It’s come to that time of year again, when we’re actively marketing the horses we have for sale.
Many breeders sell their foals at birth, to go at weaning, and take deposits as they are born to then have them go in the autumn. We take a slightly different approach to many other breeders, partly because we don’t want to tempt fate (yes, we’re a bit superstitious), partly because we wean at 7 months, then get our foals professionally handled and started properly, and partly because a number of years ago we took a deposit on a 3 month old colt who the day after he was sold decided to jump barbed wire instead of go through the open gate next to it and I had to explain to his devastated new owner why she wouldn’t be getting her horse. Not something I want to repeat. (Yes, Jimmy, we’re looking at you!). This means that by the time our horses are ready to go, it’s usually the New Year and they are around 9 months old. They’re ready to go and do things straight away and they’re happy, steady, sane horses who understand what their new owners are asking them to do and so don’t get themselves into trouble.
(Photo Credit: Rhona Barnett.)
” Nadolig Llawen!”
We love getting updates from our foals in their new homes, and this fabulous gem of a photograph arrived in my inbox this morning from Elvis and his new mum, Rhona.
So, given that Elvis is in the festive spirit (and is looking AMAZING in his new home), everyone at Doghill would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Our festive preparations are rapidly gathering pace, Charlotte is beside herself with excitement at the prospect of Father Christmas arriving, she has watched the film “Frozen” too many times to count, and we’re already stuffed full on too many mince pies!
In the spirit of Christmas, and too many Christmas films, here is a useful little Welsh phrase for those of you with children which is going to be used a LOT in our house with Charlotte this Christmas!
“Oes rhaid i ni wylio Frozen eto?!!” (Do we have to watch “Frozen” AGAIN??!)
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year folks!
We’re currently in the process of getting our Christmas cards sorted. Whilst going through our huge file of pictures to find the perfect one that represents everything we think a Doghill Christmas is about, I came across a snap I took of my Lusitano mare Sophia in heavy snow about 10 years ago. Sophia was a “quirky” girl who was given to me by a friend with the immortal words; “if you can catch her, you can have her”. Well, never one to resist a challenge (especially where horses are concerned) I promptly caught her and I “had” her.
In the interests of full disclosure, it’s probably pertinent to mention at this point that Sophia was semi-wild, hated to be touched and it took 4 days and a lot of bribery and fast thinking to get anywhere near her in a 10 acre field, let alone catch her. But I digress. My point is that Sophia had, at the age of 10, never, ever worn a rug.
Rugging a horse is a very emotive issue. There are the “a horse wouldn’t have a rug in the wild” brigade and so their horses never wear a rug, even when the horse is soaking wet and shivering with cold in a field in a howling storm, and then at the other end of the spectrum, there are the “my horse has a full coat, but it is never ever not rugged because I like it warm and cosy” people and you’ll find their horse sweating in a heavy rug, in hot sun, because it was cold 3 days ago and it might be cold next week.
However, the great majority of horse owners fall somewhere in between and are pretty sensible in their approach. When they are deciding whether their horse should wear a rug they have to take into account considerations like whether the horse is clipped, unclipped, stabled or living out and this impacts their decision.
Going through some pictures, I stumbled across these taken of Huw in candid moments. If you ask him, he will always deny that he likes horses.
What he’ll never tell you, is that he is always the first one to give scratches and cuddles to the mares when he thinks you’re not looking, he’s always the one up through the night with the mares when they’re foaling and the first one to handle their new born foals. He also doesn’t tell you that he has a massive soft spot for Mickey, our daughter’s pony. Of all the mares, Queenie especially has a soft spot for Huw, because he looked after her when she was ill and she knows he usually has apples or pony cubes in his pocket.
Huw, of course, will always claim that he’s not giving he cuddles or treats and that any horse he’s seen giving affection to mugged him!
“For sale” (To the right home)
When we sell our horses, we’re often asked why we insist on potential new owners coming to meet our horses in person before they commit to them, especially given the number of horses that are sold “unseen” over the internet via videos and pictures. There’s nothing wrong with buying “unseen”, providing you know exactly what you are doing and indeed, to be fair we’ve done it a number of times ourselves.
But as a small stud that has invested huge amounts of time and emotional energy in getting our foals to the point where they are ready to go to their new homes, we can afford to be (and often are) very picky about where we place our horses. When you’ve stayed up all night with pregnant mares in labour, watched their foals take their first breath and first wobbly footsteps, then seen those foals grow and develop, it’s only natural to want the best home for them.