Stories from Farfrae Farm

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Mares, Mares! Everywheres!

It's been a busy week here at Farfrae. In preparation for the summer season, we've been doing some much needed spring cleaning. The barns have been scrubbed, tack has been sorted, cleaned and repaired, and the horses have all had a good going over.

A few of our older residents have been retired to the "Old Friends" pasture, so we've found ourselves a bit short of mounts, making it necessary to scour the horse world for a few good ponies.

Morgan is always my partner in crime for this kind of thing as he has a brilliant eye for spotting potential and is of a very practical bent and keeps me from taking on too many charity cases.

Our first stop was the local farm animal sanctuary where we found a pair of half-sisters who had been surrendered recently as neglect cases.

It wasn't anything malicious or deliberately neglectful, it was just a sad case of someone getting too old to cope, but not having anyone to turn to for help.

Gris-Gris and Velveeta are around eight and nine years old, respectively and are part Welsh, part Thoroughbred.

They weren't handled much at their old home, but they were gently broken in at the rescue and have turned into a lovely little pair of riding ponies.

We arranged to pick them up on Saturday, little dreaming how busy that day would turn out.

Saturday morning rolled around and Morgan and I decided to check out a general animal sale at the auction mart in the next town over, not expecting to find anything, just looking to kill a little time on a rainy day before we needed to pick up the new girls.

There wasn't much of a crowd, but we did spot a few of the kill-buyers we've seen before. We were a little late, so we didn't have time to walk the pens, so we weren't too sure what we were going to see coming to the auction block.

The auction mainly consisted of cattle with a spattering of sheep; there were a few horses, but they were all too old for our purposes.

What crowd there was had mostly dispersed when the final lot was led out.

A very frighted and fairly young grey mare skittered around at the end of her reins, when she held still one could see by her chunky build she probably had more than a touch of Highland in her.

Such a meaty little pony was of interest to the remaining kill-buyer, but no one else seemed to want to have a go.

The auctioneer did her best to build up the little thing, telling us the pony was a well trained Pony Club mount and was only being sold on as her owner was moving on to a larger, more competitive horse, and would come with her own tack and rug.

At this point the mare gave out a sort of helpless whinny and we were lost.

The kill-buyer became discouraged after a few bids narrowed his profit margin and we became the owners of one lovely little pony for a ridiculously low price. I named her "Moonshadows" on the spot.

The auction was the easy part, now we had to get Moonshadows home, and there wasn't much time until we needed to pick up the girls from the rescue center!

Luckily it's a fairly short drive to Farfrae and the horse box was already ready to roll for the planned pick-up today, so Morgan drove the jeep home while I stayed with Moonshadows and talked to the mother of her former owner.

45 minutes later he pulled through the gate with the horsebox. Shadow loaded like an old pro and we headed for home.

While we were driving I filled Morgan in on the information I had gotten about her. Moonshadows was formerly Moonbeam, is a twelve year old part-bred Highland Pony. She is an excellent riding pony and has even been broken to harness, but she does not care much for jumping.

We pulled into the yard just a few minutes later, unloaded Shadow, and left her in Mona's capable hands while we headed to the hills to pick up the other new girls.
Even though they had only ridden in a trailer once in their lives, Velveeta and Gris-Gris loaded quite easily as the center includes loading practise as part of their training curriculum.

An hour and a half later we were back in our own yard unloading for the second time that day.

The three new girls got a thorough grooming, a nice dinner, and cosy stalls in the newcomer barn.

We'll introduce them to the rest of the riding string tomorrow.