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.
Simply put, a “Dunalino” is a Palomino who carries a dun gene. Except as these things always are, it’s a bit more complicated than that!
The dun gene allele is a dominant one, so the phenotype of a horse with either one or two copies of the gene is dun. Because it is a dominant gene it will always show, so two non-dun parents cannot produce a dun foal (because they won’t have a dun gene).
Hay making is finally coming to an end after a frantic few weeks for Huw because he was taking advantage of the hot weather. One of the best things about making our own fodder, is that we know exactly what is in it (i.e. we know it is completely ragwort free) and we can use hay from different fields for different horses depending on their requirements – our hairy cobs don’t need the same rocket fuel over the winter that the broodmares do, for example.