Pony Blog

On February 24th Kuki, aged 12, who lives here at Landmatters with her family, The Warburtons, walked Gem, a majestic gypsy cob piebald gelding, 15 miles from Collaton St. Mary to Landmatters…where he has joined and been settling in with Grace and May our two Dartmoor Hill Ponies…

Through dip and dell, through woods and across meadows, along creeks and green lanes, over bridges and through the town centre in Totnes…she undertook the challenge as a sponsored walk to raise money to help with Gem’s training and to further infrastructure for working horses and ponies here at Landmatters….

The Pony team offer Natural and Working Horsemanship experiences to a broad range of people, including those on low incomes and with different needs…whilst promoting the reintroduction of the working pony and horse to everyday life…

If you’d like to read more and view films about the work that we do here at Landmatters with the ponies…please visit the Pony Blog…

Kuki’s sponsored walk has so far raised £160  ! If you’d like to make a donation to help us with our work ( we’re aimimg to buy a working horse harness- cost £500 ) please click on the donate button at the top of this page.

All donators ( if they wish ) will receive regular updates on our progress and invitations for courses and events run by the Pony team.

Enjoy the Film !

Pony’Om’ Shanti

Miranda and Kuki, Grace, May and Gem. xxxx

Hooray……and here it is…the movie of Kuki and Gem’s

mythical walk…..with huge gratitude to all of you who

sponsored  her…Pony ‘Om’ Shanti xxx

Copy and paste the link below to see the film of the walk….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW1Us7moAgo

Kuki’s Amazing 15 mile ! ! !  Sponsored Walk

Challenge….! ! !

On a day to be arranged ( meaning when the weather is set to be kind ! ) during the next two weeks, Kuki will walk fifteen miles leading a mythical Gypsy Cob horse called ‘Gem’ from Collaton St. Mary to Landmatters here in Allaleigh…

Gem has just come into Kuki’s life after being in her dreams for quite some years, and will join Grace and May, our two gorgeous Dartmoor Hill Ponies and become one of the Pony’Om’ flagbearers for a more sustainable world… ( he is absolutely beautiful and we are so excited ! )

He will be trained holistically with love and patience to work in the gardens and woods, addressing some of our land based work needs here at Landmatters…and provide opportunitites for us and the wider community to experience the hugely supportive and transformative relationship we can share with horses…through workshops, skillshares, courses and specialist days..( see information on Landmatters website about our forthcoming day dedicated to learning about the holistic prevention and management of Laminitis )

The Sponsored walk challenge will take Kuki and Gem along green lanes and byways, through meadows, villages and town centres, up and down the steeply rolling Devonshire hills, by the coast, across streams and through woods…it will be a beautiful walk…with many challenges…

Last year Kuki took on a similar walking challenge when she helped move 6 horses and ponies from the Dartmoor Pony Training Centre across Dartmoor to their new fields in Buckland…she completed the walk in 6 hours !, with no tears, a few rides and a beautiful day to remember for the rest of her life…

Please help Kuki, by sponsoring her challenge, to raise money so that through our group Pony’Om’,  she can further enable others to share in the magic that horses and people can share…Pony ‘Om’ are especially committed to sharing this magic with those on low incomes and who have different needs…

If you would like to make a sponsorship pledge please txt your name and an amount per mile eg. Jane Harvey, £1 per mile to Miranda’s mobile number  :  07739 468397

or email Miranda and Kuki  :  thewarburtons@hotmail.com

we will acknowledge your pledge soon and get back to you when the walk has been completed with a roundup of the days events and some photos and film ! xx

Many Thanks…

Love and Light

Miranda and Kuki xxxx

Pony’Om’

Pony ‘Om’

November Newsletter…

A sad bout of Laminitis for May….and an opportunity to Adopt Grace or May and help Pony’Om’

At the beginning of September this year..despite having been grazed under what we had thought was a strict enough strip grazing system, May showed the distinct signs of Laminitis…I had been checking Grace’s digital pulse throughout the summer, when we were training her to lift her feet,      it’s a pulse you can feel on the back of the foot if a pony or horse is becoming Laminitic…but because May is still wild and untouched..it was impossible to check hers…so I had been watching her but she had seemed well..It would seem incredibly fortunately I had never had a horse or pony that has had Laminitis before…but I now know how quickly the condition can appear…

May is now recovered and back to her beautiful wily self…she’s cantering about in the wind..and looking beautifully alert and out of pain…and like Grace has developed her thick shaggy wintery coat..

om nov 4

The experience has been long and hard for all of us and I can’t recommend highly enough to put measures in place that will prevent this for the future…

In our late summer newsletter we wrote about our proposed boundary grazing system, which is currently in design…and this is one way we are hoping to prevent the Laminitis returning..

I would like to share how we tackled dealing with the Laminitis…which I am delighted to say we did purely naturally…( hooray ! )

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Laminitis Report…

We took both May and Grace off the grass immediately…by reducing their paddock to a very small area that had been trodden back almost to bare earth..Grace ate off all the remaining grass over the next 36 hours..( she has a very big bite and can often be seen with huge wadges of grass hanging out of her mouth if she can get it !) May was feeling so unwell that she seemed to have lost her appetite..

We gave May 2 tablets of Belladonna 1M …. In a small piece of carrot from a bucket…and some rescue remedy on carrot as well… (which our dear friend and Dartmoor Pony expert Natalie Tor of the Dartmoor Pony Training centre very kindly rushed over to see us with )..and we consulted her amazing Homeopathic Vet by phone straight away…Judith Webster…who was happy to do a phone consultation and send remedies to us by post…!

We continued giving the Belladonna 1M , 2 tablets 3 x daily by which point the Laminitis Homeopathic remedy had arrived by post so we started on that 3x daily for 10 days..

May was looking less in pain within 12 hours of the first Belladonna dosage..it was extraordinary to see the physical response in her…but we were deep in the situation ..she looked so miserable it was horrible to witness her looking so low and not be able to physically comfort her up close…

Kuki and I had to pump water to soak hay four times a day for 6 weeks…the hay was last years from our pastures here at Landmatters and we had to try to pull out the poorest hay from the large round bales so it had the least sugar, but would still fill them up…May was really fussy and wouldn’t’ eat..Grace was eating all of hers and all of Mays too..

May was losing weight fast as she didn’t like what she was being offered and Grace was losing no weight as she will eat everything !

What to do ?om nov 3

We decided a trickle hay net was the best course of action…this allows only small amounts of hay to be eaten at a time.. it certainly slowed Grace down much to her disgruntlement..!

May then had a chance to get some if she wanted…but she didn’t..so I ended up having to separate the small paddock into 2 smaller paddocks at every feed…that was 4 x daily 9.30am, 1.30pm, 5.30pm and 9.30pm…Kooks and I were exhausted..Grace was frustrated and May wasn’t eating, losing weight and miserable…

We were giving essences 3x daily as well..Blackthorn..for passing through difficult and painful situations..which I made here on the land..and Bach Rescue remedy..

I was giving them to both ponies as they were both experiencing a good deal of difficulty..

They were each having a handful of nettles that had been wilted in the sun, nettle is full of silica and so really helpful in rebuilding the connective tissues of hooves and plantain is a cleanser..which was helpful in flushing out the toxins that will have been flooding Mays system…also cider vinegar in their water buckets for cleansing …

Grace was becoming very frustrated in the small paddock..but the weather was still really warm and the grass super long and juicy so I was worried about putting her out…

Then Natalie told me about a grazing muzzle..which slows down the rate at which a pony can eat grass by allowing only a few blades into the mouth at once. I went to buy one and Kuki and I trained Grace to put it on…which we did by putting a small bit of carrot inside the muzzle…and allowing her in and out of it until she knew it wouldn’t bite….She was let out into the field and was really annoyed…bucking rearing trying to scrape it off with her hoof..wailing and so on…I thought she was going to hurt herself…so we brought her in with a bucket with a piece of carrot in it and took the muzzle off..

We were advised to persist, so we tried again…watching her it seemed to be really cruel, even though I knew it was for her own good.. it would certainly slow her grazing right down, protecting her weight and her gut from sugar overload and possible laminitis as well…it still seemed to go against all my natural beliefs for our relationship… had she been tricked by me  ? Was this okay ? would she stop trusting me ?

om nov 2

This led me down a path of questioning whether it was right at all to bring a pony that was native to Dartmoor off the Moor at all…essentially because I want to…? Is this right ? It is clear that with the weather patterns changing as they are and therefore the behaviour of our grasslands, that more and more ponies and horses will be at risk of Laminitis if their grazing is not managed sufficiently well

…we’re working on trying to help others by sharing what we’ve experienced and finding a way to damage limitate for the future.

Grace and May have been having a small fresh area of grass daily for the last two weeks, approx ½ metre by 6 metres, which we have been giving at 6pm each evening by extending the electric fence…they still have access to the hedgerow…we give the extension so they have most of their grazing through the night when the sugar levels are at their lowest…

om nov1

In total they have been off the main field for two months and we are reshaping their grazing area next week to be a track along the hedgerow out of the existing grassless paddock, ( approximately 25m x 25m )…the track will be 6 metres wide from the hedge and we will extend it daily by a metre into fresh grass…we’ll continue to do this until it becomes colder and the sugar levels drop back properly…

Chance to Adopt Grace or May to help Pony’Om’

If any of you would like to help us further our work at Pony ‘Om’, adoptions of either Grace or May are available at £25 per year…we would like to raise enough money to buy a pony harness and small cart…

Adoption makes an ideal Christmas present for anyone interested in ponies, horses or their role in our eco system and society, and their place in our hearts…Our aim is to train Grace and May to work on the Land and walk beside us to achieve our physical and spiritual growth…and have lots of fun with those who want to come along with us…

As an adopter you will receive a beautifully illustrated adoption certificate…text prompts for all Pony’Om’ blog updates, newsletters and films, invites to our events and those of associated projects, and a chance to win a family weekend with us and the ponies here at Landmatters…

Money raised through previous Pony’Om ‘ endeavours helped us to rehome and train two rescue Dartmoor Hill ponies that are now living and working happily at Embercombe, a large farm and sustainability project near Exeter…so many thanks to all those who have supported us thus far..

Much Love and Light to all of you…

Pony ‘Om’ Shanti….

Miranda, Kuki, Grace and May xxxx and not forgetting Mikey and Star xx

 

 

 

Late summer Newsletter 2014

Dear friends of Pony ‘Om’,

It’s been an extremely busy few months at here at Landmatters, with visits by all sorts of lovely and extraordinary people from nearby and far away…

Grace and May have flourished with all their interactions…from the Natural Horsemanship Workshop we ran for Brockwood Krishnamurti School to strokes across the fence from visitors to the project tours…( details on the website ), wedding guests, ( Landmatters successfully hosted two fully off grid weddings this summer ! ) and yoga attendees from the surrounding villages – all who have come across inquisitive Grace and increasingly confident May have had their interest and attention…

Grace and May came to Landmatters with the intention of becoming part of the Land management programme through grazing our beautiful fields and it has been a steep learning curve for myself and Kuki as we have planned, observed and reacted to how the ponies have engaged with and supported the project…

There has been huge amounts of resource created by way of the manure they produce…on average a wheelbarrow full per day..which we collect and put into a three bay manure system..that has been used on the vegetable beds, fruit bushes and trees…and in the establishment of raised beds in our polypod growing structure…

The ponies have grazed back the pasture, some thistle and dock and the fresh nettle tips, but not so much any of these once they become established – so some additional human management of some of our fields has been necessary to prevent too much spreading…The ponies have been taking their medicine from the hedgerow and keeping the low tree branches pruned !

Despite all of this positive news we have learned that even with the narrow strip grazing system we have employed, the grasses here are too rich for the ponies…they have gained too much weight and May has sadly had a bought of Laminitis…. ( for more information on how we have managed this purely holistically so far…watch this space…she is currently having homeopathy, bach flower remedies, harvested and wilted forage, and lots of bright white light and love XXX )

We have observed that to graze these fields with Dartmoor ponies and not have this happen again, we would probably have to have between six and eight ponies, as we are commited to bringing Grace and May on in their training, we are choosing to focus on them right now and an opportunity to evolve is emerging !

Excitingly…we are into the second phase of our permaculture design around the ponies at Landmatters…

Phase one has been observation…getting to know the ponies, their grazing habits, how they affected the land and us, what was good about that and what was bad about it too…there has been much surveying to be done..

Phase two is designing a revised system by which we can improve the ponies experience of Landmatters and us and the Land and Community’s experience of having them here…

Kuki and I are at the initial stages of designing a potential boundary management programme for our fields..Grace and May will graze the hedgerows from a trackway that gives them access to the hedges for their self medication…It gives the land the benefit of decreasing the encroachment onto the grassland by the trees and brambles ( which can be a huge human job ).

As we will have a narrow track – the ponies will be kept on the move in order to access fresh forage – this benefits their circulation and weight management. The grass becomes trodden back to create a barer track throughout the winter – in summer the regrowth is less speedy and voracious as the trackway continues to be trodden back by the constant passing of the ponies over the same ground.

Essentially we will try to create a minimal grass track that the ponies will stay on into the summer when their hedgerow forage can be supplemented with hay or soaked hay ( less rich than grass ) that can be cut from the broader area of grassland within the trackway – or grazed by the sheep if we prefer.

I surveyed the hedgeline in one of our fields today and found Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Wild Rose, Ash, Bramble, Holly, Oak and Hazel…

And at ground level…apart from grass..

Thistle, Fern, Plantain, and Clover…

That’s a medicine chest if ever there was one…

I have been making tree essences this year to compliment the Touchwoods my husband makes – magical wooden healing totems xx …watching the ponies forage their hedgerow medicine and inquiring into why they choose to eat what they do has deepened my understanding of the healing powers of the beautiful trees and on this land…these essences will be used for the ponies should the need arise…as well as for ourselves…we are beginning to really feel this land….

On a training level, Grace is now beginning to be able to be lead in long reins, which is the basis of being driven…for carting or driving…she doing really well…

Pony ‘Om’ Shanti..

Peace and Love..

Miranda, Kuki, Grace and May…xxxx

 

 

10 / 04 / 2014

Grace and May, our two wild Dartmoor ponies, explore the village green.

Pony ‘Om’

GRACE

Head collar training…

Advance and Retreat method…

We began by simply taking the head collar into the field when we went to see Grace and May..

We left the head collar on the gate and on the ground and walked around with it in our hands…

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She showed interest, began to follow us, and we let her sniff and explore it…

she was very inquisitive but looked a little suspicious !

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We first tried a method called Advance and Retreat…we  used this method really successfully with another two ponies we had trained for Embercombe

In this method we slowly introduce the new item, eg, halter, rug etc…by first showing it to the pony,  then by moving the item towards the pony slowly…if they begin to move away at any point…we withdraw the item gently and deliberately so that the pony knows that the item is not going to chase or bite it ! The item is no threat…

We continue to advance towards our goal eg…for our pony to wear a headcollar, Advancing and Retreating as patiently and consistently as is necessary to gain the ponys’ trust and confidence…

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This can take some time…

Or it can happen very quickly…it all depends on the pony’s character and their experience thus far…

Grace is now happily wearing her head collar…. it took quite a few sessions, and we broke the process of getting the headcollar on into about twenty steps at first….using advance and retreat at every stage…so that she knew that evey little bit further we went…didn’t hurt or trap her….she was loose in a field throughout the whole process… completely at liberty to run off at any stage…which she did frequently at first…usually she would wander back to us if we left her to it…but on the occasions when she didn’t we spoke to her softly and approached her quietly….stroking her to regain her confidence…up and along her neck…to the headcollar buckle on the side of her head…we gently undid it and and slowly slipped it off over her nose….

We find it to be very helpful to have no end results of a training session in mind, this way, no frustration can build between you and the pony if it isn’t going according to your plan and no disappointment can occur for you…Your emotions will affect the ponies ability to respond to what is in front of it…..be clear in your intentions but gentle in your method…..keep your voice and movements soft and slow….try to have no attachment to an end result…the pony will wear a headcollar when it trusts that it isn’t going to be painful or restrictive, and when it becomes used to the movements you will have to make around its head to put it on…

We have found that a headcollar that fastens both over the top of the head and the nose works really well…as the pony can learn to wear it in the stages we mention earlier…first stage…for the head strap to be fastened…second stage for the nose strap to be fastened, each of those stages broken down into as many stages as is necessary to gain the ponies trust…somehow…the actions required to put on a headcollar that has the noseband stitched in…ie; to pull the headcollar over the nose with hands either side of the head…are a bit more invasive…

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Your pony will begin to trust you more and more with each positive experience you share…quite often you will notice a big leap forward in their trust….this is often latent learning…they will have been processing something you have been trying out, that may not have seemed to be flowing …but suddenly they will be doing it really well and without and any resistance or fuss…as if to say…Look what I can do !

This is one of the wonderful things about ponies… !

If a training session isn’t going too well… we try to end it on a positive note…for example…try to end by asking the pony to do something it can do…however small…and reward it with plenty of love and good feelings….

If this is not possible, because of a fright or setback for example…next time you go to spend time with the pony…just go and BE with the pony…spend time relaxing with them…and don’t ask anything at all…one of our favourite things to do is to just lie on the grass in the field and watch them..if they come over…they want to be near us…if they don’t, they don’t…respect their choices ….give them the space they need to come forward at their own pace…..

HAVE FUN…

Sab Kuch Milega…. ‘Anything is possible ‘ ( Hindi proverb )

Until our next newsletter,

Love and Light

Miranda and Kuki xxx

Pony ‘Om’