The bad weather has delayed everything, lambs haven’t been marked, sheds are waiting to be cleaned out and some of our cows and calves are still inside. Whilst many farmers around us are busy mowing their grass, ours remains untouched.
The bank holiday weekend was spent gathering, much to John-William’s delight! Ewes and lambs from the meadows were brought round into the yard, the ewes wormed and checked over, the lambs ear tagged and vaccinated.
It’s a slow process, ensuring nothing is missed and all lambs are correctly “mothered up”. Feet are checked and overall condition before they are pushed back up onto the moors where they will spend the rest of the summer. John-William’s mood has been buoyant! Skipping around the yard, singing to himself, smiling from ear to ear.
His change in demeanour brought about by a week off school, plus the glorious weather has raised everyone’s spirit. After several days of “sheeping” as he calls it, we headed to a show with the beautiful Bronze. His lead rein classes with me at his side long gone.
Instead I pace nervously up and down the edge of the ring as he navigates his way around a course of jumps. It’s quite a step up for him. Very few shows put on tiny tots classes where the jumps are very small so he’s usually thrown in at the deep end with more challenging courses. After performing brilliantly in his first class we walked the course together for the next.
I kept my thoughts to myself as we moved from jump to jump, hoping my face didn’t give away my concerns. The height was on the edge of his comfort zone but the spook factor was going to be the problem. He was adamant he wanted to give it a go and after shouts of encouragement I was left alone as he entered the ring.
He sailed over the first jump, the second one built to look like a sausage dog, no problems. The third was a double, big and with foxhounds painted on it. Straight over. My nerves started to ease as he turned sharply to jump a stile that was covered in bright green tinsel.
Bronze, being young, was busy watching ponies in the next door ring, so the tinsel fluttering in the breeze came as quite a shock to him. Eyes bulging in surprise he changed direction whilst John-William headed for the jump.
He executed a near perfect dismount, a full 360, legs beautifully straight followed by a ninja roll and straight back up onto his feet. Clearly his gymnastics lessons are paying off. His disappointment was palpable. The ring steward got to him as he was frantically trying to get back on board.
Unfortunately, once you’ve parted company you have to leave the ring. In my day, you’d have got back on and continued but as health and safety dictates everything these days, for John-William, the show was over.