Friday, 17 December 2010

Danni's winter outfit and other chilly mutterings

Danni looked rather like Desert Orchid today for his morning exercise as we both piled on as many clothes as possible before setting out between the snow showers. He grew rather err ummm whisper - portly, after he last snow incident, so I'm trying to keep going until we are stopped by too much ice on the roads.

We still have our robin with his haunting song amongst the barns rafters diving down into the horses feed buckets ans scooping up every spilled oat that falls - I'll miss him when the winter ends and he moves off to do what robins do for the rest of the year!

At the back of the farm a pair of buzzards wheeled above the stables with their poignant shrill call as I mucked out today and i disturbed one later, dining on a rabbit in the little group of apple trees that we have planted up there but he didn't go too far and was soon back on the ground with his rabbit lunch.

The youngsters make the most of the days picking at the hedgerows and ambling about as we beaver away carting wheelbarrows, haynets, water buckets and feed buckets. We break the ice on the water troughs only for them to freeze again and so if it is OK could we send the new cold spell back, Christmas or no Christmas - thank you so much!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

I can't be snowing

I went up to the top of the farm this morning intent on getting a picture of Mounts Bay which can be magical cast in shades of white from jack Frost but as I fussed about looking fro the best spot not the very best spot to take my picture I looked across to see our youngsters pounding towards me with an "Oh goody there's Mum" expression on their combined faces. As you can see tails were raised heads lifted and even the old passage thrown in for artistic effect as they explored the strangely altered world this morning..........acting credits by each participant below!

Sophie in the lead with Toffee Amie Archie Magic and Diva Right to left

Magic was staying uncharacteristically close to his mum this morning

Do you remember Sophie who was orphaned at four months old well here she is doing very well

Sophie is by Danilon out of Morwen Lissie a Holstein mare

I think she is going to be substantial shall we say!

It is the fastest they have moved for some time

Diva Brood mare in charge

Archie about a year and a half is by Danilon

Diva with foals Magic and Toffee our very own Totilas and Fuago - it will be fun to watch them grow up side by side the Warmblood and the pre/TB cross

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Danilon yesterday

Well Danni goes out each day for his daily road work which he regards as a sort of morning patrol to check the neighbourhood out but when he gets back I sometimes do a little bit of in hand work gradually gaining a better balance and carriage and a bit more stretch behind. I've just progressed to attempting traver around the car park - we might need some more gravel when I've finished the winter!

It's on a bit of a slope as yup can see but it has really helped him find his balance

The only colt to look at the camera in an intelligent fashion - Mr superbug! Magic the others just keep eating!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Toffee whispering to Amie

We had a week of storms last week and I came to terms with mucking out ten each day, had a close encounter with a mangy fox (collected by the RSPCA) made a facebook page from which I'm occasional arbitrarily logged out when i least expect it, got very wet riding Danni but not as wet as Charles on Sunday and chapter four -Sooty's story came out in Pura RAza Espanola. Phew who's got time to ride!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Find Dani on facebook

Danilon now has a page on facebook!! please pay him a visit he is getting very lonely!

Christine Taylor

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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Meet the family

Well i wont repeat the story of the great escape but it is in my B&B blog the ednovean diaries if you are interested. Suffice to say the horses decided that there was strength in numbers and decided to move in together were they are all very happy! Toffee and Sophie still keep closely together - two quiet figures grazing in the distance sometimes joined by Magic but you know three is sometimes a crowd......!

Toffee the Holstein

Archie the yearling (fear not he was gelded in the spring) with his sisters Amie and Annie with Diva behind who is notionally in charge of the daily expeditionary force.

Magic our little chip of Danilon's block looking very magic ish

A great day for the beginning of November though isn't it!.............if only they were house trained.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Silver Stallion (cont)

Last year I put a children's story for Christmas - chapter one, in the blog so now I think it is about time for chapter two! The story has recently been serialised in the Spanish Horse magazine Pura Raza but if you have missed it here it is:-

Galloping in the sun

Danilon found himself again in a small enclosure - this time not the sanctuary of his birth that he had shared with his beloved Jetetita but a lonely cramped place. Here he wheeled helplessly around the edge with his fellow colts, pressed together and calling frantically. They could still just see the dust move where their mothers had galloped beyond the slamming gates. The gates that barred them from following them back to the place of their birth, the place to which they would never return, a part of their lives that had gone forever.
As the day drew on they remembered their hunger and with that they started to feel thirsty so still tightly pressed together they started to explore the tiny coral and the view to a new world around them. They still called for their dams but with less and less hope until they found a water trough and pushed unsteadily forward to drink. With the cool water came fresh hope and they whinnied hopefully once again but their brief optimism was soon dashed and eventually they fell silent sweat in the mounting heat of the sun.
Carlos returned, a slight crouching old man, wily in the ways of horses, to shake a few Oats into a manger and throw some Lucerne on to the floor. Carlos would be their guardian for the next years as they grew, always watching with his bird like eyes as he over saw their lives, artfully manipulating their habits, mostly to suite Carlos but for now the colts were Grateful and tentatively started to feed and take stock of their number – they were the same as before, the little band of colts that had played so happily all summer but now they had no mares to mother them and give them milk and guard their sleep - now they were now alone in the world.
They would grow and become horses together as time went on, roaming the far fields until they were three but for now they started to learn about the world of men.
First the headcollar, fitted over their unwilling ears; this evil thing that dragged them to and fro against their will ………..and then the branding.
In years to come, Danilon swore he had always had the mark of the mighty S he bore on his quarters. The mark that joined him to this place forever, burned into his skin with a hot iron. Perhaps it was kinder that he wiped it from his memory for ever and had no clear memory of that day for as he huddled with his half brothers after his ordeal, he decided never to think of it again.
With the next day came Carlos - and with the next day the gate was opened and they were pushed quietly through, to follow a horse and rider (for now they could see that they were indeed two beings) - spreading out, hesitant and snorting, as the men drove them up a stony path (for surely the world new no bounds) that gradually led them up into the hills………and then the men were gone leaving them quite alone with just a gentle breeze touching their skin.
The biggest chestnut colt Diablo always so sure of himself, always boasting that his mother was queen of the herd because she wore the silver bell around her neck, hung back now and let the others take the lead. Danilon found himself beside his usual companion Doncel, a gentle clever fellow with a coat already greying and together they moved tentatively forward. They quickly found a little path through the rocks with the warm breeze moving behind them and started to climb higher and higher up the hillside until they reached a little plateau with sparse tufts of vegetation. As they snatched hungrily at mouthfuls of the dry scrub, they settled to take stock of the situation. Below them shimmered the plain dotted with the silver Olive trees, above a blue sky so big and clear it could have stretched forever but dropped instead to the jagged peaks of the Pyrenees - Was that the place they had come from in the distance below? No more that a dot now, fading at dusk, just as the memories of their past life slowly faded away. Were those the mountains they were to cross one day to meet their future? For this was one of the secrets that their mothers had whispered to them. Over the months to come they would always look to the mountains, smelling the cool clear air that sometimes came across the plain and would eventually bring the chill wind of winter and they would shiver a little at the though of crossing the high peaks.
Sleep came uneasily to the little band of colts, as they pressed together under the stars that first night, sharing the comfort and warmth of each others presence. Peering fearfully into the darkness, Danni thought he heard Jeletita’s voice floating into his consciousness as if born on the breeze "Danni my dear, when you are alone, look at the stars and remember me for I shall always be with you. Follow the wind and it will show you where to go and with each day you will grow tall and strong" and comforted at last he slept a little, propping his legs to doze where he stood.
With the dawn came a new confidence. Were did the paths go? Little tracks made by generations of horses guided them through those first few days. Exploring and feeding they developed a rhythm to their days. They remembered the whispered secrets from their dams "You must follow the wind and race it to the sun if you are to grow tall" and they would all set off in a dizzying race until they could race no more. And they grew bigger and stronger learning to pick their way carefully over the rocky ground; compete in mock battles rearing and plunging in an effort to wrestle their brothers to the floor or grabbing at that tender spot just behind the knees like naughty school boys tickling the arm pits of a friend. They would sometimes dropping to one knee themselves, grasping their rival by the neck to trick their friend before spinning away to start all over again. Tired at last, they would settle to roll idly in the rich red dust. There could be a penance to be paid to the loser of these games of course – he may have to walk behind for a day or two after he had lost or only drink the water after the winner but generally they were a happy good humoured lot that hung together through sunshine or rain. Sometimes they tried the dances of the young stallions, the lofty passages of floating trots that stallions performed for the mares – although as yet they could see none. "Look at me look at me" one would cry as he set off in a shaky dance – head raised and neck arched in mock bravados. But the long uncoordinated limbs that always seemed to change would not carry them for long before they lost their balance and descended to a clumsy trot to the mirth of their brothers.
With the winter each year, came the cold and finally they would move reluctantly back down the hillside towards the man place, driven by some instinct and as if by magic on those days that the hunger bit, they would spot Carlos’s old battered pick up bringing them food; the plume of dust showing them his progress across the plain. Then they would while away the days picking at the food that Carlos brought for them and watching the things that horses watch.
They were not alone of course. They shared their home with the angry black fighting bulls that they watched warily from as far away as possible. One day Doncel had surprised a cow and her calf as he had skipped happily around a blind corner and had paid a price as she charged at the surprised young colt, tearing a deep wound into his quarters with her vicious horns. Doncel limped miserably behind the group for the many days and Danilon fell back to keep him company in the weeks that it took to heal. "Come on I will scratch you neck – you are bound to feel better" but Doncel miserably thought it didn’t help a bit – but was kind enough not to tell Danni.
Sometimes they would watch the men and horses working with the bulls melting away into the rocks on the secret paths they were convinced that only they knew. They marvelled at the courage and agility of these gaucho horses, how proud, how strong – one day they would do that and arch their necks high.
And as the second summer in the great pasture came to a close, a cold wind blew again from the Pyrenees and they shivered a little and wondered what lay beyond the mountain that they were destined to travel beyond. At last driven by hunger they made there way down into the valley for the last time to see if Carlos and his pick up truck would come.
Carlos had been waiting for some days, watching the sky and feeling the cool of the autumn slip toward winter, for surely it was time. And sure enough towards dusk on the third day he spotted the three year old colts picking their way down from the hillside, just as the wily old Spaniard had taught them to do - though they did not realise it.
He would come back in the morning when the colts grew hungrier and more compliant and so for now he left just enough food in the waiting racks and troughs to keep the young colts there, hoping for more with the morning.
For now Carlos had a new plan for them. …………..

This was to be their last night of complete freedom under the stars in the company of their brothers. To feel the warmth of their neighbours next to them; to enjoy the social scratching of their scrubby manes and tails as they stood nose to tail in earnest effort, teeth clicking gently over their companions coat in gentle half circles. Colts become stallions and their fights become more earnest as they grow stronger so generally they must live alone unless lucky enough to have their own herd of mares of course. So it was a very special time together that Danilon and Doncel dozed happily side by side, as they had so often done. The faint silver light of the moon shone gently on the two colts as they stood amongst their brethren – Doncel now heavily flecked with white over his head and shoulders, with the jagged scar marring his flanks and Danilon with the tell tail disks of silver that mark the dapple grey, breaking through the Iron grey coat almost like the stars overhead. And this night marked the end of their fragile freedom to gallop in the sun and race the wind. For now they would again join the world of men and this time, it was for a more serious journey. A journey that would take them beyond the mountain and that was Carlos’s plan.

P.S I have one up my sleeve for Christmas!!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Just be aware......Myopathy

Hi don't want to sound alarmist but apparently horses are dying unexpectedly here in Cornwall. A good friend sent this through to me this morning from the network Cornwall web site:-

"You may have heard that there have been several deaths in Cornwall very recently of horses taken with A TYPICAL MYOPATHY. This is NOT contracted horse to horse but via environmental and climatical conditions. IT IS VERY RARE but over the last two weeks 20 horses have died because of this.There is no vaccine, no warning and it strikes without mercy.Mrs Ruth Beadle BSc (hons )Equine science has just lost her much loved and very well cared for mare to this and so her death has not been in vain WE NEED YOUR HELP! Ruth is collecting data on this condition to have analyised so if you, or anyone you know have had experience of this terrible equine condition please email info to ruth.cassettari@virgin.netRuth has the experience and the backing of vets from a widespread area to research this and help prevent anyone else having to deal with this.She is doing this to benefit all horse lovers everywhere and is at her own expense and time BUT SHE NEEDS INFORMATION AND YOUR HELP.She has asked me to point out that your horses need to be stabled overnight if at all possible as it tends to strike those how are out overnight the most.The purpose of this message is not to frighten anyone, it is a very rare condition which unfortunately is rampant in Cornwall at this time. Forewarned is forearmed. Please forward any info you or any of your friends may have . "

Our local vet's web site Rosevean Veteranary practise has a very good information sheet
click here

I've never heard of it before but it does give pause for thought doesn't it...............

Friday, 22 October 2010

yearlings and foals and er dolly!

So do you remember Magic our striped foal - well here he is resplendent in his new grey coat and proud as a peacock! He matches his full sister Amie below quite perfectly.

Amie meets Toffee with her full brother Magic standing to the rear

Perhaps I should explain - it was such a beautiful afternoon, that we decided to let the yearlings graze the little "orchard" (six trees) beside the back stables for the afternoon and inevitably -very, very, soon an inquisitive troop of foals appeared to make their introductions.

Amie and Archie are now yearlings and have made a wonderful job of mowing the paddock since this photo

Toffee with the little orphaned filly Sophie

Sophie - such a sweet filly and now doing very well

Archie who was born last July is by Danilon meeting Toffee (By Lenard Holstein) born this February

Diva has been promoted to herd mother much against her better judgment

and that was the day that the sky was a perfect blue, the sun was delightfully warm, the grass was still sweet and Autumn had yet to settle over us Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I hate winter

and lastly Dolly now a strapping two year old and we will start her after Christmas if she doesn't find the perfect home (Husband not included!)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A visit from PMG

Peter explaining the Half pass for the 300 time even Danni is listening

Well we treated Danni to a course with Peter Madison Greenwell this weekend just across the road at St Piran's Stud - I'm afraid Charles took some stunning photos of the post and rails with occasional horse just glimpsed in the distance but with a bit of surreptitious cropping I think you can nearly see the horse!!

Peter worked with us on the quality of a true contact with the horse working through an actively swinging top line and making use of those pesty transitions to test the point. Danni likes to drop the contact and float along instead of swinging into his bridle but this weekend he felt really secure in his work and balance and came up more in front. Peter was equally insistent at the end of the session when riding him down to a lowered neck that he remain between hand and leg as he relaxed to a long rein. Peter also pointed out the difference if i didn't "load" his shoulder by tipping forward as Danni stretched so the effort was a lowered and stretched neck but still with the shoulders raised.......................I now ache all over!!

You wouldn't believe how much my tummy muscles hurt................and back muscles...............

this one is from day two - I think you can see more collection and elevation

My efforts at half pass can only be described as abysmal - patting the tummy and rubbing the head doesn't com into it............or is it the other way around? Peter eventually manoeuvred Danni and i into the correct position to give me the feel for the correct bend and balance.
But Peter kindly worked Danni each day too, producing some superb work that Danni is capable of, finishing with some working pirouettes and flying changes to drool over and an overall soft swinging carriage to die for.
Danni was nearly asleep before his supper tonight a very tired but happy stallion!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Lizzie's filly foal Sophie this evening

Just a quick snap of Lizzie's filly foal this evening tucked under her haynet. She is being such a good foal - as her mother grew weaker she walked so slowly beside her almost becoming the carer herself. It had been agreed with the vet, that to take the foal away would distress Lizzie more and I think she was her solace as she approached her end.

The vet came daily but the most powerful drugs regime that he could prescribe could not help Lizzie. On Saturday when Lizzie s breathing grew worse we called him again although she had already had her two daily injections and after a large dose of intravenous bute (for inflammation) Lizzie was able to make it to her paddock for a last day in the sunshine.
I watched her in the afternoon as we went to collect them -the cluster of foals with Lizzie.... Lizzie no longer eating but advancing a step at a time as the little group moved forwards, watching over her precious foal as she grazed. Lizzie didn't want her super but as I tempted her with a small scoop of mix, she looked from me to the foal and back to me again several times and I think she knew her time had come.

I got up through the night to check her and each time her ears would prick as i crept quietly in to the yard as she stood immobile and resolute, with her foal standing quietly beside. She was silhouetted against the wall, as she has so often stood before, waiting for her foals to be born in the past. By the morning she was finally ravaged by the disease and too weak to go out although she came to the door with her foal as usual.

I waited a little longer than I should have done before going in to cook the guest's breakfast and so I heard her fall or did she at last lay down but opening her door i was able to let the little foal creep out and gently guide her into the next door box. Such a quiet foal, she waited patiently in her little stable beside her mothers. Lizzie didn't see her go and Charles waited with her for the vet to come and she quietly slid to sleep in her own stable.

In all from noticing Lizzie was loosing a little weight and changing her diet, to her her end was less than two weeks.
Lizzie was only thirteen years old and a precious member of our family always organising us from the gate that looked into the garden. To lead Lizzie through a field of horses was for the sea to part in front of you in a majestic progress, as she with her head raised on her beautiful swan neck held effortless court. Lizzie, who would install herself in her stable each evening to wait for her super and Lizzie gathering all of the foals that she doted on. She was very special.
Lizzie in her first winter with us

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Morwen lissie

We lost our wonderful matriarch Lizzie to liver failure this morning after a short but devastating illness. She was a proud horse and struggled to the end but went down at breakfast time this morning. Thanks to our vets at Rosevean veterinary Practice for coming out daily to attend her and for the final inevitable visit this morning. Her foal is quiet having stood with her mother until nearly the end and is well and strong survive. We will miss Lizzie's strong proud nature and gentle ways.