Saturday, December 31, 2011

31st December, 2011 Hitting the Trail

For the last day of the year, Jenny and I decided to join the boys for a trail ride. Our route tooks us through Palestine and for a rummage around Jack's Bush. We described a huge horseshoe from Pepperbox Hill, across to Cholderton and then Boscombe Down before heading home via Salisbury Racecourse and Whitsbury. It was very wet and slidy out there and we had some interesting encounters with trees, bushes, ruts and water. All I've done is sit there and balance (mostly) but I am now totally worn out!

Of course some people (!) called Jim, will run for the camera rather than the first aid kit when they see us rolling around on the floor. We were mainly rolling with laughter having previously driven straight into a bush.

I am really looking forward to 2012 with Theoden coming home, getting fitter and a Mark Rashid demo in May. We've got holidays booked in Mallorca and France and four more editions of the IH magazine to conjure up.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

25th December, 2011 Christmas Lunch

Had to try out my new lens when visiting the horses to give them their Christmas Lunch. You'd think they would do their hair and make up!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

24th December, 2011 Looking for Santa

It's been a quiet week but Jack and I have been out and about running and walking. Today we went on a completely new route across the Forest with him off the lead rein for most of the way. It was quite a gloomy day but we were very happy jumping over things although I have to say he is MUCH better at it than I am. Apologies for the blurry photos but we only had the little camera.

Happy Christmas to all our readers and Jack Fans!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

18th December, 2011 We won't make the Olympics but...

One year on and Jack and I are getting fit again. This morning we ran together for 40 minutes across the Forest on the Seven Streams route. Save for the in the field where there is fresh grass to tempt him, he is usually loose. His stopwatch is a bit dodgy and he keeps stopping after 200 seconds, cutting me up and forcing me to go round him.

This time I have got the help of a fitness instructor who is a brilliant motivator. I've already lost some weight, gained some muscle and some energy. I've even bought the gear. Who knows, our plans for a sponsored run/walk across the New Forest may yet come to fruition but don't tell Sally or she will hold me to it. Once my face is less pink than my top, I may treat you to a picture of us at the end of a run.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

17th December, 2011 A Moving Experience

Off this morning to collect out new lodger, Indiana. The reversing camera that we have installed in the trailer is a useful bit of kit and very reassuring when travelling horses. It is clear enough to be able to see what they are doing and how they are reacting.

After all the introductions were over, they soon settled down. Chancer has clearly decided that she is his present although Peechay is very happy to play when he is not tooooo busy eating.

We also moved Bow, Philly and Memphis from one field to another for Alessa today. Alessa and I were competing in the most uncoordinated clothing competition but she does at least have the excuse of being pregnant whereas I am just scruffy. Bow used to take a long time to load but is a lot easier, and travels a lot better these days. David is always careful to 'chauffeur' the horses rather than rattling them around the lanes. The idea is that they shouldn't spill their champagne. As always Philly loaded in an instant, closely followed by Memphis, having only known good journeys ending in better grass!

Friday, December 16, 2011

16th December, 2011 Make that 47

Yet another dead pony on the B3078. He was surrounded by the fur that the poor agister had had to clip off in order to see his brand so that he could let the owners know. I don't know if this was the usual hit and run in the twilight hours but this was the only evidence of the car left. Funnily enough all the cars were slowing down to have a good gawp at the body - I think they should leave them there a lot longer so that people have to face the truth. A picture of a dead pony was taken off the Facebook campaign page this week because someone had complained about it.

16th December, 2011 Untangled

As the last few foal tangles fall out of Peechay's tail, I have brought him for the very last time in order to prepare him in for weaning and then going off to his new home. Despite the accidents, I love the life that my New Forest ponies have, their ability to socialise with others horses of all shapes and sizes and to look after themselves. Tomorrow Indiana will also arrive so that Peechay has got someone to play with when Nelly eventually goes back out and the two littlies can keep Chancer warm all winter. At the moment he's looking as plump as Jack but I know that he won't use the Nissen hut and the Hay Bars unless he has some pleasant company.

In the meantime the alfresco cafe bar has opened outside the fields with Brandy, Ginger and Blue all enjoying the waitress service.

16th December, 2011 New Forest Roads Campaign

With 46 animals now killed or injured on the B3078 alone, I think its time that there was real and prolonged public outcry. This Facebook page has been set up to record events including deaths on the roads and suggestions for how they might be avoided. Twilight and foggy conditions create the greatest risk with commuters hurrying on their way to work and home again with scant regard for the safety of the ponies. Lovely Simon Palmer, the wildlife and equine photographer and film-maker has offered to make a special film focussing on this issue and preparations have already begun. We need to target businesses around the Forest, at either end of these commuter roads to increase awareness. During the day, delivery and courier service vehicles seem to the be the worse culprits for speeding and I have taken to ringing their companies when I see them doing it. Fortunately it does seem to be taken seriously. Please find this page on Facebook and support it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12th December, 2011 Coming Home for Christmas

I've just spent four days in East Sussex visiting and working with Theoden. All being well (and weather permitting) he should be coming home during Christmas week. It has been months now since he has bucked and he is much more relaxed and soft about leg and mouth contact. We still have to be tactful and fair but he is much more willing than he was.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

7th December,2011 One in, all in?

Time to go over to see Puck and co. again today for a bit more foot handling practice before Matt's next visit. I was delighted to find that the barn has now been prepared ready for the ponies to come in out of the cold and wet when they want to, to eat their hay and to have their feet trimmed when needed. Partly concreted, it has the added advantage of gently abrading their feet and letting them dry out so that they recover from thrush. It will also have a deep straw bedding put down so that they can have a bit of a snooze.

The only slight technical problem was that with the exception of Muffy, who used to walk into the kitchen at their old house, the ponies have never been indoors before. Rather than driving them in and shutting the gate, I wanted them to be free to come and go and to explore this space which is to become their hotel to which they will have free access all winter.

 They were understandably wary particularly as it was a very blowy day and there was the occasional Chinook overhead. Nevertheless, all of the girls were willing to give it ago.

 Puck on the other hand wasn't all that keen to try so I used the same technique as I would with a loader to ask him to at least engage with the doorway. Once he was through the threshold (thresholds are very important and dangerous places as far as horses are concerned) he was fine.

 The others followed him in and the gate was finally closed. Once settled, I was able to handle their feet sometimes two at a time...

 Before they went back out again.

This is the barn where I first met my very own Nelly and Bluey when they were with their previous owner who was a previous owner of the house. A real feeling of deja vu.