It’s every owners worst fear. On Saturday night Hal and I went down to the field to check the horses last thing, and there was a horse missing! Sapphire and Florence were waiting by the gate, but Leonie was nowhere to be seen. Leo is the worlds most obnoxiously in your face horse, if your there, she’s in the way, so something was very wrong.

The thought process went something like this:-

Perhaps she’s at the bottom of the field/eating/asleep and hasn’t realised what’s happening (yeh right). We call, we whistle, we rattle treat bags, but all we achieve is winding up Sapph and Flo.
There’s no way on Earth she can have got out – is there? Surely not. This field is totally secure, and anyway, if any horse was going to get out of this field it would be Sapphire, it’s almost sport to her. Sapph hasn’t got out since we’ve been here and that’s two years now. Also, if it was easy enough for a klutz like Leonie to get out, how come the others haven’t gone to?
Oh God, she hasn’t been stolen Has she? Surely not. Why only take one there when there were three mares for the taking? Also, our fields do not have any public right-of-way, footpath’s, bridal parts, cycle parts, or even roads, anywhere near them. The only way into is either through our garden, or across adjoining fields . Hardly ideal for the opportunist horse theif.

Oh please no! She isn’t dead is she?

Hal told me later that he’d had exactly the same though. We were bought. Desperately trying not to panic each other, neither of us gave voice to our shared vision of a heap of dead black fur somewhere out there in the darkness.

Hal had just set off quartering the field in search of her, and I was trying to keep Sapph and Flo calm by the gate, so he didn’t get flattened, when I heard hoof beats on the hedge where no horse should be.

Thankfully she was OK. In fact she didn’t have so much as a scratch on her! All three horses were confined to the stables until we could check the boundaries by daylight .
Hal and I had plans for Sunday. Instead we spent the day putting up electric fencing, and trying to work out exactly how Madam got out. There no obvious holes in the hedge, hoof prints on the banks, breaks in the stock fencing. The gate, which is barricaded with sacks of rubble, hasn’t been disturbed. There is no clue as to how she got out. We put electric fencing along a run from the baracaded gate to next door, down to the stock fencing at the bottom of the field. This is where the Devon Bank is lowest, and the hedge is thinnest. This must be where she got out. Problem solved.

Hal and I had plans for Tuesday. Hal was just on his way out the door to check the horses when one of the neighbours messaged us to say that one of the horses was in the field next door!

Low and behold, there was Leonie!

Once again all three horses were confined to barracks. Hal and I spent Tuesday trying to work out how she was getting out. Once again she did not have a scratch on her. There were no obvious signs of damage to hedges, banks, gates or fences. The fence we put up on Sunday was still in one piece. How is she doing it?

Hal and I spent Tuesday putting up yet more electric fence.

Neither of us are entirely feeling the love right now

The Grass is only Greener Because There Aren’t Any Horses on the Other Side of the Fence

I read a quote by somebody famous , I forget who, that said “The grass is only greener on the other side of the fence because they look after it better”. I beg to differ. I think it’s because they never use it, especially not for grazing.
I’ve written about the state of our fields before. The terrible wet winter we had, together with introducing Florence to the heard, and briefly having four horses, left our top field looking like a tribute to a World War One battlefield. It was both frightening and embarrassing how many times people would come and look at the field, and enquire in all honesty, why we have ploughed it! We were unable to do anything about it though, as the ground was too wet to get any kind of machinery onto it.

At long last it stopped raining long enough to be able to begin to resolve the problem. Our grass guru Steve began by ‘Gate Grading’ the entire top field. No, I’ve never heard of gate grading either. Basically, he dragged what looked like a metal field gate round the field. It had angled blades on the bars, that smoothed out the lumps and bumps. Next, the field was reseeded with Pony Paddock Mix. Then it was rolled. Now all we have to do is wait for the grass to grow.

The thing is, from seeding, it’s about 6 weeks until we can put the horses back on it. It’s been 2 weeks now, and our bottom, much smaller, field is struggling to cope. The next 4 weeks or so are going to be challenging!