Fell ponies Nimrod (leading) and Panasonic (following) February	2015.
Nimrod (leading) and Panasonic (following) February 2015.

Fell pony Annie, newly broken, March 2015
Annie, newly broken, March 2015

Fell pony Maggie May
Maggie May

Nimrod at NCPA, 20 September 2015

Bonnie and Maggie May on the North East FPS Pleasure ride, October 2015
Bonnie and Maggie May on the North East FPS Pleasure ride, October 2015

Rambling Rose, M&M Champion at Scottish & Northern Foal Show, November 2015
Rambling Rose, M&M Champion at Scottish & Northern Foal Show, November 2015

Maggie May, Fell Champion at Cleveland Show, 20 July 2015
Maggie May, Fell Champion at Cleveland Show, 20 July 2015



2015 News from Rackwood Fell ponies

Early in January 2015 I moved Panasonic and Nimrod into my new stable next to the house which has access to a field so that I didn't need to lead them across an icy stretch of concrete every morning and night. They soon learned to come in when I shouted and to be fastened in overnight and to go out the next morning provided the grass wasn't frosted. This gave me two empty stables in my main schooling area so that I could start to handle and mouth Annie ready to back and sell in the spring. She was very happy to be handled everyday and I felt that having had two foals had given her time to mature sufficiently to cope with a new life as a ridden pony.

Early in February I made the decision to change my stallion. Brackenbank Amos had been with me for five years so I felt it was time to sell him especially as he was in the prime of his life at 8 years old. Also, I'd had the offer of an older stallion, Linnel Riddler, who had rather unique old bloodlines and could provide me with foals for another couple of years before I retire from breeding. About this time I decided to bring Maggie May back into work and have a go at dressage. We took part in our first competition early in March and I was delighted to find she was a natural. Maggie May is a steady, sensible pony and we both truly enjoyed the experience.

By mid March, Annie was being ridden in the arena and around the farm so I advertised her for sale. The first person to enquire about her, Sue Green, could see her potential on the first visit so very quickly returned with her husband to have another ride and we agreed the sale. This gave me more time to spend with Maggie May and get her ready for more dressage competitions and try some jumping ready for Hairy Pony Camp at the beginning of May.

Mid April I agreed to sell Brackenbank Amos to Bob & Sarah Charlton, at Hexham. They needed a stallion that would run out with their mares and not need any handling. Amos was the perfect choice as he was used to staying with my mares from mid May one year until the end of March the next year. Donald and I delivered him to his new home and turned him into a field with four mares. Home from home! The following day we travelled down to Lathomdale to collect Linnel Riddler. Riddler had been in the same home for 15 years, and been handled by a man so he took a while to get used to me and his new surroundings. He has a wonderful temperament and once introduced to Magic, he was happy and content.

During May my mares produced three foals: 2 fillies and 1 colt. Black Magic had a filly – Rambling Rose, Maydew had a filly – Sophie and Melody had a colt – Thomas. Most of Brackenbank Amos's foals to my mares have been colts so I was delighted that he had eventually left me with two fillies. Riddler had covered Magic at home early in May so was taken to Hamsterley at the beginning of June to run with the other mares. Around this time I made the decision to sell Panasonic to a new Fell pony breeder, Kev Turner, who was looking for a FIS CLEAR colt to keep as a breeding stallion. As all my ponies are related, any colts kept beyond one year have to be gelded and it would have been a real shame to geld such a fine specimen.

June arrived and a time to relax a little. We took the caravan up to Edinburgh and had 4 days at the Royal Highland Show. The weather was rather cold and windy but we wrapped up warm and enjoyed the exhibits and chatting to friends that we hadn't seen for a while. I knew life would become rather hectic on our return as my show season was about to start and haymaking and harvest was yet to come. We'd also decided to build an extension on the house in the way of a sunroom. Plans had been submitted so we were just waiting for permission to start.

During July I did the normal round of shows with Maggie May including the Great Yorkshire Show where we travelled down on the Tuesday evening and Donald and I slept in the wagon. I was looking forward to a lie in so was rather disappointed when the wagons started rolling in at around 5am. As judging starts at 7.30am I should have been prepared for an early morning call but I never gave it a thought. This was the first time that Maggie May had slept away from home in a stable at a show so it was an interesting experience for us both. Maggie May had a very busy and varied summer between showing, pleasure rides and dressage competitions. Also, she was hacking out on the roads in preparation for being broken to drive at some point in the future.

Early in August I made the decision to sell Princess. She had stood in a field at home most of the summer and was becoming far too fat so needed to be doing something. I had covered her with Brackenbank Amos during April but as she did not hold to that service a riding home needed to be found. I was very fond of Princess and had many happy memories of riding her at Hairy Camp and on pleasure rides but at 7 years old she needed a purpose so when Deborah Paterson contacted to say she was looking for a pony for her two daughters to share, I knew she was the pony for them. The family came to collect her towards the end of August and although a sad day, I knew it was the right thing for Princess.

During September Donald and I took a trip to the Netherlands. It was the European Ploughing Championships that attracted Donald but when he told me the date I knew the Netherlands FPS Breed Show was on the same weekend so a perfect holiday incorporating both of our hobbies. We spent three days at the ploughing championships and three days looking at Fell ponies. We visited two Fell pony studs and I talked to lots of breeders at the show. Three of Donald's friends were competing in the ploughing championships and two of them won 1st prize in their sections so a celebration on the ferry on the way home was inevitable.

On our return I had to quickly prepare Maggie May and Nimrod for the 'Northern Pony of the Year Championship Show' which was held at the end of September. Maggie May won the 4yrs+ in-hand class and became Champion Fell Pony. Nimrod was placed 2nd in the Young-stock Class and received a special rosette for the highest placed 2yr old. After the in-hand showing was finished I saddled up and rode Maggie May in the warm up arena to get her used to other horses galloping past her.

At the beginning of October I took Maggie May down to Cambridge to the 'Rare Breeds of the Year Show'. It was a 5hr journey and trying to find the venue in the dark was slightly problematic. Maggie May was 1st prize in-hand mare and 1st prize ridden mare so I was delighted with that result. The journey home, although it took 5hrs, seemed so much shorter and passed quite quickly. After a very quick turnaround I was off down the M1 again to HOYS. No ponies this time, just a two day break and to do some serious shopping. We had a great time and the icing on the cake was the fact that a Fell pony won the Fell & Dales M&M Class. On my return I had to do the last minute preparations for the North East FPS Group ride which took place on Sunday 11th October. I took Maggie May and Bonnie as a friend's daughter wanted to come with me and I allowed her to ride Maggie May.

Now it was time to wean my foals. I had made the decision earlier in the year that I would keep all three foals. The two fillies will be kept indefinitely, and the colt until he's a yearling. I felt Thomas was too good to take to the autumn sale and as he hadn't been handled he needed some time with me before he is offered for sale. Thomas is full brother to Rackwood Amos who went to Germany to be a breeding stallion. Rambling Rose continued to be shown at the autumn foal shows and was M&M Champion Foal at the Scottish & Northern Show held near Morpeth.

the sun room under constructionNow it was time to finish the sunroom ready for Christmas. Donald had completed all of the exterior work over the summer months but now it was my turn to paint and sort our carpets and furniture. By early December the weather had become very wet so being made to stay indoors wasn't too much of a chore. I eventually finished the work on Friday 18th December and we lit the log burning stove. Heaven! Not sure if the lounge will ever be used again. I spent the next few days cleaning out all the kitchen cupboards that were under a thick layer of dust from when we knocked the doorway through but this extension was well worth the effort. Our house has now become a home!

To sum it up, 2015 was a very busy and exciting year:
1) Selling three adult ponies, without any stress, to known good homes.
2) Getting two filly foals by Brackenbank Amos after he had left for pastures new.
3) Having a successful showing season with Maggie May which included taking part in dressage competitions.
4) Going abroad on holiday for the first time since before we got married.
5) Building an extension onto our rather large house and making it feel more like home.

2014 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies

2013 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies

2012 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies

2011 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies

2010 news from Rackwood Fell Ponies