which today thankfully, led back to the Ffarm for our errant equines. I trundled up from the farm in our big silver truck, to which Keith promptly attached his horse trailer. We set off for the farm where the ponies have been enjoying their impromptu holiday; & whilst Keith prepped the box I popped in to explain we’d come to take the ponies home – & to drop round some more gelato as a ‘thank you’.
Whilst having enjoyed their holiday the ponies had by now clearly had enough; & came willingly to the fence to have their headcollars put on & head for home. We decided to take the big horses, first; as at this stage they weren’t really aware of what was happening & so were quite tractable. Two excitable Shetlands would be far easier to load than two highly-strung powerful horses, after all – & I was worried that the horses’ massive hooves could do considerably damage to the owner’s fields, than those of the diminutive Shetlands.
As Roly was the most experienced horse we loaded him first, & then Darwin followed relatively easily, afterwards; although clearly confused that the Shetlands weren’t coming too. The journey back to the Ffarm was uneventful & the two horses came steadily & easily off the front ramp & went straight into the field, where they enjoyed a gleeful gallop.
We then returned to collect the two Shetlands, who were charging up & down the lovely post-&-rail fenceline, clearly distressed that their two chums had been taken away. They were certainly pleased to see us & almost ran up the ramp in their eagerness to go home! The Shetlands – whilst easier to load (having done plenty of shows & so lots of trailer work) – were a bit lost in the capacious trailer; so we opted to leave them loose so that they could find their own stability. In fact, they swapped places – walking right around the front end as they could easily get underneath the breeching bars – & ended up facing backwards, as we suspected they would.
As a result we decided to unload them from the rear ramp as it was far less stressful than trying to turn them around on a floor which was now fairly slippery with the liberal amounts of dung they’d generously donated to the trailer. They enjoyed an excited reunion with their friends; & once we were satisfied they’d settled down happily to graze AND that the gate was fully secured, we jumped back in the truck & hastened back to Flyon Equestrian, Keith’s superb training yard.
We unhitched the trailer, & I rolled up my sleeves to give it a good clean as the ponies had made such mess inside. But Keith wouldn’t hear of it. “You’ve had one helluva day,” he grinned. “Come on in for a cuppa or summat – it’ll only take me a minute to sort that little lot out later on, I’ll just put the power washer on it…..” He cheerily waved off my protestations; & I gratefully followed him indoors.
Phew! It was such a relief to get into the warm house & relax; & it was only once I’d sat down that I realised just how worried I’d been about the whole thing. I was so glad to see the ponies safely back in their field; & Keith had been absolutely brilliant – not just because he gave up his afternoon to help; but also because of his quiet, calm & professional manner with my four highly excitable equines.
So my sincere thanks, Keith; I don’t know what I’d have done without your friendship & support in my hour of need – & Tony & I are really looking forward to tackling our Shetland four-in-hand partnership project…..! Now, where did I put those harnesses….?!