Author Archives: Frances

Meeting the Neighbours

Two small Icelandic horse foals, Dreki and Lilja, are really rather smitten with their Shetland pony neighbours in the next door field.

That would be the Minions (minus Albie and Newt) plus the old ladies – Vitamin, Delia and Fivla.

Any minute the foals can manage to escape their mothers, Hetja and Brá, they both come a-wandering down to the dividing fence for a chat.

I guess this is the first time in their lives that they have ever met other equines, now I think about it.  They had no contact with the others when they lived at Thordale.

May the Gods help them then!

Some are better examples of good behaviour than others (*** cough *** that would not be Storm then!)

Dreki is quite smitten with the Shetland girls.

Funnily enough it was Vitamin he wanted to talk to most.

She won’t take any bad manners.  Of course no one else is helping – noseys through the wire.  Not good.

Little foals must know their place.

They will soon be told when they overstep the mark.

I don’t want to put up electric wire but if the fence starts to get ruined, then I will have no choice.  I hate electric fences and foals.  Not a good combination.  Failing that I will take the Shetland girls out, and chuck them all in together.  Hetja loathes Shetland ponies with a passion and I don’t want to subject them to her loathing. The Minions know Hetja well and can stay out of her way.

I am hopeful they will all soon get bored of each other. 

The grass in the Shetland pony field is up the hill and by hanging around to talk to the foals, they will be starving themselves. 

No self respecting Shetland pony would ever do that for very long. 




Over at Leradale

Before the latest gale (on its way), I went over to see the ladies and their foals who are now happily living at Leradale.


The girls know this field very well, having spent last winter expanding in pregnancy together (and they have not lost their hard-earned baby weight).

This is really is the most perfect field so I am sure they are happy to live here with their not-so-little foalios.



While they are nursing their young, the mares need green grass to produce milk. 

And the little ones need the green grass to grow.




I think they look fabularse.

Everyone will be visited daily.




Special skills may also be worked on – hello, Mr Headcollar (yes, again and again and again).

At some stage there may also be hello to my vet for Dreki’s castration.  Needs must. Dreki is not “stallion material”.  (When folk say this, I have visions of John Lewis’ material department from my childhood.  Loads of material on large rolls and there is a stallion one out there.)

I have plans for Dreki.  If he promises never to trot, he can be my next horse.  Plans far away, though and a long way to travel before we get there.


Anywho, as long as the foalios are happy. 

These two seem to have developed a bond now, which is lovely to see.  I have a theory that Lilja is the brains of the two and Dreki just does as she wants and then takes the blame.

And they haven’t met the neighbours yet……


(to be continued/ …..)






Indoor Animaux

“So, Meester Bond, we meet again….

….. and, quite frankly, your school report has been found lacking.  What do you have to say about this?”

“Hey, I am a cool suave sophisticated kinda guy.”

You can trust me. I will never hurt you.

“Though, seriously, never trust me!”

(No one trusts Wussums – he is one dangerous boy.)

“My name is Loki. I have a terrible, lonely, miserable life.”

“I dream of running for miles after endless bunny rabbitses.”

“Oh yes, I’ve remembered – but I do!”

“As Her Majesty of the household, I sometimes feel put upon. Life is tough at the top.”

“The loneliness of command is exhausting.”

“But then I turn upside down, play the room and everyone does what I want!” 

The Indoor Family!  We are just their servants.

I was Dreading This

It needed to be done.  The mares and their foals had to go to Leradale.

I have been dreading the day.  No one is exactly very co-operative about anything yet.

So we broke it all down into small bite-sized chunks.

First I caught Brá before she remembered she didn’t like being caught.  One carrot in, one headcollar on and bingo!

Daisy caught Hetja who almost put the headcollar on herself.

Flossie was on gates and opened everything while we led the mothers, with their babies dutifully following over the hill to Thordale and into the stable.


Next chunk – to put on Mr Headcollar.

It was not instantly easy but it happened without much fuss.   Another phew!  Last time (the microchipping) was rather a battle.



We left everyone to get used to wearing their headcollars while we went in and had a quick lunch.


Bjørn arrived, and was trimming feet when we returned.  The foals were learning how to be tied up too.





Brá was sensible – she took herself away while Dreki was having his feet done.

The foals learned a lot today.   They may have not wanted to, but they did.



Next chunk was to load Hetja and Lilja into the van.  Hetja marched straight in and we tied her up and eventually Lilja loaded.


We released Mother and her stroppy little daughter and went back for the other two.

Brá, again, loaded beautifully and surprise, surprise, so did Dreki.  Good lad.

They will now spend their winter in long long grass that hasn’t been touched since they left (apart from a small Minion invasion).

Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief as they all met up again.

The Minions are their neighbours.

A Drive and The Ponios

It is cold with sporadic fierce showers of either hail or rain with a wind chill factor resulting sub-zero temperatures and so I went out for a little drive en route to checking the Leradale lot.

I love the Autumn colours in Shetland.  The contrast of the heathery scattald (hill grazing) with the grass in the “in-bye” fields.

As I went over the cattle grid into the scattald, I found a small herd of Shetland ponies that had been put into the hill for the winter.

They were probably hanging around the cattle grid to get back home, if they could.

I drove on.  There were sheep.  Lots of hill sheep everywhere.

When I reached Leradale, I could see my Shetland pony herd on the other side of their hill park or rough grazing.

Can you seem them?

These days, I always carry binoculars in my car for this very job.  Spot the pony.  There are 7 of them.  Fivvie to the left and then other 6 are grouped together.

The nights are drawing in now but the afternoon Autumn light is always special. 

Magical sunsets now.

When I got home, my four Boyzens were waiting for me (‘Bert is outwith the photo to my right).

As you can see, Puzzah is quickly getting the plot.  He will let me scratch the top of his head and I am hopeful (all fingers crossed) he will be one of the Boyzens very quickly.  His top priority is food.  Their’s is hugging.

You can sort of see where Lambie gets his “I must stick my nose through the bars” thought (see above).  Hereditary obviously.

Awww, ‘Bert’s Winning Smile is enchantment.  Sorry guys, no biccies.  I have learned my lesson.