Thursday, 15 February 2018

Henry's Half-Term Volunteering!

Our thanks to Henry and his Mum Vicky for coming to lend a hand on the yard today!  With myself and Roy too we had quite a team effort...and it was finally sunny again so the ponies were very pleased to head out to the field again after some breakfast!  As you can see Henry turned his hand to everything - mucking out, sweeping, haynets, wheelbarrowing and testing out all the tractors...and he was very health and safety conscious too with his riding hat!

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Thank You Margaret and Archie!

I want to say a big thank you to Archie and Margaret for their help this afternoon because they came to the rescue!  Last night the weather was atrocious to say the least and this morning the ponies refused to go out - it's the bad weather and the mud.  It rained a lot last summer and it hasn't really stopped since - so you really can't blame them - the ground has taken a real beating.  Even the local farmers are desperately trying to find more room in outbuildings to put their sheep in.  It does make you wonder if we're going to need an Ark!! 

We're just approaching that turning's towards the end of winter but not yet spring...and it's the hardest bit of the winter slog for anyone running an animal charity.  The mud is at its worst, it's absolutely freezing cold, you're wet through day after day getting rained on...and now your workload has doubled...the barrows are heavier than ever because of the're triple hay feeding and with that comes the extra mucking out too...and then to start on the evening dinners - it's a major calorie burnout!  I really appreciate Margaret and Archie's efforts - they sorted everything out for me this evening which was fantastic.  What a team!  Guess what?  More rain forecast for tomorrow...!

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Monday, 12 February 2018

A Sprinkling of Snow!

We had a sprinkling of snow overnight followed by some much welcomed sunshine - you can even start to feel some warmth in it! 

Breakfast please!

Alfie out on a walk with Jas
and Munchie yesterday

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Love to Catherine + Family

We're sending our love and condolences to Catherine and her family as they lost a member of their pony herd yesterday.  Baby (also known as Janet's girl), an Exmoor X that they took on about 7 years ago had been part of a herd of conservation ponies were being given up as they were no longer needed.  Baby and her friend Chrysa were wild and were adopted by Catherine and they were brought to P4P for handling by Paul before going to live on Catherine's farm.  Both ponies had suffered damage from years of mis-management on the reserve - not intentional of course - but ponies and large amounts of grass just don't mix and of course the consequences of the recurrent laminitis meant their hooves were almost cloven.  As you can see in the photo, Baby was very much part of their family and will be missed very much by everyone.

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Thursday, 1 February 2018

February's Here!

Somehow time has been flying so's February already!  This month's calendar photo features Puffin the pony who's had quite a fan club when he's been with us here at the yard.  Faie and Puffin made the perfect photo for February...we can hope there'll be more signs of spring around the corner before too long!  Puffin of course now lives with his foster family near South Molton...lucky boy!

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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Alfie's Been Here A Week!

Alfie's been here a week today!  Time's flying so quickly...but we've still had continuing rain...and so consequentially more mud.  It's really difficult for the local farmers - they are trying to clear out extra sheds to get their sheep in - many white sheep are now black.  We're so lucky because we have the yard and barn and plenty of hay so the ponies are fine.

Alfie, day 2, paws getting muddier!

Yesterday enjoying the fire!

The good thing is that the snowdrops are out and the daffodils are coming along too!  We've all been very impressed with Alfie and how quickly he's learning - the basics, new tricks and a new language.  He's learned something new every day!  He's getting quite a vocabulary!

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Monday, 22 January 2018

Introducing Alfie!

We have welcomed a brand new member to our P4P team!  Say hello to our new dog "Alfie"!  Our thanks to the charity Safe Rescue for their help!  Alfie's come all the way from Romania and has been an absolute superstar from the moment we met him!  We have had a rather epic adventure to Norfolk and back to collect him - Roy was a fantastic help with the driving and the directions.  It was very snowy yesterday so we had a long journey home and Alfie took everything in his stride and travelled incredibly well.    He's only been here 24 hours and he's getting quite a fan club already :0) .

Alfie in the shelter in Romania on the
Safe Rescue Facebook page
Looking very cheeky in the kitchen this afternoon!
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Monday, 15 January 2018

January...rain and mud!

January is living up to the usual expectations!!  Plenty of rain and mud so far!  The ponies get really hungry when the weather is particularly bad.  Yesterday was a lovely day (calm before the storm) and almost had a feeling of spring about it.  A chance to get some photos of "the gang"...thank goodness we have plenty of hay available in the barn for those days when they need extra!

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Saturday, 6 January 2018

Goodbye to Oscar

Oscar helping with haymaking
A tribute to the best snugglemonster in the WHOLE world…and my best friend.

We have some very sad news as Oscar the dog was put to sleep today...just eight days short of his 16th birthday.  It's strange in a way, because we had elderly dogs staying here over Christmas who were not in as great shape as Oscar...and he was certainly not the one we were expecting to go first, bless him.

Oscar had been here for 3 years and was adopted by Ted and Jenny from the Dog's Trust at the age of 12.  This was his 6th home and he'd been with the Dog's Trust since he was a puppy.  He was such a lovely boy.  He really struggled at the kennels with night terrors, something with he overcame here - with Jenny putting lots of hours in with him.  He was also known for chasing cats - able to completely immobilise them in one move with one placing of the paw (a skill some vets would probably envy!)  but he NEVER hurt them.  When Oscar arrived here, Treacle (the cat out on the yard) won him around and the two were firm friends - and in the afternoon Treacle would often accompany Ted and Oscar on their walk - cat and dog side by side.

Oscar was pretty sprightly for his age and EVERYONE loved him...even people who usually didn't like dogs.  Oscar never barked (unless he was stuck and it was an emergency!), would never rush up to people.  He was very friendly and would always say hello to people.  He was great with kids and always loved a cuddle. His shaggy dog looks made him particularly irresistible.

When Oscar first came he still loved to run and I can remember taking him out with Kes the Saluki/Lurcher - Kes with his long, floaty strides and Oscar doing double steps to Kes' single glide - they are were perfect unison flowing along at the same speed.

Oscar was a master at the art of communication.  He had the best "sit" in the world when it came to treats or persuading someone into a biscuit.  He never pestered anyone, he'd just sit at a polite distance and stare at your eyes, beaming the thoughts across.  Without a single murmur he could get his message across very succinctly.  If Jenny fell to sleep at his dinner time, he would find Faye, do his special "sit" and give direct irresistible eye contact.  When he had your attention this was followed by a lick of the lips and that was enough for him to know the message would be passed on.  He'd go away and lie down if Jenny wasn't quite ready yet...he knew the message had been received.  No extra fuss than that.  Margaret always brought his favourite sandwiches if she was staying at lunchtime - cheese and marmalade.  Roy went on special trips to buy him dog biscuits.  Margaret was always on standby if a dog sitter was required.

Oscar's extra favourite foods were baked beans, tomatoes, pizza and just about anything on offer at the end of a dinner.  Oscar had just had the best Christmas ever - one of the elderly dogs staying was very picky about her food, so lots of scrumptiously different things were tried and whatever she didn't want Oscar gleefully finished up on her behalf.  Such a dream for a dog!  We didn't know his time was nearly up but at least he didn't have a long illness.  His legs suddenly went yesterday - the red light therapy meant there was no pain - that is such a gift - but on this occasion there was not going to be a recovery.  Our sincere thanks to Dale the vet for his help today - such a thoughtful and calm manner that meant everything was very peaceful for dog and humans alike.

Oscar was such a special boy - we promised him he'd never need another home and that promise was fulfilled.  Faye and Oscar had a very special bond, and whether he's here or not, - it's something that will be cherished forever.

Ted and Jenny meeting Oscar at the Dog's Trust in 2014
Oscar in the Dog's Trust Advert 1

Oscar in the Dog's Trust Advert 2

Soon After Arriving

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Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Welcome everyone to 2018!  A new month, a new year...and so if you haven't done so already it's time to turn to January on your P4P calendar!  We've had so much lovely feedback for the calendar...people always love them but this year people seem to especially like the photos which is great!

January's photo features Puffin, Breeze and Star and this photo was taken on the day when we introduced Puffin to this site.  Breeze was so happy to see Puffin - he got on fine with Star but she's a bit older and not so keen to play and charge about.  Breeze and Puffin linked up almost straight away and Breeze took Puffin on a tour of the boundaries and all the important parts of the site that the ponies love.

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