was carried out by Chris with me giving her guidance, she soon mastered this, we then long lined her down the lane and back again, in the school is one thing but outside it is totally different. We then we got Mel and Sweetpea in, what a stroppy pony Sweetpea is, she would throw a tantrum every so often, she has been long lined many times and driven but always reluctantly, it appears the language has changed and she is not understanding, has a tantrum then she's goes 'Oh thats what you mean' and does it perfectly. In my wisdom or stupidity I noticed her front feet needed trimming, trimmed the left one, not too bad, went to trim the right and she threw her teddy right out of the cot as though it had never been done before although this is done on a pretty regular basis, there was no signs of soreness in her shoulder or anywhere that would account for her behaviour so with a bit of whistling, swearing and persistence I got the job finished and put her back in the herd. Mel was a bit stressed and on her toes to start with because Sweetpea had gone out but soon got a grip of what she was suppose to do as she had done it many times before, all the new obstacles we put in her way she took in her stride, we want to get her back into work and fit then she will be one of our demo ponies for the chariot and iBex this year. It was then time for evening routine, we gave Enya her first wormer she was a gem, we moved hay to the bottom yard and the herd. We stood and observed the 3 geldings and 5 mares on the bottom yard for quite some time and noticed the hierachy had changed, I will write this up as a separate article to go in my observation section.
4th March 2012
What a miserable day to start with, horses were a bit annoyed until the sun came out later in the day, we managed to have sun, rain and snow, the Beacons and Black Mountains were white. Morning routine as usual, we put Enya in the school,led her around a bit, she walked over the poles, that we had added to the course, she walked over them with no problem and through the barrel gaps, she is now leading almost on your shoulder. We decided to introduce Enya's mum Flo into the school to re-unite them then when Enya does back out into the herd she has her mum to look after her, although she has never had anybody to look after her as she is a very independant little pony!! they had a sniff of one another then decided to have a run around, it appeared that Enya was showing her mum what she had learned, Enya tried to suckle but Flo was having none of that, happy to be her mum but was not going to allow her to feed, she had dried up some time ago. Time to do evening routine, this was as usual. except when we went to feed the herd they weren't waiting, they were over in the far field still eating grass, so we left them. By the time we had done the bottom yard the herd had come running over for their hay, we did the herd then finished off up the top.
5th March 2012
The weather couldn't make up it's mind today, one minute it's wet and windy, then the sun comes out but still the wind blew strong. Morning routine went as usual, we took Enya down the lane, she stopped in her tracks for a while to study a pile of silage in black wrappers but soon concluded it was safe to go by!! On the way back we stopped to have a closer look and she was soon sniffing and licking them, one more thing she has learnt. Put Chuck in the school to exercise his hindquarters again for about 30 minutes then put him back in his stable. Got products ready for despatch, down to the Post Office then back to do the invoices. Wasted the next hour on the phone getting nowhere!!! Answered a few queries on the saddlechariot which took up at least another hour!!! Got Flo in, long lined her around the school a few times, then took her up the hill to the stables, round the side to have a chat to the boys then back down the lane to the wooden gate, she finds being driven close to the gate pointless so doesn't want to do it but after a few attempts with Chris at her head she had her chin resting on the gate looking over, it might have been pointless but we will need to go through the gate at some point so have to drive her close, one of her best assets are...she is really good at standing, she never finds this pointless!!. Back into the school to be un-tacked and lunged around before going back out. Wind had finally calmed to just a breeze when it was time to do the evening routine.
6th March 2012
Frosty start to the day, thin ice across all drinkers but easily broken and it had warmed up by mid morning. Morning routine went ok with no problems. I walked Enya and Chris and Mary walked Chuck down the lane, Chuck was much more interested in eating the grass than walking, Enya was good at following and leading, had remembered the big bale silage and walked straight by, when I was walking her back she got the wind up her tail and decided to do those sideway bucks thats only foals know how to do!! I quickly explained to her that that wasn't a particularly good idea while on a lead rope with me at the other end!! thank goodness it was a long rope, put Enya back into her stable and Chuck went into the top field adjacent to Kevin and Ollie, he will soon re-join the herd, just need to keep an eye on his wound a little longer. All the horses decided to go to the far field again so we changed our plan of getting a horse in and instead we got the tractor to pull the broken fence out of the ground that the horses had managed to bury in the mud making it impossible to pull out by hand, it is now all safe and sound out of the way so they can't get their feet caught up in it, but it does mean that 2 fields have now become 1, we don't really want one big field, so will have to repair this, another job to add to the list!! You do one job and add another 3!! Mid afternoon we went and got Flo, long lined her in the school with a different combination of obstacles concentrating more on her backing up, we then went down the lane to the big field, round the big field, through a wooded area of young trees weaving her in and out (that was good learning for her). Walked her back up and into the stables we had decided now was the right time to put Enya back into the herd with her mum, the weather was good and the ground reasonably dry. By the time we had done this it was nearly time for the evening routine, we decided to do a bit with Dougal, he said No so another change of plan, we brought Flint and Alice in from the herd, then Ash off the bottom yard, they are in the stables overnight and out during the day with Chuck for a few days to get some extra food of their own, in the field the stronger horses eat the majority of the food pushing the lower ranks out, as I have explained before I am not a believer in horses being in stables unless it is for their benefit, I am very capable of grooming areas that will have tack on should they dare roll in the mud!! Evening routine as usual. Paul our farrier managed to turn up just after 5 to remove Crasher's shoes, when the time is right he will be able to be turned out with the others.
7th March 2012
What another miserable day, cold and wet. It's so hard to feed hay in the field when you have strong winds blowing it back at you!! We have about 20 pheasants now helping the horses on the bottom yard to eat their feed!! if there is any good coming out of this....not much food gets wasted!!. Now we've put extra horses in stables, our morning routine has changed slightly. The horses in the stables have a bucket of food and a pile of hay. After the stabled horses have had a while to let their breakfast settle, we let them out and walk them to the top field adjacent to Kevin and Ollie, by the end of the week I expect them to know where they are going and they will make their own way up which will make life a little easier. Crasher went out into the front field adjacent to the bottom yard, him and the horses on the bottom yard didn't take any notice of each, Crasher just kept on grazing. We mucked the stables out and then it was time for a well deserved cuppa!! we decided that we would get a horse in to be worked, that plan changed as all the horses were in the far field again and knew it wouldn't be too long and they would be back. In the meantime we caught up with some office work. Some time passed, weather brightened up and the horses returned. We went to see which one would like to be worked and it was good old Flo, we bought her and Enya in, gave Flo a bit of a groom as she had plastered herself in mud before tacking her up, tacked her up and long lined her around the school in and around obstacles, stopping, standing and backing up this was a bit of a learning curve for both of us as Enya decided it was time to play, thinking the lines were something to walk into and jump over but Flo took it all in her stride. We decided to take her down the lane with Enya following loose she followed quite well in between eating grass, coming at great speed when she realised we were some distance away from her, we managed to get Flo to walk right to the gate and put her head over without Chris at her head. Crasher looked excited to see horses going by and showed them a bit of what he could do, running up and down the field, Flo continued to do as she was told, taking no notice of his showing off!! (thank goodness) all the time being closely followed Fly my old sheep dog. We walked them up to the stables and suddenly Enya realised we were going to the very top and coming at a tremendous speed Fly got well confused as she didn't hear Enya coming, poor thing had Flo at her nose and Enya coming rapidly towards her bum!! Flo was oblivious to all that was happening around her!! We took Flo back down to the school with Enya following quite well, Enya spotted the big bale of hay outside the school and decided that this must be there for her so stood quite happily munching away at it whilst we untacked Flo ready to go back into the field, put them back into the field gave them some hay which they shared with Valley. It was now time to do the evening routine in reverse order starting at the top, we bedded stables and got hay in, put water in for Flint as we had removed his drinker (he is a wind sucker and tends to destroy them), put hay over for Kevin and Ollie and Chris went up to open the gate to let the others down, Ash was the first one in and decided she would like to go into Chuck's stable, we moved her to her own then Flint came in and went into his own stable followed by Chuck and Alice who also went into their own stables so all pretty simple, it really doesn't take long for them to learn what you want. Fed the bottom yard, gave hay to the herd and soaked unmolassed beet for tomorrow, Not a bad day!!
8th March 2012
The wind had died down and the sun came out, bit chilly to start with but then warmed up and turned into quite a nice spring day. Morning routine as usual. Crasher went out without his rug and had a good roll in the mud, he is now a pinkish grey!! but he loved it. Spent most of the day finishing off saddlechariots and other products ready for shipping. No playing with horses today, which is what I really want to do but bills have to be paid!! Chris and her family started to get my veg patch ready for planting and Mary watered the school ready for Horse Agility on Sunday. It was then time to do the evening routine. Our black and white cat had been missing for 3 days, whilst feeding the herd saw something black and white in the Agility field motionless and feared the worst, went to investigate and it was her just sun bathing with no intentions of coming in.
9th March 2012
Today was mostly overcast, but reasonably warm and dry. Morning routine went well despite an interruption to take my truck for its MOT, thats that for another year!! I'm all legal once more. Took Ash and Alice into the school to see what they could do, Ash has been here for quite a few years but as a brood mare, we are not putting any of our mares to the stallion this year, as hopefully visiting mares will pay his keep, with lots of other things happening on the yard I need as many of the horses to be able to work at different levels for different clients with different abilities. We had not worked Ash before, I know her temperament and willingness but not her ability to work with other horses and strangers. We took her through some obstacles tarps, poles etc and after a little re-assurance she accepted them all, she is very willing to please and be with you, we put the bareback pad on her and she accepted this really easily. I then worked Alice with Ash loose, Ash wanted to join in again but was very responsive to my voice command, it was almost as if she understood the English Language ( my version anyway!!). Alice is a true honest willing filly so eager to please and totally laid back, which is just as well as she is my eldest grandaughter Abbies pony who is only 4, they totally understand each other. I truly believe that people, especially young people who just get on and do things without any inhibitions or fear but just respect and understanding can achieve almost anything in the partnership with their horse, its not that the horse can't do it, it just hasn't learnt how to yet. Took Ash and Alice back to the stables, turned them all out, mucked out ready for the evening. Lunch time at last!! We then got Flo and Enya, Mandy joined us after visiting her horse William, Enya found the hay at the doorway much more interesting than coming into the school, we have corrected this by moving it!! Flo was a bit on her toes today like the wind was up her tail but soon got into the swing of things, Enya has learnt not to cut across the long lines so all went smoothly, went down the lane where Flo was still not quite herself but still responsive, took her to the wooden gate, she has got the total hang of this now and knows I want her to walk right up to it and stand, dropped her bitless bridle one hole on the way back and this improved her concentration a bit, up to the stables and round, back to the school, Enya still catching us up periodically at great speed, I'm not sure that my terrier yapping at any situation helped, but thats life, thank goodness Fly today has learnt to look behind her occasionally to check where Enya was!! I guess her eyesight is compensating a bit for her lack of hearing!! The evening routine for the herd was pretty relaxed and not too many squabbles over the hay, the bottom yard was a different case all together, Basil was obviously looking for something he couldn't find as he went around all the feed buckets moving the others on constantly, except for Love who stood quietly in the corner eating hers and not moving until she had finished, I guess Baz did pretty well as he took a mouth out of every bucket he passed!! by the time I left they were at their hay feeders sharing hay. Top stable horses have all learnt where to go now when the gate is opened except Chuck wanted to go into Ash's stable, other than that they all know where they belong, I think sometimes they want to check the other stables to make sure they haven't got anything different!!
10th March 2012
It was a bit overcast again today but very warm, the horses decided to look around for grass as it is growing quite well now with all the herby things we had planted. Morning routine went as planned with no hiccups. Took Ash into the school on her own, we long lined her she was a bit confused but willing and got the hang of it really quickly, she moves in a way that only Arabs can naturally. Took her back up the top so we could let the others out with her. Then mucked out. We decided to close 2 fields off so that the grass has chance to grow, will get them harrowed and rolled next week. Mandy came up, so we watched her long line William for a bit. Had a cuppa then sorted out some bits for the harness before the evening routine. Crasher is staying in the field tonight, he is fitting in really well and pretty chilled out, we seem to have this affect!! it must be our surroundings. We had to move hay around to the bottom yard and the herd, the grass maybe growing but they still like to have some hay.
11th March 2012
What a beautiful day, sun and blue skys from first thing with a slight mist over the lower ground (Its on days like these that I feel privilaged to be where I am, in super surroundings with all the horses) the horses are moving around far easier and enjoying the sun bathing, they are all going into a huge moult just hope its not too quick! Spring must be truly on its way the birds are very busy and mares coming into season. Morning routine went well. Time to set the school up for our Horse Agility Fun day, I try to make it different every time by adding at least one new challenge, it went very well with 5 participants and a good few spectators, put 2 of the horses around the course on long lines just to see what would happen and they both did it very well. At the end we bought Crasher in who had never done anything like this before, Lisa took him round, he was not over keen on the curtain and walking on the plastic bottles was far too much but he did do everything else, I spent some time with him and Lisa on the curtain and it wasn't too long before he was confident enough to walk through. We spent the rest of the afternoon outside in the sun drinking tea, eating biscuits and having a chat about what else we could do to the course to make it interesting and life in general, so an enjoyable day was had by all. Lisa is going to join us on a regular basis. When everyone had gone I had to go and deliver material to have a harness made ready for Monday afternoon, thank goodness I've got a good girl that makes it for me, I always say I won't need anything in a panic but it always seems to be!! By the time I got back Chris had fed the herd and was getting the stables ready to bring them in, they came down, we settled them in then off to the bottom yard, the sun must have got to all of these, even Basil stayed in one place and ate his feed, life is so much easier when they do this!!
12th March 2012
It was a very misty start to the day but after a while the sun came through and it was quite warm. We did the morning routine. Decided to put Chuck back in with the herd, but will keep an eye on his leg,Toby thought he was the boss but Chuck soon put him in his place! .No playing with horses today just boring office stuff that I'm afraid must be done. Got products ready for collection on Wednesday. We noticed during the evening routine that Chuck had taken back his position as top male despite his absence of about 6 weeks, Winnie one of our young filly foals decided Chuck was the best one to be mates with, that way she munches her hay without being challenged, the bottom yard were still chilled out it really must be the sun on their backs! We only have 3 in the stables now so the evening routine was a lot easier, we wormed Alice I think she will re-join the herd by the end of the week, we started evening routine just a bit later than our usual time due to the nice weather and the horses were all grazing and not waiting for their food.
13th March 2012
Another misty start to the day and it decided to stay around longer, eventually the sun broke through for a few hours. Did the morning routine without any problems. Had to go to town for horse food, it took a lot longer than expected as I bumped into various people I know who wanted to chat. Had a cuppa when I got back. It was then time to find Flo. The mist was still thick and after approaching 3 horses that were not her she finally appeared through the gloom, how I wished they were in a smaller field!! at present they are running in about 28 acres. Bought Flo in, Enya followed for a while then decided to re-join the herd and then promptly started to call her mum she soon gave up and settled down. We led Flo around the school with all the obstacles still set up from sundays Horse Agility. She didn't have any real problems with anything just wary of the plastic bottles, we have a plastic bottled bed that the horses have to walk across, this is a new addition to the course. We then long lined her around and through the obstacles, then it was up to the stables, back down the lane concentrating on keeping her in a straight line, encountered a few different dogs, Flo had no problem and walked straight by even with the dogs trying to sniff her, bumped into my neighbour who was driving up, she pulled over to let us by so I stopped to have a chat asking Flo to stand which she did, about half and hour plus passed and she was still doing as she was asked she really is good at this standing lark!! which is good as it is what you want in a driving/demo pony, gives people chance to pat and stroke her without getting fidgety, we then carried on to the bottom of the lane and stood watching traffic for a while, she was not bothered in the slightest. We turned to come back to the yard and on the way a dog came running out of one the fields yapping and barking with its owner shouting after it, Flo took absolutely no notice what so ever, this part of her training is going really well. We continued up to the school un-tacked her and then put her back in the field with some hay. Spent the afternoon putting harnesses together for saddlechariots, I'm working on a new collar at the moment and an alternative saddle, not that there is anything wrong with the one we've got but always trying to improve if we can, trying them on our own horses first. It was then time to do the evening routine which went well, wormed Ash and Flint. The horses on the bottom yard don't seem to be pushing one another off and Basil has learnt to stay in one place, long may it last.
14th March 2012
The day started off misty and chilly once again but did clear up and get warm. Morning routine went well. Basil at first appeared not to like his food so went back and ate hay, by the time the others had nearly finished theirs he decided he wanted his and of course no one argued!! Got Flo, was easier today as I could actually see her but she was as far away as she could possibly be! it is good that Enya has decided that it is far more exciting to stay with the herd. Tacked Flo up and went twice around the school then off down the lane to the main road for a bit more traffic watching, a huge double decker artic cattle lorry went, by she perked up but did nothing untoward, took her onto the green in front of the houses, as we were passing the culvert she was very concerned, after a short while of thinking she went straight by, on the way back there was no reaction what so ever. We went back up the lane and half way up I gave the lines to Chris who continued with her up to the school, we untacked her, gave her some hay then returned her to the herd. Before we knew it a couple had come to pick up their product. Spent a bit of time talking to them about horses and life in general, advising them on training methods. Stopped for Lunch and a cuppa, then decided to start harrowing the fields, whilst harrowing the front field Enya decided to join me and would move just far enough out of the way of the tractor to let it go by and just stand and look at it, she is an incredibly brave little filly, she was then joined by Sky who thought this must be of some interest, good learning for the youngsters! by the time I had managed to do 2 fields Chris had fed the herd, bedded down, got the stabled horses in just leaving me to do the bottom yard, where peace prevailed over the whole process.
15th March 2012
Another misty start to the day and it didn't warm up!! Morning routine done. Went to get Flo and the herd decided to follow but half way up the hill they gave up, tacked her up and fitted traces this time as the next thing I want her to learn is to pull the levelling bar around the indoor school, after a few circuits with me leading her around she soon got used to it, took off the traces and then long lined her a little way down the lane and back, I thought that that was enough for this session. when we had finished with Flo we put her back in the field by which time all the herd were up by the school, making it very awkward to give her her reward of a wedge of hay. Some people came to look at my London Trolley, they want to use it for a documentary on TV, its for a local micro brewery to celebrate the Brecon and Monmouth Canal. After they had gone it was time for a trip to town. By the time I got back it was time to do the horses, all went well although Flint has gone a bit lame but I couldn't find any obvious cause, trimmed his feet, checked him all over, maybe he has just twisted it trying to kick one of the other horses, this is what he does best!! but once in the school he is perfect and the best pony for my 4yr old grandaughter to ride, he is only ever grumpy with horses never with humans.
16th March 2012
An overcast day today but reasonably warm, during the morning routine we took Frodo off the front yard and put him in the stables so that he can get his full ration of food for a while, going out during the day with Flint, Alice and Ash, Flints leg seemed a lot better this morning, I'm sure its just in the muscle. No playing with horses today, had to get the London Trolley out and give it a good overhaul had to go to town to get a few bits for it then back to harrow more fields, including the permanent Horse Agility course. During the lunch time break long tailed tits came and sat on the window again, they are truly amazing little birds when you can see them so close. The hawthorn buds are popping into leaf and the pussy willow is out, I really love this time of year, everyday something different is happening. Moved hay around before it was time to do the evening routine. Flint was a bit tender again but no sign of heat.
17th March 2012
Weather couldn't make up its mind today, one minute it was raining then the sun would come out!! Changed the wheels on the London Trolley ready for it to be collected. Flint still lame, another poke and prod and found the abscess, has now been drained and poulticed so shouldn't be too long before he is on the mend, decided to leave him in for the day with a big pile of hay. Rest of the morning routine went well. Lisa came up to help with the horses, we decided to do a bit with Ash, Lisa and myself long lined her around the school with very simple obstacles then off down the lane to the field at the bottom, encountered a couple of cars coming up, she took it all in her stride, back up to the stables, untacked her then out into the field with her mates. Chris and Lisa went off to get Flo as usual she was as far away as possible, Enya followed to the top of the hill then changed her mind and went back to the others, gave Flo a bit of a groom and picked her feet etc tacked her up and the 3 of us took turns in long lining her around the school using the top rings on her back pad giving her pressure from a slightly different angle which gave her something else to think about, connected the rest of the harness and the levelling bar and drove her round the school a few times, she is slowly getting the gist of cornering!! took the levelling bar, collar and traces off and then we went down the lane, this time leaving Fly and Mo at home as its quite hard to control 1 horse and 2 dogs when the dogs are loose. At the bottom of the lane we turned into the housing estate, across the grass verge and onto the road, her first encounter with a bus and other drivers who haven't got a clue to what a horse is!! Through the bus shelter, on the way back we stood for a few minutes in the bus shelter, crossing the grass verge she decided to have a big munch, I told her to concentrate she decided to throw her teddy out of the cot, with all these cars and drivers who don't appear to care we had to get the situation under control rapidly and thank goodness she responded, standing and then walking on on command, turned back into the lane where Lisa took the reins, back up to the school, untacked her then put her back into the field with her usual munch of hay, she has come so far in a very short time that I think she is going to be a splendid demo pony, driven, ridden and of course her favourite standing still!! It was now definitely time for that well earned cuppa!! I then had to go to see a horse that had gone lame on another yard so left Chris and Lisa to carry out the evening routine, which I'm told went well. London Trolley gone so hopefully by the end of the week we should have some photos of it being used.
18th March 2012
Weather couldn't make up its mind again today, a real chilly start to the morning. Morning routine done, Flint went out with the others today his hoof is a lot better. Trimmed Brian's feet before Lisa came up to help and ride him, she went around the school a few times before we put him out, he's had a few months off just being a horse in the field so he needed gentle encouragement to get him back into the swing of things, Lisa is a patient, positive rider, this is the first time she has ridden for me, the first of many, I hope. Time to get Flo in Enya didn't even bother to follow today, Lisa and Chris spent about an hour grooming Flo, getting all the knots out of her tail and mane, making her look a tidy girl!! Lisa then long lined her around the school then down the lane, I put her collar and traces on and did a couple circuits of the school pulling the levelling bar, she is still having to think quite a lot on the corners but has improved since her first time, little and often and always positive is always the best way, I put Flo back into the field. Carol bought Love in and Mandy bought William in, they put a few obstacles up to practice for next weeks Horse Agility Competition, I only saw Carol and Love working, they have now certainly got a bond and understand each other, I'm sure Mandy and William did equally as well but had to leave the yard so was unable to stay and watch. By the time I returned it was time to do the evening routine. Ash still insists on going into everybody elses stable except her own!! All sorted fed and watered. Time to answer a few e-mail questions.
19th March 2012
Absolutely splendid start to the day, brilliant sunshine, clear blue sky and the vehicles covered in frost!! It didn't take long to warm up. All the mornings regular jobs went without a hitch (This is the morning routine which has got a bit boring now!!) Flint went out again almost totally sound, which is good as Abbie is visiting this weekend and will want to ride him. Mary watered the school whilst Chris searched the internet for sensibly priced matting for The Horse Agility bridge and trailer. My son, his fiance and little grandaughter turned up, spent time with them sorting out things then off to buy horse feed, by the time I got back Chris and Mary had got Flo in and given her a really good groom, she is almost looking like she belongs to someone else!! Mary and Chris long lined her, we then put some poles up about 9" off the ground and long lined her at a walk over them, she was confused for a bit but once we got the language right she was off to go. Spent the rest of the afternoon digging flipping holes, trying to locate a blockage in one of our sewage pipes, without success but with more of an idea where it might be. It was now time to do all those evening jobs again. Toby still thinks he's a stallion but the other geldings are putting him in his place!! If I hadn't been present at the op I would still have thought he was a stallion!! Had a gas delivery and low and behold it has gone up again, I'm not sure how I am meant to earn enough money to keep paying all these increases!! Removed Flint's dressing and will now leave it off. A very busy day but not very horsey, I really do love those all horsey days.
20th March 2012
Reasonable start to the day, not as bright as yesterday. Morning jobs went well, nothing untoward. Off to make telephone calls, the first four were engaged and the last one went to answering machine, this is where a lot of time goes!! Spent most of the day digging holes looking for the sewage pipe that is blocked, all I found is where its not blocked!! which is a good start, this is where a mini digger would be a useful bit of equipment on the yard!! Put our first ever competition up on the site today, then a couple more holes. Evening routine time, its great that the ground is dry, it means you can put piles of hay in lots of different places, it helps reduce the pushing about and wastage. The lapwings are still around so hopefully they are going to nest in the area, there was a group of buzzards about playing catch and chase, I suspect they call it courtship!! When letting the horses down to the stables Flint parked his bum in the gateway to eat the grass stopping all the others passing him, Alice thought she could get through, Flint moved she jumped catching the electric fence on the way by, her and Flint rushed away and the other 2 wouldn't pass the clicking!! all sorted in the end, fence mended and horses fed. Alice is getting used to having her feet picked now she just gives you a funny look as if to say 'what are you doing', back to more investigation to found out where this wretched blocked pipe is, I guess there is going to be a mess when I find it!!
21st March 2012
Weather still dry and reasonably warm. Morning went well, Chris and Lisa put the horses out and mucked out the stables whilst I did boring telephone things. We got Dougal in and I trimmed his feet, Sally came up and played with Winnie and Roh, Chris and Lisa then gave Dougal a good groom whilst I bought Flo in and groomed her. Lisa took Dougal and Chris took Flo down the lane so that Lisa and Dougal could get to know each other as Lisa is going to be using Dougal for Horse Agility, when they came back Lisa and Dougal did some work in the school with a few obstacles concentrating on him picking his feet up, Chris long lined Flo in and over the obstacles, they were then put out and we bought in Brian, Lisa rode Brian for about half an hour he's beginning to listen to her now, she is a good positive rider giving praise when it is due but not letting him get away with anything, we then put him out, Mandy turned up and took William for a walk to have a munch along the verge, it was then time for feeding, whilst doing the bottom yard a load of hay arrived, Chris finished the stabled horses whilst Lisa, Mandy and myself sorted out the hay, we had a cup of coffee and a chat about the day and then they all went home. It appears that Crasher is only here for the next 2 weeks as he has a summer home with 2 other geldings, he has developed a couple of Sarcoids in his groin which I said I can treat, but it may not be possible to finish the treatment in 2 weeks, I have treated some Sarcoids that have fell off within 7 days and others that have taken 6 months.
22nd March 2012
Started dull and drizzly but it soon cheered up and became warm and sunny. Fed the herd, they soon settled down to eat their own piles of hay, decided to feed the bottom yard randomly as trying to get them to feed in any order is almost impossible as Basil wants to try them all, low and behold he stood quietly in the corner and cleared his bucket before moving on by which time the others had chance to finish theirs, fed horses in stables and then put Alice back into the herd, she has settled in very well except Toby seems to have an issue with her and keeps moving her on, luckily she has her mum and sister for support, I'm sure in a day or so it will be harmonious. We removed Valley's rug to let her get the glorious sunshine which had come out, the buzzards and kites were gliding on the rising warm air, I guess they have paired up now, there was 6 pairs at one point. Put the rest of the horses out, mucked them out whilst Mary watered the school. The surface of the school is coming good now ready for The Horse Agility Weekend. We are going to be very busy this weekend, lots going on. Started to cut the plastic flooring for the iBex and sorting out the harness, ordered some ingredients to make cream for Sarcoids, there seems to be quite a lot about at the moment. Chris was busy filing, trying to organise the paperwork and designing a new 'What's On' flyer. Got Flo into the school to introduce her to the iBex she was a bit hesitant to start with but soon accepted it. Spent time leading her around and over the trotting poles etc to get her to pick her feet up, she's quite laid back and only picks them up as much as she has to!! Gave her a good groom, she is almost the shiniest horse on the yard, none of which is out of a bottle!! The purpose for this is I want young people to paint on her to express themselves by decorating her but need to get her cleaned off reasonably quickly. Fed the herd, it is really great to be able to put hay anywhere, feeding the bottom yard I thought I would follow the morning idea seeing as it worked, what a surprise Basil wanted to taste every bucket first!! at least it worked once!! Stable routine getting easier as we only have 3 in and that's purely because they need that little bit of extra food without the interruption of other horses. Back to the office and answered a few e-mails.
23rd March 2012
Another nice, warm, sunny start, spring really must have come because the horses are not standing along the fence line waiting for their hay!! A pair of geese have taken up residence on our pond so hopefully they will nest. Morning jobs all went smoothly and the horses are all happy, went down town to the girl that makes the harness to sort out what materials I need to order, all ordered and hopefully will be here Tuesday. Mandy came up and took William out for a ride, bought Dougal into the school to try out a few more new obstacles for Sunday's Horse Agility they will be challenging but achievable. Put him out and got Flo in gave her another good groom and took her for a walk to the housing estate on a lead rope, met a bus again which this time made her jump a bit but soon remembered what is was. My aim is to familiarise her with as many things as possible because you never know what you are going to bump into at someone elses yard when you are doing a demo, by the time we got back to the yard Mandy was back so put Flo out and then time for a cuppa!! Chris has now completed the horse data base, I have never been so organised!! She also answered a few enquiries about The Wholehorse Weekend which seems to be creeping up incredibly fast, before we finished our cuppa Simon turned up with Obama, we put Obama in the herd most of which he had been before, Toby decided to show him who was boss, what a splendid sight to see the two trotting and cantering around the field, with their tails held high, how come you never have a camera when you need it!! Put the world to rights then it was time for the evening feed. Just as we had finished Andrew, William and Abbie arrived, Abbie instantly wanted to look at the horses, there are now 3 coloured foals in the herd so Abbie has to look a bit harder to find her Alice, went in doors for a cuppa and to send a couple of e-mails, end of the day for Chris. I then decided that I should put Valley's rug on for the night as it might turn chilly, Abbie came with me and low and behold Valley was as far away as she could be, put her rug on and Abbie decided she would like to go and talk to all the horses, at this time of the day walking around 41 acres looking at this one, that one lets have a look at the others seemed like an awul long way, I thought I would get away with not taking her to the stables but no she wanted to see Flint and the other stabled horses. We have got a huge population of rabbits again, they appear to be everywhere!! Gave Abbie her birthday present which was a wheelbarrow, shovel and broom ready for the mornings muck out!!
24th March 2012
Another bright and sunny start to the day, Abbie was up and about bright and early ready for the day ahead!! Obama has settled into the herd really well and has palled up with Sweetpea. Simon was out and about early so lots of discussions about the iBex and saddlechariot all through the day. Fed all the horses and Abbie helped Chris muck out the stables with her new barrow, brush and shovel, she also helped to fetch hay for the stabled horses in her barrow, if she can't push it up the step she picks the barrow up onto the step and carries on!! William helped wash the mats and nearly everything else around!! Lisa came so we thought we would start with Brian, she rode him around the school, there was a vast improvement so she decided to ride him down the lane, reasonably good until the exit of the yard then it was a different story, she had to use her real riding ability but it goes without saying that on the way back it was a different story again but with regular work he will soon come good again. Time for a cuppa. Went and fetched Flo and Dougal, Lisa groomed Dougal and picked his feet whilst Chris and Abbie groomed Flo, Abbie found it easier to sit on Flo's back to groom her high bits!! good old Flo just stood there and accepted it all. Lisa took Dougal around the school over some of the obstacles that will be in The Horse Agility competition tomorrow, so they could get to know each other better. I long lined Flo around the obstacles, all good training for her. We then took them down the road, Lisa leading Dougal and me long lining Flo, Chris took the lines for a while and then William had a go. Whilst William was long lining Flo, Pam came up the lane giving William the chance to ask her to stop and stand still, which they did really well. Chris then took the lines until we got close to the main road where I took over, we went over the verge to the houses pass the scary drain that isn't scary anymore, but still needs to be looked at closely on the way by!! Lined her through the estate with Lisa still leading Dougal, decided to bring them back through the fields where there is a small running water ditch, I asssumed that Flo would step over as it's not very wide but no she did the biggest jump she has ever done in her life!! Dougal stepped over but fast, through the field and back onto our lane where abbie was a bit worn out so we put her on Dougals back and Lisa led them both home, with Chris beside them just in case. Into the school where we untacked both of them and returned them to the field with some hay, it was then Obama's turn to come in so Lisa and Chris went to get him. Lisa took him round and through some of the obstacles to see how he would do and he did pretty well but did give Lisa a nip on her arm but am afraid that is one of the habits he has learnt from Simon, decided I should trim his feet but seeing as he was in one of his nipping moods I put his grazing muzzle on first!! I am not a great fan of having my bum bitten!! not by horses anyway! Chris bought Flint down so Abbie could have a ride, put Obama back into the field and he went galloping off to find his mates. Chris and Abbie gave Flint a quick groom then tacked him up, Abbie rode him for about three quarters of an hour, stopping, starting and even managing to weave some of the barrels, she does sometimes have to use 2 hands on one side of the rein but she still manages to get him to do what she wants always with Chris at a reasonably close attendance, it was now Williams turn to have a ride once he got his balance and confidence he did really well, Chris had a go weaving the barrels etc, we adjusted his bitless bridle so it would be slightly higher on his nose which he seemed to appreciate, Lisa had a go, she took him round a bit faster than the other 3 and was doing really well on the 3rd approach to the trotting poles he decided he would jump them to Lisa's surprise, we decided to put one pole slightly off the ground she took him up the school round the corner to face the jump and then thought she would be better off coming from the other end at which point communications went slightly wrong, he did a bit of a buck and Lisa stopped when she hit the floor!! with Flint looking down at her wondering what she was doing, after a couple of minutes Lisa got back on him, half way round he decided to have a little buck again, she bought him down and we then decided he'd probably had enough so called it a day, untacked him and Chris took him back to the stables, while she was up there she bedded down, watered and fed while I moved hay to the herd on the bottom yard and Lisa helped me feed them, Chris turned up just in time to help whilst I gave them their bucket feed. Will and Abbie had gone on an adventure on the farm I didn't see them for a while but they came back all wet so guess they had been in the pond!! Simon went to Abergavenny to pick up his daughter Jess who will be with us for a week on a crash course on horsemanship. A really good day, apart from the minor hiccup with Lisa, she is fine and tells me it was the 1st time she has ever come off, it's just one of those things that happen when you ride horses, it goes without saying our aim is that it should never happen but sometimes wires get crossed.
25th March 2012
It was again another beautiful start to the day, not quite as warm as yesterday, its a real shame that someone stole an hour from me in the night, there isn't enough normally!!! Morning jobs went well even though we did them an hour earlier!! Took Mel up to the stables for a bit of individual food and a tidy up before The Horse Agility. Abbie was up early again so thank goodness we had her help!! Which is more than you can say about her brother who eventually surfaced at 11.30am!! Chris, Abbie and myself set up the course in the school and Chris made sure that all the paperwork was ready for me. Lisa was the first to turn up followed quite quickly by the others, we all had a cuppa and a quick chat before getting on with the training session. There was a very good turnout of spectators. It was Jess's first attempt with Obama, she soon got the hang of it. The session went well, getting Mel and William to walk over the plastic bottles, it was the only issue these two had, Obama and Dougal never found it a problem but for whatever reason Dougal sometimes found backing up in a straight line a bit on the difficult side. Had a short break for lunch sitting around in the sunshine, Chris and I changed the direction of the course to give the contestants something else to think about. We had 2 rounds each with a practice round, in the round that counted Lisa with Dougal came 1st, Jess with Obama came 2nd and Mandy with William came 3rd. A very enjoyable day was had by all. Time now for the evening jobs, none of the horses seemed particularly bothered about coming for food so getting piles of hay into the field was nice and easy, it wasn't long before they all appeared. It always seems so quiet on the yard once everybody disappears but doesn't take me very long to get used to it again!! Nicola and Andrew came to pick up Will and Abbie, school tomorrow but will be here again next weekend. Dan, Kelly and Amber-Leigh popped in to see us just as the others were leaving. There are photos of The Horse Agility, go to the top of the page click 'Whats on' and go to The Horse Agility page.
26th March 2012
Another beautiful start to the day, morning went very well all the horses are happy and not so eager for their hay. Jess wanted to ride so we got William in, I rode him around bare back to check him out and he was fine, Chris and Jess tacked him up and after a short while Jess and William were working quite happily together, I tried to explain the principles of western riding but poor old William didn't understand it, so went back to what he does understand!! After riding him for a while Jess put him back in the field. Time for a cuppa and then I went off to post some packages. Spent a lot of time talking to Simon about the iBex and saddlechariots, he wanted to get some photo shots of Obama pulling the iBex across some of our steeper slopes, Simon fetched him in and tacked him up, he decided to take him into the field through the side gate, on one of the rougher areas Obama dropped his head and suddenly his bridle was around his neck, with no control over Obama whatsoever Simon pulled the quick release cord and Obama galloped off to join the herd with the majority of his harness still on, which is quite normal went the quick release is activated (I think he has fallen in love with some of our mares!!) The whole herd by now were wound up all running around, splitting into 2 groups, 1 group of mares and youngsters protected by Chuck and the other group protected by Brian and Dougal. Chuck, Brian and Dougal were doing their best to keep Obama away from their group by chasing him off, after about 20mins harmony prevailed and Simon went and untacked Obama. We then continued our discussion about how stable the iBex is in all situations and the benefit of the quick release system. Chrissie turned up so time again for another cuppa and discussed all horsey things. Simon then went and got Obama again to get some photos across the slope, this time going through the front gate and into the field, he drove Obama across the field then back across the slope, turned and came back to the top, the iBex is a truly stable vehicle, its all down to the low point of gravity, virtually impossible to turn over. Came back to the yard, untacked him and put him back in the field. This time he joined the herd at a steady gallop and they hardly took any notice. It was now evening feed time and time to bring the top lot in, none of which were overly bothered about their feed. The herd returned to the fence line in almost an orderly fashion.
27th March 2012
Wow!! these beautiful mornings are continuing, may they continue!! Have decided we're going to move horses about today, fed them all as usual and got on with a few other little chores. Went to deliver some stuff to the harness maker and while I was gone had a visit from Cath and family who I hadn't seen before Xmas, when I came back it was a lovely surprise to see them so had a lovely chat. After they left I got Basil in to trim his feet, this is some considerable job as he is a big heavy boy, I have taught him to rest his hoof on a large piece of timber, taking the weight off me and allowing me to get on, got them into some sort of shape but still got a bit to do!! Jess led him back down and we put him in with the herd, we then got Love and Roh and also put them in the herd, they stayed as a single group of 3 all day, when it came to the evening hay feeding time Love and Roh decided to eat their hay behind Basil as no one challenges him, what sensible girls!! This left Mattie, Honey and Mavis on the bottom yard, we took down Flint, Ash and Frodie to join them, they will all get bucket feed which they all need at the moment except for Honey as she is there for Mavis's benefit, although she is 2 she still misses her mum if she is too far away, silly as it may seem but it is a fact. Chrissie offered to let Jess ride Crasher so she got him in and tacked him up and took him round the school a few times to get the fizz out of him before Jess got on, it was not too long before Jess and Crasher were talking the same language, with Chrissie's gentle guidance they came together really well, after a while of walk, trot and canter bending him around the barrels etc it was decided we would put up a jump, with a few words of encouragement from Chrissie they were soon doing it to a reasonable standard so another jump was put up, after a few goes this was also no problem, Crasher is a true gent, willing to forgive and eager to please and Jess was a brilliant student, listening to words of advise, mainly from Chrissie with the odd comment from me!! She then cooled him down, rode him back to the stables where he was untacked and returned to the field. Simon has been getting on with the new iBex so we can get it delivered. I bought Flo in, tacked her up and Chris long lined her around the jumps and across a few of the obstacles, I then long lined her down the lane and bought her back through the gulley with brambles round her feet and twigs rubbing across her back then up a steep bank to get out, she handled it really well and listened to me all the time, doing everything I asked, she is going to be some demo pony!!! Time for a cuppa and slice of cake as I think my sugar levels had dropped somewhat!! Evening chore time, up the top to feed Kevin, Ollie and the cats, this end is really simple now!! Down to the bottom yard and as luck would have it the majority of the horses were in the field, only Frodie on the yard, he managed to eat a good amount of food before the others came on the yard, we spread the hay and feed in 5 different locations and apart from Flint having a grump all was fine, but he was far enough away not to affect the others. Gave the herd hay and continued my discussion with Simon on the pros and cons of stainless steel, mild steel, recycled plastic and HDPE!!!
28th March 2012
Another lovely day, the hottest so far!! All the horses that went to their new locations have settled in really well. Feeding went very smoothly, nice not to have stables to muck out!! Continued yet more discussions with Simon as he had had lots of different ideas during the night!! This is quite normal, I think we have come to some decision and he comes up with another brain wave!! every so often a really good one. Had to go off to town, on my return moved hay and parked trailer ready to be filled with muck. Pam spent most of the day getting promotional material ready for all the exciting things that will be going on over the next few months at Rowanoak. Chris spent a lot of the morning on the computer e-mailing people regarding The Wholehorse Weekend. We got Flo in for Jess to long line, she long lined her around the school a few times then off down to the gate, back round through the gulley up the steep bank, back down the lane to the scary silage bales, where I altered the lines to a driving position to show Jess the different reactions from Flo, back up the lane to the quarry, turned her in the quarry and back to the school, untacked her and Chris gave her a groom then put her back into the herd. Jess went and got Crasher to have another riding session, watched Jess for about an hour starting with a double and ending with a treble jump, on the final round she got her stride wrong to the first element, consequences were she slipped round his neck after jumping the second element but all was fine not a throw more like a slide!! Chrissie gave her instructions yet again with odd comments from me!! Chrissie and Jess took Crasher up to the stables to untack him and then put him out. Meanwhile Simon went and got Obama for more photos and silliness across the steep slope in my field, Chris video'd it and Jess took some stills, not the best of timing as the rest of the herd thought it was hay time, they all stood on the brow looking down at Obama pulling the iBex. The iBex is really incredibly stable. Simon bought him back to the school, untacked him and then let him re-join the herd. Time for a quick cuppa (I'm not going to mention cuppa's anymore, I drink one at least every 20 mins or at the end of a project, which sometimes can extend to an hour and half, by which time I am gasping!! I do drink water sometimes) Gave the herd hay, a bit more justling today as William decided he wanted 3 piles!! and kept chasing everybody off, I re-arranged them all and they settled down. Up to the top to feed Kevin, Ollie and the cats only to find where we had set fire to the muck heap it had spread to my muck spreader and caught one of the tyres alight!! Towed it out and extinguished the tyre allowing the muck heap to keep burning as it takes ages to get it to light. Took the bins of feed down to the bottom yard as they are still getting 2 meals a day. One of the empty bins had captured a rat, I'm pleased to say my terrier Mo got it, that's one less to eat the horse feed!! Back to the computer to load photos.
29th March 2012
Bright and sunny but a little bit chilly this morning. Hectic start to the morning as the main herd had managed to open one of the gates and let themselves out!! A few had wandered a little way off but the majority were enjoying stealing from the big bale of hay!! Soon got them back in and gave them some more hay!! Off to do the bottom yard, Flint continues to go around checking all the food before he decides which one he wants before harmony prevails. Up to feed Kevin and Ollie, they are looking incredibly good on basically just hay and the minimum foraging. Back to the school where Chrissie and Simon were tidying the outside moving poo etc, this is truly appreciated, there are lots of jobs we mean to do if we could find the time, but to be honest I would much rather just play with horses!! Chrissie and Simon were oblivious to the fact that Obama and Winnie had escaped again, they were quite happy stealing the hay once more!! I put them back in the field and tied the gate this time!! I think it was Obama thats the clever gate opener!! Chris measured the bridge and the trailer in the Horse Agility field ready for when we can get something to re-surface it with. Mary turned up, had a cuppa!! and sat in the sun drinking and chatting, Simon ran all his latest ideas that he had had during the night past me. Jess and I then went off to empty the trailer and I gave Jess a quick lesson on tractor driving. Checked one of the horses that we are treating for Sarcoids with cream I make up, it is certainly going the right way, so will continue the treatment. Continued more discussions with Simon regarding the iBex. Jess wanted me to explain to her the principles of the Western saddle so after a while of searching we found mine and in the process showed her the treeless, she was totally gobsmacked at the size of Basil's saddle and hopefully now she understands more of the principles of the Western saddle and riding on it. Sally turned up to do a bit with Roh and Winnie before going off to Pembroke for her Easter break. Time to clear the school as we had people coming to see a demonstration of the saddlechariot and iBex, they bought 2 of their horses with them and their small grey gelding didn't have any problems having the saddlechariot around him, Simon carried out his demonstration using the iBex first, then his wobbly version and then the Mk 10, Martina had a go and got the hang of it quite quickly, it was then time for Simon to pack up, load Obama who I must say loads incredibly well ready for their trip down to Sussex. We had a general tidy up as don't think Simon knows the meaning of the word 'tidy'. I'm sure we will miss having Jess around the yard tomorrow, she was great fun. It seems awfully quiet on the yard now!!
30th March 2012
A much cooler start to the day. It was really quiet without Simon and Jess being here. All of the horses were in the right places this morning so made the job really easy, hopefully one day Flint will find the bucket he wants!! Off to the farm suppliers to get a gate post and some fencing stakes, at long last a new pair of boots for myself!! Bit of lunch before repairing the fence around the Horse Agility course, this time leaving a gateway in the corner as in the future we propose in extending the permanent course. I jumped on the tractor only to find that some silly person (me) had left the ignition on so the battery was totally flat!! Plan B put all the gear in the pickup and knock the wretched posts in by hand, after putting the battery on charge!! Sorted out the fence and new gateway with a lot of the herd coming to see what was going on!! By the time this was finished Will and Abs had turned up to stay for the weekend and it was time for those evening jobs. We decided to take Valley into the stable for a few days as she is quite a loaner and will sometimes not join the herd to feed, by the time she gets round to it most of it has gone. All fed and watered, checked on Valley later, she is in a stable next to where the boys come in and out so is quite happy. It is good to see that spring is definitely here all the daffodils are out, hawthorn in leaf, brambles, docks and stinging nettles growing, there is a good size flock of Lapwings around so hopefully they are going to nest somewhere locally, pair of Buzzards very busy in an old oak tree and birds flying everywhere with bits of twig hanging from their beaks, wow what a super place to live!!
31st March 2012
A lot cooler start to the day this morning, sun didn't show its face until later in the day and then hid it quite quickly!! Horses are all good, Valley is happy in the stable next to the boys, out all day with a very light rug on because it was so chilly. Lisa came up and bought Brian in and tried him in a different bitless bridle, he wasn't over the moon with that one either, seems far happier with a bit in his mouth but we're trying to teach him that he doesn't really need one. Lisa exercised him in the school then bought him out he wasn't very happy so she took him a short distance down the lane then back into the school, round a couple times ending on a permanent note, I lunged him for a while and he was really good, back into the herd and then the inevitable cup of tea!!! Lisa, Will and Abbie went to get Flo and Mandy turned up, Lisa and Abbie groomed her with Abbie sitting on her back, we then tacked her up and Lisa rode her around for a while, she's a bit of a plod but thats ok, she can go when she has to!! It was now Abbie's turn after a very short while she got to understand what Abbie wanted, ideally I am looking to train her to be good at standing, good at Horse Agility, good at pulling saddlechariots/iBex, good at riding but most of all safe with children around her. Lisa long lined her down to the gate she was on a bit of a mission, Lisa was having a job to keep up with her but she still had control, came back up via the gulley, I think it was easier for Flo than it was for Lisa!! Back to the school and then back in with the herd. I had to move hay for the bottom yard and herd and was helped by Will and Abbie. Evening feed went well I will probably move a few around next week as during the summer months I like them to be as 1 herd unless there is a good reason not. Valley was waiting by the stable door to come in, have started her on natural live yoghurt to balance her gut after worming, after the first couple of spoon fulls sharing it with me (head to toe!!) she got used to it and was quite happy to take it.
1st April 2012
A lovely bright and frosty start but soon warmed up. Chris, Abbie and I fed the horses and I gave Valley some more yoghurt, we put her out around the stables where the grass hadn't been touched since last year, she could still see her mates Kevin and Ollie. We then bought Flo in, Chris and Abbie gave her a really good groom, she is truly looking stunning for one of my horses as most of them have the natural look!! We tacked her up and Chris rode her for a while then it was Abbie's turn they definitely seem to understand each other, a reasonably big horse for a very little girl, William thought he would like to have a go, he got the gist in the end but not a natural like his baby sister, like all boys a real whizz with electronic gizmos!! Carol arrived and decided she would like a ride on Flo so that gave Flo 4 different people with 4 different abilities and she reacted accordingly. I then led her around the school dragging my string of tin cans rattling and clonking, she was a bit wary at the beginning but by the second time round was quite familiar with it, tacked her up and Chris long lined her, I then took over with the cans tied to my belt dragging on the floor, no problem in the school but slightly wary when we started down the lane, by the time we returned there wasn't a problem, took her in the school where Pam long lined her, back into the field for some well earned hay, we then had a well earned cuppa and a bite to eat, I must have gone at least 3hrs without a cup of tea!!! I'm sure I saw a Goshawk, I've never seen one around here before. Geese are still on the pond so hopefully they will nest. Carol bought Love in and gave her a lovely groom, she's moulting like mad, she then went into the school and put up a few obstacles, when I went in Carol was working Love loose, weaving barrels, over poles, stopping at a gate and through the barriers working with lots of voice commands and hand signals, they both have the gist of it now, the next Horse Agility competition should be great we have got some super competitors. Nicola and Andrew came to pick up Will and Abbie, we decided to have dinner before feeding and watering so Abbie could help before she went home. After dinner we fed the horses and gave Valley more yoghurt. Gosh the house is quiet!!!
2nd April 2012
A bright sunny start to the day, we fed and watered the horses they were all fine. Spent the rest of the day on the iBex and the saddlechariot. Decided to leave Valley out with access to the outdoor stable where she can pop in and out at her leisure, where she can also see Kevin and Ollie. I wormed Sweetpea (temperamental little mare!!) pretty boring day!!!
3rd April 2012
An early start today as a new horse was arriving. What a difference a week can make to the weather, when the sun did peep through it definitely warmed up, there were a few welcome showers even if it was a bit cold, the ground really needs it even if the rest of us don't!! All horses fed and watered, Valley certainly seems to be far happier being able to go in and out of her stable as she wishes, we still can't convince her that the hay is any good, we've tried some from 3 different big bales!! the rest of the horses don't find anything wrong with it, but at least she has got a reasonable amount of grass and forage to satisfy her. Got the stable ready for the new horse which is named Nounnat, this is definitely a name I'll not be able to remember!! I'll just call her 'big girl' like I do with a lot of the others. She arrived at 8.30am in a mega posh horse box, she had travelled very well not at all sweaty or stressed, infact she was incredibly laid back. Chris took her up and put her in her stable. Had to go and pick up some harness, when I got back it was cuppa time with some lunch. We bought Nounnat down to the school to let her have a stretch and a roll, I took her through a few obstacles and then long lined her, she is a very good, well trained and well mannered little mare, it must be down to her trainer, Luke. I shouldn't have much trouble getting her harnessed up and pulling the iBex, all being well she will end with a charity in Exeter working with all types of people all with different abilities. Took her back to her stable, gave her a bit of a groom then it was time to make some phone calls. Did some more work on the iBex to get it ready to go out, Mary popped up for a quick cuppa and then Chrissie arrived for a quick chat. Crasher has got a light rug on as it has turned really cold and damp and snow is forecast. By the time everybody had gone it was time for feeding and watering for the night. Nounnat seemed to have settled quite well.
4th April 2012
Wind, rain and snow, thermals back on, what a good start to the morning!!! Herd all sheltering their bums in the hedge I guess they thought it was safer and warmer there than sheltering in the school! The majority of the hay came back as we tried to throw it over to feed them, the bottom were all in the shelter but soon emerged for their feed. Flint was a little bit chilly but warmed up soon after he had his breakfast, none of the horses ventured very far today although the herd did shelter in the school on and off, although it would appear they just went in there to poo!! so poo picking was an added job. Valley chose to still be outside eating grass but did come in for her bucket. Nounnat is tucked up warm in her stable and was really happy this morning, has settled in really well. Crasher was a bit on the chilly side so is spending the night in the stable, Nounnat has now got company especially when Kevin and Ollie decide to stand in the field which they do quite a lot no matter what the weather. Spent most of the day yet again on the iBex and saddlechariots, fingers freezing cold working with the freezing cold metal, took 4hrs to make 4 brackets!! We're not set up to be an engineering shop just to assemble them but that is not happening at the moment. iBex virtually finished just another couple of hours which probably means 6 or 7!!! Moved hay to the herd and bottom yard as we have increased their feed considerably today and tonight, internal warmth is far better than rugs for the majority of horses in my opinion. Wind continues to be incredibly strong making feeding tonight more difficult, snow was coming vertically at us and it was incredibly cold!! I'm sure the grass will be greener when the sun comes out again. Yesterday all the horses were in heavy moult which doesn't help. It didn't seem to affect the natural instincts of the wild birds around here who were still very busy doing what birds do at this time of the year.Chris re-arranged the photos on the web site, I think all the horses are on here now.
5th April 2012
A better start to the morning but still very chilly! The grass must have grown over night as none of the horses were waiting for their feed, all happily grazing in the field, this made feeding really simple but it wasn't too long before they all came over for their breakfast. Crasher after spending the night in was very keen to get back out into the field. Valley continues to do well with her freedom to come and go as she wishes. After Nounnat had had her breakfast we put her in the school with the back door open but with the gate across so she could meet the horses in the herd, she ran around the school and promptly rolled in the wettest area by the gate, now that immaculate grey pony is a bit of a yuk colour!! The first to come and greet her over the gate was Basil I wonder if it was anything to do with her being French and him being Belgian!! probably not just coincidental that the 2 continentals met first, the only common thing is I don't understand either of their passports!! I finished the iBex, just the saddle to make then ready for delivery. I went off to trim a shetlands hooves as an ongoing correction, then off to trim 2 thoroughbreds, one of them was stiff in the hind quarters so had to keep his legs low to trim, this kept him comfortable but made the job slightly more awkward for me, I see too many other people not considering the individual animal and just yanking the limbs into the position they have always trimmed in then blaming the animal for being restless and hard to trim, we should look outside the box more often, it would make life easier for us and more comfortable for them. On returning to the yard I saw my first Curlew of the year, they regularly nest here. Every day there are more birds arriving some just passing through and some coming for the summer, lets hope they didn't miss it as it might have been last week!!! Sally came up and did a bit with Roh and Winnie.Chris did the evening feeding, watering and bedding down with the help of her mum. She told me that everything went ok and nothing untoward. Some of the horses were standing away from the back gate of the school looking a bit puzzled at the little grey mare. After yesterdays yuk weather everything seems a lot greener today.
6th April 2012
A very frosty start to the morning, half an inch of ice on the drinkers but soon thawed! Fed and watered all in their usual places today waiting for their hay. Off to town to the bank and get horse feed, order some cord for the saddlechariots only to remember it was Good Friday, bank was shut, Farmers Coop shut but did manage to order the cord!! I really must try and keep up with the rest of the world!! Came back and put Nounnat into the Agility field to start to meet the rest of the herd, stood and watched for a while but very little happened but as soon as I walked away a big part of the herd came to have a look at her, nothing too exciting, a bit of shouting and showing off!! On to finish the iBex. Chrissie has gone away for the weekend leaving Crasher in my care. Sally came up to have some fun with Roh and Winnie. Fed and watered for the evening, gave Crasher his hay net and applied his Sarcoid cream, he is a good boy, put Nounnat back in the stable for the night, won't be too long before she will be out with all the others. Back to finish the iBex as there are just a few things to finish off. Chris spent a good bit of the day e-mailing people about The Wholehorse Weekend. We received 2 orders for saddlechariots today so a busy time ahead. Decided to cancel Sunday's Horse Agility now that I've realised it will be Easter Sunday!!!
7th April 2012
No frost about this morning. Fed and watered, decided to take Crasher's rug off as it was quite warm. Off the the Farmers Coop to pick up horse feed, again!!! Put Nounnat into the Agility field, she's beginning to get used to the herd, she seems to be quite friendly with Blue, although quite a few of them come and talk to her over the fence. Finally coming to the last stage of the iBex which entails checking the harness against one of my mares of the same size who always seems to be as far away as possible!! All done and sorted, customer coming to pick it up tomorrow. Jo and Patrick have come to stay for the weekend. Fed and watered, decided to leave Crasher's rug off as it seems to be a very mild night. Chris put Nounnat back in her stable and done the top horses while I spoke to Simon. Not the most exciting day!! But one very happy customer.
8th April 2012
A drizzly start but reasonably warm. Fed and watered all the horses. Put Nounnat into the Agility field and then decided to put Ash from the bottom yard in with her, they will then join the herd together. Took Frodo to the top to be loose around the stables with Valley, he will now get 2 individual feeds per day without having to worry about the other horses. Gentleman came to pick up his iBex the first one sold to the public. All the family turned up for Easter Sunday Lunch, took Abbie around to check on all the horses, Chris fed and watered all the horses this evening.
9th April 2012
Rain, rain and more rain!! Fed and watered all the horses and yet again they are managing to tread it into the mud!! I don't object to them eating as much hay as they want but it is really annoying when they keep walking it into the mud. Basil goes from one end to the other to see what's there and back again walking across all the hay!! I guess it's back to the round feeders. Mary came up, we had a cuppa while I got on with getting all the bits ready for saddlechariot orders. Not a lot happened due to the awful weather. In the evening we fed hay close to the electric fence that way they stood in a more orderly line rather than walking on it. The only 2 horses that seem anywhere near happy are Kevin and Ollie, the others are all looking pretty fed up. Unhappy and fed up horses equals unhappy and fed up me!!
10th April 2012
Sunshine and reasonably warm then heavy showers of hail and rain which continued all through the day, when it was nice it was really nice but when it was bad it was horrid!! Fed and watered the horses they seemed a lot happier today, off to town to do the things I was meant to do on Friday!! Chris poo picked the school as the herd are still using it as their shelter. Came back and had the inevitable cuppa and got on with saddlechariots. Mary came up and we had a chat about Horse Agility as she has just got her membership through. Our first swallow has returned, a very welcome sight. Glanced out of the lecture room to see Frodo walking by, who was meant to be on the top yard, he had found his way through the brambles and gorse, then round the back of the house, he had a wander around and had a look at the herd which is where he really wants to be but with his lack of teeth and old age he really needs that bit of extra care and his bucket feeds, he then wandered down the lane to have a quick look at his mates on the bottom yard, Chris and I turned him round and shut the middle gate that way he could wander around eating the verges as he pleases. Went back to the office and had a cup of coffee, there was an almighty down pour and Frodo went trotting past the kitchen window on his way to the top yard for shelter where he stayed for the rest of the day. Absolute miracle today managed to drill 16 holes into stainless steel with 1 drill bit, its a record!!! Made a list of all the bits I've got to order for the saddlechariot and iBex. Got Flo in to check the harness sizes, tried some different saddle shapes and sizes on her as I am working on some new ideas. Time to feed and water, low and behold William has gone lame, after finishing we got William out of the herd, checked and trimmed his hoof, he's gone and got himself an abscess, cleaned it all out, up to the stables very slowly and poulticed it, bedded him down and gave him hay, he is pretty happy.
11th April 2012
Good start to the morning, the weather was reasonable with the odd shower. Our single swallow has now become 3, there will soon be more than we can count!! Fed and watered the horses using the same trick of putting the hay along the electric fence in the herd it sure helps to keep the wastage down!! Moved Honey and Mavis from the bottom yard into the herd, they did join the herd to have a look but then decided they would like to be closer to Ash and Nounnat, I'm sure it won't be too long before Honey takes up her position in the herd as being one of the main mares. Put Crasher in with Flint and Mattie there was a bit of a hullabaloo but they have almost settled down now. Flint is so obnoxious, he doesn't like any other horse and sometimes he forgets some of the words of his language and aims his back legs straight at them, Crasher soon cottoned on and gave him a wide berth. Flint will tolerate youngsters when it suits him but is absolutely brilliant with humans, especially my grandaughter Abbie. Checked Williams foot, there is a bit of heat so will investigate more later. Poo picked and watered the school then off to pick up a few odds and ends. Came back and made a few phone calls and decided to have some lunch and a cuppa!! Started work on getting the shafts ready for the iBex for Flo. Sally came up and took Winnie down the lane to meet the traffic, she said she was fine providing the cars were travelling at a reasonable speed, she then took Winnie and Roh into the school and rode Roh around for a bit taking her over a few of the jumps. Time then for the evening jobs. Fed and watered herd and decided to put a head collar and lead rope on Flint while they had their buckets. I put Crashers ointment on as Chrissie was in her best togs and the bottom yard is a bit yukky due to all the rain. Chris got on with sorting the top stables out while I got on with William, took his hoof dressing off, no sign of any gunk, got Chris to walk him up and down, he was a bit better than yesterday but still lame, on investigation it appears to be higher up the hoof wall, I have poulticed the sole and around the coronet band, you would swear I was trying to kill him, he thought the bandage was a dragon, the leg wrap was going to eat him and lord above knows what he thought was going to happen when I unrolled the gaffa tape!!! he couldn't see it, it was purely the noise!! Prior to that he went bananas twice while I was trying to soak his hoof in a bucket, then to top it all I thought I would worm him so another explosion, calmed him down and he took it as if it was the most natural thing in the world!! This is one of our best Horse Agility horses on the yard so what got into him tonight goodness only knows, it certainly was a challenge, all done so thats good. Mandy turned up to see him after she had finished work and I went to offer him a peppermint and low and behold that small white round thing on his left hand side had turned into another huge dragon!!! Finally he took three without any problems. Thought it was the end of the day when Simon rang, an hour later it was!!
12th April 2012
It was a good start to the day, reasonably warm and sunny for the most of it but we had one incredibly heavy hail storm with hail stones as big as my thumb nail, but thankfully didn't last long. Still feeding the herd along the electric fence line, although the ground is drying reasonably quickly. Mandy came up and William seemed quite calm she couldn't stop long as she was expecting a delivery. Put a complete large bale of hay in the feeder on the bottom yard and moved Chuck across from the herd, he just needs that extra bit. Mattie got himself wound up because Honey and Mavis had gone into the herd so decided to let him join them. Let Ash and Nounnat out of the Agility field to join the herd. In the herd we have now got Ash, Alice, Basil, Love, Roh, Mattie, Mavis, Honey, Dougal, Flo, Enya, Brian, Spot, Sweetpea, Winnie, Blue, Sky, Toby, Roy, Nounnat and Mel. On the bottom yard we have Chuck, Flint and Crasher. Up the top we have Kevin, Ollie, Frodo and Valley with William in a stable because of his abscess. Mary came up and watered the school whilst I mended a hole that appeared in the fence. Chris surfed the internet looking for sheepskin suppliers as our normal supplier has gone into liquidation. I finished adapting the shafts for my demo iBex, not long now and Flo will be in it. Chrissie came up removed Crasher's rug and applied his sarcoid ointment, he will be warm with just his fur coat on!! There is total harmony right across the yard, all horses are happy and guess what...........So am I!! William really would prefer to be back in the herd but is in the stable for his benefit although I think he finds that hard to believe, he can see the other horses around him, through the window and over the door. Spent the afternoon ordering parts for the saddlechariot/iBex so hopefully we can have more items in stock to speed up delivery time. Evening feed and water pretty straight forward, replaced William's dressing, its pulling gunk out slowly.
13th April 2012
A bit of a chilly start with frost on the vehicles but quickly warmed up. Fed the herd which is quite simple now!! Turned the boys off the bottom yard into the paddock otherwise they would stand there munching hay all day!! Whilst scraping the yard I must have caught the water pipe and Yes we have yet another leak!!!! Fed the top, Frodo and Valley are doing well, changed William's dressing, he's a lot less stressed today, Mandy came up to see him and muck him out. Went to poo pick school when Chrissie turned up so Chris did it. Gave Crasher a wormer then the 4 of us had the inevitable cuppa!! Had quite a few phone calls to make, trying to get a good stock of saddlechariots and iBex in. Played about with the new saddle design for the chariot and iBex. Had to put a new rail in the fence as Nounnat could put her head over and push against the netting to get to the grass on the other side, which is ok, unless Basil decides he would like to do it and then the fence would be demolished!! Most of the day there were super acrobatic displays by the buzzards and kites, circling high and swooping low. Lisa turned up, we had a chat then her and Chris bought Nounnat in and played with her for a bit. I went off to see some engineers and water jet cutters on my way back a lady rang wanting to come up and have a chat about livery. Just got on the yard and Simon rang, thank goodness the lady got lost as I was on the phone for quite some time. She turned up, had a look around and we had a chat but it wasn't going to work here as she has 4 stallions that don't mix, it would have meant altering my entire system which was never going to happen, never the less it was an interesting chat and infact Chrissie and her knew each other. Time now for all those evening jobs and low and behold it had started to rain!! All fed and watered, boys back on the yard, William tucked up in his stable, another day done, nearly!!!
14th April 2012
A damp, cold start and not a lot of improvement during the day. Fed and watered the horses they were all a bit fidgety this morning. Re-dressed William's hoof, we haven't quite hit the spot yet, Mandy came up and mucked him out, told Chris he had a funny lump on his side but neither of us could find it. Continued working on the new saddle design. Lazed about for a while which made a change as it is Pam's day off. Frodo decided he would like to give us a visit and spent a bit of time grazing around the house then took a leisurely stroll back up to the top yard. Moved hay about as we are feeding the herd in 2 locations now, it's stopped some of the squabbling and they get their fair share. Changed William's dressing again, minute bit of gunk came out then he had one of his panic attacks, I guess the tape was too squeaky!!! although he has had it done 9 times now.
15th April 2012
A sunnier start to the day although rather chilly. All horses are far happier when the sun shines. Fed and watered, the bottom yard were already out in their paddock, they have learnt their new routine very quickly, thats what I like, horses that know what to do and when to do it!! It saves me a lot of time and effort, I guess thats the principle of lazy horsemanship!! Get the training right in the first place and most days run relatively smoothly. Took William's dressing off and rinsed it out and left it to the air all day. Back to the office to catch up with paperwork, e-mails etc. Carol popped in to see me then Sally and then Mandy, at least this way I get lots of cuppas!!! Been a really busy day with enquiries, liveries, saddlechariots, sarcoids, wholehorse weekend and horse agility it all happened today!! Time for another water and feed. 5 youngsters came onto the yard and decided they would like to throw some hay from the big bale over to the horses in the herd via the lower gate, saw me and tried to leg it but on a prompt shout they stopped and came back, I explained that I didn't mind them doing it but had to get my permission first, they replied 'ok mister' and off they went. I told them to make sure they shut the wooden gate to which they replied 'we couldn't open it when we came in so we'll climb over it again' Kids!!! Finished feeding the bottom yard and shut them in so they could continue munching on their big bale then up to do the stables. Flushed William's hoof out again and decided to leave it uncovered overnight as well. Back to do more on the computer.
16th April 2012
A bright but still chilly start, it warmed up during the day, the ground has dried up amazingly quickly again allowing us to feed further away from the fence. Valley managed to break her way into the tack room and munch her way through a bucket of soaked beet and a fair bit of chaff out of the bin. William continues to improve. Re-hung the gate in the middle of the yard to enable it to open and close easier as Frodo does appear to enjoy his walkabouts!! This will stop him from going too far. We moved the internal barriers in the large outdoor stable allowing Kevin and Ollie to come right to the front, it makes it easier for me to work with them. It won't be long now before some mares turn up to visit Ollie. Mary turned up so Mary, Chris and I decided to clear out the hay barn and tidy up the top yard, Chrissie turned up so that gave us an extra pair of hands, A good job done! Time for a well earned cuppa!!! Off to get a big bale of straw, on the back of my pickup, came back and had to stop at the top stable as the string was across to stop Valley from escaping then whilst pulling away the bale decided to slide off, thank goodness it wasn't on the main road, with a bit of shunting and pushing with the front end loader we got it into the back of the stables and stacked it in the storage bay. Decided to open up one of the big indoor stables to let Valley and Frodo come in and out as they wish, they were sheltering in the front of Kevin and Ollie. We put a barrier across the straw store and one across the alley way to stop them from wrecking the whole place!! By now it was time for the evening feeding and watering. William is still improving so hopefully not too long before he can re-join the herd. Had a long conversation with Simon. Now time to get dinner on ready for Pam as she is working late.
17th April 2012
An incredibly wet day today with the wind blowing and the rain lashing down, it continued this way on and off throughout the day. The majority of the herd were waiting in the school when we went to feed them but soon came out once they heard us. On counting them 2 were missing so off to investigate, Winnie had gone under the electric fence into the individual paddocks taking the bottom strand of fence with her, this section of the electric fence is switched off at the moment!! Alice was quite happy munching on the grass on the right side oblivious to what was going on!! I led Winnie out and they then went off to eat hay whilst I got on with repairing the fence. The rest of the feeding went according to plan and William continues to improve, at this rate he will be ok for the Horse Agility competition on Sunday. Mary came up so we had a cuppa!! Mary and Chris then poo picked the school while I went to get Flo. Took Flo into the school, picked her feet and gave her a bit of a groom then decided to bring Dougal in as well. Todays project was to get them used to as many unusual sounds and moving objects as possible, used tin cans on a string, iBex being pushed and pulled and the big ball bouncing around the school. I introduced the hooter, holding it inside a cone to change the tone none of which concerned them too much. Decided then to bring Basil in, he found the majority of things fine, but the iBex a little scary, after a while he came to accept it. Long lined Flo in and around the other two, stood the frame up that normally holds the squashed plastic bottles, as an archway and drove her through, at first she was a bit wary so I led her through both ways and then drove her through without any problems. Played with the hooter whilst driving her and she found this no problem at all. Chris took her round a few times then I made a harness and set of shafts out of pipe lagging and put it around her she walked around quite happily with this touching her in different places, decided to untack her and tack up Dougal and have a go with him at which point the heavens opened, the rest of the herd were then standing at the gate wanting to come in, so change of plan and let the herd in. I groomed and played with Roy for a while before stopping for lunch. Off to sort out shaft tips and pick up the cord for the saddlechariots and iBex. By the time I came back it was time for a quick cuppa then feeding and watering. Chrissie came up to do Crashers ointment, Mandy turned up to see and muck out William. Back to feeding herd close to the electric fence again and still feeding them in two different locations. Went to feed the bottom yard and have a quick chat to Chrissie when the heavens opened yet again. Frodo still has the freedom to go where he wants but does know what time to return to the top stables for his bucket!! All tucked up and fed, time for a shower.
18th April 2012
Another incredibly wet start which lasted all day with very small intervals of sunshine! Morning feed uneventful. William is virtually sound. Made a few phone calls regarding The Wholehorse Weekend and sourcing components for the saddlechariots and iBex. Off to see the plastic guys, steel guys and finishers for the saddlechariots and iBex. Called into the harness maker to discuss having logos put on the harness. Finally got back to the yard to find the delivery of hay had arrived and 2 of the big bales were put in the wrong place so first job was to move them out of the way. Had a quick look at the horses as Chris, Chrissie and Chris's mum had done the evening feeding and watering. Chris reported that everything was fine while I was away. Pretty boring day but these things have to be sorted.
19th April 2012
After a tremendous amount of rain during the night the morning started reasonably dry. Morning feeding and watering went without any hitches. Poo picked the school, gave it a quick levelling then on with making some ointments and saddlechariot replacement parts whilst Mary watered the school. Mandy came up and mucked out William who should be back in the herd by Monday. A young lady came up to talk about livery whilst talking to her Chrissie came up to bring Crashers tack, someone had hit the back of her car last night so today she is in a neck brace, I am doing Crasher while she recovers.Off to town to sort a few things out. Chris and Mary bought Crasher into the school, when I got back we did a bit of ground work with him and some familiarisation, gave him a groom, put his ointment on and then returned him to the bottom yard. Run the leveller around the school again and then bought Flo in for a bit of a fuss and bit of extra food as she is working reasonably hard at the moment and deserves it! It was then time for the evening feed. By some miracle we managed to dodge some heavy showers we were either in the school or in the office!! Not quite as boring as yesterday!!! The wretched magpies are already pinching the blackbirds eggs as I found a couple of shells on the drive. Lots of wild flowers now showing and the hedges are greening up quite quickly its amazing just how fast stinging nettles and docks can grow and how slow the grass can be!!
20th April 2012
It started off a bit damp but didn't take long to warm up, although we did have the odd heavy shower. Fed the herd, Nounnat has definitely found her position in the herd. Ash decided she would like me to carry hay into the middle of the field for her, clever girl that way she gets the majority of it herself without the hassle!! Winnie is still trying to push her way through the electric fence into the individual paddocks, have switched the fence on so hopefully that will stop her, I'm sure they will all appreciate this when I let them all through, we have to rest them to give them a chance to grow. Flint, Chuck and Crasher are all getting on very well, they all seem to be equal in character. Horses on the top yard are doing very well. William seems very sound, we took him down to the school for a stretch and a roll, after a while he had gone tight in the shoulder so Chris worked on his muscles and by the time we put him back he was moving quite freely. Off to town once again to pick up more bits for saddlechariots. Got back and bought Flo in did a bit of work with her, she is my guinea pig at the moment, I check the harness etc out on her, because she is a good girl I gave her a bucket and then let her munch on the bits of grass that the horses don't normally get at. Then back to work on a collar. Sally came up to do a bit with Winnie and Roh, we had just started the evening feed so she sat and watched the horses. Mandy was unable to come up as her bike wouldn't start again so Chris mucked out William for her, while I got on with feeding and watering the others.
21st April 2012
A bright, sunny and warm morning with the odd incredibly cold, haily and rainy patches. No sign of the herd this morning, just Basil standing in the big field all on his own, the rest of them had managed to trash 3 seperate gateways through the electric fence, they soon returned on being called to get their breakfast. It could have been one of many that did it but definitely not Basil!!! Fed the bottom yard and sorted out the top yard then off to mend fences. Halfway through mending the fencing the heavens opened with hail, sleet and rain, it was sooooooooooo cold!! Winter had returned in seconds!! One of the geese is sitting on eggs on the mother-in-laws island, she is pretty safe there apart from the crows and magpies. Quick cuppa, then off to pick up supplies for tomorrows Horse Agility Competition. On my return it was lunch time, Muffins with chocolate spread yum yum!! By the time I had finished Nicola, Andrew, William and Abbie had arrived so bang went my 10 mins snooze!! Me and Abbie got Flo out of the herd and gave her a bit of food in a bucket, we then went up the top to get my hoof trimming tools, by the time we came back Flo had finished her bucket and was munching on the big bale of hay with the rest of the herd looking on in envy!! we left her there while we poo picked the school then Chris turned up, she started to rake the school and I finished it off while she started to water it. Abbie and I then bought Flo into the school for what might be the final fitting of her harness to pull the iBex, Abs held her while I adjusted and added bits and pieces we then put her back into the herd, although she would rather had gone back to continue munching on the hay!! Carol turned up and got Love out of the herd, I trimmed Love's feet and wormed her, Sally turned up just as I'd finished Love, Chris and myself set up a small Agility course so that Carol could practice with Love and Sally could practice with Roh and Winnie, it was a really good training session with all 3 of them doing very well. Time flew by and suddenly we were a bit late starting the evening feed. Fed the herd, the fields are incredibly wet again, I'm sure we have had enough rain for a while time for some warmth and chance for the fields to dry up a bit. When we got to the bottom yard Chuck, Flint and Crasher were in the front paddock with no intentions of coming onto the yard, I instantly guessed that the electric fence was shorting out somewhere near the gateway so got Chris to listen while I turned it on and off, sorted it out and fed them. Put the additional food for the herd in the lower part of the field. Abbie turned up after washing her eyes as they were full of hay, thats the trouble with throwing it into the wind and being little!! Up to the top yard to sort them out. Valley and Frodo were still strolling about freely, gave them a call and Frodo turned up quite quickly and Valley turned up in her own time!! I fed them Kevin and Ollie whilst Chris and Abbie mucked out William as Mandy's bike decided not to start again. Once he was done I fed and gave him hay. Another day over!!
22nd April 2012
A reasonably warm and dry start to the day, with the odd heavy shower. Herd all in their rightful place waiting for their morning hay, took Mel out of the herd and gave her her hay seperately as Mary will be using her for Horse Agility. The bottom yard is a bit yukky but the horses are still quite happy, will get the tractor in and clear it as soon as the weather permits, I really could do with a yard scraper!! Top yard fed and watered, got funny looks from Valley and Frodo as they were shut in the top yard today, didn't want them wandering around with the Horse Agility taking place, two loose horses could be a bit of a distraction. Chris and I set up the course, my challenge is to find a new element to the course everytime. Mary was the first to arrive closely followed by Chrissie. Had a cuppa and a chat then Mandy, Anthony and Carol turned up. We put Mel into the school so she could have a good look around the obstacles before she took part. William and Love were bought in and checked it out for themselves too. Had time for a bit of training before the competition started. William and Mandy were back on form, Carol and Love have definitely got the gist of it now, having trust and confidence in each other, Mary and Mel have come a long way and they are learning to trust each other. All three horses were far better off line. In the competition Mandy and William came 1st, Carol and Love came 2nd and Mary and Mel 3rd, there were very few points between them, this was Mary and Mel's first real competition and I'm sure this has increased both their confidences. Pam was on hand if needed. Mel and Love were put back into the herd and William back into his stable, time for the inevitable cuppa and bikkies!! Chris did her usual and kept the paperwork in order as well as being the photographer. When everybody had gone Chris and I bought Flo in and took her around the course a few times, she had a bee in her bonnet for some reason, she did everything or nothing at break neck speed so decided to leave her in the school while Chris had something to eat and I had a cuppa. When we returned I decided to long line her, she still had a bee in her bonnet about something, took her around the school and then down the lane to the old barn, she was fidgety and not her normal self, on the way back Flint managed to put his nose on the electric fence as we were passing, obviously made him jump and also Flo, who didn't then want to go beyond that point so whether Flint touching it caused Flo to be able to feel it as well, I don't know but after calming her down we continued back to the school. In the school we swapped her bitless bridle for a different one and then she was a totally different horse, calm, chilled and back to her normal self, although the first bridle is the one we always use on her, I am a bit confused but it doesn't really matter as I lined her down the lane again and she was perfect as normal. Back to the school and returned her to the herd. It was now time for the evening feed. Fed the herd and Alice decided she would just lie down in the field looking, I think she has worked out that if she doesn't come over I will take her hay to her, that way she doesn't have the hassle of the other horses, I reckon she must have learnt this from Ash, at this rate the hay will all be in the middle of the field and none by the fence line and they'll be going around and around again in circles!!! Fed the bottom yard and put Crashers ointment on, up to the top where Valley and Frodo were still looking fed up, not being able to wander where they like, back to normal tomorrow.
23rd April 2012
A wet, cold miserable day!! Not a lot of improvement throughout it. Horses all fed and watered, they didn't seem as miserable as I felt! Spent all of the day in the office on the phone, e-mailing etc. Fed the horses in the evening, I put Crashers ointment on and fed the top yard while Chris mucked out William. A totally boring day, not my sort of day at all, tomorrow can only get better!!
24th April 2012
A far better start to the day, warm and sunny. Whilst having a shave this morning I was looking out of the window watching the long tailed tits flitting between the trees, what truly amazing little birds they. Tree creepers were running up and down the tree trunk taking the grubs. All horses fed and watered. William is now sound, I filled the hole in his hoof wall to stop any further infection, then put him on the bottom yard with Crasher, Flint and Chuck. Mandy requested he have a rug on so Chris rugged him up but by mid afternoon he was too warm so we removed it, he settled in straight away with Crasher following him around as they had never met before. I went off to the post office to post some parcels whilst Chris got Nounnat in, by the time I got back Mary had turned up and Nounnat was going around the agility course loose, there were a few bits she was wary of so I put a head collar and lead line on her and she very quickly became undeterred by the obstacles. Mary took her round a couple of times, the obstacles she wouldn't do with Mary on the first go, Mary tried from a different direction and succeeded on all of them. Chris had a go and she went really well. I then went round her feet and relieved a couple of the bars, gave her a fuss and returned her to the herd. Chris and Mary cleared all the obstacles away while I found a couple of suppliers. Louise of The Pure Feed Company called in to have a chat on a wide range of subjects. Mary went home and Chris mucked out the stables, they are all ready just in case! She bought Flo in and gave her her bucket, long lined her around the school and down the lane, she said she was still a little hesitant to pass the spot where Flint touched the fence so I guess she must have felt it as well, Chris managed to get her passed it on the way there and back so hopefully that memory will fade pretty soon, when they came back Chris returned her to the herd, she then watered the school. After Louise had gone I caught up on all the phone calls and texts. Valley and Frodo have had their freedom back today much to their delight!! Time now to move hay around the yard in the middle of which a man turned up to discuss some welding for the saddlechariot/iBex. It was then time for the evening feed, now I'm not taking seperate hay into Alice and Ash they wait at a distance until all the barging and moving around has settled down then they come in and take their place, sharing quite happily. William has settled in well with the bottom yard but would not take his place at the feeder so fed him seperately, I'm sure it won't be long before he is back to his usual self, making sure he gets his fair share. On the top yard we now have Frodo, Valley, Kevin and Ollie all fed and watered , Valley is finally putting on weight. Chrissie came up to do Crashers ointment tonight, she is feeling a bit better.
25th April 2012
Rain, rain, rain and more rain!!! and very cold with it. The only horses anywhere near half happy were Kevin and Ollie. Increased the quantity of hay given to them all today and extra in Valley and Frodo's buckets, in my opinion the way to keep a horse warm is from the inside out. Most of the horses in the herd are sheltering in the school and the bottom yard are sheltering in their open fronted barn, not venturing out very much at all. For 90 seconds today I wished I stacked shelves at Tesco's!!!!! Thank goodness the feeling didn't last long just the initial getting wet!! Most of the day was spent in the office doing this and that, some thieving blighter through PP had pinched about 68.00, it took an hour and a half of phone calls and e-mails to try and resolve it, it was someone in Germany, PP tell me it will probably take about 10 days to sort out, I have suspended the account on the web sites etc. The evening feeding and watering was done as quick as possible, put Crasher's ointment on as Chrissie wasn't feeling too good today. Not much else to write as it is very difficult to distinguish one rain drop from another!!!
26th April 2012
Not such a cold start but still pretty damp and some very heavy showers throughout the day. The fields once again resemble a bog!! Those that once appeared to be greening up have now gone back to being muddy, thank goodness we closed off 3 fields before the rain came, once the weather warms up the grass should come through quite quickly, I have great faith that it will warm up again one day!!! Morning feed as good as it could be with none of the horses over happy, I bet William is wishing he was back in his stable! Thank goodness none of the horses were showing any signs of being cold so must be getting enough hay. Back to the office for a cuppa and alter my passwords to try and stop these fraudsters. Mary came up so her and Chris poo picked the school whilst I got on with setting up the PA System, I want to introduce Flo and a few of the other horses to sounds through the system. A few of the horses popped in to see us but with strange things going on they didn't stop long!! Spent a fair while putting jack plugs in and out of different holes to get the system to work which I finally achieved. Was going to bring a few of the horses in to work them but it was so wet and miserable and they do like to shelter in the school so decided to let them do what they wanted to do today.The variety of jobs I have to do is a great test of my practical abilities, most of which I achieve unless its a computer, tv, sky box etc I can never figure out how these work, but maybe I don't want to!! Time to talk to the plastic guys about the saddlechariot and iBex and order some steel. Off to get some horse feed back for a quick cuppa and then evening feeding time. Put ointment on Crasher as Chrissie is still not feeling too well. William is sound if a bit muddy!!
27th and 28th April 2012
Weather abysmal, rain and cold. Both days very similar, even the worms are drowning!! Yesterday bits for the chariots turned up so at least I could work in the dry and get the orders out. Horses are all pretty miserable and fed up with all this rain so we poo picked the school and let them come in and out as they please. Trying to long line 1 horse amongst 20 others is all a bit confusing!! We sure are going through lots of hay, I guess I'm using some that I'd saved during that warm spell. We managed to get it down to 6 big bales per week but this week it will go up to 8 or 9. Done Crasher's ointment on both days as Chrissie is still not feeling too well, although she did pop up this morning to see him. Valley and Frodo still enjoying their free roam making it back to the stables very quickly for 2 oldies when the heavens open. Spent a lot of yesterday on the phone yet again and had a long chat with my dad. Had to bring William in again this morning as he seemed slightly lame on the same leg, after washing it out and cleaning it there was no obvious reason, Chris walked him up and down the alley and he appeared pretty sound, maybe he's cottoned on that if he limps he gets bought into the dry and fed without having to work for it!! Mandy popped up and saw him to give a groom and a bit of a fuss. Sally came up and took Roh and Winnie in to groom and fuss them too. Whilst having lunch I spotted Frodo munching on Lavender and Honey Suckle, Honey Suckle would normally be taken to balance change but seeing as this was his choice and he is old and wise and I don't think there has been any change, it has given me something to think about. The lavender, I think he was taking off the dead heads and stems from last years growth so maybe it was for the fibre, I'm a bit puzzled as to why he would choose this when he has a vast range of grass, herbs and other foliage to choose from, I'm sure it will become clear and in future diaries I will tell you my thoughts or someone elses comments. It's incredibly hard trying to feed the horses hay against the wind, especially when you are trying to keep it close to the fence so they don't walk all over it, you end up walking all over it yourself!! Our new ploy in the lower part of the field is to put it close to the hedge on top of the stinging nettles, this seems to be working at the moment. The forecast for tomorrow is even worse than it has been so unless something really exciting happens you will see 2 days diary on Monday.
29th and 30th April 2012
On Sunday everything was done as quickly as possible.Chris has got a bad back so will be resting for a few days. Sally turned up in the evening just in time to help with the evening feeding. Did Crasher's ointment as Chrissie was off judging, if the weather here was anything to go by she was getting pretty wet!! The birds trying to feed from our new feeder must think it's a merry go round!! Its meant to be stationary but this wind makes it spin.This morning started with slightly less wind and rain and by midday the sun had come out and it turned quite warm. Chris still resting so fed the herd and the bottom yard then up to the top to feed them. William once again seems sound but I am going to keep him in for a while, it's bad enough having 28 others swimming around, all the mud won't help him. Went back down to poo pick school, if only I could train them to go outside like you do with cats and dogs!! that would save a heap of time, A lot of the herd decided to join me, not a lot of help more like getting in the way!! Most of them then went out leaving Dougal and Flo with me but even Dougal got fed up and went out leaving Flo to help poo pick!! or should I say giving me some more to pick!! Once I had finished I played with her for a while. Into the office to sort out a few things then off to town to pick up some steel as I've got a chariot going out Wednesday, worked on chariots for the rest of the day. Chrissie turned up in time for evening feeding so gave me a hand. Even Crasher is getting fed up with the weather, he gave Chuck a good telling off tonight this is unlike him, then Flint turned up and everything calmed down, they all learn pretty quick that you don't muck about with Flint! Went up to the top yard to muck out William and feed them. I guess we are quite lucky as only a few branches fell from the trees so no damage done by the strong winds. I wouldn't have believed that so much water could stay on a very steep bank if I hadn't seen it myself. A couple of good days with a little bit of breeze, sun and no rain and the fields would dry quite quickly (hopefully).
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