December 2016

We’ve been very busy over the last month and not because of the approach of Christmas. With the property on the market we have been tidying, sorting, painting, and Carol has been busy doing viewings (one potential buyer said she was MUCH better than an agent and that it was the best viewing of a property they have ever had). This was however all worth it, as there was an offer within the first week followed by several others with the property now officially under offer.

With all the work on the property, the horses have had to take a back seat competition wise. However, Lexi is going very well at the moment having decided that resuming her career as a full-on dressage horse might be more exciting than being retired. She is (finally) losing her maternity bump, and performing her ‘tricks’ with enthusiasm. Although the flying changes and half-pass (and even passage on occasion) are not always asked for, it’s hard to tell her off when she is obviously enjoying herself! She is however becoming much more opinionated with age!!! (Entering her second ‘filly-hood’?).

Duke is going to resume his showing career, going to a great home where he is going to learn side-saddle too. Can’t wait to see the photos of them both dressed up for a class! Diva is continuing her hacking experiences with her next-door friend Ziggy and (thanks to his help) is now confident to go out on her own; she is a bold girl and hopefully we can get her out eventing in the future if circumstances permit.

The overall plan is to move back to Wales, which is an area both Carol and I love. We spent a couple of “interesting” days looking at ‘suitable’ properties. This involved swamp crawling, bush-whacking, mountain climbing, and other skills we weren’t expecting! I have come to the conclusion that real estate agents know absolutely zilch about what would be suitable for horses, and that some owners of ‘equestrian’ properties also struggle with this! For example, the poor old horse turned out on the swamp; the agent’s description of ‘gently sloping’ for the paddock with the rope alongside the fence (so that you can pull yourself back up to the house), and the paddocks that were ‘well-fenced’ (well, as long as you had lots of electric tape, and didn’t mind your wellies being pulled off in the mud while setting it up). Fortunately, the last couple of properties were a big improvement, and the best of these is delightful. More news on that when it is available, but suffice to say that all the animals and people involved would enjoy it.

For those of you worried about lessons etc., then don’t. Carol has already been asked by a number of people if she will come back on a regular basis to run clinics, so we will let you know more about that next year.

With another Christmas rapidly approaching the joys of having lovely food round a roaring fire beckon. This contrasts with the X-mas I grew up with; summer weather, salads, and rides on the beach! However, whether or not you are roasting in the sun or by the fire this X-mas, spare a thought for animals who are unfortunate enough to be trapped in poor working and living conditions in the cold or heat, without a snug stable or regular food and water.

Personally I think X-mas has become massively over commercialised, with the spirit of giving having become the spirit of buying affection and/or impressing people. It would be really great this X-mas if everyone reading this could cut back a little on buying presents and instead donate the value of a gift to a charity of their choice. Because of the story of X-mas, helping a donkey would be appropriate and I think organisations like Brooke (which help working donkeys and horses) are invaluable, as they help through education and training as well as a band-aid effect on the needy animals.

Hope everyone has a Merry Xmas, and a great New Year.

Roll on 2017

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