Rackwood Maydew and Rackwood Hugo in May 2012
Rackwood Maydew and Rackwood Hugo in May 2012.

Rackwood Magic in August 2012.
Rackwood Magic in August 2012.


2012 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies.

The year began with seasonal winter weather which very quickly turned into a long dry spell, allowing us to believe spring had arrived early. The ponies were enjoying lots of spring grass when things started to go wrong. Annie suddenly became ill from an unknown cause and lost half her body weight in a couple of days. She would not, or could not, eat or drink. I thought it may be grass sickness but fortunately, it was not. Blood tests did not show anything conclusive so I had to try and persuade her to eat and kept her stabled for several weeks until she regained her appetite and some weight. I had planned to show her during 2013 but those plans had to be abandoned so I took her up to Hamsterley to run with the brood mares and convalesce. I was so grateful that she was still alive.

The next disappointment arrived during April when my best show mare, Magic, aborted twins, ten weeks premature. They were very much unexpected but after a veterinary examination to remove the afterbirth she carried on as normal. My vet explained that it was quite natural for this to happen because when the foals became too big for the mare to cope, she simply got rid of them. By this time the weather had changed and we were experiencing April showers! On a more positive note, Blossom produced a filly foal, so following the alphabetical idea started in 2011 she was named Grace. It rained continuously for the first 10 days of her life.

Early in May I agreed to sell my yearling colt, Rackwood Amos, to a Fell pony breeder in Germany. He left home on 21st May and arrived at his new home with Julius and Bettina Borchers on 24th May. I was delighted that he was going to be kept entire and I'm looking forward to seeing his progeny in the future. Rackwood Amos's grandmother, Maydew, produced a colt during May, which I named Hugo, so his replacement had already arrived. Melody produced a filly foal, Isabel, early in June so the year was beginning to improve. Bonnie also produced a filly, Jubilee Joy, during July so my foaling was now complete. Not a very good year for a breeder who keeps her own stallion to have one foal in April, one in May, one in June and one in July. I think Brackenbank Amos must have spent too much time with visiting mares during 2011!

During April and May I mouthed and backed Princess who very willingly accepted being ridden. She had been well handled and shown throughout her life so this was a natural progression for her. I like my ponies to quietly hack out during their first year of being backed so that they have the opportunity to see everything and gain confidence. I also like to spend a lot of time doing walk and trot to develop the correct balance leaving canter till much later in their education.

Our holiday time during June at the Royal Highland Show and during July at the Great Yorkshire Show didn't happen as everything was flooded. I'm sure you do not need me to remind you what a dreadful wet year it was. We almost had our house flooded on two occasions and I was out filling sand bags at 11pm one night. Hardly dared to shut my eyes when I went to bed and had my wellies on standby at the bedroom door.

During July I sold Murthwaite Gunsmith to a young lady looking for her first pony. I wasn't really ready for him to go as I like to have two riding ponies around the place so Magic was brought home and reminded of her earlier training. I had broken her to ride as a 3 yr old but she had been used as a broodmare since then. She appeared to enjoy it and part of me wished I hadn't covered her again to foal in 2012. She was shown at several shows in hand but I really wanted the time to school her and do some ridden classes.

August was a very busy month with the FPS 90th Anniversary Convention. Not sure how I became chairman of the organising committee but lots of events took place including an Open Day here. The week leading up to it was extremely busy as we were busy with silage, haymaking, combining and baling straw. I stupidly agreed to take six ponies to the FPS Breed Show so was under pressure right from the start. I think I thought because it was at our side of the Pennines I had to support it as much as I could. Magic won the geld mare class and the mare progeny class with Blossom, Princess and Black Magic so that was reward enough. Donald tells me I work best under pressure!

Early in September I tore a ligament in my right knee causing me a lot of pain and preventing me from showing ponies or taking part in the Pony Camp weekend that I was so looking forward to as a holiday. It took 8-10 weeks before I could run so decided to forget about showing until much later in the year. We cut my two field of hay during September, the latest that I can ever remember trying to make hay. We had made hay for our neighbours during August but mine had to wait. Paying customers always come first!

I brought Brackenbank Amos home from Hamsterley when I started to wean the foals. Grace and Hugo, being the oldest, came home first during mid October. I wanted to show Hugo so started to work with him almost immediately. He was M&M Champion at the first three foal shows that he attended. A suitable replacement for Amos I think! At the same time I decided Brackenbank Amos needed something to do so I started to mouth him with the plan to drive him. We had a field which was going to stay in stubble all winter so the idea place to drag a tyre without causing damage. Unfortunately the wet weather made this too dangerous so I backed him during November, riding him in the outdoor school. Everything was going well until I developed shingles mid November and found I hadn't the energy to continue.

To sum it up, 2012 was a very disappointing year:
1) Unable to show Annie due to her illness.
2) Unable to attend the Royal Highland Show or the Great Yorkshire Show due to floods.
3) Unable to take part in the Pony Camp weekend due to a torn ligament.
4) Unable to complete schooling Brackenbank Amos after backing him because of developing shingles.


Rackwood Magic winning at NPS Area 4 in August 2012
Rackwood Magic winning at NPS Area 4 in August 2012.

Annie in summer 2010
"Thunder Thursday" in August!

Rackwood Hugo in November 2012: NPS Area 4 M&M Champion
Rackwood Hugo in November 2012: NPS Area 4 M&M Champion

2011 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies

2010 news from Rackwood Fell Ponies