Uploaded : 12 Jan 10

What difficult times we are living in at the moment! All we hear about is doom and gloom, war and conflict. It can be so easy to get pulled down by what is going on around us. How fortunate those of us are whose lives are involved with the countryside, fresh air, open spaces and lovely animals. For those of you who are not familiar with Devon, and in particular Dartmoor, there is a particular view which always puts every aspect of my life into perspective. When you drive from Bovey Tracey to Widecombe in the Moor, home of the much lamented Uncle Tom Cobley, you climb up and up past Haytor and suddenly you drop over the top of Widecombe Hill and there below, deep in its valley, is the village with its famous ‘Green’ and beautiful Church known as the Cathedral of the Moor. Looking left you can see for miles, almost down to the coast; lift your eyes and you can see the lower hills divided into a mosaic of neatly walled fields and farmsteads and ‘strips’, then the open moorland stretching out forever. Hundreds of acres of some of the most inhospitable country, littered with bogs and goyles. Beautiful in its vastness and unspoilt in its nature. To the right ,on the sky line, flashes the mast at Princetown, temporary home to some staying at Her Majesty’s pleasure! If you time it right you can sit on Venton, one of many tors, and watch the sun go down over Princetown. Just amazing! Usually though ,I lose concentration at the critical minute and miss it. Another far more local view is from our top field where I walk the dogs most mornings and where many of the youngsters spend the summer. From the top you can see Dartmoor and the aforementioned Haytor ,and then coming towards home you look down over the farm with its house nestled in with its stone barns wrapped around it and the more modern cattle yards around the borders. The fields and woodland spread around it, the town of Bovey Tracey lies to the north and in the distance is Teignmouth and the sea.. Paints a perdy picture, don’t it? Come and see for yourselves.
2009 started as always with hunting in full swing, early foaling mares getting uncomfortable and the show youngsters starting their prepping. Our first visiting mare arrived to foal: a purebred arab mare who had been ‘a bit sticky’ with her first foal last year and so had come to us to foal her second. Thankfully this time around she was much more settled and all went well. Our own mares then quickly followed. One of the earlier mares being Euphoria ,who has given me a lovely colt by Prince Of Darkness. What a good girl. We also had our first ever hunting pony come in at livery.” Tiny” belongs to Stephen Froy, for whom I have kept hunters for a couple of seasons now, and is ridden by his daughter. Tiny had a few ideas above his station ,particularly with his jumping. Steph is ‘tiny’ too and so she rode the pony for a couple of weeks. We all fell about laughing when she first got on. Although small in stature, Steph usually rides out on the hunters, up to 17hh and fit, and to see her on the pony was hilarious. Anyway Tiny soon realised it was best not to argue and he and Wilhemina enjoyed some good hunting and a paper-chase!
Covering started the first week of March. My old show mare Eve’s Wish was covered by Leo {Lostock Huntsman} and conceived straight away and Woodlander Firefly ‘caught’ to No Submission on the first covering and so 2010 foals aren’t far off now. I know a lot of mare owners decided against covering their mares this year and I can see their argument for doing so. However the good stock will always have a value in any breed…,sheep, cattle, dogs and horses. My view is that a good mare, cow, bitch or ewe is always worth breeding from, a bad one never is.