Tag Archives: equine welfare

William Bach is Lost!

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.

Up into the woodland

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.

Past the Moyers Dam

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.

Stuck!

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!

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It’s My Birthday!

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!

It’s My Birthday!

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.

New haynet

My Birthday Haynet

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.

aber-headcollar

My New Headcollar

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:

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Not to mention Winston and William, the stable yard cats!

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Winston

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William

It was time for my cake, which I shared with Bramble and Tawny. Look at me blowing out the candle!

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I am 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?):

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Mince pies

When they got around to the mulled wine, I thought I had better see what they were up to, and I tried some

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Just a Drop!

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.

It was a funny old year.

Well, 2015 has been and gone and what a strange thing happened to me! As you know, I always have my say about animal welfare. I am a great pony for the social networking and I have made a lot of new friends and found loads of old ones as well. I do not discriminate! I am a friend to elephants and cats, giraffes and border terriers, carthorses and miniature Shetland ponies, lions and tigers.

It was the lions and tigers which got me into trouble actually. A tatty circus act came to our district, using lions and tigers to do tricks. They said their act was about care and conservation but I wasn’t fooled! This was a circus and I didn’t think it was very fair, or natural for the animals to be used in that way. It’s supposed to be a free country, so I recorded my disagreement with the use of live animals in circuses on Facebook and what do you think? Facebook suspended my profile!  I am back now, but they have cramped my style because I can only be a ‘pet’ (as if!) and am not allowed to have a profile at all. So please accept my apologies if I haven’t been in touch with some of you – I miss our conversations but Facebook won’t let me do it any more.

Keep in touch in 2016 – I am still on Twitter as you know and at least we can have conversations on there. I hope you all have a good time –  a safe, warm and comfortable year, with company you love and someone to feed you good things and protect you from harm.

Happy New Year!

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Look out! It’s my birthday!

 

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.

https://hooveswho.com/2013/12/12/its-my-birthday/

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.

 

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

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?