The Carrot Introduction

I spent a very happy sunny Autumn afternoon with Sóley the Foalie introducing her to little bits of carrot that I had bitten off for her.

She seems much calmer in this new field and much more open to suggestion, which is why I offered her a little bit of carrot when I went to check on them all.

To date, Sóley would gently take the carrot and then spit it politely on the ground hoping I wouldn’t notice.  Possibly like me with Brussel sprouts!

So I had rather given up and put it down to the fact she is a baby and maybe the carroty taste isn’t of any interest to her.

But perseverance is my middle name (actually it isn’t – it is Susannah after Muriel Denison’s book “Susannah of the Mounties”, so you know).

And when giving Hetja and Lilja their daily carrot, I would always offer Sóley one fully expecting to see it quickly appear by my feet.

I was very nicely surprised to see no carrot by my foot and even better, there was the sound of happy chewing and then even asking for another piece.

It is always good to have magical (a treat) up my sleeve when training.

One can achieve a great deal with bribery.

I think it also helps to have excellent role models too and lucky little Sóley has the very best.

Electric Fencing

The girls and I spent our morning putting up an electric fence as my neighbour, despite my protests, replaced my wire fence with a wooden one that he wanted to surround his garden.  I told him that the Minions have chippie-chipmunk tendancies and I could not guarantee they would stay away from his beautiful wooden fence.

So we had to build an electric fence to protect this work of perfection.

While we worked, we were watched.  We were accompanied by the sound of wire fence twanging – thank you Storm and Tiddles.

Once built and said to be working (Daisy’s exact words were “I am now 99% sure this fence is electric!), we led the Minions and ladies, two at a time, over the road to their new field.

They will only be in this field for a few weeks, ie when it is eaten down.

It is not the biggest field so won’t take long and the grass is not particularly good but it will do for a while.

Everyone was immediately “head down and eat”.  All I could hear was the peaceful sound of munching….

….or rather stuffing!

I had words with each pony and asked politely that they avoid their neighbour’s new and perfect fence.

My neighbour has this delusion that if he brings carrots, they won’t eat his fence.  (insert hollow laugh)

Fivla, who is obviously perfect, would never eat a fence.

She is not that kind of pony.

Tiddles is.

And yes, he did try the fence and though it didn’t quite zap him (clever boy counts the pulses), he does definitely know it is on.

I am not holding my breath, to be perfectly honest.  There just aren’t enough carrots in the world.

End of the Day

I was out late last night (a friend’s leaving do), therefore a lie-in this morning to recover, plus visitors this afternoon, and I didn’t get out to check Brá and then the Minions until the late afternoon.

Still, Shetland was still very beautiful.  It always is and this time of year is the start of great skies and beautiful sunsets.

Brá is en route to the Minions, so I clambered over her fence and went up to say hello.

Ronas Hill is in the background of her field – this is highest summit in Shetland (apparently a Marilyn but not a Monroe at 450 m/1,480 ft).

My old mare was on good form. She had been relaxing in the evening sun and happily accepted my proferred carrot.

I didn’t tell her friends that I had brought carrots so she had the lot.

Our relationship is very much work-in-progress but every so often I see a change, a different light in Brá’s eye and I know know she is happy where she is currently living.  That means a lot.

And my last stop was the Minions.  I had carrots (obviously) and went amongst the little ones fairly distributing rather than just throwing randomly and hoping for the best.

An autumnal evening in Shetland is very special.

Autumn is my Favourite

We were talking about this out on our ride today.  I think Autumn is my favourite season.

For me, it’s the colours and the light. Also if you have a chestnut Icelandic horse, he looks good in photos.

And the same goes for a dun one too.

Today I rode Klængur and then Daisy asked if I would accompany her and Kappi on Iacs.

We had a superb time, even narrowly missing a huge tractor and trailer that rattled past as we walked down our track to the “main” road (as in one car an hour) – I think the Gods were looking out for us today which was kind.  Klængur was not sure about that tractor/trailer combo but did his best not to walk in the ditch.  It was tense while we went past but we’re both still here so I consider that a success!

Freshly made homemade bread for lunch and then onwards driving around looking at all the horses and ponies now all in different fields far and wide.

I don’t actually think Lilja, Hetja and Sóley have actually moved since we put them in their field at Leradale.  I guess they don’t need to.

Despite not being at home, we will still go on working with Sóley and her headcollar skills.  At the moment it is a two man job and I didn’t have the necessary people with me but we said hello to each other anyway.

Lilja looked very happy in her surroundings.

I do like this picture except it is a very odd angle for Sóley and she looks like a sturdy wee chublet!

So that was my day.  How was your’s?

All Move (Again)

Little Sóley the Foalie has been loading nicely into the van so today we put the ramp up and drove her and her mother, Hetja, over to their winter field a couple of miles away at Leradale.

Sóley was perfect.  She happily followed along and was curious to investigate her new home.

As there is only room for two horses max in the van, we left Lilja at home in the stable with two new friends, Iacs and Haakon, who I trusted to keep her entertained and safe.

When it was Lilja’s turn to travel, Iacs came along “for the ride” so to speak as companion in the van. I hate travelling horses by themselves.   They were very happy travel buddies considering they had met only 30 minutes earlier.

So that’s the girls all moved and ready for the winter.  They will be checked daily and hopefully can’t get into any trouble (please don’t Lilja – I am watching you!)  The Minions will join them in the next field probably in January.

Iacs enjoyed his brief sojourn, looked at the view and then loaded back up again to go home by himself.  He is a seasoned traveller so he kept himself entertained with Hetja’s haynet.  He also wanted to get back to his bestfriend, Haakon.  He knows that wimmin are only trouble.

Haakon and everyone else were then moved into the big hill field. It is where they will stay for a while.

This will give our more sheltered fields a chance to benefit from the “Autumn flush” which will be useful later as our grass starts to decline while the temperature drops.

Well, that’s the theory anyway.  You know me. Nothing is written in stone.  It was nice to see Leradale again.  One of my favourite crofts.