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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Two horses, one trailer, four people and a Freelander

There was no way the Freelander was going to shift all our gear, the girls and four adults all in one go. Even if I'd been tempted to try, one of the helpers is a very tough copper who would probably have booked me on the spot.

So we moved each of the girls in turn. My other half (MOH) who is fantastic, but not horsey 'volunteered' to play anchor to the first horse we moved (Princess) whilst Madam was in transit.

This is not something I would recommend, but if you knew how well Princess and MOH get on you might worry a little less. I didn't, but then I worry about everything anyway.

Our biggest concern was the sheer foolhardiness of taking two horses out of 24/7 stabling and then moving them onto 24/7 grazing. We had done lots of preparation by introducing hand picked grass in increasing quantities into their diets, walking in hand and trial turn outs, but it was still risky.

At the new place we grazed the horses in hand for about 4 hours, it was hot and sunny and we were all dozing off. We had some Sedalin (sedative) for the release in case the horses were wound up, but we didn't think they would need it because they were so chilled.

Madam of course proved us wrong. She belted round the circuit 5 times squealing and bucking before settling to graze, definitely rather more lame than when she started - but not hopping lame. Princess kept up, but more in the spirit of companionship than any real desire to hurtle round.

And that was it. After 20 minutes you'd think they had spent their whole lives there. We had brought sandwiches, tea, blankets, torches - enough kit to camp out for a week if we needed. But we didn't need to. So far they seem fine. I ended up checking them a couple of times in the night and discovered Madam really dislikes head torches, but apart from that all is well.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Tomorrow we move to paradise

Have you ever noticed that sometimes random events connect and take you on a journey you had previously only dreamed of? Tomorrow I move my horses to 'paradise' and this is our story.

'Madam' is a half pint American Quarter Horse. What she lacks in stature she makes up for in attitude! On 31st May she suffered a serious, career threatening injury while walking on a flat, safe surface. At the end of July she was still on box rest, depressed and making very slow progress. I was exhausted from keeping her and her stable companion exercised and entertained. Then I spotted a tiny ad for grazing very close to where I live.

I have spent all my spare time for the last four weeks setting up a very basic circuit in honour of Jamie Jackson's Paddock Paradise. Then I spent most of the last 48 hours redoing it because the first one blew away in a storm... You can see a larger version of the plan for the Nursery Circuit at the bottom of this page.

But we are as ready as we can be - tomorrow 'the girls' move to paradise!

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Southern England, United Kingdom