The temperatures have risen here and today has been warm and sunny. A lovely early spring day of birdsong and opening buds. We had rain earlier this week, so the grass is beginning to grow again. This is a good time to photograph the ponies in our care, so that we can monitor their condition and hopefully prevent too much weight gain and its accompanying health risks.
They are all native ponies and have wintered well on a little hay each morning and evening, plus a small, low calorie feed containing a vitamin and mineral supplement.
The Grey One, our New Forest orphan, is no longer a foal. He is rising five this spring and now stands at around 14 hands high. His coat is as long and fluffy as they come, but underneath this he is well covered. I can hardly feel his ribs, so hay will be reduced now and he will be carefully watched. Hopefully he will soon begin some training with a view to backing him later this year.
Jay has worn a rug all winter and is enjoying the feel of warm sunshine on his back. He has lost a little weight but has a small extra feed of cool conditioning mix for his supper. He is sleek and glossy and I am looking forward to gently riding him again this summer. He and the Grey One are great friends and both have the kindest of temperaments.
Woody has a long back, but he is looking sleek and well despite being in a small field. Another one to watch as the grass begins to appear.
The retired old Golden Girl has wintered much better than she did last year. She will be twenty two this spring. She has kept her weight on and will need a smaller grazing area as summer approaches. Her winter rug came off for the day and she has had another wonderful roll in the mud since this photo was taken!
Our neighbours` cat on the fence. A feral stray who turned up in her garden, he has been cared for and fed so that now he is a fit, fluffy young cat. He does not like being touched but watches me working in the field from a safe distance.
The Ginger One looks wild and woolly after the winter and will need his mane sorting out one day soon.
Chocolate Pony follows on behind.....
....and both of them are well covered after the winter. They are currently in a smaller field and on "Weight Watchers" rations.
Walking back across the fields, I had to undergo the usual camera inspection from the Grey One, who would follow me around all day if he had the chance.....