January 2017

Happy New Year to humans, horses, and other creatures.

For those of you awaiting news about the Great Move; buying and selling houses in the UK seems to be comparable to a journey on Southern Rail – you can make all the arrangements and expect things to go smoothly, but in the end it is in someone else’s hands when you actually get to your destination! Fortunately, Carol’s solicitor has been excellent, but we are now waiting on the buyer’s solicitor (who seems to have been somewhat less than excellent) so we still do not have an actual date. Considering how much some professionals charge it seems strange that they cannot create and follow a simple checklist of tasks to follow for situations that must be regularly handled such as property conveyancing. Still, we all live and learn.

Enough of the grumbles: On the horse front we wish Duke all the best in his new home. He is looking forward to building a relationship with his new mum Diana, who is very excited about his arrival and making lots of plans for their time together. Duke just loves strutting his stuff, with pointed toes and pricked ears, so they will be doing a lot of showing. Some of this will be side-saddle, and we may even get to see photos of him attending a hunt meet side-saddle next winter!

Diva and Lexi have been pleased that the weather has been mild this winter, as they have been able to have turn-out just about every day. It does so much for their psychological welfare if they can have a roll and do their own thing in a paddock for a few hours or longer when possible. Mind you, when it comes to scraping the mud off afterwards us humans are not so keen!

People often forget that horses (unlike pets such as dogs) didn’t evolve to spend large amounts of time trapped in small caves, and that their natural instinct is to move for many miles each day. Movement not only helps their mental health but also their physiological health, as both their digestive systems and their circulation benefit. Horses have evolved to be ‘trickle feeders’, i.e. their intestines are designed to have food passing through constantly (in contrast to humans and dogs which eat ‘meals’), and their circulation benefits from regular movement of their limbs and muscles.
In the wild, horses spend up to 16 hours a day walking and grazing slowly (i.e. a lot of constant movement) as well as another 4 hours on things like play and social contact. They only need about 4 hours sleep, which is why they get so bored standing in stables or pens all day. So, if your horse isn’t getting out into the field then it is important to provide both exercise and social contact to help replace this. The more varied the work then the more interesting and beneficial it is for the horse e.g. an hour on a horse walker is incredibly boring compared to an hour walking through the woods!

And now a warm fuzzy tale to finish with.
A very warm welcome to Phoebe, the Springer Spaniel who has moved in (been adopted) next door. Poor Phoebe was put into Raystede for rehoming at the age of 9 – it is very sad when something like this happens as many people will not take on a dog of that age, but fortunately Sue has given her a home. You only have to see Phoebe’s ecstatic expression when she is playing ball out in the paddock to know how delighted she is with getting a new human for Xmas!

Best wishes for 2017

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