Well, usually we’re complaining about the weather but this time we really can’t moan. The winter has been mild with just a little bit of snow to remind us what last winter was like, and the horses have moved to their winter field. If they would only respect the fencing on the long runways that lead around the field and out to Bank Field, this would be a massively time saving move for us! It’s lovely having a break from mucking out the fields every day, though, and they are absolutely delighted to be roaming around 12 acres of long grass.
Beautiful as the scenery is, we’ve been working hard to re-home excess ornaments, and in 2011 we found alternative accommodation for Free Be, Asterix, High Flyer, and, at the very end of December, Amber! Although very beautiful, she could hardly be described as an excess ornament, however, as she has become extremely useful to us in the school. Her lightness, ability to piaffe, and her exquisite araby ability to express her irritation about an inappropriate leg or hand aid all made her a fantastic teacher. We miss her dreadfully already. But a lovely client fell in love with her during an Intensive, and agreed to a price that has made the pain of her going considerably easier to bear. She is living with a fellow Recommended Associate, and I know that she will be supremely well cared for and happy. She also really liked the client who fell for her, too! She’s gone for a month’s trial, so by the next issue of Horsemanship magazine we will either be better off and a bit sad, or not so well off but have our lovely horse back!
The balance of paying to non-paying guests has been further improved by the prospective arrival of two new ponies in early January. Possibly for the first time ever, that would mean we have more liveries than horses of our own. After nearly 14 years here, I think we might finally be hitting on a business model that will actually work!