Monday, 21 March 2011

North Hall Manor
March 20th 2011

Got a Virus tired and desperate for spring
Does this sound like anyone else out there? Flew through the winter and feeling really buoyant about not having had a virus or flu like symptoms with a cold every since recovering from the dreaded Cancer stuff. So I was disappointed to have experienced a near death experience again taking another 3 weeks of my life. BUT now I’m back to concentrate on my blog, so much to say and no time to do it on.

Cheltenham festival - Horse Racing
What a week with the Cheltenham festival, the gold cup had me in tears, what a race and well done Paul Nicholls. I was so afraid the golden pair would not come back in one piece. Who else thinks that they should be retired and let go onto new careers? Younger legs now holding the crown. Is there any mileage in mentioning that my Dartmoor ponies are excellent companions for these amazing horses, every yard should have some. I’m sure the trainers must have kids and grandchildren to take on a pony. Think pony racing and contact me or visit the web site sales list plus last year’s super crop of foals now on board for viewing.

Traditional farm cider
It’s been a lovely early spring week and today is no exception believe me. Harry the thatch who is now our mate and coach with cider making has declared the time has come to rack off the fermented liquid. Got the whiskey barrels, got a steam cleaner, rang young Adam and off we went. So far so good and the cider is pretty clear and has a lovely fresh apple fragrance, but warning only sip as bites your guts with fire if drank liberally. Going well only ground to a halt when we realised we would need a pump to get at the bottom half of the cube. Anyway good time to stop as Newton Races an hour away.

Birds & Moon
Got back from the races still light, Hurray, and what a night the birds singing their hearts out and the diming light, charging around feeding up, getting in the riding ponies and feeding those out need a bit of hard food. The moon for the past few days has been a wonder to see, Dartmoor by moonlight has a quality defined by the landscape and sweeping hills and tors that surround us. I’m so lucky to live here even if we are on duty 24 x 7.

Preserving Dartmoor and its environment
I wonder if limiting the ponies to labelling them as Dartmoor hill ponies is wrong and should we widen the key rich wording to the ponies of Devon. I’m thinking that a Devon cream tea event should be held on the village green at Widecombe just on the door step of our farm to raise awareness to these ponies relating to the history and unique qualities that this animal has which has now fallen victim to the continuous negative publicity of a few farmers and pony keepers on the moor. Get a grip and a message from me sort yourselves out! Stop breeding! remove the stallions from the moors. Keep the mares and young stock replacements on the moor grazing contributing to the environment, breed lines and to the tourism industry, now so important to the farmer as a means of diversification on the moors. Re introduce the breeding programme with the up take in demand. How simple can it be. Rams and Bulls are not permitted to roan with the moorland herds a ruling should be made with the stallions. Do you have an opinion?

Dartmoor ponies
To continue the diary ensuring I have evidence to some of my fellow pony keepers who tell me that there is no cost and effort in managing a Dartmoor herd! Thankfully we have a small up take in enquires for the ponies and need to collect two from foster home at Moretonhampstead. Sad day for the family who have loved and nurtured our two roan boys Rainy and Autumn, BUT we agreed to take out two exceptional foals from last year Honey and Blue Rain and they have gone down as a big hit, so sweet shy but inquisitive and desperate to interact. Charting their progress is so rewarding. Rainy and Autumn going over to the Heritage centre to pick up their handling for a buyer wanting a driving pair. This leads nicely to my next link

Horse Diving Pair
Well done Trisha and to the boys, Felix and Basil. The Roan Geldings doing so well with their new driving career and the new addition Archie. Archie away at boarding school for backing and hopefully returning to start his driving career with his uncles. More on him shortly. Anyway we have another driving pair in the making here in the barn at the moment waiting for the farrier visit next week another £30. Photos and testimonial on our web site

Roan Stallion
To explain we own the Heritage Dartmoor Stallion rebel who is a bright bay roan and superb in temperament. Found on Dartmoor roaming wild with our (and everyone elses) mares for the last 15 or so years. Felix and Basil are now the third driving pair we are aware of that he has fathered and have reeled in success. NOW we have him in running with geldings we need to sell? How we will contain this wild spirit I don’t know I hope our fencing will stand up to his relentless instincts for freedom. Mike and I feel sad for containing him but know we must cut back on our breeding stock, we take full responsibility for the stock and our commitment to finding loving homes set to take them through their lives.

IHPL – world horse – Dartmoor Ponies
For those of you following our HL branded herd three super mares have been turned out on the moors. Wormed, been to the farrier another expense I wont labour it! And wearing their high visual collars. I so worry about them getting hit by traffic. Still we do all we can.
Really looking forward to their foals as they have been in the Moorland scheme and ran last year with a selected pedigree Dartmoor stallion. This is a truly good scheme, thank you Duchy for your on going support. We have valuable SR & part bred fillies for sale and introduction into your breeding herd.