Sunday, 26 December 2010

Another Christmas day over with but the luscious, comforting vibe lingers on. Here, the snow outside is a pain - it's no longer snow but solid ice and lethal.

We have had Nana with us now for almost two weeks, she's been poorly but is on the mend - to be honest it feels natural for her to be here with us but then I grew up with a grandparent in the house, my Granada, he was our third parent and always there.

She is such an independent stick though that I know she will be back off to her own home as soon as she's able.

Too many chocolates and too much wine, and a diet to look forward to in the New Year (same for all of us I'm sure).

Dotty has had a good time I think, she is happy with what 'Santa' brought her, but she has taken to silent mode - teenage sullenness at nine years old can you believe - so it's difficult to get much out of her.

Puppy Spice has had a great time too - there are doggy treats lying all over the room and he's had so much turkey and gammon... he's a happy chap. The cats - Socky and Rosie - have had their fair share but they still wish the yappy doggy would disappear I'm sure.

I do enjoy Christmas, being at home with the family and relaxing is something to be savoured and hardly ever happens throughout the rest of the year. I even bought a newspaper today - and I intend to read it. I've still a few days of leisure left before returning to the real world after all.

Soooo bored.....

With all of the horses being in for the past week or so - since the snow the yard is a total ice rink - I've been thinking about ways to make the day more interesting as it must be soooo boring being stuck in a stable all day. For me as well, there's the added worry of arthritis (John's not mine) and swollen legs (again John's not mine). He needs gentle exercise - but if we can't ride out and he can't go out into the field what are we supposed to do?

Given that I can't stay with him all day, grooming him or telling him jokes, what's the alternative?

We do have a ball, it's an oval football. We did have one of those hexagonal ones, the unbreakable ones, but I loaned it to a friend last winter and her pony broke it. Our oval football keeps him interested for oh about 10 minutes, then he gets fed up and hoofs it into the wall with a look that says 'just give me the treats it would be easier'.

So I decided to research the subject - what can you do to alleviate the boredom if your horse cannot go out into the field:

This first one didn't take up too much time - from experience, all I have to do is scratch his ears and he's happy - but you can't do that for hours on end.

Footballs - hexagonal or oval-shaped, you just insert the treats in one end, the horse kicks it around the stable, then the treats fall out the other end to reward patient horse.

Mirrors - I haven't used one of these but the idea is that the horse sees his reflection and thinks he has a friend with him, someone to talk to so he doesn't get bored or stressed. Don't know how John would react to a mirror, probably try to eat it or groom it.

Likits - these are horsey sweets and they do adore them. The first time I gave John a Likit a few years ago he didn't know what to do with it. He soon got the hang of it though and loves them - though the size of his tummy means we don't indulge too often. And he hasn't got the hang of the name, Likit, he bites it and tries to eat it all in one, plastic holder included.

Hiding carrots in the stable - these days he misses carrots in his feed, so the chances of him finding carrots hidden in his stable are quite slim I think.

With any luck the snow will soon melt and life will get back to normal for John and his pals, until then, any suggestions for alleviating the boredom of being stuck in the stable would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Christmas crackers

Why is it everybody has to have the perfect Christmas? Every magazine I pick up at the moment has 'handy hints and tips' on how to achieve it, or even a complete countdown to the big day, from when to wrap presents to when to carve the turkey? Surely it's just one big lesson in how to become completely stressed out over an occasion that should be fun and relaxing?

'Relaxing' I can hear you shout from here. 'Christmas, relaxing, how mad is she'? Well quite, as it turns out, but that's another story. Think about it - does it really matter is you're still shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve, never mind wrapping them? Does it matter if the dinner isn't ready dot on three, or the potatoes are out of synch with the bread pudding? Everybody will enjoy the meal anyway and you will certainly enjoy it a lot more if you are more chilled and less frazzled.

I think we all risk forgetting this is supposed to be a happy time, and whether that's because of the expectations heaped upon us or us heaping them on ourselves I don't know. I'm not being bah humbug, I love Christmas and the build up to it. I just don't see why it should be a time that puts so much pressure on people. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate, to cook dinner, to shop or spend time with family and friends, just the way of the individual - that's what matters. And if you eat your dinner at 5 and forget all about the Christmas pudding, that's up to you, and not some cookery editor on a magazine somewhere.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow go!

It is just 2 December and we have had so much snow it's untrue! It is soooo cold and even though it does look beautiful, half an hour in it and my toes were dropping off. Anya and Spice have been loving it though (and school was closed today so that made Dot very happy).

We went for a walk on the white side this morning and both daughter and dog had a lovely time...

Snow fun

The horses are in, it's too slippy to turn them out. My boy doesn't like staying in and he certainly lets you know it. I did turn him out on Tuesday as frankly, even a couple of hours out is better than nothing - for his joints and his mood. He couldn't wait to get out but once he was in his field he started to whinny - 'What am I doing here mam, why is it so cold and where's the grass gone.' The other horses were uncovering the grass, wiping away the snow with their hooves; my prima donna was just standing there, waiting for someone (me) to do it for him.

Anyway, after mucking out I went back to the field to give him some hay and he had eventually deigned to clear away the snow for himself.

Since then he's been stuck in his stable, along with the others,so he's not a happy chappy. Looking at the snow coming down outside there doesn't seem much chance of him getting out for a few days yet.

What do other people do in this situation, to stave off boredom (the horse's, not mine)?