Work Hard, Play Hard

Today, we have worked hard doing stuff.  Lots of stuff.

We are currently taking up all the rubber mats in the stables, scrubbing them on both sides and disinfecting the concrete underneath.

Just moving each mat is a two-man job and Floss and I are on this job.  We give ourselves 5 mats a day to scrub and dry.  Daisy scrubs and disinfects the concrete flooring.

It is fairly unforgiving on my back, though, but we have it down to a fine art now and five-a-day is manageable while looking as though we might get through it by next weekend.

Afterward the mats, we cleared out the container.  This is where we keep the feed and throw all the silage wrap and old feed bags.  We put everything into the van to take to the dump later on this week.

Then there is the riding.  Floss and I went out on our horses, Klængur and Haakon.  Yesterday’s schooling worked and Haakon has remembered how to tölt, which was a relief.  I loathe his piggy-pacing.  Very uncomfortable.

After our ride, Floss mentioned that Klængur’s tack was dry so I showed her how to clean it properly and then, as an afterthought, decided I should do Haakon’s as well.

Floss’ question:  “How often should you clean tack, Mum?”

I had no answer: “*** cough *** er, um, not sure, perhaps a bit more often than we do!”

So after all of that, plus feeding LD every waking minute of the day, Floss and I went to talk to the boys.

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And then Newt sat down!

Bliss.  Darling boys. (I had Waffle and Tiddles standing beside me, asleep breathing in my ears).

This is our heaven.  We deserve this.  We worked very hard.

A New Inmate – LD

Yesterday, I was asked by the SSPCA if I would care for a baby not-quite-fledged starling, called Boris.

Boris (Or LD, as he is known in this house) is always hungry.

I am not sure how old LD is – the SSPCA lady said she had been looking after him for what felt like a lifetime.  Worse than a baby!

We laughed and I naively said “Surely not”.

And after 24 hours of caring for LD, I have to agree.

I am exhausted.

Every ten minutes or so, using tweezers, I drop in bits of vitamin soaked beef mince into the gaping little yellow mouth.

I have also set up a redundant iPod playing starling songs on a loop!

LD loves that.  He sits between the two hinged speakers, settles down and listens to his compatriots.

Of course, as usual,  I am on a vertical starling-baby-learning-curve.  One thing I know – no worms – they have parasites.

LD slept well through the night.  Last night he slept from 10:30 to 07:30 easily.  Somewhere it says on the interweb that starling babies can sleep for 12 hours.  I hold onto this thought.

This morning, I put LD in his larger cage to sit in the sunshine on the windowsill.  Sunshine is good but LD needs to be warm at all times so he can’t go outside.  At night, LD is in his little box (not the best catch) in a cage (two better catches) with a towel over it in front of the Rayburn while I worry in my bed, dreaming of dead starlings and also keeping an eye on Wussums (the cat), who is being remarkably cool about this new event.

Today LD and I went into the indoor school.  There are many starlings shouting and LD sat and listened while I rode Haakon who has in six weeks managed to completely lose his tölt.  Haakon is fat and living in Fat-Fighters Field, much to his fury.

LD = Lovey Dovey = Big Bang!
I did want to call him Blue Birdie after my favourite book but BeAnne’s little ears prick up at the Birdie word!

Feeling Sorry

Like me, Fivla, and Vitamin seem to have been on a diet all of their lives.  I have this t-shirt.

And I feel very sorry for them.  It is grotty living off nothing for endless months.  Really very boring.

So, while Albie was coming round from his castration anaesthetic, I asked our visiting vet to look at Vitamin and Fivla for me to assess their weight and general health.

The vet initially said they were fat but, after a good prod, she announced she could feel ribs and that the old ladies were looking good.  Since September, when Fivla came home to us, she has lost a great deal of weight but like most old ladies her belly has dropped and looks can be misleading. Her hard neck crest has gone too.

Looking back at the photos even I can see a huge difference.

So, today, Daisy and I drove the old ladies to a new field where they joined Lyra and Delia who were on their own and very lonely.

Everyone was pleased to be reunited – these ladies lived together for some time in last winter/spring.

And I think, in retrospect, it will do all of them good to be together.

Yes, it is four miles down the road but we visit them daily and, although a big field, there really are more buttercups than grass.

It is all very well being on a permanent diet but when I can see them all missing each other, then the bigger picture has to be looked at.

Delia is doing very well this summer and she, as usual, has her reprieve from being put to sleep. It is only in winter she struggles with her arthritic stiffness.  In summer you would never know.

So, we will continue to keep a good eye on the girls. They need to all be together now.  This is a huge field but they will all have to look for the grass,

Two Little Reprobates

While Floss (and Daisy) were having a riding lesson, we also brought in our two youngest Shetland reprobates, Albie and Newt, who needed a good brush and clean up.

Elvis (our oldest hen) kept an eye on them for us.  Brushing the Minions is not something we do very often.  There is no need but it is good to get rid of the last of the foal coats and to tidy the lads up.  A bit more than a lick and a promise – once a year.

Simone, our visitor, got to work on Newt’s matted foal mane and tail.

Afterwards, the two little boys looked very bouffant!

Of course being Shetland ponies, they couldn’t just stand quietly together.

Oh no, they had to annoy or play with each other at all times.

The boys scrubbed up well, much to their embarrassment.

Little Newt has changed hugely.

And then he had to have his feet trimmed.  It took three people.  Simone on the front end, Daisy pushing his back end so he had to balance on his feet and Bjørn trimming Newt’s teensy tiny unicorn hooves.

Newt was not impressed.  Apparently he is 17hh.  We didn’t know this.  We may have to work on this special skill.

Floss has a Riding Lesson

While I have been away south, Floss has been reacquainting herself with riding.  Before, Flossie had only been learning to ride her Icelandic horse, Klængur, during university holidays.

Today Bjørn Roar Larsen, our Level 3 FEIF trainer, gave Flossie and Klængur a superb riding lesson.

These past few weeks while I was away South, Daisy had been left with strict instructions to help and teach Flossie.  We could all see a huge difference and improvement in both horse and rider.  Lovely to see.  Also, we had a visitor, Simone from Switzerland, who gave Floss and Klængur yesterday a brilliant lesson.  All instruction is good instruction and very, very helpful.

Flossie is feeling inspired after watching Daisy competing in the British Championships last month.

Flossie has only been riding for two years (I never insisted she learned and, instead, have waited for her to ask for lessons) and I gave her Klængur as her twenty-first birthday present.

Klængur was my horse, that I bought from Iceland, but he works a hundred times better with Floss than he ever does with me.

They understand each other and are very much a happy team.

Meanwhile, for those that are wondering, Lambie has found his “Winning Smile” due to the fact that he has also found out about Kitkats – a chocolate-covered wafer bar confection – thank you very much, Daisy!

It is now downhill all the way!