Laurel View on Lockdown #Log 3

Week five of isolation complete? Or at least I think it’s been five weeks, days of the week no longer exist for me. It’s been another sublimely sunny week. As most Northern Irish people do, we spend most of the year praying for some decent weather, and in typically NI weather fashion it waits until one of the least convenient points to come through. We have been more than appreciative of this sunny spell during lockdown at the yard though, as not only does it mean we can ride outside and walk around without looking like the Michelin man due to our exorbitant layers of clothing, but we can even pick up a bit of a classic farmers tan (an exciting concept for an individual like me that frequently gets asked if I’m unwell due to my excessively pale skin).

Hugging a horseHowever much as I love the sunshine, I must now admit that a little rain is needed. Grass growth is on strike and the mares are soon going to be mowing their way into a third field. Crazy to think just over a month ago I was getting an exceptional leg workout done by trekking up one side of a field as if I had suction cups on my feet, and now I’m exiting the field lame on both feet as my ankles throb due to the rock solid ground. A little rain would work wonders; and then the sun could pop straight back up afterwards with a rainbow in tow. That would be nice wouldn’t it? Probably wishful thinking, so I will just have to keep my fingers and toes crossed.

This week some of the riding school boys were turning into the equine equivalent of couch potatoes, only moving for food. So to mix things up, you may have seen on our Facebook page, we reintroduced some familiar faces and our two yearlings over a couple of days, as each time a new horse was added in, the herd had to begin their essential ritual of chasing the newbies round the field to suss them out and establish the hierarchy. Copper and his new best bud Binx, one of the yearlings, were particularly enjoying all this excitement trying to round up the other horses for another quick spin long after the rest of the horses had firmly decided they had hit their exercise quota for the day.

Meanwhile on the yard, riding school OGs Sparky and Roly were living it up during a well-deserved pamper session in which they got a thorough groom, removing their winter coat. Their luxury treatment was transformational, with Sparky left sparkling and Roly looking as if he had rolled back the years to when he was a cool colt. This weekend the pampering sessions continue as we have begun to wash some of the other ponies’ tails and giving them each a good groom.Addy

The weight watchers crew have also now settled into their routine, as they now happily take themselves to the field each morning for a little indulgence. However, they certainly are not so enthusiastic about returning to fatty basecamp, walking at the same sluggish pace I tend to enter the gym with. Dieting is never a dream, but the importance of not letting the boys overindulge during lockdown was highlighted as Addy developed laminitis at the start of the week. Simply explained, this was caused by eating too much rich grass in which the sugar content is very high at this time of year, causing inflammation in the hooves, resulting in lameness. Some horses are more susceptible to this than others, so we are continuing to keep an extra careful eye on all the horses and ponies particularly those which we know are prone to laminitis. Thankfully, he was not overly bad, however, he is now staying in and on a strict diet, receiving hay nets containing a mixture of hay and haylage that have been soaked in water for several hours to keep the sugars to a minimum and encourage his quick recovery.

And that concludes this week’s Laurel View on Lockdown blog. I hope everyone is keeping safe and I will be back again next Sunday evening to tell you what we got up to in this upcoming week.