Wolfie the Wonder Horse!

Wolfie the Wonder Horse!
Wolfie, 24/02/08

Monday, 30 January 2012

My Granny Perth was taken into hospital on the 12th January, the day my Granny Dunblane passed away. My Granny Perth passed away yesterday, she too was 94 years old. There was 34 days in age between them. For the past 2 and a half weeks I have been divided between sadness, worry and hope, there was part of me that thought they both wouldn't leave us. Now I have the great weight again, the effort it takes to just walk. I've been here before and it feels too soon to be back again. I wasn't ready and I'm not strong. I rode Wolfie yesterday, first ride of 2012. We didn't do much, just walked around the yard, but he was brilliant. My weight stayed at the mounting block and riding around, I felt light, my heart felt light. As soon as I got off and my feet touched the ground, my concrete boots were back on and I walked slowly. It was dusk when I got on so I didn't want to leave the yard. J was going out for a quick hack. Wolfie thought he was going with him and bounced over to the gate. We weren't going, so I turned Wolfie to walk back along to his stable and he threw a bit of a strop and started napping. Most horses, if they are going to nap, will do it on asking them to leave the yard to go out, Wolfie was napping because he wasn't getting to go out on the hack. He seemed genuinely pleased to have his tack on. I just need 20 minutes a night for the next week to get him out riding and then his fittening could really begin. I want to ride, I want to feel better.

Wolfie has a duck pond in his field at the moment. He is constantly in wading around in it and the ducks just carry on quacking and swimming around.

Mark Rashid is coming to Scotland in May to carry out clinics over 4 weekends. He (along with Monty Roberts) are the two horsemen / trainers who I admire most and find most inspirational and he is author of two of my favourite books, 'A Good Horse is Never a Bad Colour and Horses Never Lie'. It's the first time he has been in Scotland in 7 years and the clinics will be held at Ross Dhu Equestrian Centre in South Lanarkshire. Due to everything that has been going on, I hadn't caught up with my emails and my magazines and I only found out on the 21st January that the dates had been released. The closing date for applications was the 20th January. I would have moved heaven and earth to be able to take Wolfie to one of the weekend clinics. It's not cheap, £375.00 for the two days and also the cost of livery at the Equestrian Centre over night, but if that is all we managed to do all year it would have been worth it. The clinic can cover anything you want, whether it be remedial or schooling issues, but you can also work over fences or anything you want. I would have went, not to work on any real specific problems or issues, but just for the experience of working with Mark Rashid and having him share his opinions and what he thought of Wolfie. The fact that Ross Dhu is so close was just an added bonus. I emailed, but all the spaces have been filled. We are on a reserve list, so if anyone pulls out we may get a space. I'm not hoping that someone's horse goes lame, but things do happen, so maybe....

Monday, 16 January 2012

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal

My Granny Dunblane passed away on Thursday morning, she was 94 years old. I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days, about my Granny, growing up with her and my times spent with her. I have a lifetime of wonderful memories. She was an incredible Granny, everything you imagine a Granny should be. She was a fantastic knitter, knitted jumpers, dolls,if you had a hole in your socks, by the next morning it would be darned. She would bake, the cake tins were always full, I can picture her chocolate cake now and I can almost taste it, that was always my favourite. My sister and I would bake with her, licking the mixing bowls and spoons once the cake was in the oven. She made me a Hedgehog cake for my Birthday, I had been desperate for one I had seen in a magazine. I cried when we cut it to eat it, as I wanted to keep it. The table was always set, complete with table cloth and silver for every meal. Her home made soup and mince and tatties. She used to put oatmeal through the mashed turnip, something which I do now. I remember Christmases spent at Granny's with all the family, the food we had. She would always watch Countdown. She always kept a hanky up the sleeve of her cardigan, I used to always wonder why she didn't just put it in her pocket. I do that now,put hankies up my sleeves, I didn't realise I did until the other day. She would always sing and hold our hands and cuddle us. At bedtime, we had a special song that we would sing, Granny, my sister and I. We sang it every night we stayed there. My sister and I are very different, we always have been,but my Granny encouraged us both to be ourselves, whether it be reading or making mud pies. If we couldn't find something, she would make it. I have a scar on my forehead where I was running from my sister and tripped and hit my head off the corner of my Granny's coffee table. There was a lot of blood, Granny wrapped my head and covered it in tea towels. She woke me every few hours during the night to speak to me and to change the tea towels, thinking back, she was probably awake all night. My sister got told off for chasing me, but all 3 of us knew that I had most likely been tormenting my sister before hand. I was supposed to get a skin graft on my forehead to cover the scar, but as they wanted to take the skin from my bottom, I never wanted it (my sister having the ammunition to call me bum face for the rest of my life was too much!). People have always asked where I got the scar and I've always been conscious of it. Now though, as I touch it, I'm glad it's there as it's another memory that can't fade. Granny wouldn't think twice about letting us turn her larder cupboard into a shop and she would be there as our first customer. What I remember most though is when staying at Granny's house is how safe and loved she made us feel. It really was unconditional. She enjoyed walking and we went on many walks through Dunblane. We used to pass a horse in a field and we would stop so that I could pat the horse. She would tell me about her father, my great grandfather, who loved horses and would never pass a horse anywhere without stopping to give it a mint or a pandrop. She spoke with such affection about him, that I was proud to be related to this man that I had never met, but obviously loved horses as much as I did. I know there are things that I have forgotten, stories that she told us. I am trying to remember everything. I am thinking of all my family right now. Everyone is very sad and hurting, but I am sure that the lifetime of wonderful memories Granny has left each one of us will help. Goodnight Granny, I understand that it's time for you to leave us now. I love you.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wolfie Woo

I still haven't managed to get Wolfie back into work. Things have been a bit hectic this week with Honey arriving and getting into a new routine,but things should hopefully settle down now I can start bringing Wolfie back into work or at least begin the groundwork when the weather allows. He's still being a menace and the farrier said yesterday that every time he drives past the field, he always sees Wolfie cavorting around. I just close my eyes now and pretend it's not happening. He will settle once he's being ridden consistently and tired! He's on a complete low sugar, fibre diet with soaked hay. That boy doesn't need any excess energy.

Wolfie was shod again yesterday. He seems to be between shoe sizes at the moment. The bigger size up however, is just a little too wide at the heels. The farrier said he would have a look into ordering a couple of different types of shoes to try on him.

Buttons and Honey now have their own blog and you read all about their adventures here http://ponytales-cat.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Update on Honey

Honey has done remarkably well over the last few days in terms of settling and starting to gain a little confidence. She is a smart little girl and you can see her constantly watching and absorbing everything that is going on around her. The biggest help and influence to her so far has been Buttons. She obviously takes great comfort from him being there. She still doesn't want him completely in her space (which is understandable and being a mare she probably never will) but she keeps him in view all the time and in the stable will stand at the adjoining door between the two stables to be near him. I deliberately put her in the larger part of the stable so that she had the option to move much further away if she felt she needed to. I moved her hay further up the back of the stable so she had space to eat it without feeling she had to protect it from Buttons, but she will walk to the back of the stable, take some hay and move back to Buttons door and stand and eat it there. Buttons is such a great wee guy. At the most he can be a bit boisterous but never aggressive. He is so sociable. He has respected Honey's space when she has told him to move away, but he doesn't give up and has worked at encouraging her to start to let her barriers down and trust that he isn't going to hurt her. They now graze side by side in the field. The fact that she now has companions in the field that she can feel safe with and is not being bullied or hounded is hopefully going to help her confidence and general well being both physically and psychologically immensely.

Catching Honey to come back in from the field was a little difficult to start with. She wasn't acting like a horse that doesn't like to be caught in terms of it would rather stay in the field, but more warey. She couldn't understand why all the horses were all of a sudden getting their headcollars put on and led away. The horses are usually already standing at the gate by 3pm waiting to be brought in, knowing they are going to their stables where there is hay waiting. Honey, however had no way of knowing where the horses were being taken to and it might not have been to somewhere safe. She is however getting better every day. She doesn't know me or any of the other people who handle her so her trust will have to be earned.

The Dentist is coming out on Monday to have a look at her teeth. I've been watching her eat hay and it is obviously very difficult for her. It takes her a long time to try and chew the hay and by her body condition I imagine she is getting very little of the goodness from her food due to her teeth. I am going to gradually increase hi fi lite into her diet as a hay replacer as it is chopped it will be easier for her to chew at the moment. I have started her on a feed balancer but she will need ongoing dental care and I doubt we will see much improvement in her body condition until her teeth are improved. Her coat is very fluffy and fine, not at all like Buttons. I suppose like everything else that will improve with time when she starts getting the correct nutrients and care. It's hard to tell in any photographs how thin she actually is due to her coat, but she really isn't carrying any condition. I've ordered her a little rug, incase we get any more torrential rain.

The farrier and vet are coming tomorrow. The vet will start her course of vaccinations. Wolfie and Buttons are due to be shod / trimmed tomorrow so I will ask the farrier to have a look at Honey's feet as well. I will take some photographs of her feet before any farrier work begins to use to look back on. Her feet actually make me feel a little squeamish when I look at them with their overgrown and odd shape. And they are not anywhere near as bad as they were when she was rescued. I would like to wave a magic wand and make everything perfect for her but it took years of neglect to get her to this stage so it will take time to repair the damage. I'm very happy with the way she has progressed in less than a week and hope that it continues. Every night I notice her to be looking more relaxed. Her fear of the feed bucket disappeared quickly, surprisingly enough! She has suffered so much and I just hope we can undo the damage which people have caused her. Horses are very forgiving, but they don't forget. I will post some photographs soon and will get Buttons and Honey's blog started - if I can remember how I started this one.

Monday, 9 January 2012

And then there were three....

I have rehomed another Shetland pony from the SSPCA. Her name is Honey, she is 13 years old and approximately 10hh, so a little bigger then Buttons. She is also chesnut with a flaxen mane and tail, but more of an orangey colour in the body and her mane and tail are not as flaxen as Buttons. She was taken into the SSPCA as part of a welfare / neglect case with a horse and her Shetland pony mum. Unfortunately her mum had to be put to sleep 2 weeks after they were rescued. Her feet were horrendously overgrown and she has been badly bullied. The farrier at the SSPCA has said that her feet do show signs of having had laminitis in the past. She has been in the centre for a few months receiving treatment and became available for rehoming at the start of last week although she will need the Dentist and ongoing farrier work. I went to see her at the centre on Thursday with my sister. She is very sweet, very timid but basically going through the motions every day to survive, not to want to live. Her eyes and coat are very dull and there is sadness oozing from every part of her. At the centre they tried keeping her with the other horse she came in with, but the horse terrorised her so they kept her with a 6 month old colt who was there who has front leg deformities. There was no way I could leave her, so I applied to rehome her. We went home and Susan brought Zoe to see Buttons. Looking at him after seeing Honey was like night and day. Glossy coat, eyes bright, full of mischief, just the way he should look. The SSPCA inspector came to do a home check on Friday afternoon, just to check where Honey would be and see Wolfie and Buttons. We saw Wolfie in the field, he was a little unsure (might have been the Vet disguised in a uniform), Buttons came into the stable and was Mr Charming. She thought he was lovely. Buttons makes me laugh. He never discriminates, he was raking through the Inspectors pockets of her big coat. He treats everyone the same, it could be the Queen visiting and he would still raid her pockets or her handbag. Buttons stable has a partition as he used to share with a Section C pony. The doors are all shetland pony height so they can see over. The Inspector said she was more than happy to pass us. She called the centre there and then and it was arranged that I would pick Honey up yesterday.

She loaded and travelled ok, she did manage to turn herself around in the trailer so travelled backwards. She went out in the field with G and Buttons for an hour. She was ok, but didn't really know what to do. She was waiting to be attacked and on the same note was defensive, sort of I'll get you before you get me, but she's not very threatening. Buttons has fallen in love. He was doing extended trot across the field with his neck arched. In the stable he was just standing looking at her looking absolutely delighted. At the moment she's very unsure, her life has been turned upside down again, but it is for the greater good. She's very protective of her hay, I found out that she's terrified of plastic bags and she was scared of the feed bucket when I took it into the stable. She just needs time, consistency, a lot of TLC and reassurance. So Buttons and Honey will have their own Blog which will detail Honey's road to recovery, her feet, Buttons daily antics and managing laminitis. I will try and get some photographs today.

When I told my dad I was thinking of rehoming her, he said I couldn't rehome them all. I know I can't but I'm sure I can make a difference to this little girls life.

When I last posted, I said I was going to ride Wolfie. I was a little optimistic with the weather as we were hit with severe storms, so I still haven't ridden, so fingers crossed for the weather.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year!

'what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey' Lemony Snicket.

It's 2012, another year has passed. In some ways, I would like to close the book on the events of 2011 and not re-open it. Wolfie's virus, Buttons laminitis, we lost 2 horses at the yard. Ridden wise I did not accomplish many, if any of the goals that I set out at the beginning of the year. However, on the other hand, we got through it, the three of us and we are a much stronger team because of it. I have learned many lessons from all that has happened. Both Wolfie and Buttons, despite being such different characters have one thing very much in common and that is spirit. I look at them now, their eyes are bright (Wolfie's gleaming with mischief)and they are both in good health and happy. I am so proud of them both and what we haven't achieved in terms of showing or competing, we have made up for in just spending time together and strengthening our partnership and our understanding of each other. Wolfie is back to misbehaving in the mornings, not standing to be rugged, bouncing around on the way to the field and generally just making a nuisance of himself. Those who have read previous posts will know that this is a pattern which occurs around about this time every year. He's bored and he's letting you know that it's time to get back into work, winter and his holiday is over for him. Normally, I get a bit upset about this, when I hear the tales of his 'naughtiness', however, this time, I am delighted. He is in great shape, he looks physically strong, he's back to cavorting and carrying on in the field. Wolfie is back and 'misbehaving' or not, I would rather have him this way than quiet. As soon as he gets back into consistent work, he settles down. I don't know what weather January will bring, but Wolfie's holiday is now over and I'm going to ride today. I am so excited to be getting back on him. Our main goals for this year, are to enjoy ourselves and have fun and we will do some Trec.