Sunday, 31 August 2014

Witheridge Car Boot Sale

Ponies early morning snoozing in the mud patch


Is this close enough to have my photo taken?? (says Arthur)

Lovely sunny start this morning...and it was an earlier start than usual as we were going to have a stall at the Witheridge car boot sale.  The ponies were still snoozing when Faye arrived, enjoying the warm sunshine.   Thank you to everyone at the sale for supporting us - we raised £79 for the ponies from the sales of our plants, jams, marmalades and tombola tickets!

A big thank you to Margaret who's been busy helping with extra sessions at the yard, making more jams, and who donated some new hay nets for the ponies this week (as well as doing the stall of course!)!  Jenny also donated more plants and had very kindly finished the last bit of mucking out that we hadn't quite managed before going to Witheridge!

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Frodo's August Calendar Photo

We hope you've all enjoyed Frodo's photo on the calendar this month!  It really seems to capture his personality...he could be described as a cheeky monkey!  He's a very clever chap and isn't nervous or frightened at all.  He has a multitude of of which is electric fence avoidance and he has a couple of different techniques for getting through them.  Frodo is a perfect mascot as he can cope well at busy events and he regularly takes part in the annual St John's Fair parade in Witheridge.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

August Horse Agility

Over the last few days we've been working on our next Horse Agility entries.  We've decided to set up the course in the field - which makes life a lot easier as we don't have to keep putting the obstacles up and taking them down whenever we want to practice.  Peter's been practising obstacles with Frodo - with best behaviour and no biting etc.  Arthur's had his first walk around the course and has completed some of the easier obstacles.  Rocky's on a higher level and has the soonest deadline so he has already completed his submissions on the First Level and the Liberty course.  Thank you to Peter and Margaret for filming!  The deadline for the other ponies is mid-September so we have a little while yet...

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Friday, 22 August 2014

In Action Photos

We've got some nice action shots of our obstacle practice in the field today.  Faye injured her back last weekend but it's feeling a lot better now.  Thank you very much to Margaret and Jenny for helping out with the ponies this week whilst Faye's back was on the mend!

Look at Frodo jump!

Meanwhile, Arthur's just about mastered all the
Horse Agility obstacles for this month.  Here he is with the curtain.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Rosettes Have Arrived!

We had a group photo this afternoon to celebrate our rosettes that arrived for our July Horse Agility courses.  With 5 "special" rosettes between us...perhaps that takes us into the "very special" category??!  Margaret won her first ever rosette for our pairs course!

Faye and Topsy - Topsy's looking stunning...the new supplement is
definitely working!

Peter and Frodo with their double rosette winnings
from the starter and junior courses
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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Defra's Response to Illegal Export of Dartmoor Hill Ponies Report

This is the response we had from Defra about our report exposing the illegal live export of wild ponies to Ireland and Europe:

"The government is committed to improving animal welfare.  Where horses are transported, they should be handled and cared for in strict accordance with the relevant welfare rules.

As regards the minimum value legislation you refer to in your letter, minimum values were introduced to Great Britain in 1937 for working horses and in 1950 for ponies.  This legislation was last updated in 1978 and it never applied to trade from Northern Ireland.  It has been overtaken by the other animal health and welfare legislation, most recently the EU legislation on the protection of animals during transport (Council Regulation (EC)1/2005) which came into effect in January 2007.  The more recent animal welfare and animal health legislation provides for a system of inspections and checks to be put in place to make sure that horses are healthy and fit for transport.  The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency undertakes risk based inspections of equines destined for export, normally at premises where horses are first loaded onto a vehicle.  Local authorities also undertake inspection work, and are responsible for investigating breaches of the legislation with a view to prosecution.

In 2012, local authorities and the AHVLA inspected just under 2,700 consignments of equidae during transport at a wide variety of different locations in Great Britain.  A total of 73 welfare infringements were discovered, representing just under 3% of the total inspected.  The low instance of infringements indicates that the current level of inspections is appropriate to the risks involved.

I hope this helps."

There is absolutely no expression of interest in the illegal activity we uncovered or the scale of it - with false registration numbers, no documentation (for ponies or journey logs etc), overcrowded lorries and lorries travelling illegal routes this has clearly not been an area that Defra have been, or are willing, to take interest in.  If they had chosen to inspect the illegal activity lorries their statistics would have been somewhat different!

When there is a known "risk" period in the autumn surrounding the markets, this is when the checks should be escalated at the ports.  As usual, for Defra the statistics are more important than the welfare of the wild ponies and the enforcement of the laws that are supposed to protect them.  Let's hope the stallions are removed from the moors soon.  The mass overbreeding has rendered the ponies valueless and subject to illegal activity - by stopping the overbreeding, it would stop the source of all this illegal activity.

The full copy of our original report exposing the illegal live export of Dartmoor Hill Ponies can be found here:

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Topsy's Arthritis And Serrapeptase

Being an older girl, it's not surprising that Topsy has been showing signs of arthritis.  Self selecting has helped a lot but she's stopped choosing to eat a lot of the plants that were helping(!) and we've noticed that she's been getting stiffer...some days were better than others...but we thought we could find another supplement to help.

Faye was reminded of a product called Serrapeptase that had been recommended for her elderly dog by a homeopathic vet some years did some research into it.  Topsy's been trying it for the last 10 days. We've gradually been increasing her to the full starter dosage which she has only been at for the last 3 days.  We thought that we'd video her today on the same circle obstacle that she did in the last Horse Agility course on 21st July so we could compare them.  We're already noticing other improvements too...she's done a few nice pirouettes whilst she's been looking quite sprightly in the field this week, and she's finding it much easier to pick up her feet for them to be picked out.  It's still early days but it'll be interesting to see how she gets on...I thought this might be quite interesting for others with arthritic horses and ponies...Topsy's still looking as beautiful as ever - she still has the highest number of potential photos for next year's calendar!

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

More Pony Photos...

Lots more lovely photos today in the nice weather...

Is it time to go out yet???

Arthur and Jenny

Jenny, Arthur and Ted

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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Saying Hello

Here's Rocky saying hello to Nevaeh when she came to visit with her family last week.  Rocky was so gentle giving snuffles and kisses and was very mindful of being careful around her - such a clever pony!

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Horse Agility Results

The results are in for the Horse Agility competitions that we submitted...

Topsy scored 91 for her Starter round - Vanessa's comment was "This pony looks fabulous".  Topsy now has enough points to move up to the First Level.

Peter scored 94 for his Starter round with Frodo...and he scored an even more amazing 97 for his Junior Course...Frodo did get a few "naughty pony!" comments for the starter course.  For the junior course he scored full marks for the stepping stones, ball kicking, scary corridor, hopping, egg and spoon, washing line and garland obstacles...his feedback comment from Vanessa was "Fantastic!".

Faye, Margaret, Frodo and Rocky scored 87 for their Pairs course, which they were very chuffed with!  They were the highest scoring England entries!

Rocky scored 96 for his Starter course with Faye.  He too now has enough points to go up to the First level!

...And, of course, Rowan and Jeremy competed in the show jumping class and were placed 6th - very well done to both of them - it was their first ever competition together :0)

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Morchard Bishop Vintage Fair

We had a stall at the Morchard Bishop Vintage Fair and Rally today and raised £105 for the ponies.  The weather did hold out for us...although the party tent covering our stall nearly didn't.  The wind was so strong it was blowing it about so badly the poles kept popping out of their keepers and it became unmanageable - we had to take it down in the end.  Thankfully it didn't rain on us after that!  Winston, the rather adorable teddy bear who's been in our tombola's for a while found his perfect home today - with a youngster who declared her admiration for him as she reached the tombola table and then magically drew his ticket!  Winston went home in style in one of the vintage Bentley cars!  The organisers of the fair very kindly awarded us a rally medallion which Peter has proudly taken home for all his efforts helping us today.

Big thanks to Catherine and Victoria, Peter and Margaret for coming out to help us, and to Jenny for all the plants and for helping us get all our stock down to the fair.  

The Horse Agility results are out...and there are exciting results, so we'll blog about those tomorrow!

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