Author Archives: Frances

The Last Four

This afternoon was perfect for going over to the Minions’ field to rasp the last of the feet.

I started with Albie who was a very good boy.

He stayed tied up, not bothering to mention that everyone else had galloped off.  I brushed his mane and tail and rasped all four hooves.  Afterwards we walked down to the next field to find his friends.

Now in the next field, I swiftly caught Silver who not helpful.

Some days are better than others with Silver.  He is an enigmatic chap and sadly we did have a discussion about picking up back hooves nicely.  I made my point – he didn’t put up too much of a fight and behaved.

Third on my list was Newt. He hates having his hooves trimmed.  It is usually a four-man-rugby-tackle-jobby.  Today, however, I had The Reformed Newt (possibly now the name of a gastro-pub somewhere in East Anglia).

He was a delight, picking up his little hoofs one at a time for me to trim without argument, biting or kicking out.  There was a nose-kissey for every hoof rasped and a big hug at the end.

And lastly, Storm.

It did not go well but I did win.  Four hooves are now rasped to my satisfaction and his mane and tail brushed.  Someone was shouted at for refushing to keep their hooves on the stand and then wearing the stand.  He knows better and I was cross.

Anyway, we made our peace and I left him scrushling through the equipment, picking it up and putting it down, muttering to himself.

Daisy had finished picking ragwort from the next field so we opened the gate and shouted for everyone to come through.


We left them eating themselves to a standstill.  My back hurts but my Painpod is working overtime now doing much good.



Plural Doofus

What is the plural for doofus?

Doofusses, doofi, doofæ, dooferi, dooferetti?

I need to know because here are two of this breed.

Today Dreki and Efstur were wicked and I am cross with them.  As you can see, on the right BeAnne has appeared in their field.  She follows me everywhere and I stupidly didn’t think when I went into the field that she would appear.  She usually knows here own limitations and is very aware of her safety.

But today she came too so I shouted “go home” and of course she didn’t quickly enough, obedience not being her strength.

So then I prayed to all the Gods that the Doofi would not notice BeAnne in their field, my heart sinking knowing full well what could happen.

The boys, realising something was going on which they could possibly make worse, followed my gaze to see BeAnne sitting near them.

At this stage I was worried but luckily Daisy,hearing me shout BeAnne’s name in a rather panicky cross way, came running out of the school, grabbed my disobedient terrier out of the field and saved the day.  To be fair on BeAnne, she had started to go home just very slowly and sulkily not realising she was in danger of being chased.

A big phew!  Next time I will make sure BeAnne can’t follow me.  Dreki and Efstur would’ve been less than helpful.


Never The Shetlands

I have been meaning to address this point for a while now. It is something that really irks me and when I come across it, especially on Facebook (grrr) and Twitter (double grrr), I have to correct the author.

There is no such place as “the Shetlands”.  No one should ever use the words “the Shetlands”.  I live in Shetland.  No “the” ever.

Yes, there are “the Shetland Islands” but this phrase is predominantly used by our Council (and Wikipedia), ie they are the Shetland Islands Council.  Some use the term “the Shetland Isles”. I don’t.  I am not a fan of the word “isles” to be honest.  It is a bit airy-fairy but hey-ho, that’s just me.

So I need to tell you that there is nowhere on this earth called “the Shetlands”.  Don’t ever use it when you talk about Shetland because, to us who live here, it is wrong and actually, well to be frank, ignorant.  (I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings – I just need to get it out there before I burst).

If you do use the words “the Shetlands”, it would be to describe a group of Shetland ponies or maybe even Shetland sheep, geese, hens, cows, ducks if you were comparing them with another breed.

I can’t speak for other archipelago but I do know you would no more say “the Orkneys” either.

Also, these are “Shelties” or, to use the correct breed name Shetland Sheepdogs.

And now you know and you can impress your friends and relations by your use of the correct terminology for this beautiful and special place where I am lucky enough to live.  No more “the Shetlands”, please.

So, there, I’ve said it.  I probably shouldn’t but I have.



My Creation Station

I love my little space.

Every day I leave the house shouting “I am going to my (delete where applicable) studio, shudio, shed, she-shed, shoffice, creation station (a personal favourite ❤️), outside, wherever…..

Two doors down is the sheep shed and when I shout, Lambie come galloping over to scrounge biccies or to come in.

I have even worn a path from the house to my space.

In my shed, I have all the things I want around me.

I keep my wool in these cheap-but-cheerful plastic chest of drawers.  Anything to keep the (bar-steward) moths out.

BeAnne has two beds.  One by my chair and one by the heater.

I have a bijoux tea area.

And my table (grandmother’s) where I work, stabbing away!

This is my view.  The sea in the distance.  Best view ever.

In one corner is a beloved portrait by Jacquie Jones portrait of my first pony, Mr Wonderful.

My mother gave me this portrait having borrowed some of my photos for the artist.  She never met Mr Wonderful – he belonged to my step-mother.

I remember, on Christmas Day my mother being embarrassed to give me her present as she thought that no pony could be so ugly. I insisted saying it would be fine and promptly burst into tears the minute I saw it.  Perfection.  Mr Wonderful was exactly this pony and 40 years on, I still cherish this picture and love it more than words.

Flossie’s (my youngest daughter) beautiful Su embroidery.  The minute she had finished, I whipped it off her and had it framed.  I adore this.

No comment!

These are my precious and much loved things-of-the-shed.

And the sheep I make every evening to go to the shop in Lerwick.  Another three ready to go.

I ❤️ my shed.



A Record

I am using today’s blog as a record of this afternoon’s hard work.

I brushed manes and tails as well as rasping the hooves of four of the Shetland ponies.

First up was Vitamin.  She is 25 years old now and going along fairly well.  She does enjoy being groomed and was very enthusiastic about the horse cookie treat that she got for being a good girl about her feet too.

Next up was Tiddles who was standing close by – I think he regretted his choices today but with the help of mane/tail conditioner, I soon had him looking floofy.

Fivla next.  She is easy and always helpful.  If all ponies could be like Fivla, life would be so much easier.  Fivla could live in my house.  I doubt even my OH would notice.  She is never any trouble.

Fivla actually is the perfect fairy tale pony.

And lastly Waffle who put the headcollar on by himself. I am sorry he has his eyes shut when I took his après-photo.  Waffle loves being brushed but was a bit unhelpful about the hoof rasping. We had words.  I told him he could not be a circus pony if he could not even do the simple task of holding his hoof on an axle stand. After all, it is not rocket science.  He agreed and decided  to behave.

So that now leaves Albie, Newt, Silver and Storm to do next.

Why, oh why did I leave the unhelpful ones last?

What was I thinking?

Oh well, I will try and get them done this week and then cross them off my list for a little while.  Hooves are like the Forth Bridge – they always need attention.