Wednesday, 6 January 2010

In the morning snow

The snow has arrived. Days later than snow in the north country and in Wales. A light, wet fall in the night gave way to fine whirling flakes in a morning snowstorm. Birds are hungry and feeding continuously on bird tables, nut nets and wire hangers full of fat balls and old cheese.

Over the Forest gate is a silent world of white. I move around the fields with my wheelbarrow of hay. Snowfall hides my footsteps before it is time to return home. Our local New Forest ponies have heard me through the hedge and are waiting for a scrap of hay to help them through a day of gorse and holly. There is no grass.

Snow swirls fast and fine across the fields.

Beechmast against a snowing sky.

Breakfast at last! The iron grey pony on the right will be three this spring. He was an orphan from 2007. We took him in when his mother was killed by a hit-and-run car driver on a nearby lane. The owner of his mother is an elderly commoner who was unable to rear the foal, so the Grey One came to us as a six week old as the Agister`s other choice was to shoot him. That summer we had three orphans to raise, but that is another story. Long days and nights of mixing foal milk in buckets and teaching these young ones that human touch is a kind thing to know.

An ancient oak in the old hedge boundary. Thick with ivy and holly, the birds will find night shelter here when darkness falls.

The oldest beech in the boundary hedge. Pollarded hundreds of years ago, its great side branches were iced with snow this morning.

A New Forest mare reaches for a feed of holly by the back gate.

Backs to the East wind, these two have lived through many winters in the hills and valleys around us.

This grey filly is half sister to our orphaned Grey One. They share the same sire who is a beautiful iron grey with a good temperament. He was a Forest stallion for several years but has now been gelded and has a new career as a riding pony .
The filly was born in the gorse bushes on Stonechat Hill.

Out on the open Forest.

Snow on the lane.

Fudge the filly is in perfect camouflage today.


Kath said...

Tough guys those new Forest ponies!

rachel said...

Winter is beautiful, but harsh. How hardy your ponies must be!

Such a lovely post, thank you.

ren said...

wow wonderful snowy pics!

Morning's Minion said...

Prickly holly doesn't sound like appealing fodder. I'm so glad you feed the ponies whatever you can share. I expect we would beggar ourselves caring for hungry animals. Thank you for posting the photos and the "stories" of these creatures.