As old wives tales go, the one about snow hanging around under hedges being a sure sign there is more snow on the way, is one we repeat often in winter, and this year it has certainly proven to be the case but it is hard to believe the snow and ice is back with such a vengeance. This past week has actually been our toughest in lots of ways because the incessant rain has caused no end of problems. The yard drains have been unable to handle the sheer volume of water and most of the yards have been flooded. The gallop drains over flowed causing about 2 furlongs of woodchip to start floating downhill. Ian who is the best ‘drains man’ in the business was diverted from digging ditches and laying pipes for the newest of our log cabins and had to take one of his diggers onto the gallops to re dig the ditch that runs down the side of the all-weather.
Even the round canter was partially under water which is not something we have seen before. The roads have been unusable for horses because they are full of stones washed on to them from the fields, all three horse walkers have flooded, there are pot holes all over the place and worse of all the ground is so wet that when it froze the whole yard became an ice rink.
We managed to get the older horses out most days after heavy gritting the yards although we were unable to get them all out every day and the babies had to make do with the water treadmill daily which won't do them any harm. The pipes in the office are frozen, the taps on the yards need hot water pouring over them before they work although many years ago we remember conditions being far worse when the country was gripped with temperatures of minus ten 10 for over a month without any respite. We had no water whatsoever to any part of Sun Hill except the house and, having borrowed a massive bowser to sit on the back of the truck we spent four hours a day filling it via a hose pipe through the kitchen window and driving the truck and bowser around the yard to water the horses. That was the longest winter we have ever had and one we will never forget in a hurry, it almost makes this winter feel "balmy" of do I mean "barmy"?
As always the staff on the yard go about their jobs however tough things might be, with a smile on their faces, we might be fed up of the cold and the rain but we are all “still smiling” Just!