Author Archives: Frances

Perks of the Job

We had our first official Minion visitors yesterday and I must say everyone behaved beautifully.  They introduced themselves, remained calm, interested and were very chatty – the Minions, that is.

One of the perks of my job at Turriefield is being given old veg that is past its best and so in my car boot I had two huge crates of old carrots. As a reward for the good behaviour, I tipped out a good pile for the Minions to say well done and thank you.

This is Silver sniffing his lovely carrot.  Odd.

Everyone else piled in.

Today, with the last of the carrots – they needed finishing up fast and I have been distributing them around the croft for the past few days – Floss and I went to check on the Minions.

Mostly the herd were near the gate and I threw the last of the carrots down.

All except Silver and Albie who said they were stuck.  So Flossie kindly went to show them how to go round the fence, and follow her back.

Once they saw Flossie, they worked it out for themselves, cantering past her to get to the carrot pile.

Silver cantered past me but Albie suddenly stopped and waited.

He was waiting for Floss to come too.  Albie walked back with her.  Floss is Albie’s “Mum” having spent many hours his first summer taking buckets of milk to him and spending much time with him.  He adores her.  He hasn’t forgotten.  I don’t think he ever will.  I hadn’t expected him to wait for her. It was very sweet.

Don’t worry there were plenty of carrots and Albie had his fair share.

And again, Silver was being different.

So that’s the last of the carrots.  Everyone equine adored them which is just as well as there were plenty.

Hjalti’s First Proper Hack

Daisy rode Hjalti out today on a proper hack.

I accompanied them on Iacs, or Mr Bimble as he is oft known or “the short straw” (sorry Daisy) as I call him.  This would’ve been a job for Haakon but, as has no shoes and is still recuperating or possibly retired, Daisy offered me Bimble who did his job admirably – to accompany Hjalti in a non-worrying and pottering way.  We positively oozed calm.  That, and a silly-frilly hairstyle.

This time, with me on my noble steed as well, we went further.  Daisy was asking Hjalti to listen to her aids and not go blindly along with his hooves in his ears.  He was very excited at the prospect of The Great Outdoors and looked at everything with boggley-eyes, curiousity and enthusiasm, including when I got on Iacs.  He couldn’t believe it.  What on earth was I doing on Bimble’s back?

We didn’t meet anything, which was probably just as well, but we went a good way and I am sure once Hjalti climbs down from his happy high, he will sleep well tonight.  On the way home, his sister (Lilja) and mother (Hetja) spied him from their field and called to him.  He called back.  I wonder if they know they are all closely related?

So that was us.  Another good training session for Hjalti.  Daisy did brilliantly and if Hjalti ends up half as nice as Bimble, then he will be one very well-trained horse.  For a short straw, Iacs is not a bad one.  There, I’ve said it!

The Girls are Home

We started out this morning with a plan, which unusually came together beautifully.

It was the usual goose, fox and bag of beans scenario but surprisingly everyone was easily caught, loaded nicely and led beautifully.  That is not like us.

The plan started by catching Fivla and then Lilja.  Lilja loaded like royalty, (if royalty go in and out of vans) and we drove them home.  Fivla’s role was company for Lilja who would be very distressed to be by herself.  We put them in next door stables so they could see but not upset each other.

Then we went back, caught and loaded Brá and Hetja.  We brought them over to Thordale and walked them to their pre-birthing field, Clothie.

Then we led Lilja to Clothie to go back in with the pregnant ladies, loaded Fivla into the van and drove her back to Leradale to rejoin the Minions.  We also opened the gates of Leradale and let the Minions have access to the rest of the field – the Icelandic ladies’ part.  There is more green grass and they can just finish it off and make a clean plate.  They didn’t need asking twice and cantered happily around the new-to-them bit of the field.

Phew!  So that’s done then.

I went to see them later with a pile of carrots that need eating quickly.

Mum and daughter together.

Now we start Bewb-Watch.



Preparing to Meet our Public

Tomorrow, all being well, the pregnant Icelandic mares and Lilja (non pregnant Icelandic filly) will move home to get ready for their big event – foaling.  We still have a few weeks to go but now is a good time to return and we can start monitoring them better.

All the internal gates will be opened and the Minions will then have the run of the whole croft, about 40 acres to themselves.  This will include the ladies’ winter field which still has grass in it and more than enough for eight (*** cough ***) fat little Shetland ponies.

This weekend ee also have possibly our first Minion visitor so we are preparing to meet our public.  Taking two brushes with me this morning, Floss and I set about making everyone a bit more presentable.

Everyone loves being brushed now.  Albie is particularly keen and follows us everywhere trying to push the brush under himself.

And no one escaped our ministrations and beautification. Please note Newt’s fabularse bouffant, darling!

As a reward for our hardwork which consisted of mostly removing small helpers, we had a bit of a sit down.  It is that dry now so no wet bottoms.

Despite being still in their winter floof, the Minions are looking particular handsome.  I hope our visitors think the same.

I took advantage of the fact that Fivla was close by.  We had a lovely chat.  Just like the old days.

Fivla has possibly the softest nose in the world.  She always has.

I think we can safely say that we are ready and waiting – so bring on the tourist season.  Let’s hope it goes well.

This is a total experiment.  If no one wants to meet the chaps, then we won’t do it again.

Pray for good weather, good behaviour and good publicity, please. x


A Bit Breezy

You know about my obsession with the weather.  These days it is really all I can talk about – that, and Lambie of course.  I can bore for Britain about him.

Anywho, the wind has been blowing for quite a few days now, enough to dry up all the mud and the days are warming up.

We are still feeding the chaps twice a day as the grass, although it is trying, it is not trying hard enough.

Every morning Haakon and Iacs stand about looking like a spare p**** at a wedding.  They have refused point-blank to eat the silage we put out so they come out of the field and have a haynet each to themselves.

They then spend the day in the yard that surrounds the house grazing with free access to hay as well.  Yes, I am indulging them but they are both old men (like Statler and Waldorf, they have opinions and watch everyone who comes and goes) and I think they deserve a bit of spoiling.  They go out with the lads at night so I am not that nice.

Winter coats are falling out and if ridden, brushed out too.


And now I want some rain to kick start the proper grass.  It would be helpful.

And then hopefully everyone will stop needing the extra hay and/or silage.

I am very pleased it is getting warmer now.  My thermals have almost been packed away.  Almost…… I don’t want to peak too early.