Author Archives: Frances

Shetland Ponies are Trouble

We had snow last night.  Not a huge amount, but snow none-the-less.

The daily trawl had me going to see the Minions (found them – lucky me!) and on the way home I stopped off to say hello to Brá and Hetja.

They looked gorgeous in the calm winter sunlight.

Meanwhile, over the road, Fönix, my neighbour’s Icelandic horse was trying to have a quiet snooze in his field.

He was doing quite well until his two little field-friends, Ulysses and Festus, arrived. We watched, totally amazed, as they tried pawing him (sadly, I hadn’t got my camera at that stage).

Fönix could bear it not more and gave up his idea of peace and quiet.

Feeling rather “got at” ,he walked over to the fence where we were standing, and trying hard not to laugh.

This is Fönix’s “help me” face.

Butter wouldn’t melt.

And then Ulysses and Festus swiftly dismissed Fönix as a Boring Grown-Up and started playing together.


Hetja looked on from her field.  You can almost hear her say “bloody Shetland ponies”.  She’s not fan and would not have been nearly as tolerant or as nice as Fönix.

I drove home giggling to myself.



All Gone!

Enough was enough.  Today, as it was nice and calm, I asked Floss to walk with her Magic Bag of Carrots into the hill field.

Of course, she was enthusiastically followed, which is what I was anticipating.

Up into the hill they all went with me and my long lens straggling behind.

And then they, to a horse, all walked off and left Floss behind.

Suddenly Newt (and Waffle) remembered why they had been following Flossie and turned round to ask for their carrots.

They are all very lucky Floss has such a good moral compass and sense of fair play, or Flustice as we call it!  She walked up the hill for them.

The carrots were duly dished out.

And then off they all went again, giggling (note Newt’s bouncy bottom)!

I am pleased the herd is now in this field.  It is like they forget it exists as they are always so pleased when they get there.

So, on our way back, Floss and I shut the gate between the two fields – there will be no more lurking in the mud around the house for a while.  Give it a rest.

We turned back around to see where everyone was and they’d vanished.

Floss and I spent a good few minutes looking at the field (we can see 95% of it from the derelict house) and nope, not a horse or pony to be seen.  I am of the opinion (“Expert Alien Scientists say…..”) that this is another branch of the Bermuda Triangle and that there are 10 ponies sitting on a beach in Bermuda now.

Well, good luck with that!

The Mud Monsters

The Minions (plus the two Icelandic girls, Lilja and Sóley) want to live 24/7 in mud. They tell me this every day when I visit.

So, subsequently, they are all revolting.

Obviously, there are degrees of revolting.

But, it is winter, we are in Shetland so ergo, we have mud.

Quod erat demonstrandum, as Vitamin would probably say because she is old and therefore speaks Latin.

These poor little hard-done-by ponies, also happen to live in a 50 acre field that has grass and even a lovely stream trickling prettily through.

But no, the Minions must live in mud. They love mud.  It is their thing.  It drives me mad.

After the daily carrot (and Fivla’s TurmerAid), I tell them to go and find the grass.

And, who knew, there was grass?

Oh the joy!

Oh, the happiness!

I swear this lot have the collective brains of a bunny rabbit!  Yes, they do.

Vitamin.  Go away!

This is my daily winter job. No one actually has to stand in mud when you have 50 acres of grass to eat, stand and poop in! Fer cryin’ out loud – (bangs head against the wall!)

Our Stable

Winter is when we use our stable (ok, big shed with sections) most.  First in are the sheep who get their breakfast.

Madge, ‘Bert and ‘Ster eat together….

…. while Lambie and Edna eat in the smaller area.  Lambie hates being hassled when he’s eating (‘Bert, ‘Ster and Madge are always swapping around). He can get very agitated.  Edna gets extra because she is old.  This system works very well.

When everyone has finished, they get booted out ready for the second sitting, if the weather is disgusting, like today.

We brought Haakon, Iacs and Klængur in to have their breakfast – Haakon eats separately as he, like Lambie, gets very narky when disturbed from his bucket.  After everyone has finished, we put out the haynets and Iacs and Klængur have to join Haakon.  Yes, it is a bit of a squish but as they all get along very well, it is not a problem.  We did try Klængur in with the others, where there is more room, but they picked on him as he hated that so he quickly went back in with the Old Men.

Then it is time for the third sitting.  The young ones come in.  Three haynets plus a pile of hay – all equal, all measured.

When the old men leave to go back to their field, this lot get their buckets.  It may sound very complicated but actually our system works for the set-up we have.  I think the “proof of the pudding” is that everyone is very settled and relaxed, keeping the weight on and happy.




Efstur’s First Shoes

Farrier day today.

First up were Hetja and Brá for trims, though it was only Hetja who was trimmed in the end.  Brá didn’t need anything.

Then we quickly drove over to Leradale for Sóley …..

And Lilja.  Both had trims and were very good girls considering we don’t do much with them.

Home to Thordale and happily indoors (we were all freezing).  We had brought everyone in to the stables before breakfast so they would be easy to reach.

Haakon had his fronts trimmed and we discussed the possibility of shoes again.  Maybe in Spring.

Then it was the turn of “The Orange Lot”!  First Klængur who was happily chatting to the farrier’s lad. Shoes on for him.

Kappi – shoes on after his 6 week holiday.

And then it was Efstur’s turn. He had been brought in earlier to watch Kappi have his back set put on.  Efstur has never been shod in his life and, as he has been backed, Daisy wanted shoes on.  A full set.  Hot-shod.

Kappi stayed for moral support.

Efstur was wonderful.  So good.  Once he had worked out what was going on, he chatted away to Daisy and behaved beautifully.

He just got on with it.  Some don’t.

What a good boy.

A total star.

Then Dreki had a trim and that was us.  Taktur has now packed his metaphorical spotty hanky, donned his thong and gone on holiday, but under farrier advice and Daisy’s agreement, kept his shoes on.

All was good. We came in frozen but happy.  I was really impressed with Efstur.  There could’ve been fireworks but no, he just settled into being a grown-up.  Phew!