Sunday, December 31, 2017

31st December, 2017 Keeping Track of the Situation

Typical that on a day that I wanted to discuss something with Nelly and the ‘out’ ponies, she didn’t turn up for her breakfast. My friend Kate Walding has loaned me her tracking system which I am looking forward to trying out on Nelly so that I can find her easily when I need to and also map where she has been. Hopefully she will turn up tomorrow morning.

On the subject of tracking, I’ve made the hard decision to close my blog as I feel as if I have nothing useful left to say that I haven’t already said (many times) before. I’d really like to thank everyone who has followed the blog over the years and especially those who have sent encouragement and love through the airwaves.

The Roman God Janus is associated with January and is often depicted with two faces, one looking backwards and one looking forwards. I can look back over all of the work that I have done over the past decade or so with a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have changed the outlook for many horses and their owners, and look forward to the future writing my book and seeing where life takes me. You can still keep track of me and the horses through my personal Facebook page.

I am optimistic about the future of horses with their humans especially now that those streams of horsemanship that evolved during the eighties and nineties, once followed with unquestioning rigidity, are being subtly tailored to the horses they are applied to. It’s great to see that many of them have become main stream and that people are using a logic, and not just human logic, when training their horses. It’s wonderful for me to see so many No Fear, No Force techniques being used with semi-feral and nervous horses and ponies – there is a lot to be said for a feather duster and a soft scarf.

Please do the best by your horses, donkeys, and mules, and give them all a kiss for me.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

30th December, 2017 Send Me a Reminder!

Another lovely afternoon with Jayne Chapman, Reserves Officer for Butterfly Conservation and a useful reminder of just how sensitive semi-feral Exmoor ponies can be. These five, originally from Exmoor but via a home in Marlborough, are still pretty wild and very suspicious of people hiding with cameras or attempting, no matter how subtly, to herd them into a new field. They came through into a middle section and that's as far as their courage would take them. When your body resembles a little brick sh*ithouse, you can run through whoever is attempting to move you! So they've got the bronze age burial mounds for a short while before they are asked to move again.

30th December, 2017 Accidents will Happen, It's Only Hit and Run...

Another pony killed on the B3078 last night. I don't know whether the driver reported it and I don't know the circumstances of this particular event so won't comment on them - it's just another terrible illustration of what we are up against. I would like to see the law on "Failure to report" enforced properly so that the police and the agisters have the chance to analyse what happened and whether the driver was at fault before the evidence has disappeared and the driver has ...had time to concoct a good story. The law says that an accident must be reported as soon as REASONABLY PRACTICABLE and in any event within 24 hours. Most people read that as meaning that the driver has got 24 hours to tell the police. That is not true. The law was drafted as such to enable people to get to the nearest telephone box, to make sure that they and their car were in a safe position, to recover their vehicle and, if needed, to get in to hospital themselves. These days we have instant communication, so all that a driver needs to do is to reach a safe place to position themselves and then dial 999. Instead people are driving off, leaving fatally injured animals in agony in places that are difficult to locate after the event, and phoning (or getting their wife to phone up!!!) once they have reflected on what their story will be, how much damage there is to their vehicle, and whether or not anyone witnessed what happened and might have taken down their registration number, in other words, whether they are likely to be caught. This is cowardly and illegal. If the injured animal was a human no-one would think this was acceptable. "Oh, I thought I was going to be late for work so I got my wife to phone a couple of hours later. Not good enough!

Friday, December 29, 2017

29th December, 2017 The Breakfast Club

I have to confess to holding my breath when the ponies were nowhere to be found yesterday. Today they all turned up en masse asking for their breakfast although it appears that they had all been round to Roly's first. I shall drop some hay off at his to say thank you.

We're getting through a fair bit of hay at the moment plus hard feed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

27th December, 2017 Walkabout

Working on the basis that today was likely to be the quietest day of the year, I turned Peechay out with Juma and their Mum. Everything went to plan as they had an early feed and then hay on the Forest in order to try to do everything in slow motion. Peechay and Juma were soon off exploring and it was wonderful to see them both together, drinking the sweet Forest water, greeting other horses, and working their social skills. After about an hour they all disappeared at a flat out gallop and were nowhere to be seen. I shall go and check up on them later and hope that I can find them then.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

26th December, 2017 Bubble and Squeak Day

There are some people who put so much time and effort into Christmas - weeks of preparation getting everything just right. These same people forsake all of the calories on Christmas Day itself, never over-indulge, and are more excited on Boxing Day than Christmas Eve. These are the (mad?) people who take part in the New Forest Point to Point. The three mile course (1 1/2 mile for children) is kept secret until the day of the races and riders can choose their own route to the finish. The overnight rain had rendered an already challenging course even more muddy.

Well known sires: Farriers Fingerprint and Sway Mister Blue Sky marshalling for the day

Inevitably the children of long established Commoners are starting to come through on their ponies, the Lovell brothers coming first and second in their class, no doubt heralding many years of fiercely contested races.

Friday, December 22, 2017

22nd December, 2017 Fun Break

The weather might be a bit dreary but the horses are in fine form. Pie has taken to coming home for lunch which saves me from worrying about him losing weight over the winter.

The British Horse Society always recommend putting out one additional pile of hay in order to avoid confrontation. This enabled Juma to have a comfortable morning while Peechay ate all around him

Time to get up and a nice stretch...

Henrietta thought I ought to spend my break keeping her entertained. She was keen to practise her cross-country jumping.

She was a little taken aback at the donkey braying across the road - she had never heard such an awful racket.

Juma catching up on his own hay intake...

...and has anyone seen Peechay?