Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Chris is out of theatre and in recovery after his sinus operation. The op took longer than expected but went well, although he feels terrible now and has an uncomfortable metal plate up his nose! I'm guessing that it will be a while before he can help me with the sheep! Get well soon Honey xxx

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Big Boys!

Last year's tup lambs Basil and Carlin are certainly big lads now! I got them in to shear this morning but of course it had rained in the night and they are soaking. Ah well boys peace for you a little longer!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A big weekend of riding.

Sorry for the delay folks, I'm a touch on the busy side at the moment (for the last 6 months actually) and my blog, I realise, has been woefully neglected. Sheepy photo updates to com very soon. For now here are the photos from my TREK attempts.

My kind friends at Brenfield Farm and Argyll Trail Riding allowed me to ride their horse Brenfield Alfie in a national TREK Qualifier competition held on their estate last weekend. Alfie and I have been getting to know eachother for some time now and I ride him a few times a week. He's an old chap at 22, but still looking in superb condition. He's a school master who is the perfect confidence builder since he takes such care of whoever is on board. However he knows all the tricks of the trade when it comes to getting his own way and is just a tad lazy!

Alfie and I tried our hands, and hooves, at the Level 2 test which comprises an orienteering course on the first day of up to 20km followed by a Control of Paces test and a "PTV" course on the second day.

It was rather a hot day for a very long and dusty ride and I was worried to push Alfie hard for fear of him becoming dehydrated. Of course this was just me being overcautious since when I had Alfie looked over at a check point he was of course absolutely fine. Apart from our lack of pace we did very well. My map reading skills are not too rusty at all and we got around the course easily.
Control of Paces is basically the desage section of the test. A corridor 2m wide and up to 150m long is ridden first in the slowest canter that the horse and rider and then a again in the fastest walk that they can muster. A break to a different gait or a foot outside the corridor results in all points being lost for that section of the test. Alfie and I did not do a good job of this despite the fact that he can have a beautiful slow collected canter! Enough said, much more practice needed!
The PTV is an obstacle course which must be completed within a set time. Some of these photos are of my friends attempts at the obstacles :o)
It comprises decending a staircase
Obedience when led including standing still without being restrained when asked, and correct mounting.
Negotiating a narrow corridor, low branches

Stepping up...
and down.

jumping ditches and crossing bridges
wading through water
jumping fences

opening gates

And joyfully cantering for home!
 Did I say joyful? Alfie did not make life easy for me and was not keen at all in speeding around on such a hot day. I think that my expression says it all, I was knackered andf he looks fresh as a daisy!

I was very pleased with the scores that Alfie and I acheived for individual obstacles and they demonstrate how much my riding has come on. Unfortunately I made a silly mistake and Alfie and I completed one of the higher level obstacles instead of the easier one we were supposed to do. Despite the fact that we completed it perfectly this resulted in our losing all of our points for the PTV course. Ah well, that's just the way it goes sometimes! I was pleased to see that some of my friends made a rather better job of it than me!
We and the horses were all very relieved to be able to relax in the field at the end of the day.
What a fabulous time we all had and what a fabulous bunch of people to enjoy it with.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Rocking in Cumbria

I do have a report from my weekend of riding to post but as it happens I have popped down to Cumbria and this morning find myself accompanying my little brother to a job interview! Joe has recently qualified as a climbing instructor. Here he is limbering up and deciding what improvements he might make to Barrow wall.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Lull before the storm

Alfie and I are competing in the national TREC Qualifier tomorrow. It's the first time I've ever ridden in a competition! This morning we enjoyed a quiet moment together before the madness of preparing for the visiting riders began. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Pub Ride

Today Paddy and I have joined a pub ride to help my friend Debbie. The only trouble is that as helpers neither of us actually get to go in the Pub. Admittedly Paddy might not fit through the doors anyway! At least we get a sea view and beautiful sunshine while we wait :-)