The most exciting news for this month is that finally I have managed to find a five year old that has passed the vet. I usually buy three and four year olds as soon as they are broken and rather amazingly they have almost always flown happily through their vettings. This time I wanted to buy something that was past the helicopter jumping stage, but that would run happily with Lava hof ter Zeedycke and fill the gap between her and Luendi. I am pretty realistic about vettings and realise that very few horses are absolutely perfect, especially once you start x-raying them from head to toe, but sadly the first two I found were a little bit too much of a risk for the money involved. However, Ami Carnet, of Talbot Sport Horses, sent me the details of a lovely grey mare who was with EquiPro Sport Horses near Bromsgrove, and three weeks later the lovely 5 year old Culana Z (Luna) was safely at home. She is by Calvados Z (Chellano Z) out of a Celano (Capitol 1) mare and we love her. She is so well behaved, and has been to two shows and jumped very well. She is straightforward and careful, and just a little bit green, but such a charming character that both Anna and Sophie hacked her out the first weekend we had her.
Lava hof ter Zeedycke (Katlin) has also been on her first two outings. We went schooling at Felbridge where she was fabulously well behaved and jumped absolutely everything first time. The following day we went to a clear round show at Felbridge where sadly she was somewhat less than pefectly behaved, but she still jumped very boldly round a 80cm course. I think she is going to be fantastic, and when she is good she feels as though she could be the best I have ever ridden, but she is having some teenage moments and doing her entirely by myself is really too difficult, so she is spending a couple of weeks at Breen Equestrian where Jeremy Sweetnam and Jack Dalton are doing a brilliant job with her under Shane's supervision. When she was broken she was very weak and backward, and although she did suggest the odd argument she wasn't strong enough to try it on. Having had six weeks in the field, she has come back beautiful and strong and ready to take us on - however, having watched Jack working her on Wednesday she looks as if she is thinking along the right lines now. She is very bold and actually finds her work fun and easy so hopefully she will go from strength to strength now.
The timing has worked very well as I have had to have my three hernias repaired by keyhole surgery. It all sounded very simple and easy so I didn't expect to wake up feeling as though I had been run over by a truck. Ten days later I am up and running nearly normally. Not going away for over a month means that my house is almost tidy, and the charity shops of Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill are full of paperback books and recycled clothes. Even Mark has been made to have his first clothes cull for 20 years. Part of my convalescence was to make 48 jars of apple chutney, so even the orchard and the larder look tidy now.
Culana Z has been a very good happy hacker and Doonaveeragh Emma and Luendi will come back into work on Monday. They have had a perfect Autumn holiday with lots of grass and sun, but there isn't much goodness left in the grass now and they look a bit bored and it will be good to have them off the fields as the weather gets colder and wetter.