Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Our Visiting Volunteer

We're lucky enough to have a volunteer staying with us this week.  Valerie is on holiday from Germany and wrote to ask if she could come and volunteer for a week.  Valerie is used to working with and riding Icelandic ponies, and has done some natural horsemanship whilst in Canada earlier this year.  She's getting on well with Frodo and has even worked a little bit with Topsy today.  Val's also done a super job cleaning some saddles today in preparation for "The Brooke" show on the 11th.

Here's Valerie in action with Frodo on the obstacle course...

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Frodo And Hazel-Ann "Do" Horse Agility

Here's a video of Frodo and Hazel-Ann's first Horse Agility obstacle session from earlier in the week!  On his first attempt, Frodo jumped the jump really nicely with a full clearance but alas...when the video camera came out it didn't quite happen with as much enthusiasm but he did clear it.  Both of them had fun...Frodo does like to keep his handlers on their toes!

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

It's Our Anniversary!

Believe it or not, today is an anniversary - it's one year exactly since the ponies' big move of location from Horseford Farm!  So much has happened in the last year!  To think in that time we've been flooded, snowed in, nursed poorly ponies, been to Parliament, and won an award...We owe a big thank you to Ted and Jenny without whom all of this wouldn't happen.  Three cheers for Ted and Jenny from the ponies and all the "pony people"!

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

I'll Scratch Your Back...

Hazel-Ann managed to capture this video of Topsy and Rocky on Sunday - Topsy instigated a session of mutual grooming which was nice to see.  Tufty and Topsy used to spend a lot of time doing this together.

Over the weekend it was clear that Rocky had a respiratory infection as well as an allergy.  Fiona was great at helping us to administer the right things to knock the main infection on its head overnight.  Rocky also has a "nose net" that covers his nostrils (but not his mouth so eating is not impacted) which helps to filter out pollen and dust.  He really seems to like wearing it!

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Great News From LUSH

We are delighted to hear that the Exeter LUSH store are going to come and support us at "The Brooke" Show at Chevithorne Barton on the 11th August!  They are going to bring some of their lovely products to come and stock up on your hand-made, cruelty free cosmetics that are ethically sourced and not tested on animals!  Buy something lovely for yourself (or a friend or relative!), and you'll be raising money for charity too!

We are also very pleased to have sourced some beautiful, ethically sourced, jewellery which we will be selling at the show.  We'll have our delicious jams and marmalades on offer, p4p cards, good quality second-hand tack, plants, gifts for sale and a tombola too!

We're really looking forward to the show...hope to see you there!  (Flyer is on the p4p blog post on 3rd July).

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Thursday, 18 July 2013

A Sizzling Summer And A Poorly Pony

Rocky self selecting cleavers
Sorry for the delay in blogging everyone.  The hot weather is continuing -  it was 94 degrees Fahrenheit this afternoon! The ponies don't seem to mind much - there's always shade in the yard...and the field shelter provides shade for the ponies in the field.  They are all drinking much more so the water buckets need extra top ups.  For the volunteers...Some come earlier or later in the day as it's easier to work in the slightly cooler temperatures.  Some volunteers thrive on the heat and love being out in scorching sunshine and it never seems too hot for them!

The biggest difficulty this week is that Rocky's not been well.  He seems to have had some sort of allergic reaction, causing him difficulty breathing and asthma type symptoms.  We've been trying to isolate the source - bedding, dust/spores in the hay, or possibly a pollen of some sort.  Fiona's been helping with suggestions for self-selection and Rocky's been having steam inhalations to help open up his airways and keep him more comfortable.  Thank you to Catherine for bringing over a "spacer" for Rocky in case he needs to have ventipulmin.

We need to say thank you to our volunteer Mel who donated a 3 tier water feature for us to sell for the ponies.  We posted it on ebay and on Sunday it sold for just over £72!  Thank you Mel!
Frodo checking out the change to pea gravel in the stable
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Saturday, 13 July 2013

It's Officially A Heatwave!

Sara wearing a sombrero
It's been sweltering hot today!  The digital thermometer from the weather station was reading between 32-33 degrees Celsius in the shade, and the Met Office have a weather warning out for heatwave conditions.  Sara came to see us today and brought the perfect hat for the weather!  It was too hot to do the manual work in the middle of the day, so other than keeping the ponies topped up with food and water, the big jobs waited until late afternoon when it was a bit cooler.

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hay Mission Accomplished

Today was our big "hay making day", although it was probably better described as a hay collecting and stacking day!  Thanks to our volunteers, we've got lots of lovely photos of the day! 

We were so lucky to have so many willing helpers...Hazel Ann and Graham did the mucking out in the morning, and by 11am we were joined by Hugh and Jane (who foster Ebony and Apache).  Roger arrived shortly afterwards with his son Jonathon, and they were armed with the flat 8 and their tractor with an extra big trailer.
The flat 8 saves so much human work because it carries 8 bales at once and makes loading trailers in the field so much easier.

The ponies had to keep safely out of the way, so they moved to several locations throughout the day.  We were trying to make sure they don't eat too much grass.
Bobby and Dan stayed up at the far end of the field
Topsy ended up keeping an eye on things from the stable - it was nice and cool in there and she was quite happy - she had a good view as there's a window in the side of the stable too.

With the team of 7, Ted tractoring, and Laura and Jenny providing support, by lunchtime we had more than half of the 769 bales stacked in the barn!  A brilliant effort.
Can you spot the chicken disappearing into the haystack??!!!

 Hugh and Jane left us at lunchtime, and in the afternoon we were joined by a fresh troop including Paul and Cilla, Pete and Stella (who foster Munchie) and our volunteer Mel.  This worked really well!   Roger has been amazingly good to us - he was with us all day today with his tractor and equipment and he has his own farm and livestock to look after...we really appreciated his help.

We were finished by just after 4pm...time for all our brilliant volunteers to have drinks, cake, biscuits, quiche and sausage rolls for their efforts (courtesy of Ted, Jenny and Laura).  We were finished much earlier than expected and our friends Catherine and Edward who had offered to come down to help in the late afternoon could be stood down!  We are so lucky because not only do Ted and Jenny give us the use of their premises for the ponies to live, they donate all the ponies' supply of annual hay - a most valuable gift.  Now we know that even if it snows all winter (which I hope it doesn't!!) the ponies will have enough food to eat!
Faye's mask attracted a few comments but she says it's the best thing ever for hayfever sufferers!  It filters out all the dust and pollen spores.  She was able to work all day with the hay without a single sneeze or snuffle for the first time ever, and it's so nice to finish haymaking without feeling like you have a full blown cold and without lungs full of hay dust!

Although the "haymaking" was finished, that wasn't the end of the work!  We were so pleased to see Margaret and Gill who came to help get the ponies sorted with their dinners and sort out the hay soaking for tomorrow.  Margaret kindly donated some new feed bowls to the ponies so some of them had their herb supplements in them.  Graham managed to sort out some tarpaulins to hang over the new stack so that the ponies don't reach over the barn wall to help themselves to extra hay rations!! Hazel-Ann worked on getting the electric fences all back in the right places.
 ...And then it was job done!

Faye and the ponies would like to say another big THANK YOU to EVERYONE who came to help today!

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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Your Last Chance To...

...Get your LUSH charity pot featuring people4ponies!  The lids are changing on the 22nd July, so get your limited edition people4ponies Charity Pot whilst you can!

For this week only, the LUSH stores have a Charity Pot window display...and people4ponies features in the promotional photo, which you can also see on the front page of the LUSH website: 

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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

All "Rewed Up" And Ready To Go...

Roger and his son Jonathon have been brilliant at helping us out - as promised, they have turned the hay for us and it is now "rewed up" (collected together in rows) ready for baling.  The baler is arriving late tomorrow afternoon.  All these rows will be transformed into our "pensioner sized bales" which are slighter smaller than the usual bales, making them much easier to handle.

We are very grateful to Roger.  Our volunteer Gill made a lovely cake that we have given to Roger from all the "pony people" to say thank you for rescuing us!

"Thank you" cake complete with tractor and hay turner!
Because it is so hot, we can leave the hay out in the field tomorrow evening, and then on Thursday a small army of p4p volunteers will arrive to help move the bales to the barn and get them stacked.  Then our mission will be accomplished!

The ponies don't seem to mind the heat.  Hazel-Ann gave Bobby his bath today and this was a photo of him this afternoon looking very shiny.  He's finally decided that it is now hot enough for him to lose the last of his winter coat!

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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Hay Turning Catastrophe

The weather has been remaining perfect with temperatures reaching 89 degrees Fahrenheit today...everything was going well...Ted had turned hay in 2 of the 3 fields and was heading up to the top field when there was a hay turning catastrophe!  Faye heard the metal crunching noise from the barn which didn't sound good...and on heading out to the fields she could see that there was a serious problem...a weld had sheared through and the hay turner was no longer attached to the tractor in the way that it should be.  Ted was fine, which was good news, but the damage has put an end to our hay turning completely.  The turner can be fixed but not in the timeframe we need to finish the haymaking.

Our neighbour Roger has definitely saved the day.  He came up to help Ted sort out the tractor and hay turner and Roger is now going to turn our hay until it's ready to be baled.  Roger is already working hard to make his own hay and to help another neighbour so we are very, very grateful to him for rescuing us!

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Friday, 5 July 2013

Haymaking Has Begun!

Roger arrived today with his tractor to cut the grass to make the haymaking process has officially begun!    

The ponies had to give up some of their "out" time so that the tractors could easily access the field and yard. 
Frodo doesn't look impressed but it is important to make hay for the winter!

Ponies supervising the tractor moving through the yard
Topsy's there too!

Ted out on his tractor to start turning the cut hay.

Helpers are now on stand-by...Monday or Tuesday evening could be when the baling will happen.  Then the bales need to be moved from the fields to the barn and stacked...and there'll probably be quite a few!
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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

"The Brooke" Rescue Horse & Dog Show

We just wanted to blog about our next upcoming's one of our favourite events and is great fun.  It's a great day designed to promote rescues...both canine and equine.  There are lots of fun classes to enter for just a small entry fee.  We'll be having our stand there with lots of items for sale to raise money for the p4p ponies, including second-hand tack and special gifts for sale.  We hope to see you there!!

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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Getting Ready...

The 5 day weather forecast says that later this week the weather is going to change and (they say!) it will be set as hot, dry and sunny...and that all suggests that by the end of the week we could be cutting the fields to start making hay!

This means that we have to get the barn ready by making room for the new bales (potentially somewhere between 800 and 1200 bales!).  We still have some hay remaining from the 2011 and 2012 cuts.  Obviously we still need to use up the oldest hay first, so our mission this afternoon was to temporarily reclaim the back of the barn from the ponies to make room for us to store the 2011 hay there.  If we don't do this, all the old bales would be left rather inaccessibly under all the new bales!  

After clearing a space, we (Hazel-Ann, Graham and Faye) shifted all the remaining 2011 bales, leaving a rather smart, flat area in the barn ready for the new crop...and a new stack was formed of all the old bales at the back of the barn

...Now we need to wait to see if the forecasters are right with their predictions!!

New space created to store the old hay

Barn now prepared with a flat level

Hazel-Ann with her newly created, temporary haystack in the cleared area at the back of the barn
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Monday, 1 July 2013

Talk For Crediton MS Group

This afternoon Faye travelled down to Crediton as she'd been invited by the local Multiple Sclerosis group to give a talk about p4p to the members.  The projector, slide show and videos really help to bring the story of p4p and the ponies to life...It was a lovely afternoon and it was a treat to have all the delicious cakes and scones with jam and cream afterwards.  Jenny who runs the MS group is a real inspiration and a lifeline to so many people - Jenny is a volunteer and the driving force and she works all hours of the day (and night!) to run the charity group.

Thank you again to all the MS members who donated the money that they would usually collect for their tea and cakes to the ponies!

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