Creating a safe Round Pen for our Exmoor Ponies

All the horses I had ever lunged before, could teach me a thing or two. I had never taught a youngster how to go round in a circle, so I took some advice from a friend, “ Just drive him forward around yourself in a small circle, then when he gets the hang of it give him a little more rope” She had clearly never lunged an Exmoor! This was the result of our first attempt with Finch back in 2010!

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Three Exmoor’s, One Agility Course and Two Girls having Fun!

When I saw Caroline show “Oui Oui” (Noddy to us!) at our local Western Show she was about 6 years old (middle of photo). I knew then she had what it takes and admired the way she managed the headstrong little Shetland. She performed a “Halter” in hand class and won first prize (blue rosette in Western!) No sooner was she out of the arena, overcome with emotion, she burst into tears! Before anyone had a chance to ask her, she uttered in a choked little voice “je ne pleure pas pour moi, je pleure pour Oui Oui (I am not crying for me, I am crying for Noddy!) Out of the mouth of babes!

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Caroline’s introduction to Exmoor Agility

Caroline is back to help me work with the ponies. She has been absent several weeks due to extreme weather and a family holiday. I was keen to introduce her to our starter agility course. She was so excited at seeing Finch and the other ponies that she and her mind were all over the place. What better way to concentrate the mind and calm her down than to explain how we were going to approach the course! First of all we both walked it on foot. Continue reading →

Improvising to create a Horse Agility Course

Spring is in the air, or at least it was yesterday! I left an “outdoor jobs” list for our 17 year old son Elliot, then went out to feed the horses and walk the dogs. He joined me around 9.30am very motivated, I am pleased to say. After fixing the fencing, folding the tarpaulin etc we set about collecting anything we could find to help create a Horse Agility Course. We gathered some plastic drums, tyres, lengths of wood, plastic piping, scaffolding poles, carpet, barrels and my wooden sun bed. Well I never did find time to lie in the sun!! Continue reading →

Exmoors well prepared for “The Big Freeze” in Central France

The snow fell only once this winter 2012. The two weeks that followed have been the harshest since 1985, with temperatures ranging between -4°c to -19°c. The ponies have been preparing themselves since the searing heat of August 2011, and therefore they have coped remarkably well. How wise they are with their thermal undercoat for insulation and their long thick greasy overcoats. They are truly well adapted for the weather in this mountainous region of the Auvergne. The “hair streams” resembling a well used wax jacket play a very important part in diverting the wet away from their bodies and protecting them from getting chilled. Their fanned tail too. And don’t you just love their unique thick and floppy manes/forelocks that appear to become “one”, as they lower their heads and eat to survive?

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“Exmoormania” – yes, I have the bug! My fascination for these characterful and highly intelligent little horses is tangible. They have so charmed me.

At home in France, I look out of my window to the “tracks” and observe my small herd of five Exmoor ponies and my son’s Appaloosa mare, as they go about their daily routine. They are an inspiration to me. I believe that they were my destiny, and me theirs. We are friends now, but it wasn’t always that way! I have to go back some years in order to tell you our story. Continue reading →