It’s only when I was reviewing various parts of the website to update today, that I realised it was September 2020 when I’d last posted on the Doghill blog and so I thought I better write something!
So where to start? How do I even begin to comment on the tumultuous events of 2020? Do I acknowledge the weirdness of the year or not?
So, I’m starting on a positive note with a picture of 3 of my favourite mares, Polka, Elsa and Topsicana looking happy and fat in the middle of August 2020. I love this picture. Topsicana (the chestnut on the right) is a mare who has had a very eventful life (see my last blog post) and when she came to us aged 20, she was stressed and unhappy, having lost her home, her 6 month old foal and Kitkat, her lifelong companion (and daughter) on the same day. She was depressed and sad and didn’t know where she belonged. She eventually settled, made a new best friend (Polka, the chestnut on the left) and found a purpose in taking our filly Elsa under her wing and teaching her the ropes of an older horse. This photo shows me how far Topsicana has travelled on her journey and shows me the “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Bear with me, this is going to be a long one! (And it went off on a tangent I didn’t expect!)
“Cruisins Topsicana” is our oldest quarter horse at Doghill. She’s 22 and after giving us a lovely foal last year, we retired her from breeding. She now spends her days grazing and quietly chilling with her friends and being spoilt rotten by us as a glorified pet. I bought her from a friend of mine in late 2018 at the age of 20, when he was retiring from breeding AQH’s and selling his stock, partly because I had always really liked her and partly because he specifically asked me to have her because he wanted her to have a safe and happy retirement. Read on…
And to say we are over the moon with our first foals sired by Hobbit would be an understatement.
Acorn has had a filly (pictured here at 36 hours old) and Lola has had a fabulous bay dun colt. Both foals are lively and cheeky as you’d hope they would be and we’re looking forward to seeing how they progress.
With the breeding season in full flow, many breeders are taking deposits on foals now, ready for them to go to their new homes at weaning. It therefore seems appropriate to explain how American Quarter Horses are registered and what paperwork you should expect to have when you buy a new registered AQHA foal and take it home. Read on…
It’s our favourite time of year!
It’s that time of the year again when I start seeing gratuitous foal photos all over my Facebook feed from other breeders. Always fabulous, because there are some utterly amazing foals out there, bred from some fantastic horses, and I love seeing where other breeders are going with their breeding lines and what their stallions are producing.
It’s also that time of year where I have to seriously think about who is going to be covered by Hobbit after they’ve foaled, arrange transport for which ever mares are going to be sent to outside stallions (not happening this year because of Covid-19) and depending on how the mares are after foaling down, decide on who is going to be either retired from breeding (Topsicana last year), or be given a year off being a mum (possibly Acorn this year). Read on…
…but I’d like to give you back now please!
Well, what a start to the 2020 breeding season!
At Christmas, when Huw and I were sorting out our breeding programme for the spring and summer, it didn’t even occur to us that by the time we came to March and thinking about breeding the first mares of the season, that we’d be in the middle of a global pandemic and “locked down”.
We barely even registered news about Covid-19 in China in December, other than to sympathise with families who were losing loved ones and we certainly didn’t think we’d be in a position where the UK had ground to a standstill with everyone staying at home, schools closed until September with children learning from home, and a run on toilet paper, hand soap and flour in the supermarkets. After the wettest winter on record and the house flooding at the beginning of March, we were looking forward to a mud free, dry spring where we could finally get out and ride. Read on…