The Rug


Over Murphy’s stable door is a rug, a thin navy blue quilted rug. That’s odd, I think, where is his navy and green checked rug, he wears underneath? Or maybe Jeanette just wants this one on?

I go into the stable and heave off Murphy’s turnout rug and throw on the thin quilted stable rug. As I carry on round the yard, I start to shiver. The afternoon is getting colder. I send Jeanette a text to say is it just this one rug, she wants him to wear?

I get no reply, so go and hunt for Murphy’s navy and green checked rug. After much searching, I locate it. It is lying on the floor behind the door of the empty stable next door to Murphy.

I go back in to Murphy, take off his quilted stable rug and start again with the rugs – navy and green checked, followed by the quilted stable rug.

He looks pleased, if not a little perplexed at my doing his rugs for the second time in one afternoon.

I carry on changing rugs and picking out feet. Larry needs stable bandages on and Gemma needs her foot tubbing with salt water, the horses that live out still  need feeding, there are waters to refill, more hay and feeds to put round.

Then I get a text from Jeanette to say ‘just his quilted rug’.

I say ‘are you sure. It’s freezing?’

‘Oh yes, he’ll be fine.’

I know Murph is chunky but he’s clipped and it is icy.

So I go back into his stable for the third time and pull his rugs off and put just the thin quilted one on.

He’s just warm enough with the navy and green check and the thin quilted one: his teeth are going to be chattering in just the quilted.

I feel so bad about taking it off, I even check Jeanette’s list of when she’s going to be in. It looks like she’s in the following morning so I can’t ignore the only one rug request!

In one afternoon I’ve been in to do one horse’s rugs three times and feel I am caught between a rock and a hard place!

Note to self: don’t ask next time!


Bisto has gone


Bisto pops the jump in the arena, clears the five bar gate (normally opened and closed for horses to enter and leave) and trots back to his stable.

We all look at each other.

Ollie shouts “Did you record that?” and then runs after Bisto.

I have to say, this colt is mighty sporty!

Leaving the arena and splashing through the mud back to the yard has turned Bisto’s white bandages the same colour as the rest of him. He is now all Bisto. Not such a good look for You Tube.

Having jumped out of the arena, Bisto clearly feels he has done enough.

I think he’ll just need to do a small planned jump and leave the arena with us rather than on his own and that will be his work for today.

However, he’s going to do a bit more and my job is now to be gate monitor as he is no longer heading for the herd (Justine and I in the middle) but trying to make a quick exit! And I am to wave a lunge whip, should Bisto dare to come close enough to the gate to escape.

This would not be so bad apart from Bisto is quite fearless and lunge whip waving has to be enthusiastic enough to make him stop and not leap out of the arena, but not enough to scare the living daylights out of him!

Each time he screeches to a halt just in front of me!

When he has done the jump he is supposed to jump and cantered to me, my job is to collect him back up and give him back to Ollie.

There must be a better way to film young horses, in fact any horses.

I wonder if Ollie has tried standing in the middle with a lunge whip with whoever is recording standing at the edge of the arena?

Getting a video of Bisto may not be as easy as originally thought. It could take a few weeks of loose schooling over small jumps.

That said, if you want an eventer, watch the footage of him leaving the arena: he makes the five bar gate look like a cavaletti!







Larry and the Zamar machine


Larry is to have the Zamar machine on his legs. The what? I hear you say.

The Zamar system is a time saving alternative to applying ice boots for cold and bandages to the horse’s legs for warmth, but not if you’re the one standing with the horse! It is used in competition horses before and after competition for maintentance and also for injury.

Needless to say, Larry is having it on for injury. Somehow he has managed to bang his cannon bone.

The Zamar machine has wraparound boots for the horse’s legs. The boots are filled with glycol, which gets extremely cold and cools the legs, and come with lots of hoses and so the horse, when fully kitted out, looks like an astronaut. Recommended factory settings are between 3 and 40 degrees Celsius however, when the machine says it is at minus 5 degrees Celsius, you are apparently good to go?

Only you don’t do any going, you have to stand for twenty minutes with the horse wearing the contraption of hoses which go over the withers down to the legs and boots.

You can get cold only Zamar machines and Zamars that provide hot and cold therapy in cycles to the horse’s legs and massage to promote improved circulation and healing. I presume the one we’re using is cold only as we’re still bandageing Larry’s legs for warmth.

No better horse than Larry to have to stand still with! I jest.

Yesterday, we made the mistake of putting the Zamar in the stable with Larry and me. He tried to knock the machine over, chew the hoses, pull his boots off, bite my jacket, nibble my wellies, pull my hair, and bite my finger. This required patience as if Larry senses he is annoying you, he backs off taking the Zamar with him!

This wouldn’t be so bad apart from the Zamar machine is expensive and would appear to be a little top heavy, so any lack of attention could lead to it inadvertently being knocked for six! Although, the boots are allegedly quick release and if the horse pulls back, the boots come off. Sounds excellent in theory, but in practice I’m not convinced they would quick release quite so readily! It looked like the machine was about to fall over rather than quick release to me.

And as for Larry having to have the boots on for twenty minutes. Say no more!

Today my heart sank when Ollie said Larry had to have the Zamar on again. However, this time I had a better plan – leave the Zamar outside the stable and stand outside the stable with the Zamar, leaving Larry inside the stable once attached to it.

This, together with the fact I had a packet of polos in my pocket, worked a treat. I treated Larry with polos and tickled his nose for twenty minutes.

He’s not used to polos as he struggled to get them off my hand, but he loved them!

Jeanette and Georgia came over with a cup of tea to chat. I was able to drink my tea and tickle Larry’s nose and feed him polos. Apart from being frozen to the bone from standing still outstide the stable for twenty minutes in sub zero temperatures, I have to say that today’s Zamar time went very quickly indeed!

Note to self: I think I might need to buy one of those heated gilets if Larry has to do many more days on the Zamar.

A new broom


How sad am I?

I am seriously excited about a new yard brush!

What’s even more sad, is that it’s not even mine!

Jeanette bought it from Castle Rider in Fram and it is quite honestly the best yard brush I have ever used! It is lightweight, brightly coloured and it springs along the ground, leaving no trace of straw or shavings behind!

I found myself imploring Ollie to have a go with it and Roz. In fact, anyone who came on the yard. I think I need to tone down this crazy behaviour or they’ll be locking me up.

Both had a tentative brush with it but I could see their excitement was far more contained than mine, probably because they do not have to endure the end of the day ‘little sweep’, when you are on your knees with exhaustion and still have the yard to make presentable!

I noticed on its label it said ‘Tubtrugs’. That said, it’s a brush not a trug! Tubtrugs are clearly geniuses, making trugs, brushes and who knows what else. I must investigate the Tubtrug empire.

Apparently, there’s one yellow brush left in the shop. I may just have to go and treat myself!

It’s one of those pieces of equipment, that when you go to do someone else’s horses, you really wish you had one with you.

The best thing about it, is that it is only £14. Money well spent I’d say!

Poor Jeanette. She bought the brush and she’s used it a bit, but nowhere near as much as me

Shame the one in the shop is yellow. It won’t go so well with my pink fork!

If I keep failing to buy matching equipment, I’m going to look like Joseph and his amazing technicoloured dreamcoat soon.

But, I’ve just got to have one!