Preparing for winter in Scotland

The media has been reporting that winter is coming!. Bit obvious that, and snow is due here within a week. Well last night it was 11C overnight and down to 8C by sunrise. Luckily we haven’t had any frosts yet although sure that will happen now.

Every year we suffer with frozen water pipes in the stables and have to cart water. It’s a hard thankless task. Our stable troughs hold about 20 litres so at the worst we only have to top them up twice a day. This always happens when the weather is at it’s worst and we can put horses out.

So this year we have made a determined effort to put insulation on all our water pipes. Theory being if it does get cold we won’t have to cart water and if we do it may only be for a couple of days.

It is fiddly job using everything from No More Nails to gaffer tape and cable ties. It has been a fine fill in job on wet days!

The insulation we chose was the 15mm thick stuff and two sizes to cope with the main water pipes and the smaller down pipes. Used about 200 metres in all for the two stable blocks and the farm workshop area.

Lets just hope it works, so watch this space for when the white stuff arrives.  16th  October

 

Shelter

At last we have just about completed our field shelter.

Luckily the weather this last week was dry and we got the topsoil spread over the hard standing. The shelter is made up to two walls forming a T shape. So they have shelter from any direction that the wind may be blowing. We have used old telegraph poles buried 3 foot into the ground to support the 7ft high walls and the horses rubbing against them. The wooden panel wall is a division wall between two fields.

Key to something like this is drainage. We have put in a 6 inch diameter pipe down each side of the shelter and filled the trench full of stone to get maximum effect. Hopefully this will keep access area dry during the worst of the winter. I hope you can spot Nash taking in the sun and helping guide the fall of the pipe. If you can’t see him look again!

3rd October

Great how things grow at Toux

Toux Wise Guy, Maeve’s foal has certainly grown. Two month’s old now. It is getting to the point now that he needs to have to wear a hat now as he is getting very adventurous when he is taken in and out of his field and stable. Everything is just too interesting. He doesn’t seem bothered by tractors and trailers. Watching him the field and he never rest for long. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a play mate yet until he is weaned.

Another person who has grown up is Toux Seamus.

He is of to be broken soon and here he is doing some preparatory work. Everything he took in his stride. The saddle, loose stirrups and being lunged. The only aspect he wasn’t too sure of were the long reins.

 Luckily the school was weeded before the picture was taken but that is 18 months the school has been down and it is just perfect. the Building behind is one of two stable blocks.

Finally a quick snap shot of Caerba Legacy playing in his field!

28th September

Muck away

What do you do with your horse muck?

We have tried to turn a problem into a benefit at Toux. The muck is barrowed out to our muck heap and we empty the heap twice a year. Each Autumn and Spring time.  The muck is left in heaps and turned over every so often and composted. Usually the heap will get up to about 66 to 70C temperature and this should kill all the unwanted bugs etc over a few months.  As you can see our heap has gone and has been spread onto one of the paddocks. This saves having to buy fertiliser to feed the grass. And while the muck is absorbed into the ground it gives us the chance to sort out the old fences. We usually leave the field empty for about 2-3 months depending on the weather. We spread it with a tractor and old Zetor muck spreader and it is just an afternoons work.

Generally we have enough muck to treat only one field at any one time. So each field gets a covering every 2-3 years. Before you know where we are the heap has started to grow again!

the finished product doesn’t really smell and is just like the dark brown compost you see in the garden centre. The old hay is rotted down and there is no way of knowing it was horse muck. It is hot and a lot of steam is given off when it is spread. So there really is money where there is muck.

20th September

Toux at the 32nd. Irish Draught Breed Show

As our horsebox cools down after a blustery trip home from the 32nd Irish Draught Breed Show at Onley Equestrian Centre near Rugby I was handed a scribbled note from the assistant to the assistant sub editor!

The two youngsters which Ann recently sold were at the Show, Toux Ula and Toux Tilly, and they both really did well. Also in the Aberdeenshire entourage were Toux Omar and Bulwark Lady Luck who sire is Caerba Legacy. 

 Here  is Omar doing what he loves best! Thanks to Real Time Imaging and there are even more photos of Omar on their website. Not bad for a TWIN. As for the three grooms that attended I gather from the giggles that they had sufficient to drink and eat and generally had a super time.

So 3 horses out of 6 in the Filly Young Stock Class where out of Caerba Legacy. Toux Ula, 2 year old, was Female Champion. Ann recieved many favourable comments about Ula especially from the Irish who thought she she was best horse of the Show. But her age and lack of competition experience burst her bubble in the end. But there will be other years.

Omar was highest placed owner breeder in all of his 3 Classes which included I D Gelding in hand and  Show Cob. But his excitement did run away with himself as he bucked twice whilst the Judge was riding him ~ silly boy. But then he obviously was enjoying the party.

Toux Tilly and Sharon were awarded the plate for the furthest travelled to the Show.

The best part was that everyone got home safely and the horsebox did it’s bit without breaking down, thumbs up for Volvo even through the wind and rain from Katrina was a bit much and closed the main Scottish bridges on the way home. The horses arrived back without even sweating up. Thanks to Sam W for putting these words together. 13th SEptember