Tuesday, 22 January 2013

In which it snows, and my inner hippy comes out to play.

Author’s note: this starts off reasonably sensibly, and descends into a bit of a smooshy love thing. Sorry about that.


The snow comes in with a vengeance. I wake to find that at least half a foot has fallen in the night, and small blizzards continue throughout the day. ‘Wintry episodes’ says the Today Programme. ‘Light snow’ says the weather forecast. Bugger that for a game of soldiers, says the actual weather, chucking it down.

The schools are shut, so the Pony Whisperer comes up to help with the horses. She has her moment of love with Myfanwy, who is her small favourite, although Autumn the Filly decides that she too would like some affection, and muscles in on the act. After a bit, the PW decides that hauling hay and filling up frozen water troughs is actually not that diverting and falls to making a snowhorse (as opposed to snowman).

Every night, when I go to bed and the weather comes in, I fret mildly about the equines. Every morning, when I rush down to check on them, they are merry as grigs. They are far tougher than I, even Red, with her delicate thoroughbred blood. As if to prove horse resilience, three miles to the west The Barefoot Trimmer is running a herd project, where she and a couple of friends have set up the most natural conditions they can manage. Their little herd is turned out in about forty acres of proper wild Scottish countryside. Everything about the horses has improved, from temperament to hoof health. It’s fascinating, and I track their progress with riveted interest.

Out on the internet, equine arguments rage. To shoe, or not to shoe? To rug, or not to rug? To stable, or not to stable? Everyone gets wicked furious, as they might say in Boston, defending their own position to the last ditch.

I do love my horses to be as horsey as possible. I remember and pay tribute to their wild ancestry. Red gets a serious rug, because she falls to shivering otherwise; she gets a good warm feed twice a day, and morning haynets, both to keep her interested when there is no grazing, and to keep her stomach full. But for the rest, I like to let her live as naturally as possible. She is barefoot, and kept out. To my slight surprise, she is happy as a bug, hock deep in snow. I built a spanking new shelter because she has only known southern winters, but she rarely leads her little band into it. I trust her wisdom. She knows how much weather they can all take.

Other people do very different things with their horses. I mostly say each to each. I don’t quite see the point of the furious internet arguments. There are people who seem vastly invested in proving that their way is the best way, and I feel that this is a competition that no one ever wins.

It’s just the same as with humans. Each individual has their needs; every person has their ideas. Mine does not have to be better than yours. I go back to my increasing hippy-ish tendencies, when I think of this kind of thing. As long as you are kind, and pay attention, and take responsibility, then the humans and equines and canines in your life will probably be happy. There is no perfect template to which everyone must adhere.

Love is the most important thing, and may come in many good guises. As long as it is there, in action, not just mushy sentiment or cheap words, then all manner of things will be well. It’s not top of the class or marks out of ten or gold stars. There is no point that needs proving. Love as fiercely as you can, is what I say, and take out the metaphorical and literal hay, whatever the weather.


Today’s pictures:

First thing I saw when I stepped outside. The dear old shed:

22 Jan 1


22 Jan 2

22 Jan 4

General snow, round and about:

22 Jan 9

22 Jan 9-001

22 Jan 9-002

22 Jan 9-003

22 Jan 9-004

22 Jan 9-005

22 Jan 9-006

22 Jan 9-007

My village, this morning:

22 Jan 10

22 Jan 11

22 Jan 11-001

This is quite a big main road:

22 Jan 12

22 Jan 13

I actually WAVED at the snow plough, I was so glad to see it. Driver looked completely nonplussed, as if brain was saying: NO AVAILABLE RESPONSE:

22 Jan 14

Morning paddock:

22 Jan 15

22 Jan 19

Horse Talker and Pony Whisperer, getting on with the breakfast routine:

22 Jan 20-001

Which is much appreciated:

22 Jan 21

Autumn the Filly:

22 Jan 22

Pony Whisperer with her small friend:

22 Jan 28

And making her snowhorse:

22 Jan 29

Me and my girl:

22 Jan 25

22 Jan 26-001

She had an itch she requested that I scratch. I scratched it. She was pleased. It was a perfect exchange:

22 Jan 27

That’s the spot:

22 Jan 27-001

I’m afraid I can’t really explain the hat. Apart from the fact it keeps the snow off my head. Also, I don’t know why this photograph appears to be pale green:

22 Jan 26

And, and, my darlings, as if that were not enough, I give you STANLEY THE SNOW DOG:

22 Jan 30

22 Jan 31

22 Jan 29-001

No sign of the hill today. It’s a bit Bishop Berkeley.


  1. Oh my. I gasped out loud at your pictures of snow. Now, that is snow! What we had a mere piffle in utterly Southern terms. What you have is Northern snow. We did head to the beach and sledge down the sand dunes; there was some snow but not much to speak of. Not like yours. I am just so...impressed. I love the hat too. You look dapper. And as for Stanley the Gorgeous Snow Dog - words fail. Lou x

  2. The photos of the Beech Avenue are so beautiful that they've brought a tear to my eye. You really are a very gifted photographer; I don't know if I have mentioned this to you before but your blog photos inspired me to invest in a decent camera and start learning to take some better photos. Thank you.

  3. What lovely snow pics ~ we've only had a couple of inches, down here on the Staffordshire border. Three happy, contented horses ~ I'm a big advocate of field-keeping .... and just look at the wonderful, exuberant Stanley! Brilliant blog ~ thank you.

  4. YAAAAY Stanley in the snow! Yay Stanley in general.

  5. I agree Yay for Stanley in snow. For a moment I thought you had photos of all but Stanley. And I must say yay for the hat. Love it.

  6. Love the hat, love the snow and the bundled up equine, and LOVE Stanley with his ears flying. He looks so at home. :)

  7. You are all so lovely and kind. Esp pleased when people like the photographs. It is not my area of expertise at all. And hurrah for the growing Stanley posse. He raises his ear to you all.

  8. Waving at the snow plough driver is a full-on heavy duty version of what we are presently doing in London, which is smiling broadly at each other (strangers, no less) in the street as we pick our way between piles of slush and ice. Oh, and thanking the street cleaners, we're doing that too.

  9. Perfect post... Reading it and looking at all the beautiful photos has helped me a great deal after a thoroughly vexing day.. Such simple pleasures: scratching and feeding and allowing Stanley to gallop.. That last photo is a peach. I don't care if photography is or isn't your speciality... you have an artist's eye.. Bravo!

  10. Lainey is right, and Stanley rocks!

  11. Thank you for the beautiful photographs - especially those of Stanley. I love the action shots!

  12. Magical! We live in an almost eternal sunshine and miss the change of seasons... These brought a lump to my throat...


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