3rd September 201

Well another couple of very exciting weeks have passed by, Red went off with Julie, Hannah and the rest of the team to P(UK) Summer Champs.  We didn't go - but he is quite used to going off on his travels without us, P(UK) Summer Champs seems to be his lucky show and he loves the evening performances, last year he did really well winning all 7 of his classes and this year he had 5 wins and 2 seconds, but this did happen to give him 2 Reserve Reserve Championships and then, we couldn't believe it, he won his HOYS qualifier and went HOYS Champion!!!!!

Julie phoned us at home as he and Hannah were doing their lap of honour and you could hear the crowd going wild over the phone!!  I am waiting for some photos so will put them on as soon as I get them.

Then all of us went to Equifest for the first time and what a super show.  We love the East of England Showground anyway, the facilities are fantastic and it was Honeyman and Turnip's turn to take the honours, they both had several very good wins and ended up as Champion and Reserve M&M Ridden.  It was also great to see little Gemma Pallett and Briar Percy take the Eqifest M&M Home Produced Ridden Championship, she is a cracking rider and works really hard and must be the fastest girl on the circuit - if you have seen Gemma and Percy you will know what I mean!!

Steve, a non-horsey friend of ours came up on friday night with his tent to see what all the fuss was about, never having been to a horse show before.  I don't think he quite knew what to expect but we think he thought it would be a bit like a normal agricultural show.  Well he was taken aback on the way in as he drove passed thousands of lorries, stable and horses until he arrived at our little encampment.  He might have been kept awake by the neighing in the night - but we reckon it was just the horses telling him to STOP SNORING!

This last weekend was Aylesham Agricultural Show and the weather was horrible when we were leaving home.  Up the A140 and the rain was lashing down with the wind blowing so hard that the lorry was leaning over, arrived at a wet and muddy showground thinking with horror that if we got on we would certainly be towed off, but the rain stopped, the sun sort of came out, but as the wind stayed with us the ground dried out quite quickly and we didn't have any problem at all in the end.

Linzi also came with her 2 - Frankie and Miriam and we all had a super show with Spock Junior Champion, Ollie Champion and Miri Reserve Champion, Ollie then went on to be Reserve Supreme M&M so we were very chuffed.

Red was off on his travels again without us, but this time for some R&R.  He and Hannah along with Ellie and Charlie (Moortown Master Craftsman) went for the weekend to the North Norfolk Coast.  It's really great up there with wide sandy beaches, it's where the Household Cavalry go for their summer hols.  It was a shame the weather was so rough as it limited the amount of time they could spend on the beach, but they did get to go in the sea, have a game of pirates and a play on the cross country course.

Then yesterday we went to collect Holly the Highland.  She has been to Cate Carnegie's Talisker Stud to visit Highland Chief of Whitfield, and by coincidence Cate told us that she shows a black Highland Stallion for a friend of hers Moss Side Pearson, and would you believe it - he is Holly's son by Iain Mor.  Holly looks really well and Cate has done a lovely job with her, the foal is due at the end of June and we are very excited to see how that turns out.

Anyway it's our turn to go off on travels for a few days, I have managed to persuade Alan, who normally doesn't do non-horse related holidays, to go off to Spain for a few days, hopefully all will go to plan otherwise I may never get him to go on holiday again!!

13th August 2010

OH DEAR - major drop off on the diary front, but my excuse is that it has been a very hectic few months.  While we were at HOYS last year we got a call from Daniel to say he was waiting for the transport plane as he was leaving for a tour of Afghanistan with 3 Rifles - ergh! 


Lewis was well into his Royal Marines Commando training so worrying about the two of them was pretty all consuming in terms of focusing the mind.

Then the wonderful winter came along with the snow and ice, living out in the sticks meant "no chance" on the gritter front and the lane outside our house was sheet ice, so I managed to go over on the ice and break my ankle.  The problem was compounded because it was so icy that Alan couldn't keep his feet helping me home so ended up dragging me on my backside by my jacket collar up the lane - very undignified!  Poor man was left to do all the ponies on his own for the rest of the winter and spent his birthday (which happens to be Christmas Day) cooking Christmas lunch, doing ponies and opening his presents on his own as I was spaced out on painkillers.  A friend commented "well at least he will appreciate you more now then" - no chance this is going to take months to pay back!! 

Then we became Grandparents - Daniel's fiance Danielle had a beautiful baby girl, Abigail, just a few days before he was due home from Afganistan, he was later than expected as he got held up by the ash cloud and then Lewis had his Commando Tests culminating in the 30mile yomp in 8 hours across Dartmoor - which meant my fingernails were bitten down to the knuckles for the entire week.

That was followed by the most fantastic day at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone for his passout which the whole family including Dan and Danielle trooped off to - very very proud Mum!!


The ponies have been busy too, Hannah and Red qualified for RIHS at South Suffolk and were 8th at the final.  Becki was a star and drove from NPS Champs to Hickstead to ride him at the International Breed Show, were 2nd to Bigton and Alice Barr who had already qualified for Olympia so very excitingly got the ticket, 


Ollie and Spock have both had some good wins as has Clive on his only outing this year, Red has now gone off to P(UK) with the girls and is having a very good show so far being Res Res Kingsford and Res Res M&M Open.  Tommy has gone off to a lovely new home in Denmark,


Duncan is growing up and has been turned out across the road on "the Boys" field with the shetland colts, and this year we have a super colt foal by Ollie out of Dancer, Flo and Lady J both have fillies by Clive, one Skewbald and one liver chesnut with white star lighter mane and tail and grey socks!

SO - - - - will try much harder now and keep up to date.


27th October

HOYS was fabulous, we had never competed there before, only been as spectators, we had a great time.  We were parked up with Julie and Team, Hannah, Ellie and their parents, Becky Penny, Sandy and Martin and Jane Corbett - so good excuse for a party. The team had 6 ponies qualified across Open Ridden; Becky and Iggy, Kate and Honey, Linzi and Countryman, Hannah and Red, First Ridden; Ellie and Charlie, The Cuddy; Julie and Spock. 


They were all really well behaved and had some great results, Becky and Iggy were 8th and Hannah and Red 9th in the Open, Ellie and Charlie were 9th in the First Ridden and Julie and Spock were 9th in The Cuddy - so not too shabby! 

When we got home we decided to wean the colt foals, so Victor and Oscar moved into a stable together and their Mums went up the road to Blakenham with the other mares.  They all seem to be happy, the little boys were already eating hard feed and leading well and were also starting to get quite colty, so we thought they were well ready to grow up.  They seem to be fine and as we have so many boys we have decided to part with them, along with one of the coloured yearling colts, so we will be updating the "For Sale" page this weekend.  We have also sadly decided to part with Tommy, he is wasted with us and really needs a small adult or keen teenager to have lots of fun with, he's a super boy with a fantastic temperament, even though he has been covering all summer, he has come home and is in a paddock only separated from the other mares and foals by about 12 feet and he doesn't care a bit!

BSPS Heritage Champs at Arena UK last weekend and the first time we had been, big wins across the team, but especially for Katie and her Connie stallion Barney, Linzi and the Section B stallion Turnip and Red's jump jockey Sarah with her Dartmoor stallion Buck.  Red was brilliant with some great results in very good classes and Amber was delighted with Ivor her 4 year old Section D, first time at a big show and beautifully behaved.  It was a fabulous show, very very well organised and run - we will definately go back.  One narrow escape though, Alan was walking Blythe the spaniel late at night and came across some people with a mini sausage dog pup on one of those extending leads, well it ran across in front of Blythe in the dark and she thought it was a rat (she's very good at rats!) but fortunately he managed to pull her in and she had time to realise her mistake - could have been very embarassing!

5th October

Apparently we are banned from attending when Red is competing as he went off with Julie and Hannah to East Anglian Natives this weekend, won his Open class and took the Championship over Katie Bacon's lovely Connie stallion and Countryman!  Bit of a problem though as its HOYS this week and we aren't going to miss that!

Anyway - we have had a fab month at the last few in hand shows, we had a blinding show at EASPG annual in-hand show with some lovely results in some very good classes under Mrs E Lewis, who was great fun.  Alan had to come out of retirement and get his glad rags on and Lindsey who helps us at the weekends came along as well, beacause madly we decided to take 3 boys Ollie, DV and Spock - no stress there then.  The 2 colts were great - Ollie hadn't been out for 6 weeks so was well on his toes and the lorry spent most of the day rocking from side to side as he leapt up and down in it.  Lindsey had a lovely day - she has a degree in equine science - but has a normal job, she came to us to spend some time with ponies at the weekends and we were a bit perplexed as to whether she really wouldn't mind mucking out etc, but she seems to be really enjoying herself and thinks the world of the ponies. 

The boys finished after the group show, so we decided to take Vanity and Olivia to the performance show, they were great - it was Vanity's first time out and she was 4th in a good class and Olivia was a star - and a complete tart - she made a bee-line for anyone with a camera and managed to get Alan twice on the shin with both barrels.

The big thing last month was No.1 son flying the nest, those of you that know him may remember him at the Highlands and Islands last year holding ponies in the pouring rain saying " now I remember why I hate horse shows".  Well he has finally gone off to the Royal Marines and is going through training - he said to us that there isn't a part of his body that doesn't ache or hurt but in a bizarre way he is loving it.  We all trouped off ( thats his Mum and Stepdad, his Dad and Stepmum and his Grandad - poor bloke ) to see him on Families Day at Commando Training Centre Roal Marines at Lympstone - we had a great day, they really make you feel part of it as they believe that the Marines families are a really important part of their career.  He was able to come home for the weekend - but he was asleep by the time we hit the motorway and he slept all the 5 1/2 hour journey home.  Lewis had pretty much just Saturday at home as we got back about 10pm on friday and he had to be back there by 8pm on the Sunday, his Dad was driving hime to Reading along with a couple of mates in his troop, 1 from Felixstowe, 1 from Stowmarket - talk about a small world! - we were off at the Performance Show, but returned home to find that he had nicked my ironing board and taken it on the train back to CTCRM - the sting in the tail is that when questioned by his Dad about removing said ironing board - he said "she won't notice - she never uses it!! ( probably a grain of truth in that then ).



5th September

AT LAST - 2 FILLIES - but more of that later.

Royal International

We had our very first trip to the Royal International Show during July, it was very exciting and we arrived on a blistering hot day to be met by a very efficient (and extremely good looking) security and stable management team and were soon settled in.  There were hundreds of stables and horses of all shapes and sizes, having got the ponies settled in we all went off to explore and managed to catch part of the Eventers Grand Prix which was something I had always wanted to see.  By strange coincidence,  just about to start as we got there was Mark Kyle and Drunken Disorderedly (Karl), we bought Lily off Mark and Tanya Kyle several years ago and they were eventing Karl at that time .  These days they save him for competitions such as the Grand Prix.

The next day we were in the ring at 7.30am, well some of us were - as it was pelting down with rain Alan decided that the nice warm bed in the lorry was a much better idea!  Red, Honeyman and Countryman all hated the weather; Red put his back up and went overbent and all 3 let us know just how fed up they were, so sadly didn't get placed.  Honeyman did redeem the team by taking the WHP Championship in the afternoon though.


Then we went off to Wayland Show with Ollie and DV, a lovely old fashioned Agricultural Show in Norfolk that has a very strong section for Shetlands.  Our judge was Mrs. Lambert from Yorkshire and she was a very pleasant person to show under, DV was not on his best behaviour and was 2nd to Jenna Land's colt, who in contrast was beautifully behaved and deservedly took the Junior Championship, but we were pleased as Martin and Sandy Wooderson's yearling colt (Claife Redman) by Red out of Lady J, won the yearling class and was Reserve Junior Champion.  Ollie won the stallion and gelding class and the Championship and then went forward for the Supreme of Show against the champions from all the other in hand and ridden sections.  We were delighted when he was given Reserve Supreme to a Ridden Coloured Cob, who had already qualified for HOYS.

However, this meant that we had to go forward to the overall show championship, where the champion and reserve from the horse section compete against all the other sections in the Grand Parade, so that's the cattle, sheep, pig, pigeon, dog, goose etc. etc .etc.  Each section judge then talks about their champion and the panel of judges decide what species takes the overall  championship - well - no sooner had Roger Clark finished extolling the virtues of the Red Poll bull who was his cattle champion did it take exception to the Cob who had just gone out to start his individual show!  The bull bolted,, dragging his handler until the poor man had no choice but to let go and tried to jump the fence blocking the way he had come into the Grand Ring, smashed it to the ground and ran back to the cattle lines.  Fortunately no one was hurt, but needless to stay we didn't stick around to see who did win!

NPS Summer Champs

The next week we were off to Malvern for the NPS Summer Championships, it absolutely hammered it down and the showground was in standing water.  I decided that shorts were the answer as it was easier to wash your legs than your jeans, and we introduced Alex's girlfriend Becky (they came with us for a holiday) to wellies, as her view of sensible footwear - trendy sheepskin boots - survived about 5 minutes.  We had a cracking week across the team, Honeyman won the "British Isles" Championship and qualified for HOYS WHP, Red had some very good wins and gave the most storming gallop with Sarah Challoner in the Olympia Championship he even overtook the Section B! He was also 5th in a massive pairs class with Jordan Tipping, partnering her old pony Riccalton Poppy, and the most fabulous win was Amber Thorpe (15) riding her Highland Rhinns Point Fergus to take the Picton Championship.  Amber used to ride Sasha for us when we first started with ridden Shetlands.  Ollie won the Stallion class which was really strong.

Breed Show

Then home for a couple of days,( not Julie and gang, they went down to Devon for the Dartmoor Breed Show,) and set off on the journey to Shetland for our Breed Show.  We had decided to take Clive and Spock as they get on very well and there didn't seem any point in making things difficult o such a long trip.  Ollie having been at NPS all week was already getting grumpy about being away from his mares and would have hated it, we wanted to take Clive even recognising he wouldn't have much of a chance against the more mature stallions, because it seemed nice to be able to take him back to where he was born and Lyn his breeder was delighted to see him.

The boys travelled really well, we stopped off on the way up at Kelso where Gillies the transport people kindly put us up, and arrived in Aberdeen about lunchtime the next day.  Now, when we were setting off, Alan asked me - "don't we need lashing points?"  Don't think so I replied, they didn't mention anything about them when I booked the ferry.  We duly arrived at Aberdeen port to be greeted by a very helpful  man in the HGV yard saying - "where are your lashing points - a commercial vehicle that size must have lashing points, its up to the Captain whether he is prepared to take you or not".  Great - do I tell Alan - no - so I spent the afternoon panicking in case the Captain wouldn't take us and we had to go home again - instant divorce!   Anyway he did agree to take us, but they did contact everyone else who was travelling over for the show to tell them that they had to get them put on, which cost everyone a small fortune, so we were quite lucky.

Clive and Spock came through the crossing really well, and we were met from the boat and taken to Clickimin Leisure Centre where the show was being held - fabulous facilities, much better than any centre we have near us, and the campsite where all the lorries were to be parked was great, much superior to being parked in a muddy field in Malvern the week before.  We had a lovely view across the Loch to the sea and the use of all the sports facilities for ½ price, handy as it was only about 13 degrees and we had left 29 degrees at home.  They have a saying in Shetland "if you don't like the weather  - wait a minute" and it is so true.

We had a brilliant time, the Islanders were so hospitable and friendly, the best fish and chips we had ever had from the chippy in Lerwick, lots of stud visits, including a rather choppy trip by RIB to NOSS, got soaking wet but enjoyed the Seals, party, civic reception, great restaurants and fab scenery, a real  treat.


The show was brilliantly organised and it seemed quite strange to see hundreds of ponies in pens on the field rather than in lorries as we have them at home.  The ponies did well, Clive was in the bottom 1/3rd in his coloured stallion class, but it was a stormer and won by HRE Bigton with Butterby Express and Butterby Kracker 2nd and 3rd, he was also stood down the line with some top company and was a really good boy so we were happy with that.  Spock was reserve Junior Champion in the Black ring and was also very good.

We had been waiting for Vanity to foal for what seemed like weeks, she was enormous, and by the law of sod she decided she was going to foal on the Wednesday we were away at 12.30 in the morning, delivered by Lewis, a whopping black FILLY by Ollie called Claife Olivia.  She is lovely and very similar to Spock her ½ brother.


Red didn't come to Shetland with us, we didn't have a rider and he really doesn't like in-hand, so he went to P(UK) with Julie and the girls.  He had an amazing show, we thought they were winding us up when they kept phoning, he won the Kingsford Final, the ridden Shetland, the Junior small breed final, the Futurity 4,5,6 final, the open junior and the open FR, he had 3 Championships, a Reserve and a First Reserve.  Huge thanks to Julie and the riders Hannah and Ellie Eaton, Becki Penny and Sarah Challoner, shame we couldn't see him but they brought us back some great photos and there is a video of him on Youtube (just type in Waulkmill Redstart).

Bucks County

Again off went Red with his riders - without us- to Bucks County, kindly partnered by Ellie Breach in the HOYS FR he finished 4th, but Ellie Eaton qualified Charlie (Moortown Master Craftsman) and then Red was 2nd to Ellie and Charlie in the Olympia with Hannah on board, and Ellie qualified Charlie.  What an achievement HOYS and Olympia tickets on the same day - fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And to bring us all up to date 11.30pm on Thursday 3rd September Elana had her first foal, a little black filly - also by Ollie, so we may be late - but all foals safely on the ground, and a 50% filly rate which is amazing for us!


13th July

OH HOW CLOSE CAN YOU GET!  Shetland Performance Show this weekend so we loaded up Ollie, DV and Red to go off to Malvern.  Becky and Red were entered in the Olympia qualifier along with 25 other super ponies under Mrs G Wright, Red was pulled in 1st (horrible) and went out to do what was proving to be a super show, until his gallop, when he hit the rut between the fence and the ring and slipped and changed legs.  It did do everyone elso a favour though as they all stayed well in from the edge of the ring after that!  Alice Barr and Waulkmill Swift (who is Red's full sister) gave a faultless performance and deservedly came up to win, with Red 2ND!

He did redeem himself in a big way though, he won 2 WHP classes including the NPS/Bowling Family Novice WHP Qualifier with 13 year old Jordan Tipping on board (the first time she had ridden him) also under Mrs. G . Wright.

DV was 2nd in the youngstock class - unfortunately there was a filly in season next to him in the line up, so you can imagine his mind was not on his in-hand class!  Ollie won the stallion class and was Reserve Champion to a Transy mare.  Despite the typical Malvern weather, boiling one minute and throwing it down the next - we had a great weekend and thanks to all the organisers for a really super show.

The Wagtails are doing well, their parents still wait patiently for the tractor to return, and you can now see proper feathers under all the down, so hopefully they will have fledged before the tractor is needed to help with our neighbour's harvest.

3rd July

Bit of a pattern emerging with our broadband - it has been very unstable lately, suppose it is the price you pay for living so far away from the exchange, but then its worth it.  Anyway the last month has been very exciting.  East Anglian Natives saw us all stood in the ring in the heaviest downpour we had seen for years - never mind us competitors the poor judge Mrs Bown and steward Viv Hampton didn't get any let up and soldiered gamely on.  DV was Junior Champion, Ollie Shetland Champion and res res overall Stallion Champion and Red won the ridden Shetland.  Then off to WHW (formally ILPH) where DV was Junior Champion and Res Champion and Claife Redman ( Red x Lady J ) won the yearling class and was Res Junior Champion for Sandy and Martin Wooderson.

Then the really exciting bit Lincolnshire County Show - Red and Hannah Eaton (who rode her socks off) won the HOYS Open Ridden and qualified!!!!!!!!!!!! Especially nice was that little sister Ellie was 2nd on her Dartmoor Charlie.


Ollie was Shetland Champion and Honeyman Dartmoor Champion.


Royal Norfolk this week so we decided to take a few days off and stay over as it is such a lovely show, the weather was the complete opposite to EANPS - scorching - Ollie won Stallion/Gelding and was Res Champ with Red in second in his first in-hand class this season, he was a really good boy and seems to be enjoying himself much more this year.  It was a very hard decision to have him gelded, but he does seem to be getting a lot more out of life and is enjoying doing ridden classes including Juniors with the girls.  DV won his class and was Res Junior Champ and Redman was Best Yearling.

This left us Friday to catch up on some jobs, slight drawback being that a little Pied Wagtail had decided to build her nest in the back of Alan's tractor, and had been sitting on a clutch of 8 eggs which all hatched this morning.  We debated whether to move the nest to the barn but thought that might upset her, leave all the tractor jobs until the chicks had fledged, not practical - so thought do the tractor jobs in bursts - off went Alan and the tractor and the chicks across the road to top 5 acres, back they came a couple of hours later and Alan parked the tractor in the same place. Mum Wagtail had been waiting in the paddock and immediately returned to the nest, and spent the rest of the day in and out of the tractor feeding her chicks.  They are going poo hoovering at Blakenham tomorrow, so by the time they fledge they will already have been well travelled!

29th May

Had a few broadband problems lately so a little behind with the diary updates. We have had a lovely couple of weeks, as well as the weather being brilliant and even managing a good downpour of rain, we have been off to Royal Windsor, Herts County and The Suffolk Show.

Royal Windsor was a fabulous as usual, we really love the show, even though it is horribly expensive to enter, it is a real occasion and the organisers are exceptionally helpful. We had a very lucky show across the team. Ollie won the Shetland 4 years old and over

DV won the youngstock for the 2nd year in a row, Honeyman won the Dartmoor seniors, BG was second in the Dartmoor juniors and Spock won the Fell seniors. This meant that we had 4 through to the Championship in the main arena and a handler down. Poor Linzi had been on the receiving end of a very nasty kick while in the collecting ring and had a horrible puncture wound and had been carted off to hospital. Alan hadn't brought his showing stuff, so Sandy volunteered to take DV in the championship, Henry Hird took Honeyman and Julie had Spock. Sandy did a great job with DV, he was much better behaved for her than me and really strutted his stuff, Ollie made the cut of the final 6 and Spock went Supreme Champion.

News from the hospital was that Linzi hadn't broken her leg, thank heavens, but would be on crutches for a while. This being Royal Windsor - no grabbing a taxi back from hospital like Alan had to do when we were at the South of England - no - they sent a gorgeous Household Cavelryman in a brand new Range Rover to get her and carry her out of the back of the car! We could all have been slightly envious - except that it did seem to have been a bit drastic to get this level of service!!

Herts County followed, and for a change it was blazing hot, the last twice we have been there we have had to be towed on and off the showground. We had a very good day, Ollie was 2nd to Emma Paynes lovely mare Abbotsbury Yasmine, so the tables were turned on Windsor, DV won standard youngstock, Junior Champion and Overall Reserve Champion. Then off to Suffolk County, we didn't take Ollie as we are now introducing his mares so thought we would leave him at home for a couple of weeks, DV had a 3rd and we were very pleased with Red who wad 2nd in the Open Ridden Dartmoor, Exmoor, Shetland to Honeyman who then went on to be Ridden Champion with Spock Reserve.

Tommy and Clive have been turned out at Little Blakenham with their mares, and seem to have settled down well, think Tommy is more pleased with all the grass he has access to, rather than the fact he has a new wife!

11th May

South Suffolk Show this weekend, its a lovely old fashioned Country Show, but quite big - there are 6 rings on the go and as well as all the cows/sheep/tractors etc there are some very serious qualifiers for the horses, right from Hunters/Arabs/Coloureds/Sidesaddle/Driving to the Natives.

We had a great day across the team Spock (not ours - Sandy and Martin's Fell Clifford Casino) was 2nd in an extremely strong Large Breeds in hand class, it really could have gone any way. Julie's yearling Dartmoor colt Teddy, won his class,

and then we had the RIHS Qualifiers - Spock won his section with Sam Roberts and was Champion, but we were really thrilled when Red and Hannah Eaton won the small breed and also qualified!

Also our 2nd foal of the year arrived safely at 12.30 am on Saturday morning, a black colt by Ollie out of Bincombe Pastry, he looks as though he is going to be well up to height and has the potential to be a good ridden pony. Pastry is probably one of the biggest moving ponies we have and she is also very elegant so we have hopes for young Oscar as he grows up.

6th May

A bit of a maximum entertainment weekend this last bank holiday - although I suppose that depends on your point of view! Alan had decided that we were going to put floor tiles down in the hall, which meant that teenage sons were packed off to their Dad and Stepmum's house as they couldn't be trusted not to walk on the newly laid tiles before they were set. Much moaning - not about going to Dad's but at the fact that no.2 son had just turned 18 and they were planning a night at one of the local pubs which is in walking distance from here - but not from their Dad's house.

On with the tiling on Saturday, so Red went with Julie and Becky to Newbury to P(UK) South without us for the HOYS qualifier. Linzi rode Moortown Countryman and they got the HOYS ticket which was great, Red apparently went beautifully and finished 5th in a very strong class, so we were all well pleased with him.

Day at North Norfolk Horse Show on Sunday (while the tiles went "off"), lovely day if rather cold to start off with. Always a good turn out for the Shetlands and Mr. Gregory had some lovely ponies forward, Sandy had brought Lady J's son Redman who was looking lovely, and it was funny that he recognised DV and Ollie immediately and was shouting to them. We had a great day, DV was Reserve Junior Champion and Ollie Shetland Champion and Overall M&M Champion, Ollie was really chilled all day, but DV made up for it by being a brat of a teenager. However, when we got home that all changed, after we had finished the grouting(!) we brought back the remaining in foal mares, Ollie recognised them immediately and was straight "off on one" - got into a tizz, stopped eating and started trashing his stable - he's a funny boy - but a couple of days later things are starting to calm down, he just seems to need his routine.

Then today I was working in Cambridge and decided on the spur of the moment to call in to The Middleton Stud in Newmarket on the way home, to see how Lilly and her foster baby were getting on. Talk about lucky, she was just getting ready to be loaded up to go back to the foals stud for the summer in Anglesey, along with her beautiful chestnut filly foster baby. Lilly looked really well, she has gone very fleabitten and she was very proud of her little filly. Wendy says she is a great Foster Mum and she seems to be enjoying her new life very much, its just a shame I hadn't taken a camera with me.

19th April

The weather has just been fabulous, it seems a bit strange that after all that rain through the winter the ground is now hard, but the grass is growing like mad and ponies gainfuly employed lawn mowing.

However, there is an advantage to this sudden change, as our first foal of the season arrived safely at 1.30am on Thursday. Since then mum Crystal who has been very good to catch, will not let us anywhere near her or her son, she is very proud of him!

We had a great weekend at the shows, out both days (slavedriver that JB) with a collection of crutches and wheelchairs across the team, nothing to do with Julie inflicting damage (she claims), but Katie Bacon in a wheelchair from a skiing accident and Lori Eaton (Ellie and Hannah's Mum) on crutches from a damaged knee we looked a strange lot! Red was a star he did LR with Lucy and FR with Ellie at BSPS on Saturday and was 2nd with Ellie in the RIHS qualifier.

Then on Sunday we went to NPS 13 at Cottenham, Julie had managed to persuade Sam Roberts to jump Red in the qualifier as Katie was out of action, it was the first time she had ridden a Shetland since she was a small child and was a bit sceptical - but she was a good sport and said she'd give it a go - well they won and qualified for the NPS Summer Champs, and Sam is now another Shetland convert!

13th April

You have to say that the temperament and resiliance of Shetland Ponies is quite amazing -we went to collect a couple of mares who have come in on breeding loan to us from Kelly Kasling for a while, all went well, ponies loaded beautifully and we set off back to Suffolk. About 1/3rd of the way home we were travelling along a main trunk route on a pretty straight road when all of a sudden a car was coming straight at us acoss the main carraigeway - not overtaking - but definately not looking! It was one of those flash things when you think they will see us any second - but no, not a bit of it - they kept coming and Alan had to take evasive action in the Lorry across the grass verge. The car clipped the back of the Lorry with their wing mirror as we hit the grass and KEPT GOING!! It is a huge testiment to Alan's driving that we didn't go over, I certainly wouldn't have been able to hold it (but wouldn't tell him that of course!) and he managed to stop on a side road that cut across the verge to join the main carraigeway, thank heavens no-one was coming down it.

The 2 cars behind us stopped to help and a 3rd came back with the culprits number - it was very very frightening and we were both extremely lucky and extremely grateful to the people who stopped - - and the ponies? - well 2 of them hadn't actually stopped eating their hay, the 3rd who was right at the back and probably got bounced around the most was sweaty but they all came off when we got home and tucked into their grub no worse the wear!

Then we got an email from Gabby and Richard at the Newmarket Foster Mare Company, to say that Lilly had a lovely, but very big (as usual!) colt foal to Arnie de Burgh. So we shot down to see them, but Lilly had already left to go over Wendy's to foster a TB foal from a savaging mare. Sebastian is beautiful, and so laid back, he was drinking milk out of a bucket very happily within a couple of hours and was very chilled when we got there. We were very chuffed as Gabby and Richard are planning to run him on to event themselves, we will pop over and see Lilly at the Middleton Stud (where DV was born) next weekend.

This last weekend was much less traumatic, we went to IHS at the Suffolk Showground, Red won the Kingsford Small Breeds Open Ridden and Amber's Highland Fergus won the Large Breeds so that was a good day out.

23rd March

The show season has now officially started for us - Ponies (UK) Winter Championships at Towerlands this weekend, always seems to be the marker for the end of the winter (not that you would know it from todays weather). Brilliant sunshine all weekend, we came home with sunburnt faces and totally shattered, despite only taking Red ourselves! It was great to see everybody after the winter months and there were loads of people to catch up with and have a natter.

The Team from Julie's yard was made up of Red, Amber Thorpe's Highland Rhinns Point Fergus, Sandy and Martin Wooderson's Fell Stallion Clifford Casino, Moortown Honeyman and Moortown Countryman the Dartmoor Stallions, plus Hannah and Ellie Eaton made up the Team by bring their own Moortown Master Craftsman (Charlie). We had a fabulous time with everyone in the team picking up some very good wins and championships, think Charlie with either Hannah or Ellie on board won everything he entered, from FR through Opens to WHP, such a versatile pony and lovely riders. Hannah rode Red to 3rd in the Llanarth final which was excellent as Moortown Countryman won with Honeyman 2nd and they went into the evening performance. Ellie and Red won the Futurity FR and were Reserve Champion, but the icing on the cake was the Fell Clifford Casino taking Reserve Supreme of the show with Ellie and Charlie Reserve Reserve!

8th March

We have been to a few shows with Red over the last month since he came back into Julie's to start work just before Christmas. We have kept things fairly quiet to see how things were going after his gelding, but he seems to be a much happier pony. He won and has qualified for both the Llanarth and Keston opens at the P(UK) Winter Champs, last weekend he did his first ever lead rein with Lucy Hagger at Topthorn and was a star.

Today - he was totally brilliant - he went to BSPS Area 15 at Towerlands, won the lead rein with Lucy, was 2nd in the First Ridden with Ellie Eaton and and the he and Ellie won the Fernie WHP - I only just managed not to cry!

17th February

What horrible weather, first the snow which was quite heavy for us, and then worse the torrential rain. It was everybody back home as the "boys" paddock across the road has a nice little stream that runs through it in quite a deep ditch, well the ditch was soon well overflowing and the raging torrent that poured through their field took out the barrier across the stream and the fence. Not that we were expecting them to get swept away, they had far more sense than to dip their hooves in that lot, but if the water level had subsided over night - they might have fancied a bit of an explore!

Also Clive had obviously come down quite hard on the ice and had hurt his back and pulled a ligament in his stifle, so out comes Jackie the Physio - verdict - limited excercise, carrot stretching excercises and "keep him warm" - bargin thinks Clive - back to my nice warm stable!

We are lucky to have 2 all weather turn out pens (although even they are struggling) as Alan gets VERY stressed about his paddocks in the winter and babies charging around on them does nothing for his blood pressure or my ears from the bashing they get, so the babies are confined to the pens. There is plenty of room for them to play and they seem to be very happy and they do all come in at night, Holly's welsh C baby Reggie came over to be weaned with the others and they are all getting on very well and generally up to no good!

29th January

Back to normal - THANK HEAVENS!

28th January

Ollie scared the pants off us tonight - he came in with a mild dose of colic and just got worse. Having lost Sasha last year wth very similar symptoms - even having had the Vet call several times - we were very very worried. No appetite, very dull - not like him - he normally wants to kill everyone else on the yard - sedatives and stomach tubing later, he had a bran mash and has found his teeth! so ANOTHER sleepless night (flippin ponies) and hopefully good news in the morning.

22nd January

Well the dry spell certainly didn't last very long and the rain is back in a big way - its even too wet to get on the paddocks with the poo hoover, so with the dark nights preventing us getting out the old fashioned way with the barrow, we are just moving round the paddocks hoping for some frost so that the tractor can get on there without cutting up the fields. The ponies are pretty cheezed off with it too, so much for hardy natives - they are all queued up to come in by 3.30pm!

The Beast is back in work at Julie's yard, he seems really pleased to be doing something after his enforced holiday so we will see how he gets on - he does like this jumping lark tho'.

16th January

Strangely it has been rather nice to have the very cold weather, almost like a real winter for a change and such a relief from the rain. Although our snow levels were pretty pathetic in comparision to most parts of the country, the ice was quite spectacular, we had to take a pickaxe to the troughs, the water bowser blew its pump (should have drained it!) and the yard didn't unfreeze for days - think its due to the wind that seems to come straight from Siberia - there's nothing to get in the way!

Spock and DV came home for a couple of days, Spock seems to have been on the receiving end of a kick on the knee, probably from an arguement over hay in the field, and it came up the size of a football, but with a couple of quiet days he seems to be on the mend.

Ken and Gary are settling in well and are typical cheeky colts - they are definately finding their feet!

5th January 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009!! - New Years Resolution to keep the diary up to date! The diary has been saved past this point but do contact us if you need to see anything.

Just a quick update on some of the later events of last year - September 10th was my 50th birthday, which is probably where the wheels came off on the diary - I put it down to shock as Alan (the self confessed holiday hater) announced we were going to have a few days away!!! - it was brilliant!! We flew to Inverness and didn't go pony shopping - we went to stay in a shooting lodge on the Kildermorie Estate in a house party, most of the people we had never met before but all very quickly became friends, including Elliot, who had flown in from his home in Dubai - talk about a small world, he only turned out to be Roweena Proven's nephew!

The weather was stunning, there were Red and Sika deer, the estate uses ponies to bring the ones that they have culled down from the hill as there are no tracks accessible for vehicles, we saw red squirrels, a pair of Osprey and a Golden Eagle and I got to fulfil a long held ambition of trying fly fishing.

Then we went home for a day and had a great dinner at our "local" with a load of friends and left the next day to go the France, the sad old pair that we are - we borrowed Alan's Mum's very smart Mercedes CLK thinking we could cruise along with the roof down (bit sad at our age borrowing Mum's car!), however after the first day which was scorching, we had had French weather in Scotland which left us with Scottish weather in France! But it was lovely anyway - we cruised down to the Lot valley and stayed in a beautiful little hotel with great staff, lots of Franglais on both sides we had a great time and they made us very welcome. We toured around the area, down to Carcassone, across the Millau viaduct and back up through the Loire - and ate far too much!


On the pony front Mike and Bud ( Red's 2 colt foals) went off to super showing homes. Mike (Claife Redeemer) joined the Lyttles at the Magheradartin Stud in Northern Ireland and Bud (Claife Redman) has gone locally to Sandy and Martin Wooderson, we were very sorry to see them go but they have got excellent homes and we are looking forward to seeing how they get on.

The mares have all been turned out on their winter paddocks, much to Holly's disgust as although she spent all her life before joining us living out in the Highlands, she thinks this stable lark is a much better plan. Ernie is babysitting her foal Duncan so with all the extra feed he keeps pinching he is nearly as wide as he is tall. Moonwalker has also moved on, she has gone on loan about 4 miles away to keep an elderly TB company, as his current companion Claife Gideon ( who we bred 27 years ago) is moving house with his owners.

Numbers haven't declined that much tho' Lynn Poleson (Clive's breeder) has sent us two coloured colts down from Shetland, they are a bit shell shocked at the moment but are getting used to us, Klingrahoull Kinsman and Glengarry have been named Ken and Gary by Alan (sorry Lynn!).

We have only done a couple shows so far this winter, one of which was an NPS qualifier at the lovely venue of Moulton College with Clive and Spock. It was FREEZING and we had sheet ice all across the front of the lorry by the time we got there, the boys were very good, well until Clive couldn't see Spock and then he got a bit of a strop on - but we were glad to get home from driving through the sleet and snow! And finally just to round the year off, Clive and DV had their stallion inspection on New Years eve - and they both passed!!