Saturday 29 March 2008

Its AGES since I blogged!

Oops! Although we've finished lambing (thank goodness) its been full on over Easter, but in a fun way, with lots of hunting and lots of break-throughs with the rehab horses...

Jack has been hunting for a couple of very short days - he found the wet ground out on the moor pretty worrying, so only stayed out for an hour and a half, but on the plus side he loaded and travelled like a pro, so we were very pleased with him.

He will go out for short days and then we hope he will gain confidence on the moor over the summer.

Felix had a busy week, hunting full days on Easter Monday with a friend's daughter, and then with our very own Sarah Braithwaite on Wednesday.

Felix and Conto had a rather epic day, as we were out for 7 and a half hours (!). Con unfortunately fell into a bog, and was rather stiff the next day as a result, but Felix was pinging all day long.

It was Charlie and Bailey's turn today, in wild and windy weather more reminiscent of January than the end of March.

Dexter has also had a good week, and after a few days of ups and downs with his feet, has stabilised very well indeed. He is now going out happily without boots, and is very sound and comfortable on roads and concrete. He has been working steadily, and is going out for an hour's roadwork 2 or 3 times a week, as well as working in the school.

His owner is coming to see him this week, and I hope he will be able to really show off to her :-)

Friday 14 March 2008

UKNHCP conference

Exciting news for us hoof anoraks, as we have booked Dr Robert Bowker to speak at our conference in July this year, and we will have 3 whole days to ply him with questions and hear about the latest research :-)

There will be one day (Thurs 17th July) which will be open to all, and 2 days for UKNHCP members only, and we have ben very fortunate to be able to hire Bristol University's Equine Studies Centre at Langford for the duration, so huge thanks to Robbie Richardson for facilitating that :-)

I will put details onto the events page of the website, and it will also be on shortly.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

There's no such thing as bad weather...

...just inappropriate clothing...or so we keep telling ourselves...

Another horrendous day here, with rain, gales, and general meteorological misery.

The horses are making their views quite clear, as they are firmly in favour of staying in the barn, with occasional forays out to eat haylage in the firs or the yards when the weather is not too bad. They will do anything to avoid the prevailing wind, so we feed from whichever hay feeders are the most protected.

Even those who are fairly low in the pecking order are allowed in to share the undercover feeders, and there seems to be a "Blitz spirit" which means they are all able to eat together fairly contentedly round the most sheltered feeders in bad weather, when on a sunny day there would be rivalry for the best spots.

The sheep seem mostly to be crossing their legs, very sensible, and although we have fished out a couple of lambs over the last 24 hrs they are generally are refusing to come out till its sunnier, at least I hope so :-)

Sunday 9 March 2008

Dexter, Jack and Lucy

...what stars they have been over the last couple of weeks!

They are the 3 relative newcomers to the yard, and in the last 2 weeks have been involved in:

Mary Bromiley's clinic
Ben Hart's clinic
2 x Active Natural Hoofcare study days, and
UKNHCP Orientation clinic...

It was a new experience for all of them, and all 3 behaved perfectly on every occasion.

Lucy, who is not in work at the moment because of her tendon injury, really enjoyed the opportunity to be a star at Ben's clinic, and working with flags, tarpaulins, and other strange objects. She was also reunited with her old owner at orientation, and it was nice to hear how much better she thought the injury was looking.

Jack, who was formerly not trusted to be tied up or worked in the school has been a gentleman throughout, and patiently standing to be trimmed and whilst we talked about his hooves!

Dexter has a lot more experience than the other 2, and so of course took everything in his stride. It probably helps that he is now living with the "in" crowd - Bailey, Felix, Charlie and Conto - and he seems to be feeling rather smug about this social promotion!

He has not been trimmed, as he is not due for another week, but he was very tolerant of having his feet inspected by all the students, and although his hooves don't yet stand up to comparison with Ghost (the other "navicular" horse here at the moment), they are starting to look very promising :-)

Thursday 6 March 2008

Boing! Its lambing time...(!)

Of course, when you have clinics running and lots going on with the horses, what you really need is for your sheep to decide that now is the perfect time to start lambing....(!)

My own fault, as we clearly had a ram break out last year, because we are not scheduled to lamb normally til April...

So far we have been lucky and the weather has been amazing, and as we have 16 lambs so far, its just as well. We are only lambing on a very small scale compared with our neighbours, who have hundreds, or even thousands of sheep to lamb - phew!

No chance to post photos yet, but the lambs are seriously cute ;-)

Saturday 1 March 2008

Ben Hart Clinic

We have had a lovely day today, with Ben Hart giving a one day clinic on equine behaviour and training.

A mixture of UKNHCP members and "normal" horse owners trekked up to Rockley, and luckily for us the sun shone, even though it was chilly at times...