An overdue update as its been such a gloomy winter, everyday a grey day with endless rain and the clay soil we live on turning into a quagmire which meant all the ponies had to sleep indoors to have a dry bed to sleep on!
The end of last year’s competitions ended on a high note with Burnside Holly, (Holly) ending up a very creditable 7th in the Riding Club’s National Dressage to music championships at Addington, being one of the smallest and certainly the hairiest we were delighted as the standard was very high and there were 42 starters, having been a member of Ardingly riding Club’s Cats Quadrille the night before she was not in dressage mode particularly as all her team mates had gone home the night before. she followed this up in a blaze of glory at The London and S.E dressage to Music championships when partnered by Ceilidh they won the open section of The Pas de Deux in costume class, dressed in fairly inauthentic Scottish attire they performed their version of the Highland Fling to traditional Scottish Dance music and thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the process and had the added satisfaction of beating their smarter rivals who took the competition a great deal more seriously!!
Ceilidh who is twenty this year, still enjoys going out and has had considerable success this winter in unaffiliated dressage competitions, in the South East there are a great many centres specialising in top class dressage horses so the standard in any competition is always extremely high, one does wonder how many of these same very expensive horses will still be winning at twenty even at a lowly level as for a lot of them they lead an extremely regimented artificial life and don’t have the fun and variety the ponies have.
The down side of breeding is that one must always part with a number of youngstock and over the last few months some of the ponies have gone to new homes. Of the partbreds Sue Taylor has taken on Tambourine and Brenda Goldring has taken on Feargus both are being broken at this moment. Rona has gone to a new home in Hellingly famous for its lunatic asylum so I hope she does not end up there. the pure breds Rum and Sherramore have gone to Belinda Jacques and Sian Greene who live locally so hopefully we will see them around the shows this year. there is now a major chance that Shuna may be moving to a friend in Cumbria who have now taken on a hill farm at Ulpha and if she goes Shuna will have to take on the role of crofter’s pony and turn her hand to anything which will be great and if she goes I will keep you updated on her progress. I will be sorry to see her go but as I have only used her as a brood mare she has little future here as she is too closely related to my own stallions but she has left me Ronay as a legacy.
Hopefully the next update will bring news of foals but being a pessimist I never count them till they have arrived safely, Ronay now is a much happier pony as he has a permanent wife Eilean who has taught him to be respectful of ladies and who I very much hope will produce a foal now she is running out with him, she had declined to do so the last couple of years. Stocks Seonaid is another possible mum as ever since she came down from the north she has been slightly unsound which mystified the vets but my farrier was more constructive and thought it a very low grade laminitis caused by stress, of all the horses and ponies I have had on this place I have never had a pony that was so completely shattered to leave her original home despite the fact she came with her own mother, I had planned to make my fortune and sell her on but I have a feeling she could well become a permanent resident.
The other exciting pony in the pipeline is Stocks Sorcha, black which may confuse some of the southern judges, and best described as having attitude, she will take a long time to learn what the world is all about as she had seen little before she came here but she has three outstanding paces, is naturally very well balanced and automatically does correct flying changes on the rare occasions she canters on the lunge if she is on the wrong leg. As it now hurts more if I fall off I have a very able young man Chris to sit on them a few before I do but I have now ridden her and hope shortly to have some photos to put on the web.
HI EVERYONE Thought it high time I introduced myself and some of the other unknown residents at Fleetmead Stud. My name is LIZZIE LONGLEGS I am a very smart black nine months old whippet and since I came here I have gradually educated Deirdre into fitting in with my life style!
She had a little garden she was quite proud of but I soon sorted it out so that now she has no lawn to mow or flowerbeds to care for and some of my excavations have made it resemble a cross country course, now spring is nearly here it will be interesting to see what wants to grow in it this year but if I have any choice in the matter it will just be her honeysucle as I like the smell. I am a very athletic whippet and can run faster and jump higher than any of the dogs you may have seen on TV at Crufts so have no wish to compete there as I know I am the best.
I sometimes think D may be a bit of a witch as she has four cats , two of which are black and some nights she’s doing things with bottles and making magic potions, I think it is called home made wine, it puts a spell on people and makes them laugh a lot but so far I have not been able to try it.
There are a lot of feathered things as well on this place called bantams and doves, they’d be good fun to chase but I am not allowed to and have to be on the lead when I am near them which is an awful bore. The bantams have lots of babies which the cats say make a nice snack if they have hidden the nests but far worse are the foxes which just want to murder them and even come in the daytime to try and kill them Deirdre has a very handsome ancona bantam cockerill who was given her when someone bought Ensay’s colt about a year ago, he has got lots of wives but is desperate to have two or three of his own kind so I said I would see if anyone reading this can tell him where he can find them, he is called 'Essex Man’ as that is where he came from, the children he had last year are now laying green eggs which is very clever but they are only half ancona.
There are doves as well which live with the horses and D says it is good for them all to live together and they all seem very happy. Sometimes a racing pigeon drops in for a rest and some decide to stay as they like it here so now some of the doves are like odd coloured horses. I forgot to say there are four other whippets hereas well as me, three of them are really quite old and there is Tuppence who is now six, but it is nice they are here as I don’t want to talk about ponies all the time.
Have a lovely summer with the ponies. Love Lizzie