Tag Archives: Pony Power

This week, I am feeling important

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.

Clever Auntie Jane!

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.

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?

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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!

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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Tim’s Wish on National Poetry Day

Tim browsing

 

I got myself a winter coat

It’s brown and white and warm

These autumn mornings bring a chill

Tomorrow brews a storm

 

I’m in with friends this morning

A diet needs routine

Hooli’s been out working

And Tawny’s looking mean

 

There’s apples in the tackroom

To be shared out for us

But Tawny’s always wanting more

And making quite a fuss

 

We have a happy life here

Our friends are just up there

Our fields are safe and sheltered

And we rarely have a care

 

I wish a safer winter

To all my needy friends

Who wander far and hungry

And wonder what life sends

 

Those funny little weanlings

So cute all summer long

Will shortly go to market

And move on for a song

 

They won’t forget their mothers

For many a hungry week

They don’t know how to cope alone

It’s only milk they’ll seek

 

It’s tough out on a tether

When the novelty wears off

With a collar sore against your neck

And worms that make you cough

 

I wish an end to starving

And neglect and freezing cold

For those who have no winter coat

No food, no pot of gold

 

I wish a happy ending

For all my friends out there

A sheltered field, a happy life

Some tender loving care

 

 

The ‘L’ word

It’s here again, it’s Spring.

Some of you will know that I am just beginning my Easter holidays in the top field.

Easter hols

This is the first Easter holiday I have had for two years, because I had a bout of laminitis the year before last. It only hurt for a short while, but I had to stay in the stable for AGES while my hooves grew out ans then a very little bit of turnout got included in my day for quite a while. I always had company near me and toys, but it was a bit of a long haul. At last, the other day, when the farrier was changing my made-to-measure shoes, he said my feet were back to normal. Hooray!

The snag is, now that I have had laminitis, I will always be in danger of it happening again. I am a small chap, designed by nature to walk miles for every mouthful, but this farm is used to feeding cattle and sheep – it doesn’t know about the walking for miles thing – so my diet has to be restricted. Actually, everyone’s diet has to be watched here, because we are all fatties – even Hooligan who is 16hh with the longest legs in the world! The only exception is Twinkle, who is elderly and has a few dental issues, so she is allowed to eat the long grass.

So here I am, with Bramble and Paddy, on a diet, but having some freedom and a great view of the sea. She says I might be here for a week, or a month – depending on the weekly weigh-tape.

Out with Bramble and Paddy

 

No chips please. We’re British.

I have a passport. It is blue and it has my name and microchip number clearly displayed on the front, along with the name of my friends at the BHS. Inside it has my ownership details, a description of me (tricky when you are skewbald), and my age.

Passport

The passport laws in the UK are pretty non-existent at the moment. They invented some of them back in the noughties, but there were too many passport issuers appointed, so all the passports looked different. And all of those issuers (PIOs) had different sets of rules and regulations and charges, so in the end it was just a complete mess – far too many ‘differents’ to work efficiently – or even to work at all!

Then they introduced compulsory microchipping – every horse born after a certain date had to have a microchip. Once again, it was a free-for-all. No guidance was given as to the numerical detail of the equine chips, so they were bought in from everywhere! Unlike on mainland Europe, where each country has a dedicated numerical prefix, the microchips used in the UK came from all over the world.

When it came to paperwork, there was more confusion. When you called the vet to get your horse microchipped, you would be offered two options. There was the expensive chip, which had forms to complete (not so popular with the vets’ admin staff) and the cheap chip, where you were advised to phone the National Equine Database (NED) yourself, to inform them of the number. You can guess which option most people chose, but the snag was that the NED telephone line was never manned, so you could never make that call.

Sad, isn’t it, when one of the most developed, well-educated nations of the western world can’t invent a simple catalogue of horses in case there is a disease outbreak or a leak of horse meat into the food chain?

Well, it happened didn’t it? Last year, you were all going to die from eating pony pies, if you believed what they said on the news.

Apparently, DEFRA are looking into how to sort it all out without spending any money. They are bombarded with advice from various sources. Owners would like horse identification to be someone else’s job. Vets would like it all to happen without involving them. Dealers would like to return to the bad old days of no traceability at all and Auctioneers, well, how about the auctioneers? Shouldn’t they be held responsible for checking that each horse has a passport in the name of its vendor – they do it routinely for cattle after all?

I think there should be some clear and basic rules here.

1. All microchips should have a dedicated UK prefix and come from the same source.

2. Vets should bear responsibility for providing traceability.

3. No horse should be presented for sale without a valid passport and microchip registered to its current owner.

4. Ownership should be transferred on that passport before the horse is resold.

5. There should be two PIOs for the UK. Weatherbys for the thoroughbreds and another for the rest.

There are so many people who want to make money out of horses, without ever putting anything back into the industry. I think it is time they stood up to be counted.

Militant little me!

PS If you read this and feel strongly about this issue, please give me a follow.