Hugo in training February 2016
Hugo in training February 2016

Fell ponies Rambling Rose & Sophie Freedom - Rambling Rose & Sophie, 2016

Fell pony Annie, newly broken, March 2015
Bonnie having a blast on the beach, March 2016

Rackwood Riddler
Rackwood Riddler, April 2016

Hugo doing TREC at Hairy Camp May 2016
Hugo doing TREC at Hairy Camp, May 2016

Melody and her foal Union Jack
Melody & Union Jack, June 2016

Nimrod at Native Pony Festival July 2016  - Fell Reserve Champion
Nimrod at the Native Pony Festival, July 2016 - Fell Reserve Champion

Fell pony Hugo at the Queen's 90th Birthday Guard of Honour
Hugo at the Queen's 90th Birthday Guard of Honour in July 2016

Fell pony Maydew and her foal Windsor
Maydew and Windsor, August 2016

Rackwood Victor - M&M Champion Fell at Weardale Show August 2016
Rackwood Victor - M&M Champion Fell at Weardale Show August 2016

Hugo NCPA M&M In-hand Champion October 2016
Hugo, NCPA M&M In-hand Champion, October 2016

Fell pony baby Riddler in November 2016
Baby Riddler at the Scottish and Northern Foal of the Year Show, November 2016



2016 News from Rackwood Fell ponies

January 2016 was a mild and windy month and everywhere was very muddy. I had three yearlings, Rambling Rose, Sophie and Thomas, all inside and in individual stables so when it was time to start working with Hugo, the only place I could put him was in my stallion box which is away from the other ponies. He was not very happy about being kept away from his friends but because he was handled everyday he soon got used to having his own space. During February Hugo was lunging and long reining well so one day I climbed on board and sat on him. He was perfectly happy with the situation so very soon we were riding around the arena and the farm yard.

Early in March, Mary and I went down to Windsor Castle to meet with Terry Pendry and began to plan for the 90th Birthday Guard of Honour ride. I began hacking Hugo out as I knew he needed to see lots of things if I was to take him to Hairy Camp at the end of April. I occasionally found the time to ride Bonnie and for a treat took her to a beach ride at Seaton Carew. She took it all in her stride and really enjoyed the day. Mid March I turned Rambling Rose and Sophie out into the small paddock next to the house. Thomas remained stabled until he was gelded mid April. I have too many mares around to trust a yearling colt to run outdoors.

Magic produced an all black colt at the end of April; Rackwood Riddler, named after his father. The weather was dreadful and he was snowed upon before he was 24 hours old. It was just before the Hairy Pony Camp where I was taking Hugo and Bonnie. Bonnie was going to be Harriett's mount for the weekend. Travelling through Tow Law just after lunch on the Friday, I definitely thought I was mad. It was snowing very heavily and I could barely see the road in front of me. The weather improved as I reached Linnel Wood and Hugo had his first flat lesson with other ponies. His eyes came out on stalks and he grew another hand as we entered the arena. Six baby ponies together called for very gentle walking until they relaxed. On the Saturday we did pole work and on Sunday he was introduced to TREC. A very steep learning curve for Hugo but he really enjoyed the experience. I restricted him to dressage and TREC for the camp competition as I didn’t want him to get too excited with jumping when I'm not very confident.

Melody, Black Magic and Maydew all foaled during May and all had colts so following on with the alphabet theme they were named Union Jack, Victor and Windsor. Changing my stallion hadn't changed my luck! Early in June, once foaling was complete, we managed to escape with the caravan for a weekend to Newby Hall for a tractor feast. Ten days later we went up to Edinburgh for four days at the Royal Highland Show. Holidays over so it was now time to settle into some serious showing. I had taken Nimrod to the FPS Stallion Show in May so now it was time for him to prove himself at other shows. He was awarded 1st prize in the 1yr-3yr old class and Reserve Champion at the Native Pony Festival and was 3rd out of 11 in the 2&3yr olds at the Great Yorkshire Show.

We then had a break from routine and went down to Windsor Castle for Her Majesty The Queen's 90th Birthday Guard of Honour ride. Shelly Gilson’s pony had gone lame so I said she could ride Bonnie and I would ride Hugo for this very special event. A rather big ask for a 4yr old pony that had only been backed since March but he was a real super star. He took his place in the front line and never questioned what was going on around him. He really should have been sold during 2016 but I was so proud of him that I decided he could stay a while longer; must be getting soft in my old age.

Back to reality on the journey home when the phone rang to say we were haymaking and Donald was needed on a tractor the second we got home. My winter feed was waiting to be baled and stacked inside the shed. Oh what fun!

Our local agricultural shows began at the end of August so I took Black Magic and Victor to Weardale Show where they were both placed 1st in their respective classes and Victor awarded M&M Champion. The following weekend I took the same ponies to Wolsingham Show and once again they were placed 1st in their respective classes and Black Magic was Fell Reserve Champion. I had previously agreed to sell Victor to the Wellbrow Stud so he was then put back with the herd at Hamsterley and allowed to chill out until weaning time.

Our next adventure involved the World Ploughing Championships which were held just outside York. Donald was competing in a vintage class with his Dexta tractor and plough so it was my turn to take a back seat. We took the caravan down and stayed on site for five days. The weather was fantastic and it really was like being abroad. I took myself off to Ride Away for some retail therapy one afternoon but spent the remainder watching horse ploughing and catching up with many friends that we had not seen for several months.

My decision to keep Hugo had a knock on effect on my plans for 2017. Nimrod was to be the next pony to break in and sell but if I was to keep working with Hugo I would not have time to do Nimrod justice. At the end of September I advertised him and he sold in less than a week to the first person who enquired. I was a little sad but knew it was the right thing to do.

I took Hugo to the NCPA Show at Richmond Equestrian Centre early in October and he was 1st prize in both his classes and M&M Champion. It was then time to start weaning foals. Baby Riddler and Union Jack were the first because I wanted to show Baby Riddler at the foal shows and Union Jack had been sold and was going to Holland early in November. The following week I weaned Victor and Windsor. Victor went to the Wellbrow Stud at the end of October. I hadn't planned to keep any of the colt foals but Baby Riddler was such an easy to handle, friendly chap so I decided to keep him for a year or two. Hugo had his shoes removed early in November so was officially on holiday until February. Bonnie had been ridden by everyone during 2016 so I had her shoes refitted and took her back under my wing during November and December.

I took Baby Riddler to the Scottish & Northern Foal of the Year Show and he was placed 1st in M&M Large Breeds and M&M Reserve Champion. The following week at the NECWPCA Foal Show he was 1st prize M&M Large Breeds and Reserve Champion. I thought that to be an excellent result under a different judge and against different competition. The judge told me that she had never seen a foal with such straight movement. The judge at Weardale Show had made the same comment about Victor so Linnel Riddler's influence was obviously coming through. I was going into winter with 13 ponies but there was lots of grass and a shed full of good quality hay so everything was good.

To sum up 2016 was a challenging and interesting year:

1) Breaking in a sensible gelding that I took to Windsor Castle to meet Her Majesty The Queen.

2) Producing 4 quality foals from my new stallion Linnel Riddler and selling 2 of them to be kept as breeding stallions.

3) Working with Mary Longsdon to organise the 'Guard of Honour' ride at Windsor Castle and making history for the Fell Pony Society.

4) Selling Nimrod as an unbroken 3yr old to a new Fell owner but a competent showing home.

5) Having time away from home and work with Donald, my husband; something we need to learn to do more of.

2015 News from Rackwood Fell Ponies

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