Whoa There Anniversary Girl!

Amazingly we’ve had Leonie a year today! I know it’s been a pretty full on 12 months, but, really, a year, are you sure? It’s weird because, although the time has flown by, it feels like she’s always been part of the family.. Now we have had the go ahead from the vet that we can start riding her again, as she hasn’t got the dreaded Wobblers Syndrome, it is time to get her saddle checked out. She has really changed shape over the last year, maturing and really filling out. As a result her saddle, which was inherited from Magnum, was far too narrow. So Leo got a shiny new, well, new to us, saddle for her anniversary .
It feels like a very long time since Leo has been ridden. However, in order for a saddle to be properly fitted, somebody has to ride the horse in it. Unfortunately Hal has done his back in, so it fell to me to be the the first one to sit on Leo for the first time in months!

Brave knickers installed, and after a brief sorte onto Florence to check her saddle, I stepped up to the plate. Leo stood like an angel while saddle No. 1 was tried on. She then stood well while I mounted. She has never been mounted on the yard before, nor from our new mobile mounting block. She didn’t seem to mind.she did feel like a coiled spring as I quietly asked her to walk on up the drive and into Meadow Park. , and to say I felt edgy would be an under statement, but she didn put a hoof wrong! .

I should point out that, as Leonie hadn’t been ridden for a while, and I wasn’t sure how she was going to react, amdnd , because we only have one functioning eye between us, I had Hal holding a lead rope as extra security.

So, on and off twice more, both times up and down the road. Leo and I are both beginning to relax. So, the saddler asked if I could trot past her.

Holley Moley!!! I had just begun to think about it, and we were off! Legs like Pistons. Seriously , I’ve never experienced such a fast trot! Credit to Hal for not falling over or dropping the rope?! Bless her though, hardly a touch on the reins and she was back in walk.

Quiet lay down in a darkened stable me thinks.

It makes me wonder about Leonie. What is her background ? . This was the kind of trot you see harness racing horses do when they are being flashed, or raced hard on the road. We know she came from Ireland. So was she a harness racing horse? Is this kind of fast trotting on the road the cause of the problems she has with her legs? Are her scars, and damaged eye the result of a driving accident ?

It makes me wonder.

Mucking Out

As they say around here “Sh** happens… Then somebody clears it up”. The trouble is, that when that somebody can’t see, the whole operation takes about three times longer than it should.
Actually dealing with the poo isn’t too difficult
. Find it by carefully searching with feet, pick up with hands, deposit in bucket. I do of course wear sturdy gloves for this. It works brilliantly. It’s easy to carry the loaded bucket to the muck heap and empty the contents . Unless of course you drop said bucket while in the act of emptying it, and it rolls off down the far side of the muck heap, lost until a pair of functioning eyes can come and find it for you!

The more challenging bit is dealing with the wet bedding. I have to go through the entire bed with a fine tooth comb, well, OK, a shavings fork actually, in order to find the wet bits. I use wood pellet bedding. It clumps together when it gets wet, like sugar when you put a wet spoon in it. So it’s easy to tell what’s wet.it’s just looking for it that takes the time.
My wheelbarrow driving skills are pretty lamentable too.pushing it in front of me in the conventional way is pretty much a recipe for disaster . It’s easier to pull it behind me. It’s even easier though, to get Hal to empty it for me.
Last winter, because of all the surgery, Hal took over mucking out. Now though I am back in charge. The girls are out full time now. So I only have to muck out when they’ve been stood in . However, I still have to approach it in the same way. It’s hard, but it’s strangely rewarding.i just wish I could do it quicker. On many professional yards grooms are expected to be able to muck out 4 horses in 1 hour. Yesterday I did 3 in 2 1/2hours! So my aim for this coming winter is to get it below 2 hours. I’ll keep you posted.

What a Difference a Year Makes

Can’t believe that it’s 2 years ago today that Magnum and Sapphire joined us here in Shebbear! Looking back, what a roller coaster the last 12 months have been!

This time last year we had 2 horses, Magnum and Sapphire.

The ground work had started, but we still didn’t have stables. We were still using the garage.

Over the last year
We bought Leonie
Took part in a clinical research trial, which meant
I had 4 lots of eye surgery, and
Innumerable trips to Oxford.
Had stables built
Bought Florence
Lost Magnum
Been filmed for, and appeared on TV.
Had the top field reseeded

Actually it’s been a bit full on! No wonder we’re both so wiped out!

So here’s hoping forward to the next 12 months