Fresh Air

My approach to rearing children always seems to be in line with my approach to managing horses. Both species, I believe, should get to have free time to run around outside every day to get the tickle out of their toes.

You are asking for trouble really if you don’t get the kids or the equines out for some sort of fresh air, even for a short time.

I can’t cope with whining children. A whine to me is like a starting gun; I immediately spring into action and start doling out jobs or administering tickles.

Michael cannot, and I mean cannot understand my insistence of putting the horses out in all weathers. I think its complete madness to keep them in during stormy weather; they’re full of beans when the winds calms down. Sure it hasn’t stopped all winter, not here anyway. I have been caught short a few times though.

Stormy escape

During storm Brendan, I had turned the horses out in the morning as per normal, but between all the crazy everyday stuff I didn’t have a chance to get them in until well after dark. Heading out to get the first pair, scanning the darkness with my puny head torch, I spot my mare who immediately turns and runs.

The bloody bugger, as if he hasn’t enough grass under his feet he’s jumped the hedge into the next field

Not like her, cursing I blame the stupid wind and keep looking for the other guy. It takes me a while but I finally spot him.

He’s not – I, hope. He is – I, see.

The bloody bugger, as if he hasn’t enough grass under his feet he’s jumped the hedge into the next field. The silage field. This is really going to up my brownie points!

I should’ve just been late for work and brought them in in the daylight. While I’m berating myself, waiting at the gate for him to finish his mad gallop and come back to me I realise "I am waiting too long, he should be back".

I expect to vaguely spot him with my dim beam either galloping around or thrashing in the wire fence. But no, he has departed this field and jumped the hedge into the next field with the girl’s ponies. Show off!

I caught the sweaty bugger three fields from where he should have been and we made the trek back to yard with the manners of a saint. It took me three days to tell Michael.

Windy children

So for the next few storms I huffed and puffed and kept the equines in or at least made sure I brought them back in well ahead of schedule. It is important, I feel, to learn from your mistakes.

During storm Ciara though the girls were going berserk, we had done every puzzle, cooked the buns, crafted the crafts, telly time was well above limits.

Outside, I felt, was the only option. So we got the bikes and chucked them into the jeep and scooted down to the sheep shed. Closed the doors, fed the ponies a mountain of carrots and cycled around for an hour.

Making up games and singing songs. When I got tired of pushing Katy on her tricycle, Nelly took over. Then Katy got off and Nelly got on and the craic was mighty. Ah to be raised on a farm!

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Bolger Blogs: life on Waterfall Farm