This post is bittersweet, this past week I have said Hello to a new friend, but Goodbye to and old one.
My farmers tan is coming along swimmingly thanks to this random bit of sunshine we’re having. I sometimes consider wearing shorts to the farm but I really don’t want to be the cause of a mass human/equine blinding so I generally don’t…
Storm passed his vetting! He flew through a 5* with flying colours, and came to live with us the same day. I thought he was coming the following morning, but my sneaky Mum had arranged for him to be dropped off early as a surprise, which was lovely. So far, he seems to have settled really well. He’s very babyish and quite fussy with picking his legs up but it’ll come with time. Freddie seemed to tolerate him, they had a good squeal and got straight down to grooming, like long lost friends. Perhaps they met in Ireland, you never know!
He had his first day of doing a little something a couple of days after his arrival. I lunged him to begin with as we hadn’t got a saddle then, and he’s quite responsive to your voice which is nice, much easier than being towed around the arena by something that doesn’t know what ‘woah’ means (MAX.)
He was a good lad, even when I stuck some side reins on to start encouraging him to lower his head (his neck looks like it’s been put on upside down as he’s never had it long & low, just muscle being over developed where it shouldn’t be and underdeveloped where I’d like it – not a problem with him!) Our arena is right alongside a fairly busy road. The speed limit is either 50 or 60 (which in my opinion is ridiculous and is the reason we’ve had cars on their roof in the arena before) and every vehicle imaginable uses it. I wanted it to be quiet yesterday just to give Storm chance to get used to his surroundings without being bombarded with traffic – alas no. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in the North West came down Mill Lane yesterday at 2pm. We had enormous lorries, vans, motorbikes, cycles, cars galore, vans pulling metal trailers with poles and god-knows-what-else bouncing and clattering around and even a tractor or two. Credit where it’s due, the pony never put a foot out of line. He never once spooked or even stepped off line. Which bodes well for me as our hacking is a lot on road to get to the nicest off road spots!
I thought I’d finish with some loose schooling as he had been so responsive and it’d give him chance to have a proper stretch and just loosen off a little. It started so well, and then out of nowhere he decided to pop off to say hello to the other horses and jumped out of the arena from a sluggish trot. I’m not exaggerating when I say that fence is at least 4 and a half feet of solid wooden rails. I must have looked like a right idiot, stood in the centre of the arena on my own with my chin on the floor. He clipped it with his hind legs – he’s fine – but trotted off quite happily. Here’s a picture so you can see how big the fence actually is (the ground does drops a few inches on the side he is stood on.)Couldn’t get over it, there wasn’t a mark on him. So we thought we’d test his abilities and actually put him over some jumps (that he was supposed to go over this time) and he flew! We only went upto 2ft9 (or about 85cm) but he seemed to find it totally easy, and did every one from a trot. I’m hoping I’ve accidentally bought a natural showjumper, from the looks of things that’s going to be the case, fingers crossed and we will see what the future brings. In the past few days since he’s started working he’s already improved, last night he went forward properly and seemed to start to get what I was asking of him. Trying to avoid the heat I did lose track of time and it was 9.30 before we left the farm which sounds fairly sad, but horsey people will understand how you can get a bit involved with what you’re doing.
This is the beginning and end of last nights session, seeing him visibly more relaxed is reward enough!
Freddie has been a bit naffed off with me for buying another horse and keeps making me feel ridiculously guilty by watching my every move and following me round like a lost puppy. He also bit Storm, but I’m 80% sure they were playing. He’s absolutely ballooned in weight, the slightest bit of grass and he’s just enormous. He has the same hay and feed, it’s just because he’s back on grass again. I can’t understand where he gets the weight from as our grazing is quite poor, he’s currently in the orchard on solitary confinement and there has been no grass on it (well not literally no grass but you know what I mean) for two weeks and STILL the chubster won’t lose weight. He’s only allowed about ten minutes walk exercise at the moment so that’s barely making a difference I’d imagine.
Now we get to the bitter part of this bittersweet post.
On the 19th June, my beautiful 13 year old dog (Scamp) went rapidly downhill. After what we think was another – worse – mini stroke, he lost coordination in his back end and couldn’t walk properly. Other things happened that I won’t go into, but it quickly became clear he wasn’t going to recover this time. He has had an aggressive cancer for over a year, outliving the expectancy for him by several months and honestly staying happy and enjoying life until the very end. For him, it was probably better it all happened so quickly as he wasn’t suffering for long at all. We made the hardest decision I’ve ever been involved in and he went to sleep at home, with all of us by his side on his chair. It hasn’t sunk in yet, I keep going to shout him out into the garden and put leftovers of my dinner in his bowl. I can’t explain how much I miss him, I don’t see myself ever really getting used to it.
This post is a tribute to man’s best friend, in this case Scamp. A beautiful, kind and loving dog that will be forever loved and missed.
Rest in Peace, thank you for being a real friend.
‘Flighty Fellow’ – 22/09/2003 – 19/06/2017