Sunday 31 August 2008

Hector's house

The last week has been a very good one for Bill and Hector, who have both made excellent and very encouraging progress.

Bill has, for the first time, been in work every day and its a mark of how much he has improved that he has not only stayed sound but his hooves have actually responded to the additional miles by getting stronger and more capable.

The work of building up his fitness, not just for his hooves but for his whole body, can now begin.

Apparently he had been off work for over a year before he came here, as he was given time off to see whether he would come sound, and in the run up to his time off he was obviously worked only lightly as he was intermittently lame.

He has built better topline since his arrival in April, probably because he was moving more simply with being on the tracks, and as all our terrain is undulating (to say the least!), that in itself has helped him muscle up.

Hector was already fairly fit when he arrived, and of course was able to start work more or less immediately, so we are much further on with him.

In fact he went out for a very short morning's hunting on Wednesday, at 6.30am. He behaved very well, but it was a tricky day to have a young horse out, as it was misty and still, and there was a lot of standing around. After an hour of good behaviour - despite Hector's suspicion that when you hear hounds surely thats the signal that you are about to gallop about :-) - we came home, and will do the same again next week.

In fact, a few quiet, boring days would be ideal, as it looks as if he has hunted before and found it terribly exciting :-0 We need to teach him that sometimes its all very steady ;-)

Friday 29 August 2008

Still no hay!

Drizzly every morning, and although its warm and brightens up ok eventually, we still can't cut grass - it would rot before it ever dried out!

Everyone up here is in the same boat, so at least there is a Blitz spirit about the miserable soak-fest that has been summer 2008.

Hope the sun is shining where you are!

Wednesday 27 August 2008

The large William

I haven't blogged much about Bill, who arrived here in April.

To be honest its because he was not really able to do much but potter about the farm for the first 3 months that he was here. He was very lame on his left front, and although he had been diagnosed with navicular, digital X-rays showed quite extensive sidebone as well as a weak back of the foot and thin sole.

When I get the chance to update his page I will put lots more info up about him, but he is a very big lad, dwarfing all the other horses here and standing at least 17hh, propbably nearer 17.2. Of course when I ride him out I look ever so slightly over-horsed, but fortunately for me he is a perfect gentleman ;-)

Photos show his hooves on the day he arrived and after 4 months. His left front was in fact worse, and I will post pictures of that in the next day or so.

Unlike Hector, who had only been unsound a short time and who had mainly soft tissue damage, Bill's lameness had involved not only soft tissue but also bony changes which were always going to take much longer to improve.

He is now consistently landing heelfirst, and is happy on nearly all ground, apart from very uneven stones. I would certainly not trot him on hard surfaces just yet, but he is more than up for it on the view of his size I am definitely lining up Andy or my very tall neighbour to ride him on a more permanent basis!

Keep everything crossed...

I am checking forecasts obssessively, trying to find someone who can predict the weather with more accuracy than the Met Office...

After more rain and mist this morning, it is finally brightening, and I am wondering whether this is the fabled high pressure which we have been waiting for all week - well, all summer really.

If so, we will try and cut our grass (its nearly September!!!) tomorrow, so keep everything crossed that we get at least 3 days of good weather...

Monday 25 August 2008

One for the hoof anoraks!

Despite the foul weather (which is continuing today even though the nice man from the met office said it would be dry this week..DOH!), there is lots of good news at Rockley :-)

I haven't had the time to update the website for a few months now, so apologies for that. It means that the new horses haven't gone up there yet, including the latest arrival whom I blogged about in July.

We call him Hector, and he has settled in very well. He is only 6, but is terribly grown up, and when Sarah Braithwaite was down with her ditzy young Arab he proved to be an excellent nanny - possibly because he and Morris were totally colour-coordinated, both in bright orange...

He hacks out on his own or with the other horses, and although when he arrived he had been diagnosed as bilaterally lame and short-striding, according to his former vet, he is now sound on fields and roads, and will pick his way over stony ground.

He was landing severely toe-first when he arrived, and from the photos of his hooves you can see why he had had problems.

The top photo shows him on the day he arrived, with long toes and heels starting to under-run. Even so, within a couple of weeks on the tracks and yards here, he was landing heel-first, which is the main reason he has improved so quickly.

The lower photo shows him 6 weeks later, and you can see how much new and better hoof wall he has already grown.

Monday 18 August 2008

Guess what? Its raining.....

Bored of the rain now, feel like the whole of Devon (probably the whole of England) is wet and mouldy...Thank goodness for our tracks, because the fields would be getting trashed if the horses were on them any more, and the grass is still growing like mad, so is way too much for most of them to be on, except at night.

Actually they are al jostling to come in and stay in, given half the chance, and are loathing ths weather the last few weeks especially.

Hunting has started again, so at least that has cheered everyone up a bit, and miraculously it has been dry on the days we have got out...

A small silver lining in what is turning out to be an increasingly depressing summer... :-(

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Best puppy dog!

Not about the horses today, as it was the Puppy Show, and we went to cheer on the hound puppies we walked last year, leaving this year's puppies (Rookie, Goldfinch and Griffin) at home with some lamb ribs for company!

It was a wet, drizzly day, and although it was mild it really didn't feel like summer...The hounds, though, didn't care, and had a great day, all looking marvellous and an absolute credit to our huntsman.

Our three, Bingbong, Belfry and Belfast of course looked the most beautiful, to our biased eyes :-) It was just lovely to see them having such a great time at the biggest party they had ever been to!

In total, there were 24 puppies (12 couple), and there had to be a best dog, best bitch, and overall best puppy, just as in any show...It was unexpectedly nervewracking, but Belfry was one of the last 3 dogs, and then was declared best dog :-)

There were some gorgeous bitch puppies, and he lost overall to the best bitch, Dahlia, who was stunning - Belfry certainly thought his luck was in when he found himself in the ring with only her for company!

A great day, despite the rain, and we are already excited about seeing them out trailing!

Monday 4 August 2008

Oh no not more!

How did another week get by without me blogging? I was hoping to cut haylage last week, but its been PEEING down all week, and the forecast is still grim for the next few days. Its not funny any more, we, the ponies and the puppy dogs are all bored and want some summer... :-(

The whole farm is running with water - the land always drains well, but honestly the streams are running as if its January, not August...Its nice not to have to worry about a water shortage, but its getting ridiculous!

On a more positive note, the ponies are all in good form, and are enjoying being back in work. Charlie had a great week, being ridden by Neil, who was staying with us, and who volunteered to ride out despite atrocious weather - thanks again, Neil, and Laura, his wife, who took the pocket rocket out for me at the beginning of the week :-)

Hunting should start this week, which will cheer up Felix, Bailey, Charlie and Conto :-) The newbies have yet to be introduced to hunting, so we have that to look forward to...