Saturday, 28 June 2014

Frodo And Peter's Horse Agility Liberty Challenge

Peter and Frodo have tried their first ever Horse Agility competition course today...there was no starter course for June, so he's gone straight for the Liberty Challenge (Bronze Level) with Frodo...which means doing the course without using a leadrope.  Peter's 10 years old and he's been volunteering with us since December.  This was a fantastic effort and we've entered him into the online competition...I hope the commentary doesn't lose him marks but it was an impressive effort so we wanted to submit it.  The video was rapidly running out but thankfully it did last until the last obstacle!!  Well done Peter and Frodo!

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Saturday, 21 June 2014

St John's Fayre

We've all had a fantastic day today at St John's Fayre in Witheridge...lots of lovely photos and I couldn't choose one or two of the best so here's a selection!

Group photos!

Angela and Frodo

Faye and Frodo

After the parade

Catherine and Victoria on the p4p stall

Margaret and Frodo

Frodo "meeting and greeting" in his pen next to the stall

Peter and Frodo together on the long walk home

We've had such amazing weather - probably the best we've ever had and everyone has put in so much effort to make it a special a huge thanks to everyone involved who could make the day possible.  We also raised £205 on our stall for the ponies...and Angela did an amazing job raising £31 of this from taking the donation bucket to the audience during the parade!  Frodo was outstanding - walked brilliantly all the way there and back and strided out every step of the 8 mile round trip!  Any period of time at the parade or stall where there was waiting about he was more than happy with his nose in a tub of hay or a haynet!!

Thank you very much to Sara, Maddie and Alexander for coming out to take part in the parade; Peter for escorting Frodo on his adventures down the lanes and doing a super job helping on the stall; Ann for giving Peter a lift so he could get to Witheridge; to Angela for coming all the way from Chard to help with the stall, working the crowd for donations, and helping walk Frodo home; Margaret for helping to get everything ready, running the stall, and dismantling everything at the end of the day; Jenny and Ted for the beautiful flowers, for ferrying us about to our cars in Witheridge and back, and for the help with the poo-picking in the yard; Cilla and Paul for all the photos they took; and to Catherine and Victoria who came on Friday to help get Frodo ready, and who walked Frodo to Witheridge first thing this morning as well as helping with the stall; and to Gill for letting us borrow her parasol bases to make Frodo's pen.   Great job everyone...and thank you everyone for your was the best St John's Fayre we've ever had! 

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Monday, 16 June 2014

Frodo's Pen Practice

We're hoping Frodo that will be doing a "meet and greet" session after the parade at St John's Fayre so we've been trying to work out how to make a portable pen for him.  Today we think we've cracked netting and parasol bases with poles.  Obviously the pen in the photo is much smaller than the one we'll construct on the day but we wanted to see how Frodo would feel about it.  Not a problem at all!  He's quite happy munching on the hay whilst the plastic netting is moving about.  He'll be staying on the headcollar and leadrope at the Fayre and won't be loose so this should be perfect.

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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Summer's Arrived

The ponies are split into three groups at the moment - those who get the best grazing (Topsy with her grandmotherly rights!), those who get restricted grazing, and those who have very limited grazing.  

There was a really interesting post on the Rockley Farm blog about a study recently published by Bangor University looking into sugar levels in grasses.  Alarmingly, the study showed that modern ryegrass can be 600 times higher in fructose than old pasture species.  Very interesting reading...   

We've got one week to go until St John's Fayre - Frodo's looking good and his hooves sounds great when he's stomping around the yard!   

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Our Rosettes Have Arrived!

Vanessa very kindly brought over our Horse Agility rosettes today from our last OLHA competitions - Topsy was placed 6th and has a lovely purple rosette...and Rocky has a green "special" rosette for coming 7th in his class.  Clever ponies!

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Handling The Wild And Traumatised Horse Course

Nicole and Ebony

 We really enjoyed our weekend course that we hosted at the p4p yard - "Handling The Wild And Traumatised Horse".  Vanessa Bee of Positive Horsemanship and The Horse Agility Club is always so supportive of p4p and our work and is always so generous - donating all the course proceeds directly to us.  We met some lovely people on our course this weekend - Carol; Nicole and Martin who came from the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust; and it was great that our friends Angela and Lisa could come too.

There's always so much to fit in on the 2 day course.  Whereas we usually have wild ponies in to handle, there is such a shortage of homes for them to go to, we just couldn't take in any extra ponies.  Instead, we decided to incorporate the round-up of our sponsor ponies Ebony and Apache - both of whom are very nervous, traumatised ponies.  Thank you very much to Jane for allowing us to do this and for all the lovely scones and chocolate cake and tea that she provided for us.  Ebony and Apache have an untraumatised sheep friend (called Larry) who lives with them and is convinced that he is a pony too so he joined in with everything.

After the introductions and videos on Saturday, we worked with the p4p ponies at the yard - they are all at differing levels of trauma (except Frodo who was a different sort of challenge for them!) and it's pretty fair to say that the ponies were really alarmed at just the sight of a group of unusual people appearing on site.  Even Topsy was able to do a bit of work - allowing Carol to do some handling with her.  We rounded up Ebony and Apache late afternoon so that they could stay in overnight and settle before handling the next day.  Actually, deciding to round-up Ebony and Apache was great for Martin and Nicole in particular as they have conservation ponies that they work with at the Wildlife Trust sites.  It's wonderful that they are so keen to learn about and understand the ponies - both are so thoughtful and are so dedicated to handling them in the right way.  I think they are now both addicted to wild pony handling too!  Whether we are teaching, or just students on courses we always learn so much.  Faye was really happy with how well Apache did - he was so fearful in the morning but with just advance and retreat (and no need for a "glove on a stick" etc) he allowed her to headcollar him.  After handling, Ebony and Apache have gone straight back out to their nature's great for them to have these positive experiences of people and they are straight back out living in their natural paradise again.

We'd like to say a big thank you to Margaret who has been so dedicated to helping us get ready for this weekend.  She also helped throughout the weekend keeping everyone happy with tea, coffee and biscuits; and helped with poo-picking and keeping the ponies provisioned with hay - helping everything to run as smoothly as possible.

Inviting Ebony to see Larry

Martin, Ebony and Larry

Vanessa applying horsemanship to that "sheepmanship"??

Frodo did have a bath on Friday night before the course (not that he was impressed) so I took this photo as proof that he was clean when I left him.  Just as well because he was covered in mud again by the morning...and it was raining so there wasn't really anything that could be done to clean him up!!

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Thursday, 5 June 2014

Conservation Round-Up

 Today we had our annual round up of our ponies Star, Misty and Breeze who graze for the Devon Wildlife Trust on a gorgeous site by the sea.  We need to say a huge thank you to all our friends and volunteers who came to help - Gill, Catherine, Margaret, and of course to Vanessa and Phillip and to Frank the farrier who are all so generous with their time and don't charge us for their services.

The ponies are looking really well - Star's doing fine but is definitely looking older.  We were very thankful for the weather being so kind to us!

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Sunday, 1 June 2014

P4P Rescue Fieldtrip

We've been on a p4p excursion this evening to the edge of Dartmoor to help Ted and Jenny collect some new arrivals...but not of the pony kind!  Ted and Jenny decided to have a couple of outdoor rescue cats - thankfully the cats aren't completely feral so the owners were able to catch them without the need for traps.  The ponies were really intrigued by the meowing baskets that came out of the car - Bobby was really interested and I was remembering that he used to share his stable with Cilla's old cat Humbug.  The cats are settling in and it'll be a little while before they can be released.

I think it's probably a new p4p record this week - we've been offered a total of 89 ponies this one week's so difficult to turn ponies away but it's the starfish on the beach scenario...we can't rescue them all...but we do make a big difference to the comparatively few that we can help.

...And of course, finally we must send Happy Birthday wishes to Jeremy who was 11 years young today!

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June Calendar Photo

Our June photo is of lovely Gypsy Dan (known as Dan for short) grazing amongst the buttercups at our main base.  He's got such a lovely "calm and assertive personality" but he also has a very high fear level (fear of people that is).  He was one of the main stallions in the herd and was already mature when Paul and Cilla first saw him, so we don't really know how old he is for sure.  He has made a lot of progress at the new yard where he's around familiar people but he's still very suspicious of strangers - particularly men.   He's a long term rehab.  He's a real asset in the herd as he keeps a calm, balanced presence - firm but fair, maintains the rules and keeps a sense of order amongst the youngsters.

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