Storm by Name but not by Nature

I found my little Minion all by himself.  The others had all come up to gaze over the fence at Taktur having his special stallion food.

I hate seeing anyone on their own, so I went to investigate with a carrot.  Storm seemed ok (not brilliant), very damp, and rather subdued.

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He does hate walking through the mud while everyone else just gallops through it.

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Silver and Waffle were fine and very cheerful, alternating between ignoring each other and then playing together.

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Storm didn’t want to know and stood by Haakon, not even trying to annoy him, so something must be up.

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Then and there I made the executive decision to move The Minions back into their old paddock where there is their nice dry shed with rubber matting and straw.

I also opened the gate into the bigger park so they can run and run if they want.

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I gave them a big haynet and they tried to eat the black string so then I had to show them what to do by pulling out tufts of hay.

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They got the idea.

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I just want them dry out a bit, especially dear little Storm. He suddenly seems far more vulnerable than the other two.

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Storm followed me into the shed and dropped for a nice roll.

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He then spied his toys, had a quick play….

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And then surveyed his world.  I might buy him a rug for the winter but I fear two small friends might make it their mission to eat it.

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When I left, Storm seemed much more cheerful.  I will take them each a big bowl of food tonight before I kiss them goodnight.

I hate seeing my little boy miserable.

Chalk and Cheese

I have two ridden Icelandic horses.

I like to school them a couple of times a week.

They are both very different.

Klængur is from Iceland.

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I have had him for two years and he is working well, trying his hardest to get things right.  He learned travers (haunches-in or tête au mur) in a lesson with Hamish Cameron the other day.  We practice our lateral work and he concentrates, listens and does his very best.  Today I was very proud of Klængur as he had remembered everything from the lesson.   We are developing a good relationship and I enjoy riding him hugely.

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Then there is Haakon.  He is 21 years old and I have had him since he was 3 years old.  We know each other very well.  I originally backed and trained him.  He has really only known me as his rider, though he will tolerate others.

Today I thought I would teach him travers as I had successfully achieved it on Klængur.  Now Haakon is quite good at dressage.  He mostly enjoys it and understands what is needed.

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So when I asked him to do this move, he lost his temper completely.  At first I thought it was because I hadn’t explained it properly but he knew what I wanted and just didn’t want to do it.

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First his tail started to swish like the rotary blade on a helicopter, then he whizzed round the school setting his neck to ignore me, the final straw was when he reared all 4″ high.  He does this to threaten me thinking I will back off but sadly for him, I didn’t.  After stamping his hoof (yes, he really stamps it like a toddler in a tantrum), he excited a fairly passable travers and I told him he was a good boy.

I think it was when I told him Klængur could do this perfectly without a fuss!

Chalk and cheese – these two Icelandic horses but I love them both.

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What we used to do

The end of Hurricane Gonzalo, and we are having a “severe gale”. Enjoy this Revised Shetland Edition of the Beaufort Scale. It makes me smile smugly every time it does the rounds on Facebook.

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Anyway, I have moved the horses and ponies to a field with shelter and long grass as it is a northerly and we all hate northerlies.  Cold bitter weather. Instead, I am looking at back at old photos of past glory.

Once upon a time we were a riding, driving and trekking school.

This is Haakon teaching Hannah how to jump.  First you show him the jump.

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And then he refuses!  Mwhahaha!

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We had horses and ponies of all sizes for our clients.

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As well as lessons, we encouraged the sport of horse football.

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If we were going out, we took everyone on either a one or two hour trek into the hill.

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You can see Daisy (aged11) at the back who rode Andy as we had “sold” her horse to a punter. I remember her being furious with us for this.  Someone might’ve glibly said “well, ride Andy then”, so she stomped off, caught and tacked him up and did.  She still rides him!

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This is a very young Flossie driving Andy.  She must’ve been just 9 years old here.  Andy is still going strong. He is loaned out to a family and enjoys wearing children.

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Obviously all our horses were rewarded for their constant hard work.  This is Haakon having his 11th birthday cupcake.  Note the lit candle for him to blow out.

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Sadly he hated the taste (minus candle) but luckily Celt, who is lurking on the right, hoovered it up on his his behalf.  Celt was good like that!

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Play, play, play

I could watch the horses play all day.  It is an essential part of their life in the herd.  This how horses and ponies learn to be just that, horses and ponies.

They don’t learn this from living on their own or with a sheep for company or being visited once a day by a person.  That teaches nothing useful.  The ability to play is the foundation for everything else in my opinion.  It is very important and very natural and very necessary.

AND NO THEY ARE NOT FIGHTING AND NO I AM NOT GOING TO SEPARATE THEM!

(just don’t start me on telling the difference – I can tell the difference.  Can’t you hear them giggling from here?)

Even the older big boys play – in the foreground is Haakon face-biting with Taktur.  Haakon is the herd leader and he loves playing still aged 20.  He will instigate this game too.

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Waffle was not in the mood for games and I like the way no one hassles him.

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But these two little people were determined to chase each other, trying to bite bottoms.

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Practising their show-jumping.

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The unexpected Jungle Book Elephant March pile-up!

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Don’t think little Storm is being victimised.

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He gives as good as he gets,

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and some!

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And then it is his turn to torment his friend.

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They never stop and they are very happy.

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Greed

The bird table has always been a source of great interest in our family.

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It is placed just outside the kitchen window and we get all sorts visiting.

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Our pets over the years have used their skills to steal the food from it, even to the point of being a full-time job to some.  This is Willyum’s tried and tested modus operandi.

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As you can see, he is using the Subtle-as-a-Brick Method.  You can barely see him.  Scary stuff.

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Loki is now on site and don’t let this innocent face fool you.  Lurchers were bred to steal small game from the Royal forests (apparently).

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Ok, so we have no Royal forests around, but we do have The Bird Table!

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Smaller dogs like BeAnne and Jack can also take full advantage from the crumbs that fall.

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It can have disastrous results too.  Jack, in his youth ate a whole cake of lamb fat and grain.   You can imagine the results and yes, it was that bad.

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Anyway, today the starlings were on great form, arguing and shouting at each other.

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I want to feed the little birds too.  I briefly saw a robin this morning (no pic) and we always have sparrows (is that Mr and Mrs?) and blackbirds (Mrs?).

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Oh yes, the horses.  Well I gave in this morning.  We are about to have some vile weather and I hate watching Kappi and Klaengur in their miserable muddy park.  So I opened the gate and hope The Minions will annoy them sufficiently not to let them get fat again!

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So while Kappi and Klaengur did not lift their heads from the grass for 6 hours solidly, others had a nice time killing each other for fun!

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