Where did the year go? It seems that I took my eye off the ball for a moment and wham! two months have passed and Christmas is coming. It's been a busy few weeks. The incessant wind, rain and general mud-misery of this time of year encouraged me to acknowledge my own limitations and make a decision about The Girls. Sometimes we aren't aware of the loads we carry around on our shoulders until we shed them. Horse management in the winter is a slog at the best of times. This autumn saw the fields steadily submerge into a quagmire, churned into a clammy clogging mess by cattle and horses alike.
The brutal freeze of last year almost defeated me. Almost but not quite. However it did make me quake at the thought of repeating it. As I can't lift buckets of water or feed I ended up with a weird mobile watering/feeding unit in the car (squashed between bales of hay) that consisted of garden water butts and varying lengths of hosepipe. A slow process hindered by the fact that my horses numbered three out of the eleven animals (cows and horses) in the field and I was the only one providing water! If that wasn't trying enough the mains water in the village froze and I had no water in the house for a fortnight over Christmas.This resulted in a number of strategically placed water butts around the house as well and my good friends went far beyond the call of duty in filling them for me. I assisted as best I could with my litre jug and my slow motion moving but I seemed to get in the way a lot and a lesser person might have thought that they hindered proceedings or even blamed me for the spillages. I know exactly how helpful I was and I don't really think the mockery was called for. Or the name calling. Fortunately P lived in the neighbouring village so we had daily trips to fill the water butts. During that time,somewhere between there and my house 40 gallons went astray and the car became a mobile watering/feed unit/hay shed/sauna/ice house. It's never been the same since. And it has an, er, 'interesting' odour. So this year I approached the shortening days with increasing trepidation until one morning I realised that it doesn't have to be that way. Five minutes drive up the road is a wonderful livery stable. A visit was arranged. Circumstances explained. Agreement reached.Finances assessed and bid farewell. And the upshot is that The Girls now live there.