Saturday, December 24, 2016

24th December, 2016 Friends with Benefits

Hi it's me! The thumb is getting better every day and fortunately not hurting. Nevertheless I am told it will be the end of February before I can put my hands on a horse. In the meantime I can do some hands off, instructional work either with the owner or with Tracey and the horse. I'm going to have another week off completely, save for one visit to Dottie, and then I shall start doing a bit more.

Henrietta was acquitted at her recent trial
In the meantime I am 15,000 words into my next book with people queueing up to read the first Chapter and hoping to have it finished by the end of my enforced rest. From New Year's Day I will be setting up my charity phone line in aid of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Association (which supports rescue work across the fire and rescue and veterinary services), HorseWorld and Shy Lowen. For a minimum donation, horse owners will be able to contact me for advice about their horse. If you have a New Year's resolution involving your horse, you could give me a call. Details will be announced on New Year's Day.

Delegation is a wonderful thing: but I still feel guilty.
Like all of the Recommended Associates, I am insured for every aspect of my work but not covered for personal accident. This makes Henrietta a VERY EXPENSIVE mule but then it is the same with all rescue animals. There's always something costly about them! Helen has just found this with her mule Hattie. While she was with me I pointed out that I had spotted a problem with her teeth. This is what she has found!

The wobbly ones will need to be removed.
That all looks rather complicated and we know that the best equine dentists don't come cheap!

We have abandoned poo-picking and will harrow and rest the fields in the spring; this makes me feel guilty too.
I saw all of my horses, in and out, this morning. They all look really well, particular Nelly, Blue and Pie out on the Forest. I'm wondering if the two mares could be pregnant from the shape of them. I'd be keeping these foals for myself so I am not worried about adding to the number of horses in the world. Despite the risks of the wretched roads on the Forest I think they have a splendid life and are bursting with health. Their annual welfare benefits turned up yesterday, £127.66 to put towards their upkeep, £66 of which will find it's way back to the Verderers on New Year's Day for their marking fees.

Pie is not entitled to any benefits because he is a boy!
This current injury almost put a tin hat on what has been my busiest but most testing year. David often says you should have the inscription "The horses are alright" along the side of my car. However, most of my customers are absolute stars, with their hearts in exactly the right place, and the odd ones that aren't soon fall by the wayside. If you are one of the former, and not one of the latter, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. In any event, mules like Hattie, and ponies like Nightingale, Hector, Bear, Twizzle and Ivy make it all worthwhile. Zoe and Zelda were fantastic, and to take them from pretty unhandled to a major show was amazing.

Nightingale, happy, sound and trim in his new environment
From the New Year I will be reinstating non-returnable deposits for appointments since late cancellations can ruin a small business and it's not fair on other people who wanted an early appointment but can't be fitted in. I think it's fair to test people's commitment to their horses before I go out. Make 2017 the year that you think and feel deeply about your horses.