Last few days

Molly, bless her, has less than a week to go now. She continues to have a short mooch on the common and is enjoying eating what she wants, when she wants. Her tummy is taught and you can feel the pups squiggling around.

 The maternity wing is prepared, whelping box newly varnished and sterilised.

We have been taking her temperature twice daily anticipating that drop which indicates whelping is imminent.

The safe arrival (fingers crossed) of Molly and Rosko babies will go someway to ease our sadness at the loss of Patrick our Donkey. He had been with us 32 years and had been a huge character.

We will miss his” ee awe ”  and giving him his cups of tea which he drank out of a pottery cup. Admittedly he had not been up to much mischief of late, old age and arthritis had curtailed his antics but he still had free rein of our property grazing wherever took his fancy .

We live near a bridle path and Patrick’s naughtiest trick was waiting in hiding for the local riding school to be going on a hack. A fare few of the riders were novices and Patrick took a wicked delight in timing a bray just as they were going past. Horses not used to donkeys are startled by the noise and would spook, the result being, on numerous occasions, riders tumbling off. He loved it ! 

He will be hugely missed by lots of folk who knew him.

Crufts is upon us again , Kite is entered but whether I will be there is down to Molly. Time will tell. 

The following week is Cheltenham festival, another of my favorite events. I hope to be going on Tuesday, Champion Hurdle day. Fingers are crossed that the Corona virus does not escalate.

Chris  will post my normal puppy diaries on my website which I know prospective Crumpsbrook parents love.

I am hoping for a uneventful delivery and a healthy litter and mum. 

Will keep you posted.


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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. 

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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!

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