These days, I tend to lead a quiet life as you know. I have, I suppose, largely retired as a public figure and enjoy my peace and quiet here on the yard. Lately, though, it seems I am in demand!
My Auntie Jane in the North sometimes asks me to send her some tail hair. I find this quite a personal request really – we have never met – but she says Auntie Jane is a good egg and does clever things, so I spare her some tail now and again. She uses it to do pottery. There is a technique called Raku and they use tail hair like mine to make patterns. Last year, Auntie Jane gave her a pot which had been decorated using my hair. Imagine! *whispers* There is a rumour that it may be awarded a place in the new kitchen as well.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, she asked for some hair again but here’s the thing: I need my tail! There are a lot of flies around at the moment, it’s hot, and our tails are really useful for swishing. And I also have another call on my valuable time -I am going to a show, so best tails are needed!
My local show is Cardigan County https://cardigancountyshow.org.uk/. I have been there before, in the coloured pony class, but this year there are special classes for Rescue Horses and Ponies like me! There are two classes, one where we are shown in-hand and another where the ridden boys strut their stuff. The classes are sponsored by my good friends at RSPCA Ceredigion. They will be judged equally on history, condition and turnout, and conformation. Everyone has to submit a little story with their entry and then turn up for judging on the day. I am very excited because I love a day out!
As you know, I have a companion now. His name is William Bach.
He is not a rescue pony but there are two classes which he can go in, so he will be coming with me. I will have to give him a few pointers on how to behave, trot nicely in-hand and how to leave me for short periods, but I am confident that we will have a great party. Come and join us if you can!
You see what I mean about being in demand?
Well I must say the rugby was quite satisfactory this weekend. The brave Scarlets led from the front on Saturday and the Azzurri gave that other side plenty of food for thought on Sunday. After the match, she came whizzing down to the yard on the quad to do evening stables. I am in pony prison at the moment, because I have had a bad spell with my feet. Maciej says the x-rays look good, but ouch! my toes have been tender so I am in a small stable on rubber mats and a lovely straw bed, until the inflammation goes away. Here’s the thing though: for the first time since William Bach came to join me, he has to sleep in his own stable. It is right next door to mine and we can touch noses through the window space, but he doesn’t like it much – he squeaks a lot, even though I tell him it’s OK. During the day, he is allowed the freedom of the yard and at 3pm yesterday, he decided to go exploring. By the time she came down, he had completely disappeared. She called and rattled the feed buckets, but there was no William.
There are some ponies next door, so she bravely set off in the twilight to see whether Willliam Bach had crossed the stream to join them. As she scrambled past the big badger sett, she heard a rustle just ahead of her. It was an otter! This, apparently, was very exciting.
The trudge up the neighbour’s field proved fruitless, The ten (rather tasty) Shetland mares had not seen William Bach. She came back to the yard, calling, whereupon William the cat showed up, wondering why she wanted his attention.
She focused on the woodland next. It is rather steep but she tried to follow William Bach’s tracks through the leaf mold.
As she got further away, I could hear her calling William Bach. She also shouted some words I haven’t heard before. It was when she reappeared in front of the stables on her back side – I expect she wasn’t very keen on making that climb all over again. I ate my hay and kept quiet.
She struck off up the stream past the Moyers Dam. It’s in a state of disrepair now, because the engineers have not attended for quite a while. The stream is in full spate and there were more words as she stepped in mud so deep you could have lost a small pony in it.
I shouted back to her, by way of moral support, and then we heard WIlliam Bach! He did what passes as his whinny – sounds a bit like a large pig – and it definitely came from the woodland above the stables. Joanna heard it too and we all thought we had found him.
Off she clambered again, muttering in a tired way, about other people’s animals, young ponies, the Napoleon syndrome (what?) and winter. Because winter was really the problem here; by now it was dark. She checked the quarry and behind the hen house, but couldn’t see him anywhere. She came back down, this time on her feet, and said ‘It’s no good TIm. I can’t see in there. Keep talking to him and I’ll be down at first light.’ Joanna checked before she went to bed, to see if he was home (brought me an apple, she’s good like that), but there was still no William Bach.
I did as I was told and first light came. Joanna went off to work and she arrived. She quickly did the feeds and rattled the buckets. A definite piggy squeak was heard – William Bach was hungry! She set off again, with renewed energy, and found him! He was, as you can see, well camouflaged in the wood and really not very far from where she had been last night.
He had burrowed his way through some bushes and could get no further. He was very glad to see her and did a lot of nervous chattering. She had to crawl through the trees and bushes, the way he had gone, and ask him to turn around (it would appear that he hadn’t thought of that). Once he was facing the other way, the escape route was easy. There was now only one thought on his mind – breakfast!
I do hope, for sake of my nerves and her immortal soul, that he has learned his lesson!
I have two young friends you know;
One’s called Josh, the other one’s Joe.
They don’t live here, but a little way away,
But they know me and I know they.
Sometimes they visit, do Josh and Joe
They bring me treats and they always know
My favourite things that I like to eat.
A carrot of my own is my biggest treat!
Now I’ve a friend who is all my own
He lives in my stable so I’m never alone.
His name is William and he’s very small,
But we’d look pretty silly if he’d been tall!
A Happy New Year from Josh and Joe
Was a present to eat, and I won’t say no!
Carrots and parsnips in a bag to share,
William and I had a feast then and there!
I have two young friends you know;
One’s called Josh, the other one’s Joe.
They don’t live here, but a little way away,
But they know me and I know they.
It’s my birthday. Well, probably not my for real birthday, but the anniversary of when I came here, exactly ten years ago. I was a poor thing then, as you know, and you can see my transformation if you look back at my blog: https://youtu.be/8W7ExbcLmx0
I have been well and happy for so long now, I think I am just an ordinary guy.
This year has been a bit tricky though. My laminitis has been giving me some bother and I need to chop and change my paddocks and stables, so that I can stay comfortable. The other horses are bigger than I am
and they need more grub, so the long and the short of it is, I have been spending a lot of time on my own. Luckily, I enjoy human company, so it’s not too much of a bind.
Yesterday, she hitched the trailer up and I wondered whether I was going to have a day out. I do enjoy a day out. But no, she went off this morning with an empty trailer and arrived home with a pony. Now, she used to do a lot of this, so we don’t take much notice, but it turned out this time was special. She brought William home with her and he is going to be MY FRIEND.
We spent a bit of time gurning through the gate at one another, then we were allowed to play.
William is only young, but he shows promise, so I have let him share my birthday cake.
(I am also changing my name to Big Tim).
This could be my best birthday ever!
Do you know my friend Maciej? He is my vet. We all like him but we try not to invite him to the yard too much, because if he arrives, it usually means that something is wrong with one of us animals.
He pitched up yesterday with a determined look. Tawny did a lot of walking about with her bad leg and then he said ‘We’ll do the first dental’. I had been observing from a safe distance, but I was summoned. ‘Good Boy Tim’ she said, as he stuck a needle in my neck! After that it was all fine.
I was vaguely aware that something metal was being put between my front teeth. I expect that is so Maciej could see my back ones. There was a cold mouth wash and then a far-away but persistent noise in my head. It was all fine really, because I had her to lean on as I got sleepier and sleepier.
I woke up a bit later, to be told I was a good boy again – that can’t be bad can it? My stable was completely bare. All my hay had been taken out because if I had tried to chew on it while sleepy, I might have choked. I was ready for my tea a couple of hours afterwards I can tell you!
Tawny did a bit more walking up and down, then Paddy got his dental. He didn’t have the needle and he says his was a lot noisier than mine. He is a really brave pony. I try, but sometimes that doesn’t work.
Maciej says my teeth are a bit wonk and perhaps I had an injury to my head in the past. All these years later, I don’t remember being in the boot of that car now, but maybe this is another battle scar from my past!
What a day I have had! It began with a special hay net (she stole the idea from a lady on the internet) and I made short work of it I can tell you.
Then she made me pose in my new headcollar, which was a present from Aberystwyth University. I have friends in high places you know – well, north places anyway – and I speak to them on Twitter. The colour was NOT my choice – maybe I will be an ambassador for a blue sort of university next time.
I spent most of the day outside – which is what I like doing mostly. I am allowed out when the winter weather is mild, but not when it is freezing. At 4 pm my guests arrived! as well as the staff, Tawny and Bramble came:
Not to mention Winston and William, the stable yard cats!
It was time for my cake, which I shared with Bramble and Tawny. Look at me blowing out the candle!
It was a yummy cake made of apple and carrots, so we all enjoyed it while the staff ate something called mince pies (what?):
When they got around to the mulled wine, I thought I had better see what they were up to, and I tried some
We have a party for my birthday each year. It doesn’t mark the day I was born, but the day my new life began. I am a second-chance pony and my first life was not too happy. I can’t remember a thing about it now, but she says people shouldn’t forget what happens when owners don’t understand the kind way to keep a pony like me.
If you would like to see what happened to me, please follow this link. And if you ever see a pony in poor condition, do something – please.
The back field is our driest one, so it’s usually Hooligan’s during the winter. Luckily, he wasn’t in it when Storm Frank hit us with his worst last week. The old ash tree in that field is over 140 years old – not bad for an ash, we think.
Ash trees tend to grow in a forked shape if they are left to their own devices, and one part of the tree must have broken off in the wind.
However, it had help! You have heard me tell before of the plentiful wildlife there is on this farm. We have foxes, badgers, an otter, the odd hedgehog (though not many, thanks to the badgers) and plentiful bird life, because of all the trees. One of the most interesting of these birds is the woodpecker (lesser spotted) which makes its home in the old ash tree. We often hear it hammering away and now that the branch has fallen the inroads are plain to see.
And right in the middle of that huge broken bough is a prime example of woodpecker engineering.
We horses were fortunate not to be near that tree when it crumbled. Storm Frank has gone to terrorise someone else and we guess the woodpeckers will have to look for a new home!
Today is my official birthday, when I celebrate the beginning of my life here. I have a good life now, but I did have a bit of a false start – you can look at my story here.
This year’s birthday will be unusual because I am not expecting any visitors. I shall have my cake as usual, at 4.30 pm, because that is the time I was collected from the side of the road. I shall also have lots of edible treats which I will share with my friends, Hooligan, Paddy, Bramble, Tawny and Tabitha (as long as she doesn’t make rude faces).
The thing is, I know I will always get one visitor, every single day. It’s usually the same one, but sometimes it’s Sarah or Joanna or Steve or the other Sarah (Happy Birthday Auntie Sarah!). They never fail to come. Even if I don’t need anything, they check that I am OK in the field – at least twice a day.
Not all ponies and horses are so fortunate. Some owners don’t bother in bad weather, or if they are late home from work. Some owners forget they have a horse when it’s the winter and sadly, many of my poor friends will starve this winter on their tethers or in wet, muddy fields.
If you are reading this, please look out! Don’t forget that all animals need to be checked twice a day and if you see a neglected one, do something! The RSPCA rescued me and you can report a poorly animal to them. But there are other organisations as well – Redwings, World Horse Welfare and the British Horse Society all have networks of caring people who can help a horse in need.
Here’s another film which explains a bit more about how I came to be here, and where she gets very serious about it all. I had fun that day, nibbling the front of the BBC lady’s cream cashmere jacket. She seemed to take it well.
I understand there is a precedent for some people writing directly to the Prime Minister with their concerns about the country. Let me make it clear right now that I am not a spider, but a small skewbald pony.
What is more, I am a pony with a passport! Trouble is, there is no database for my passport details to be logged, so my passport does not really serve much purpose.
What with you being a town boy, perhaps I had better explain some stuff. The EU (sorry) says we ponies have to be identified because over in mainland Europe they want to eat us. And all that is a tad irrelevant here, because nobody in the UK wants to eat us because we are companion and work animals in this country. But a database is such a good idea for other reasons – and it works really well for the cows and sheep so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for us too. It could regulate our sale and purchase and help to protect us from unscrupulous dealers (you’ll have heard of that persistent character Fly Grazing Bill, who has been in and out of your place a few times!). You see, I am a lucky pony, with a good home, but many of my poor friends are neglected and starving and action is rarely taken against their owners because there is no way of identifying them.
Anyway, sometime, when you’ve got a minute, could you sort it out please? If you want any help, just let me know.
Many thanks and good luck,