Of our own horses, Felix and Charlie have continued to be absolute hunting stars - although the snow and ice since the end of November has drastically curtailed their mileage and their outings, unfortunately. Better luck next year, boys :-)
Felix has been hunting with Richard and has enjoyed every minute out in front of the field in pole position behind the huntsman. Charlie of course went one better, by making it to huntsman's horse for a day, but I think - several weeks later - that Felix has nearly forgiven him...
Angel has also been a joy this season - admittedly he can be a handful on his first day out after 3 weeks off due to snow, but that's just enthusiasm and utterly forgiveable. He is now a very reliable hunter and wonderful over the terrain - enormous progress from this time last year, when he had only had a few days out and was very green, and both Edward and I have had some lovely days on him.
Andy's horses, Bailey and Jack, have now had access to their "annexe" overnight for a few weeks now, and seem to be enjoying the peace and the views. Jack, who has been off games since falling into a bog and pulling lots of muscles in the autumn, is finally back in gentle work and is proving even more of a handful than Angel - thank goodness he isn't fit enough to hunt yet - that will be quite a first outing...
Sadly, 2010 will also be remembered as the year we lost Ghost - a perfect gentleman and an amazing ambassador for barefoot. He was a great friend and had a wonderful summer but it still seems strange not to have him here.
On a happier note, 2010 has been a very encouragaing year for the rehab horses. We have had more visiting us than ever before and the vast majority of the horses who have been here have gone home sound and returned to full work, and - looking at the horses here today - I am sure that is a pattern which will continue for the next year.
Lets hope that the lovely update which I had from Lainey and Bailey W a couple of days ago is a window on the prospects for 2011:
"Bailey is going really well and we went for a 2 hour hack today and he was a dream to ride, his paces are really coming on and i can’t wait to get back into the dressage arena.lol. He just floats across the ground. His hoof pastern axis is the best it has ever looked and they look so much shorter and upright and strong."Its hard to believe that its nearly 6 months since Bailey W first arrived at Rockley - half a year gone in a flash - and it seems only yesterday that other horses who've been here this year, like Paul, Bobby and Charlie, Lexus, Lady, Storm, Rose and Frankie, were here too.
Most of these incredible horses have astonished their owners, me and their vets with their resilience and ability to recover - I hope that continues in 2011 :-)
Finally, and last but certainly not least, thank you to all of you - owners, clients, friends and family who've followed the blog, made comments, suggestions and given me food for thought, support and advice over the last year. Many of you have also been kind enough to give fantastic "references" for others who were thinking of sending horses down here, and I know you've also done an enormous amount online and off to support Rockley - I can't thank you enough, and a huge part of the success we have had over the last year - which has been extraordinary - has been down to you - you know who you all are, and although there are far too many of you to list by name, I hope you raise a glass to yourselves this evening, as I will to you :-) Happy New Year, everyone!