A "rollercoaster" of emotions over the Bank Holiday weekend for the residents of the farm on the M62

The Easter Bank Holiday weekend turned out to be a rollercoaster of emotions for us. We had a busy schedule of ponies, sheep and thankfully plenty of sunshine.

Outdoor lambing is due to start at the farm on the M62

Our first show was over on the west coast near the beaches of Southport, where Ginger McCain famously trained the magnificent Red Rum. Alas there was little glory for us as the reality of a relatively inexperienced pony and young jockey bit deep.

Despite everything looking promising whilst warming up, nerves clearly got the better of them in the ring. The combination of an incredibly busy venue and their first time jumping in a sloping grass ring resulted in a tearful exit after failing to get past fence five.

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I shared John-William’s bitter disappointment as I wiped the tears from his streaming cheeks. Bronze has proved to be a genuine pony and has rarely let John-William down, but we were reminded that he is not a machine and sometimes even the best of ponies have off days.

My mum always says “green on green can make black and blue”, which basically means a novice combination can often result in bumps and bruises! Thankfully, the pair didn’t part company due to some seriously impressive stickability from the little guy but pride and confidence were definitely bruised.

The next show on Bank Holiday Monday proved much more rewarding with plenty of rosettes, a sash to add to his steadily growing collection and huge smiles all-round. We headed home with a mountain of Easter eggs that he’d won and confidence restored, back to the lambing fields and hard work!

I was pleased to see that steps are being made towards closing parts of The New Forest in Hampshire in an attempt to boost successful hatching of chicks from ground nesting birds.

Hopefully, similar action will be taken on our uplands where the lack of care or consideration towards not only wildlife but livestock continues at an alarming rate. A warm bank holiday weekend fills me with dread as it only means one thing; people, dogs, barbecues and litter.

The aftermath of a sun-filled break can often be devastating for landowners with countless sheep attacks from out-of-control dogs as well as wall and fencing damage, gates left open and lanes blocked by inconsiderate parking.

There needs to be a huge educational drive alongside hefty fines and prosecution for those that refuse to abide by the law.

Our hill sheep will begin lambing soon which can be particularly stressful for us as they are lambed outdoors. The Herdwicks are left to it with very little interference from us, which seems to suit them just fine.

How much longer we will be able to leave them to give birth and rear their lambs in the Deanhead valley is uncertain. Again, endless hoards of people and dogs making it virtually impossible to leave them there. It’s a desperately sad state of affairs.