Sunday, 16 July 2017

BBC Reports "Horsemeat Racket Busted in Europe"

The Europol press release states:

"The Spanish Guardia Civil, in coordination with Europol, has dismantled an organised crime group that was trading horsemeat in Europe that was unfit for human consumption. The operation was carried out in coordination with Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In Spain, 65 people were arrested and charged with crimes such as animal abuse, document forgery, perverting the course of justice, crimes against public health, money laundering and being part of a criminal organisation....

...During the investigation, Guardia Civil was able to locate the Dutch businessman related to the Irish case of the beefburgers containing horse meat, in Calpe, Alicante. From there he led the activities of the organisation, putting his most trusted men in charge in every country affected by the scam.   Investigators concluded that the Spanish element of this organisation was a small part of the whole European structure controlled by the Dutch suspect. The arrest of the leader of the criminal group was carried out in Belgium. This action was coordinated by the Federal Police, the Federal Food Agency in Belgium and Guardia Civil. Different police actions were simultaneously carried out in France, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom".

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mid July Catch-Up

Star and Topsy back out to their normal field

 Topsy and Star headed back out to "their" field on Thursday and are enjoying having the whole field back to themselves now that the haymaking is complete.  There are lots of long patches of grass around the edges and it's surprising how the cut grass which was brown is starting to green up already.

Beautiful Star....Lots of annoying flies this week!
We must send our condolences to poor Angela who despite all efforts has had to abort her trip from Lands End to John O' Groats and back on her quadbike.  She had managed to get a very long way north, to Blair Atholl -  the quadbike broke down and she ended up in a campsite for a month...a very long time to live in a tent(!)..waiting for a part to arrive from China for the bike.  Poor Angela!  Once this was fixed and she was on her way there were more problems so she ended up having to abort the mission.  Thankfully Green Flag got her home safely!  Such a brave effort!  Thank you so much to Angela for the £66 she raised for P4P along the way!

Munchie in the sunshine
We also need to say thank you to Clive and Jill for coming out to see us this week and to Clive for really listening to us and understanding our trimming needs for Munchie.  Poor Paul has had a back back for a while now so hoof trimming isn't a great help to it.  It is extremely important to us that a pony is not sore after a hoof trim.  Paul never made them sore from a trim but unfortunately there are very few people locally who seem to be able to achieve this - so it was a great relief for Clive to come and help us out.  Here's Munchie in the sunshine the day after his trim.  Great to see how far this chap and his feet have come over the last 7 months.

It was nice to visit Babe, Jaffa and Maisie yesterday too...again looking beautiful in the sunshine :0)

And finally a photo of Frodo for his fans!  I don't think he's ever been quite as trim as he's looking this year!!

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Haymaking Is Complete...Phew!

Roger "rewing" up the hay
What a day it's been today!  We were all ready for the baling of our hay today - the hay was all dry, the baler was booked and everyone was on standby to come and help get the bales in the barn.  We knew the forecast for Tuesday was heavy rain so if we didn't get the bales in today then it would be a set-back of quite a few days!

Early this drizzled...not a lot, but enough to make the hay damp so it was going to need turning again...and this meant that the baler wouldn't be able to come - it was booked for a lunchtime slot and after this it was committed over at Jane's.  Once the hay was turned, the sun came out and the hay was drying nicely...Roger came to the rescue again and managed to find us a baler who could come this afternoon at short notice (amazing!) and Roger also came over to rewe up the hay for us.

The baler hard at work
The whole scenario had been off and on all day with the weather and logistical arrangements...but thankfully we were so lucky...Paul and his son arrived with the baler 4.30pm on the dot as promised - Archie arrived about a minute later to join Roy and John who were already onsite.  Over the course of the next hour we had an army of helpers which we are so grateful for - Catherine, Victoria, Edward, Faie, Rachel, Izy, Simon, Rupert and Peter.  There were 336 bales in all which we managed to get stacked in the barn by about 7pm.  They are a bit heavier than usual and we were grateful for the weather being in the high teens in temperature so we didn't get too hot.  We finished with the usual delicious snacks prepared by Margaret and Jenny to reward the workers for all their efforts.

THANK YOU so much everyone for your hard work which now means we have a barn full of hay again for the ponies.  A big thank you to Ted and Jenny who donate the hay for the ponies and for all the work Ted and John have done the last few days to get the grass cut and hay ready!
Archie, Edward and John with the big trailer, Ted supervising!

Chain of people getting the hay to the back of the barn

Munchie tried to persuade Izy into letting him try some ice-cream!

Thank you very much to our team of hard workers,
including Rupert and Peter who aren't featured here!

We had to include some photos of Oscar the dog supervising the hay in production!
Very cute!

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Friday, 7 July 2017

Hay Preparation And Archie + Munchie's Challenge

The weather wasn't sunny today so there was only one turning of the hay...lots of work in the yard.  Margaret and Archie set up another patch for Star and Topsy to make sure they have plenty to eat whilst "their" field has been taken over.  Roy came over to move the bales in the barn and collect up all the loose we now have a lovely clear area to get everything stacked.

Archie took up the challenge of making an obstacle course of his own design to complete with Munchkin (our current rehab pony).  5 obstacles of any construction he wanted as long is it was safe and not too difficult to put up and take down again!  Archie came up with a very interesting and diverse course for them to try.  One of the obstacles was putting a hula hoop over Munchie's head so Archie was using advance and retreat to show Munchie this was OK and he was rewarded with Munchie achieving this - ears back in the second photo to show he is concentrating on the hoop rather than him being cross!  There was also a very interesting castle obstacle with a gateway section to walk through - all made out of boxes so very inventive!!  Apples for Munchie to finish with!!!

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Haymaking Is Underway!

After thinking that we definitely wouldn't be making hay this week...yesterday the weather forecast changed from weather warnings for torrential thundery showers, to no warnings at all and lots of plans change and now hay making is underway!  Topsy and Star have moved fields and thankfully we have enough spare patches of grass to keep them going for a few days.

It was extremely hot this morning so it was a sweltering job getting all the electric fencing down - Margaret braved the heat to help.  John and Ted had already serviced the grass cutter and hay turning equipment about a week ago so it was ready to go.  Ted cut the hay this morning, John turned it and then Ted did a last turning late this afternoon.  There'll still be a lot of turning to go before it's ready...

...So we have a "call to arms" anyone who can lend a hand to help us get the bales collected up off the field and stacked in the'll be a late afternoon/early evening job.  There is likely to be somewhere between 200 and 250 bales to move (not over a thousand like last year but still a lot to move).  If you think you can lend a hand, please get in touch - or 07968 071179.

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Saturday, 1 July 2017


The July calendar has brought us beautiful Topsy - a photo taken last year - sadly there wasn't a lot of sunshine last year but Topsy still looks beautiful no matter what the weather!!  Amazingly Topsy seems to look younger every year - must be all those lovely herbs - she's in her mid 30's and doing great :0)

Topsy June 2017
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