The biggest problem I find this time of year is freshness. The young horses and ponies are getting plenty of food to help their strength and topline but the yard is so wet it is hard to get enough exercise into them or turn them out enough. You have to worry about trashing the fields and blimey, don’t they look a mess when they come in! Why do they love the mud so much?

My yard is hardly immaculate at this time of year I am afraid to say but happy animals with a good mind set I suppose is more important than being spic and span!

Endless days of sessions going round and round a manege whether it inside or outside every day is not my idea of how to produce a youngster although I know it is a recipe used by many with masses of success. The horses and ponies I have seem to get bored very quickly — or perhaps that’s me?! We have lots of nice hacking but I am a little sick of getting soaked!

The breakers this year have been a very easy lot to do which has been a relief. Many horses have gone to new homes now but I do still have a few about either for me to keep to show or sell if the right person comes along. Four-year-old classes are scarce now so everybody wants a made animal. You have to be careful though as you can buy other people’s problems and are mostly better off to take longer and work with nicely broken baby young horses in my opinion. It’s certainly more rewarding in the end.

The Homers in Ireland

The Homers in Ireland

I have been looking at the 2016 show diary recently. It seems to start earlier every year. The BSPS winter championships are early this year so it feels like we are out of the starting blocks and away! Actually I don’t mind February and March being so full as I am planning a few trips

On the beach

On the beach

to Cornwall so hopefully April and May are not looking so busy before a very packed June.

I have been asked to do my first BSPS area teaching session this February so I look forward to that very much and also an RoR clinic in May. We also have a yard visit planned in March and I’m looking forward to showing people around — hopefully the mud will have disappeared a little by then!

Christmas was fairly well packed with hunting and the children had a ball. To see their mud splattered smiling faces at the end of the day delights me and the stories of how big fences they jumped by the fire in the evening are fabulous.

We managed short break to Punchestown races for New Year (pictured top) — a day I can thoroughly recommend and such great value for money compared to a similar hospitality day

Loraine and Alice on the beach

Loraine and Alice on the beach

at Cheltenham. We also had a few hours hunting on foot with the Island hounds especially put on by George Chapman for my son Harry. The Wexford scenery was stunning but again very wet. The beach at Brittas Bay was washed away but we still managed a wonderful dog walk in a very blustery wind!

We are preparing for our area show next Sunday and I look forward to seeing how the babies have come on since their last outing. We have been showjump training a few times so hopefully that has knocked the rust off them. Working hunter courses are full of surprises so you have to keep up the work.

Loraine