Luck

Luck can be good or bad and some say you make your own. As the recipient of some extremely good luck once, I doubt that statement.

But luck in sport – how does that work? We are great rugby supporters in this household and we have been watching the World Cup unfold. For the duration (being a Welshman) I wear my red headcollar and when I tweet in support of the brave lads, I always use the hash tag.

#wearinmyred

#wearinmyred

Wales fought a hard campaign and were heroes throughout. What is more, they were well-behaved heroes and were not always accorded the decisions they deserved. Luck played its part in their last match against Australia. It seemed as though they would prevail and just before half-time, a drop goal seemed to say that luck was on their side. I am honoured that my tweet featured on the roof of the O2 at that point.

Just imagine – my name in lights with the best outside-half in the world. I thought I would burst with pride!

The rest is a sad tale of bad luck and disappointment. For the ‘home’ teams, well. The luck of the Irish certainly didn’t make it to Cardiff and Scotland were truly robbed by a ref who should have gone to Specsavers.

Keep up the good work you brave British rugby players. Remember what Mr Gatland said: It’s not a matter of ‘if ‘a home side beats the All Blacks, it’s ‘when’.

Good luck!

Tim’s Poem for National Poetry Day

AUTUMN WARNING

I spotted it, I spotted it!
It wriggled on the ground
A worm, all white and gleaming
Amongst the poo was found.

A quick look at the worming plan
And off I sent the staff
Just get the right thing, one tube each
And don’t do this by half.

Well there’s Equi- this and Equa-that
The choice is something scary
And you could be sold the wrong thing
So it pays you to be wary.

The lady can advise us here
We’re lucky that we have her
To help us understand the terms:
The veterinary palaver!

To test the poo and test the spit
The cost works out amazing!
But we are very lucky here
To have rotated grazing.

So if you’re short of grazing
And you have a lot of gees
It’s time to get the chequebook out
And sort the worming fees.

And if your horse should have the luck
To be your only love
Go get a kit and test his spit
And poo (and use a glove).

Take care of us this autumn mild
When wriggly worms abound.
You know it’s what you need to do,
To keep us safe and sound.

A most excellent day

Yesterday, I had a day out. It all started with a bath on Thursday. I behaved pretty badly, all things considered, because it did not suit me, at that moment, to have my feet scrubbed. However, by yesterday morning I had thought it through. A bath usually means a trip out somewhere – and I am a very sociable pony.

There was a bit more polishing when I came in from the field yesterday morning, then it was best hat on and off for a walk up the lane. What? No trailer?

Shanks's pony

Shanks’s pony

We arrived at the church car park, to meet some very nice people, who gave me a soft mint, which is STILL stuck around my teeth today. They were in charge of some very smart cars with ribbons.

Nodes of transport

Various modes of transport

It was then that unfamiliar things began to happen. She worked a double plait into my mane and hung one of my shoes, all polished up on a pretty ribbon, in the plait. I felt a bit girlie I can tell you, but whatever! They kept telling me I was good, so I went along with it.

 

Wearing my shoe.

Wearing my shoe.

Then we continued down the road into the church yard. I liked it in there! There was plenty of grass for me to eat and some flowers which I wasn’t allowed to eat.

Off to church.

Off to church.

After a bit of muffled music and some shouting, some people came out of the door. It turned out to be my friend Jane and her new husband Dave! They had got married! And my shoe was a good luck token for them.

Hope she didn't break a fingernail!

Hope she didn’t break a fingernail!

Naturally I stayed a while longer so that my many fans could say hello and I could get some more grass. I also had a very important official photo-call with the bride and groom (he wasn’t really dressed like any other groom I’ve met and he didn’t have a brush).

Official photo-call.

Official photo-call.

After a while, the people all got in their cars and went off up the road. I said thank you to the vicar and his family for allowing me to attend.

Thanks Trevor!

Thanks Trevor!

Then we walked home. Weddings are my new favourite thing!

Photos by Sarah Smith

 

 

Dear Mr Cameron

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,

Tim

You learn something every day

This is my current field companion Paddy, short for Paddywack.

Paddy the wise

He came to live here some years ago now, in semi-retirement, having been Elin’s busy Pony Club pony. He is bay and bigger than I am and sometimes we do have misunderstandings because he speaks slightly differently from the rest of us. Paddy is an Irish pony and he is very wise.

A couple of days ago she arrived in our field wielding a strange engine on a stalk. She set about the brambles with this thing and it was so noisy, I really thought we ought to be tearing around the field pretending to be scared (as you do). But Paddy said we shouldn’t. He said we would wait just around the corner from her until she switched the thing off, then I would see why. I stood behind him, just to be sure I was safe (I mean seriously noisy).

Well it turned out she was in bonfire mood, so soon she was clearing the cut brambles, adding them to a pile of hedge trimmings, which we had already investigated thoroughly, and setting them alight. We are used to that sort of thing – it takes her out of herself in early spring and autumn and she has to have some amusement.

autumn bonfire

But the thing is, as soon as she had finished cutting, Paddy said ‘Come on Tim!’ and we were soon digging into the lovely bits of grass which had been hidden under all those brambles. I would have found them sooner or later, but Paddy just knew.

After next Saturday when clearly, we shall be standing in different corners of the field (or pitch), I resolve to stick with my friend Paddy. His old Irish mammy taught him some good tricks!

Tim’s Valentine

Oh my love is a fine bay mare who bears the name of Bramble.

She calls to me from up the bank, then down it she doth amble

I see her daily at the gate, her sharp pricked ears a-quiver

And how I wish she’ll come to me, her promise to deliver.

We sometimes meet in my own yard, but sadly all too briefly

She always has to leave again, for feeding reasons chiefly.

We like to groom each other during itchy summer days

I bite her and she bites me back, tho’ we’re not 50 greys!

My Bramble is a strapping girl, she beats me by four hands

But size is not important here, and this she understands.

We are a marriage of true minds and never will I waver

And even if she’s fickle, well it only makes me braver:

There’s some would say it’s food that brings her swinging down that hill

But I know that she loves me – you can say just what you will!

Bramble

Bramble

 

 

Retirement. A question.

I wonder how many ‘retired’ horses there are in the UK. We have two on this yard: Twinkle and Paddy. Twinkle’s ‘swep-up’ name is Cwmbern Llygad y Dydd. She is a Welsh Cob, by that grandest of horses, the late Nebo Daniel, and out of our dear Cwmbern Angharad, herself a diamond mare in her time. Twink has had a busy working life, doing riding and driving, teaching, carnivals and weddings, not to mention breeding three foals. She is twenty five now. She is rather stiff and has hardly any teeth left at the front, but as long as the grass is long (and it is) she copes quite well and still keeps us all in order.

Twinkle last summer.

Twinkle last summer.

Goodness only knows who Paddy’s parents were! He is a bay Conni, bought from the Emerald Isle as a youngster, and acquired for our friend Elin when she wanted to do Pony Club. He is the go-to man for all handy pony activities, and is still the first choice to ride, when we are moving horses down the road from the top field. Paddy is a bit younger than Twink. His age is something of a grey area – rather like his eyebrows and forelock these days. He is pretty fit and well and enjoys the best fields with Twink during the winter.

Paddy with Bramble

Paddy with Bramble

Twinkle enjoys being a part of things and we are lucky that there is plenty of room here. She can be kept out at long grass, with a cosy rug and booster feeds when the weather is cold. Although she adored being stabled when in full work, that regime does not fit her now. She is a real outdoor girl and can now make the most of plenty of acres. Paddy is a bit the same – they are both true natives and so their current state of retirement suits them well.

We are lucky, and so, perhaps, are these two horses. But if they became infirm and were clearly not able to enjoy their lives, we would certainly think again. Certain decisions have already been made: ever-increasing vet insurance has been discontinued because there is a limit to how much treatment we would wish them to endure. We keep a piggy-bank for their basic veterinary needs and we never stint, but box-rest for months? We think that would be cruel. Major surgery? We definitely think not! And as for months and months on medication – well, how do you explain to a horse that he MIGHT feel better in a year’s time?

This yard has kept horses for over fifty years now. Back in the day, the issues were all to do with safe foalings, careful handling of youngsters and sometimes hitting the ground at speed! With an ageing population on the yard, the emphases have altered in a subtle but definite way. We are still all about preserving life and caring for well-being, but these days we must be pragmatic about the quality of that life. We want our pensioners to wake up to see the sunrise every morning, but only if they are occupied, contented and free from suffering and boredom.

It’s all a matter of putting your horse’s welfare before your own feelings. If you are the owner of an old or infirm horse, just do me a favour and answer this question, hand on heart.

Quality or quantity?