Monday, December 11, 2017

11th December, 2017 Rites of Passage

Having been overwhelmed with the support, love, hugs and even flowers that I received in respect of Petra, I now feel like the world's worst mother. I really had no choice about Petra and that made everything a lot easier and although I cried all day Saturday, I know that there was nothing else that I could have done. It felt at the time like the ultimate betrayal but it was also the ultimate kindness that I could do for her. Not so with having my ponies branded this morning.

A dry back helps things to go smoothly
For your average working Commoner, branding is one of those things that you take in your stride, part and parcel of keeping semi-feral ponies and really no big deal. Done properly, as it tends to be on the Forest, the brand takes less than three seconds to apply and many ponies hardly seem to flinch - Andrew the Agister always does a neat and efficient job. I don't accept that it doesn't hurt, either while it is applied or while it heals - and of course you can do very little to salve it because by definition it needs to leave a scar.

For anyone who is entitled to depasture a pony on the Forest, hot-branding is a legal requirement and until there is a reliable way of identifying a pony from more than three feet away, it will always be a legal and practical requirement for ponies living in large mixed-ownership herds. If there was an alternative I would be the first to try it. Of course I recognise my ponies and they are partly friendly so come to a familiar call, but they have to be recognisable both to me and to everyone else as mine and not someone else's in case of accident, emergency, or welfare issues.

To add insult to injury Juma was also micro-chipped. Both ponies were sedated.

I am in two minds about when to turn them out on to the Forest. I need to re-acquaint Peechay and Juma with their environment urgently and yet make sure that all three don't drop in condition - especially as Nelly is still feeding Juma. The quietest time would be over Christmas when the traffic dies down a little. Hopefully they would come home to be fed. The safest would be April when the clocks have changed and the commuters are crossing the Forest in the daylight. However, they would be back in again within a month to avoid Nelly getting pregnant when the stallions go back out.