Blog // A Day In The Life……

A day in the life…


What a summer it’s been with everything from ponies dressed as unicorns to emergency visits by the vet. I never know what to expect from the minute I get here to the time I drag myself home for a soak in the bath and a lie down in a darkened room. But that’s what makes it such a great job and although I did try to leave last year I soon came bouncing back like a mad boomerang. It’s like a crazy addiction, yes obviously to Steph and the team, but mainly to the horses and ponies. They’re my babies and to be honest I can’t stop worrying about them even when they’re all sorted and I finally manage to go home. One of them will pop in my head and I’ll wonder whether they’re alright or think how much they’ve come on while at Country Treks. At least it’s better than watching TV I suppose! Sometimes I try to work out how many we’ve got, going round the fields and the stables in my head, but I usually lose count once I get past 30. There are so many of them and Steph just can’t resist buying another one here and there. She has a serious addiction and has even been known to buy a new horse in between serving dinner and pudding at the house, so to be honest it’s not just me that’s mad around here.


The summer months are always busy and this year we’ve had our usual succession of pony camps, 120 happy campers in all. Hard work for everyone but also lots of fun. One of the high spots for me is on Friday mornings when the ponies disappear behind clouds of soapy bubbles as they get bathed for the show. I’m not sure who gets wetter, the riders or the horses, but either way by the end of the week I spot that dewy-eyed look that shows the campers have fallen in love with their ponies. I daren’t tell them that their fate is sealed at that moment.  They’ve probably been hooked into a hobby that can’t be shaken off or grown out of. Not that they’ll want to but that’s how it was for me when I first came to Country Treks as a ten year old. I innocently walked on to the yard not realising that all these years later I’d still be here!


Just to add to the madness, Steph decided we’d try out pellets instead of straw for the horses’ beds this summer. “It’ll save time mucking out,” she said, “be cheaper and make the muck heap smaller.” I have my doubts about it as I don’t think you can beat a deep straw bed but I nodded and pretended to agree. Personally I suspect if she saves any money, she’ll only spend it on another new horse, so it seems like false economy to me. Anyway in the meanwhile, as if there wasn’t enough work to do, she ordered 25 rubber mats, great big hulking things, which nearly killed us dragging them across the yard and into the stables. I ran through my contract of employment in my head, wondering whether there was anything in it about being a weight lifter, but don’t remember the details exactly. I’ll have to check when I get home tonight if I’m still awake enough to remember. A bit later I looked at the mats in the stables and had to admit that they looked good but I’m still not convinced that Steph’s right on this one. Only time will tell. If I get my way, the straw beds will be back by winter.


As if all that wasn’t enough to cope with, we’ve had quite a few dramas. The worst was Indie being hit by a tractor while out hacking on the road. The driver was going way too fast and refused to slow down. He hit Indie on the shoulder and knocked him over which was awful to see. Steph was furious and found out who the driver was and reported him to the police. We brought Indie home and I’ve been cold hosing and treating him daily. He’s out resting in the field and although we hope he will make a full recovery, we’re still not sure which would be tragic as he’s such a love. Obviously there are farm vehicles all over the place round here and usually they’re quite courteous to us. But you all know how determined Steph is and she’s now on a mission to educate contractors in harvest season and help riders cope with crazy speeding vehicles. In fact she’s going to include something about it in her ride safe training sessions.


Not quite as dramatic but equally as worrying was the sight of our rescue horse, Saffy, with her hind leg swollen like a balloon. The vet diagnosed equine lymphangitis, a bacterial infection of the lymphatic system which can lead to long term problems but luckily we caught it quickly. A course of antibiotics did the trick and she’s fine again now. Not sure the same can be said for my sanity.


To add to the panic, Samson came in from the field with burns on his white nose. We immediately suspected sunburn but soon decided it wasn’t and set off inspecting the fields like a team of detectives. We managed to narrow it down to giant hogweed on the paintball site. Yet another vet trip, more antibiotics, and more worry. But he lives up to his name and was soon back on form and broke into the same field again, looking for a bit more excitement. I don’t know what it is about some horses, why they can’t just settle in the field and graze contentedly. It’s like people I suppose, some like excitement and some like the quiet life. I would prefer the quiet life but when you work with horses you never know what’s going to happen from one to the next and to be honest I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Anyway apart from sending our youngster Arthur up on to the hill for a minibreak, getting another new horse Primrose and hosting a group of Chinese visitors who spoke limited English, the only other main news has been the small matter of the Country Treks show. A full day for all of us, it’s hard to pick out the best moments but one that really stuck in my mind was the sight of little Oreo, as wide as he’s tall, dressed up as a boat. Not an obvious choice for a chubby brown and white pony but hilarious all the same.


I think that’s enough for now. Tempting as it is to keep writing, there are stables to be mucked out, horses to be groomed and tack to be cleaned. Oh and one of my babies is calling me from the field. I’ll just go and have a look what they want…


Sporty Spice being bathed.             Our stunning new addition, Primrose.          International Pony Camp

Young Horse Saffy                 Oreo as ‘Moana’ in a fabulous boat costume.          Indie who is now recovering.