Full Speed Ahead at Last – (Re-posted with a working link from Facebook this time)

Its freezing literally outside too icy to ride, too cold to garden so I’m inside writing my review of 2022 .

Chris treated me to a 2022 annual membership for Ludlow races for Christmas, I have loved it, its such a beautiful racecourse. The members lounge is so warm and welcoming, useful for the wet weather meetings and the racing is usually good. This has meant twice a month I toddle off with my racing buddy Brian, clutching my form notes.

We had missed 2 annual holidays due to Covid so we took the girls off to Wales for a week the end of January. We had decent weather, lots of walking and a cosy cottage to return to. A much needed break .

Our horses were over at their winter field. On our return we fetched all 3 home. Pepper, Chris’s horse, seemed well and came back into work with Heath, doing the occasional hack. Harris started lunging and long reining, he would turn 3 so Chris began his education.

March dawned yippie , Crufts and Cheltenham loomed.

Crufts was surreal, I have previously written a blog about the day but needless to say I will never forget the experience. I have always said I would have loved to breed horses and who knows in another life if I could have bred a Horse of the Year show winner. Breeding Kite and getting best of breed is something I only dreamed of I am so proud ! Big tick for the “bucket list”.

I had 2 race meetings to fit in at Ludlow and the annual trip to Champion Hurdle day at Cheltenham. I am a huge fan of national hunt racing, I much prefer it to flat racing and anyway I’m too busy in the summer with garden, horses and doggies of course.

I also bit the bullet and put myself forward for the Large Munsterlander club committee. I was voted on and will strive to promote the club to all owners of Munsters, whether working gundog people, showing people, agility people or pet owners, we should encompass all.

April and Easter arrived and the first champ dog show of the season at WELKS. was going to be Pony’s first outing . She was such good girl and won her first puppy class.

The February before covid I had bought Chris a VIP day at Longleat Safari park. Obviously it was postponed and May 2022 we got to go.

The day dawned beautifully sunny . We were met by our guide for the day and climbed into a safari long wheel based Landrover to go to meet the big cats before they were let out into their enclosures.

Getting close and personal to a Tiger so close you can smell their breath and feed them is truly amazing.

The lions were next, they have 3 prides and we met them all. They are so powerful and scary, Chris and I were in awe.

The next port of call was to see Ann, an elderly rescued circus elephant, she was outside enjoying the sunshine. The facilities and care this lady receives is second to none.

We fed their enormous bull giraffe , had a personal guide and were allowed in many enclosures to see meercats, ant eaters , sloths etc .

After lunch we set off with our driver around the park going off piste to get close and personal with antelope, zebra ,giraffe . The monkey enclose was fun and happily we watched from the safety of out land rover, them peel various rubber bits off cars. Our driver had walky talky contact with the keepers who gave us the heads up where some animals were ,the cheeters were lying in the sun away from the road and we just drove over to get close . They animals are all oblivious to the striped vehicles the whole thing was amazing .

After our drive we had time to do our own thing . We both love Animal Park on the tele so knew there was a baby Koala. We walked to the enclosure saw the adults not realising mum and baby were in a separate area and thought the baby was not on public show. Chris went outside to look around the rest of the exhibit and called me to a separate area. Mum and joey were visible through a glass window and luckily for us they came outside. This was the icing on the cake . They are so cute ! Sadly we had left the camera behind.

What a day. I can recommend the experience.

June is taken up with getting the garden ready for out National Garden Scheme open day. The new potting shad was nearing completion. This had been Chris’ project. The new grass boarder was looking good, a bit immature but I filled it with annuals to bulk it out.

Sadly we lost Pepper this month. He came in out the field very lame, he was loath to put his hind foot down . He had damaged a branch of his suspensory ligament a while back and had managed with pain relief to enjoy a good quality of life. We knew this day was coming but it doesn’t make it any easier .

Pepper was such a lovely horse so kind and was with us 15 years .He and Chris had a wonderful relationship and enjoyed competing at dressage, including dressage to music. Harris has big shoes to fill .

Our garden opened on July 3rd , Weather was good , and my, did the public turn out, we were busier than ever . Jan, Otto’ mum, manned the plant stall , my usual team of ladies served tea and cake and their hubby’s did a sterling job with car parking. Wendy and Bill meet and greet and take the entrance fee .

Huge thanks to everyone we couldn’t do it without your help, we raised £1300 for cancer care charities.

August brings our local agricultural shows neither of which had been held during covid. We had a wonderful day out at Burwarton and had decided to take Chris’ young horse Harris to Tenbury in- hand for the experience. Agricultural shows are busy places and this year both Burwarton and Tenbury had record crowds . Harris had his wash and brush up and traveled in the lorry to strut his stuff. His class was in the main ring surrounded with flags, banners, tanoys blaring and other horses. He and Chris looked stunning. The class was open coloured, all types ages and sizes. Chris ran his socks off to keep up with Harris’ floating trot, I struggle to keep up with my dogs, but he did a cracking job. Harris was pulled in first. Amazing.

We put him back on the lorry to wait for the championship against the ridden coloured winner.

Off he came again “happy as Larry ” a quick polish and back to the main ring. The ridden winner had won the championship twice before and gave a lovely show. Chris ran Harris around the huge ring beautifully and went back into the line up. I was so excited when the judge came over and awarded them the Championship. The cup they won is huge and is in pride of place on the side board.

Harris has now been backed and done a small amount of ridden work.

I was now on a mission to qualify my pony for the Traditional Gypsy Cob associated dressage championships in October. All qualifying had to be completed by the end of August so Heath and I had a busy month getting the required qualifying scores.

Heath’s dressage championships were mid October at Bury Farm Buckinghamshire a huge journey for him. A nerve wracking time for me. I have never attended anything like it, so many horses. I was so nervous but my gorgeous boy did me proud. A couple of rider errors but in the blink of an eye it was all over. We met Andy and Cathy there who live nearby and have Pepper, a Munster of mine. We had a bite to eat and a glass or two of wine, well I did , and a lovely chat to them. The results came out and Heath and I finished 5th, brilliant.

The horses then went on their holidays and we went away with our 2 friends Harry and Julie with a total of 6 dogs. We went to a part of the country we hadn’t explored before near the now infamous Barnard’s Castle. Beautiful part of the country, lots of lovely walks and houses and gardens to visit ,perfection .

I took a huge decision in November to contact my puppy families and enquire about the health of their Munsters. I was so pleased at the uptake and received wonderful emails and lots of photos. Of 74 puppies bred 69 owners replied. I entered into the exercise because I want to breed the healthiest Munsterlanders I can. Having a history of health for my homebreds gives me the knowledge and security that I am doing as good a job as is feasibly possible. Temperament and ability are of course equally important. I must say the whole exercise began with trepidation but has resulted in a very positive result.

My plan is to have a health section on my website. In the meantime if anyone wishes to talk about my findings I am happy to share.

Our Munsterlander club organises a breed health survey which flags up any issues creeping into our breed but sadly for a breeder like myself the results are anonymous.

Information of health issues and character traits are often kept under wraps, not ideal for selecting dogs for breeding. Most common health problems in dogs generally are hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, cancer, allergies, epilepsy.

Munsters are genetically tested for HUU (kidney stones), eye cataracts and veterinary science are making huge advances in understanding hereditabity factors, but this is such a complicated subject. Issues can skip whole generations.

Hip and Elbow scores are published, but only a small percentage of Munsters are x-rayed.

Luckily Munsters are inherently healthy and are predisposed to few innate problems. I fear this will change if breeders are not transparent.

I am looking forward to 2023 which is already well underway, Crufts is only a few weeks away. I hope whatever ambitions you have, whether they involve dogs or anything else, are fulfilled.

As you can tell its taken me weeks to get this Blog sorted, hey ho, better late than never.

See you round the shows!

Continue Reading

Crufts 2022

I always look forward to March, Crufts and Cheltenham races are both special days for me.

Molly has had a busy 6 months rearing a litter of pups and being spayed, she was looking good. Just imagine how us humans would be if we had had  babies and a hysterectomy! 

Kite, was entered too so off we all went, munching sausage and bacon rolls in the car on the way ,yum .

I had 3 homebred male Munsterlanders entered, Katie with Lionel (Crumpsbrook Bayleaf) 2020 BOB in field trial dog and Amos (Crumpsbrook Galangal) in post graduate, Jan and Tony with Otto (Crumpsbrook Woodrush) in Limit and Jo with Morgan (Crumpsbrook Jay) Post Graduate.

The day started well as Jo and her family Rob, Chris and Ben, who own Morgan had never attended Crufts  so we hopefully arranged to meet up on the car park and walk in together. While talking on the phone it became apparent our timings were impeccable we were being shepherded onto the same carpark. Jo asked what car we were in, I replied our black Bellingo, the next second Rob tooted the horn and by some miracle we were side by side. So far so good. Jo bless her was incredibly nervous and  Rob and the boys excited. Jo needn’t have worried Morgan looked gorgeous and they won their class.

Amos and Katie were a creditable 3rd also in post graduate .

Next in was Jan and Otto, they are such a team now and are becoming consummate professionals. Blow me they  too won their class.

Katie and Lionel were unopposed in their Field Trial class, Lionel is one of few full working and show champion Munsterlanders. He always puts his best paw forward and cruised round the ring to gain first. 

I had 3 dogs in the CC line up WOW. 

Congratulations to Annette Davis Green and Abdecker Dancer, she and her beautiful boy won the CC and Lionel was awarded the reserve ticket. 

Then it was the turn of the bitches, no pressure there then! 

Molly was a super starm she loved strutting her stuff her tail never stopped wagging. She came 4th in a large class. OK I thought, but it was straight in with Kite, quick lead and number swop and off I went again.

Kite flew round the ring loving every minute, she is so accomplished at this showing game. When the judge approached me for first place I was thrilled with my lovely girl. 

I had one more run to do for the bitch challenge so in we went again.

Round we all went, then one last free stack for the judge. Our Judge Gordon Horan walked to the judges table picked up the award cards and turned,  he strode toward me and presented me with the bitch CC.

I was so excited, but knew I then had to go against Annette and her handsome boy for Best of Breed I honestly thought she would get it.

We ran round together, our judge went to the table again, turned and with an outstretched hand awarded Kite Best of Breed. The poor judge got a hug, he seemed not to mind. Then I sobbed! 

I would sincerely like to thank Mr Horan for appreciating Kite and all of the Munster folk who came to congratulate me.

Also thanks to Heather and Colin for the calming support and photos. Long term friends who came to Crufts to watch us and who are now permanent lucky mascots.

I would also like to congratulate Erin and her Albahu kennel for winning puppy bitch and dog, they just happened to be Lionel’s babies. What a result. 

Slowly it dawned on me that I would be on the tele appearing on Channel 4 in the gundog group .OMG!

I love breeding my dogs and try to do the best I can, showing is subjective but the breed standard, I believe, is something that should be aimed for when mating 2 dogs. Munsterlanders have to be “fit for purpose” (the Kennel Clubs catch phrase) and the role of any gundog is to be able to do the job they have been bred for. Confirmation is fundamental for them to remain sound. I am really objective when looking at my girls and have tried to improve year on year. 

To do this whilst maintaining standards  for health and a wonderful personality is addictive for me anyway! This is what I strive for.

Kite’s temperament enabled her to chill for the rest of the day ,she slept on her bench, whilst I calmed my nerves with a swig or two of whiskey ! 

Relaxing in the Green Room

Chris bought Molly home and then returned to the NEC to hold my hand, it was an amazing day for both of us.

Being part of the festival that is Crufts is amazing, most of the other competitors were professional kennels. Crumpsbrook is 13 years old, a baby in comparison. Kite and I enjoyed every second, she made me so proud and hopefully we did the Large Munsterlander breed proud too.  

Photo Time
Clare Balding coming around chatting
Last few minutes before going into the Arena
The big moment, entering the arena and showing
Continue Reading

A Coat of Many Colours

Its a horrid day at Catherton foggy, drizzly. It seemed like an ideal day to write my recap of 2021.

The horses came home in the new year having been on their break at Margaret’s, sadly the first time Chris rode Pepper it was apparent he was not sound behind. He had been slightly unlevel before Christmas but nothing a 16 year old horse would not experience. This was a different level altogether. Our vet Clare came out and we arranged for him to go to their clinic for further investigation, she was suspicious of a branch of his suspensory ligament. This proved correct. Pepper is currently out again with the others (note plural!). He continued to enjoy his light hacking through the summer but his competitive days are over. 

February ticked along and plans were afoot to mate Molly at her next season. Crufts was postponed and Cheltenham festival ran under closed doors in March. Several prospective puppy families came to visit as soon as covid permitted. Chris was struggling with the prognosis for Pepper and I really pushed for him to get another horse. Monday 15th Feb I spotted an advert for a 2 year old Friesian cross gypsy cob. I loved him, so gingerly went to show Chris. After remonstrating for a while he too fell for the photo so I telephoned to enquire.

Harris was delivered here at the end of February, Chris and I spent an exhausting week building another stable. Thanks must go to Phil for door building skills. Harris has proven to be a wonderful boy, so easy to handle He has been given the best start in life having been bred on the farm where we got him.

The beginning of April I started beginners dog training classes here at home outdoors, slowly but surely whittling down my huge waitlist. Everything seemed” tickerty boo”. Jim our farrier was doing sterling work shoeing Pepper to keep him comfy. I entered a show with my gorgeous cob Heathcliffe with a plan of trying to qualify for the Ridden Traditional Cob Championships later in the year. Heath was shampooed and fluffed to within an inch of his life and looked a picture. I dusted off my showing jacket and off we went. As was minuted before in my blog, it went T.U. Heath sat down and fell on top of  me. The older you get the less forgiving the body and I was black and blue. Still after a physio check up for Heath, who had a tiny  sore area where the cantle of his saddle had pushed into his back , Chris took him to a dressage competition I had entered the following weekend and rode him for a second place. I hobbled around and did my best grooming. 

Molly’s husband to be ditched her at the alter. She didn’t appear too devastated, I was though and so began the search for another. In May Otto came to the rescue like a knight in shining armour,  a handsome suiter. First date went well and wedding plans were formed. May also meant we had our first covid jab, hurrah. I was back riding by then too, tentatively! We were opening the garden again for the NGS in July so we were beavering away. We had previously enlarged both herbaceous boarders so they were planted and a new set of  sleeper steps were put in the shrubbery. Chris’s clock tower was nearing completion, everything was going to plan.

June was beautiful weather, we had a lovely day out with some friends, David and Maggie, at Helens Festival – music, gardens and food. The Large Munsterlander Club managed to hold its champ show and Molly came into season. The rendezvous with Otto went well though Chris and I got a little wet holding them while they were tied in a short downpour. 

In July the weather was not so generous, on the day of our opening it was dull but we stayed dry with one short shower in the morning . The evening was a different matter, it poured. We still managed to have a helpers party outdoors under a huge gazebo with plenty of food and drink. I must mention one person was missing, our dear friend Al who was in hospital. He usually did a sterling job car parking. Little did we know what was to follow. Molly had her scan and had a tummy full of pups. 

Heath went out dressaging several times and qualified for British Dressage, My Quest and the gypsy cob associated championships. Sadly though, he was not right, after investigation he was diagnosed with laminitis. A horrid disease within the foot. I really took this hard, I have kept horses for decades and never experienced this issue. I blamed myself for allowing him to have access to too much grass. The summer had been mixed and normally by August we had no grass, not this year!  Plus he hadn’t had his usual amount of work after my accident. Box rest, muzzles, x-rays and blood tests ensued.  Heath was on a strict diet and was ravenous all the time. He was struggling psychologically with box rest getting stressed and grumpy, not him at all. I researched muzzles and thought it was worth a shot. Initially he hated it, tried to rub it off though it did allow him to go out onto his field but it was so distressing for me. Bless him, after a short while he accepted it and returned to daily turnout with his friend Harris. 

August 28th Molly and Otto’s pups arrived. They were a delight.  Heath continued to improve and began work gradually. Pepper was hacking out steadily but that worked well because Heath could only walk. Families came to visit the pups who were blooming.

September Chris and I were busy with our new extended family.  Chris entered Harris for his first trip out to an in-hand show. This is not Chris’s “thing” but important to do for Harris’ education. He blew us away by winning the youngstock class 1-3 years, running with Chris beautifully. Next on the horizon will be backing in the Spring.

Sadly this month we lost Al, our gorgeous friend who died at home. He and Sally had become wonderful friends and we will both miss him immensely. His curries were legendary. Al and I also enjoyed a tot or two of Whiskey. I will always toast him when I indulge, quite frequently in the Winter! 

Pups were booked in for their microchips and health checks late October and I made my decision on a puppy whom we had called Pony as she had a perfect black saddle patch on her back. This name has stuck though the saddle is not so obvious now.

November dawned and we took delivery of a new, larger greenhouse. Erecting a greenhouse is not for the faint hearted. John and Jas came over to help, 3 days later it was up. Pony our puppy had “helped” running off with tools, instructions and chewing the never ending supply of cardboard boxes. 

Christmas was on the horizon and Chris, Sal and I drove to London to watch the London International (formally Olympia). We chose the freestyle dressage day which was amazing . Charlotte and Pumpkin were incredible. We picked up Sal’s mum who lives nearby the Excel arena and returned home the same night. The day finished with Chris and I sat up in bed at 3.00pm eating mince pies and sharing a cup of tea (don’t ask!) 

Pony loved the Christmas tree, baubles were delicately removed, red beads were pulled off and the red reindeer blanket round the base had fringes on, how lucky was she!  Seriously, no baubles, beads or reindeer were harmed, well so far anyway! Her focus is back on to her plethora of toys. 

Her growth has been amazing, her personality is adorable and she is so much fun. I am excited to bring her out showing next year. Molly has been spayed so can have an uninterrupted season. 

I am delighted whatever my families choose to do with their Munster babies. Jan and Tony have continued success with Otto and his daughter Caoime in the showring. Jo and Morgan have taken to their new hobby, showing amazingly well. Katie brings Lionel out on occasions, he is a full champion, the perfect dog! Hope to see Amos out next year, he is maturing beautifully. It will be lovely to see Sarah, Keiko and Lincoln to. I am so proud of you all. Lets hope we see a few more Crumpsbrook  Munsters out next year.

This blog is just a snapshot of a busy year at Catherton, Chris and I adore our lifestyle though at this time of year there are not enough daylight hours. Evenings are special though, roaring fire, Munsters on our laps, horses fed and happy, chucks shut away from Mr Fox. What more is there? 

Wishing you all a wonderful 2022  however you choose to spend it.


Continue Reading

2020 What A Year !

Spring 2020 started so well, BoB at Crufts with Lionel and Kate , PG win for Otto and Jan. Molly and Roskos’ gorgeous litters’ arrival the very next day and Cheltenham races the following Tuesday. Whoopy, life was good.

Then the world turned upside down. Life for us here at Catherton didn’t change too significantly ,we continued to exercise the dogs and ride the horses .The weather was glorious and Chris and I spent many a happy hour outside with the puppies. Sadly their families couldn’t come and see them but we recorded lots of video footage to enable everyone to feel a part of their development .

 Jan , Rosko’s mum, was unable to make the journey to see the pups, that didn’t stop us analysing each and everyone by video and photo! 

The beginning of May the little splots went to their new homes. They were blissfully unaware of the task ahead of them, giving their owners a focus for the troubled times we were experiencing. 

The garden was beginning to get into its stride and plans were afoot to maybe open for the National Garden Scheme, after all this wasn’t until July !

We did in fact open with online prebooking and no refreshments. Picnics were encouraged , the sun shone, though it was very windy and we were fully booked. All charities will have suffered this year but we did our bit and raised almost £800 on the gate and plant sales for NGS cancer care charities . They are an amazing organisation. If you have never visited any private gardens open for the NGS look on their website, it is a lovely experience and hopefully home made teas will be allowed this year, a useful enticement for Chris particularly who loves cake! 

Chris and I have made a few alterations to the garden ready for next year, enlarging the herbaceous borders, adding steps in the shrubbery and a bird bath in the veg garden. Chris has been beavering away on a clock tower for the barn roof. There will be a weather vain on the top, a 4 sided clock with a brass bell hanging underneath striking the hour. I have been reassured that the bell will not strike through the night as the tower is in close proximity to our bedroom window! 

We were forced to postpone agility during the November lockdown ,the season normally ends around then with a competition/ party. Once the lockdown finished we arranged the competition immediately and invited everyone . We had the best day, such fun and laughter, humans and dogs were so happy. We ate pumpkin soup , Chilli and cheese scones, Ginger cake and Carrot cake, just managing to keep warm. Everyone was so appreciative, especially of Jill and Gracies’ agility to music demo, fantastic. Fingers crossed for an Easter start to the season.

The horses have been for their holidays as usual. We are preparing to fetch them back having fetched hay, painted stables, washed out the rubber flooring and put new bedding down. They are both looking fat and resemble polar bears so a bath and clipping will be order of the day made much more civilised by our gas powered hot shower, an addition last year.

Both horses had a good year competing wise after a slow start. My new cob Heathcliffe  has grown in confidence, he struggled working in with other horses, being a submissive soul he was very wary.  We finished the season on a great dressage test and I can’t wait to get going this year. 

We managed to attend a socially distanced outdoor concert in the summer at Malvern Three counties showground. A Queen tribute band played, there were 6 in our bubble, we had a picnic and thoroughly enjoyed the evening as did the band who were playing for the first time. It felt so good to be out and about with friends again.

Chris and I returned to Malvern for the Autumn flower show. We were loaded up with plants, after all I was suffering withdrawal from horticultural retail therapy! 

Our newest member of the family Puzzle, Molly and Rosko’s daughter had an arthroscopy in October on her elbow having had lameness issues. Our main concern was the practicality of her recuperation here at Catherton where our dogs are blessed with lots of space. Our amazing longstanding friends “the Harrisons” took on the challenge. Puzzle remains with them and is doing incredibly well, she has been to hydro therapy, has had weeks of controlled exercise and, fingers crossed, is looking brilliant. We will be forever in their debt, thank you. She loves her new family, and her new best mate Sox. Before the covid tiers altered The Harrisons bought them over for the first time since the op, this was harder for me than Puzzle, seeing her here again, a beautiful grown up 9 1/2month old was tough. She ran around the fields with Sox, not her mum, grand mum and great grand mum, and never cast a backward glance when getting in the car to leave. I am pleased to say all of her litter mates are doing extremely well and are much loved.

Munsterlanders are wonderful dogs and we are fortunate to still be able to influence the breeds health. As their popularity increases this may became more difficult and we must all pull together and be transparent about our pedigrees /lines and health scores . My own feeling is transparency about non tested puppies who have had issues like Puzzle is essential and once x rays are taken those plates must be scored. The improvement will be a slow journey, especially as elbow scoring  has not been around for as many years.

It is very easy to focus on the negative aspects of this year, covid continues to affect all of us in one way shape or form but I am optimistic 2021 will be better. Projects for 2021 are a revamp for the kitchen, to join British Dressage and compete in the Traditional Gypsy Cob dressage series. Chris can do veterans BD with Pepper now along with his dressage to music. We are going to redo his music this year to suit the next level for his freestyle. My fingers are crossed that some dog shows will go ahead to,  I have missed them. I also hope to be able to take our holiday with our girls and the Harrisons, Sox and Puzzle, postponed from this November.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Look after yourselves and I will look forward to socialising again soon.


Continue Reading

Trying Times

Life at Catherton is going on pretty much as usual, with the addition of 9 gorgeous bundles. We are thankful everyday that we live with so much outdoor space and have our various 4 legged animals to focus on, sorry, I forgot the hens, they only have 2 legs! They are doing their bit by supplying Chris and I and Molly with fresh free range eggs. It is relatively easy to self isolate here but I do miss social interaction. We have a wonderful network of friends and neighbours. It is fine at the moment because it is new to all of us but I hope families can cope long term.

 We love receiving puppy visitors normally, for us it is a fundamental part of having a litter and we are missing that almost as much as the families who are waiting for their new family member.

Our days are filled with dog walking, horse riding and of course gardening. Luckily the weather has been on-side, spring sunshine really helps and the mud is finally drying up though both horses have managed to find some to roll in. It must be an amazing feeling being out in the sunshine naked! I will not be participating you will be relieved to know, mind you no one would know!

There will be a plethora of tidy gardens, no excuse for weeds! My vegetable seeds have all arrived and we fetched several bags of compost before the shutdown so the greenhouse will soon be full.

Puppies have had their first worming and nail trim, teeth will soon be through and Molly will get all the support she needs, we are going to start feeding them at the weekend. She looks amazingly well and is enjoying some time outdoors with her mum and grand mum.

I will try to keep updates coming but in the interim our plan is to post more photos and video clips on puppy diaries in an attempt to keep the new owners involved. Sorry about the quality of the video, we are trying to work out how to use the technology.

 I sincerely hope everyone stays safe,  healthy and sane ! 


Continue Reading

What a 24 Hours

I really wasn’t confident in getting to Crufts this year, Molly’s babies were due and none of my other bitches had gone to their due date in the past. Thursday evening she was fine, temperature normal and she ate her supper, copybook signs that no babies were arriving that evening. Friday morning dawned and the signs were consistent with no arrivals so Chris gave me his blessing and off Kite and I went to Birmingham.

Chris and I remained in constant communication, Molly was relaxed and lying in the sunshine.

The day started well with Crumpsbrook Woodrush ” Otto”, who belongs to Jan and Tony, won his Post Graduate class. I was so thrilled for them, Otto is their first show dog and there is nothing so special as that first Red card from Crufts.

To top that Katie then went in with Lionel, Crumpsbrook Bayleaf von Rulander and won their class. So I had 2 dogs in the dog lineup. Lionel who is the consummate professional in the ring was awarded the dog CC. Katie happens to be heavily pregnant and somehow strode out with Lionel to win.

Lionel appears at 24 mins

I am so proud of my boys and their owners, it gives me huge pleasure watching my babies excel.

Kite strutted her stuff brilliantly in her Limit class to gain a reserve or 4th. This was the largest class of the day of real quality bitches so I was delighted with her.

I left Crufts after judging to return home to my Molly Moo who looked absolutely fine. Chris collected fish and chips and we all settled in front of the television to watch Katie and Lionel in the big ring. It matters not to me what my babies go and do with their lives so long as they are loved and happy, Matt and Katie share Lionel, Matt working him so successfully and Katie handles in the ring . The most special thing for me is seeing the relationship that my owners develop with their dogs and that shone through on the t.v.  Lionel looked up at his mum with so much affection, it was a joy to see. 

Thank you all, Jan, Tony, Katie and Matt for showcasing my dogs so well.

Molly lay on the settee between Chris and I while watching Crufts and she started to pant and look unsettled. I took her temperature and it had dropped, you couldn’t make it up, bless her. 

Chris slept, or not, with her and at 7.00am Saturday morning her first contractions started.

The first little one arrived at 9.00am. Molly was a little taken aback, not sure what had happened. Within 5 minutes the second whelp arrived and that was all she needed, straight away she got on with the task of licking the pup. To my amazement by 10.00 we had 4 puppies. The whole delivery of 9 was complete by 11.30. I have never had such a quick whelping. 

I am pleased to report mother and babies are doing well, all feeding happily and Molly is such a good mum.

I will post regularly as time permits .

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Chris is on duty as it is my pilgrimage to the Cheltenham Festival, I hope I don’t get too wet and a winner or two comes my way.

Continue Reading

A Year of Two Halves

February 2019 bought some gorgeous weather here at Catherton. I knew I was having my second hip replacement in March so we made good use of the sunshine and built our stream. We have no mains water, our supply is from a Spring on the common, which has a run off to a pond which Chris has developed as a wild life pond. The weather also allowed me to get ahead with my vege garden, I knew I would be incapacitated for a few weeks after my op so this window of opportunity was fortuitous.

March came and off I went to Oswestry for my new hip and as most of you are aware I came out on the Monday and went to Crufts on the Thursday. Call me stupid if you like and I would agree it was a crazy thing to do. 

The next few months were spent recuperating and gardening as best I could. Our open day was in July, luckily Chris had made the decision to semi retire so he was available much more to help.

As this blog is meant as a recap of 2019 I will keep it concise, not my forte!

The National Garden scheme open day was a huge success, we raised £1,450 for various cancer help charities. The sun shone, lots of tea and cake was consumed and a good day was had by all. Chris and I were so chuft.

Molly, Crumpsbrook Molinia, and her litter brother Otto, Crumpsbrook Woodrush, both attained their stud book numbers by getting a RCC. Molly at 18 months and Otto 2 years. So thrilled with both, I know Otto has more to come with maturity and Molly will be back after her motherly duties.

Then the second half of the year kicked in.

My gorgeous cob Issie went lame and has now retired from ridden duties and returned to her breeder.

We acquired Heathcliffe from the same stud and began to break him. It was during this time that my new hip decided to give me trouble. I had returned to work, was showing the dogs and did not expect any problems. Anyway I was struggling so went back to Oswestry to see my consultant. X rays and scans followed but there was no definitive explanation. The diagnosis was too much activity too soon, so I had a smacked wrist! 

I then caught a lurgy along with the rest of the country, which turned into Pleurisy. Two courses of antibiotics later, loads of painkillers, a wonderful trip to Scotland in November and I now feel I am firing on all cylinders again, hurrah! 

Scotland provided us with a  much needed time to regroup. The girls came with us to a wonderful cottage on the Mull of Kintyre. We were blessed with the weather, the cottage location was idyllic next to a sea loch with an uninhabited island a stones throw away that we could access by walking across a a causeway.

Our friends Harry and Julie booked a cottage near by with their lurcher Socks. The 4 humans and 4 dogs explored forests and beaches to our hearts content, interrupted only for sustenance in the form of coffee and cake. Though I had a plethora of tablets to take for my various ailments I still sampled the local whisky while sitting in the cottage lounge overlooking the loch watching our nearest neighbour, a seal. The bird life was special to, oyster catchers, curlews regularly came to feed when the tide was out. 

Molly my youngest Munster was expected to come into season around this time but bless her she avoided Scotland and Christmas. She and Rosko had a successful liaison the beginning of January. I am so excited, we are keeping a puppy to continue my breeding line, assuming of course she is pregnant and has a little girl.

I have owned Heathcliffe for 5 months now, he is backed but I haven’t ridden him yet. He and Pepper have been to their winter field and are coming home imminently. I am so looking forward to doing some things with him. Fingers crossed my hips behave! 

I will wind up wishing everyone a wonderful New Year, may you all be successful in your dreams and desires. 

Continue Reading

Basingstoke and Other Adventures

Gosh so much to recount, but I will start with my less than positive experience of Basingstoke.

Molly came in season earlier than anticipated so I arranged a date with Jan, Rosko’s mum, for her and Rosko. We set off from home with a dodgy sat nav, which Chris had reassured me was behaving. To cut a long story short,  with no functioning sat nav  I experienced what Basingstoke has to offer in traffic islands, not the type of driving rural Shropshire has to offer. After 5 hours Cas, bless her, rescued me (I have never been so happy to see a familiar face ). Molly and I followed Cas and arrived at Jan’s house. I was so  stressed my nerves were shattered and Molly, being the  perceptive character that she is, knew mum was not her usual self.

Poor Rosko got short shrift,she did not want him near her. Being the gentle soul that he is, he became tentative in his advances!

Cas sent Jan and I  into the kitchen for a cuppa, Molly relaxed and decided Rosko was gorgeous after all. All Rosko needed was a little more time but I did not have that luxury, especially as I was worried I had a 5 hour journey home.

Cas to the rescue again, she guided me to the motorway junction and I arrived home 2 hours 40 mins later, tired but safe.

The upshot of this tale is we have various plans afoot and will go again the end of the year.

The next adventure in my life was my garden open day for the National Garden Scheme. On July 7th we opened our gates to 190 people. The sun shone and the garden was as ready as we could make it. We had friends filling various supporting roles to help the day run smoothly. Car park attendants, Peter and Al, who were kept busy even before our official opening time (apparently aficionados of NGS arrive early to get first dibs at the plant stall, which was ably manned by Jan). A whole team were kept busy at the tea and cake stall. Thank you ladies. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s generous support.

We raised £1,436.00 for the NGS cancer support charities!

The day was rounded off with helpers enjoying a few bevies and a couple of home made curries in the garden, which rounded the day off perfectly for Chris and I.

By now my new hip replacement was 3 months old so I was ready to get back riding.

My first 2 rides were wonderful, my beautiful girl Issie was ready and willing.

The third time I noticed she was lame while coming home. On return I picked out her foot and found the culprit, (a small stone) or so I thought!

Nerve blocks, xrays, injections, remedial shoeing and daily painkillers could not make her sound. I was devastated. She had sidebone, common in her type of animal which was unlikely to be the cause of the issue in both feet, but in her right foot there were 2 spurs of bony growth on the front of her short pastern.

The upshot is Issie has gone back to her breeder for an easy life, no work to see if the lameness is mild enough for her to be happy.

I adored Issie, her temperament and willingness to give anything a go was exemplary. It broke my heart.

The stud have been amazingly supportive and positively encouraged me to look at their beautiful horses and select another.

A new chapter has begun in my life with Heathcliffe. He is 7 years old, unbroken and gelded last year. He is the same type as Issie, a traditional gypsy cob, but this time dapple grey. So now we have all boys once more in the field.

Heath has settled in unbelievably well, he gets on with Pepper, and Patrick positively adores him, no shenanigans, Pepper is boss. His training is going well, he is  so like all Lionheart Stud horses, a wonderful person , loves being handled, brushed, bathed etc. He has had his feet trimmed for the first time ever and behaved brilliantly. I think my farrier, whom I have known for 35 years, thought I was nuts bringing home a recently cut 7 year old.  Heath had all feet trimmed like he had been doing it all his life, his teeth have been rasped, he is happy with a bit and is being longreined. I am loving this new relationship, hopefully we will be out showing and dressaging next year.

Chris  is enjoying having a little more time at home this Summer having retired from one of his jobs. One of his ambitions has been to do a dressage to music freestyle test with Pepper. Well he has done it, mind you I am amazed at how much hard work it created.

He and Pepper went out for the first time and did his test to 2 pieces of music, War of the Worlds and Game of Thrones. They were amazing and won the class with a staggering 83% (9 competitors ) I am so proud from nothing to winning in literally 2 weeks.

I am hoping the Summer will return for us to continue Heathcliffe’s education. It is very windy here at Catherton today and wet. I was supposed to have agility which we cancelled hence a little bit of spare time to writ my blog .

Me and the girls will be at a few shows this Autumn starting with Welsh KC .

Oh and by the way, we have agreed to do the NGS next year!

Continue Reading


Those of you old enough will recognise the title of this blog from a song I used to love when I was young. Apparently the leg bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone….now hear the word of the Lord. Well mine are well and truly connected now, with metal hip replacement number two. All staples out now and the wound is healing brilliantly. I am frustrated at being unable to drive, walk the girls, garden (bending and twisting are off limits ) or of course ride my lovely girl Issie.  I keep telling myself this is short term and I will soon be firing on all cylinders, yeh !

Being the character that I am, I was determined to get to Crufts after being called in for my op a week early. I had been home 2 days but there was no stopping me. 

How I wish I was sensible (well sometimes!). I shouldn’t have gone, I felt nauseous all day and by the time I got home I was exhausted. 

The one thing I did enjoy without feeling guilty was the Crufts TV coverage followed by the excellent ITV coverage of the Cheltenham Festival.

I  must mention a lady that had a puppy off me, I think 5 years ago now, called Jakki Slamin. She has been competing her Munster Lottie in Agility and had succeeded in qualifying for Crufts ABC finals. I am so impressed I had planned on going to watch but it was not to be.

Lottie and Jakki ought to be so proud of their relationship, agility is not easy as I well know. It is such a wonderful sport to participate in with your dog even at the level I promote with my clients, we have so much fun but Crufts finals, what an achievement. Well done Jakki and Crumpsbrook Sommer Eiche. So proud. Here’s to next year and I will get there to support !

I  have been planning a litter from Molly my youngest Munsterlander for a while now. I had come round to the idea of using a European stud dog and had done hours of research and made a few tentative initial contacts. My research also looked at AI matings having had such a success with Kite and Dougie’s last litter. 

I really weighed up the plans that I had for this year including my hip replacement and our National Garden Scheme open day (July 7th , please support  if you can). I also consulted DEFRA concerning travelling Molly to Europe later this Summer and asked if Brexit could complicate the situation. 

Katie was happy to accompany me for a reconnoitre of my shortlist and together with Jan (Otto’s mum ) who has A level German,  I was planning an adventure.

There was one other plan which I had bubbling away, which was using a dog in this country who’s father was a top graded German stud dog.

I had approached the owner and was waiting for their decision.

I am delighted to say shortly after Crufts and several conversations later Molly, Crumpsbrook Molinia and Rosko, Quilesta So Treasured will have a liaison this Summer! 

I am so excited, Chris (a little excited !) and I will be keeping one of this litter, fingers crossed. 

Therefore I can shelve my road-trip for now and let Brexit take its course. Thank you Jan, Rosko’s owner. 

Puppy plans will be updated in due course. Interest in this litter is already growing I have a list in place but please contact me for more information if you are interested in what should be a gorgeous litter. 

Continue Reading

Proper Winter

I thought it couldn’t last for ever, the weather has been unseasonally kind especially with extra paws to clean ! 

It has been either raining or foggy here, we even had snow which 9 little munchkins went out to do their ablutions in without a thought .

They go out after every meal plus, as often as possible, in-between times. They are loving it. Chris or I have to be out with them. We have had a couple of great escapes, once under the gate onto the common and basically anywhere they shouldn’t be! 

Kite has more or less given up feeding now and she looks brilliant , she has been to the woods and had free rein to run and hunt with Cassie and Molly, which she has loved.

Girls are all allocated now, Katie and Matt came Sunday to assess the boys and are perusing their thoughts, decision coming soon !

Microchip and vet check appointment is booked for next Monday.  Kennel club registration is applied for, I am waiting on their acceptance of the litter names. This litter will be Crumpsbrook followed by a spice . 

I do feel at this stage our other animals have to take a bit of a back seat. I really wanted to take Molly to Manchester Championship dog show, simply because we both needed the practise ready for Crufts at the beginning of March. Luckily everything was going smoothly here so off we went. For those of you not experienced with the showing game the first classes are age related i.e. puppy and junior, then at 18 months they go up to Post Graduate where they compete against adult dogs for the first time. Molly and her brother Otto were 18 months on the 16th January so had to compete in Post Grad for the first time. With this in mind I had not anticipated any success. When I arrived at Stafford County showground Katie was in the ring with Lionel, Crumpsbrook Bayleaf von Rulander, and a very disillusioned Jan and Tony explained they had arrived too late for their class. We were following 93 Vislas in the ring and the judge was far more efficient than we had anticipated. Katie had just got there and had to go straight in. Lionel won his open dog class. Went into the challenge and was awarded reserve champion dog.

Bitches got under way promptly and in Molly and I went, she was a super star and showed like a dream, tail wagging the whole time. 

We were awarded first, yeh !! 

A little while later we went in for the challenge, we strutted our stuff again and Molly Moo was awarded the reserve champion bitch. Amazing at 18 months 4 days, I literally jumped for joy.

A mention must go to Sarah who took Lincoln and Keiko, Crumpsbrook Angelica. She too missed Lincoln’s class but the day was made worth while by Keiko winning her limit class.

So all things considered a fantastic day for Crumpsbrook 3 first places and 2 reserve cc’s.

Jan and Tony your day will come and we will enjoy it all the more ! 

These 9 Dougie and Kite babies have have an illustrious family.

Roll on Crufts, if you haven’t been try to go, its a great day out and Team Crumpsbrook will be there Thursday 7th March.Tickets available on line. 

Today the skys are a little brighter so a few more photos for your perusal. 

Continue Reading

Good News

My visit to Elstree to watch “Strictly” was an amazing experience. It started with queuing from 5.30 am on the Saturday morning . We were numbers 239 and 240. The people who were first in the queue had been there since 10.00 pm the previous night. Sal and I had our tickets vindicated at 9.00 am and left to have some bubbles and to get ready. We returned to the studio in our finery at 4.00 pm and were shown to  our seats at 5.00 pm. We had an amazing position literally feet away from the “Claudatorium”. The dance pros and the celebrities were so friendly, chatting to us  about the show and their outfits. The dancing, music, singing, absolutely everything was outstanding.  I was so excited, especially as it was Movie week. The BBC record the results show straight after the live Saturday show meaning we eventually left our seats at 11.20 pm. What a night! I watched the results show at home Sunday evening obviously knowing the result, but I did not let the secret out. I did appear on the tele when Claudia was talking to the judges, it was surreal knowing I was there.

Katie and I had a visit to the vets with Kite for her AI. This was a first for me, so interesting. Modern science is incredible and Kite was so patient, she stood rock still for the procedure. 

We all had a nervous wait then for Kites 28 day scan.

Chris and I had a week away in the meantime with our gorgeous girls in Wales near Abersoch, an area we had not visited before. The cottage was situated in a perfect location for the girls, a 5 minute walk to a huge beach one way and a short walk to the headland the other. We had a lovely relaxing time walking with our lovelies on lots of stunning empty beaches. The weather was glorious which was the icing on the cake. Molly loved the sea, she chased umpteen seagulls, Cassie hunted the sand dunes for bunnies while Kite behaved completely differently, she was so sensible I had my suspicions that she at least thought she was pregnant .

On our return to Shropshire I made our appointment for the scan. Chris and I met Katie there. When we went in we informed Julie that it was an AI mating and her expression changed, she had experienced several unsuccessful scans. The pressure was on! We need not have been concerned, within seconds the screen showed what we had all hoped to see, several little foetus, yeh. Kite is due on the 10th December so we will have a busy and exciting Christmas and hopefully Kate, Matt and Miles will have the Christmas present they wish for, a marvellous Dougie and Kite Munster pup.

I must also say how proud I am of Lionel, Crumpsbrook Bayleaf von Rulander. He has achieved so much at such a young age. A few weeks ago he gained his 3rd CC making him a show champion but to top that he has just been awarded full champion status, being placed in a field trial and gaining the Guns Award. I would like to take a tiny bit of credit, genetics obviously plays a part, but Matt is such a talented, patient trainer and gets the very best out of his dogs. Many congratulations to you both .

What a team we are, lets hope for more success in the ring and in the field.

Chris has been working on our website,  it was so out dated. It is now looking revitalised and more importantly up to date. Yeh. 

Will post news of Kites whelping in due course, everything crossed for a safe landing.

Continue Reading

What a Scorcher

Summer has flown by, we sweltered in the heat and spent lots of time watering the garden and vege plot. We have no mains water here at Catherton, a spring supplies our needs but I must admit to being anxious as the water table obviously went down. Still it kept flowing and all was well.

So much has happened this Summer and I have been remiss at writing my blog . I cannot guarantee I will report events in the correct order but here goes.

Back in May I sat in a queue of traffic hoping to arrive at Stafford for the National Dog Show . There were major hold ups and I ran to the ring literally as Kite was due in her class. Katie, Jan and Tony sorted me out and bustled me in, Kite stood alone in her post grad class so it was a walk over. Having caught my breath and brushed my dog we went into the challenge not anticipating any success then Kite was pulled out and awarded the bitch ticket against some really good bitches, this was her first CC. Still in a daze we then went up against the dog CC winner the gorgeous Rubles, Kite won Best of Breed. I was so excited and just wished Chris had been there to share in the success.

Chris and I love our garden and we enjoy visiting other gardens through the National Garden scheme. You may be aware of them, they publish a yellow book annually, full of gardens to visit and their yellow signs are synonymous with Spring and summer. This organisation raises an incredible amount of money annually for Cancer charities, over 3 million in 2017.  Anyway to cut a long story short Chris volunteered to open our garden in 2019, we had our inspection and were accepted and will be open the beginning of July. OMG.

I am also planning on having my second hip replacement next year, hopefully soon after Christmas so will be fit and running to get the garden ready. That’s the plan anyway!

One sad piece of news which I now feel able to share is that we lost Willow this summer.  She was our first Munster and a huge part of our lives, she was Chris’s girl through and through. She would have been 14 on her next birthday. She was active until the end,  no-one would have guessed her age. She was as sound as she had always been, still had enthusiasm for hunting, right up until the day before she died. She had a mammary tumour removed earlier in the Spring and recovered brilliantly, but unfortunately the disease spread and we took the decision to let her go after she suffered a couple of fits caused by a tumour in her brain. It all happened within 24 hours, distressing for us but thankfully she did not suffer. We still miss her foibles everyday.

I like to think she is enjoying life with Dougie,  Kate and Matt’s gorgeous boy, who died a few weeks earlier and Ebby my last GSD.

On to some good news, Kite is now in season and she will be mated using AI (supplied by Dougie , Ch Paddockridge  Rulander). This is a repeat mating enabling Katie and Matt an opportunity to have a  puppy from their beloved Dougie, assuming all goes to plan. I have a daughter from their previous mating who is absolutely gorgeous, cheeky, full of fun, a comedian like her Dad and biddable and sensitive like her Mum. So fingers are crossed here.

One last piece of news, some of you may be aware I am a huge Strictly fan, well I am off to Elstree to watch the  Movie week live show. To say I am excited is an understatement. So unfortunately I will miss the club show. Still a girl must prioritise !!

Chris ‘ next job is to update our Crumpsbrook website much overdue. Updates will be posted on there about the much anticipated pregnancy any enquiries do please contact me.

Continue Reading

My Favourite Time of Year

Crufts 2018 was a wonderful day. It started with meeting up with lots of friends and lots of Crumpsbrook Munsters.

I absolutely love being there and though the nerves do kick in I get such a thrill from showing my gorgeous dogs.

Crumpsbrook had a  successful show with 9 places ranging from 1st to VHC/5th 

A special mention must go to Sarah and her first  homebred son Lincoln, Darkensky Prometheus son of Crumpsbrook Angelica, who won Best Puppy in Breed, he is Crumpsbrook Acacia (Cassie’s) Gt Grandson, Crumpsbrook Jasmine (Jas’s) Grandson. Such a lovely handsome boy. Huge congratulations Sarah.

Cassie came to Crufts having not been shown much this year and she loved it. She was as animated as I can remember her being.  At 9 years of age she still moves like a dream and was awarded the coveted red Crufts prize card and rosette, winning her class of 7 entries.  Chris and I were so happy and proud. It was made extra special by Carol Saunders being there to witness Cassie’s success . She was my mentor and owned Cassie’s father Jasper. 

Molly, Crumpsbrook Molinia, my 7 1/2 month old  “grasses litter” puppy, her sister Nel, Crumpsbrook Pennisetum and brother Otto, Crumpsbrook Woodrush had all qualified on their one opportunity earlier in the year. Crufts is a big ask for puppies so young and inexperienced but they all coped brilliantly.

I showed Otto C. Woodrush in puppy dog, for his mum and dad, Jan and Tony. They are new to the world of showing and will hopefully continue with Otto, he is a stunning boy who will only improve with maturity and experience. He finished in 4th place, coincidently the same position as his Grandmother Cassie, on her first appearance at Crufts.

It was the turn of the Crumpsbrook girls then to shine,Cassie was first in in her veteran class, then I had a quick turnaround to show Molly in puppy. Her sister Nel was in this class too, her mum Sophie coped admirably with her first time at Crufts  such a huge achievement and well done on your 4th place.

Molly was so well behaved and moved like a dream so I am  thrilled with her performance at 7 1/2 months I don’t think her tail stopped wagging, she was pulled in for 2nd place. A great achievement for such a baby, I now look forward to her future in the showring.

Kate and Lionel, Crumpsbrook Bayleaf von Runlander  had a 4th place, he and Kate have had a good year in the showring and have  accrued 1 CC and 3 RCC ‘S. Lionel will be out with his dad Matt at working tests throughout the Summer where he excells . 

Crumpsbrook Larche ,Fynn has had a quiet year and had not competed since Crufts last year. Mariet has suffered ill health but was determined to have Fynn at Crufts ,especially this year as his “dad” Alan could be there to watch. She was not able to run Fynn so Chris took over the lead and impressed everyone with his running . Well done Chris. Fynn is unbelievable he pulls it out the bag again, moving beautifully to take 3rd place in Post Graduate.

Crumpsbrook Dill also deserves a mention he was a part of the canicross demo in the main ring, with his dad Paul.They are such superstars at this and Bikejor. Two sports I would never entertain even in my youth, so impressive. 

Well done everyone competing at Crufts . I hope to be out and about and see more of you this summer . 

This is one of my favourite times of year as I go to the Cheltenham festival for my racing fix, therefore I must stop writing my blog and study the form! 

Continue Reading

Onward and Upward

Chris and I and our gorgeous girls came back from Scotland, after our wonderful “chill out ” holiday,  to Christmas in full swing. Towns had their Christmas lights up and homes were decorated.

We haven’t had frosts at Catherton so early for many years, in fact last year the cold weather held off until April when my vege plot could have done without it ! Then Friday 8th December I had a behavioural consult in Cleobury at 8.30am. We had had a sprinkle of snow so I set off without any worries. Whilst at my clients house the snow came down with vengeance, it took me almost an hour to get home ,usually a 10 min drive. John Julie and Jas had planned to come over for a walk and lunch and I doubted they would come, but arrive they did, never ones to shirk an adventure ! We had a wonderful walk, it really was a winter wonderland. Whilst eating our lunch the snow started again. John and Julie left for home just in time. It snowed solidly then for many hours.

20171208_547       20171208_556

This was the weekend of LKA ,we were planning on taking our whole family. It was to be Molly’s first experience of a show, she and her brother Otto were too young to enter but were going for the experience . There was no way we could get out. Jan and Tony,Otto’s mum and dad ,were snowed in too and they had also lost their electricity. So the decision was made for us not to go . Really disappointing. 

Christmas shopping was planned with my friend Hilary, our annual pilgrimage to Merry Hill. This too succumbed to the weather.

Chris had bought me tickets to Olympia for the dressage for my birthday, this too went by the wayside. Our track was frozen solid with thick ice.

I love a little snow, there is something quite nice about being snow bound.

We walked over to feed the horses and Margaret’s (the owner of the field) Alpacas every day, she was away in warmer climes on business.  

20171211_553            20171211_552

 It had been a good while since the last meaningful amount fell  ,but I was glad to see the back of it. The snow had really impacted on plans. 

Kite and Molly enjoyed their first snow together, its a joy watching them. Willow, who is 13 next week , and Cassie loved it to but they have seen it all before. 

20171210_557    20171211_551   20171211_554

The following weekend the snow had cleared enough to have an impromptu  Crumpsbrook reunion of Kite and Dougies puppies . 11 dogs in total having the best time bounding around Catherton .It was cold but dry and I made some mulled wine to warm us all up . The humans and Doug (who was transfixed by Kite) retired indoors for tea and cake , Chris and I enjoyed seeing our babies again and catching up with their antics ! munster mingle

The Kite/ Dougie “Grasses”  litter is 5 1/2 months old now a few of them will go to C of M in a couple of weeks ,weather permitting !!! I have included a few photos to enable a brief reminisce, gorgeous!

20170908_559          20170908_558

Our horses are on their holidays as usual at this time of year, we are planning on bringing them home in a couple of weeks. I love my cob Issie  she is perfect for me. I am excited about the 2018 season after she and I did our first dressage test at Allens Hill just before they were turned away. It was a horrid day weather wise blowing a gale and heavy rain but we still went. Luckily the rain had not arrived at the centre but my it was windy. I haven’t done a dressage test for many years, probably 5 or so. Issie had not been ridden on an arena with other horses before and the wind had got up a few tails, as those of you that are horsey would understand. She was amazing, never turned a hair walked and trotted around the arena like an old hand, even though I was nervous, she instils such confidence in me. We managed to do our test in the strong winds, I could feel Issie being buffeted and her mane and tail were blowing everywhere, (no plaits for a traditional ). Her first attempt was incredibly pleasing, she has learnt so much this year. Bending does not come naturally to a heavy cob but the improvement is significant, Issie really tries. I knew we had made a few errors in the test but the judge loved her and awarded her 67% for second place. I was so proud ! Unfortunately we forgot to take any photos ,drrr! 

I  would love to do some more dressage and show her under saddle next year.

Chris is enjoying Pepper and had a good first year at Novice level dressage and he is looking forward to the 2018 season.

Mannerly Mutts Behaviour ,Training and Agility had a busy year in 2017 . I love my job and enjoy all aspects .So 2018 promises to be a great year, with everything in the mix to look forward to, I can’t wait . It will be busy juggling everything but hey ho that makes for a wonderful life ! 

I hope the new year brings everything you wish for, enjoy every moment.

Continue Reading

The Land of Furry Trees

Chris and I had a wonderful much needed break in Scotland or as I named it “The Land of Furry Trees ” (more of that later) .

We stayed in a cottage near Loch Ness, which was situated in the most amazing setting. There was no vehicle access to the cottage a short muddy track, then a field, which was full of sheep, but my was it worth it, the views were incredible . We arrived to a roaring fire in the cottage on a cold dusky teatime .

We were tired, the drive had taken 10 hours which included several stops and walks for the dogs including one along the Caledonian canal .The four of them were so incredibly well behaved we never heard a squeak out of them, even Molly at 4 months seemed relaxed.

The first night I had made a chilli and taken it with us so we settled down with a bottle of wine and Strictly. Much needed after several trips to unload the car ! 

The first morning the views were appreciated properly It was white over with a sprinkle of snow and it looked incredible.

20171112_522  20171112_523

We headed to Inverness for supplies which is much like any other city / large town but had the necessary supplies. The girls walked around the old part of the town with us and attracted loads of attention. We visited Inverness more times than we had planned but hey ho ! 

Forests abound in the area which the girls adored ,they hunted squirrel, not caring that they were a different colour. Thanks to Cassie who is taking over from her mum, Willows’ mantle of hunting, we saw a Roe deer too and we managed to stop them.

20171112_526  20171116_533  20171115_532

My favourite place was Glen Affric , it had a huge variety of terrain , old pine forests , lochs, moors and mountains, beautiful waterfalls and the thing I just fell in love with, the trees were covered in many different Lichen, one of which is called Tree Beard. There is so little pollution in the air Lichens thrive. They hang from the branches of the birch particularl, so extensively the trees look like they have furry jackets. We are not great photographers but captured a few shots. We were walking up the side of Glen Affric when we came across what I thought looked like a fairy chandelier just hanging from a branch, a perfect circle of twigs supporting lots of Lichen, it was so pretty.

 20171115_531  20171115_530

 The coast is also stunning. We visited  a nearby harbour village called Nairn, the beach was breathtaking . It had everything, the day was sunny and mild , in fact the weather all week was too good to be true, cold but bright. Willow had sand dunes to explore and hunt bunnies, she does occasionally peep over the top to check where we are. Kite had sea gulls to chase and Molly and Cassie did a bit of both !

 20171114_528      20171114_535

I guess the area is much busier in the summer but for us it was idyllic. One thing we enjoyed was the quality of coffee shops. Cakes seem to be very popular and the quality superb, we did indulge everyday and though the cafes were dog friendly 4 seemed excessive so we sat outside and the girls enjoyed an amazing amount of attention from staff and passers by.  They always shared a bit of cake to.

Unfortunately Betty my Belingo got a flat tyre,Chris put the spare on and we dropped it off at a small garage while we visited another beach. Tyre collected we headed off back to the cottage.

The next morning we walked to the car to set off for our day out and Betty wouldn’t start, the battery was flat. Luckily we parked on a hill so I pushed and off we went ,we called in to Inverness to get the battery checked at Halfords and after the battery was tested to be fine ,Chris assumed it was a faulty connection and the day improved when we went up onto a glen to try to find some Red Deer. Luck was on our side we followed our OS map onto the moors and there in-front of us stood a pair of juvenile stags  Apparently they form Bachelor herds at this time of year when the prime stags are busy defending territory and wives. These were the first 2 of many we saw. The area was isolated away from the tourist routes and they seemed fairly relaxed. Though they were young they were still impressive. I was so excited.


Friday morning we had a good walk planned so we could tidy the cottage later and pack for an early get away Saturday .

We got to the car, the battery was flat as a pancake and the tyre was flat again! You guessed it another visit to Inverness the one blessing is the main road follows the banks of Loch Ness, really picturesque . The AA were called this time, the battery was the original one we had with the car which was the wrong size, too small, it was red hot and smelling of Sulphur. New battery fitted ,thanks lovely AA man then we went to get a new tyre. Kwik Fit had a 2 hour wait, Chris found another garage which had a 40 minute wait. We took the girls for a walk around an industrial estate trying to find access to the river to no avail. By this time I needed the loo so we went to B&Q ,what a morning.  Betty was finally fixed and we decided to go to the beach again at Nairn for a treat for us and the girls .Finishing off with another delicious scrummy cake and coffee . 

Our special thanks must go to John, Julie and Jas for house sitting. Both Chris and I really appreciated our break knowing our house and extended family were happy and in such safe hands. Bless you. 


Continue Reading

Life and Death

Sorry my blog is a couple of days late.

Kite and her puppies are doing really well, no worries there.

My gorgeous Ebby was put to sleep yesterday, Tuesday. She had recovered so well from major surgery several weeks ago and was such a happy girl. We had a walk on the common on Sunday as the sheep are all off at the moment and the Curlews have now left their nest sites, so off we all went. Kite came too on a long line for her first proper walk since the puppies. I wasn’t going to risk her bounding over the gorse and scratching her teats hence the 20 meter line. 

Ebby really enjoyed it, barking and leaping through the bracken,it was a joy to see her.

Monday morning she was quiet and just lay around doing nothing, not her at all. She refused her meals.

Tuesday she looked at me and I knew something was seriously wrong. 

After a scan at my vets where they found a bleed in her abdomen we decided to let her go. 

Ebby was the first puppy we kept from our first ever litter. She was an amazing person. She came on my training courses with me and helped me get my dog training teaching qualifications. I used her extensively as a stooge dog with dog aggression cases. She was so confident and trusted me implicitly. Ebby used to come upstairs and lie by the side of the bath if I was having a soak. I always knew where she was, with me. She would lie in the dining room watching me cook and knew when I was making liver cake for my training classes that she had the food processor to pre-wash This was her special treat.

Its the end of an era, both Chris and I will miss her, be sad yes,  but we must remember the wonderful, happy times we had with he. Ebby is buried down our field near the wildlife pond where she loved to paddle and will never be forgotten. 

20090512_460  20080913_459  20101113_461

Thankfully we have 11 wonderful new lives to focus on and how they are growing in stature and confidence.

The family have had lots of visitors and so many cuddles.

They are on 4 meals a day now and scoff it. Kite feeds occasionally, when she wants to. Its Chris’s and my time to feed and clean up now.

They have gone into the conservatory and out onto their patio during the day, which they love, and have started to wee and poo outside.

They have also moved in to the “Luxury Apartment” which was the cats bed, poor Milly! 

They still sleep in the lounge/maternity wing and we haven’t heard a peep from them. Kite is happy to be back with her mum and granny at night. She is losing her coat and her tail looks like it belongs to a Lurcher, but apart from that she is really well. I’m so relieved her responsibilities are lessoning, she is being a fantastic mum and now we will do our fare share.

Puppy worming is due again this weekend coming so they will be weighed. I can’t wait to see how much they have grown.

Not sure what we can put them in, or what will be big enough for them and fit on the scales because they certainly have outgrown the last tub. 

 20170814_456 20170814_455 20170813_454 20170813_451 20170813_450





Continue Reading

Few More Grey Hairs !

We had a sad occurrence a few weeks ago, one of Ruby’s bitch puppies from her 2016 litter went into the vets for a routine spay and tragically died under the anaesthetic. I must admit I am guilty of thinking when vets or doctors give the spiel about the risks of anaesthetic I have been blase, no longer!

After much soul searching and thinking Chris and I decided to offer Jan, the puppies owner, Ruby. Ruby is an amazing girl but was very much the bottom of the pecking order at Catherton, something she coped with admirably but it did cause her some stress.  

The upshot being that Ruby now lives nearby with Jan and Sarah plus their other dog Vasco (a lab springer cross) 2 pigs, assorted chickens 4 cats and “Rabbit” plus her baby (not convinced of the odds for long term survival of “Rabbit” I must say as she is  free range! ). They have a huge garden so very much familiar territory.

Ruby has settled really well, she has visited lots more of Shropshire in the few weeks Jan has had her, including National Trust properties, tea shops etc etc and they have a lodge in Wales, lucky Rub, plus we will see her regularly.

Kite and Dougie’s babies were due this week but as time progressed it was obvious that Kite had a belly full. Last Friday morning the 14th July I got up, started to prepare the girls breakfast and noticed Ebby my older Shepherd was not well. She was very sad looking and had a swollen tummy which when I felt it, it was rock hard. I phoned the vets immediately and she was admitted with a gastric torsion. Ebby was her usual self the previous evening and had eaten her tea. We came home leaving her to be operated on. We fed the other girls and I took Kites temperature, normal.

Lunchtime, Ann my wonderful vet, rang to say Ebby was seriously poorly, her stomach had twisted and her intestines were everywhere except where they should have been and her Spleen was swollen too. The spleen was removed, her stomach tubed and untwisted and her intestines put back. The problem was her heart rate was dangerously low, 40. We ought to go and see her.

She was lay in a kennel with so many blankets on her and drips in place but she was not really aware. Chris and I felt we were saying our last farewells. Ebby was transferred to Bridgnorth  for monitoring over night.

Kite meanwhile was panting and unsettled. A sleepless night for us.

Saturday morning Kite’s temperature had dropped one degree, whelping likely in the next 24 hours.

Ebby had survived the night her  heart rate had recovered a little to 60, normal for a dog like her is low 80’s 

Lunchtime vet rang to say she had eaten a little bit of chicken, but was still poorly. I asked if we could have her home and the vet agreed as we were going to be with her. We picked her up Saturday evening, my friend Jackie stayed with Kite, who was still unsettled and panting . 

Ebby was so happy to be home, she ate a small tea then lay in the lounge sleeping.

Chris slept downstairs with Ebby and Kite. Our lounge was split into the maternity wing and the geriatric wing ! 

Early Saturday morning Chris went out with Kite, thought she was only having a poo ,but no there was the first sign of a pup!

I was in the bathroom heard him shout and ran downstairs. Her first baby arrived 7.30 am a little girl, ten minutes later number 2 arrived and so it continued until 12.00am when 10 puppies had graced us with their presence.

Kite then settled to feed her babies and have a snooze.

At 3.00 pm she began to be  uncomfortable and contractions started again.  By 4.00 I was beginning to worry a little, the others had popped out with few contractions. This little girl was obviously so much more comfortable with all the space in mummy’s tummy and was not in any hurry to make an appearance. One last push at 4.30 and out popped number 11. 

All of the babies are over 454 gm , now 36 hours on I cannot believe they were inside Kites tummy. She had 5 boys 6 girls.

Ebby has continued to improve, she has a huge wound but is eating and pooing normally, whoopy. 

Phew what a weekend but what a result ,couldn’t have been better ,both of us were exhausted mentally and physically .

Kite is a wonderful mum as we had hoped as both her mum and grandmother were.

Our job currently is looking after her to enable her to nurture her and Dougie’s offspring.

We have had a change of plan and now intend to keep a pup, so happy! 

Enjoy the pics folks.

20170717_429 20170717_431 20170717_432 20170717_433 20170718_434 20170718_435 20170718_436






Continue Reading

Spring Bank Holiday

The period of time  between my blogs seem to get longer and longer , not for any reason other than time . 

We have had some much needed rain after a dry April and the garden is blooming .Chris and I have everything planted now and after last years disaster with the brassicas and the dreaded cabbage whites , I bought Chris a brassica cage for his birthday.  I hope it works. 20170529_423

The horses are well, Pepper and Chris have been out twice now and stepped up to  Novice level dressage .The last competition I managed to start calling the wrong test. Fortunately Chris knew it well enough to not go wrong ,but it did distract his concentration. He carried on a little flustered then managed to strike off on the wrong canter lead, but the judge loved Pepper and awarded a huge range of scores from 3 to 8.5 .The total was 67.88 % and second place so it all bodes well for the future .


Issie my cob is a delight , I absolutely adore her . She has qualified twice now for TOYS which is the Traditional Cob Championships in August.

Her schooling is improving ,she is not the most flexible in the world after all she has short  body ,perfect for pulling carts,which means she struggles to bend into her corners ,but she is learning ,this is  aided by the fact she is so willing.

 My friend Jackie has bought a young horse Theo ,he will be 4 in July .He came from the same stud as Issie , his mother is a lighter weight mare and his father a traditional cob . She has done all of the training herself with a bit of support from Chris and I and he is progressing well , Jackie had her first hack on him at the weekend.Yeh !


 Now Doggies!

Kite has been for a romantic liason with Dougie ,she was incredibly keen and Dougie must have thought all his Christmas’s had come at once ! 

 These pups should be ,all fingers crossed ,an absolute delight, I can’t wait its been 2 years since our last Munster litter.Scan in 3 weeks .

 Cassie went to WELKS and won another RCC  this was a wonderful bonus. She still needs one more ticket to get her title . She will go to a few shows when time allows .It could  be a busy Summer with Kites pups, Issie to ride and show, Pepper and Chris to support at dressage and the garden, but I am a very lucky girl and I LOVE IT !


Continue Reading

Summer Catch Up

It has been a long time since my last blog. It has been a Summer of highs and lows

 Some of you will be aware that I had my cob Johnson put down, what a shock that was. I did mention in my last blog he had shown slight lameness, what I thought was the beginnings of arthritis. After x-rays it was discovered that he had severe degeneration of the pedal bone and navicular bone in the worst foot and slight changes in the other. Bless him he was so stoical I had no idea of the severity, how he coped I’ll never know. We had a difficult conversation with our vet and farrier and made the decision to relieve him of his pain. He was an amazing creature, so trustworthy, willing and happy wherever he went or whatever he did he gave 100%. I had hoped he would go on for many more years and we could retire together.


The empty stable door on the yard was heartbreaking, Chris and I really struggled, Pepper really missed him too and became quite withdrawn. After much soul searching I decided I did not want to be without an equine companion.  I felt I needed something positive to focus on. The final straw came when watching Chris come back after a ride on Pepper and that was it, operation” find a horse” became my obsession. 

Chris and I had long discussions about what I should buy,finances were limited and a Johnson replacement was going to be impossible. A school master, safe conveyance was financially not an option. We have broken lots of youngsters over the years but neither of us are in the first flush of youth.

I have had a passion for traditional gypsy cobs since I was a little girl, when I used to sneak out of the house and go to see the tethered horses on the old opencast mining  land near to where we lived. This drove my mum insane she threatened that the gypsies would take me away !! This obviously never happened.

Traditional cobs have a reputation for being wonderful sensible characters, so many breeders are crossing them with Welsh cobs to give a little more presence, which can come with a more sparky attitude, not what I wanted. So I decided to look for a pure bred traditional and thought a filly would be something different . Then Chris and I would break her in . 

We went to  Lionheart stud in Warwickshire. We had a most wonderful experience looking around  all their horses ,the temperaments were exceptional even the stallions were so friendly. Issie was one of a couple I liked even though she was older at  6 ,but at least I knew what I was getting size wise, she is 15 hand. Anyway cutting a long story short  the decision was made and Lionheart Isadora was purchased.20160628_38020160628_381

We fetched her in the lorry and bought her home, bless her she was so shell shocked, she had lived in a herd environment all her life. Issie  had been  bred at the stud, had a couple of foals and this was her first experience of the outside world. Patrick our donkey was excited to see her , but she was terrified of him. She would not go in her stable, that was definitely too scary. We took a chance and turned her out with Pepper and Patrick and she settled happily munching the grass with them.

Over the weeks she has learnt how to pick her feet up, had her  teeth done, under sedation, she had Dectomax injections for heel mites as her legs were terrible itchy. We long reined her around our lanes and taught her to lunge. Issie has been  shod and entered into a couple of shows in  in hand classes and has  loved the attention. She has thrived and is now broken in and hacking out with Pepper. I am thrilled with her progress, all of this in 4 months. Pepper and Issie are over at their winter grazing now until after Christmas . I hope to show her next year in hand and  under saddle and do some riding club dressage . British Dressage now have a dressage series for traditional cobs so I may aim for that , time will tell .20160727_386



Chris and Pepper had a wonderful few weeks, he has been out and about competing with lots of success . The best of which was them winning our riding club Prelim Dressage Championship. It seems Pepper has a spring in his step, has got his mojo back and is now  in love!20161031_384

 We have also been training  Cassie and Kite in agility and have been to our first UK Agility competition, now that is value for money. Registering and entering are so cheap, £4 lifetime registration per dog and entries £4 per class, this included official measuring. The day was such fun, 10 of us went from Mannerly Mutts Agility. Chris and Cassie thrilled us all  by winning their class, she loves it and has taken to it so well even at 8 years of age. Kite couldn’t go because she came into season but we are planning to go again in December. Other M.M. handlers had success too, claiming a 3rd and 4th places in their respective classes .





I am currently exploring all of my options for a mate for Kite. She is an exceptional girl so biddable ,affectionate and trainable. I really would love her to have a litter if I can find the right dog . She was in season the end of October / November and I plan to mate her next time so we are looking at May 2017. She has been slow to mature , she is so much taller than my other girls, exactly what I wanted and has now filled out. She will be going to the Spring shows with Cassie making an occasional appearance 

The vege plot has been so productive we still have parsnips in the ground ,unfortunately we were so busy with life that the Cabbage White butterflies   had a field day and destroyed my sprouts.  We also  have carrots ,beetroot and pumpkins in storage . I will soon be ordering my seeds to start the whole cycle again 



Enjoy the photos and I will see folks in the New Year probably at Manchester.

Continue Reading

Joys of Spring

After terribly cold weather in April, probably the coldest all winter, May has been perfect growing weather, milder, enough rain to save me watering and the vege plants are at last growing.Everything is out of the green house now apart from tomatoes ,peppers and chillies and we are eating radish ,lettuce and rhubarb. Broad beans will be the first to crop I think and the peas and mange tout will be soon after.I love it ! 20160531_222

Chris has been really busy building a toilet in the garden . We only have an upstairs loo so as the agility and behavioural training has meant more folk up here at Catherton so we were getting a little fed up with people wondering through the house to the loo. So the dog runs have gone and combined with an old stone shed a new toilet is now in situ. Well almost , just the window to finish and decorating. The room is also going to have a doggy shower in it and useful storage cupboards.The one slightly sad consequence was an old Ash tree had grown rather huge close to our house and when the footings were dug for the loo it was obvious how the roots were going under the house, therefore it had to come down. The upside is we have a huge amount or logs to burn.The photo is of half the quantity of timber . We are also using some as a table , Chris is using it to rub down the window . 


 The horses are looking really well and Chris has managed a dressage competition on Pepper, Johnson and I have had some lovely hacks ,but I think he may have a touch of rheumatism, he has shown slight lameness intermittently ,the vet is coming to see him and we can decide the best management plan for him . He loves his rides and I adore him so if we can keep him going without pain for a few years that would be brilliant . If anyone has any experience of keeping our older equines, especially supplements and anti inflammatory medication, do get in touch.


 Kite has been for her hip and elbow x-rays we went to Malpas with Karen and Hugo , so we are both awaiting results, can’t  wait to find out the scores ,Kite will hopefully be mated next year and I am hoping to be able, for the first time, to use a dog that I have bred. Very excited !!! 


It has been a long time coming but after a long gap we have a litter of GSD  puppies. Ruby adored both Cassie and Jas’ litter so I was confident she would be a good mum. Friday night she gave birth to 3 pups 2 girls and a boy . We had her scanned at 28 days and could only see 1 puppy ,we followed that up with another 1 week later and saw at least 2. I was concerned because numerically small litters tend to be big pups ,this can obviously make things difficult for mum and I was worried she may have to have a ceserean . I need not have worried the pups were bonnie all of them 700gms or there abouts, the biggest pups born I have experienced , but Ruby had no difficulties. 



I can’t wait until they are a few weeks old they will be real fluff balls as both Ruby and the father Edmond are long coats. He has the same colouring as Ruby so I am hopeful for the same rich red colour.


My next show will be Blackpool so look forward to seeing folk then .




Continue Reading
Close Menu