New Friends

Esja and Hetja, my two Icelandic girls, have lived together since they arrived in the UK  three years ago.

BN2A7627

From Day 1 of their travels, Hetja decided to look after Esja.  They have a very close mother and daughter bond despite not being related at all.  It was from travelling together such a long way.

BN2A7574

But Hetja is pregnant by Taktur and these days she is getting very fed up of Esja, who wants to run around and play and annoy.  Esja needs more friends and Hetja needs some peace.

BN2A7640

So today we introduced three standard Shetland “yeld” mares to the field (a yeld mare is not  pregnant, ie without a foal at foot).

BN2A7560

These three mares will be good for Esja.  They are the same age as her and at last, she will have some mares to talk to.

BN2A7559

And Hetja can have some peace.

BN2A7632

To start with, there was a bit of cantering around and hopefully they will settle down quickly together.

BN2A7669

I have not really had the opportunity to see Esja move – she tends to put her head down and ea but, once we had introduced the mares to the field, we saw her move and, boy, can she move

BN2A7715

(and boy, can’t the Shetland ponies move too!)

BN2A7620

I am looking forward to summer when Esja starts her training.  It should be very interesting.

More Out and About

I went out and about today, helping some friends.

I met this amazing turkey (and yes, I do miss my Mr Twizzler but this chap was just as impressive).

BN2A7295

Then I spied this little guy.  He was a lovely little yearling mini.  The same age as Tiddles but twice as cheeky.

BN2A7306

I did not pass up the opportunity to have a snog, a chat and a hug.  I had to physically stop myself from hiding him about my person and smuggling off the premises.

BN2A7314

Now this, in my opinion, is the best environment for a Shetland pony.

BN2A7337

The field was huge and after one shout, lots of mini mares came cantering towards us with enthusiasm.

BN2A7442 BN2A7466

The very definition of cupboard love – not to chat with us, but to eat huge quantities of silage.

BN2A7503

So, feeling very relaxed whilst listening to the gentle sound of munching and the odd-bird calling, I took photos and thought that life could not get any better.

BN2A7515BN2A7524

I sent this photo off to my resident bird expert who told me it was, in his opinion, a twite (Carduelis flavirostris).  The Shetland name is Lintie.

From the RSPB website – “The twite is a small, brown finch closely related to the linnet, but with a longer tail and stubbier bill. Its back is tawny, heavily streaked with dark brown, and is white below with dark-brown streaks on its flanks. The rump is pink on males but brown on females. Like the linnet, it feeds on seeds year-round.”

So this would be a male then.

BN2A7548

I love days like this.  Other folks’ ponies are charming and I realise that, even if I never breed or show another Shetland pony again, I still can enjoy being around these funny little equines.

BN2A7552

Definite Signs

There are now definite signs of Spring appearing all over Shetland.

I saw a pair of Mountain Hares or Blue Hares (Lepus timidus) in their “salt and pepper” guise.  This coat is the changeover from their white winter fur to their brown summer one.

BN2A7170

It is excellent camouflage and they are beginning to pair off now for the season.  I have a very soft spot for these rare little chaps.  I hadn’t seen any this winter so it was a nice surprise on my way home from visiting the mares.

BN2A7171

The first of the hill sheep lambs are beginning to be born.

BN2A7188

Time to drive very very carefully and slowly as they can be fairly kamikaze in their attitude towards life.  Shetland sheep are not the most committed of mothers sometimes either.

BN2A7192

The primroses (primula vulgaris) down by the stream are coming out now.

BN2A7221

For me, this means Spring has started and we can’t go back to Winter conditions again (though it has been known to snow in May).

BN2A7222

After photographing the primroses, I went to sit with The Minions who were mooching around in a field they had crawled under the fence to get to!

**** sigh ****

BN2A7285BN2A7254 BN2A7257BN2A7255

Tiddles is fine after his micro-chipping experience.  We had a lovely chat and cuddle.

BN2A7256

The ground is drying up now (goodbye mud, it was not fun) so I sat down and watched the boys playing – probably my favourite sport.

BN2A7278 BN2A7279

Tiddles is Microchipped

The vet was coming over to see some of my neighbour’s ponies, so I asked if I could bring Tiddles over to be micro-chipped too.

Tiddles needs this before I can apply for his red Shetland Pony Stud-Book Association passport.  Sadly, it was not done when he was a foal.

L1150010

Tiddles was not keen to leave his friends.

L1150012

But once he got going, he happily walked alongside.

L1150014

We reached our destination (about 1/3 mile away) and then Tiddles saw mares.  He instantly turned into a prat and danced around me on his leadrope.

L1150021

As we needed to go and catch another mare, I decided to put him in a pen to keep him out of trouble.

L1150025

When we returned Tiddles had demolished the pen which was lying flat and he had a front hoof stuck through his headcollar.

So I unwrapped him and we went outside to join the mares who were also waiting for the vet.  Tiddles then wrapped his rope around all his legs and fell over.

I explained to him that all this was his own fault and I was not sorry.  Embarrassed Tiddles stood back up while I unravelled him again and he decided to calm down and behave.

L1150026

The microchip was inserted and checked with not much fuss.

L1150027

And so we wended our way back home again.  Two stallions nearby shouted at Tiddles so he walked faster next to me.

L1150030

It was very sweet – everyone had obviously missed their Tiddles and had been waiting for him to come home.

L1150032

The gate to the field and green grass was open but no one would go out without Tiddles.

L1150039

So now the boy is microchipped and his official red passport will be applied for.  The vet felt two little descended testicles but we decided to give him the summer before we castrate him as he is just beginning to come out of his shell, with the caveat that if he causes a problem, they will come off earlier!

L1150017

Tiddles did like the idea of the girlies!  Bless him for trying.  They didn’t even lift their heads to look when he squealed to get their attention!

Revenge is Fun

Someone was sleeping sweetly – looking cherubic, innocent and deeply fast a’bye-byes!

BN2A7121

You could almost hear him snoring.

BN2A7126

And you just know it would’ve sounded like this!

But someone else was not asleep…… and he had an idea!  To him, it was a good one if a teensy tiny bit slightly evil.

BN2A7134

So Tiddles did it.

BN2A7137

He woke up his best friend on purpose using the same techniques as he had been taught.

BN2A7143

I almost felt sorry for Storm.

BN2A7145

Almost, because then I remembered when it was the other way round.  Not so very long ago.

BN2A7138

Tiddles did not give up the torment either until Storm was awake and standing up.

BN2A7149

He was not sorry at all.  Mission accomplished.

BN2A7156

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

BN2A7157

Tiddles and Storm – they would spoil another couple.

BN2A7153