Monday, 3 January 2011

A good start to the New Year

To the huge relief of all of us, especially the horses, hunting was on for New Year's Day and we had a wonderful time.  Angel, Felix and Bailey were on top form and firing on all cylinders.  Keeping the horses fit during the snow and ice is definitely much easier for barefoot than shod horses and you would hardly have known that the 3 of them had had a break from hunting. 

Exmoor was looking very wintry, but it was fantastic to be back out there!

The girls were also on top form, and were even more thrilled than we were to be out and about - they went like rockets, as usual(!)

And the next 2 photos are for anyone who thinks that the terrain on Exmoor must be easy for barefoot horses because its all soft ;-)  The problem of course is that Angel was so full of enthusiasm yesterday that getting him to slow down enough to take a good photo was almost impossible - even on the stony tracks. 

...and if you look carefully, you can see the other reason why Exmoor can be a challenge - especially for horses like Angel who were brought up on perfect, level ground in the Netherlands and only exercised in an arena.   At the top, the last of the field are just coming off the hill - and its every bit as precipitous as it looks.  

I have to say that I have rarely had a better day on Angel than yesterday - he was foot perfect on the steepest hills, the boggiest ground and the most treacherous rocky paths, as fit as a flea and an absolute joy to ride - Angel, 2011 may be your best year yet :-)


Barbara said...

I would love to do a hunt someday. There are two Hunts here. They go careening off like madmen chasing coyotes across sage and prairie dog riddled ranch land. Insane.
I went once as a guest and more or less just followed along behind (there were no hills for hilltopping)... never again. I grew up riding over that sort of terrain and rarely galloping and never chasing something. :-)

Nic Barker said...

Barbara, there is nothing better IMO than a good day on Exmoor with the foxhounds - the country amazes me every day and nothing better than watching hounds and horses crossing incredible terrain - its a privilege every time, but you need a horse you can trust, for sure :-)

cptrayes said...

Well Angel isn't bad for a horse that was about to be put down with "navicular" is he :-)? I've always been cross he was too small for me and I had to pass him to you - he should have made a great dressage horse!! Our hunt was on as well, after four weeks off ..... and I was sick! (virus, not hangover, honest). Can't wait to get out this Saturday now!


Nic Barker said...

Not bad at all ;-) Think I've spoiled him for dressage though 'cos he prefers fast razzin' nowadays! Fingers crossed for Saturday for us all - I've never known such a dire run of weather :-(