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SPRING NEWSLETTER 2016
It has been a long time since our last newsletter and our winter at Dunton Stables has been wet, muddy and cold. Since October, with very few exceptions, the days have seen the yard and school boggy and flooded. We really would like to say a huge thank you to our regular clients who have continued to ride with us and who truly understand that horse riding is an outdoor activity in all weathers!!! Things can only get better!
Our new site, just inside Kingsbury Water Park is well underway. It has been fenced, gated and the riding path that leaves the back of the site into the park has been laid and looks great. An enormous barn has been erected and stables are in the process of being installed inside. Water and electricity are now connected, lights have been installed and the ménage will be the next thing to build. I am certain that you will all be delighted to learn that an ‘ all weather ‘ riding surface will be put down with wonderful drainage and we will have sand no longer! We cannot wait. The plan is for us to have moved by January 2017. Exactly when depends upon the progress of the build and, of course, finances.
Now let us give you some news about the horses and ponies:
Dollar has now retired from Dunton Stables and gone to her forever home near bye where she is being loved and looked after and just doing a little gentle hacking. She looks very happy and has some other mares for company. Dollar suffers from asthma and has various allergies and we think that living so close to the motorway was having an adverse effect upon her health now that she is ageing.
Mr P has moved earlier than planned to his summer grazing paddocks. He has suffered all winter with thrush in his feet and although he is stabled at night and his feet are scrubbed and dried whenever he comes in, the condition was not getting any better. Standing in mud during the day simply aggravated the condition. After advice from the vet and the farrier he has now been moved to some well drained grass where he will be company for an older pony whose friend died last year. Poor Max has been feeling lonely since the loss of his pal. As our trekkers pass his field he has been calling to them and running along the fence to see them. Max is now full of beans and very happy to have company and Mr P and he have become good buddies in no time at all. If any of you trek out you will be able to see them enjoying their field in Marston just as you turn off the track into the village. Mr P and Max are still stabled at night in beautiful, spacious, well drained stables that have windows that look out over the fields. Lucky Mr P!!
Many of you will remember Penny our little strawberry roan pony who has now retired and is now living the remainder of her life in pony luxury. Penny is about 30 years old and only likes to go out on warm, dry days. She is fed frequently with small, tempting feeds, is brushed daily and has the occasional romp around the school when the conditions are good. She is waiting for some sunny, spring days so that she can munch on some grass again. As she is old and has lost some of her teeth she can only eat soft and sloppy feeds so if any of you visit her, please do not feed her carrots or apple pieces as she cannot chew them.
The other trekking horses are all wintering well. They are taking it in turns to stay in at night and are eating well to keep their weight over winter. Most have now started to lose their winter coats as the daylight hours lengthen and so grooming is becoming a mammoth task again. The mud does not seem to bother them at all and most of them positively enjoy rolling in it!
We do have a new pony on the yard named Charlie. He is a little cob who Jamie has bought and he is broken to harness. At the moment he is pulling a 2 wheel Bennington carriage with Jamie and Sharon enjoying a few drives out to the local pubs-for coffee of course. Charlie is very sweet and Jamie is learning to drive so if any of you reading this have experience of driving please get in touch.
Many of you will know that we have bought some land at Haunch Lane and our horses and ponies have been having a break down there during the winter months. Ted, Rosie, Diesel and Cherokee are there at the moment, although Cherokee is needed back here for treks and lessons over the Easter holidays. Catching him is a huge problem as he hears the noise of the trailer and disappears to the far side of a 15 acre field. New tactics are needed.
The donkeys are still grazing in Walmley and will be starting their seasonal work at Easter so let us hope that the weather is kind. The pedal boats and swans will be out too on sunny days. We do have 4 donkeys living on the yard as they need more specialised care. Rags is over 30 with few teeth and she is company for Buttons who is our blind donkey. Specialists have looked at her eyes but say there is nothing that can be done to restore her sight. It is amazing how well she has adapted but sad that she cannot just go out in a field. She and Rags go in the school daily and when the yard is quiet and the trees have leaves they both wander around the exterior of the school munching at the lower branches. The other 2 donkeys living here are Fudge and Silver. Fudge developed an allergy to sunlight a few years ago and became bald. His face is still very bare and he sunburns even on hazy days so great care is taken in putting him out. Silver is a working donkey and great company for Fudge in the stable.
We have 5 reindeer now and the newest arrival, Mistletoe, came a few days ago. We have introduced her to Holly who will keep her company and help her to settle before she is allowed in the corral. The reindeer worked very successfully over the Christmas period and have proved to be extremely popular with clients around the country.
Those of you who have riding lessons here may now have met Giovanna. She is our new Sunday instructor and will be working closely with Sarah to develop and progress our lessons. Everyone who has ridden in her lessons is very positive about her teaching and her very friendly manner. She is a very experienced instructor and horse woman and a great addition to our team.
Bob and Ellie, the dogs, are well and as naughty as ever. Bob’s stash of stolen items grows daily and Ellie is proving to be the boss on the yard. Bob’s swag this week so far includes:
Several gloves of varying sizes and colour
A riding hat
Jamie’s empty cigarette packets
Four fire logs from outside the office
A selection of grooming brushes
A selection of the volunteers’ snacks and sandwiches
One vet wrap still in its cellophane wrap thank goodness
A shoe that a trekking client was trying to change into
It is still only Wednesday!!!
And now for the Easter holidays: lessons, treks and mini treks, both led and mounted, are available daily. There is an Easter Egg Hunt for younger children aged 4years -7/8 years on Good Friday and a Pony Day on Wednesday 6th April with spaces still able to be booked.
Sarah will be teaching private lessons on Tuesday afternoons until early evening so please come along and join us in a riding activity of your choice.