Mud Mud Glorious Mud

Will it ever stop raining? More to the point, when will it stop raining for Long enough for everything to start drying out? Please! We need to have a summer this year.

Everything is permanently filthy and saturated at the moment. The horses never seem to be entirely dry. It’s far too warm to put a rug on then, so they seem to have developed a shell of mud which is virtually impossible to remove. Manes, tails, feathers, and even beards are rapidly morphing into mud encrusted dreadlocks. . Although we haven’t entirely run out of grass, the top field is mostly a trashed boggy wasteland that will need reseeding, if we ever get a Spring that is. Sweeping the yard has given me a deep empathy with King Canute

,I can’t hold the tide back either. Even the avenue down to the bottom field and the muck heap, where no horse treads at this time of year, is so wet and slippery that Hal is having massive problems getting the barrow too and from the muck heap. It’s fair to say that it’s all a bit of a struggle at the moment.

It is strangely comforting to know that we are not the only people who are struggling. Nearly everybody you meet who keeps horses is in the same boat. Really though., it’s getting to the point where that boat should be an Ark! It must be just as frustrating for anybody who is a cattle or sheep farmer, or makes a living off the land in some way.

Sadly the mud Took a terrible toll this week. In a field which is only just down the road from us, an elderly horse got so badly stuck in the mud that a full blown rescue had to be launched. . I don’t know the horses owners, or much about the horse, but I really feel for them and their plight. The ground is so wet at the moment that it was impossible to get a tractor onto the field in order to attempt to lift the horse. Fire and rescue, The specialist animal rescue team, had to attend. It took several hours to get the horses out and up. The horse was taken to a nearby stable, but sadly it didn’t survive. Apparently the horse was 34 years old, A remarkable age, and has been a part of that family for over 30 years. After such an ordeal the poor Thing must have been exhausted I can only imagine how devastated the onus must be. Horses leave extremely big holes in our hearts.

The mud poses A whole new set of different challenges for those of us you can’t see. Firstly, and similar to ice in a way, it is not always easy to tell where it is safe to walk. Yes you can poke at the ground with a stick, but unless you do this you have no way of knowing if your Nextep is going to take you into deep impenetrable bog. The other problem is when you drop something. A classic example of this happened to me yesterday. When we were bringing the horses in, this prime example of human intelligence dropped a head collar into the quagmire. Then had to scrabble around with her bare hands to find it. Cue One short fat middle-aged Horse, owner completely plastered in mud from head to toe, clutching a slippery mud in crusted pile of mank which vaguely resembled a head collar and lead rope, and one totally disgusted horse, onto whom said horse owner was trying to place the aforementioned item.

For a brief moment this morning, when I was giving the horses their breakfast, that magical special time it is just me and then, there was a brief hint of spring in the air. The temperature was just right, there was a gentle breeze, The dawn chorus was in full tune, and, I kid you not, it wasn’t raining. Could this be a sign of things to come? Sadly it didn’t last long. Oh well, it’stime to buckle up, and go and face the elements. I wonder if my coat is dried out yet?

Now That’s Better

Yes! We did it! This morning I actually went for a ride! We didn’t go very far, only down to the village square and back, so just under a mile, but, as neither Florence, Hal or I are in any way fit, it was enough.

I’m delighted to report that i was nowhere near as stiff as I thought I would be. Not only that, but I didn’t experience any pain while in the saddle.I haven’t felt any since either, although I expect I’ll be stiff tomorrow.

I truly am blessed to have Florence. If I didn’t know that she had only been ridden for 20 minutes in the last 2 months, nothing in her behaviour today would have told me. She was obviously delighted to be out and doing, but she didn’t put a foot wrong. You’d have thought she had been out only yesterday. What a star!

Really have got my mojo back now

Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

I’m delighted to be able to report but I am feeling A lot better than I was this time last week. Thanks to a tried and tested emergency painkiller and anti-inflammatory protocol, several hot bath infused with essential oils, and targeted hip exercise from my yoga teacher, I am now virtually pain free again. This means I can pick up the fitness and exercise regime, which will further enhance the weight loss drive, which in turn will help support my dodgy joints. The world does not feel quite as gloomy as it did last weekend, and yesterday I seriously intended to get on Florence for the first time for awhile. However we had an emergency hay delivery, together with a visit from some horse owning folk who live in the village. As we all stood talking the weather just got worse and worse. I thought the weekend was supposed to be decent, but no, increasingly strog wind and heavy rain. Riding abandoned. The good thing though is that yesterday is the first day that I have really felt Abel to ride since November. In itself this is a highly positive thing, and has lifted my spirits massively.

I’m definitely back on track.

It’s been a busy week. . The Vet, or should that be Vet’s? There were two of them after all, came out on Tuesday morning. Some good news is that there is nothing wrong with Leone is good I, and her damaged eye has remained stable, so what ever the reason she has been misbehaving, it’s not because she’s losing her eyesight totally. You don’t know how relieved I am about this. Had quite a chat about her behaviour and what the he Tenshaw reasons for it might be, and we have an action plan. The first instalment of which is to run some blood tests. The blood was taken on Tuesday, but so far we have not had the results back. Breeze also had her cough checked out. She’s not running a temperature, and apart from demonstrating the cough nicely, wasn’t displaying any other signs of feeling poorly. The vet suspects allergy. She has quite a lot of medicine to take, and she has been eating some moist Haylage just in case. Nobody has heard her cough since Thursday morning. Result!

The problem we, and the rest of the horse owning community, have is a shortage of forage. Actually, it’s a problem for farmers too. Despite the brief spell of hot weather we had last spring, last Summer was a wet one. There were no long dry periods, so haymaking and silage making were extremely difficult. . Fast forward to now, and the world is full of empty barns, and social media is full of desperate pleas for hay. Of course, as demand exceeds supply farmers and forage merchants are cranking up the price. Economics for beginners I know, but bloody annoying just the same. As someone pointed out, it hasm’t cost any more to produce. Also, and this happens with a lot of things regardless of how much supply dare is. A premium is added to the price when the word horse enters the equation.

We are extremely lucky, because of the kindness and consideration of the lovely Steve, Who is the man we usually get our hey and Haylage from,although “It has been difficult to octane hey this year, it hasn’t come as an awful shock. Steve informed us at the beginning of the season that his supply was short. Bless him though, he has bent over backwards to keep us supplied, personally searching for more hey for us. He really has gone over and above. He’s such a kind caring individual. It’s wonderful to know that they still are some good folk out there.thdre have been some breaks In the supply chain, but we’ve been able to plug the dap by buying in some expensive proprietary bagged forage, Devon Country Haylage, from Mole Valley Farmers. At £5 or thereabouts for 18 kg it works out extremely expensive, but there seems to be a ready supply, so it’s an ideal emergency stop gap. It smells gorgeous, and the horses absolutely love it. I’ve never known either Leonie or Florence decline to come to the door if they think there’s a chance of being able to scrounge a mint off of somebody, but with a net country Haylage in the stable, nothing else seems to matter. I think I will definitely be keeping a few bales in store in the future. In the meantime, Steve has managed to find some absolutely huge, 8ft x 4ft x 4ft hey Bales, One of which he delivered yesterday. So hopefully my girls are not going to start any time soon.

What has taken me by surprise though is the problem with supply of bedding. I use wood pellet bedding. The company I use, Sorbio , source the majority of their wood from Scotland. however most of their competition source their wood from Europe, and even Russia. . Apparently there are major problems with the supply chain, due I’m part to the weather. I’m told that it has been so wet in parts of Russia that it’s impossible toget into the forests to fell trees.meanwhile, back here in Britain the problem has been exacerbated by one of the biggest pellet bedding companies having a flood in their warehouse, and losing all their stock. Of course, I was blissfully unaware of all this, until I innocently phoned Sorbio to order a pallet of bedding. There’s going to be a delay. This is going to be a problem! Fingers crossed it gets here by the end of the week.

With a lack of hay and bedding our little barn resembles Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. It’s very bare indeed. Worryingly so. However it’s already 21 January, it’s really only a few short weeks until spring arrives and we can think about turning the girls back out permanently.

Things can Only Get Better

2018 hasn’t exactly Started in a blaze of glory. Well, to be honest, to use an analogy from Formula 1, it’s stalled in the pit lane. . I had hoped to be back in the saddle by now, and. Even made it over to Melissa’s for a lesson.

Yeh right.

I finished the steroids I was taking for the virus on New Years Day, and

, thankfully, have regained my hearing. However, I’m now in the grip of one of the worst arthritis flare ups I’ve ever had. To add to the problem, I’ve put on an enormous amount of weight. In fact I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. Even if I was able to ride, at the moment I cbarely walk, it would be an act of cruelty to get on a horse. I’m too heavy for Florence at the moment, I’d crush Breeze or Goldie , the lovely horse I ride at Melissa’s. I’m stuck in a loop. The weight is contributing to my pain and my inability to exercise. I need to exercise to lose the weight, and the more exercise I do the less likely I am to seize up completely, but at the moment more exercise I atten The more it hurts. However if i don’t try to exercise The less I will be able to move and the more likely I will be to gain even more weight, and so, as difficult as it seems to believe, The more pain I will be in and the less able I will be to move.

The horses aren’t exactly lightning my mood either. Leone’s behaviour is becoming worryingly unpredictable. She seems to be able to switch from dope on a rope to rabid stallion in the blink of an eye. That doesn’t seem to be any pattern to when it happens, she just goes into one. Last week, in a desperate attempt to start doing something with horses, we took them all out for short walk in hand. It was nothing too challenging and we didn’t go very far. Just up the Field accessway, along the road in front of the house, through the gate between the house and the garage, and back along the lawn to the track and onto the yard. Breeze walked out like an angel. Florence was a little bit rude because she saw grass decided she needs to eat, but that’s pretty much par for the course when leading her in hand. Leone though, got halfway up the track and then went completely batzoid! She reared, bucked, kicked, and after squashing Hal against the fence, got loose. Thankfully rather shocked Ben had the presence of mind to slam the gate shut so she couldn’t get out onto the road. Leone then proceeded to gallop around the back garden like a thing possessed. It took more than an hour catch her. Luckily nobody got hurt, but Hal, Ben and i were all more than a little shocked, and frankly, frightened by her behaviour. This isn’t the first time that Leone has behaved in a, for want of a better word, dangerous way whilst being handled, and it’s not the first time that the change has come on suddenly like this. What’s causing it though? Is she in pain? Eishi beginning to lose the site in her good eye? Is it to do with her suspected neurological problems? Is it hormonal? All I know at the moment is that we are extremely lucky that nobody, including Leone herself, got hurt. The Vet is coming on Tuesday to give her a thorough going over. I’m dreading what they might hath to say.

The Vet Will also hath to give Breeze A check over to. The poor girl seems to be developing a nasty cough. She seems fine in herself, and I thought the cough might of been related to some slightly dodgy hey we had, but it’s not going away, in fact if anything it’s getting worse. . I’m hoping it’s just an allergy and some Ventapulmimn Will put it right, but she’s a little old lady, and she’s never coughed before as long as we have her, so I’m a bit worried.

As if things weren’t bad enough, we got the terrible news yesterday that our in Dearing absentee next field neighbours have gained outline planning permission to build 20 houses on the top field. Don’t get me started.

I feel as if I am standing at the bottom of Mount Everest with nothing but a pair of flip-flops and a very thin rope. I am not even equal to the task of getting to base camp, let alone climbing mountain.

Feeling defeated

Happy New Year!

Well good morning everybody, and welcome to 2018!

2017 turned out to be a very good year indeed. Yes, it had some low points, losing Sapphire was not something I wanted to face, but on reflection there were far more highs than lows. . Spoilt rotten on my big birthday, Badminton, taking Breeze to the Riding Club show, and, well, frankly, If you told me this time last year that I’d have my own school before the year was out, I’d have laughed in your face! Yes, 2017 was a very good year indeed. Sorry 2018, you’ve one hell of an act to follow.

I’ve woken up feeling very buoyed up, optimistic, and excited for the year ahead. So here’s wishing everyone a happy, healthy, horsey New Year. Bring it on! ,