By jasonbolger, Aug 1 2008 11:00AM
Sorry it's been so long since the last entry; really don't know where the time goes. After a fairly wet spring we were all really looking forward to a warm to hot, reasonability dry summer, but we're still waiting! It has been difficult, at times, to keep the really young foals warm, popping them in and out of the stables so they are dry, but so mum also gets enough grass.
Had a really good foaling season, but we still lost one foal, which was born dead. We had three foals each born with a leg back, another foal which was really tight and required a bit of tugging, and finally one which decided to stay in the bag then born, but all of these we managed to save, either through good management or pure luck! And, all this without the aid of cameras, but we do spent a lot of time wandering the fields at night, as the ponies do not seem to settle when stabled.
Last year we had mostly colts, so this year we thought it would be a better balance, however, we ended up with a 4 to 1 ratio of colts to fillies, perhaps there is something in the water! The strange thing is the cows have been producing nearly all heifer calves; only the ones starting to calf now are having bull calves, so hopefully next year it will be all change!
What a dreadful year for making hay, we still have a lot of rubbish left over from last year, so after a lot of waiting and watching the weather forecasts, we made silage for the cows and the ponies have some haylage, but really annoyingly the forecasted rain never came, for once, and we would have had some really good hay. Hopefully the ponies will enjoy it, they can have some of the old hay until it gets cold, and then start on the haylage.
The foals are beginning to get weaned now, the first two have been taken off mum. This year we tried letting mum back in at night for the first few days, hasn't made much difference, if anything it has made the foals clingier, as they spend all their time waiting for mum to go back in. So, now the mums have been taken away completely, and the foals are pleased to see us when we go into their paddock.
We rang the Shetland Society to enquire when the passports would be received, but they are so far behind preparing ponies for Society sales, they have not started on ours that were sent after the cut-off date for the sales, and as they are all taking holidays at the moment, I do not think the passports will be back for quite a while. We know what you're thinking, why don't we send for the passports earlier, but you have to wait until the foal sheds its foal coat as they often change colour, not usually to dramatically, but it can be enough to get the colour wrong. This year, again because of all the rain, the foal coats are not coming out very early, and I can't stay I blame them!
We are receiving a lot of enquires for foals, and several have already been booked. We have had a lot of visits from really nice people, for some it is the first time they will have owed a pony, and it is lovely to be able to offer them a foal that will be a delight to own. Some ponies follow the potential owners around, as if it were them who are doing the picking!