Day 18 – ‘Ere! Who are You Calling a Pumpkim? 😈

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It’s fair to say that I have never carved a pumpkin In my life…i don’t even remember doing it at school. Mind you, , growing up in Plymouth, it would have been a turnip anyway.

Now I live in a village which has the dubious responsibility of ensuring that the devil does not walk this earth anymore,, and the whole business of Halloween and the subsequent turning of the devils stone, which takes place on the 5th of November, is taken very seriously indeed. Trick or treatingis a very serious thing in these parts. However, even the most ardent sugar addict will not knock on a door that doesn’t display a lit pumpkin. For the first few years we lived here we scrounged pumpkins of people, but last year we got our own. Well actually we got a pumpkin shaped lamp, but it sends out the same signal. Treats available here!

Actually it’s been pumpkin shaped things that have been worrying me lately. I’ve alluded several times over the month to Florence is excessive weight. I haven’t been very well, nasty cough, and post viral fatigue, so Florence has had more or less six weeks off. Hardly ideal. During this time she has had her blood taken to test her ACTH levels. Something I have done every six months as Florence has Cushing’s and is medicated. This time though, my vet was so horrified by the size of her she also took blood to test her insulin levels. Thankfully every thing came back within normal parameters. However when I did try to get on Florence roughly 10 days ago, she felt really wrong. Not lame, but as though it was as much as she could do to put 1 foot in front of the other. No heat in her feet, I couldn’t feel a radial pulse, mind you, I doubt I would find a radial pulse even if it was sending out a Cyran tone , vibrating ,,and shouting I’m over here, no strange stance. Eating, drinking, wee, poo, all normal for Florence. She definitely wasn’t herself though. I decided to take her for A walk in hand, and if she was still struggling the vet was going to be coming. Struggling! She walks off full of her usual enthusiasm, down to the Village Square, , A quick look at the devils stone, and then back up the hill to home, Hal guiding me, me leading Florence. There is nothing wrong with this horse! She is huge though. have had to dig out one Magnum’s Girth’s for her. Magnum was a 16 three Irish draft horse, Florence is a 15.2 Cob.

It started today. I actually woke up feeling much better this morning. My farrier has been, and unprompted by me, declared quite loudly how good Florence’s feet are looking. When I told him how relieved I was to hear that, and explained how worried I was about her getting laminitis, he couldn’t have been more reassuring. After he’d gone I scrambled of bored and went for a short. Florence was back to her old self, and practically skipped along with a great big smile on her face. Phew!

Mind you, when it comes to needing to lose weight I have no axe to grind, i’m pretty dam huge myself at the moment. It’s a good job that Florence is it chestnut, and I no longer have my orange fluorescent coat, or from behind we look like a pair of pumpkins stacked on top of each other.

Day 17 – A Good Read

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Oops, sorry folks, I clean forgot to write this yesterday. It was a bit of a busy day. Mind you, today is going to be even busier.so, my favourite blogs, and please bare in mind that this does change frequently.

Mulography. This is probably my current favourite . Despite it’s sometimes highly visual content I love Sari’s quirky, alternative sense of humour. I’ve also learned a few helpful handling tips from her that work well with our cobs. I’ve never in my whole life met a mule, but I’m strangely fascinated by them.

Young Hip and Horsey. I’ve been following Poppy’s recovery Ann’s journey back to the saddle with interest

No BuckingWay. Interesting, educational, entertaining

Ride With No Eyes. Written by fellow blind rider Marie, I’ve certainly picked up a few tips from this one.

Happy reading everyone

Day 16 – What Did I do With the…?

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It’s a basic fact of life. The thing you are looking for is always at the bottom of the grooming kit. For me that thing is usually the hoof pick. I have lots of hoof picks, so why can I never find one when I want one? Over the years I’ve wasted many hours scrabbling around in grooming kits looking for hoof pics. Actually, when are used to keep my horses on livery, especially when that livery was at a riding school, I spent an awful lot of my time looking for allsorts of things,. Usually these things unexpectedly developed a Wonderlust and strolled off into another persons grooming kit or equipment box. However, now it’s just me, Hal and Ben, , and it’s amazing how things have developed the ability to stay where I left them. Except for hoof picks that is. You know that mysterious place where teaspoons and the odd socks go, never to be seen again? Believe me, it’s full of hoof picks too!

Well not anymore! I’ve got them nailed down – well to be perfectly honest, i’ve actually got them hung up. Outside each of my stable doors, at a height that is out of harms way for all but the tallest horse, but still reachable by short arse like me, I have a hook on which I hang the head collar for that particular horse. Next to this hook is a smaller hook, on which is hung a hoof pick. So, although there is a hoof pick in all my grooming kits, I know that there will always be a hoof pick outside the stable door. Works a treat

Day 15 – nothing to See Here

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Yesterday’s Blogtober Challenge topic was to show the last week with your horse in photos.well that wasn’t happening round here!

At first I wasn’t going to do a Day 15 post at all. After all, I don’t have any photos of the last week, and even if I did, well, nothing much has happened. Then though, as I inwardly grumbled about people insisting on using inaccessible formats such as photos and graphics to impart information that might be useful, interesting, or important to those of us who can’t see, I had a rethink.

Don’t get me wrong, , I’m not anti photography. I think it’s Great way of laying down memories, and commemorating special occasions, but it shouldn’t be the primary means of sharing information.

I know it’s entirely unintentional, but using inaccessible means of passing on information, or making a point, , such as photos, memes, graphics, and gifts, is the kind of everyday Ablisn that can really impact on an individuals ability to fully integrate into society.

My particular pet beef is when people take a photo of printed material and then share it. What’s the point of that!?

You see, I’m typing this using a piece of software called a Screen Reader. . The particular one I’m using at the moment it’s called voice over, and is specifically used with Apple products, but there are a great many screen readers out there, for example I also use one called JAWS, which runs with Windows. I am no computer expert, but, by and large, screen readers use something called optical character recognition

. This means that they can “see” letters, numbers, punctuation, and in the case of Voice Over r, emojis, they cannot see graphics, animations, or photos.

I love reading other people’s blogs and Social Media content, and I gain a lot from it. I always feel a bit cheated when it’s photo based.

Day 14 – Peace

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Hooray! The wind has dropped😅 Although, as I walked back up from checking the girls first thing, , through the pouring rain, I couldn’t help wondering where Hal had left the keys to the Ark.

I decided to have another R&R day today. Back on it tomorrow. Apparently so did Florence and Vreezd. While Hal was out in what turned out to be a lovely afternoon, clearing up after the storm, they were both laying down taking their ease.

Day 13 – Such a Perfect Day

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Today is not a perfect day. It’s still howling with wind, and pouring with rain, and I have been stuck indoors most of the day.

A perfect day involves being outside for most of the day. It involves playing with my horses, going for a walk, going for a ride, going off on adventure. I don’t actually have to ride For time with the horses to be enjoyable and worthwhile. Don’t get me wrong, I’d ride every day if I could, but I ride to be around horses, as opposed to being around horses in order to be Abel to ride. So I get just as much pleasure from handling them on the ground, or just being around them, as I do from riding; sometimes even more. I am actually one of those people who takes a perfectly rideable horse for a walk in hand from time to time.

Let’s face it. Six years ago I was struggling to keep two horses on livery. Whilst I dreamt about having my own little yard and land, if you had told me how quickly that would become reality I would’ve laughed in your face. So excuse me if I sound a little bit too smug here, but I am living the dream. Yes there are some difficult days, and no I don’t like this weather, but only have to walk out of my back door and my horses are there. What could be more perfect than that?

Day 12 – PANIC!!!

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The first named storm of the season is upon us, it’s only just gone 6a.m., and all my triggers have already been activated.

The wind is howling, and I can hear all sorts of things moving around out there. Opening the garage door to going get my wellies, the door caught in the wind and all but wrenched my arm off. As I stepped onto the back lawn, A strong gust of wind lifted the heavy wooden walking staff, that I carry when I’m outside with the horses, off the ground, and I could feel it trying to move my legs. It is also pouring down with rain, and I have to find my way down to the bottom field to check the horses, all by myself. This is one of those mornings when, despite me valuing this private time, I’d would really have preferred to have somebody with me.

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When I got down to the horses, my already high state of alert was thrown into overdrive. I couldn’t find Breeze!

She had to be there. If she wasn’t, Florence would have been in full on melt down. So where was she? Dead? Injured? Unable to move due to laminitis, colic, or AM? Biting down the wave of panic that was threatening to engulf me, I resisted the urge to phone the house and wake Hal. If there really was a problem Flo wouldn’t be Calmly trying to go through my pockets would she?

This is where not being able to see is a real problem. Usually I can hear where the horses are, even if they are quite some distance away from me, but with the wind howling I don’t stand a chance. Everybody else can just look across the field. Yes I know, it was a dark morning, and Vreeze is dark bay, but she does have three white legs and a blades, so something that I’ve shown up.

After calmly, yeh right, walking back up to the house, and gently waking Hal, he could confirm that breeze was indeed in the field, upright, and eating. Turns out she just can’t be bothered with me this morning.hal also told me that the roof has come off the Shed of Doom overnight. Well that explains that particular noise then.

I’m going back to bed where it’s safe

Day 11 – To Rug, or Not to Rug..

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, How things have changed over the years. When I bought my first horse 30 years ago, when it came to buying rugs for him there was very little choice as to style, , weight, fabric or colour. For turn out it was a green, canvas, New Zealand Rug, and for the stable, a Jute Rug with a separate roller. There was also a string vest style sweat rug. If your horse was cold, you put a bed blanket under the rug. If your horse was wet, you put the jute rug on inside out, and thatched him with straw under the rug. I remember there being nothing more heavy and difficult to handle then a truly soaking wet, mud plastered, New Zealand Rug.

Fast forward 30 years

and the choice of rugs is mind blowing . The equine clothing industry is a multi billion pound sector which seems to be going from strength to strength. However I do wonder how much of this is actually Led by fashion, and owner shaming, rather than the actual needs of the horse. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go back to using a heavy, difficult to handle, old-fashioned New Zealand Rug if you paid me. However I sometimes wonder if all these different rugs are strictly necessary, and if the basic animal needs of the horse are being forgotten.

Last year I did a quick count up, and was really shocked to discover that I had around about 40 rugs. Okay, i’ve owned horses for about 30 years, and in recent years I’ve had as many as four at any one time. I also have a tendency to keep hold of the Quitman, even when I have no real need for it, just in case.

. My attitude towards rugging has really changed since we moved here and have been doing it all ourselves

When I kept my horses on full livery I was very much influenced by what the yard owner said I needed to do. By and large, they were the ones who were actually handling my horse on a daily basis, so when they told me I need a particular rug, off I would toddle and buy one. After all, they were the expert here, Who was I to question their judgement? It wasn’t until I bought Magnum, and ended up having to keep him and Sapphire more or less on a do-it-yourself basis, that I started to question things. The actual Yurika moment came courtesy of the woman whose land are used to keep Magnum on, and who, at the time, had Sapphire on loan for one of her daughters. It was June, admittedly it wasn’t a particularly nice June, but it wasn’t what you would call cold.

I can’t remember where we were, but it would’ve taken us about an hour to get back to home. Suddenly my mobile phone rang, and when I answered it I was met with a very shouty voice, which informed me that I had to get to the field NOW! That it was raining, that I had to put a rug on my horse NOW! OR ELSE!!! When we did eventually get back to the field, it had stopped raining, and the Sun was shining. I found a comfortable and content Magnum stuff in grass like it was going out of fashion, in the company of four extremely uncomfortable ponies, all wearing rugs, and sweating profusely. Why has she shouted at me like that, and why was she letting her ponies suffer through being too hot? It wasn’t very long after this that I decided to try and move Magnum two other quarters. It was when I told her that I had found another billet for him, that she suddenly decided she didn’t want Sapphire anymore..

In recent times I have read a lot of articles written by vets and equine physiologists, which question the need for horses to be rugged except in the coldest conditions. Thereseems to be a lot of evidence now, that horse is a very good at regulating their own body temperature, and, in general, are perfectly comfortable

In temperatures between 5 – 25 degrees. This means that just because we’re cold, it doesn’t mean our horses are. Since last winter it has been my policy not to rug umtil it’s 5 or below, or under 10 if it’s hammering down. It’s fair to say that they are hardly wasting away.

Day 10 – Standing Out.

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That thing that I wish everybody would wear, not just at this time of year but all year round, it’s high viz clothing. There seems to be a lot of focus on what is fashionable, but not necessarily practical, in all the horsey magazines, and websites., and sadly, there still seems to be the attitude in certain circles, that there is something wrong with wearing high viz clothing when out and about in countryside.

This was highlighted by a visitor to our house, Who took one look at my husbands Bright orange Equi safety Riding code, declared that he wouldn’t be seen dead in it.

he was totally bemused by my response”That’s the whole idea!”.

Day 9 – Three Little Hooks

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Historically one of the biggest problems that I have had when it comes to looking after horses myself, is filling hay nets. The whole painful process was outlined in my earlier post from about three years ago which was simply in titled”Haynets!!!😱”. I won’t go into the full gory details of exactly how difficult are used to find the process. However. My ingenious husband has come up with a very simple and extremely successful solution to the problem, and I think it’s something that will help everybody, especially if they end up having to fill nets on dark mornings or evenings.

Quite simply he has put 3 small metal hooks in the corner of the Haybarn, atabout chest height, with one actually in the corner and the other two on each wall so they make a triangle. Along the inside of the barn door he has placed a row of smaller hooks, atabout the height that you would hang a coat. . Nets a hung up by the drawstrings on the hook on the door.then, when nets need to be filled, they arranged on the three little hooks so that they all held open, and hay can simply be fed into them. Couldn’t be easier😊