Tuesday, 6 October 2015

End of Summer - The Best Time of Year...But For Some The Worst and Most Challenging

Happy ponies running out to their pasture!

This is always a very tricky time of year...for our ponies, this is their happiest time!  They are having new areas of pasture opened up for them every day, for some weeks now those ponies who were on restriction can be out all day now that the sugars are reducing.  There aren't many flies to pester them, their winter coats are growing quickly, and the end of summer has been so lovely and sunny... so with full tummies and being so nice and warm in the sunshine they have time to snooze.  With the ponies out on pasture for longer it gives us a bit more time and flexibility too - and there's plenty of things to catch up on!  Our p4p calendar 2016 is now available in the shop section of our website.  The mats are down in preparation for the mud now that the weather is changing.

The excitement of the extra grass makes for some lovely photos...and Arthur's been busy advancing with his ridden work too...out riding along the lanes and learning how to do the opening and closing of gates whilst being ridden.

Arthur just loves to run!

Topsy's enjoying grazing extra patches of lush grass that need trimming

Dinner time is exciting too!

Dan in full stride

A chance to take photos of our recent rosettes

The recent supermoon was red in the sunset hours before the eclipse!

Arthur riding out

We can do trotting too!

Saying well done after coping so brilliantly when a tractor hurtled by...
He wasn't bothered at all :0)

So...what's the drawback to this perfect end of summer/start of autumn...well there isn't one for our ponies, they are very lucky!  But...for the moorland ponies it's a time of great stress, markets, branding, culling and slaughter.  This week is the first wild pony market - at Chagford on Dartmoor and yet again the situation for the ponies isn't good...no changes in management for the better and little chance of those at the market getting a good, loving home.  We are always astonished how many people don't seem to know what happens to the ponies.  We also get asked quite often to explain the situation because it seems very confusing...so today we have launched a new page on our website entitled Dartmoor Ponies to answer some of the most common questions.  Please do share a link to the page on Facebook/Social Networking.
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Thursday, 1 October 2015

October's Calendar Photo

October's star pony is Apache looking very handsome - with his woolly winter coat and hints of mud, just as ponies like to be!!  There's a hint of his friend Ebony just behind him on the right...and Jaffa Cake on the left.  Apache and Eb used to only go conservation grazing for the summer so they would come to stay with Ted and Jenny for the winter.  A few years ago their site was able to have them all year around.  They are very lucky...and very happy to be permanent wild ponies conservation grazing all the year round!

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Friday, 25 September 2015

The People4ponies Calendar 2016 Has Arrived!

We are very pleased to announce that our People4ponies Calendar 2016 has arrived and is now available for sale!!  Thanks to Vistaprint we are able to offer our same super quality glossy calendars for just £5.50 each this year - all money raised going to the care of our ponies!

This year Topsy is the featured star pony (still a star at the age of 35!!) making several appearances in March, June and October...along with Arthur (January), Bisto (February), Frodo and Rocky (April), Misty (May), baby Rosco (July), Maisie (August), Oscar the dog making a special appearance for September(!!), Dan and Bobby (November), and then all the boys together on a frosty December day!

Our calendars have glossy photos with a central binding, each side measures 279 x 216mm (just a bit narrower than A4)  so is nice and big when fully open and displayed on the wall (279 x 440mm).

We'll add the calendar to the shop on the main People4ponies website shortly...please do get in touch to order your copy!  They make lovely Christmas presents and we will also have them available on our November Christmas stalls for as long as stocks last!!

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Dartmoor Ponies: The Final Round Up

Dartmoor Ponies: The Final Round Up from Kathy Stringer on Vimeo.

We'd like to bring this short video to everyone's attention - it has been very recently published by Kathy Stringer who has an MA in wildlife film making.  It does a very good job of explaining to everyone the situation on Dartmoor right now!  This is a very timely video because there will only be a couple more weeks before the round-ups happen.  The pony market on Dartmoor is in early October, but very few foals will be sold and not many of those sold will go to private homes.  The culling of foals will begin very shortly...as it says in the video up to 800 foals a year are shot on Dartmoor...and of course the mares will already be pregnant with next year's babies...and so the mindless cycles continues.

With a few of the most powerful members of the Commoner's Council set in their beliefs and with a reluctance to change, they overrule the vast majority of Commoners who responded to research saying they wanted action and the stallions removed...and so the killing continues...and we start to lose the more responsible pony keepers - the ones who want to responsibly manage their ponies see no way forward.  

Please share this video to raise awareness!

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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Bisto And Barnaby Update

We've just had this lovely update from Jenny, Barnaby and Bisto about what they've been up to...

"...Bisto is doing fabulously.  Barnaby is thoroughly enjoying him and as you can see from the pictures they have been enjoying the fun and games of shows and gymkhana games.

Today he achieved a clear round jumping.  5th in mountain and moorland riden.  And had numerous gymkhana placements.  a Good day. I'll send a picture of the fancy dress when I can". 

Huge congratulations to them for all their wonderful work with Bisto - such a joy to see the boys together and the big grin on Barnaby's face :0) Very well done to both of them!  I hope Mum gets a rosette for her clear round jumping too! Looking fabulous and what a team!  Very well done to all of them!

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Monday, 14 September 2015

Thank you!

Thank you so much to Thea Holly and everyone who attended the Working With Nature's Energies workshop on Exmoor yesterday!  It was held in a very special location at Horner's Wood and the weather was very kind, holding out until the day was finished.  Thea had decided to donate the course fees to People4ponies and everyone was so generous with their donations - the day raised £225 for the ponies...thank you so much everyone!  We really can't thank you enough!

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Haymaking Mission Accomplished!

This haymaking season has probably been the most difficult we've ever encountered!  We've waited all summer for a high pressure to bring a settled spell of weather, and very patiently too!  July went by with 4 inches of rain...August went by with just over 5 inches of rain...and we were beginning to think it wasn't going to happen!

It's taken us 13 days to get from the cutting of the grass to the baling/storing!  The ground has been so wet and muddy, and the grass being so late on in the season was thick, matted, long and with an incredible amount of water in it.  We've literally had to turn the hay by hand after Ted's turned it with the tractor - in a 3 acre field for nearly 2 weeks...that's a lot of turning!  And on Monday we had to go around the whole perimeter of the field turning the hay by hand away from the outside into the middle and removing any wet grass or chunks of mud to make sure we stood the best chance of success.

With a huge amount of effort from Ted, Jenny, Roger and Faye we finally managed to get to today which was our baling day...HOORAY!

Thank you so much to Roger for rewing the hay up, Richard for baling and everyone who came to help us get the bales out of of the field and stacked in the barn!  We had 369 bales with just a few unusable because they were damp/muddy from where the grass had been under some trees.

Tilly the puppy helping with the hay earlier in the week!

Roger rewing up the hay this afternoon

When Faye said we needed to get rid of the loose hay before the new bales
arrived, this isn't what she had in mind!

Anji and our 2 wonderful Austrian volunteers busy stacking bales in the barn

Paddy in the hay on the trailer

Pete, our Austrian volunteers and Stella ready to go out for the next load

Pete with Paddy...and Angela on the little tractor (who
amazingly arrived 24 hours early from Cornwall to help!
Margaret was kind enough to let Angela stay at her house for
a couple of nights so she could help).

Faye and Paddy (most photographed dog of the day!)

Cuba the dog having a rest!
Faie, Rachel, Oliver and our other super helpers!
Beate, Pat the dog and and Tilly
Alex and Archie riding on the little trailer!

Ted pleased with our achievements!

The ponies were happy out in the field whilst all the activity took place
The whole bale stacking team (except Heather who was taking the photo,
and Oscar the dog and Cuba who opted out!)
Well done everyone, we really appreciate your help!

And finally...thank you again to Ted and Jenny for their huge effort and generosity!

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Monday, 7 September 2015

Horse Agility Results

The ponies did really well in The Horse Agility Summer of Sport results - competitors from all levels from all over the world were competing in fun classes!  Arthur, Faie, Frodo and Faye scored 91/100 for their Pairs course which is quite impressive really!!  That gave them 7th place in the class and they were the highest scoring GB entry!

For his first ever ridden class Arthur scored an amazing 93/100 (he lost 5 points automatically for having a pair of reins rather than just one, one point for a tight rein on the "Z bend" and one for his backwards guessing the course blip) - we are so very pleased with him!  He was placed 9th out of a class of 15.  Clever boy Mr Arthur!

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

For Oscar's Fans!

One very happy haymaking dog!!

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

September's Calendar

This photo is of a late summer sunset on Bodmin Moor - it really gives the idea of how harsh the landscape and environment is for ponies there to survive in.  Bodmin Moor is where Topsy was seized from in emaciated condition so I expect she really appreciates her retirement in the much lusher lowlands "upcountry"!

This also reminds me that there are only a few weeks now until the wild pony markets start...so spare a thought for all those foals whose lives are going to be turned upsidedown in about 4 weeks time...

The moors can be very beautiful but they are also very harsh in many ways (in environment and tradition) for the animals that live there!

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