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.
The Doghill youngsters are always looking to be involved with anything we are doing.
We had a professional photographer on the farm a few days ago and of course, the “babies” wanted to be involved. As usual, Elsa was the most cheeky and caused more than a few laughs with her clowning about. We try really hard (within reason) to let our babies be as curious as they like. We find that letting them explore something for themselves helps “bomb-proof” them for later life.
By nurturing and directing the youngsters’ curiosity, we can use it to our advantage.
When “HW Little Miss Lily” was born it was love at first sight. Not only am I incredibly fond of her mum, Topsicana, but I thought she was the most adorable foal I had ever seen. She’s definitely one who is staying!
We’re often asked why we freeze-brand our horses as many people think that it’s cruel because it’s effectively a cold burn. It’s a good question.
Today we had our annual visit from Alison at Premier Equimark, who freeze-brands all our horses. Freeze-branding is a method of visibly and permanently identifying horses, ponies and donkeys. At Doghill, we do it because not only does a visible “brand” mark deter horse thieves, but it also helps with horse identification. In a field, a bay TB with no markings, looks identical to any other bay TB with no markings. A freeze-brand gives a horse a unique marking that anyone can identify. Montana our bay TB (with no markings) is now sporting a very smart freeze-brand on her back (HPW7), as is Hobbit, who is also bay and the proud owner of mark “HPW8”. We find that after the initial “cold burn”, most horses have very little discomfort while the brand and white hairs are coming through.