Thursday, 15 September 2011

Trotting Along Nicely

It's great being self-employed (even if the winter is seeming a little scary and uncertain at the moment!). I can organise my own time and do the boring desk stuff when it's raining or in the evening leaving the daylight and sunny weather for doing the surveying and doing the things that I enjoy, like going out with the dogs, spending time with the flock and riding Danny.

Luckily I have friends who are also self-employed or work funny hours and can usually squeeze in a ride.

My friend Danni (very confusing having a horse and a horsey friend with the same name!!) has moved her horse Blade into the same field as Danny for a little while and we ride out together most days. Danny and Blade are great pals and very evenly paced which makes hacking out easy and fun.

Our boys are a constant source of amusement to us as we explore, often at speed, the forest tracks. Both are sure footed and fit enough to enjoy the challenging tracks and love to leap ridiculously high over small fallen logs! However, they are also both thoroughbred crossed and a bit highly strung and spooky. They find all kinds of things to be terrified of.

When excited Danny tends to turn into a giraffe with his ears pricked right forward and nostrils flared, while Blade arches his neck low, takes hold of the bit and prances along pretending to be very grand but refusing to accept the bit and work properly. They perfectly demonstrate "above" and "below" the bit! Danni and I are working on improving their outlines!

I've bought Danny a convertible head collar/bridle for hacking out in. It's great to be able to give him a proper break on a day ride by un-clipping the bit and letting him graze while I eat a snack. I don't worry about it getting damaged if we get a drenching either. He looks rather smart in it too!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Westmorland Show Success!

What a busy time we've been having. There's so much that I ought to be blogging about, but I had to post about how proud I am of Arran.
My little fawn krunet brandet sokket katmoget tup lamb got more and more handsome as he got older.
Boy did he grow? His mother Sheilhope Gletness looked after him extremely well and he was king of the castle in the boys field last winter.
Unlike hi father, Arran has never shown signs of agression. He is a nice lad.
His first show outing was the local North Lonsdale a few weeks ago where he was placed second in Primitive Breed Ram (see post below).
Last week I took him to the Westmorland County Show which was a whole different ball game because it is a much bigger show with specialist Shetland Classes and plenty of respected breeders attending. 
These show photos are from Dominic McEwen-King's Web Album. Dom has been taking great photos of their super Galtress flock at the shows.

Smali Arran was placed first in Shearling Ram!!

He went on to take the Reserve Champion Shetland!!
I'm so proud of him. Champion Shetland went to Robin and Margaret McEwen-King's lovely white ewe.
Arran's dad is Galtress Ptolomy, so Robin and Margaret (who are Tolly's breeders) were very happy to see their bloodlines passed down and doing well.
 Todhill Robina and Smali Bryony both took fourth in their classes and my group of three (one tup and two ewes: Arran, Robin and Bryony) were placed first. In the group of three the judge looks for uniformity of a group of good Shetlands. I think it was brought in to allow breeders to show that good type and health is consistent in their flock.
What a good day for the Smali Flock!