Author Archives: Frances


Lots of ice out there.

Yes, it is beautiful, but it scares me witless.  The horses don’t tend to move around much either.

Last year Iacs pulled his shoulder slipping on the ice (we think) and was very debilitated for a while.  Taktur will do anything not to walk on ice.

Anywho, horses needed to be fed so Daisy, Flossie and I boldly went, armed with a knife, some haynets, a wheelbarrow and I cut into our first silage bale of the winter.  Two weeks early, but needs must.  There is little grass.

I said yesterday I would try to wait until January before they start the silage but I can’t just watch my horses standing around not eating.

We spread piles of silage on a dry part of the field.  There was enough plus leftovers for everyone.

Afterwards, I went out with my camera.

Albie and Newt were very happy to talk to me.

There may have been nose kisseys.

And why not.  My little Best Boys and I am secretly very happy they are home at Thordale for the winter.  I don’t think I am ready to let them go away with the others.

It is not the right time.  They need their Mum.

The others stood in the thin winter sunshine and enjoyed, for once, the complete lack of wind.

The lick bucket is a success.  Everyone has a shot at it.

I briefly looked at the ingredients:
Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Vit A, Vid D3, Vit E, Cobalt, Iodine, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, Copper, Biotin and a pile of trace elements in molasses!

Perfect for this type of equines.  Extremely good doers

Just when the day started beautifully, it clouded over and stuff fell out of the sky.

With this weather, it gets very dramatic and there is looming!

Mares and Foals

Hetja has let herself into Leradale’s old and disused vegetable garden.  It is a square-ish raised bed full of uneaten grass that she is enjoying very much (later, the others joined her).

The mothers are still with their foals and they will all winter together.  We will think about weaning another day.  Not now, at any rate.

It is a happy calm little herd.  Dreki has stopped being quite so annoying to his sister, Lilja.  The mares take equal turns to babysit and it is interesting watching them teach their children all about how to survive the winter.  Essential skills for any Icelandic horse.

Until someone looks remotely thin, there will be no extra food here.  They have a mineral lick bucket that is molassed based.  It supplies them with all the essential vitamins and minerals that they need.  We use a specific one designed for Shetland ponies –  my theory being Shetlands are very similar to Icelandics really, just a bit smaller.

So, I don’t worry about this little lot.  They have endless forage and shelter and look very well on it.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the others continue to lurk about the gate looking hopeful.  I may relent tomorrow and open a silage bale for them as, although there is grass, it is very short and they are just not moving around looking for it.  Oh, the worry.  I hate it.

The Juggling Act

We woke up to a small smattering of snow and then a few more blizzards during the day. Nothing huge or scary so we threw everyone out into a field where they all, to a horse, just stood – probably digesting the billion bales of hay they consumed in the previous 24 hours.

Lambie and the boys are all fine too, though Lambie looks a bit pissy-yellow against the beautiful white snow. A sad, but true, fact.

I drove over to Leradale.

Delia spotted me first – eyes of a hawk for such an old lady! The rest were all quick to follow.

And Delia can’t half shift, too!  No one gets in the way of Delia and her bucket.

The others arrived and I distributed a few carrots I happened to find about my person mostly because Storm was going through my pockets like a thing possessed.  I think snow makes him hyper!

Vitamin’s still got it too.  She is one classy dame.

While Delia ate her food, I led the others over to the longer grass as I never see them move around this field.

Vitamin kindly waited for Delia, which was very thoughtful.

She actually made a point of waiting somewhere Delia could see her when she emerged from her bucket.

Leradale is very beautiful in the snow.  This is the first time I have seen it like this.


I remain hopeful that some might lose weight in this weather.

In fact everyone (but Delia) has spare which is exactly what this weather is for and how nature works.

It is a juggling act.

I Relented

I worried all last night about my animals.  The night was long and very harsh.  We lost power for a couple of hours and it has been coming and going today.

This morning I woke up fully expecting to see equine, and possibly ovine, corpses everywhere.

Luckily, this was not to be and I made the executive decision that everyone at Thordale should come in for a rest.

With Daisy and Flossie leading Kappi and Taktur, the rest quickly followed over the hill and came home.  No one needed asking twice.

We separated the group into little ones by themselves (much to Newt’s fury).

Kappi and Taktur together.

Kappi can be a bit territorial over food but he will share nicely with Taktur and I didn’t want the little ones in an argument.

My money would be on Newt, anyway.  God help everyone else.

The rest went into the big school.

We have been putting out hay and water for them all day and they can stay there, regroup, rest and fill up.

Floss and Richard checked the ones at Leradale who have lots of grass and shelter.  Delia had her grub.  They are all very happy and fat.

This afternoon, we put up the Christmas decorations.

I love it when the house is Christmassy.    Happy days.  Wu has only been up the tree once.  Daisy has to “make” one more sheep for the tree.

Storm Caroline Preparations

First thing, up and at ’em.

No time for breakfast, just out and start getting everyone and everything prepared for Storm Caroline.

OH mended/bodged a few doors to keep them hopefully shut for the duration.

I was trying to work out where was North West as that is the predominant wind direction.  We shut all sheds that would lose their roofs in this direction gale.

The girls and I carried two bales of hay and molasses mineral lick bucket up to the chaps at Clothie.  After careful thought and consideration we decided they were best off staying there.

There is a good selection of shelter in the form of dry stone walls, a large long croft house and some old sheds.  Ok, none of them have a roof, but they are solid and perfect for keeping out of the wind.  There is also some grass.

Little Newt and “his” lick bucket!

I am most worried about Albie who was very jittery when we were dishing out the hay. I later went back with carrots and he had calmed down.

We also took a bale of hay and two lick buckets (one for the Icelandic mares and foals) to Leradale.  We gave the hay to the Shetland ponies and Storm whinnied at the lick bucket!

Over at Leradale, there is masses of shelter – one side of the hill full of grass for the Shetlands and the Icelandics, again, have a croft house and barns to stand behind in a field of long grass.

When we got home, I rechecked the herd up at Clothie and then let the sheep out of their field.

I showed them we had moved their mineral lick into their shed which they share with the hens.

We have sheep and hen food inside ready for tomorrow so we can easily feed them.

I have distributed carrots and told everyone to stay safe.

As I type, the lights are flickering, the wind is howling and it is getting much colder.

Think of us, please xx