Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Horse of the Year Show 2012

As expected Almond was a huge hit at HOYS!

Read on to hear all about his adventure…….

Maria, Almond & Linzi

Almond was the perfect candidate for representing The Moorland Mousie Trust and the Exmoor pony in the Interactive Feature Area at the world's most famous horse show. He is so kind, gentle and very friendly.

After a month or so of preparation at Linzi’s house, the day arrived for his trip.

On Tuesday 2nd October, Linzi and Maria were busily packing the trailer while Almond relaxed peacefully in his field, little knowing that in only a few hours time he would be on his travels up the M5. Like a star, he loaded well and off we went in terrible heavy rain storms.

Almond quickly settled and we were soon entering the chaos of the NEC car parks and the Horse of the Year Show behind the scenes. After filling in the paperwork and a quick vet inspection, Almond was unloaded and settled into a stable. Easy life for him! Maria, Linzi and Juliet still had to set up the stand, and were in for a late night!

Early the next morning, Linzi and Maria were keen to check that Almond was still relaxed and coping with the show environment. Well, you couldn’t have wanted better – a happy pony, pleased to see Linzi and Maria looking over the door.

After a quick tidy up, and a short leg stretch for Almond, it was time to introduce him to the inside of the NEC and the wonders of thousands of people with lots of shopping bags!! But no need to worry. He walked into the feature area as if he knew where he was going and that was the start of five days of meeting the public and showing them how wonderful Exmoor ponies can be.

He took part in the 'Think Like a Pony' demonstration, showing the keen intelligence of Exmoor ponies. He also enjoyed meeting lots of Exmoor pony owners and enthusiasts throughout the week.

A big hit with Almond was his next stable neighbour, a 4 year old Irish draught called Louis. Louis was quite a character and escaped at night on more than one occasion, keeping the night time security on their toes!!  No doubt Almond was encouraging him all the time!

Before they knew it the weekend had arrived and Almond, Linzi and Maria were handing out stacks of leaflets and chatting to as many people as possible about the amazing, versatile qualities of Exmoor ponies.

By Sunday evening it was all over. The truck and trailer were packed and ready and everyone pleased to be heading home having had a fabulous time. Almond strolled into the trailer and back down the M5 they went.

Almond will no doubt be pleased to be home, but to have had that learning experience and to have made friends with so many people and ponies is something that will stay with him.

Will Almond be making an appearance at HOYS next year??? We will just have to wait and see!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

PROFILE. Lorna - Volunteer

I started being a volunteer at the Exmoor Pony Centre in summer 2011, rather by accident.

Whilst walking my dogs on Winsford Hill, I came across people on horseback and in 4 x 4's and wondered what they were up to, as it was not the hunting season. Being a nosey person I had to find out what they were doing and was told that they were assisting with the rounding up the ponies for a vet check.

After chatting about what they do, I went along to the Centre to investigate further. I liked the idea of helping the Exmoor ponies but had no experience with horses at all. There was some work needed doing in the office so that is where I started.
I have learnt a lot about the ponies and the Moor by listening to other staff and volunteers talking to visitors. It did make me realise that I knew very little. In fact, I knew nothing about the management of the herds. I had no idea that the Exmoor pony was an endangered species.

All the staff and volunteers have been very patient with me, especially when there has been the opportunity to handle the ponies. I can now put on a head collar and fill and hang a hay net (which to the uninitiated is not as easy as it sounds). I have even had a go at foal handling which was the most amazing experience. I was able to 'cuddle' a foal that had been running free on the Moor earlier in the year! Everyone should try this; it is very therapeutic.

Identifying the ponies at the Centre is really difficult for me because they all look very alike. Fortunately, they are all branded with an individual number which helps.

I thoroughly enjoy my days at the Centre, meeting visitors and talking to the ponies. I have even taken my Rotties to meet the ponies, nose to nose! Who knows what challenges may be thrown at me in the future!



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Foal Handling

The Centre will soon be welcoming this year's new foals, following the Autumn Gathering.

If you would like to watch the foals being handled, or have a go at handling yourself, the event will take place between 9th and 20th November from 9.30 am until 4.00 pm.

The day will begin with an introduction to the work of The Moorland Mousie Trust and the Exmoor Pony Centre, followed by a briefing on what to expect of the day. Then you will be introduced to the foals you will be handling. This will take place in small groups using skills and techniques that can be drawn on in many areas of equestrianism.

Spaces are limited so if you are keen to have a hands-on experience with young Exmoor pony foal, be sure to book early. The cost is £50 per participant and includes lunch.

Please note that participants should have a basic knowledge of equine behaviour and the minimum age limit is 16 years old.

However, we welcome spectators and there is no charge to come and watch the foal handling taking place.

 For more information please email or call us (01398 323093) for a leaflet.