15th May 2022
Well what do you know…you wait years for a mushroom foal to come along, and then two turn up at once!!
Our second mushy this year arrived a couple of days ago, in the afternoon. Rubus’s extremely glamorous daughter, Victoria, has produced a pretty mushroom colt by Champagne Charlie. Of course I knew both parents were confirmed mushroom carriers, but somehow discounted them producing this colour -
That’s what make’s breeding so exciting. How dull to have a stud of just one colour where the only anticipation is whether it’s a filly or colt!!
5th May 2022
I would have put money on Victoria being the next to foal, but in fact two nights ago it was Pansy who produced a strong skewbald colt….with blue eyes! In no time he was cantering around the stable, and in the morning he followed Pansy out into the field, but having checked her udder, and watched him for a while, I got the impression he had not suckled her. He messed about near her udder, but did not suck when I put my finger in his mouth.
It was then a case of milking her, little and often, and getting the colostrum in him. Pansy is such a good little mare that at least she makes that part easy. He resented me trying to help him, and even with the taste in his mouth, he still did not look for the milk bar like he should.
Knowing that Pansy had produced him extremely quickly the night before, I realised he had mild ‘foal maladjustment syndrome’ symptoms -
Having rushed home to double-
From that moment he has continued just like a normal foal. I’ve been aware of this scientifically-
1st May 2022
It has been quite a week -
The third mare to foal was Freckles. Tiny wax drops in the morning indicated that she was getting near, but I didn’t expect her to get on with it quite so soon. As a first foaler, she was very tight, and it was a real squeeze for the poor little girl, but in the middle of a nice dry day a tiny bay and white filly arrived. I was glad that I was there to help her -
Carefully observing the pair during the afternoon, it was clear that Freckles’ state of excitement at having her first baby meant that she kept whizzing around in circles every time the baby looked for the milk bar. Putting a halter on her to make her stand still, the foal still struggled because Freckles’ teats were minuscule. Andrew came and held the mare while I -
I have photographed all the foals and the ‘foal page’ is now updated. We think they are a stunning bunch -
28th April 2022
The filly fairy found her way back to Tawna this week, with wonderful results. On Tuesday Florence finally had her baby -
This afternoon Charisma has excelled with a mushroom and white skewbald filly by Rubus. This one is a full sister to the licensed stallion Tawna Poldark. She is the fourth mushroom that Rubus has sired for us, and I think she may be a keeper! It’s perfect weather for new babies so they can stay out where the mums will be happiest.
23rd April 2022
Over the Easter weekend I took photos of our gorgeous foals, and at last we have set up our ‘Foals 2022’ page on this website. Even in that intervening week, they have all filled out and changed, but as we will update the pics from time to time anyway, it’s nice to see them at their earliest age. They are all friendly and gaining in confidence when I give them their daily scratch. This morning I had three of them in attendance . . . I didn’t have enough hands!
22nd April 2022
Eek! Over three quarters of Rio’s mane should be white, but currently it is grey/black. The filthy beast has been rolling in the ashes of a bonfire!! Not a good look.
The stallions are always the first to cast their winter coats and generally haven’t got much hanging on now, but the mares are a different story. Most look hairy, but their coats are coming out and making them quite itchy. The fields have patches of hair scattered all over -
20th April 2022
Tawna ponies were out and about at several shows over the lovely Easter weekend. In Wales Julie took the beautiful yearling, Veryan (aka Blondie), to her first show. Julie was delighted that she accepted bathing, loading, travelling and showing really well and they came home with two third place rosettes.
More locally, Fiona took another yearling -
On the same day, Pam and Vic headed to Devon with Angus. He’s certainly not a novice, and in good-
Meanwhile ‘back at the ranch’ we are still waiting for Florence to foal. She has a vast udder and has fallen in on either side of her tail. She seems to have been like that and coming in at night for weeks, but still we wait.
15th April 2022
Good Friday is a good day for a new foal to arrive. After a sudden change indicating imminent foaling, and just one night under the stable cctv camera, Fuchsia was waxed up this morning. By 11.30 am she had foaled -
14th April 2022
What a clever old girl Daisy May is! This morning, as I checked each of the in-
In hindsight, I think she was telling me that she was about to foal. I actually carried on mucking out stables, but within half an hour I looked up the field, and sure enough . . . she was foaling . . . and in trouble. The foal was coming with head only -
Later in the day I went and sat near them. Although only a few hours old, the colt was curious and wanted to come to me, but Daisy had other ideas. With real determination she head butted him away, and when he didn’t take the hint, she repeatedly used her body to block his route. It was so amusing to watch.
13th April 2022
Agnes has kept us waiting for ages, and she eventually foaled yesterday just after midnight. It was worth the wait -
9th April 2022
Well Tia Maria clearly did not approve of her first night in the stable under the foaling camera because the next afternoon she had her foal outdoors. She foaled in the daytime, in the same field, last year too. Thinking back, I know Sherry was born outdoors in the morning, and I think the same applied to Patrick. Tia doesn’t seem to want to come into the stable to have her babies.
She has had a stonking chestnut filly by Bo -
The forecast was for near-
7th April 2022
We are still waiting for foal number two to arrive. That group of mares are keeping us guessing as to who will be next. Agnes has got an udder like a dairy cow, whilst Fuchsia’s seems to be receding. I have been bringing Florence into one of the foaling stables for several nights, but tonight I think I might swap her with Tia Maria. Daisy May is overdue, according to our calculations, and those unusual activities a few days ago do not appear to have had any bearing whatsoever.
I had a wonderful experience a couple of evenings ago -
Some good news from Scotland came our way recently. Two more of Rubus’s sons have just been licensed as stallions. I think that is nine of his boys licensed, and we will be putting Orion forward next year. That’s quite an impressive number from one stallion.
4th April 2022
Hurray! At last we have a foal.
For weeks I have been moving what I think are the most imminent mares into the ‘foaling field’ each night, so I can check them during darkness on the cctv camera. Currently there are six mares who all appear at roughly the same stage -
A couple of days ago Daisy May alerted me by trotting back across the field, having been to the trough for a drink. That in itself is unusual because Daisy is very stately and rarely gets out of a walk! Then the following day I saw her pawing the ground as she was grazing . . . a twinge of pain as the foal moved? Naturally these two observations led me to believe she would soon foal . . . but no! Daisy is still heavy-
It is Rosetta who has started the ball rolling by producing a very pretty strawberry roan and white filly by Rio. Not the greatest timing -
28th March 2022
It seems to have taken forever to come around, but yesterday was the long-
The dry conditions leading up to the show made my task of preparing two skewbald ponies much easier. Considering they live out 24/7 without any rugs, I thought they looked pretty presentable. Three year old Alice is such a sweetheart -
The same award went to Rio in the stallion class. Only his second show as an adult, he was very excitable, but on the whole, I felt he was better behaved than when I showed him in February. He’s perfectly keen to walk and trot, but just cannot stand still. He’s so interested in everything going on around him, and is very aware of other ponies close by. I looked at some of the other exhibitors with stallions standing placidly in the collecting ring, being placed in their show pose in the show ring -
It was lovely to see six other Tawna ponies at the show. Although they all looked a real credit to their owners, on this occasion, the brightest star was Tawna Angus who delighted Pam by winning the mini gelding class before being chosen as overall Reserve Champion Gelding.
Let’s hope this is the start of a more ‘normal’ showing calendar for the year.
19th March 2022
With some long awaited drier conditions it’s been pony shuffling time!
The babies -
After some deliberation I chose the first three mares to be moved across the road into a fresh field where we can observe them more often, but before doing this, I had to move the stallions further away so that they cannot see or hear the mares.
Having completed these tasks I returned home for a coffee, but no sooner was I inside than the postman was knocking on the door to say he’d just seen a Shetland loose in the lane. The mares that were left in their winter field had been quite excited when I took away the three -
On closer inspection, it appeared that they had limbo-
16th March 2022
Sadly, foaling has not started well for us with the loss of a premature foal for our beautiful Meredith. He was perfect, but coming backwards, and six to seven weeks early. After previous misfortunes, Meredith is clearly just not destined to be a mother, so we will not try breeding from her again. She is naturally a little bit shy, but is the prettiest, sweetest, most gentle girl imaginable, and we would have liked nothing better than seeing a bonny little baby at her side. That’s not meant to be, but it’s a huge relief that she’s ok.
After the difficulty of birth, the poor little girl was subjected to twice-
We’ve just started a new sack of carrots. The ponies greatly enjoy them as a treat during the winter months. This time they are ‘normal’ carrots; the previous sack contained the biggest carrots I’d ever seen -
6th March 2022
The storms of two weeks ago wreaked havoc across the country. We were lucky to only lose electricity for less than half a day, but there has been a lot of damage to trees on our property; never had some many come down -
Preparing a mostly white pony who lives out 24/7, unrugged, in early March is definitely rash, but with a bit of planning and care we managed it and I think he looked surprisingly presentable. Apart from being shown as a foal, I think he has only been shown once, as a three year old -
Our class was Exmoors, Dartmoors and Shetlands 4 and over. His rivals were three Dartmoors and an Exmoor, and I was very pleased when he was awarded second prize -
Flying the flag for our breed in the youngstock class were two cute little chestnuts -
I have never been to a show so early in the year. If the forecast had been iffy I wouldn’t have embarked on taking Rio, but I’m glad I did make the effort, and enjoyed being amongst the various breeds and meeting a different group of people.
9th February 2022
Just as I’d said there’s nothing interesting going on at Tawna, a lovely package from the Shetland Society arrived with the postman this morning. It contained a fabulous rosette and framed certificate, along with a letter saying that our gorgeous home-
This is an extremely prestigious award which has been earned by the successes of his progeny. What better proof that a stallion is a worthy example of his breed? We knew Rubus’s offspring had had a particularly good season last year, but as this scheme takes in the whole of the country, and the Society website has not published any show results, we had no way of knowing what other ponies were doing well. Huge thanks to the various owners of Rubus’s progeny who contributed to him winning this accolade.
Who knows -
Anyway, we are well and truly chuffed, and I think Rubus will be getting an extra piece of carrot tomorrow.
6th February 2022
There’s nothing terribly interesting happening at the stud at this time of year, although there are thrilling times ahead, judging by the bulging tummies on the mares. Looks like we could be expecting a similar number of foals as last year.
Just thinking about the longer spring days and the sight of mares proudly trotting around with their new babies makes me smile. There are some slightly different stallion/mare combinations expected, some tried and tested matches, and a few first-
Two ponies left us for their new home recently -
9th January 2022
The Shetland Pony calendar kicked off with a good start this morning when a keen group gathered in Devon for the AGM of the SW Shetland Pony Group.
With covid precautions in mind, we assembled in the larger, airier main village hall instead of the usual smaller side room. It was a productive meeting with enthusiastic reports from various officers. Despite all the difficulties faced in 2021, the Group still managed to successfully stage three formal shows and two fun shows, plus of course, the super-
What’s more -
7th January 2022
Check out our ‘current stallions’ page for some updated photos. Four new ones each of Scenario and Charlie, and two of Clarius.
Charlie has really chunked-
1st January 2022
Happy New Year! May we wish everyone good health, happiness, and hopefully better times in the coming year.
It’s been a tough 21 or so months, but like so many of our friends with ponies -
29th December 2021
How I enjoyed today’s Christmas Fun Show with our black two year old filly -
From the tiniest children to -
Sherry was a little star, being interested in all the goings-
After the ponies were put away in their trailers and lorries, the human participants assembled in the arena for light refreshments and a relaxed half-
23rd December 2021
As we near the 25th may we, Audrey, Fiona and Andrew,
Wish Everyone a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.
It has already been made more special for us by all the lovely messages from all over the country, and photos of our ponies in their new homes -
19th December 2021
It’s almost the end of the year and Pam and Vic have today squeezed in a final outing for Tawna Angus -
Pam and Vic could not be more proud of Angus who won 3 x first and 1 x second (beaten in the coloured class by a lovely and very well marked filly) before topping his day by taking the in-
We are hoping to go to our last show of the year on 29th -
13th December 2021
It should have been a real thrill yesterday to find a UNICORN in our field . . . but it wasn’t! The ‘unicorn’ which came to greet me was in fact yearling colt, Orion, whose forelock was scrunched up into a solid spike and pointing skywards. He looked ridiculous!
Earlier this week I moved the stallions and Rion into their proper winter field. The move has been greatly delayed due to the mild autumn conditions which allowed them to stay longer on their former grazing. Their winter field is super -
As well as his forelock, his mane is thickly matted with the burrs. I can even feel more of them under his jaw in his beard! It’s going to take hours to get them out -
3rd December 2021
Can it really be December already? There’s no doubt that we did enjoy a very long autumn here in Cornwall -
One foal remains to be collected -
As each little group of foals have been due to leave us, I have taken photos of them. Looking back, it’s amazing how much they have grown and blossomed in the six months or so since they were born. They have left Tawna in good condition and well-
12th November 2021
Isn’t this a great picture….sent to us by Anne Allen. Anne is heavily involved with RDA activities, and her Shetlands are very popular with both the helpers, and the clients who enjoy handling, grooming and communicating with the little equines. Anne says the ponies behave perfectly and seem to know they must be on their best behaviour when working.
Two of her ponies are shown here from a recent event where they travelled to Warwickshire to put on a RDA long-
8th November 2021
The organising committee for the SW Shetland Group’s show yesterday could not have wished for better weather -
I was rather ambitious, taking three young ponies (plus one companion foal) on my own, but friends kindly helped me out once I was at the show. This year, with so many of our own foals to choose from, I had quite a few ‘favourites’, but one of my favourite favourites is Cherie (Rubus x Charisma). In my eyes she is just perfect, and moves like a dream. She is quite a feisty girl, but I rather like that, and I was pleased when she won her mini filly foal class. However I was even more pleased that Fiona L’s Tawna Red Ember (Scenario x Agnes) won the mini colt foal class then took overall champion foal, ahead of a stunning standard filly. He is a very special boy and is another of my absolute favourites!
Toby’s T. Ambrose is developing well and took top spot in the mini yearling colt, filly or gelding class, and our skewbald Daphne stood third. She’s a lovely, nicely marked, and obedient girl, but I think she would rather go to sleep than run around a show ring!
In the mini two year old class, T. Sunny Jim, belonging to Jane S was second, with our T. Sherry standing third. Sunny takes after his mother in being rather a slow developer, but he has really blossomed this summer, and had already delighted Jane by winning the Novice Youngstock class (mixed standards and minis) earlier in the day, so she was well and truly elevated to cloud nine when Sunny was pulled forward as Reserve Junior Mini Champion. There would have been celebrations in the Stidwell household last night methinks! In the final youngstock class, Pam’s T. Angus was second, but it must have been a close call, because he is looking fantastic and moves so freely.
I didn’t want to prolong the day for our four young ponies I had on board, so I left before the adult pony classes, but Jane had another second prize with T. Martha in the mares class, so all in all, a happy and successful day. We hope to return to the same venue for the Group’s Christmas Fun Show on Wednesday 29th December. It promises to be a really special event.
6th November 2021
A phone call before 8.30 am usually means trouble. This morning it was our neighbour Paul who was returning to his farm on his tractor and found a loose Shetland in the road. Several other people around the parish own Shetlands, but if there are escapees, it’s usually (rightly) assumed that it’s ours!!
Paul said the pony had a lot of white on it, so I immediately thought Rio! and cursed the fact that the other stallions were probably on the loose too. However when I arrived at the gateway where Paul had cornered the miscreant I was very surprised to find Meredith -
But the big question was -
This small group of ponies have 14 acres of rough grazing, scrub, and woodland to roam over, but appear to have gone over the hedge into yet another neighbour’s stubble field where they generally don’t close the gate out on to the road. There was nothing in there to eat to tempt our girls, but his sheep did get into our fields last winter, and I guess he didn’t do a very good job repairing the hedge. Fortunately the Anglo Arab did not seem to have noticed her ‘friends’ had left her.
To look on the bright side, I am glad it was today and not tomorrow when I will be away at the SW Group’s Autumn show. To avoid any repetition of their naughty ways -
27th October 2021
Another week into Autumn and three filly foals have left us, and arrived across the country with their delighted new owners. All were bought sight-
Our youngest foal -
22nd October 2021
It only took a few hours after being offered for sale again before Veryan was snapped up. Hardly surprising -
We have actually been thinking about next year’s foals this week. Breeding is a lot about trying to fulfil our hopes and dreams, and a few days ago we were one step nearer when Colin -
Gosh these ponies can deceive you . . . but we know that -
It was so thrilling when he exclaimed ‘Oh yes!…ribs, beating heart, and I can see it’s legs moving!” There’s a long way to go yet, and it’s unrealistic to expect these little foetuses to all go to full term . . . but this information helps us continue to hope and dream. Exciting times ahead!
16th October 2021
Check out our For Sale page for details of the beautiful Tawna Veryan who, due to a sad change in circumstances of her purchaser, is unexpectedly offered for sale again.
11th October 2021
Aww, it’s that sad time of year when our babies are flying the nest. The six colt foals have already left and are happily ensconced in their lovely new homes. We are receiving photos, video clips and news from their delighted new owners. The boys were carefully weaned and were well and truly ready to move on to the next stage in their lives. I will miss them -
The first trio of fillies have started their gentle weaning process. I must say they are proper guzzles. Whereas the boys took several days to start eating up their food properly, the girls licked the trough clean the very first time they were shut away from their mums!
2nd October 2021
Many thanks to Maxine Ingham for these stunning photographs which she took at last week’s SW Group’s Fun Show. We love these beautiful head shots of three Tawna girls. Below left, piebald mare, Topsy Turvy who spent all day in the charge of three young sisters who took her in just about every class. This was taken when she won the ‘prettiest mare or filly’. I overheard the judge commenting on her lovely eyes!
The skewbald is our yearling, Daphne. I took her for much-
There are lots more super characterful photos on the SW Shetland Group’s facebook page -
27th September 2021
Yesterday’s SW Shetland Fun Show was an over-
There were seven Tawna-
I came home to exciting news from the SW Wales Autumn Shetland Show -
Another success story was from last weekend at the Eggleston Agricultural show in County Durham. Tawna Camilla, now two years old, went to her first show since Cora bought her as a foal . . . and won a strong youngstock class. She was a cracking foal so we are not surprised. Cora sent photos and she looks exactly like our two year old, Sherry. Funnily enough Sherry (who has also not been out since she was a foal) was at the fun show yesterday, and together with Tawna Martha (see left), won the pairs class. All three girlies could easily make a matched trio -
20th September 2021
We have weaned the three oldest foals here at Tawna. The boys are not making too much fuss, but the mares are very unsettled. They have all been through this process many times before, but that doesn’t make it any easier for them. They have very tight udders which must be extremely uncomfortable. They have still been producing masses of milk for their babies. I have to resist milking them to relieve the pressure as that would only result in them making more.
19th September 2021
Matthew and Clarius have been out on the show circuit again today, and what an amazing record they are building for themselves up there in Scotland. At the two day Laminitis Charity Show in East Lothian, Clarius was Miniature Champion and Supreme Breed Champion….again! We’re keeping everything crossed that next spring he will produce lots of little mini-
Our next show is going to be much more low-
8th September 2021
Not one to rest on his laurels, Toby has been out showing his young mare, Luna, again, with more success. At the Royal Cornwall Association’s Equine event (partially in lieu of cancelling their main show for the second year) Luna won both a strong in-
How quickly the different seasonal jobs come around. It’s already time to start the gradual weaning process of our oldest group of foals, but before that, there have been other issues to sort out.
Following the Breed show, Flash Harry has gone off on lease, which left his field mate, Orion, with no companion, so I have re-
Having established a new best friend for the yearling, I have since introduced him to the other mature boys, with the idea that even if the others were a bit belligerent, at least he and Rubus would be friends. As it turns out, after firstly taking a great dislike to the youngster, Champagne Charlie is now his best mate, and they are once more a settled group. Orion is not intimidated by the older boys, and they seem to be very tolerant of him. I am delighted with that outcome.
During the past week Andrew has taken a second cut off our three main hay fields which were cut in July -
The three oldest colts have been separated out with their mothers and brought back to Tawna. For the past few days the foals have been spending a few hours away from their mums, learning to eat hard food, and having some training sessions on the lead. Even though the foals have only had two halter-
5th September 2021
It was a 2.30am alarm call for me last Sunday for the long-
With a large part of the journey in the dark, it was lovely to arrive as the early morning sky promised a glorious late summer day. The venue was superb, with all six rings on beautifully prepared sand schools, plenty of space, and excellent facilities. . . . and to make it even better, the weather was ideal.
The miniature classes were very strong with 14/15/18 entries in some, and most of those ponies forward. With several Tawna ponies entered, my attention was drawn in various directions, but things started well in the youngstock geldings with Pam winning with her 3 y o Angus, and Toby taking second with his yearling Ambrose. Henry (T. Ever So Blue) was unplaced, but we thought he looked and performed superbly. Angus then topped that by taking the Miniature Gelding Championship. To say Pam was over the moon would be an understatement. She even forgave him when he accidentally knocked her over on the ramp -
In the 2-
A class for four year olds was introduced this year especially to cater for the ponies which missed their three year old classes last year because of the pandemic. Toby’s Luna gained a brilliant second place in this + a special rosette for the opposite sex to the winner. In the class of older yeld mares, his Izzy Wizzy didn’t get placed, but after some serious health issues over the past year, she had the most marvellous time out in the show-
I completely mis-
Then it was Alice’s turn to shine….and didn’t she charm the judge. In the biggest class of the whole show she took first place. Amongst so many lovely fillies, that would have been enough, but she was then chosen as Best Exhibitor Bred Miniature, Best Broken Colour Miniature, Junior Miniature Champion, Reserve Miniature Champion, and Overall Best Broken Colour. I was quite dazed with the succession of rosettes being handed to me!
There was a little recovery time before the progeny class. We weren’t quite sure how this would proceed, but we decided to enter the ring in order of seniority -
Dear little Alice was definitely flagging before the end, and I have to say it took me two days to get over my weariness. So many people, so many ponies, so much going on all the time -
22nd August 2021
As we just potter away with everyday jobs here at the stud in Cornwall, it’s thrilling to receive reports of our ponies’ show ring successes in far-
Meanwhile in Wales, Henry (officially Tawna Ever So Blue) has been to three shows in a week including the SW Wales Shetland Group and Pembrokeshire County. He flashed those smart white socks off to pick up various first and second rosettes, an overall Best Gelding AND winning Reserve Junior Champion at all three shows. Well done Henry and Sandra.
It’s feeling very much like late summer here -
Soon we will be into September and will be bringing home the first of the foals to start weaning. They are looking very mature -
14th August 2021
Just over a week ago we collected our new horsebox. How exciting! It has been custom built for the Shetlands by Trevett and Smith near Salisbury. It was a long way to go to find a firm that were so adaptable, but they could not have been more helpful, and the build quality is superb. We have had the old box for nineteen years -
Got to admit though, that it’s very nice having a shiny, clean, new lorry, but it had to be christened, so we loaded up two ponies for Okehampton show on Thursday. So many agricultural shows have been cancelled, but the organisers of Okey show must have been delighted at the success of their day. We stayed in the horsey area and didn’t go into the main part of the show, but we could see the public car-
The Shetland classes were down slightly on numbers, but I know that much of that is due to the equine flu vac requirements. How I wish the authorities would ‘strongly recommend’ the flu vac, then it’s up to the individual’s choice -
Although only a yearling, Orion is getting more coltish at each show, and did not show himself well in his class, ending with a third rosette. At two years old, Alice is still very green and inexperienced, but I was thrilled when she won the 2 and 3 year old class and took Junior Champion. The judge made some lovely comments about her. Alice is the sweetest girl, and her placid nature balances with the excitability of Orion!
The next outing for the new box is the big one -
9th August 2021
Matthew Davidson has continued his winning streak at a very popular horse show near Fife. His super-
7th August 2021
Life has been extra busy here in the past three weeks -
In between hay-
Having removed the stallions, I was then able to gather the mares and foals into two bigger groups. I always look forward to seeing the foals together, and it’s good for them to meet others. They’ve had a limited group of ‘friends’ all summer, and now they are learning to mix with new friends -
26th July 2021
It’s always nice to hear when owners of our ponies have been out and about enjoying showing them. At the Three Counties show last month three year old Henry (Tawna Ever So Blue) achieved a worthy second place for his happy owner, Sandra. She is so pleased that this year there will be a few opportunities to show him in this, his final year in youngstock classes.
But it doesn’t even have to be affiliated shows -
This is how two friends with their Tawna ponies enjoyed themselves at the St Austell Bay Equestrian Club’s show. Jane showing Martha and Sunny Jim, and Sue showing Rowan. It sounds as if they had a ball: Sue coming home with a first, second and third -
14th July 2021
GREAT news from the Great Yorkshire show today…..Rubus’s fabulous son, Milday Ferresamo won his stallion class and was Champion Miniature…..again! What a boy. Well done Matthew -
Got to say we are very proud that some of Rubus’s other children bred here at Tawna have been performing so well recently -
11th July 2021
The foals are so funny . . . recently I have been introducing them to pony cubes by offering them, one piece at a time in my hand, and the way they cope is so varied . . . and amusing.
Crispin was the star of the bunch -
Rosalea got the idea reasonably quickly, but her pal, Red Ember was hopeless. Every time I posted it into the side of his mouth he immediately spat it out again, but he was quite happy to continue playing that game. I was persevering, sitting on the ground with him and Rosalea when their daddy -
In another group, Charisma’s chestnut filly, Cherie, is quite shy and tends to stand back while her field pal, Mariner, comes up for a scratch and some fuss. However once she saw him taking pony cubes from me, her curiosity got the better of her, and she is now coming forward for her little treat, and is now far more confident about me touching her.
Some of the foals try and bite down into my hand with their teeth, while others are gentle and take the cube with their lips. It’s fascinating to see how they all tackle it in different ways. It’s only a small part of their education, but it’s good to see them learning new skills.
5th July 2021
Whilst we enjoyed dry showing conditions in Devon yesterday, friends suffered torrential rain at the popular Lamerton Hunt show back in Cornwall. Sue and Vic took their chestnut and white, three year old gelding -
Tara won a third, and 2 x fifth places, and Rowan had a third, a fourth, and excelled in the coloured class by winning it. Well done to all. Great to see the minis holding their own amongst all those other horses. The verdict from our friends -
4th July 2021
I reckon it must be six years since we have been to the Devon County show. It is usually held in May, and entries have to be made in March, so we are never confident that our mares will have finished foaling by the time of the show. As we make it a priority to be at home for our pregnant ladies, we have been giving it a miss. Therefore an upside of the wretched covid pandemic has been a change of date to this week, so today Fiona L and I made an early start for Exeter.
The rings were as I remember -
I felt that both inexperienced ponies performed better than last week -
3rd July 2021
The foals all seem very slow to cast their foal coats this year. They’ve got their ‘spectacles’ which is giving a good indication of the colour they will eventually be, but seem reluctant to part with the rest of their fluff.
Rosalea has revealed more of her true colour than anybody else, and she is going to be a rich liver chestnut. With her white markings she is going to be very flashy. A second of Rio’s babies -
27th June 2021
Preparing four ponies, packing the lorry, remembering all the paraphernalia that is, or might be needed for our first show since 2019 has been quite challenging, but it was with great excitement that Fiona L and I set off for the SW Shetland Pony Group’s summer show this morning. I thought it would be rather strange meeting our fellow competitors who we haven’t seen for such a long time . . . but it was lovely to see everyone again, and it all seemed remarkably familiar as we settled into the usual pony-
There was a marvellous turnout of Tawna ponies at the show -
Sadly our’s was the only mare and foal entry, but that fact did not matter as the judge was so taken with eleven week old Jupiter -
Other Tawna ponies had an excellent day for their owners: 4yo Luna 3 x 1st + Reserve Senior Mini Champ in her first year in ‘grown-
21st June 2021
To complete a great week of events, we heard yesterday that Pam had taken three year old Tawna Angus to another show in Devon and had exceptional results. There were over 90 horses and ponies pre-
18th June 2021
What a week this has been for good news. Working backwards:
7th June 2021
When Pam decided to go to yesterday’s fun show at Cholwell in Devon, she made the conscious decision to only take three year old Angus so that it could be a relaxed and enjoyable day. As it turned out, it was anything but…..
En route to the show she and Vic were held up for an hour and a half by an accident on the main road which had happened only a few minutes before they came along. The emergency services were not even on the scene. When fire engines, police and ambulances did arrive they all had their sirens blaring, and Pam was amazed that Angus did not turn a hair . . . just carried on eating his hay. Well, after all, food is the number one priority for Shetlands!
Traffic was at a standstill for so long that it didn’t look as if they would get to the show at all, but as there were several competitors in the queue, the organisers had been notified, and kindly delayed the start of the show.
Although considerably shaken by events Pam was in time for her four classes, and Angus seemed unfazed, although a little tired by his final class. They came away with 2 x second, 1 x third, and a fifth.
Then to cap it all, as they joined the main road on the way home another accident had just occurred -
3rd June 2021
Over the past few days I have been trying to take some updated pictures of our beautiful filly foals for this website . . . but ohh . . . it is so difficult! As they become more and more friendly, they just keep coming towards me, and I really want a side view of them. I could get any number of photos looking up their nostrils, or deep into their eyes! Also, as I line up one for a shot, there are usually two or three others pestering me for attention, jogging my arm, or getting in the way. It’s a problem, but a nice problem! After all, it’s wonderful to have them so tame at an early age.
Seeing the foals every day, one doesn’t always notice how much they have grown and filled out, but I have been looking back at pics of them when they were new, and it’s amazing how they have changed. Take a look at our ‘foals’ page to see the latest photos.
30th May 2021
It’s been a beautiful day and ‘Team Fi’ (two Fionas!) has made the most of it by starting basic halter training with some of the foals.
The foals have actually had several visitors recently and it’s great to see them all growing in confidence. They are more independent from their mothers, more curious, and getting nice and friendly. I don’t like to put a head-
We worked with seven of the babies this afternoon -
Without doubt Rosalea accepted the training best . . . but we had two or three contenders for the worse behaved, but I was pleased that each of them settled to the idea, and walked nicely with their mums after a time. Going on past experience, the lesson they had today will be a valuable stepping stone, and we should see a marked acceptance of the headcollar/leading next time.
24th May 2021
It’s heartening that there will be a few horse shows to attend this year, although sadly most in our area have cancelled for the second year. After such a long time, I can’t help wondering if I will remember the process of preparing ponies, vehicle and myself ready for the first show! However Pam has dusted down her show outfit, show bridles etc, and she and Vic headed off to Devon yesterday for their first show since 2019.
They took two of their Tawna boys -
We don’t plan to be going to our first show until the end of June….so a bit more time to get those winter coats out.
23rd May 2021
It has been a remarkable foaling season here at Tawna: six colt foals, followed by six filly foals, all straight forward births, and trouble-
The time spent nursing that dear little filly was lost in a blur, but since then I have taken new photos of some of the foals and updated our ‘foals’ page. Just one mare still to foal….sometime.
10th May 2021
After weeks bringing Victoria in every night under the cctv camera, she finally foaled just before bed-
What is also unusual is the distribution of the sexes -
30th April 2021
For weeks now we have been working towards the BIG day today -
After the driest April on record, there’s not as much grass as usual in some of the fields, but we are promised rain next week, and probably before long we’ll be worried that there’s too much grass. Our friend, Fiona, gave me an invaluable hand this morning to move all the mares and foals into their respective fields.
It’s a two-
28th April 2021
Nearly two weeks ago several of our pregnant mares all appeared to be at a similar stage, near to foaling. Some now have their babies, but Florence and Victoria have lingered on . . . and on . . . and on. Audrey and I have been watching them intently day and night. By day they have been doing nothing but eat -
Last evening I was rather later than normal bringing them in. After doing some jobs around the yard, I was overjoyed, as I walked through the gateway to fetch them in, to see Florence collapse heavily to the ground at the far end of the field. I watched, and moments later she was up, before taking a few steps, and going down again. At long last! She took no time to produce a beautiful skewbald daughter (by Mr Bojangle). Victoria was in attendance, so we’re rather hoping that she will now be inspired to have her baby . . . soon!
18th April 2021
Foaling has been fast and furious at Tawna this year; the latest addition was at 10.30 last night -
Excluding Mack who was born early, that is nine foals in twelve days. No wonder we feel somewhat dazed. Today we have updated the foals page on this website with the photos I had already taken, but we’re two foals behind already! They will be added in due course. There are still some more mares to foal.
NB Some people have reported problems with getting our ‘Foals 2021’ page. I’m not technology-
A little while after they have foaled, I give all the mares a pamper session. It’s nice to tidy them up and it gives me the chance to handle the foals and get them used to human contact. It was during one of these sessions that I discovered that the foal had not sucked -
This is a classic sign of a ‘dummy foal’, but he seemed otherwise normal. Foals will never accept ‘help’ in finding the udder -
16th April 2021
Another day, another foal. After just one night in the stable, under the surveillance camera, Daisy-
15th April 2021
Goodness me!….for the third time this year, we have had two foals born on the same day.
In fact at the beginning of this week I told Audrey that there were five mares all at a similar stage, and I wouldn’t know which ones to bring in under the cctv at night. Luckily, now we have the outside, infra-
Early evening yesterday, maiden mare, Rosetta, had a skewbald FILLY -
Then later in the evening Fuchsia also had a filly, this one by Bo. Chestnut with a full set of socks and a full-
We are relieved that although a bit chilly, we have been having dry weather; with so many young foals, it would be quite a job to get them all into separate stables if it was pelting with rain.
14th April 2021
A friend joked “You just need one more chestnut colt foal and you’ll have a matched driving team!”….and late yesterday morning, Clarissa obliged. He is our very first foal by Champagne Charlie. I must admit, I expected a bay, or if we were lucky, a buckskin, so a creamy chestnut was a surprise. He is very pretty, with huge eyes -
10th April 2021
I repeat . . . you wait for one, and then two come along!! Yes two more foals have arrived, within a very short space of time from each other. Marina has had a chestnut colt (by Rubus) -
7th April 2021
You wait and wait for one to come along . . . and then two arrive at once! After the excitement of Clementine foaling early yesterday morning, Agnes had her baby that evening. She had been ENORMOUS so I feared a huge foal, but in fact her little boy is surprisingly small from what is probably our biggest mare. Her chestnut colt is gorgeous -
6th April 2021
Our dear old mare, Clementine, has foaled -
However, Clemmy was due today, and at 3.50am she produced a pretty skewbald colt -
Mother and son are out stretching their legs today while the sun is shining, but there is a very keen, cold wind, so they will come into a cosy stable tonight. Clemmy will disapprove as she likes being out, but I will give her a nice feed to appease her! This will be her final foal as we decided last year that we would retire her from breeding. She has done us proud with many super foals over the years, and now deserves an easier life . . . although it has to be said that she does like having babies.
4th April 2021
Amidst all the show cancellations, the NPS Area 10 (Devon) Spring Show committee forged ahead today, and pulled together a well supported event. Originally planned as an indoor show, they moved it outdoors to comply with social distancing/health regulations, and although bitterly cold, the sun shone throughout. The show attracted many top quality ponies as it offered umpteen coveted qualifiers.
Toby kicked off his showing season with two of his Tawna ponies in the mixed Dartmoor/Exmoor/Shetland classes. Luna -
1st April 2021
Uncertainty surrounding future restrictions due to the coronavirus has sadly led to at least four of our popular Cornish agricultural shows cancelling for the second year. Launceston, Liskeard, Camborne and Camelford had already made the difficult decision, and this week, the biggest blow was learning that our wonderful three day county show has joined them, despite having previously postponed from it’s usual early June date, to early September.
These events take an enormous amount of organising so their decisions are perfectly understandable, but it’s hugely disappointing for everyone involved. Being located on this long peninsula, we only have a limited number of relatively local shows to look forward to, but at least, at the moment, we know of three agricultural shows in Devon that are planning to go ahead . . . albeit in a revised format. Fingers crossed! We’re hoping that it’s possible that some of the various breed society regional groups will be able to put on some smaller events later in the year.
29th March 2021
Further to yesterday’s report on Tia’s baby, I can now confirm that he has a second small white spot -
28th March 2021
What joy! Our first foal has arrived, a little earlier than expected, but safe, sound and healthy. Tia Maria has had a strong upstanding colt with four striking white socks. He is by Mr Bojangle, and is likely to be black, but has the most beautiful silvery grey cast over his coat at the moment. The only additional white is a small spot right in the middle of his rump . . . a very minimally marked tobiano!
In the past week we have had a fabulous outdoor surveillance camera installed with infra-
15th March 2021
The customary excitement, anxiousness and anticipation is beginning to build as we approach the time our mares give birth. It felt one step nearer yesterday when I decided it was time to bring the first mares away from their winter group, and into a fresh field nearer the house at Tawna. We will be able to observe them more frequently, and there is a better pick of grass to sustain them in their final weeks of pregnancy.
Another job that marked the season was introducing yearling colt Orion, to three year old colt Flash Harry. They are destined to be field pals this summer. They are both feisty boys, so they spent over half a day together in the yard, but parted by a post and rail fence. This allowed them to get most of their excitement over -
8th March 2021
What a difference a few consecutive dry days make. Andrew has been harrowing the fields, we’ve had several bonfires of hedge trimmings + garden prunings, and I am delighted to have trimmed all the ponies’ feet. I don’t think I have ever managed to do all of them in such a short span of time. This has been partially down to my lovely new foot clippers, which were a Christmas present from my thoughtful husband . . . yes we do go for practical gifts! These are so sharp and efficient that I have sailed through all those little feet.
All of a sudden, the mares have started casting their coats -
26th February 2021
I can’t help laughing at some of our ponies: I am strip-
Florence and Pansy always make sure that they are first in the queue, after which each mare waits for me to get to them with their treat . . . then I find Florence and Pansy again, at the end of the line-
Dolly Dimple also makes me smile. She is a very friendly girl and as you approach her, she nods her head up and down. I don’t know why she does it, but it is an endearing characteristic.
10th February 2021
As expected, the joy of seeing flowers blooming and hearing the birds singing only a week ago, was false hope . . . Spring is ‘on hold’ again. Very strong and bitter Easterly winds have been blasting across the land. Even winter-
The grass always grows earlier beside these waterways and doesn’t tend to become so frozen as elsewhere. Today the fillies were down in the valley finding a few blades of green, but they still appreciated their daily helping of hay. All the ponies are fluffy, and as the cruel wind has dried up the ground, they are also clean . . . apart from the fillies who have muddy legs from the boggy ground beside the river! As a friend commented -
3rd February 2021
It may only be 3rd February, but Spring is in the air. Birds singing, Hazel catkins, Crocuses and Snowdrops are out, and today I saw some wild Primroses struggling into flower. Of course we’ve got a long way to go yet before the risk of wintery weather leaves us, but the young colts are also feeling the effects of the season with surging hormones.
We have over-
Harry is rising three and has spent the winter with the ‘big boys’ -
We took some new photos of Harry In January, and they are now on our ‘youngstock’ page. Hopefully he will be put forward for licensing this year.
21st January 2021
HIP HIP HOORAY! I can hardly believe it, but . . . we have updated our ‘Current Stallions’ page . . . AT LAST!
It has been totally out-
We are immensely proud of our collection of boys, so I am chuffed to bits to finally be able to share images of them. They are all so characterful, and -
10th January 2021
Last night we had a hoar frost which has left the countryside looking very pretty. It also produced an unexpected touch of magic amongst the stallions. They have recently been moved into a field of long coarse grass. The first stallion I came to was Rio, and I noticed that there were clusters of ice crystals on the ends of his beard. When I looked at the other boys, the tips of their long manes were encased in masses of tiny icicles -
4th January 2021
There is a bitter north-
1st January 2021
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
We wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy 2021.
Due to the covid 19 pandemic, the past year was one that many wish to forget -
27th December 2020
Well that’s the bulk of the Christmas excitement over and done with. A lot of families had a pared-
I did all the pony chores in the morning so that I could settle down in the afternoon to prepare for the next day. No sooner had I started than a neighbour phoned to report she had just seen a big horse wearing a rug go past the window and up the road, trailed by two Shetlands. Perplexed by this combination, but convinced the Shetlands must be ours, my husband and I jumped in the car and went in search of these miscreants. There are always halters in every vehicle -
Meeting a wide-
All captured, Andrew and I headed back with them to Tawna, as the only safe place for them was in the stables. The big horse was incredibly uncouth and it took all my strength to control her, but by remarkable luck I met some riders who were able to make a phone-
It turned out that the big black mare had burst through her own electric fence, travelled through two adjoining fields, and exited on to the lane through an open gate. She had then come across our two mares who were in our neighbour’s ‘open-
14th December 2020
Bulging, blooming and beautiful! That would be a fair description of our mares at the moment. Despite the mostly wet conditions they are looking well, and every day it’s exciting to look at those expanding tummies. I often have a little ‘discussion’ with the girls about what they have cooking inside. Some of them look at me very earnestly as I witter on, others walk off -
7th December 2020
It’s been very strange for us at Tawna to have a whole year with no shows, and I’m particularly sorry that our young ponies -
The equestrian centre at Cholwell in Devon has been running a variety of carefully-
22nd November 2020
Mild, murky and mizzly sums up the November conditions here, and as such, we had to keep the remaining foals in for several days to get them dry enough to take their final 2020 photos. Even then, Daphne was still damp and dirty on her (very broad) white rump, but we did the best we could -
Orion, Finley and Daphne will spend the winter at Tawna, until the colts get too full of themselves next spring, and then they’ll be separated and run with slightly older ponies of their own sex who will teach them the ropes.
14th November 2020
Tawna ponies featured in two other winning photos in the GEMS competition, one of which belonged to our friend Pam. The category was for Fancy Dress, and the pony was the very lovely, light bay, Tawna Prudence (Kerswell Nutcracker x Tawna Cornish Piskey) -
Pru was a stunning girl and won any amount of prizes in both breed and M & M classes, but in the photo in question she was in an entirely different role -
10th November 2020
What an exciting day it has been….
Firstly, a package arrived in the post with two beautiful rosettes -
Next, the big event of the day -
The final highlight of the day was a nice little piece on our early evening, regional, television news about Tawna Patrick who lives in South Devon and is being very thoroughly trained to become a therapy pony. He looks as if he will be well suited to all sorts of situations because the film showed him completely at ease in the pub, in a shop, in a lift, walking down the high street, and even riding on a bus!!
6th November 2020
Dear Bo (Milday Mr Bojangles) is -
Anyway, he was the only one left in the field, and he was a little agitated. The rest had squeezed out of a gap behind the gatepost. I have been aware of it for some time, but considered it was too small, and too low, to pose a problem. However the boys thought they would try their luck . . . and succeeded. The ‘hole’ was actually where some of the stone and earth bank had fallen away at the base, but strangely was still intact at the top. It must have been a very tight fit for some of those lads, and I reckon the only way they could have got through would have been by sliding out on their bellies. It would have been quite entertaining to watch!
1st November 2020
We have a mini mud monster! It seems that Orion has a penchant for dirt -
The foals have been in a field with two gateways, one of which holds the water, forming a large puddle. The foals really like spending their time pottering around in that particular gateway and have created a much larger muddy surround, with the middle being stirred into a slurry of liquid mud . . . and Orion likes sitting in it! He’s been coming in at night absolutely dripping. So far he hasn’t actually rolled -
In contrast to Orion, we have taken photos of four clean foals, before they left us for new homes. Check out Dulcie-
21st October 2020
In a normal year we would aim to get most, if not all the youngsters out to at least one show each. We like to ring the changes and give them that valuable experience, but . . . this has been anything but a normal year. I’m particularly disappointed that the young ponies have missed out, but hopefully there will be a chance next year.
Of course we would have photographed them too -
When we had some lovely fine days last week we took the opportunity to get some pics of the yearling and two year old fillies. No preening and polishing -
18th October 2020
Our two gelded colt foals left us for their new homes this weekend. Both are staying local, and we will be seeing them when the shows can start again. Pippin has gone to live with his half sister -
The two boys are such little characters -
9th October 2020
The anticipation through eleven months of gestation, the sleepless nights, the worry, and constant watching at foaling time, then the following five-
4th October 2020
There are going to be some mighty fat squirrels this winter! The storm has brought down thousands of acorns; the ground under the oak trees is carpeted, and as I drive along our little country lanes, I am often accompanied by the sound of acorns crunching under the tyres. Audrey says walking down the little lane from her house is like walking on ball bearings! Despite all the areas in the fields that I have fenced off with electrified tape, the proliferation of acorns is frustrating my plans for the various groups of ponies by limiting the areas we can use.
The stormy weather continues; we have had heavy rain all day today. Our second group of foals to be weaned are currently coming in at night -
2nd October 2020
Aww…our lovely Curio left us today -
23rd September 2020
Glad we’ve got yesterday over and done with -
We have also just weaned the first group of foals, so are keeping an eye on them and watching their mothers for signs of mastitus. There has been so much grass that they have been milking like dairy cows. With so many lush fields, I have been worried about where to put them to dry them off. In the end I have used other ponies to graze off a little poor-
A major seasonal problem here is acorns. This area is blessed with masses of trees, but this year there is an absolute glut of acorns, and they are huge. Audrey doesn’t recall ever seeing such a crop. I don’t think we have a single field without oak trees, either on the hedges or overhanging. Given the chance, the ponies get hooked on eating the fallen ones off the ground. I don’t think just a few would cause problems, but they would hoover up every one if they could, probably with dire consequences. To prevent this, I already have five separate areas protected with electric fencing . . . and have had to go to the local farm store for more plastic fence posts in order to be able to use some other fields. What a problem. We need some nice little piggies to snuffle them all up. The birds and squirrels usually get rid of the acorns eventually, and the other day Audrey saw a deer in behind the electric fence, delicately picking them up.
9th September 2020
I hate to say it, but I think our Swallows have left already -
However it is time to start thinking about weaning so we have taken all the stallions to a distant field to clear the way, and the first three mares and foals have come back to Tawna. During the Summer all the foals have had an introduction to being led, but now the foals can come into the stables I am looking forward to handling them more and getting them leading properly. It always amazes me how quickly they learn, and actually enjoy the new adventure of leading along the lane and seeing different things, being groomed, loading into the lorry etc.
26th August 2020
It’s been a very tricky summer for making hay. The brief periods of real sunny conditions have been tightly sandwiched between frequent wet spells. I wish we could have sent some of our precipitation -
A few days ago we were moving a load from the storage in the field, and when I turned around from setting up the electric fence I found the trailer surrounded by a crowd of our ponies giving the hay a taste test. Looks like it’s got the thumbs up!
16th August 2020
Success! The stallions + Flash Harry are all settled in one group. They are remarkably calm and it’s great to see them all together. It’s always a nerve-
The foals are getting to look so grown-
11th August 2020
Mathematical problems have never been my forte, so the logistics of introducing all our stallions to each other in an orderly manner has had me scratching my head. We never just turn them together and hope for the best; we do it gradually to hopefully minimise any aggression, and then they will stay together until the end of April next year.
There are seven boys -
Now we are introducing the other three, so I have actually drawn a chart to make sure everybody has met everybody else, before we put them out together. Ticking the boxes makes it so much easier! The stallions do make me laugh; they make such strange noises -
10th August 2020
We have good cause to celebrate on two counts. Firstly our three year old palomino -
Secondly, by rights we should also be breaking out the champagne to celebrate our stud’s 60th anniversary! Audrey bred her first registered Shetland foal in 1960. The mother was a brown mare -
28th July 2020
We’ve got unicorns! Yes -
Not sure if they are magical, but I do know that our ponies have been grazing beside the hedge, amongst the burdock plants, and are laden with the sticky burrs. They’ve managed to get manes, tails and beards entangled, and in the case of some of the foals -
Curio is the best example; his mane and forelock tend to still stand fairly upright anyway, and now his forelock is all matted into a tightly twisted ‘horn’ . . . very fetching! I’ve managed to tease some of the burrs out, and have now gone along that particular hedge with secateurs and cut off the offending plants . . . wish I’d remembered to do it sooner!
19th July 2020
It’s one of my favourite times of year -
These ponies have spent the past few months in four different groups, so there is curiosity, jealousy, upsets and new friendships amongst the foals. It is a valuable part of their education to meet different ponies. The foals are pretty independent now, and are quite happy to wander far away from their mums, but some of the mares -
I am just in the process of moving the youngstock fillies into that field as well . . . the mares definitely don’t approve of them coming near. There’s a bit of squabbling at the moment, but they will sort themselves out, and the fillies must learn to respect the older ponies.
30th June 2020
The last day of June already, and the foals seem slow to cast their baby coats this year. I’d have thought that the long, hot, dry spell back-
Although we have the SPSBS registration forms already, we won’t complete them until the foals are showing their true colours and markings. Unfortunately the stud book is full of ponies which have been incorrectly described due to registering them too early, which can be misleading when researching pedigrees.
All the foals had their first halter training session last week. They were surprisingly good; none were particularly upset about the experience, so I expect them to progress well on their next lesson. They are all friendly and confident, and -
21st June 2020
Tawna (not Twana as in the report on the attached link!) Patrick who was mentioned here earlier in the year as a regular visitor, and Guiness-
https://bit.ly/2Yc0iZV There is a lovely photo of Patrick with Annie -
15th June 2020
Due to technical problems our website has been ‘off air’ for a few weeks . . . something to do with the server and ‘migration’ -
Our own hopes for some late foals were dashed this year. Audrey and I were absolutely convinced that we had three more heavily pregnant mares. We have been diligently watching, and feeling, and studying, and discussing, but when we worked out the latest date that they could reasonably be expected to foal we came to the conclusion that they had fooled us! They are now in with their respective stallions . . . and they STILL look the size and SHAPE of expectant mums!!!
28th May 2020
Our very pretty blue roan and white mare -
21st May 2020
How beautiful is this?
I came across this gorgeous baby in one of our fields -
There was no need for the zoom on my camera…I was really this close. What a wonderful encounter with nature!
18th May 2020
Whilst government restrictions mean hairdressing salons are out of bounds, many women (and maybe some men) are possibly bemoaning the fact that their ‘roots’ are showing through in their natural, but unwanted, colour. This occurred to me today when I was examining Daisy May’s chestnut filly -
12th May 2020
No chance of taking a photo of the latest arrival yet . . . Marina is her usual foal-
A neighbouring farmer has several fields of maize. The modern method when planting is to cover the ground with strips of ‘plastic’ to get the plants off to a good start. It looks and feels like cling film, but apparently is not actual plastic -
10th May 2020
Ahh . . . Marina had a visit from the filly fairy last night -
30th April 2020
It’s been a very busy few days -
I have been really looking forward to the ‘big sort out’ because the stallions have been getting quite aggressive with each other. All winter they have been quite a companionable group, but of late, it’s been obvious that their hormones are racing, and they are aware of the time of year!
It takes considerable planning to ensure there are enough fresh fields, well apart, and suitable for the number and condition of the ponies to go into them. For example, Bo’s group includes two mares without foals, both of which will have to be watched for laminitis. Therefore that group are close to Tawna so that we can manage them, and whip those mares out and into ‘Slimmer’s World’ if needs be. In another group all the mares have foals at foot so they can go in a field with better grass, further from home.
The fields have also been prepared: Andrew has harrowed and rolled; a couple of fields have required him to cut and lay perimeter hedges; another field needed a new gate; one field needed an electric fence set up; I’ve had to sort out water supplies to some fields, and this afternoon I have been stuffing stones down rabbit holes!
We have a terrible rabbit problem in one field -
26th April 2020
Another bundle of joy arrived at Tawna about 1.15 this morning. Our beautiful mare, Celeste, had a very pretty skewbald colt, by Rubus. For more than a week she has been staring wistfully through the gate into the field with the other mares and foals, and at least twice a day I have said to her “Just get on and have your foal then you can join them”. Unfortunately I might have to break that promise, because depending on the amount of rain we get this week, I might be bringing them into the stable instead.
25th April 2020
After the vast quantities of rainfall last winter, who’d have thought that in only the fourth month of the year we would be saying “we desperately need rain!” The long dry spell has allowed us to get on with a lot of outdoor jobs at last, and it has been wonderful for the foals who have been playing, racing and snoozing . . . in between a lot of visits to the milk-
There is some rain forecast for the coming week so I thought I’d get some updated pics of the foals before they get wet. Most were obliging and posed beautifully for me . . . eventually. Take a look at our foals page. It’s amazing how quickly they fill out, become more adventurous and develop their individual characters.
16th April 2020
Did I mention an expected lull in foaling? Our mares had different ideas . . . two more foaled before nightfall yesterday.
A couple of days ago Florence suddenly started dripping milk so we were on the alert. I have been worried about her as, at the age of seven, this is her first foal, and whenever I have felt her udder to gauge her progress (which I started doing in early March), she has been irritable. That is completely out of character for her because she is normally fearless, bold and loves attention. None of the other mares have behaved in this manner.
Maybe she’s ticklish, but once again, yesterday morning, she swung away from me, did some token ‘cow kicks’ and swished her tail when I checked her. I was concerned that at the crucial first stage, she wouldn’t tolerate her newly born foal suckling, but I need not have worried . . . she absolutely loves him, he is as lively as a cricket, and all natural instincts have kicked in! Last evening she was so excited she was nipping him -
Daisy May is an old hand at having babies, but didn’t really give us any signs that she was about to foal. She has had a super chestnut filly by Mr Bojangles. Last year Daisy’s full sister -
Whereas Florence is obviously so thrilled with her new bundle of joy, Daisy is totally chilled and is more interested in eating.
12th April 2020
Well we have certainly received a couple of Easter treats . . . of the non-
Charisma could not have been more obliging. I brought her into the stable sometime after 7pm, but I suspected she was really close. Her demeanour was different and her shape had altered slightly. After observing her for a few minutes I decided to put her out again and left her to it while I removed the other mare from the field. Her foal was out on the ground before 7.45 . . . textbook stuff!
We’ll get photos on to our ‘Foals’ page in the next few days. We think there will be a little lull now before the next arrivals.
9th April 2020
There was a sudden population explosion here for a few days last week, then everything went quiet again. Four mares foaled in four days, but sadly we lost one foal -
Currently we have two mares who are apparently very imminent, but they seem to have other ideas. As I was bringing in one of them this evening to stable overnight under the cctv camera, not thinking about anything in particular, a familiar sound penetrated my brain -
1st April 2020
Yay! At last, something to cheer us up amidst all the dreadful doom and gloom . . . Fuchsia has presented us with our first foal of the season -
29th March 2020
Audrey and I absolutely love the two fillies that we retained from last year’s super crop of foals, and were looking forward to seeing them both out in the yearling class at last Sunday’s SW Group show. We would have taken photos of them once smartened up, but as the show was cancelled we have been out in the field and taken some pics anyway . . . not presented to show standard, but at least dry, and clean-
21st March 2020
We have a pair of miffed mares at Tawna! Most of the Foaling Meadow can be seen from the house, so it’s ideal for keeping an eye on the imminent mares, but the current residents -
18th March 2020
Ahh…Patrick didn’t appear on the TV after all. Not surprisingly the fast-
Like us, many of our pony friends look forward to the showing season -
Here at Tawna, it’s certainly business as usual. The mares are heavily pregnant, the most imminent are in the ‘Foaling Meadow’ for observation, and the foaling stables have been thoroughly cleaned out, scrubbed, disinfected and bedded up -
16th March 2020
We all need something light-
8th March 2020
As I walked up across the field this morning to check the brood mares some of them were partially obscured over the brow. They were all more or less in a group, apart from Fuchsia who was way off to one side. I could only see the top half of her to start with, and was highly alarmed at her unnatural movements. She was throwing her head up, as if in pain, and waving it around. Although not due yet, I instantly wondered if she was foaling and in trouble. Initially I couldn’t see whether she was lying or standing, and as I hurried towards her I feared the worse.
I needn’t have worried . . . as the rest of her came into view, all became clear . . . she was standing astride a fallen tree branch and having the most wonderful belly scratch. Total bliss!
5th March 2020
When we sold the handsome young Patrick to Kirk and Hannah in December, little did we realise that in just a couple of months he would become a media star! Kirk has been furthering Patrick’s education, and ‘de-
Much of the ‘education’ has involved taking him into the local pub where he has become a very popular attraction. The local media got hold of the story, and interviewed and filmed Kirk with Patrick. With a name like ‘Patrick’, Kirk thought it would be a bit of fun to offer him a drink of Guinness, and guess what . . . he loves it!!! The story has now become national and this great picture appeared in the Independent’s news-
What’s more, the pub owner is throwing a birthday party for Patrick’s second birthday on St Patrick’s day -
1st March 2020
The rain and gales have continued, with the addition this week of hail and sleet. It was a pleasure to welcome John and June from the Milday stud, but it was such unpleasant conditions to show them around the ponies on Tuesday. It’s not how we would wish to present our animals -
On the rare occasions that it’s not been raining I have found some of the brood mares lying down -
I can’t believe that it’s only three weeks to the SW Group’s Spring show. How will we ever get any of our ponies fit to take before a judge?! Haven’t even decided who we will take yet. Maybe IF we get some dry days things will be more encouraging.
23rd February 2020
As mentioned before, all our fields are surrounded by Cornish hedges -
It was such a track made by badgers and deer that led all the stallions to escape into another field this week, so I had to enlist Andrew with his chainsaw and hook to make good the gap by cutting and laying the adjacent bushes. Meanwhile I got the boys back into the correct field, and Clarius and Charlie came and watched us do the repairs -
It took us an hour or so, but in the satisfaction of having done a good job, Andrew and I walked back across the next field to the car parked on the road. Andrew loaded his equipment while I fastened the gate, and as I turned to the car he exclaimed “Look!”, and there, right behind me was Clarius . . . in the field we had just fenced him out of! I couldn’t believe my eyes.
So back we had to go to inspect the rest of the hedge, only to find an even more pronounced track which the boys had obviously been using on a regular basis. It’s a funny thing that when I have checked them every day, they have been ‘all innocence’, in the correct field, but judging by the droppings in the next field, and the well worn escape route, they have been partying every night where they should not have been! Anyway, it’s all sorted now, and (I think) they are staying put -
9th February 2020
Storm Ciara is certainly making it’s presence known, but to be honest it’s not as bad as we expected . . . so far. The wind is mighty powerful, but it’s not at all cold. The ponies aren’t taking any notice, but if they feel the need for shelter, our high Cornish hedges protect them from all directions.
Every day, as foaling time gets closer, I am studying the mares carefully. I can’t make up my mind whether a few of them are pregnant or not. We don’t have them scanned, so I guess time will tell. They are all in good condition . . . actually rather too good. We have had such a mild winter that it’s been a bit too easy for them. It’s natural for native ponies to lose quite a bit of condition in the winter months.
25th January 2020
Oh my goodness -
24th January 2020
How the ponies appreciate being dry for a change. A week of settled weather with some beautiful frosty mornings, followed by clear blue skies, and wall-
All our mares are extremely well behaved when I trim their hooves. Very often, the gate is the only safe place to tie them up when out in the field, but as the gateways are always the muddiest part of the field, that is far from ideal. Often I catch the chosen pony with a rope halter, and just let the lead dangle whilst I work. I think they are so good to patiently stand for me -
Trimming the stallions whilst out in the field is a completely different story . . . there is always someone wanting to pick a fight with the very one I’m trimming! I generally have to take the one I’m working on into an adjoining field, but having done so, the boys are almost as patient as the girls.
17th January 2020
Already more than two weeks into the new year….and still waiting for winter to hit. Although we have had exceptional rainfall, and strong winds, it has remained mild. The countryside is looking amazingly green for the time of year. Hazel catkins and snowdrops are out, and recently when we moved the brood mares into their official winter fields, I noticed a lot of dandelions in flower.
As breeders, it gives us the greatest satisfaction to know that ponies we have sold are leading interesting happy lives. This could not be more true for young Patrick who left here in December for his new home near Torquay in south Devon. His new owners run K & H Cockington Carriages where they provide horse-
Kirk and Hannah’s facebook content is FULL of photos and videos of Patrick. He is receiving the most amazing education -
31st December 2019
We’ve passed the shortest day -
A new decade is just around the corner, and we would like to send to everyone our very best wishes for a happy, healthy, and fun-
20th December 2019
Ahh . . . our dear little Patrick has gone to his new home in Devon this week. He is the calmest and sweetest natured little chap and is ideally suited to his new role in life. Besides being a much loved family pet, he is going to visit schools to promote the Purple Poppy Appeal -
We would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2020. We have expanded our “Tawna Family” and made many new friends through our ponies this year -
Audrey, Fiona and Andrew.
16th December 2019
What a super time we had at the SW Shetland Pony Group’s Christmas lunch yesterday. The committee really go the extra mile to make it a happy and festive event, and the food was absolutely scrummy. This is the third time the Group has chosen the Trethorne Country Park, near Launceston on the Cornwall/Devon border, and although it’s a long haul for members from Somerset and beyond, I should think everyone would agree it is a splendid venue.
It was great to sit with friends and have a relaxed catch-
I was quite surprised to be called up myself -
An auction and a colossal raffle completed the day, all funds from which will go towards the running of the 2020 Breed Show to be held in Chard, and organised by our Group. There are still some classes looking for sponsorship so if interested, do please contact Julian Walters of the Sharptor stud.
13th December 2019
How utterly cute is this? I must thank Cecelia for this wonderful photo. It is our gorgeous Lowenna in her new duty as companion to twenty four year old, Welsh section A -
Audrey and I wanted Lowenna to lead a more interesting life now she has retired from breeding and showing. Cecelia and her five daughters have offered the perfect caring home on their Cornish smallholding which stocks a variety of traditional animals, including a pig called Apple!
Before Lowenna moved in, the garage was transformed into a pair of cosy stables with specially adapted door for Lowenna . . . perfect!
7th December 2019
Grrr . . . every year some thieving scum-
So where did those cattle spend the night? . . . in our neighbour’s field, with three of our ponies! These semi-
The boys allowed me to catch them to move to safe quarters while my husband and I evicted the cattle, but they were clearly upset about the intruders and quite jumpy. I can’t blame them -
We are very pleased with all our yearlings -
26th November 2019
It was joyful today to see the mares in high spirits. It was NOT raining, and the strong wind sweeping across their field caused them to be in playful mood. One or two did vertical take-
Our final sold foal was collected yesterday. It was our ever-
We have now updated the photos on our foals page -
15th November 2019
What excitement the ponies had today! A group of young equestrian scholars from the Polwhele Prep School near Truro made an educational visit to our stud. Ten 8-
The children were all suitably kitted out with hard hats and wellies and were refreshingly sensible around the ponies. However I’m not sure who was most excited when they met all the mares in the first field…the children were over the moon, but the ponies loved all the attention as well. As I expected, some of the more reserved mares like Marina and Celeste kept their distance, but others were right in the thick of the crowd, not batting an eyelid. Clarissa turned out to be one of the favourites. Our ponies have NEVER seen so many people at once in their field, so I was really thrilled to see how well behaved they were, and some put on a little frisky display to entertain their visitors.
Few of the children had ever come across a rope halter, but after a quick lesson they were off catching mares left, right and centre. We discovered one young ‘horse whisperer’ in the group who was quietly befriending ponies in all the fields. For the photo, the children posed in front of the loose mares, but the latter somehow managed to disperse at the crucial moment. Would you believe there were sixteen ponies in that field!!
We moved on through two fields of youngsters, then to the stallions’ field. Before I knew it, three of the stallions had been haltered and were being led around, and another one was giving kisses. I have to say I was proud to see the boys exhibiting their wonderful temperaments in unfamiliar circumstances. There were lots of questions from our guests, and they will have to write up reports when they get back to school. We look forward to a return visit in the summer when they can see the foals.
11th November 2019
Today we received the sad news that Noreen Burt who ran the Trewordergrange Shetland Stud with John Brendon-
News of a more cheerful nature comes from Toby on the showing front. He finished his showing season with two year old Luna in fine style at this weekend’s SWA of WPCS Winter Show. Besides the usual Native classes there were riding ponies, hacks/hunters, broken coloureds, part-
5th November 2019
The showing season for us finished on Sunday with the SW Shetland Group’s Autumn show. I rather ambitiously entered four ponies, but with Fiona L’s excellent help once again we managed pretty well. The show was very well supported with competitors travelling long distances, and plenty of spectators. It was marvellous to see good strong classes of standard ponies once again, and throughout the day the quality of Shetlands was of a very high standard.
We had a good day, especially with our foals, but I was also thrilled and proud to see so many Tawna ponies looking gorgeous and achieving great results for their owners. It’s such a pleasure to meet up, hear about their ponies’ antics, and see the obvious enjoyment that these feisty little four-
Results for Tawna ponies: Dandini 1st, Sherry 1st + Overall Reserve Champion Foal, Bracken 2nd, Luna 1st and 2nd, Angus 2nd, Moonshine 2nd, Cherish 3rd and 3rd, Betsy Blue, 4th and Clementine 4th. We can put away the bridles now and reflect on another successful show season . . . and start planning for next year . . . the SW Spring show is only four months away!!!
27th October 2019
Our own two youngsters did us proud at the Native Pony show. For one thing, they had kept themselves clean . . . I felt sure Alice would lie in some poo overnight -
Alice (Tawna Rubus x Tawna Agnes) was amazingly cool, calm and collected and performed like a pro to earn a first place in the Shetland foal class. Previously I had thought she was an exceptionally big, well-
Stella (Tawna Tristan x Tawna Celeste) has a more timid personality, but still went well to take second place in the Shetland yearling class. The winner was Pam’s Tawna Angus, who is Alice’s full brother! Angus then took the overall Reserve Yearling Championship, below a gorgeous Highland. Angus has a tremendous mane and tail . . . which I pointed out to Alice, and asked her to grow the same!
Both Toby’s girls carried on the good results with a first for Luna and a third for Izzy. Our judge was a breeder of Welsh ponies but she gave all the Shetlands a fair look, and nice comments. An all round good day.
26th October 2019
The final sold foal left Tawna for his new home yesterday, though the journey was in complete contrast to Truffles last week. Sunny Jim walked to his new stables! Jane and Alan live less than a mile away, and they brought their mare -
Talking of shows, we have the first of our Autumn shows tomorrow -
21st October 2019
Ahh . . . another baby leaves Tawna. Our very sweet-
Tremendous news from last weekend’s Scotish Shetland Pony Group’s show . . . Milday Rubicon (sire: Tawna Rubus and MGS: Tawna Cousin Jack) won a class of almost twenty youngstock, before taking Mini Champ, overall Junior Champ . . . then Supreme of Show. WOW!! What an achievement in the stronghold of big Standard black ponies . . . and under a judge who breeds Standard blacks!! Very well done Matthew -
14th October 2019
Well our new stallion has settled in very peacefully at Tawna with two yearling colts. He is 5 year old, 32”, liver chestnut and white skewbald, Breckenlea Scenario (North-
Known here as Rio, we could not be more pleased with him, and thank Amanda Slater for allowing us to buy him. He had a long trip down from Shetland to Cornwall, and comes with excellent credentials. Rio, and both his parents each achieved Gold Awards in the Pony Breeders of Shetland Association’s Evaluation Scheme. This is a thorough examination by three panel judges, who individually give both points and written comments on conformation, movement and temperament, according to the Breed Standard. Rio was awarded the highest points of all the Shetlands forward for evaluation last year.
His first foal -
3rd October 2019
Guess who won the ‘Longest Mane’ class at the Fun Show? Tawna Victoria (29”), seen here with her handlers for the day -
The past week has seen two super foals go off to their new homes -
Cherokee was probably my favourite of all the foals this year. He had it all -
The next foals to leave are a well matched pair of roans -
30th September 2019
The SW Group’s Shetland Fun Day was a great success. It completely lived up to it’s promise, with an array of classes to appeal to a wide cross-
All classes could be undertaken in-
The novelty show classes were well supported, and impossibly difficult decisions were graciously made by the charming judge. Just imagine being faced with 13-
The fancy dress class presented some great entries, including a strawberry roan and white gelding disguised as a dairy cow….yes, really! Nearly everyone had a go at the interesting, and testing agility course which included the pony walking over a see-
23rd September 2019
The past week has seen a lot happening at Tawna. The big ordeal was a morning’s worth of castrations and micro-
The first of our foals to leave has flown the nest. Our utterly cutesome Camilla has safely travelled north to her lovely new home. The first-
And finally . . . there is a new arrival at Tawna. Who’s this . . . ?
14th September 2019
Betsy’s home! She has been on showing loan since the spring, and has returned now to renew her friendship with our other yearling filly -
9th September 2019
Everything is beginning to feel quite Autumnal now -
All the ponies’ coats are thickening up and they are losing the gloss of summer now as their coats lengthen. We have started weaning the first group of three foals. Doing it gradually in small groups ensures they have the least stress. This first little trio are doing very well, and are quite ready to leave their mums.
Toby kindly helped me yesterday, foot trimming and doing more halter training with the rest of the foals. I am very pleased with how well they have already learnt about being led -
27th August 2019
There was the luxury of a full week between shows leading up to our last outing of the summer season on Sunday. It was the Cornish branch of the WPCA Medal Show. I don’t know why there are two separate Welsh groups in the County, but they both put on good shows, and both have a full range of affiliated classes for Shetlands and deserve to be supported. For this show Toby and I headed west to the lovely permanent Stithians showground -
Having ascertained beforehand that we could park close to the ring, I rather ambitiously decided to take three and a half ponies . . . and not an easy combination either. For yearling Stella, it was her first ever show; for two year old Champagne Charlie, it was his fourth show, but his first one outdoors, and his first time travelling with females in the lorry; it was also Tia Maria’s first show this year, and of course first time out for her foal Sherry. All in all, potentially quite a tricky bunch for just the two of us to deal with.
In actual fact I was extremely pleased with their behaviour and performances, and felt it was a very worthwhile education for all of them. Stella did become quite stressed and flighty when she came out of the box, but eventually settled. After standing like a lamb in the collecting ring, Charlie became deafeningly vocal and fidgety in the ring . . . but they are only young, and the judge allowed for their inexperience.
When all our ponies had first prizes and had to go back in the ring for the championships, I had to ask by-
Our next outing is going to be very different -
19th August 2019
Just a few more days and we’ve been to two more shows. For these we chose to give some younger boys an outing. Chagford is another of our favourite shows. Set in a charming location in the Dartmoor National Park, the Shetland classes are usually quite strong. In the mini classes we had reasonable results: Patrick had a third place in the yearling class (with Betsy Blue standing second), and in the stallion/gelding class, Clarius was second.
But it was in the open coloured classes that our gorgeous bay and white boy shone -
Toby is giving his ponies a rest, and has been helping me at these recent shows so yesterday we headed west for the Kernow WPCS Bronze Medal Show. My plan went slightly awry, as I had intended to take little yearling, Stella, for her first ever show, but she was a tad lame on Saturday, so it was a quick lorry trip to pick up Patrick again. This time he gained a second prize, and our super-
Pam had an outstanding day with Tawna Moonshine -
14th August 2019
Rain, fog, wind and drizzle . . . all at the same time! Yes it was traditional weather for today’s Camelford Agricultural show. The show site is extremely exposed, so there were a lot of wet bodies at the end of the day . . . well, after only an hour or two actually. The show has earned a reputation for bad weather, so competitors expect the worst, and you certainly discover just how waterproof your waterproofs really are!
I kept things simple and just took Milday Mr Bojangles and he did me proud today -
In addition Tawna Angus was 1st in mini yearlings and Reserve Overall Junior Champ, T. Izzy was second in Bo’s mini class and fourth in the M & M class, and T. Moonshine was 1st in mini gelding class, Reserve Mini Champ and Reserve Overall Gelding Champ. If that sounds confusing, it wasn’t half as confusing as it was for everybody sorting out handlers for various ponies. I ended up leading a friend’s standard mare, who won her class, then won Standard Champion. I have certainly never shown the champion mini AND standard ponies at the same show . . . what a novelty.
Now the task is to get everything dried out for tomorrow’s Chagford show. It doesn’t require flu vacs so I’m looking forward to taking two different ponies.
12th August 2019
There’s been a lot going on recently so it’s time to catch up on the diary.
Last week Toby, his parents, and his two Tawna ponies spent a couple of days away at the NPS Summer Championship show at Malvern for the first time -
The following day it was my turn to be showing…but I could not manage such success at Okehampton Agricultural show. As they had the flu vac stipulation, and I expected to be on my own, I could only take Mr Bojangles. He’s a handsome boy, but yet again we had to be content with a second place below the fabulous Eiger Oliver. We keep meeting him this year, but cannot complain when beaten by such an outstanding stallion. Pam’s Tawna boys gained a third place in each of their classes, and all three ponies were awarded glamorous GEMS rosettes.
Yesterday was Tregony show, probably my favourite on our annual circuit. Due to a prior commitment I had to miss it this year, but our stud was well represented . . .and how! Fiona and Betsy Blue were first in the yearling class, followed by a first for Jane S with little black Martha in the 2 and 3 year olds. (Both these fillies are by Kerswell Sprite who we have just sold). Jane was over the moon when the judge then chose Martha as Reserve Junior Champion (standards and miniatures). She says she was so happy that her day was made, and she took her striking bay and white Tarantella into the strong mare class, not caring what happened. Imagine her shock then, when Tara stormed her way to a win, and Miniature Champion! We’re not expecting Jane down from Cloud Nine any time soon!!
For a completely different activity with a Shetland pony, we were fascinated to hear from Anne Allen that her skewbald three year old -
4th August 2019
All accounts of the recent Shetland Society Breed Show, held in Shetland itself, point to an outstanding week of events leading up to an excellent show. Congratulations to the organisers from the Pony Breeders of Shetland Association. Over 300 ponies, 50 or so travelling from the mainland, and international visitors from far and wide made for a memorable event. We’re pleased that Tawna ponies had a small input in the mini classes, even though it was so far away: a sixth place for Cavalier in the yearling colt class; the first prize yearling filly was sired by Tawna Dundee; and the second prize three year old filly was by our own Tawna Rubus. The next Breed Show will be in Somerset and we hope to actually take a few of our own ponies to that one.
Meanwhile closer to home, two little Shetlands made an impact in the fancy dress class at a fun show on the Devon/Cornwall border. Ellen and Jack transformed Fiona Lawrence’s ponies into a pair of miniature draught horses, complete with magnificent feather, braided and decorated manes and tails, coloured ribbons, and a leather surcingle for the mare. Brilliant! Both being roan, the intention was for them to be ‘mini Clydesdales’, but a spectator pronounced them “Shirelands” which was a great name. On the left is Tawna Ariel, who earlier in the day -
Another roan -
26th July 2019
All the foals now have tidy toes. This week I have wormed them, and trimmed all their little hooves for the second time. I like to keep on top of their foot-
We have received a lovely photo of Tawna Golden Shred who is now a licensed stallion at John Lawrie’s Milday stud in Scotland. Shreddie was a stunning foal, and he has matured into a magnificent stallion -
13th July 2019
Liskeard Agricultural Show is quite local for us and one of our favourites for showing the ponies. A dedicated level ring for Shetlands, collecting area away from the bigger horses, and easy parking near by, all help to make it one of the more enjoyable shows.
Today’s show was certainly a good one for Tawna ponies with our marvellous seventeen year old brood mare -
Mr Bojangles was more animated today than on his last show day -
Today the judge liked our ponies, but nothing is certain in showing and things could all be turned upside down next time!
10th July 2019
There’s certainly been no need for a visit to the gym in this past week -
As soon as we had cleared the second field I opened the gate to let Rubus and his family through. They have been staring longingly through the bars of the gate for weeks so they were very excited to at last get into the field. There’s plenty of grass around the hedges for them to browse over and they just appreciate a change.
It’ll soon be time to take the stallions away from their girls and then we’ll condense all the mares and foals together in one place for a few months. I look forward to seeing them as one big group, and it’s good socialising for the foals to meet other ponies too.
30th June 2019
What a busy week it has been, what with work commitments, followed with hastily preparing ponies, lorry etc yesterday, and then attending two shows both held at the same venue today.
The numbers forward for the Shetland classes at the Native Pony Association of Cornwall show far out-
I thought our own ponies were looking gorgeous, but unfortunately Mr Bojangles’ performance didn’t impress the judge in the NPA show. She commented that he lacked sparkle, and I have to say I agreed with her. He did feel rather flat as I was leading him, but I’m pretty certain it was because he has had two mares in season this week . . . and I think he was rather tired!! He did achieve a second in the Group’s show though. Clementine looked stunning in the brood mare class. I always like it when Toby shows her so I can admire her! Baby Camilla was an absolute star -
So all three ponies qualified for the championships. In the junior championship Camilla strutted her stuff and was totally unfazed by the whole proceedings. I was so pleased with her. Although a lovely shape and type, her coat is beginning to look rather moth-
23rd June 2019
The foals are all growing away well. They are such a beautiful bunch that it’s a huge pleasure to visit them each day. They are gaining in confidence and becoming more independent from their mothers. In turn, the mares are not really fretful any more when their babies wander off.
Apart from our late arrival, the foals have started casting their coats to varying degrees. Several have got lovely shiny faces, some have just got ‘panda eyes’, and some bottoms are revealing their true colour underneath! A curious thing that we have witnessed before is that the foals that are born with very short smooth coats cast them much quicker than the foals which are born with long coats. You would think, in the warmer summer conditions, that the hairier ones would naturally need to get rid of their hot coats sooner! We have updated some of the photos on the foals page. They are growing up so fast.
20th June 2019
Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Heartiest congratulations to Matthew and Craig (owners) and John (breeder) for their results at today’s prestigious Royal Highland Show. Milday Morse -
16th June 2019
Today our surprise baby boy -
Vicky and her baby have been in the Foaling Meadow for the past week, which is overlooked from the house at Tawna. Audrey has been really enjoying watching Bertie exercising. She would have watched hundreds of foals there over the years, but she doesn’t think she has ever seen such an energetic, speedy and bold foal at such an early age. She is convinced that instead of milk, Vicky is producing rocket fuel!!! Check out the pics of Bertie on our Foals and For Sale pages. I love the ‘ripples’ on his forehead.
11th June 2019
We love this photo of Camilla standing up so proudly for the judge at last Friday’s show. She looks so confident, pretty and perfectly formed.
Our latest foal -
10th June 2019
The phrase “I couldn’t believe my eyes” was never truer than yesterday morning when I arrived outside one of our fields with some visitors. Glancing through the hedge I spied Victoria standing facing us with something dark on the ground beside her. I stared for a moment . . . it wasn’t a shadow, it wasn’t a fallen tree branch, there are no mole hills in that field . . . there was only one thing it could be! I raced into the field to see a tiny slip of a foal get to his feet and Victoria immediately trotted off with him.
What a shock. We had no inkling that she was carrying a foal -
Recently Victoria has been in the meadow in front of the house so we have seen her regularly at close quarters, but not seen a sign. This is her first foal so he is small, and she has a long body which obviously concealed her little bundle. Anyway he is lively and healthy and is called Albert. What a surprise! Photos in a few days when he fills out a bit.
7th June 2019
Well our “two and a half” ponies acquitted themselves very well at today’s Royal Cornwall show. By yesterday afternoon we had them looking really fabulous -
Dismal weather aside, everyone’s spirits were surprisingly high and our judge and stewards kept cheerful. For the stallion class I took Milday Mr Bojangles. He is incredibly handsome, and although not very experienced, he is an extremely obedient boy to show. It was a second prize for him.
In the brood mare class, Toby showed our beautiful Clementine’s paces off superbly for a first place, and I was thrilled that training had paid off for Camilla who won the SPSBS rosette for Best Foal. She just amazed me -
Other Tawna ponies achieved marvellous results for their owners too: in the yearling class -
2nd June 2019
Congratulations to Sylvia at Somerset’s County show -
31st May 2019
Schools have been on half term this week so it was great that Toby has been able to help me do a little training with the foals. I wanted to give them an initial introduction to being touched all over, wearing a head-
Currently the three groups with foals are running with their stallions, and all in fields away from Tawna. It would be so much easier if we could just bring them into the stables for this work, but we manage quite well. This was the first time the babies had been stopped from just dancing off wherever they want, and it always comes as a shock to them. We only give the foals a short lesson, and ensure we finish by giving them a nice “scratch and giggle” session so they are relaxed when released. We find that this first basic lesson pays off, and they remember it and build on it next time we do some halter training. We managed to do seven of the foals so must see to the other three before too long.
27th May 2019
The show season is certainly getting into full swing. At the other end of the country, the Central Scotland Shetland Group has just held their Spring show, and we are delighted to report that one of Tawna Rubus’ sons was Miniature Junior Champion, Miniature Champion, and Reserve Supreme Junior Champion. Many congratulations to Matthew with his three year old Milday Rubicon.
26th May 2019
I cannot deny that our young bay and white stallion -
In my own class Clarius impressed for a win, with Tawna Moonshine second, and these two later took the Miniature Championship and Reserve. The schedule had not stated that there would be a Junior Championship so it was a lovely surprise when the judge pulled forward Luna and Angus and presented them with SPSBS rosettes too.
After putting Clarius back in the lorry I watched the friendly rivalry in the ‘Golden Handler’ class . . . for people over a certain age! With a first,second and third for Pam, Jane S and Wendy respectively, they clearly enjoy having fun with their ponies. Keep it up ladies!
18th May 2019
For most of us who enjoy showing our Shetlands, one of the highlights is getting a good placing at a County show where there is generally strong competition.
As we expected to still be foaling here at Tawna, we did not enter for today’s Devon County show, but we’re delighted that Tawna ponies made their mark. This morning it was exciting to receive reports as each class finished: Toby’s 2 y o Luna was placed second to the colt who was the ultimate miniature champion; in a good yearling class, a second prize for Fiona’s Betsy Blue who is on showing loan from us; and in the same class, a fifth prize for Sue’s Rowan. Well done to you all.
13th May 2019
At only her second affiliated show of the year, Pam had a wonderful day with her Tawna boys at the 76th two day Troon horse show.
Angus won the 3 years and under class -
11th May 2019
Ahh….Celeste’s little boy -
4th May 2019
All photos updated on our ‘Foals 2019’ page. Take a look -
3rd May 2019
Hurray! Our final mare has foaled. Just after 2 o'clock this morning Celeste had a nice chestnut colt by Rubus. It was a trouble-
It is a great relief to have completed foaling. It has not all been plain sailing, but we have kept constant watch and been on hand when required. We tend the mares so diligently that it becomes very tiring. Ten mares foaling in about twenty eight days was rather manic but actually a bonus. …now we can relax and start to enjoy getting to know the foals.
Today I learnt something about Fuchsia’s chestnut colt -
The night Fuchsia was foaling I had opened the stable door to go in and check everything was ok, when she decided to lie down and produce the foal out through the open doorway. The foal was so exceptionally strong and well developed that we assumed it was a colt, and I have a feeling I only did a cursory check under the tail, without getting the torch. Ever since, Bracken has been so mature and square that it’s never occurred to me to doubt his/her sex . . . until today!!
Anyway, that mistake aside, the foals are a cracking bunch, and we will update photos on our foals page in the next couple of days.
2nd May 2019
It’s been a busy old time at Tawna lately -
28th April 2019
Marina presented us with a real little treasure last night -
25th April 2019
Last night saw another new arrival at Tawna. Our very lovely Charisma had a chestnut and white colt -
This colt is by Rubus and is a strong little boy with a broad back, and a broad blaze. Charisma took several hours before she cleansed which made her night uncomfortable . . . and Audrey’s sleepless as she watched the cctv and worried over the mare. However once Charisma had cast the afterbirth naturally, she felt better and has had a restorative day out in the sunshine and showers, grazing and resting while her baby has been stretching his legs. They make a very colourful sight out in the grassy field which is surrounded by trees bursting into leaf in many shades of green.
21st April 2019
Audrey and I had the best Easter treat of all last night when Agnes eventually foaled and had a very beautiful skewbald filly by Rubus. Better than a chocolate egg . . . and less calories!!
We have been on tenterhooks with Agnes for more than a week -
There are updates on our foals page -
Our friends, Sue and Jane S have been out today with their respective Tawna ponies -
Apparently the ladies (and hopefully their husbands) had a great time -
20th April 2019
The swallows were late arriving this year. We didn’t witness the first joyful twittering and acrobatic swooping until 18th April. The following day, the flies arrived -
Toby and Luna celebrated Good Friday with a successful day at the SW Ponies Association show in Devon -
18th April 2019
We have been wondering where all the white has gone! Not one of the five foals has got a single white marking. Two of the mothers are well-
Therefore it was very nice last night when Topsy produced a minimally marked filly. She is a full sister to last year’s Henry aka Ever so Blue, and she too is already showing signs of a blue roan undercoat. She’s not big on white markings -
We have now settled on a name for Fuchsia’s boy -
16th April 2019
My goodness -
‘Stable Cat’ is spending more and more time at Tawna. His owner, next door, assures us he goes home for breakfast, but he must be very quick about it so he can return to us. He is loving foaling time because Audrey and I are down in the yard so much, and at all times of night and day. He was in attendance when Daisy foaled in the middle of the night -
15th April 2019
Not to be outdone by her sister (Dolly), Daisy foaled last night and has given us a beautiful bay roan filly. She didn’t take long over it either . . . the ‘white bag’ first made an appearance at 1am, and by 1.08am the foal was out on the ground!! Another Sprite foal, this one is a full sister to last year’s Betsy Blue. We suspected Daisy could be pretty close to foaling because during the previous two days she had been in an evil temper with the other ponies. She is always quite dominant in the herd, but this level was uncharacteristic. We put it down to being hormonal. She is very happy now she has her own baby.
Our ‘Foals 2019’ page is now up and running, with the first three illustrated.
13th April 2019
There is mixed news on the foaling front here at Tawna. On Tuesday evening Twinkle sadly lost her baby. We knew she was about to foal and were in attendance before she even started. It soon became clear that it was a mal-
To balance with that terrible upset, Dolly Dimple had her first foal this morning -
8th April 2019
Being born so early has meant that Camilla has had no other foal companions for a month, so this morning she was over the moon when I promoted the two youngest foals to share her field. She was fascinated to see the other little ones and celebrated by doing multi high-
It wasn’t until I saw them all together that I realised that Tia and Clementine have had matching babies for the second year in a row. Last year they had bay colts that were quite difficult to tell apart until Cavalier started to turn roan. This time we have matching black fillies, albeit almost a month apart in age.
Congratulations are due to Toby who showed his Tawna girls at the NPS Area 10 Spring show in Devon on Sunday. Amongst some hot competition in the small breeds M & M classes Luna gained a second and Izzy a fifth. In Luna’s youngstock class the top place went to a standard Shetland, Luna was second and the remaining four or five ponies were Dartmoors and Exmoors. Well done Toby . . . good to see you fly the flag for mini Shetlands!
5th April 2019
There are two new arrivals at Tawna. At 8 o’clock last evening Fuchsia had a really strong chestnut colt -
At about 8.30 this morning it was Tia Maria’s turn, but she was in trouble. One leg was turned back from the knee. Audrey had seen her not too long before, so she had not been foaling for long. Having experienced our fair share of problem foalings over the years, it’s a stomach-
The weather has turned really nasty this afternoon, so the mums and new babies are tucked up nice and dry tonight.
2nd April 2019
Congratulations to another Jane, this time Jane G whose mare -
1st April 2019
Congratulations to Jane S (we know at least four different Janes in connection with the Shetlands) who took her two Tawna girls to the Native Pony Association of Cornwall Spring show yesterday. She had a marvellous day with both the ponies winning their classes and then her striking bay and white mare -
30th March 2019
A couple of months ago Audrey had double glazed windows fitted at Tawna. It had been a big decision, not only financially but also aesthetically. Tawna is a very pretty old cottage (see pic on ‘About Us -
However there is a downside. This week Andrew has been trying to set up the cctv on our foaling stables and discovered that the signal to the monitor in Audrey’s bedroom is corrupted by the metal in the frames. In an attempt to work around the problem he scrambled up into the attic with the receiver which gave a better image, but required a longer cable to be purchased, so for the time, the project was halted. The attic is not boarded out, and we very rarely go up there, although there are a few old bits and pieces which have been lurking there for many decades.
Yesterday though, something very strange happened. When Audrey was upstairs, she heard a double bump above her head on four separate occasions. These were fifteen minutes or more apart, quite loud, and all seemed to come from exactly the same direction. Then between 6.30am and noon today, she has already heard three more such bumps overhead -
This afternoon Andrew has returned to get the cctv system up and running so she asked him to look around in the attic to see what could be making the noises . . . and here’s the SPOOKY thing . . . he says that a chair which had been lying on it’s side, has rotated 180 degrees horizontally and turned over 180 degrees vertically. He had taken particular note of it on Thursday because he had described it to me. He can also see the mark in the dust where it had been, and that is exactly the direction the sounds were coming from!! When he was up there a couple of days ago he opened an old trunk, and an old suitcase which were apparently empty . . . but now the question is “Has he released a poltergeist?!!”
28th March 2019
Once we had got over the SW Group show, we were able to get on with the customary Spring sorting out of ponies, the biggest part of which was carting all fillies, and barren mares away to the other side of the parish. They are very happy with their new quarters -
When I called the girls this morning they came plodding up the slope for their carrots, but Victoria remained under a willow tree, by the river. It’s not at all unusual for her to stay back as she is very much a loner -
There was no way in this world that Victoria could have got free without help. The same thing happened years ago to a dear little mare called Fancy That. She was missing from the group on the Downs, and Audrey found her with her long mane tangled in a scrubby little tree. It’s amazing what they can dream up!
We have also grabbed the chance to update photos of Patrick which are now on the ‘sale’ page. He is maturing really well and although rather dusty in the new pics, we think his qualities are obvious.
25th March 2019
Yesterday’s show was an undoubted success -
From our point of view, the absolute star of the day was Toby with Tawna Luna. At her first show as a two year old, Luna looked wonderful. She is maturing very nicely and has tremendous paces. As always, Toby had turned her out beautifully and the rewards were 2 x 1st, Reserve Mini Junior Champion and Reserve Mini Champion . . . what a result!
I can’t say that the ponies I took were so well turned out, but I was reasonably happy with their appearance considering preps were hampered by a failure in water supply, making it all very much at the last minute. Champagne Charlie had to be bathed twice to get his pale palomino coat clean, and even then he managed to acquire no less than five stable stains overnight before the show . . . all that from just two night-
Charlie’s good behaviour at the show was most gratifying -
My third contestant was Milday Mr Bojangles. He has only ever been shown a few times in Scotland, but this was the first time I had taken him out so I didn’t know how he would behave. No worries -
21st March 2019
The SW Shetland Pony Group will be holding it’s Spring show in Devon this Sunday. I always look forward to seeing everyone and their ponies for (for us) the first show of the season. I optimistically sent our entries off, and now the task of cleaning up three ponies and a whole winter’s worth of accumulated mud must begin! They are all away from home and normally never see a stable . . . or a rug, so it’s a tall order. Two are also inexperienced, so I have been taking them out on the road to do some training, and am pleased that they are obedient and responsive to my commands.
It’s great to see a pony that hasn’t been anywhere, gain in confidence, and become a more rounded character through the showing experience. Just coming away from their friends, going into a stable on their own, and travelling a distance in the lorry are all novelties.
The forecast is quite reasonable for the weekend, so let’s hope it’s a successful show with a good turnout of entries.
17th March 2019
Camilla continues to be an independent little girl, and is not greatly interested in following her mother. Audrey has brought them into the stable every night since she was born, so she is well aware of the routine. She tends to stick when she gets to the open doorway and lingers so that Audrey can’t get past her to push her in.
However last evening she had help from an unexpected quarter. As Camilla fiddled around just outside the stable, ‘Stable Cat’ (Hugh) appeared at the end of the walkway and proceeded to herd her in….like a dog. It worked a treat. So now Audrey is hoping that her ‘collie-
11th March 2019
Here she is! Camilla at just three days old.
She is a real live wire and has been boldly cantering in circles of increasing diameter, around her mum. Luckily Clementine has calmed down now and is happy to bring her baby in to the stable for the night . . . although baby is quite reluctant to go out in the morning. She hesitates at the different surfaces underfoot, and once outside, defiantly goes in the opposite direction to her field! There’s a nice pick of grass for Clemmy, but the weather is most un-
8th March 2019
The new baby is just gorgeous and has been officially named -
6th March 2019
Our ponies always have the power to shock us, and this morning it was Clementine’s turn. Audrey couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked out of the window first thing to see a foal frisking around Clemmy. This little mite was born last night in torrents of rain, yet it was up and lively….thank goodness. Clemmy has been in the meadow close to the house, but we truly were not expecting her to foal for another month. We actually had 6th April as a possible date!
We whisked them into a stable and towelled off the foal, who remarkably appeared to be none the worse for her soaking. Yes . . . I said ‘her’ . . . a precious filly -
23rd February 2019
I had to smile yesterday when I went to check the stallions. Three of them were lying down -
It’s feeling amazingly spring-
31st January 2019
For once, today’s local weather forecast was right -
Huge wet snowflakes have been falling for a few hours now and accumulating, so we decided the foals/yearlings ought to come in for the night. They’ve been out 24/7, and having their hard feed al fresco from a trough for a few weeks because we had moved them into lovely, unusually lush pasture . . . but it is three fields away from the yard, so not practical to bring them in daily.
As I entered their field, trudging through the carpet of snow, they emerged from their shelter under a dense holly tree. Their coats were wet and darkened by the rain earlier, but by the time they had cantered over to me, it looked for all the world as if we have a little herd of blanket-
The snow has stopped now. They’re tough little ponies, but it’s good to know they are tucked up indoors for tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
16th January 2019
Already halfway through January, and after quite a decent spell of dryish weather, nature is raising our spirits with Snowdrops, catkins and lots of chirpy birdsong. For sure, there is something nasty around the corner, but at the moment we are enjoying seeing the countryside looking amazingly green and the animals looking so well. There’s mud of course, but the ponies are not having to cope with day after day of constant rain.
We took the opportunity to take some new photos of Patrick who has a marvellous almost-
Whilst searching through my photo files I came across some forgotten ones of Pansy and Freckles for our ‘Youngstock’ page. These have replaced the ones taken in November. Thankfully I think both fillies have slimmed down a bit since then . . . they were shockingly rotund!
30th December 2018
At long last we have updated our youngstock page on this website . . . just in time for it to be out of date again!!
It takes the youngsters so long to cast their coats, and then in no time at all they are growing next winter’s woollies, so I had not really tried to photograph them until I managed to get these pics of them in fairly clean condition last month.
All but one are informal images. Always tricky to photograph when loose in the field, it took quite a few attempts and a lot of patience to catch the rare moments when they had posed with their legs reasonably positioned, they were not eating, there were no other bodies in the way, and the shadows were not too deep from the low winter sun.
Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get our stallions page sorted. It’s been out of date and faulty for ages, but I have some photos earmarked for it, and Andrew has promised to see what he can do with it.
23rd December 2018
To all the good friends and acquaintances we have made over many years in the Shetland community . . . we wish every one the best of Christmas festivities and a bright and exciting New Year.
18th December 2018
How’s this for a view? Our handsome roan colt, Cavalier, took up residence at the Gue Stud in Shetland a few months ago, and this was the scene from his field on Sunday morning. There was a bit of a breeze!
Coming from the soft living down south to such a dramatic environment could have been quite traumatic for him, but apparently he has been quite unperturbed. Carole said there was a marked difference in the thickness and length of his coat, compared with her island-
17th December 2018
What a splendid day Andrew, Toby and I had yesterday when we headed east to Trethorne Leisure Park for the much-
As we sat back and digested, the end of year show-
I did not have any high hopes for the two entries I had submitted as, although they had done exceedingly well when I showed them, neither pony had been to the maximum number of six shows permitted. Therefore it was a lovely surprise when Clarius was second in the stallion section, and Tia Maria was third in the mare section -
Gorgeous ‘frillies’ awarded, it was time for the auction, and monstrous raffle. There were probably close to a million raffle prizes, yet our table only had two numbers come up! Hey-
All too soon it was time for home and final wishes for festive cheer called across the car park. As we sped away with Andrew at the wheel, Toby and I were engrossed in conversation . . . until I noticed that we were on the main road . . . heading east again!! Andrew has the most appalling sense of direction, and was driving away from home. I wonder how long it would have taken him to realise?!
12th December 2018
Did we really have a drought only a few months ago? It’s hard to believe it now. The springs all around my house have re-
The fields are soggy and the ponies are happily caked in mud. All our females are in one big group at the moment. It’s a joy to see such beautiful girls all together each day, looking well, and in many cases, it’s very obvious which ones are pregnant. Some are keeping me guessing though. There will definitely be at least one first-
29th November 2018
Our excellent equine dentist -
There is a new member of the team here at Tawna . . . of the feline variety. Way back in the summer we kept seeing a tabby cat around the yard and fields. He kept his distance, but didn’t seem nervous. Audrey and I both love cats so we would talk to him and he became bolder.
One day Audrey found him asleep in the hay and had the chance to actually stroke him. That was the turning point. Ever since then, “Stable Cat” is a regular around the yard. After quite a while we discovered that he belongs to a neighbour, but as she goes out to work, he prefers to come and visit us in the day. He often appears soon after we are both in the yard. He hears us talking and comes trotting across the meadow. He is most affectionate and loves to climb up onto gates or railings to get nearer us, but -
Also he rolls on his back and wriggles around on the ground, blissfully unaware of the foals looming up and the potential threat of being trodden on. He’s very endearing, and after many months referring to him as Stable Cat, we have recently learnt that his official name is Hugh!
12th November 2018
Waking on a dark morning to thunder, lightning and heavy downpours did not fill me with enthusiasm for our final show of the year -
This was the debut appearance of our lovely palomino/cream yearling colt -
Charlie surprised me with his good behaviour and I was chuffed to bits when he won both his classes + youngstock champion and overall ring champion. The opposition included a stallion, and several dainty little plaited part-
7th November 2018
For the most part, Audrey and I agree on all policies in connection with the ponies, but for last weekend’s SW Shetland Group show, we had a difference of opinion.
I always look forward to what I still call the Youngstock show, as it is the one where we see all the foals coming out -
However what really made our day was two Tawna boys taking first and second prizes in the colt foal class. Their proud new owners had these very special boys looking fab, and it was Pam with Tawna Angus who pipped her good friend Sue, with Tawna Rowan, to top place. It’s a difficult time of year to turn out skewbalds, but these two handsome sons of Tawna Rubus looked a treat. The icing on the cake -
There were actually five offspring of Rubus at the show, including Toby’s two girls, and they were all prize-
It was a really excellent show -
31st October 2018
Our ponies are not like butterflies! Butterflies like to warm themselves in the morning sun -
I usually check the ponies first thing in the morning. During the exceptionally hot summer that we’ve just had, I would have expected them to be out grazing before the mid-
However I have been amazed many times on bright, but cold, frosty mornings, to find that instead of being out in the field, taking advantage of the sun -
It’s not difficult to tempt them out though -
22nd October 2018
There were some very good prices achieved at the recent Reading Shetland Pony sale -
Now we’re thinking about our entries for the SW Shetland Group’s show in a fortnight. The weather here is lovely at the moment -
Toby managed to squeeze in another fun show a few weeks ago. He only took his mare, Tawna Izzy Wizzy, and had a great day -
15th October 2018
A couple of days ago we moved the first group of mares into the first of two fields which will be their winter quarters. It is a super field of nearly six acres which was re-
Twenty four hours later when I visited them, I was shocked to be faced with seven Ena Sharples lookalikes . . . you have to go back a long way, and have been a Coronation Street viewer to recognise the analogy!! The mares look frightful with their hair “up in curlers”.
Whilst sheltering from the tail-
11th October 2018
Congratulations to Toby and Pam who have been announced as champion and runner-
It’s that slightly sad time of year when the foals leave us. Three have already left for their new homes, but we are proud that they are all friendly and confident, are in superb condition, have been sympathetically weaned, and are extremely obedient on the halter. Before they were weaned we ensured they would load into the lorry with their mums. Two were rather reluctant, so the next day we left the ramp down and shut the foals in the yard with it, so they could explore. In next to no time they had discovered what fun it was to go up into the lorry and were treating it like a game. When we next tried leading them in, which was without their mums, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation . . . job done! Well rounded little ponies, ready for their new owners to carry on their education. Looking forward to seeing some of them out on the show circuit.
1st October 2018
The smile says it all! Four year old Hannah proudly displays her rosette and trophy from the Fun Show a couple of weeks ago. It was her first show, and she had only briefly met Victoria once before the Young Handler class. Hannah loved the experience and can’t wait to go to another show.
Meanwhile in the Adult Handler class, Pam’s husband Vic (with Tawna Nutkin) was happy to join in with the fun element of the show!
We had a busy day at Tawna a week ago when three colt foals were castrated and all nine foals micro-
16th September 2018
For several weeks we have been looking forward to today’s End of Season Shetland Fun Show in Devon. It lived up to it’s name with a friendly atmosphere, classes which were a bit different from the norm, and some unusual bonus prizes . . . Toby won buckets in two classes!! Without exception, everyone entered into the spirit of the day and the classes were well supported. There was a tremendous turnout of Tawna ponies -
I enjoyed taking our two entries -
We weaned Patrick a week ago, and he has settled well. Today he was such a grown-
To be honest the show was a whirl of activity and I couldn’t keep up with results. However the crowning glory of the day was overall champion for Pam’s Tawna Moonshine….and a reserve reserve champion for little Patrick. To finish the day we had in-
8th September 2018
As much as I appreciate the concept of self-
They were supposed to be in another neighbour’s field, but had found a little tiny route out, low under the thorn trees. Having no idea how much they had eaten, I have had them under surveillance beside my house ever since, and luckily there’s no sign of upset tummies.
5th September 2018
Tawna Smartie Pants is an adaptable little boy. Two weekends ago he was amongst the shopping trolleys at his local supermarket near Bath in Somerset -
Here at Tawna we have started the weaning process with the three oldest foals. Cavalier and Patrick are particularly mature in their attitude, but Stella is a bit more of a mummy’s girl. They are all eating their hard food and hay when they are in the stable and we don’t think it will take too long before they can be separated.
30th August 2018
Just had a lovely afternoon halter training the foals with Toby. They are still away from Tawna so we took a halter for the mums, a headcollar and lead rein for the foals, and the Society’s registration forms up to their field. It was sunny but not too hot, and with no wind to blow away the paperwork, we have completed several of the passport outlines. We’ll have to wait a bit longer for the markings to become more clear on some of the foals. I know that Flash Harry has got socks and a small white patch on his bottom, but until he casts his foal coat I can’t be exactly sure where the markings begin and end!
The ponies were all extremely interested in what we were doing so we didn’t have to take many steps to catch each candidate. We took each mare and foal through a gate and out into the adjoining field to lead so the babies didn’t have the distraction of all the others tagging along. We didn’t bother to lead Patrick or Cavalier as they are well educated lads having been to six shows between them.
Although the foals have all been caught and had their feet trimmed during the summer, we couldn’t recall that the two youngest -
24th August 2018
We love receiving happy news from owners of ponies we have bred and sold. Tawna Petunia is a very attractive dun and white who belongs to Sylvia -
I hopped in the lorry yesterday to move it and noticed a whopping great molar tooth on the dash board. Poor little Freckles spat it out on the ground just before her show class at Chagford last week. Yuck! It’s surprising how rarely we see the teeth that the ponies cast naturally. I guess they just get lost in the grass.
20th August 2018
Our little rush of shows finished with a lovely visit to Chagford Agricultural show. It’s a charming event and another of our favourites. Clementine was our chosen representative for the mare class, and shown to her best by Toby she looked absolutely stunning. She came a creditable second and Cavalier behaved impeccably to claim another champion foal rosette.
Freckles, although rather too tubby, is one of the prettiest ponies we have ever bred . . . and I tell her this nearly every day! She also gained a second place in the youngstock class. Toby and I both agreed that the ponies that beat ours were truly worthy winners and deserved their top places. However another top place was claimed by Tawna Moonshine in the stallion and gelding class, and Pam was delighted when he was chosen as Reserve Mini Champion. “Mr Lush” is every inch a champion in our eyes!
Just for a change, Toby later took Freckles in the under 14.2hh broken colour class. A bit of a novelty for us, and a third prize for our pretty little girl. A relaxed wander around the show, watching the camel racing, and indulging in freshly made warm doughnuts completed a great day out.
13th August 2018
We attended one of our favourite shows yesterday -
We took our lovely mare Clementine and TWO of her sons. At sixteen years old, she is looking marvellous herself and is doing her handsome foal -
There were also two second prizes for Toby’s ponies, and a second for Jane’s Tawna Martha. Toby was kind enough to offer to show Clemmy for me, and entrusted his own Izzy Wizzy to his mum to show in the same class. Toby must have been so proud of both his mum and Izzy when they were pulled into second place out of nine entries.
But the biggest excitement was for Debbie who is a new convert to mini Shetlands. In their debut appearance at a show, Debbie and her pretty filly -
10th August 2018
We had a super day at Camelford Agricultural Show on Wednesday. A major factor was that we only had one brief shower of rain, plus a couple of light skiffs while we were there. It’s a bit of a standing joke in Cornwall that it will always rain at Camelford show: last year there was a deluge and I think the show was abandoned part way through the morning -
This time the show was on a new site, and the pony rings were safely tucked away from the ridden, driven, heavy horses. There were a few things to be improved another time, such as the rings being rather small, the ground being perilously rutted after the wet winter, and cars driving through ponies in the collecting area, but a new venue is always going to throw up problems to be ironed out.
There was a fairly good turn-
Toby also earned second place in the open Young Handlers class, plus a lovely Society rosette for the best competitor with a Shetland. I also took Clarius in the open M & M class and was extremely chuffed to gain second place -
Earlier in the week we got some slightly better photos of the foals we are offering for sale -
5th August 2018
Oh dear . . . some of the ponies are in disgrace! When I went to see the mares and foals, their field was empty. I looked out through the hedge, and there they all were -
I caught Tia Maria and led her to the gate, followed by a ‘crocodile’ of mainly foals, but then the mothers tagged on at the end. Their tummies must have been full, because they wouldn’t have followed otherwise! In an otherwise sound hedge, it turned out that they had found the one place where the badgers and deer make a bit of a runway. I expect a few of the foals went over first and then everyone else piled after them. To be honest, I am surprised that some of the most hefty girls -
28th July 2018
Mixed feelings today . . . some longed-
So far we haven’t had a great deal of rain, but the ground, the plants and the wildlife must be lapping it up. Just since yesterday I can see a marked difference in the amount of water the mares and foals have been drinking. We haven’t got any automatic drinkers, so manually filling the troughs in several fields has been a time-
I am elated to have finished pulling ragwort this week. It is a job I dread every year -
Andrew has just updated most of the photos on our ‘Foals 2018’ page. How the babies alter over a few months. He doesn’t see the foals in the flesh (or in the fur) very often so doesn’t know how much they have changed. In some cases, as he was replacing the previous photos with the latest images, he did a second take and exclaimed “Really?!” I don’t feel some of the pics do them justice so I will try again….when the sun shines!
25th July 2018
Just recently there have been lots of jobs with the ponies. Everything hinged on the stallions coming away from their mares. Having got them back to Tawna they were reacquainted with each other over several days. After taking their turn sniffing and squealing at each other over the stable walls, and we were satisfied that everyone had met each other, they are now all out in a field together -
Once the boys were sorted, that enabled us to get all the mares with foals together in one field -
Yesterday Toby and I did a bit of halter training. We managed to get through six of the foals. I’m not worried about Patrick as he is a very educated young man, having been to four shows, so there are now just the two youngest boys to do. I was very pleased with the foals’ behaviour. There were no particular upsets and on the whole, they accepted being restrained quite quickly. Of course, having always had their complete freedom, it comes as a great shock to them when they go to skip away . . . and I stop them! Sometimes in the past we have have had major tantrums and foals flinging themselves on the ground in a rage. I think this lot are particularly bright!
18th July 2018
Unfortunately two of our lovely colt foals are back on the market. Their purchaser -
17th July 2018
To say last week was rather busy would be an understatement. A large part of it was taken up with hay-
The answer was yes, but not very well. The judge would have definitely pronounced me unsound! I really like Liskeard show, and having missed it last year due to work commitments, I didn’t want to do so again. I took two ponies with contrasting results. Charisma -
I was so very proud of him -
Then it was an early return home, a quick turn-
3rd July 2018
Last weekend saw our Area’s NPS summer show. Toby took his Tawna girls, and after patiently waiting over three and a half hours for an unannounced last minute re-
Back at Tawna we are enjoying seeing the foals growing away. Some of them have had their toes trimmed for the first time and we have also started halter-
28th June 2018
Only a few months ago we were utterly sick of the constant rain . . . but dare I say it -
Despite such a long spell of hot weather, some of our ponies are still hanging on to some of their winter coats. I have to say I was quite heartened at the show on Sunday to see several ponies with fluff -
Our foals are slow to cast their baby coats too, but this morning I made use of my time while waiting for the water trough to fill, by having a go at some of them with a wire-
25th June 2018
Ah….the vagaries of showing. We took two mares and a foal yesterday, but I only entered one pony into the Native Pony show. It was our beautiful Charisma -
It was a first place for our lovely Tia Maria -
This was immediately followed by the yeld mare class for Charisma. With a similar number forward as in her earlier class things were turned upside-
It was a long and very hot day, but the two shows appeared to run well alongside each other and there was a super atmosphere . . .although the Native Pony commentator may have given away the surprise of the World Cup football results as he announced each England goal as it was scored -
21st June 2018
Hearty congratulations to John Lawrie and friends with their Milday ponies at the Royal Highland Show today. We are naturally extremely pleased because their two year olds who are BOTH by our Tawna Rubus were first and second in the 2 and 3 year old class (15 forward) + Junior Champion AND Reserve Junior Champion. In addition their yearling filly who was second prize in her class (18 forward) is by our new stallion Milday Mr Bojangles. Well done to you all at such a prestigious show.
We will be preparing ponies ourselves for two shows this weekend -
12th June 2018
It’s a real pleasure now to sit down in the fields -
At last some of the foals are beginning to reveal their true colours underneath those woolly baby coats. The most striking change so far is with Angus, whose face has cast out to a shiny dark (liver) chestnut -
10th June 2018
After many weeks of diligent daily grooming, Audrey declared defeat on Thursday, and our yearling, Rosetta, had to stay home. A strawberry roan only half out of it’s coat is not a good look for a County show! So on Friday we had a very light load for the Royal Cornwall -
Patrick is such a chilled little chap -
I also had the pleasure of showing Tawna Moonshine for Pam. It was his first time at the Royal Cornwall show and as he is quite a sensitive boy, we weren’t too sure how he would react to so much going on. Outside the ring he became pretty wound up until we joined Tia in the more peaceful area . . . away from the blacksmith belting the life out of something on his anvil . . . and away from the ‘Countryside Area’ where they let off a gun . . . etc etc! Once in the ring, he was actually quite settled and apart from pulling on the downhill trot, I was extremely pleased with his behaviour. He earned a second prize in the gelding class and very complimentary comments from the judge.
4th June 2018
We were really torn yesterday . . . two shows, both about the same distance away, but in opposite directions. Toby and I chose to go west to the Cornish Association of the Welsh Pony & Cob Society where the Shetland classes were affiliated to the Shetland Society.
It was a good decision -
Meanwhile, several of our friends headed east into Devon for a fun show. There was an excellent representation of the Tawna stud there -
Next stop for us -
27th May 2018
It’s two months since I have taken any of our ponies to a show, so it was good to get ‘back in the saddle’ today at the Cornwall Open Show. It’s a nice event for us: an easy run down the A30, plenty of parking, good range of classes, and relatively good facilities . . . although the outdoor sand school was pretty soggy, with a pond at each end after last nights thunder storm!
Whilst Toby was in the youngstock class with Luna -
Luna was also third in the coloured class (any age) and Toby won the Young Handlers (13-
All these results were a great pleasure, but for me the greatest achievement today was how well behaved Patrick was. At ten weeks (and one day!), his first show was a big education and I could not have asked any more of him. In the past few weeks we have been halter-
24th May 2018
This morning I have been out taking photos of some of our babies to update our ‘Foals 2018’ page (now done). Some of the older ones are so hairy that I am longing for them to cast those coats so we can see their true colours. The final two boys, who are now only about a week old, are filling out and changing daily.
It’s fascinating watching young foals . . . it’s a constant round of eating, sleeping and playing, + a lot of peeing! I couldn’t help laughing out loud at Topsy’s boy’s antics -
Once he tried going through under the deepest part of her belly, but soon decided that wouldn’t work. But the amazing thing was when he succeeded in popping through to the opposite side . . . only to immediately go into reverse and end up where he started!! Priceless! His three year old cousin -
19th May 2018
Then last night Marina had a colt foal (by Rubus), again with four socks and a star + a white blob on the top of the tail, but we are thrilled that this boy is the rare MUSHROOM colour -
We had hoped that one or both of these final mares would give us a filly, but we are grateful that they arrived safely and are handsome and healthy. Last year, five of our seven foals were fillies, so the girls beat the average then. This year seven out of nine foals are boys . . . but it has to be said, they are a gorgeous bunch!
12th May 2018
The foals enjoyed their young visitors today. Angus and Rowan received LOTS of kisses! Many thanks to Gemma for all the fab photos.
11th May 2018
After a great deal of deliberation we have finally settled on a name for Rosella’s pink and white boy -
Our little Ronnie’s roan yearling sister -
Their skewbald two year old brother -
8th May 2018
I have been out with my camera and managed to take updated photos of some of our babies -
6th May 2018
Toby and his family did a longer trip yesterday to the SW Shetland Group’s new Spring show in Somerset. I had too many commitments here, but Toby did the Tawna name proud with his two girls (T. Luna and T.Izzy Wizzy) -
On the following day Pam took two of her Tawna geldings to a show here in Cornwall. There was only one open class for Shetlands, but she was chuffed to win with T. Moonshine and have a third with T. Boy George . . . and even more tickled that the steward fell in love with Moonshine -
It has been exceptionally hot today and nearly all our ponies are sweating buckets in their big thick coats. I’m having to look at them very closely to ensure they are ok because they are breathing much faster than normal.
28th April 2018
We have a pink and white boy! Rosella foaled last evening, giving us a pretty skewbald colt. He looked chestnut and white whilst wet, but in the morning light today we can see that he will be strawberry roan and white -
Hurray! At last our 2018 Foal page is on view. Take a look! The latest boy isn’t there yet, and there will hopefully be a few more additions.
26th April 2018
In actual fact there were two fillies by Sprite born yesterday. The other was from our friend Jane’s home-
I have taken photos of all the foals and am waiting for Andrew to make a new ‘Foals’ page for this website. I know several people are dying to see our lovely babies, so I hope it won’t be too much longer before they can be seen here, in all their cuteness!
25th April 2018
The filly fairy has not been over-
We knew Daisy wasn’t far off foaling, and it was as if she had waited to be brought into the stable for the night as she foaled within about fifteen minutes! There is a marked difference between her and the most recent mare to foal. Agnes was excited and attentive towards her baby, whereas Daisy is casual and laid back . . . sums up her attitude to life really!
23rd April 2018
Sorted! For several weeks I have been working towards the ‘Big Spring Pony Sort Out’. It’s the time of year for us to get the stallions separated out into their respective summer pastures, to be joined by the first of their mares. Actually we do it the other way around -
Recently I have been busy trimming hooves and shuffling around small numbers of ponies so that when Toby helped me yesterday, we just had to put the planned moves into action. He said he was confused with it all, and I must admit it is a logistical challenge and took a lot of forward planning as we are using five stallions this year. Luckily we have a good choice of fields in a variety of sizes and locations, but ensuring the stallions are well apart and going onto fresh ground has been difficult.
This morning I was very pleased -
22nd April 2018
Three Tawna geldings have been out and about at shows this weekend and doing their owners (and Audrey and myself) proud. At the SWPA qualifier show in Devon, Pam’s Moonshine stood second to a magnificent Highland in an all-
Meanwhile in Lincolnshire, Maria has had Amos strutting his stuff again. The panel judge in the affiliated Shetland classes not only chose Amos for first in a class of standards and minis, mares stallions and geldings, but also pulled him forward as Champion Shetland. In addition, he won three other first prizes and a third. If Amos is going to carry on in this vein, Maria is going to have to increase her very slim waist to accommodate all the rosettes!
19th April 2018
How’s this for great timing….
For more than a fortnight, heavily pregnant Agnes -
However somewhere between 6 o’clock and 7 o’clock this evening, Audrey phoned me to say the lights in the stable weren’t working. She thought there may have been an upset in the electricity supply and the safety trip switch had kicked in, but she needed me to reach it.
Arriving at Tawna, I soon sorted the problem and we went across the yard to look at Aggie. Whilst we watched, she tipped out several little lots of droppings, which is not unusual for her, and I light heartedly said to her “Well Aggie, are you emptying out ready to have your baby?” After I’d mucked her out I felt her chest . . . boiling! Today has been the hottest day of the year so far, but she was unnaturally hot.
We watched a while longer and within minutes she was gently pawing the ground so we quietly left the stable. Within FIVE minutes I heard a grunt, looked in, and the foal was already on it’s way out. One more heave and she had delivered him.
Now THAT is the way we wish they would all easily give birth . . . but it also shows how quickly they can get into trouble if the foal isn’t presented correctly. She has had a lovely upstanding skewbald colt -
17th April 2018
More interesting news from afar: Maria from Lincolnshire took four year old gelding, Tawna Amos, to only his second ever show last Sunday. It was the Notts/Lincs branch of the NCPA Spring show and they proudly brought home third and fourth rosettes.
Apparently Amos found it all VERY exciting as his previous show had just been for Shetlands and Miniature Horses. The variety and activity of a full-
The top two from one of his classes (Highland and standard Shetland) went on to be M & M champion and reserve, before being overall in-
And here he is at the show……..WOW, what a proud and handsome boy!
10th April 2018
We love a bit of good news . . . today there is much jubilation at the Milday Stud near Edinburgh because John Lawrie has just had three x three year old colts sail through their VVE (voluntary veterinary examination) to become licensed stallions.
Audrey and I have good reason to join in the celebration because all three handsome boys have Tawna breeding: Tawna Golden Shred (Kerswell Nutcracker x Tawna Clementine), Tawna Kismet (Kerswell Sprite x Tawna Charisma), and Milday Midnight Noir (Tawna Rubus x Kinnoull Tabitha). We really rated Shreddie and Kismet as foals, and sold them at weaning as worthy colts with stallion potential. However, passing the VVE is by no means a foregone conclusion, so it’s good to have confirmation that these boys meet with the exacting International veterinary standards, and we hope they go on to make their mark in the Shetland world, and especially at the Milday stud!
8th April 2018
After the joy of such lovely babies arriving in quick succession, there was much sadness here this week when we lost a foal -
Our very beautiful little dun and white mare -
We have had a number of other upsetting things happen this week, but our spirits have been lifted today by the arrival of our first two Swallows -
3rd April 2018
Well, our girls are certainly firing them out this year!
Foal number four arrived last evening. Fuchsia chose a very civilized time -
It’s been so cold and wet since they were born that the previous three foals have been coming into stables every night. This has met with approval by their mothers because they have had a nice tea awaiting them each evening. It has also meant that we could handle the foals more than usual at this age. But with improved conditions today, those three were promoted to another field . . . and tonight they will be out for the first time.
2nd April 2018
The popular Devon (Area 10) NPS Spring show was held on Easter Sunday, and was Toby’s chance to ‘fly solo’…..with the support crew of mum and dad of course. He’s been to enough shows with me now to know the ropes, but it was still a big venture with his own two ponies…..plus dad -
Everything went to plan and the family returned home well-
1st April 2018
We had our own little Easter bunny arrive here last night . . . Clementine had a super colt foal -
That’s a foal born on each of the past three weekends! It’s strange that we should get three foals so early, as the stallions go in with the mares at roughly the same time each year. There are more mums-
25th March 2018
Well it’s amazing what a difference a fine sunny day and a happy pony gathering can do for your spirits. The show today had a great atmosphere, people seemed genuinely pleased to be out with their ponies for the first time this year and meeting up with friends. There was also a nice number of spectators so there was a LOT of chat, and it was great to see exhibitors helping out each other to lead ponies in the ring, or just hang on to them outside.
There is no denying that Tawna ponies had a fantastic day. The judge who had travelled all the way from Shetland was extremely efficient, and gave all entries a VERY thorough assessment. I would think overall numbers were slightly up on last year, and without a lunch break he was kept busy well into mid afternoon.
Our own Rosetta was placed second in the yearling class, and Lowenna -
Pam took two of her handsome boys for the gelding class and was very happy to be placed first with Tawna Moonshine and fourth with Tawna Boy George, BUT the day belonged to Toby. My goodness -
Jacqui really enjoyed her day as groom to both Toby and myself and must have been a very proud mum…..I rather think she has been bitten by the Shetland ‘bug’ too!!
…..and the icing on the cake? Just before midnight Celeste had a sweet little filly foal……a long but happy day.
24th March 2018
Never did it feel less like show weather -
However I have entered two ponies, and Toby will be taking his own two, so they are all tucked up at Tawna now, ready for the off in the morning. I have managed to get our two looking surprisingly presentable considering they live out 24/7 and never see a rug. Toby had to work harder with his two because they have white markings.
I’m sure once we get there and meet up with everyone else we will feel the usual excitement. At the first show of the season I always like to see how young ponies have developed since last year, and see what new talent is around. Got to remember to put the clocks forward at bedtime!
19th March 2018
It was a case of snowballs in every field today . . . well, more like ‘snow clumps’ actually.
We had a fair fall of snow yesterday afternoon, though not excessive. This morning I firstly visited the stallions and noticed several compacted, roundish clumps of snow/ice scattered across the field. These had bits of dried up grass mixed in and had obviously built up under the boys feet as they walked around, before falling off by their own weight. Quite uncomfortable for them, but luckily only a short-
In the mares field Topsy’s legs instantly caught my eye as she trotted towards me. Her feather was caked in various sized balls of snow which looked like bells or some such around her fetlocks and feet. As she moved they swung around her legs -
The most impressive ‘pom-
18th March 2018
Here he is! Born on St Patrick’s Day, the name just had to be!
Tawna Patrick and his mum were tucked up safely indoors during the snow last night. It quickly started to melt this morning, so we put them out to stretch their legs for a few hours and for Tia to graze in a sheltered little meadow, but when the snow arrived again they were snatched in once more. The pair had four admiring visitors yesterday with more due today . . . nothing like a cute little new arrival to bring on the Oooohhhs and Ahhhs!
17th March 2018
Audrey was expecting a Recorded Delivery from the postman this morning.
What she wasn’t expecting was a Special Delivery from Tia Maria, but that’s what she got!!! Although Tia was one of the two most imminent mares that we had moved near the house at Tawna for observation, she was not due for at least another two to three weeks . . . but clearly ponies don’t study charts and calendars! Tia has presented us with a small but strong, and utterly gorgeous bay colt (by Kerswell Sprite). This is her first foal but she seems to be taking motherhood in her stride.
With another nasty blast of weather on the way this weekend, we have brought them into a nice cosy stable, but plan to take Tia out onto the verge to get a good feed of fresh grass later. It’s important that she gets plenty of moist food to stay healthy and keep the milkbar flowing. In a day or two, when conditions improve, we’ll try and get a photo for this diary page.
14th March 2018
Despite some of our old hedges needing attention to make them properly stock-
Later my husband came and helped me search. We did discover just one tuft of hair on some wire and some scuffled up leaves before finding an area of bitten off grass a little distance outside the fields. Conclusion -
Having spent over three and a half hours searching, by the end of the afternoon we were returning home, worried and perplexed. We just happened to pass my cousin’s house, and her husband hailed us to ask if we had lost a couple of ponies. They had spotted them in a nearby field AT BREAKFAST TIME but hadn’t got around to telling us!!!!
Yes it was Freckles and Pansy -
11th March 2018
What a week of contrasts we’ve just had -
Despite the catkins, Primroses and Daffodils, it doesn’t feel in the least like spring, but time is marching on and we have had to do some sorting of the ponies -
Earlier in the winter, the soggy ground conditions forced me to split up the mares into smaller groups in a variety of fields, but I have now gathered the pregnant and probably-
The three foals we kept from last year have been running together all winter, but Charlie is a precocious little boy and has become a bit of a pest with the fillies. To be fair they have been standing up for themselves very well -
Yikes!…..I only realised today that it is just two weeks to our SW Shetland Group’s spring show……definitely not ready for that!
23rd February 2018
Brrrr….the wind has gone around to the East and is blasting us with bitter gales….but it’s dry. For the first time this winter we have had to top up the mares’ water troughs today. They are not automatic, and we have long stretches of alkathene pipe and hose pipes which are charged from a tap. All winter the rain has filled the troughs, but as soon as we get this Easterly wind the water content in the grass is greatly reduced, and the ponies drink a lot more.
Whilst waiting for the troughs to fill we were greatly entertained by the mares having a race around the field. They were obviously delighted to have some dry weather. They had a good gallop, with some less than elegant kicking up of their heels. Those big tummies don’t lend themselves to particularly athletic moves, but they still managed a fair turn of speed. After circling several times they came back to us -
5th February 2018
At last, a sunny, bright day, with no wind . . . and NO RAIN! It has been very cold today, but what a difference the dryer conditions have made to the ponies . . . they have been sun-
A few days ago Audrey and I visited all the mares together to try and suss out which ones really are pregnant. I see them every day: I think I can see those tums getting larger, but is it wishful thinking? Those big coats do a good job of disguising the bulges. Just lately I have even been leaning over some of the girls and hugging their bellies to see if I can gauge what’s in there -
We studied each mare in turn, from all angles, and I caught several of them and stood them facing uphill, then downhill, then walked them around to see how those tummies swayed as they walked. We’re undecided on one or two, but on the whole things are looking rosy and -
This is our beautiful Celeste who, before Christmas, didn’t appear to be expecting at all, but now it seems a lot more likely. She was looking extra cute and fluffy when I took this and surprisingly clean, apart from her feet. I am thrilled with how her behaviour has improved. She used to be quite offish and difficult to catch, but since her summer season being shown by Toby in 2016, and then having a foal last year, she has been transformed and is now a very mellow little girl.
23rd January 2018
I have NEVER known the ground to be constantly waterlogged for such a long time. Even walking up the sloping fields the surface is a sheet of water most days. The ponies’ legs and tails are just encased in mud, and where they shelter against the hedge from the prevailing winds . . . and there’s been a lot of them . . .is a sea of mud. Despite this, the bulk of the fields are holding up surprisingly well.
However I was not very pleased yesterday when the Hi-
This winter our group of six fillies of various ages have the run of three inter-
By the end of my second circuit I was really worried. Had she been stolen? The boundaries are pretty stock-
6th January 2018
Here we are -
The ponies have been almost constantly wet, yet they are looking well and remarkably happy. They all have high hedges for shelter -
We love Charlie’s personality -
Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Wonderful New Year from All at Tawna
27th December 2017
When we set off on the daily rounds to check the ponies, we never know what we shall find. Most often it will be that some ponies have escaped from their allotted space and are in the wrong field . . . or the high winds have brought down a heavy ivy-
However just before Christmas, it was a first -
Poor driver -
So much for sat-
18th December 2017
What a lovely time we had yesterday! It was the SW Shetland Group’s Christmas lunch and Toby, Andrew and I headed off to a new venue in the morning to join over 70 others for a lively, chatty, jolly, festive meal . . . what a lot of noise our group created! Several participants had travelled considerable distances to join the merry throng.
After an excellent meal, the end-
Christine Rundle’s veteran stallion -
Fiona Lawrence’s golden boy, Tawna Midas was announced as “Gelding of the Year” -
Needless to say, we are delighted that these Tawna ponies featured in the accumulator awards, but more especially because the categories were for standards and miniatures combined. As a general rule, the miniature classes in our area have far more entries than those for standard ponies, therefore it is harder to accrue the good placings and points in our classes during the showing season.
There was yet another special award for Toby at the lunch. He won a well-
9th December 2017
Male animals need their dignity, so it’s just possible that doing up a stallion’s forelock in a girlie plait could do some serious injury to his macho image in the company of other boys!
We have given our new stallion -
Our other stallions are such a well established gang that we did not relish upsetting the balance by introducing Bo, but at last we have done it. As usual we allowed them to take turns to sniff and squeal over the low stable walls, and earlier this week we got them all together. We had the equine dentist on Wednesday so we deliberately kept the two boys that she tended in overnight afterwards so when we put Bo out, followed by them, everybody’s attention was divided to such a degree that the introduction went very well, and I am happy to report that there is no bullying from any quarter. The only thing is . . . I kept his plait in, so he could see the others, and the electric fence . . . so do they now think he is a cissy?!!
5th December 2017
Here’s a great pressie idea for a Shetland pony lover from www.shetlandoncanvas.co.uk. This charming picture is of Tawna Cordelia who was bought as a foal by Carole Laignel for her Gue stud, and is photographed in this pretty summery scene in Shetland. Cordelia is a full sister to our mares -
This image is available as a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle or as a printed canvas picture. The photographer -
It’s worth looking through the photos, just to see the incredible landscape that our hardy little ponies originally hail from!
2nd December 2017
Awww . . . our handsome, gentle, lovely stallion Tawna Tristan is sold and has already gone off to his new home. He is such a well mannered boy -
26th November 2017
Lucky, lucky ponies! It’s almost December, and we wouldn’t normally expect to have a fresh, grassy field for our ponies, but in the last couple of days, not one, but three groups have moved into lovely new pastures.
Apart from the foals who are at Tawna, all the other ponies are away from the homestead. The brood mares are now in a field that hasn’t been grazed for nine months. The fillies are in two little meadows bordered by a small river that last had horses twelve months ago, and the stallions are in a fabulous big field -
We are privileged to now have use of the latter field, but the boys will have to share it with possibly up to eight deer which are often seen there. In the summer we will have to sub-
17th November 2017
What speed those little pony legs can achieve!…..
We have just had a beautiful, still, sunny day and I think the ponies have appreciated it as much as we have. This afternoon I have been out in the field with the mares, trimming feet. Whilst I worked on any one pony which was tied to the fence, I was surrounded by nearly all the other girls who were watching . . . or interfering. The favourite trick being lifting items out of my ‘foot bucket’ with their teeth and depositing them on the ground, or knocking the bucket over -
Suddenly there was a commotion and little dun and white skewbald Marina shot off down the field at a rate of knots. She disappeared out of sight then came back into view, galloping at full tilt until she reached the herd. This stirred up the others and off they shot -
It’s pretty obvious where Norman Thelwell found his inspiration . . . those determined faces, with noses thrust out, ears flat back and manes and forelocks flying, combined with round bellies above a blur of legs was hilarious. It was all very entertaining. Meanwhile one or two girls really couldn’t be bothered -
12th November 2017
The Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group has just held it’s Youngstock Show and we’re delighted to hear that several of Tawna Rubus’s youngsters, bred by John Lawrie at the Milday stud made their mark once again. Most notable was that 2 year old piebald colt -
Two yearling fillies by Rubus took both the first and second prize rosettes in their class, while yearling colt -
It’s extremely heartening for us to know that our mares and stallions are producing youngsters who are proving themselves in the showring time after time. If they are consistently in the ribbons, then we must be getting it right! Now that Rubus is back on home turf in Cornwall after two seasons in Scotland, he ran with several mares this year. We only had one foal by him this spring, so fingers crossed for more in 2018!
Another show this weekend, this time at our end of the country, was organised by the South Western Association of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society (what a mouthful!). Pam and Vic took their gorgeous/glamorous Tawna Moonshine who once again won his open Shetland 4 years and over class, and then took Reserve Ring Champion, standing below an Exmoor stallion. A very strong wind noisily rattling trees against the sides of the building, combined with having his class halted while the Welsh cobs thundered around the whole indoor school several times caused the little chap to get quite stressed. Pam says he was fine before his class, but the noise and big horses really upset him so he wasn’t on his best form today. Nevertheless those are more great results under his belt -
5th November 2017
Our final show of the season wasn’t our best with regards to results, but it was still very enjoyable. There was a good buzz with plenty of ponies and spectators. No classes were huge, but on the whole there were fair entries. Of course I was taking more notice of the mini classes where the high quality of the animals was very apparent.
Toby had a busy day with four classes: he won the Young Handler championship with Luna, and then stood third with her in the foal class, with Rosetta in fourth. Luna was also second in the Novice Youngstock class which I thought was a particularly good result amongst much older ponies. I love watching Luna trot -
Tia Maria was our mare entry this time, and I was very pleased that she won a second too. She is a very beautiful mare and is a full sister to Luna. What’s more, those two and Freckles all share the same mother (Twinkle) -
There was a cold wind today, so we were all glad that the show ran very efficiently with the ring steward ‘kicking on’ and keeping proceedings moving briskly, and the judge making quick decisions. A good end to the SW Group’s three shows and well done to all concerned.
4th November 2017
Two more of our babies have flown the nest this week -
Our attentions have since been taken up with preparing for our last show of the year -
At least we will not have that worry of the time change like last week. I know the clocks went back -
30th October 2017
Well, our girlies certainly did the biz yesterday, and with very complimentary comments from both judges. Rosetta -
Besides the showing aspect, it was a very nice, relaxed day with a good atmosphere, quite a lot of spectators . . . and LOTS of chat. Several people fell for Rosetta -
It’s not every day that one of our ponies has an armed police escort! Agnes is seen here flanked by Toby’s dad and his work colleague who were on patrol nearby and popped in to say a quick hello.
28th October 2017
We’re looking forward to tomorrow and the first of our two Autumn youngstock shows -
Toby and I have had a few training sessions and the fillies seem to be going very well -
Something I’ve learnt about Rosetta in this process is that she is a ‘digger’. When tied up, she gets impatient and starts pawing the ground ferociously. If I shout at her, she will pause, look at me for a few seconds with those meltingly beautiful big eyes -
We have also prepared Freckles and Agnes for tomorrow’s show. I love ringing the changes by taking different ponies out, and Aggie hasn’t been to a show for years. She is gorgeous and one of our favourites . . . and being dark chestnut, is an easy colour to prepare at this time of year. This Autumn’s wet and dreary weather has let up at just the right time, and we have had a few decent days this week, and tomorrow is forecast to be dry, with a colder northerly wind. That is ideal because if it’s too mild the foals, with their big thick coats, can sweat up with the unfamiliar experience of travelling.
24th October 2017
Besides the anticipation of Bo arriving last week, we also had slight sadness knowing the first of our 2017 foals was to fly the nest. The lovely Lily Longsocks has only moved near the sea in the South of Cornwall, and her new owner is hoping to do a little showing with her, so it shouldn’t be too long before we see her again.
We had scheduled to deliver her the same day that the hurricane was due to hit. All the forecasts were so dire that we postponed the trip, and we set out two days later. Being a ‘veteran’ of lorry travel, we took Crackerjack along for company and they travelled well despite the very twisting route. Audrey and I enjoyed seeing Lily’s new home at the head of a beautiful wooded valley, and meeting her two new Shetland-
Although there will always be a tinge of melancholy when one of our babies leaves, it gives us immense pleasure to know that they have gone to a really caring long-
21st October 2017
Who is this handsome chap?
Introducing our new stallion -
Although we have occasionally bought back a pony that we have bred, it is actually a great novelty for us to buy a new pony so we have been very excited. The only thing we ever buy is a stallion, or colt with stallion potential, and as we do our homework to choose the right one, we aim to keep our stallions for a long time!
We really like Bo -
It isn’t as if we are short of stallions, but as all our mares are home-
11th October 2017
All the foals are weaned now, and nicely settled -
I completely forgot to go in to the orchard and cut down the offending plants -
7th October 2017
September was a very wet month here in Cornwall, and there’s still no sign of an Indian Summer, but we managed to catch the odd dry day last month to take photos of the foals who are all growing up quickly.
We prefer images of them standing naturally in the field . . .but boy, is that difficult! If I’m on my own they just keep coming towards me, noses out-
It’s great if Audrey is there to draw their attention away from me, and best of all is if her pretty collie dog -
Take a look at all the updates on our ‘Foals’ page.
25th September 2017
Would you believe it . . . at five months old, Charlie has suddenly STARTED to cast his foal coat! He did drop the hair from just his head and lower legs back in the summer, but then stopped. He didn’t have a health or condition set-
We have been marvelling at how exceptionally soft his coat is. Audrey and I both have long-
19th September 2017
Excitement can be quite infectious and our friend Maria in Lincolnshire certainly spread her enthusiasm amongst us last weekend. She was preparing to take her three year old black gelding -
Amos did her proud by winning two classes and coming third in another, also qualifying for a championship show. We are so pleased to hear that he has earned his stripes at last. He is actually on our website’s home page -
Meanwhile back at Tawna, Audrey and I have just weaned three of the foals. Being a March baby, Crackerjack is of course very well developed, as is Amos’s full sister -
14th September 2017
With no colts to be castrated this year -
Our foals this year have surprisingly few white markings so we didn’t have to spend long with the red pen on the forms, but interestingly three of them have a double whorl on their forehead, and Charlie has a whorl on each of his cheeks. The vet did the micro-
10th September 2017
‘Mr Lush’ has done it again! Today, with no Shetland classes to enter, Pam showed him in the M & M small breeds adult class at the Cornish Association of Welsh Pony and Cob Society’s show -
What made it even more special for Pam was that the judge, who is a breeder of all four sections of Welsh ponies, told her that he had picked his two champions especially for their extremely free movement. What a marvellous season Moonshine has had . . . and full marks to Pam and Vic for keeping him in good shape when so many -
9th September 2017
Here is another group photo -
The judges went through a range of preliminary classes -
As lovely as he is, I didn’t expect to get anywhere with Rubus as he has put on so much weight lately. He’s out with the other stallions and we haven’t tried to control his waist-
Also that day Toby was competing for the Young Handler championship. He prepared and showed his own pony, Tawna Izzy Wizzy, who he had groomed and polished to within an inch of her life, and had also turned himself out immaculately. He too was short-
At last little two year old -
How I wished I had my camera the other day -
However I did get this nice pic at Tregony show a few weeks ago. It shows our lovely mare Clementine (tucked behind Toby on the left), and THREE of her sons -
23rd August 2017
In the Shetland showing world the ‘biggy’ is naturally The Breed Show and the 2017 show was held in Scotland last weekend. It must have been a mega-
As far as we know there were no actual Tawna ponies there, but the Milday stud had some tremendous results with ponies sired by our stallions:
Tawna Cousin Jack’s (owned by the Milday stud) offspring were 3rd in the geldings, 2nd and 5th in the young yeld mares,and 1st in the brood mares.
Tawna Rubus’s (leased to the Milday stud for two seasons) offspring were 3rd and 6th in the yearling fillies, and 1st, 2nd and 4th in the two year old fillies. Well done John and team -
18th August 2017
Phew, that is the fourth and final show of our ‘silly season’ over and done with. Chagford show is a really charming event set in a beautiful valley on the edge of Dartmoor. They have had a Shetland section for many years, and I can remember showing our ponies there -
It was a very successful show for our ponies again: a second for Cherish in the yearlings, and a first for Clementine in the thirteen-
When it came to the championship we were rather surprised that there were SPSBS rosettes for the juniors as it wasn’t stated in the schedule. Therefore it was a great thrill when the judge pulled forward Jack as Reserve Junior Champion . . . for the second time in his short life (the other time being our County show -
Now all that upheaval is over we’ll try and catch up on some jobs at home, although the weather is not very conducive.
14th August 2017
It was a good day for us in all ways yesterday at the Tregony show -
Did I say last time that Clarius had surprised me with his good behaviour? Well forget that -
Our star performers were our beautiful Clementine and her foal, Crackerjack. Clemmy is looking marvellous, especially considering she is fifteen years old AND doing her foal extremely well. She won both the veteran and mare classes, was Reserve Miniature Champion and Reserve Supreme. It was nice to see two Tawna stallions in the veteran class too -
Today we have started preparations to get the stallions into their winter quarters. Once they have been moved -
10th August 2017
It’s been more than six weeks since the last show where we competed, and now we suddenly find ourselves half way through ‘the silly season’ when we have four shows in nine days.
Yes, two shows down, and what contrasting days they have been. Yesterday Toby and I set off for Camelford Agricultural Show in the wet. Prep in the preceding days had been difficult with all the rain, but the early part of the day itself was absolutely dreadful. The showground is exposed to the elements from all directions, and boy, did it rain, backed with a strong wind.
The Miniature Shetland competitors braved the deluge for the classes to kick off at 9am, but with no explanation to us, judging didn’t actually begin for another 35 mins . . .during which time we trudged/squelched around with our ponies to keep warm whilst getting soggier and soggier. The rain was relentless, the skies were dark and everyone felt thoroughly gloomy, when suddenly before the final mini class it was as if someone had flicked a switch -
My clothes and boots were so heavy with water that I could hardly run and I didn’t feel that I showed Rubus to his best advantage so I was delighted with his first prize and championship. He’s a very special boy and it’s always a pleasure to take him out in public. Little Cherish earned herself a very credible second place with Toby. We eventually drove home in sunshine after being towed out. The lorry wheels didn’t even have a chance to spin in the mud . . . it just sank!
But the weather had taken it’s toll as we discovered this morning. Ready to set sail to Okehampton Ag. Show we found that water had got into the electrical system of the lorry and was having all manner of strange effects. Andrew to the rescue, and after trial and error he got us mobile -
Two different ponies on board this time -
7th August 2017
Would you believe it . . . Charlie/Parsnip has earned himself yet another name -
Some weeks ago, when I arrived at the farm to check them I could hear some agitated high-
Since then, he has done the same thing again, but it was amusing that this time Marina was much less concerned -
Recently the stallions have been taken away, and the mares and foals have been moved into a different field. Today Charlie AND his mum were missing . . . found them peering through the fence from the neighbouring field! I think he had probably pushed through the gap between two ill-
In the past week all the foals have had their feet trimmed for the first time. They were surprisingly well behaved. It’s only natural for them to put up a fight when they are used to moving around at will, but find themselves restrained. However we have done a bit of halter training, and whilst they have been loose in the field I have been touching their legs and picking up their feet. For the most part, they so love attention that they don’t mind too much what I do.
5th August 2017
Whilst I was away judging last Sunday, I’m pleased to say that our local Tawna-
Pam decided to show Moonshine in the M & M ring -
Toby had a marvellous day too, with Izzy. It was his first show without me but he was in his element, keeping himself busy by entering two classes in each of two different rings! He had 1 x 3rd and 2 x 4th in the show classes, but by far his greatest success was in the Young Handlers. It was for all-
27th July 2017
One group of ponies were making a lot of fuss a few afternoons ago -
We have been shifting around some of the ponies recently -
Funny how a name sticks sometimes. We have named Marina’s pale palomino colt Champagne Charlie, but for some reason I have never felt quite comfortable calling him that. Recently, in conversation with the lady who lives beside his current field, she mentioned that her daughter was entranced by his light colouring and had named him Parsnip . . . it’s no good -
Congratulations to the owners of two Tawna geldings at yesterday’s New Forest show: Anne with Smartie Pants had a first in the yearling class, and Fiona with Midas had a third in the gelding class. Good results, but not good weather from what I gather . . . but there’s nothing like a nice rosette at a County show to help you forget how soggy you are!
23rd July 2017
This weekend has been really pony orientated for Toby and myself. Yesterday we started halter-
In contrast, today we got our glad-
Meanwhile nearer home the Lanivet Horse Show clashed on the same day. I’m very pleased to say that Tawna ponies had a brilliant day for their owners. In the M & M section Moonshine was first and Reserve Champion, then under a different judge he won his Shetland class and was Champion. Needless to say Pam was chuffed to bits with her gorgeous boy who is looking stunning this summer. He draws compliments wherever he goes. Her gelding -
These ponies, and dare I say it -
16th July 2017
There was tremendous jubilation in Cornwall last Friday . . . at long last the A30 near us has been fully opened following major road works to dual a three mile stretch across Bodmin Moor, and build three bridges.
It has been a huge undertaking to keep the traffic -
Personally I am really looking forward to taking the direct route to the A30 in our lorry, and to then be able to head east to any horse shows. For over two years we have had to take a tortuous route across the tiny back roads of Bodmin Moor. We haven’t any shows for a few weeks, so the anticipated pleasure of an easier route in the lorry will have to wait!
At long last our ponies have got rid of their winter coats. Most of them are fat and shiny but have been clinging on to their belly fluff -
11th July 2017
Life has been sooo busy of late that there has been little time to update events on our website.
Back tracking to the end of June, and the Royal Highland Show, no less than three of Rubus’s sons were successful. They all carried the Milday prefix from the two seasons when Rubus was on lease there. The mini youngstock class had so many ponies forward that the three year olds were split into a separate class. In the one and two year old class, first and second prizes both went to Rubus’s two year old sons, and a yearling by him took sixth place -
A few days later it was our turn to get busy . . . and BUSY was the word -
Toby and I decided to just show Rubus and Cherish in the NPA show which started earlier, then the same two again at the Group show + Toby entered four classes with his own pony -
The day started exceptionally well for us, with Rubus and Cherish winning their classes, then winning Champion and Junior Champion respectively. Rubus repeated his win in the Group show (different judge), but Cherish was demoted to third. Once again I was honoured to show Pam’s Tawna Moonshine for her, and he won two classes and Miniature Gelding Champion.
However the greatest accolades must go to Toby and Izzy -
The day passed in a blur and I know other Tawna ponies had good placings….but it was a job to keep track! Anyway, well done to everyone who took part, but I must make special mention of young Jessica who looked so smart, and showed her piebald pony, Tawna Moonshadow (full brother to Moonshine) expertly to win the younger Junior Handler class -
18th June 2017
I’m pleased to say that several other Tawna ponies achieved noteworthy results at our shows last weekend. The owners of all the ponies we bred did them justice, but of particular note at the Royal Cornwall were Fiona’s Tawna Midas with a second place in the gelding class, and Jane’s Tawna Blue Moon with a third in the two year olds.
At Sunday’s fun show, Pam had two of her lovely geldings primed and ready for action. I was given the honour of showing Tawna Moonshine for her. I love that pony -
Pam’s boys had a superb day -
14th June 2017
In the past few days we have been to two very contrasting shows. Last Friday our County Show was big, crowded, muddy, noisy, formal, busy . . . oh, and did I mention -
It’s not a good sign when some lorries have to be towed IN to a big show, but that was the Royal Cornwall on Native Pony day. We immediately abandoned all hope of sparkling white socks on Cherish. The show-
It was marvellous to see four Tawna youngsters in the yearling class. Although I thought they all looked good, it was Cherish who was placed highest with a second prize. In an unusual move for us, we took a mare and foal. Thanks to Clementine foaling in March, I felt her colt was old enough to cope with the stress of a big show. Toby and I have been halter-
Clemmy is an extremely beautiful mare and, as the judge commented, she moves very freely and tracks up well, so I was very proud that she won her brood mare class + Reserve Mini Champion. What really amazed me was that her foal -
Sunday was Toby’s day, with his first show with Izzy. He had prepared her to perfection, and she travelled in her ever-
1st June 2017
Here are a very photogenic pair -
Just over a month ago Toby became the proud owner of his very own Shetland. Toby has been coming and helping me with the ponies for just over a year now, and in that time he has more than proved his interest and dedication to the breed.
His family knew he’d fallen for Tawna Izzy Wizzy, so when his birthday was approaching, it was pretty clear what special present he’d like! Izzy is a young skewbald mare -
Toby carefully introduced her to the family’s two thoroughbreds, and it wasn’t long before she was able to share the field with them and apparently she is now the boss!
Izzy absolutely loves people, so is thoroughly enjoying all the attention Toby is lavishing on her. They are having lots of fun together -
28th May 2017
Our second show of the year today -
It was great to see the mini classes well supported. Our yearling, Cherish, didn’t fair well in the 1, 2 & 3 year old class, although I was extremely pleased for Wendy with Tawna Gloriana placed 4th -
We didn’t have too long to wait until it was Toby’s turn in the young handlers. Now 13 years old he has moved into a different age category, which at this show went up to 18 years old. Cherish is tiny and Toby is very tall, but he paced himself just right to show her well for a first place. Not to be out-
Next outing for us will be our County show. In the meantime we’ll try and get out some more of those winter coats. Despite a mild winter and very warm weather recently, the ponies are hanging onto the fluff.
26th May 2017
Photos of all this year’s foals are now on the Foals 2017 page, which also shows the ones we are offering for sale. If the page doesn’t generate, try clicking on the ‘refresh’ button -
24th May 2017
WE’RE BACK!!! Hurray! Something strange happened at the beginning of April, whereby I suddenly couldn’t publish our website updates to the remote ‘host’. The problem wasn’t at our end, and I’ve had to wait for Andrew to get technical advice to overcome it. Needless to say, I haven’t got a clue about this stuff, and have been very patiently waiting for Andrew to have the time to sit down and get to grips with it….which he’s now done!
So much has happened in the time we’ve been “off air” -
Not only are they healthy, beautiful and all different colours, but also the ‘filly fairy’ has been smiling upon us! We have some pics which we’ll hopefully get onto our foal page in the next couple of days. I’m so keen to share them . . . although some of our friends who live in the vicinity couldn’t wait and have been to see our babies for themselves!
1st April 2017
Spring must have sprung . . . I saw our first Swallow last evening . . . and the midges are biting! This morning there are two Swallows wheeling around and burbling in that joyful way. I have never known them to arrive here so early, but it is very uplifting to see and hear them.
If you want a thrill, type “Woah Shamrock” into google and take a look at the youtube video!
The rider is Toby’s Dad who is a relatively inexperienced rider. The horse is Shamrock -
P.S. There were no serious injuries
28th March 2017
Toby and I had a great day on Sunday -
It was lovely to see so many friends and have a good catch-
I was tickled pink to see two cuddlesome ‘Tawna Teddy Bears’ at the show with their owners. Looking so chunky hairy and adorable were T. Smartie Pants -
Back in Cornwall a mixed show was also held on Sunday, at the County show-
25th March 2017
All week I have been anxiously checking the weather forecast for this weekend. For some time we have had drizzle and fog, or cold rain with strong winds, but today is glorious wall-
We have been eagerly looking forward to it, but getting the ponies ready in that vile weather was worrying. However the change has enabled us to get three ponies cleaned up -
23rd March 2017
I really should have checked our new baby’s credentials myself before reporting the arrival . . . turns out I was given false information and she is in fact a HE!
He was born when I was away for the afternoon, so when I returned, Andrew who had been to see the foal (but obviously had not examined him in detail!) told me about it and he and I went up to Tawna in the fading light to get the mare and foal in for the night. I didn’t want to upset the foal with torchlight -
Never mind, he is very much a bouncing baby boy -
21st March 2017
Well our ponies certainly like to keep us on our toes . . . we have our first foal! I have been concerned that Clementine has been developing an udder very early -
It’s a horrible night out there, so it’s good to know that mother and infant are tucked up in a nice dry stable tonight. The foal is strong, and doesn’t look in the slightest ‘under-
Jane Gillingham of the Mignon Stud in North Devon is offering the lovely mare Tawna Tarantella for sale -
16th March 2017
Two of our ponies have recently travelled to their new homes in Germany. Sage and Coriander were bought and paid for before Christmas, but have only now been transported. We have received news from their happy new owners that they are settling in well. This photo of Corry was taken the day before she left Tawna -
Meanwhile at Tawna, I have brought three of the probable earliest foalers into a field visible from the garden at Tawna, so Audrey can pop out across the lawn and look up the field to see them. They shouldn’t be producing for a while, but it’s sensible to check them more often now.
8th March 2017
The oracle has spoken! Every day I have been eagerly studying the mares in the hope that I can detect growing baby bumps. You would think after all these years that I would be able to tell, but quite frankly, we have been fooled so often that I try not to raise my hopes!
Audrey had not seen the brood mares for quite some time so I was pleased when she came and cast an eye over our girls last week. She agreed with me on all but one that I didn’t think were pregnant. As a result I have shuffled them around so that all the expectant mums are together in one place. I’m still a little doubtful about Dolly Dimple . . . but she has got a long body, which could conceal a foal, and she will be a first-
Charisma is in-
This morning I saw Marina’s baby having a good old kick at her mum’s side. I thought the mare was shivering at first, after several days of rain, but then realised what was happening. Celeste is expecting her first foal. She’s always been a little bit stand-
21st February 2017
Hearty congratulations to John Lawrie and his friends with their Milday ponies for achieving fantabulous results at the recent National Stallion Show in Scotland. The show title is misleading as there are a FULL range of classes for Shetlands, Clydesdales and Highlands, and they were really well filled too -
Our gorgeous Tawna Rubus has most positively left his mark following his two seasons on lease with John. Milday ponies won no less than FOUR of the mini classes with three of those winners being sired by Rubus . . . and the fourth winner was sired by John’s own stallion -
8th February 2017
Several weeks ago I thought I’d try the mares with a bit of hay. So far this winter they have had plenty of grass to roam over, but mindful that there isn’t much nutritional value in grass in January, and that there are greater demands on their bodies as their foals grow in this final term of pregnancy, I felt it time to dish out some additional feed. It was good to see them appreciate it . . . to roll on! For the most part, they didn’t even bother to come and taste it -
Four of the mares had quite an upsetting week, last week. I brought them home to Tawna for a visit from Gill and Emilia -
The following day, I had not yet returned them to the more distant field with the other mares, when the Cornwall Air Ambulance had to make an emergency landing in our ‘Foaling Meadow’. Knowing it was on it’s way, Audrey rushed out to get Cherish and Clarissa in to safety -
26th January 2017
Shetland ponies do have a reputation for being little mischief makers, and that is certainly true of our two filly foals/yearlings. At this time of year they spend most of their time in the meadow beside the yard. The ground is several feet higher than the lane which runs alongside, and with no leaves on the hedge now, anyone passing along the lane can see into the field fairly easily. This applies in reverse of course, and the fillies are attracted when any horses go along the lane, and invariably bomb around the field in excitement.
The reactions of passers-
However earlier this week Audrey witnessed a very different reaction. Looking out of her bedroom window, she saw a rider on a grey pony in the lane. She was stopped, but the pony was obviously spooked. Surprisingly our two were quite calm -
8th January 2017
The year has kicked off already for the SW Shetland Pony Group with their AGM today. This will be the Group’s 25th year. Audrey and I have been members since the beginning….gosh where has that time gone? The meeting went well today and the Group is looking very positively to the future. We have been extremely fortunate to have a strong committee to steer events, and everyone’s enjoyment of their own ponies, and their passion for the Breed in general is evident. Several of our hard-
Our friend, Anne, is organising a Charity Shetland Show at Bridgewater, Somerset on 22nd April, in aid of Riding for the Disabled. She is looking for sponsorship -
1st January 2017
1st January 2017
The start of a brand New Year and we at Tawna send our very best wishes to friends -
Now that we have passed Christmas, there will be growing anticipation as foaling-
The mares are looking gorgeous, and there appear to be quite a few ‘baby bumps’ . . . but so many of them completely fooled us last year that we must wait and see . . . so EXCITING!
21st December 2016
The big day is almost here. We wish all our friends in the Shetland Pony World a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant 2017!
12th December 2016
Toby and I have been to a super social outing. There was plenty to eat, crackers, paper hats, groan-
It might be a mad dash for some to complete stable/animal duties beforehand, and travel to the venue, but well worth the effort. Following the meal there was a raffle with a huge selection of prizes, an auction which also raises money for Group funds, and the announcement of various accumulator show points categories.
The results of the latter are a closely guarded secret, and because our Group covers a geographically very wide area, we often don’t know which ponies have been doing well beyond our immediate locality. The results are gathered from up to six affiliated shows, each with a different judge. Therefore we couldn’t have been more pleased that four Tawna ponies received extremely beautiful rosettes in acknowledgement of their sustained success: 1st for Freckles in mini youngstock, 1st for Celeste in mini mares, 1st for Viceroy in mini geldings and 2nd for Nutkin in the same section.
There was added excitement for us this year with a section that we have never been involved with before -
Andrew has just updated photos on our ‘Foals 2016’ page -
30th November 2016
What can our ponies be thinking about? We have just had a really beautiful day -
It might be a few weeks yet until Christmas, but Pam and her twin grand-
Once undressed, Boy George then won the small breeds 4 and over class, and was judged Reserve Champion Gelding of the whole show. What a brilliant little all-
14th November 2016
What a MEGA day the Milday stud from near Edinburgh had at last weekend’s Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group’s Foal and Youngstock show!
Milday yearlings = 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in mini yearling class.
Milday foals = 1st, 3rd and 4th in mini foal class, and winning foal -
Milday ponies also gained a 1st and 2 x 2nd places and overall Miniature Champion in the other youngstock classes, with two of those fillies having Tawna Cousin Jack as a grand-
It’s a long way away, but if anyone wants further details of the Shetland show at Cholwell next June please ring Tessa on 07887 604 399.
13th November 2016
Ooooh . . . naughty girls! Yesterday I found all the mares merrily feasting in our neighbour’s grass field. They were having a very nice time, and weren’t particularly keen to return to their allotted field, but as they were all pretty full they eventually agreed to file back through the gateway. When I found the connecting gate wide open I was relieved that at least they hadn’t gone over the hedge. Only the day before I had noted that it was closed, but hadn’t inspected the fastening. It seems the rope tie had mysteriously disappeared, so it only took a rub and scrub from a hefty Shetland backside to swing it open.
Animals like to keep us on our toes . . . only the previous day, in another set of fields, a different neighbour’s bullocks had broken into the stallions’ field . . . and they HAD gone over the hedge!
11th November 2016
Time now to settle into winter mode. It’s been a beautiful Autumn here in Cornwall, with extra bright colours, and the fallen leaves carpeting the ground have been vivid, dry and crisp. But now the rain has turned them into mush and the ground beneath is slippery.
A few frosty mornings has meant the lorry was quite sluggish to start, but we managed to fire it up and have transferred all the mares across the parish into their usual winter quarters this week. One of the fields has been un-
The division between the two fields is mostly a sturdy Cornish hedge, with post and wire fencing in a few places where the hedge fell down many decades ago. Ideally we will restrict the mares to one field before moving onto the other, but I found today that the deer which frequent these fields have loosened one of the stakes, and the ponies have already found the weak spot and squeezed into the adjoining field!
The showing season has only just finished for us, but already we have a few dates for our 2017 diary. One is a new show to be held at, and run by, Cholwell Equestrian Centre in Devon -
6th November 2016
Phew! I think we have finished showing for 2016. For today’s SW Shetland Group’s Autumn show we gave due consideration to the colour of the three ponies we entered, and having plumped for minimal white markings our prep was so much easier! It’s a very difficult time of year to get ponies presentable -
All three did us proud. Our 2 year old mushroom colt -
It was a good end to our season, and we were pleased for Pam whose Tawna boys -
31st October 2016
As Halloween Horrors go, this little group is right up there with the best! Green skin, black teeth and finger nails, spider’s webs, skeletons and witches brooms were all incorporated in this great fancy dress entry for St Austell Bay Equestrian Club’s Halloween horse show. The scary lady is none other than our friend Pam who was accompanied by her eight year old twin grandchildren Elissa and Naomi at their first ever horse show. Luckily Tawna Boy George took the sight of all the spooky costumes in his stride, and the group won the large class. Great fun!
30th October 2016
The time change last night made for an easier early start for today’s show. The daylight came in quite quickly, with the bonus of a beautiful day -
Theirs was the first class of the day. It was lovely that Martha’s new owner, Jane, was able to take her for her show debut. Both the babies behaved and performed extremely well and we could not have asked for a better result than first and second, with Clarissa standing at the top. She’s a ‘big strong gal’ with an Exmoor-
Victoria received second prize in the two and three year old Shetland class. Star was fourth in the adult class. As glamorous and lovely as she is, she is carrying considerably too much weight and although the judge didn’t comment on this, I’m sure it would have been a major factor in her decision. We had a great time and caught up with loads of friends.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Cornwall today, Tawna Boy George was doing something completely different . . . but more of that next time!!
29th October 2016
Aww…two of our lovely babies have flown the nest this week. On Monday, Gloriana’s new owner brought one of her own ponies in her trailer to accompany Glo on the return journey. The grey mare was unloaded and they were introduced -
On Wednesday Smartie’s new owner collected him. I have to say that he was our absolute favourite and we will miss him most of all. We have received photos of him with one of his new Shetland companions -
Meanwhile on Friday, Martha who is going to live less than a mile from here, was taken for a few hours to meet her new horsey friends, inspect her personal stable and have a pampering session, before being returned to Tawna. She is travelling with our ponies to the Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Youngstock show tomorrow and will be ‘transplanted’ properly on Monday.
19th October 2016
All too soon it is weaning time for the foals, and we have to prepare them to leave us for their new homes. Our gorgeous colt, Smartie Pants, has had two little parts of his anatomy removed by Hazel, the vet. All went smoothly and whilst still with his mother, he really did seem to take it all in his stride. All the foals have been microchipped and their registration papers sent away to the Society.
As usual we have taken our time and gradually accustomed the babies to being separated from their mothers. Now they are completely weaned and nicely settled -
We loaded the mares up and took them to a field well out of earshot, and with the least possible grass -
Back at Tawna we are highly amused by Martha . . . when she neighs. If she hears us talking she sometimes calls . . . and her voice is ENORMOUS. It doesn’t match the sweet little miniature Shetland filly foal image at all! Her mother is Marina, who is a quiet, unassuming little mare, but funny enough, Marina’s filly last year -
6th October 2016
There was something completely different on the cards recently . . . Miniature Shetland show-
Toby and I (minus ponies), headed off to Cholwell indoor school in Devon where they were holding a friendly unaffiliated show-
What a great group activity for our mini equines -
Earlier in the year our beautiful dark chestnut mare -
22nd September 2016
Funny how ponies overcome ‘deafness’ when food is on offer! We don’t normally need to feed our adult ponies, apart from some hay in the depths of winter. However a neighbour has given us a vast tub of windfall apples so Audrey and I are dishing out very generous helpings. We roughly chop the fruit to make it easier for them to eat . . . and they are loving the seasonal treat. Every day each group of ponies is surprisingly alert to our arrival, and they don’t need calling twice! They munch away with the juice dribbling. The apples are very fragrant so the ponies’ breath smells lovely too. The only down-
We have put newly-
19th September 2016
There was a minor panic here last evening. As I was preparing tea, my husband Andrew came in to say he was worried about Florence, the Shetland companion to our part Arab, Jasmine. Florence had disappeared and Andrew had already had a quick scout around to find her. Jasmine was going potty in our back fields, galloping around and calling. The two equine friends are running in fourteen acres, but much of it is wooded, or marshy with copses of willow and gorse. My husband spotted that I was making pasties -
We advanced into the trees, but it was quite dark and as my night sight is appalling I was stumbling and tripping over fallen branches and roots. Jasmine, in quite a flustered state, followed me for a way then turned tail and crashed out of the trees again. I felt rising panic about her little friend when I heard Jasmine returning to me. Turning to look, who should I see preceding her but one fluffy little Shetland -
14th September 2016
Uh, Uh, our ponies have been misbehaving again! The men have come back to install the super-
However I could be absolutely sure it was not Sage . . . because we had already brought him back to Tawna to clean up and take some better photos. Check him out on our ‘for sale’ page -
11th September 2016
Sparkle and Bling were to the fore at our final show of the summer season . . . though not, I hasten to add, in the Tawna Team! Toby and I -
It featured plenty of Shetland classes (with a panel judge who travelled from Wales), running alongside the Welsh classes and M & M classes. The unusual appearance of all the twinkly stuff was in the Concours d’Elegance classes. Both the in-
In the earlier formal classes, four Tawna ponies caught the judge’s eye. I showed Clarius in the 2 & 3 year old class to take first prize, with Pam’s Nutkin standing in second place. Interestingly they are full brothers! Toby was in charge of showing Freckles . . . and didn’t he do a splendid job! First prize yearling, junior champion, and second prize in the coloured class, plus he himself won second prize in the young handlers 11-
3rd September 2016
It’s inevitable that amongst all our ponies, certain ones become favourites. From the time he was a foal, one of my absolute favourites has been Clarius. Now two years old, he is for me, ‘the complete package’ -
We’ve avoided the hassle of showing a colt this year up until now -
Clarius was not desperately naughty . . . but he was in high spirits and found it all very exciting. He stood second in his M & M class -
The rules of this show state in bold print that all stallions must wear a blue ribbon in their tail. Although Clarius is only two years old, I felt it appropriate that we comply with this request. After the show I drove home via our land at the far side of the parish to drop off Clarius in the field with the other stallions. It wasn’t until some time after I had been home that I realised that I hadn’t removed the blue ribbon….OOPS! I hope the others don’t tease him too much about it -
1st September 2016
STOP PRESS NEWS! After four months of growing bolt upright, Cherish’s mane is at last falling over in a more civilised manner . . . and it’s going on the right side. The punk hair-
28th August 2016
We have a super-
Earlier in the summer he qualified for the Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Young Handlers Championship, held alongside their Champion of Champions event. So this morning I drove a rather nervous twelve year old lad and the lovely Celeste to the county showground for the final.
Personally I have never been involved in this competition, so neither Toby or I knew quite what to expect. I did warn him that the other youngsters have probably been doing this sort of thing all their lives and more likely than not were leading ponies that they regularly ride. But in the very short time that Toby has been handling our ponies he has been quick to learn, observant, and clearly understands show procedure.
He looked super-
25th August 2016
Hearty congratulations to our friends in the north on their show results from last weekend. At the Viking show on Shetland Carole from the Gue stud won many prizes including a second in the mare class with Tawna Cordelia. This unusually coloured skewbald mare is a full sister to two girls still here at Tawna -
Meanwhile at the central Scotland Shetland Group show John’s Milday ponies impressed the judge in many classes. We join in his celebrations because these ponies have strong Tawna connections: Tawna Rubus is the sire of 1st and 3rd prize yearlings, + winning foal (and I think the 2nd prize as well). Tawna Cousin Jack sired the 2nd prize yearling and the 2nd prize mare + other Milday winners have Tawna Sherbert in their pedigrees. Brilliant results all round.
Recent news here is that due to a change in circumstances the purchaser of Marina’s foal -
20th August 2016
Two annual milestones have been passed this week. On Tuesday we carried our hay -
On Thursday we attended the last of the shows in the ‘silly season’ -
Just recently we have been taking photos of our youngstock -
16th August 2016
What a jolly time our stallions are having at the moment. Contractors for BT are laying ducting for super-
15th August 2016
Toby and I felt we could cope with three ponies at this show, so in addition to the same two as last week -
The day started well with Toby winning his large Young Handlers class. Celeste was very up-
I tried a different head-
12th August 2016
Going to shows on two consecutive days is pretty tiring for all concerned, however as both agricultural shows are only about an hour’s drive away for us, and both have a good range of Shetland classes affiliated to the SPSBS we feel we should make the effort.
The two days could not have been more different, weather wise. At Camelford everyone was thoroughly drenched after a long drawn-
Luckily our ponies’ results were less erratic. At Camelford Freckles was 2nd and Reserve Junior Champion. Later she also won 3rd prize in the mixed M & M yearling class under a different judge, while Celeste won 2nd prize in the fourteen-
Checking my emails when I got home, there was super news from the other end of the UK. At the Cunningsburgh show on Shetland itself, Tawna Tilia was first and Tawna Cordelia was second in the yeld mare class, with Tilly then taking the Reserve Championship. What a thrill for us to hear that two girls bought direct from us as foals by Carole of the Gue stud achieved such success in their natural homeland! Congratulations to Carole, Martin and all their helpers for these and several other good results with their ponies.
8th August 2016
A new name to achieve show ring success is yearling filly Tawna Blue Moon. Her owner Jane won 3rd prize with her at Honiton Agricultural Show and also the special rosette awarded to the highest placed GEMS member. Moon is an extremely beautiful and feminine little girl and we hope this will lead to many more prizes.
At Tawna we are marvelling at how the foals’ appearances are changing . . . or not, as the case may be! The oldest foal is piebald Cherish and she has completely cast her baby coat and is a very striking inky black and (almost) snowy white -
Cherish’s field mate is big, strong bay and white skewbald, Clarissa. We know from when she was born that she has white socks, but until about 10 days ago the whole of her legs were so pale that it was totally impossible to distinguish the extent of the socks. Then suddenly all the baby fluff came out, her knees and hocks became black, and the socks reappeared!
Gloriana started life as chestnut and white, and she too has cast her coat quite suddenly to reveal her most attractive grey and white markings. All that remains of the chestnut is a sprinkling on her rump -
Meanwhile black filly -
1st August 2016
It’s always nice for us to ring the changes sometimes and take different ponies to a show. Therefore it was especially exciting yesterday to take not one -
Our chosen girls were yearling -
All went well and they were absolute stars in the show ring. We went into the mixed M & M classes and both strutted their stuff calmly amongst the bigger ponies. Pansy won the yearling class, with a Dartmoor in second and a standard Shetland in third. The judge was very complimentary about her active movement. She has got the most amazingly long stride for a tiny pony -
However I was most chuffed with Tarantella being placed sixth in the 4 years and over class. There were thirteen forward, most of which were large breeds, and many excellent quality animals strode around the ring. The eventual winner was a Fell with a Welsh cob in second place. I was extremely proud that Tara held her own very well in that company. Updated pics of Tara on our sale page -
Meanwhile at last week’s New Forest and Hampshire County show, three year old Tawna Fudge won third prize in a strong class of thirteen Shetland entries. After winning the gelding class there last year, Tawna Midas had to settle for fifth place this time. Well done Anne and Fiona.
24th July 2016
It’s been a mega-
Of course the journey itself must have been an eye-
19th July 2016
Wow! What a busy time it’s been with ponies leaving Tawna! Last Thursday, golden girl -
Today our sweet little strawberry roan mare Roseanna has undertaken an amazing trip to her new home on the island of Bryher -
Meanwhile, our beautiful mare Scarlet is heading towards her new home in Yorkshire. It was unfortunate that the arranged trip for today coincided with the hottest day of the year, but the professional transporter delayed picking her up from Tawna until late afternoon so that she would be travelling in the cool of the evening . . . how good was that! We are particularly sorry to see Scarlet leave us -
17th July 2016
After the flurry of shows over the last few weekends it was nice to stay at home today and to be able to get down to some basic jobs with the foals. This morning Toby and I brought three mares and foals (Martha, Gloriana and Ringo) into stables at Tawna.
We put head-
Besides combing their manes and tails, we trimmed their feet and wormed them. None of the babies appeared particularly worried by any of these lessons . . . so, all in all, a very successful morning’s work. It’s very pleasing when the foals are not frightened, and we build their trust and confidence.
12th July 2016
How quickly the annual tasks with the ponies come round. Last week we took the stallions away from their girls, reacquainted them with each other over the low stable dividing walls, and then shipped them all off to a fresh field where they should remain until next spring. They all know each other, so after the initial screams and squeals there wasn’t too much agro and they have all settled very well. There is an occasional challenge but on the whole they are very peaceful.
For the past few years we have taken the stallions away right after Liskeard show, but we are a week earlier this year because we need to put most of the mares on a diet. So we have gathered the mares and foals onto good pasture, and practically all the rest have been assigned to one of three ‘slimmers’ world’ areas of restricted grazing.
It’s ironic that this year thanks to slightly reduced herd numbers, combined with the weather conditions we have more grass than ever before . . . but we also have more mares who have missed foaling and therefore started the summer overweight! However now we have sorted everybody into appropriate groups we should be able to manage those waistlines far more efficiently.
10th July 2016
The murky, misty, drizzly weather did not spoil our enjoyment of Liskeard show yesterday. It is a lovely, traditional agricultural show and the horsey community are well-
Looking around at the opposition I did not have any high hopes, but was actually very pleasantly surprised with our results -
After a few further classes it was Toby’s turn in the Young Handlers -
There was just time for a snack and drink before Toby and Celeste’s final class . . . and the one we were most looking forward to -
For almost all the ponies, the spookiest part was the carpet. At home I had laid a bit of carpet on a well grazed area and Celeste didn’t mind walking on it at all after the first encounter. However the grass was very long in the ring so the carpet was actually suspended off the ground. When a pony stepped on it, the carpet moved so, not surprisingly, that freaked-
Toby and Celeste did a few practices at home and successfully mastered the elements . . . but nothing could prepare our little pony for the racket and activity at the show. During this class, in the nearby main ring there was a vintage tractor parade with accompanying booming loud speaker commentary, there was a band playing, and in an adjoining ring a pony club riding display team with fluttering flags. All this was truly a test for an inexperienced pony. The class included three veterans who were not fazed at all -
4th July 2016
Yesterday was a long day for us at the SW Shetland Group’s summer show. We set off at 7am and by the time we had been delayed in the ongoing A30 roadworks on the return journey, and I had topped up with diesel, it was after 5pm by the time I was unloading the ponies . . . and the show was only about 40 miles from home!
Due to the running order of the classes we were able to take a third pony this time, and chose our favourite stallion, Rubus. He is a very well-
Toby and I had to stay alert to ensure we didn’t miss our classes. The venue is a super indoor school -
Toby started the day with a well-
In the intervening ‘breed’ classes Freckles ended her winning streak -
26th June 2016
I must admit I was the odd one out as an all-
There was a slightly nervous wait for Toby then until his Young Handlers class. It was evident from the two younger age group classes that the ponies (all Welshies) were being led by their normal little jockeys who undoubtedly deal with them all the time and the ponies appeared to be leading rein types who were well used to going through the procedure in the ring.
Celeste was the only ‘green’ pony there and Toby showed her very confidently to win second prize -
The Miniature Shetland show classes however belonged to Pam and her geldings. Tawna Nutkin won the youngstock, with our Victoria in second place, and the little shiny black hunk known as Tawna Boy George impressed the judge to win his four and over age group and take the championship. He flashed his tiny little white socks for some fantastic trots -
25th June 2016
Mmmm . . . we have a Raspberry scented pony! Tomorrow is the Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Summer show and Toby is entered in the Young Handlers class -
Toby wanted to bath and prepare her himself today, and he and his Mum chose the Raspberry scented shampoo and conditioner for Celeste . . . hence the deliciously perfumed pony!! She is looking absolutely gorgeous and we are all excited to see Toby with her -
16th June 2016
Rosella’s colt foal Ringo’s little white elbow patches which just overlap onto his ‘girth’ are quite unusual, so I thought it interesting when I caught him sleeping flat out in the field the other day, to discover he also has a little white patch right underneath -
11th June 2016
It was a one-
In the super, thirteen-
Gemma’s Topsy Turvy was placed third in the three year old class, adding to her list of successes. Several other rosette winners . . . and it has to be said that the Royal Cornwall is not very generous with rosettes!! . . . are either by, or out of, Tawna ponies, so we were very pleased for everyone. The big bonus was that the weather was perfect (after warnings all week of heavy rain on Friday), which considering the mini classes took over four hours to judge, must have been appreciated by everyone.
5th June 2016
Well, what a clever girl our Freckles is! At today’s Jubilee Native Breeds show she notched up a win in the yearling class, Junior Champion, overall Miniature Champion and Reserve Supreme Shetland Champion . . . all that, and only one year old!!
We have never been to this show before, but when we learnt that they were running a full range of affiliated Shetland classes with a panel judge, we thought it would be nice to support them. It was a lovely show and there were plenty of good quality ponies there. As has become the norm, the Shetland breed classes were the most popular ones of the day. The rosettes were particularly nice and we received surprise bonuses -
With Toby’s able assistance this morning we were soon ready and -
This week, Tia Maria was down to 3rd place in the mare class, but Tawna Nutkin did Pam proud by winning the 2 and 3 year old class. Other Tawna ponies in the ribbons today were piebald gelding, Moonshadow -
Way across on the other side of England this weekend, our friend Maria took 3 year old chestnut filly -
3rd June 2016
Just heard from Fiona Lawrence who is at the Royal Bath and West show in Somerset where her handsome dun gelding -
29th May 2016
The secret of the ‘Elly Belly’ is out! Last evening she FINALLY foaled, and after all our anticipation and worry that it was going to be a large ‘over-
Today was Cornwall’s Open Show -
This was a big event -
Toby loves handling the ponies and would ultimately like to do some in-
Our lovely mare -
24th May 2016
Just about every other year, this past weekend would have seen us heading to Exeter to show ponies at the Devon County Show, but when entries had to be made back in March we were uncertain at what stage we’d be with foaling so we decided to give it a miss . . . not that it would have made any difference (in hind-
Fudge’s mother is Flair who we sold a couple of years ago, but last year she returned to Tawna to be covered by Nutcracker and we’re very pleased for her new owners that she has recently produced an adorable colt. He is the apple of their eye -
18th May 2016
Come on Ella! She still hasn’t ‘popped’. Last evening her movements, behaviour and attitude gave every indication that she was about to foal -
Two nights ago Audrey watched Ella just after bringing her in for the night. She made me laugh when she told me she could very clearly see the foal moving violently in Ella’s side . . . “Forget just ‘kicking’…” she said, “…that foal was doing the Hornpipe!!!” Several of our friends are also waiting for their mares who are, like our Ella, lingering having looked fit to burst for weeks.
9th May 2016
For the past few nights our ‘pink pony’ -
Further suspicions were raised as I drove over the road and didn’t see Audrey’s bedroom light on . . . not normal once the foaling alert has gone out. Nevertheless I hastened across the yard to the foaling stables, talking aloud all the way so as not to alarm the ponies. There, I wasn’t all together surprised to see Ella staring at me with a quizzical look . . . as if to say “ Why are you here?” That’s Ella on our home page -
As I chatted to her and took out some droppings, Audrey saw and heard me on the screen in her bedroom, and called out the window to ask what was happening. It was a very still, warm night, so we were able to converse quite easily across the intervening little paddock. All a bit daft in hind-
5th May 2016
After the rush of excitement with the arrival of our first four foals, there appears to be a bit of a lull. Rosella has got a very slight udder, but the others aren’t showing anything at all.
However, elsewhere this year’s first foals by Rubus have been born following his lease to the Milday Stud near Edinburgh for two seasons. Last year he produced 6 fillies out of 11 foals for the stud. So far he has produced a hat-
2nd May 2016
We have decided to call Marina’s filly Martha -
The oldest two foals and their mothers have already been shipped away from the homestead at Tawna to be with their respective stallions -
30th April 2016
Our youngest foals have had visitors today. Naturally, when they saw a group of people enter the field, the mares headed straight to the far end, but once we had caught the mothers, their babies seemed to remember some lessons from earlier on this week. A day or two ago we brought them in and spent some worthwhile time scratching and handling the foals, and today they were pleasingly confident . . . after only one lesson. It gave me a chance to get some photos -
27th April 2016
Great excitement here . . . not one, but two new arrivals! When we brought Clementine in last night she had milk drops on her teats so we knew she wouldn’t be long. Audrey watched her on the cctv, and sure enough, she started before 8 p.m. We reckoned she was due about a fortnight ago, and judging by the size and strength of the foal, it is ‘over-
All this activity must have inspired Marina next door because by 11 p.m. she had foaled too! She was right on her due date. She hadn’t shown any physical signs that she was about to foal, but over the last couple of days we had noticed a change in her behaviour. She had been spending a lot of time beside the gate, looking through at the mares and foals, and had been very fractious and squealy when Clemmy was close to her when they were led into the stables. Her baby is tiny and black, but may turn blue roan as it is by Sprite . . . and both foals are FILLIES!
26th April 2016
Another of our friends has kicked off the show season with splendid results with her Tawna pony on her first outing. Due to someone else pulling out at the very last minute and leaving space on the lorry, Fiona decided to take Tawna Midas to a show on the County showground. The “Golden Boy” won his class, then excelled by gaining Reserve Champion from eight mixed classes where he was only beaten by a ridden New Forest. The judge was particularly complimentary about his business-
24th April 2016
The technology gremlin has been at work on our website -
Our new foals have had two lots of visitors/admirers today. The mares have calmed down a bit now -
22nd April 2016
Photos of our first two foals are now on the FOALS 2016 page.
20th April 2016
Would you believe it . . . another mare has overtaken Clementine! Last evening our little grey and white mare, Gizelle had a sweet little skewbald filly by Tristan, outdoors. Gizelle had been coming in, under the cctv for a few nights, but more as a next door companion for Clemmy than because we thought she was that close to foaling! There is nothing clear-
This is Gizelle’s second foal. Her first was two years ago -
18th April 2016
Audrey and I may have missed out on going to the show, but we were chuffed to hear that Pam and Gemma brought home prizes with their Tawna ponies. Pam’s geldings started their season well with a 1st and Reserve Senior Champion for Tawna Viceroy, and a 2nd for Tawna Nutkin in the juniors.
Gemma had a 3rd with Tawna Topsy Turvy in the youngstock class, but Gemma’s daughter Madi surpassed her mum by claiming a first prize rosette in the Young Handlers class with Topsy. Madi’s younger brother also did a sterling job in this class, coming second with a home-
Back on the ranch (Tawna) we decided it was high time to move the yearlings away to what will possibly be their summer pasture. We would normally have done it in March, but delayed due to the wet ground conditions. We loaded the fillies up with no trouble. Of course Freckles and Mojo have been to shows so know about the lorry, but Pansy hasn’t had much experience in it . . . yet she barely hesitated before walking up the ramp. It’s great to have young ponies with so much confidence. The fillies were pleased to see a fresh field and had their heads down right away. I wonder if the flush of grass will help flush out those winter coats?!!!
16th April 2016
Yippee! Our first foal has arrived.
We prepared the foaling stables weeks ago -
At last, it’s time to see what those big tums conceal . . . so exciting! Our duty of care to our pregnant mares means that sadly we will not be able to attend the SWSPG Spring show tomorrow. We were disappointed when we learnt that it would be held later than normal this year, as we knew we should be foaling by then. Even if the mares had not started, they were likely to be very close, so we took the decision early on to stay home. Shame, but our girls are more important.
9th April 2016
I always think of the previous year’s babies as ‘foals’ right up until the current year’s ones start to arrive, but realising that Mojo is technically now a yearling, we decided to get some updated pictures of her yesterday. Her two skewbald contemporaries were far too disreputable to photograph, but Mo was fairly clean. Unfortunately the continuous muddy conditions during the winter have resulted in most of our ponies losing their feather. This is not a good look at any time, but is even worse on yearlings with their exceedingly fluffy top halves! Despite this we think Mo is looking very nice -
Winter coats are certainly starting to move -
3rd April 2016
It’s been a trip down memory lane lately since we got a big, heavy, mystery box down from Audrey’s attic, to find that it was stuffed full of old rosettes. We used to write details on the back, so it has been marvellous to recall many ponies from the past who played a major part in our stud, and to see the names of hugely experienced judges who were very influential on the breed.
The rosettes seem to date back to about 1972, at which time we had standard Shetlands. There are a number of 1st prizes and championships won at Devon and Cornwall’s County shows, plus Shetland Society specials for riding and driving. The latter were for Lakehead Romeo -
In the breeding classes, some of the earlier names that appear on the back of the rosettes were home-
26th March 2016
Here’s an Easter Bunny to make you smile! I actually photographed him a couple of years ago. I was out in a field taking pics of the ponies when he jumped out of a patch of long grass, almost under my feet. Instead of scooting away, he went a few yards then sat up and looked at me. It was only afterwards when I looked at the photos on my camera that I saw he was sticking out his tongue!
21st March 2016
When will I ever learn? Close encounters with Shetland ponies at this time of year whilst wearing a fleece jacket is really not a good idea! I’m very pleased with myself because I have been catching up with foot trimming. The ponies hooves are looking tidy, but my navy fleece is looking anything but…
Being bent double while trimming the feet, I am naturally in close contact with the ponies whose coats are beginning to shift now, and the fleece fabric attracts and hangs onto the loose hair. Try as I might, it doesn’t want to brush off so I end up looking like a multi-
Talking of hairy ponies, we have received the first show result news of the year from Anne from near Bath who owns Tawna Fudge. At yesterday’s Wessex show she won 2 x 3rd and 1 x 5th (young handler). Anne says Fudge has a tremendously thick coat so the judge had quite a job to evaluate the pony underneath! Well done Anne. We hope the beautiful Fudge emerges into her summer silks before too long.
16th March 2016
Check out our sale page -
At long last we are having a dry spell . . . and what a difference it makes. The ground is firming up; where it’s been badly poached, the ponies little feet are now patting it all down again! The water troughs for two groups of ponies which need to be manually filled have had to be topped up this week . . . for the first time in the WHOLE winter! The rainfall has done it up to now!
The brood mares, who are the only ones having hay, seem to be less interested over the past couple of days. Although there doesn’t look to be any movement in the grass, I think it must be moving a tiny bit.
13th March 2016
Look out for two show quality young mares on our sale page -
11th March 2016
It’s been a sad start to our foaling season. We weren’t expecting the first mares to produce until April but our lovely Fuchsia had problems and started a full month before her due date. It was a breech birth with just the tail coming. While waiting for the vet, I managed to get one back leg in position, and he soon got the other leg and delivered it . . . dead of course, but thankfully Fuchsia is ok and is not pining. It would have been a pretty, blue roan and white full sister to Pansy and Violet. Such a shame, but we are glad that Fuchsia’s pregnancy didn’t go full term with a breech foal . . . delivering a bigger baby might have caused serious damage.
26th February 2016
It’s nice to know we provide so much entertainment for our ponies! Andrew and I have been working on the road hedge of one of our fields. He has been cutting and laying the scrub and trees on top of the bank, and I have been out in the lane clearing the branches and logs as they came down. This has caused great interest amongst the stallions whose field it is. As soon as Andrew starts work they come from all quarters and stand inside the fence to watch. I found it quite amusing when all I could see from out in the lane was tops of heads and furry little pricked ears all lined up in a row. When Andrew wanted me inside the field to keep the boys back as he felled some bigger trees, I had the Dickens of a job to drive them away.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the lane, a group of eight fillies and young mares have been ‘helping’ me every time I have opened the gate to drag the tops into the field. There have been umpteen trips through that gate and for most of the time the girls have been lingering just inside -
15th February 2016
. . a frosty, sunny day . . . and not a drop of rain ALL day. Here are our brood mares who are looking well, and rotund. We’re getting excited about what’s in those big tums as we gave a lot of consideration to the mating combos that were made last year. Roll on spring time.
. . . And here is Mr Reynard, catching the rays in the mares’ field. I wasn’t able to get very close before he spotted me and slunk away over the hedge.
7th February 2016
Eek!…TICKS…and I don’t mean the sort you put in boxes!
Whilst giving Florence a piece of carrot I noticed several little black dots on her muzzle, between her nostrils. Her skin there is pink and the hair is white so they showed up clearly. On closer examination I found they were tiny little ticks -
I have only once seen ticks on any of our ponies before -
Presumably the presence of ticks in February is yet another indication of our exceptionally mild winter. We have barely had a frost which would undoubtedly kill them off . . . although I should think they must have developed snorkels to survive the rain! It has been a very odd season indeed . . . last week, a relative in Australia phoned Audrey to wish her a Happy Christmas! I know there is a time difference, but…..!!!!
24th January 2016
I made our pregnant mares very happy yesterday when I moved them into a fresh field. It hasn’t got much grass, but it is a fresh pick and ponies always like a change. I have been hoping for a drier spell before doing this but there’s no sign of that. It was only a case of opening a gate, and our girls didn’t need asking twice. They were overjoyed and after the briefest taste of grass they were off -
We have decided that it is ridiculous to keep quite so many stallions for our number of mares, so after much deliberation, have decided to offer Sage for sale. Up-
11th January 2016
The South West Shetland Group held it’s AGM on Sunday morning and a loyal band of members travelled from Cornwall, Somerset and Devon to congregate for a coffee and chat at the Bridestow village hall with the beautiful backdrop of Dartmoor visible out of the windows. We learnt that membership numbers are staying pretty constant which is good, although more would always be welcome. The annual fees are very modest at £8 for single membership, £12 for families and £4 for juniors (16 and under). Members don’t even have to own a pony -
Finances are healthy and the committee have three Group shows lined up already. Unfortunately for Audrey and me, the spring show is going to be in mid-
Both before and after the meeting the main subject on everyone’s lips was the wet, and most conversations seemed to be based around how much mud everyone has, and how they are coping with it. In view of the fact that everyone’s ponies are wet, muddy and thoroughly bedraggled, it shows our optimism in looking forward to brighter times and summer shows!
9th January 2016
The weather conditions yesterday were a real treat -
When I checked the mares yesterday morning they were grazing out in the middle of the field -
We buy the odd sack of carrots at the feed merchants, and dish out pieces as treats in the winter months. The ponies absolutely love them, but they don’t get them every day. Whilst they are crunching them up, it gives us a chance to check they are eating properly and don’t have any teeth problems. Recently Audrey gave me a basket with some slightly shrivelled home-
1st January 2016
It’s the start of a new year and we send our best wishes to everyone for a healthy, happy and successful one, filled with lots of fun times and memorable events.
Looking back at 2015, we had a good year here at Tawna, but tinged with sadness as we said a final goodbye to two important equine friends who were put to sleep. Our exceptional mare Tawna Merryn, who produced so many top class offspring and was one of our all-
However there was much joy with the birth of eight gorgeous foals . . . and in 2015 the fillies outnumbered the colts for once! The anticipation . . . and tiredness . . . at foaling time is an annual ritual which is all forgotten once we see each strong, healthy foal trotting along beside it’s proud mother. Finding wonderful new homes for our ponies and making new friends all adds to the pleasure of breeding.
Naturally we enjoy competing in breed classes at affiliated shows with our ponies -
The forthcoming show season seems a long way off -
23rd December 2015
Nearly there . . . tomorrow is Christmas eve, and in a few days’ time all the fuss and bother will be over. We have been receiving lovely updates from owners of Tawna ponies, along with their Christmas greetings. It is exceedingly satisfying to hear that our babies have settled well in their new homes, and that their owners are getting so much pleasure from having them around.
Our ponies here at Tawna will all get their Christmas morning carrots which they enjoy, and it looks as if it’s going to be another wet and mild day for them. It’s been a very dreary November and December, but all the ponies are looking well thanks to an abundance of grass, and we are already speculating as to which mares are in foal.
Last week, Dolly Dimple finished her companion duties with a neighbour’s Welsh pony. The pony was left on it’s own when our neighbour’s big warm-
Here’s wishing all our friends in the Shetland world a Happy and Peaceful Christmas
from Audrey, Fiona and Andrew.
17th December 2015
Fox hunting is illegal with hounds . . . but what about with Shetland ponies?! Our three filly foals thought they’d try it recently, and I think the fox got quite a fright! They were in the meadow overlooked by the house at Tawna, and when Audrey glanced out of the window, she saw a big fox poking around in the corner of the field. He was so preoccupied sniffing the ground and generally minding his own business that he didn’t notice that the foals had spotted him and were closing in. When he finally realised, he was practically cornered as the stock fencing runs along that hedge, so he took flight back across the field. Audrey said he showed a tremendous turn of speed along the full length of the fence, but the foals were hard on his heels. No doubt they were disappointed when he slipped out behind the barn and they lost him. It certainly gave Audrey a giggle.
We like our ponies to have lots of character and personality and our filly foal, Mojo, definitely provides plenty of entertainment. On another occasion when Audrey looked out at the foals, a neighbour was riding along the lane beside the foals’ field, on her Arab. The three foals were grazing at the far side of the field, but Mo spotted the rider, left her pals and went bouncing down across the field with her tail straight up in the air. She stopped on tiptoe, head right up and stared -
On another day when Audrey let the f oals out in the morning, Mo spotted that the barrier into the hay/straw house was open. Quick as a flash she nipped in there, bounding right across the straw at speed, and came to a halt when she was so deep in loose straw that she couldn’t move her legs! We had a big round bale of straw which has gradually been falling apart as we have taken from it, and her little legs had sunk down -
13th December 2015
Mmmmm . . . feeling contented and mellow after a splendid Christmas lunch with the SW Shetland Group today. It was good to round off the year with this happy event and wish everyone all the best for the festive season. Sadly a cold prevented Audrey from going -
Following the delicious meal there was a monster raffle with loads of prizes, an auction, and the presentation of several accumulator awards for points gained since the first show in March. I actually lost track of the winners and positions, but was very proud that so many Tawna ponies featured and that their owners have been out and about with them. There were seven Tawna ponies mentioned: Victoria, Topsy Turvy, Clarius, Midas, Lowenna, Morvoren and Ariel. These are all based in Cornwall, so often compete against each other which makes it all the more difficult to gain points, so well done to everyone. It didn’t come as a surprise to me that Clarius won his miniature youngstock section as I knew he had maximum points, but it was a lovely surprise that Lowenna won the mini mare section . . . a really beautiful quality rosette for each, and a box of choccies -
22nd November 2015
Is there any breed of pony with a more inquisitive nature than a Shetland pony? Probably not, and in our experience minis are more curious and ‘into things’ than standards. Of course it’s this quality that gives rise to stuffy ‘horsey’ people often disliking Shetlands because they are ‘naughty’. Well yes, they are mischievous, but I maintain that is because they are highly intelligent . . . which is one reason they are so endearing.
I THINK Audrey saw that side of our three filly foals on Saturday morning when she found they had been partying the night away in the yard at Tawna. With rough weather forecast overnight on Friday, she had left the field gate open so they could come into their big stable if they wanted. But unfortunately the gates across the yard which should have restricted them, somehow came open so the fillies had access to the rest of the yard . . . and didn’t they have an entertaining time.
They knocked over the bucket under the water butt, carried a sponge well away from it’s home and chewed the hand brush which is used for cleaning out buckets. The string on the gate was chewed, and they got onto the covered walkway outside the row of stables where they unhooked the broom which was hung on the wall, knocked over the ‘poo bucket’ and strewed the contents over the concrete which they then trampled in. The poo shovel was kicked around the floor, and the poo-
18th November 2015
Our congratulations have been winging their way north of the border to the Milday stud, for it’s success last weekend at the Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group Youngstock show. Milday foals -
15th November 2015
We are probably crazy, but for today’s Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Early Winter Show -
So we prepared Freckles again (who luckily had not got too dirty since last week), and her very handsome sire, Tristan who, when I fetched him from his field on Friday was as caked in mud as it’s possible to be. But I must say that in the end they both scrubbed up well and looked pretty good for ponies who are not stabled or rugged. The weather has been so mild that even the foals have just been coming in for their food and going right out again, so they are essentially out 24/7 at the moment.
The Shetland classes were for standards and minis combined and Freckles -
Tristan won his 4 years and over class and he then took the M & M four years and over Championship. The judge was very impressed with his movement -
In the Supreme Championship Fiona Lawrence kindly showed Freckles for us which gave me a great opportunity to appreciate this gorgeous little filly in action. It was only this morning, as we were driving to the show that I remembered that we last took Tristan to this show eleven years ago . . . when he was a foal. He won his class then and I still recall that the judge said that she liked his attitude! Freckles has got that too, albeit in a more feminine form. What really made our day was how many people (especially those who are not even involved with Shetlands) complimented us on the movement of our ponies. It’s a real pleasure to hear that we have impressed breeders of Welsh and other show ponies with our hairy little beasties!
10th November 2015
At last we have updated most of the photos on our ‘Foals 2015’ page. Check it out to see how they have grown up in the last few months. Every foal is cute when it’s very young, but now we can see how they’re shaping up and have a good idea how they’ll look when they mature.
8th November 2015
Well, we managed to get two of the foals presentable enough to go to today’s youngstock show, along with two older ponies. We always look forward to this show to get the babies out for the first time, and we enjoy seeing other people’s foals too. Although with fog, drizzle and strong wind, it wasn’t the easiest conditions for driving . . . or for keeping the ponies clean once there. The weather had undoubtedly put some exhibitors off, leaving entries a bit thin on the ground in some classes, which is partially indicative that there are generally less ponies being bred, but the hardiest Shetland owners turned out as always and it was nice to see lots of familiar faces.
It was a good day for Tawna ponies. In the mini filly foal class our beautiful Freckles was placed second, with Mojo in the very capable hands of our friend Fiona taking third, and Blue Moon -
In the yearling section, Clarius had a walkover in the colt class, with zero opposition! . . . but then took overall Yearling Champion against mini fillies and standard yearlings. Moving on to the two year olds, Victoria was second in the filly class, but earlier in the day she had won the owner-
The committee kept the show running smoothly as always, and at 11 oclock everyone fell silent for two minutes as a mark of respect on Remembrance Sunday. Even the ponies sensed the occasion and stood quietly . . . apart from Mojo who felt the need to shatter the silence with two enormous neighs. She may be a small pony but she has a HUGE voice!
6th November 2015
We have three mini MUD MONSTERS! Last weekend and Monday were gorgeous days, so I was looking forward to taking each of the filly foals up the road for a nice long training walk. Therefore I was absolutely horrified when I arrived in the field to find all three had been wallowing in thick liquid mud . . . not just on one side either. Each of them was dripping along the full length of both sides, and with bedraggled tails. What a revolting sight. They had only just done it, and they came cantering up to me looking all smiley and very pleased with themselves. They must have been rolling in a gateway. Glorious mud . . . I think not . . .
This action would have been bad enough at any time, but this coming weekend is the South West Shetland Group’s Youngstock Show and we now have three foals that are more filthy than they have ever been IN THEIR LIVES! Ever since Tuesday it has been raining, and the forecast is for it to continue right into next week. Hmmm…..preparation for the show is going to be tricky, but at least it is very mild.
Here is a good, clean boy -
27th October 2015
Talk about ‘up to the wire’ . . . it doesn’t get much closer than our experience today. . .
In the knowledge that two horse transporters were booked to collect foals from us today, we thought it prudent a couple of weeks ago to enquire from the Shetland Society office if it was likely that the passports would be back with us in time. We realise it’s a busy time of year for the staff, but we have no way of knowing how long any paperwork will take. So when Audrey telephoned the Friday before last, she was very pleased to be told that our passports had been processed and would be with us at the beginning of last week.
When they hadn’t arrived by Thursday, another phone call was made. Somebody checked and said they were all ready to go out, and would be posted first class . . . Relief! But nothing arrived. Surely they would arrive on Saturday at the latest? Still nothing, so I decided to ring yet again on Monday (yesterday) but waited for the post . . . just in case. STILL NOTHING. This time I was told the passports would be sent by registered post -
Well the first transporter was due here 10 -
Actually everything went very smoothly after that -
25th October 2015
Walkies! Almost every day we are handling and leading out the four foals which are due to go to their new homes this week.
For the past two weeks the council has been filling all the potholes and resurfacing stretches of the road past Tawna and there has been a great deal of activity so we have had to stay in the field. But today -
18th October 2015
Ahhh! . . . the first of our foals destined for a new home has left Tawna today. Beautiful Blue Moon has flown the nest. She is probably Audrey’s favourite, but hopefully we will be seeing her at shows in Devon and Cornwall in the future. Moon has the most endearing personality and is mega-
All the foals are weaned now. We will be concentrating on working with the next ones due to leave. They are all walking well along the lane on the halter, but we’d like to try them out in the field. The high hedges help to guide them in the lane, and they are interested in the new environment, but it is more challenging for them to be led in the wide open space of the field where they are used to being free. It is very rewarding to see how quickly they learn.
15th October 2015
The sun has been shining and we have been out taking some new photos of our gorgeous little filly, Mojo. We wanted to have some natural ones with her loose in the field, but our first attempt wasn’t altogether successful -
10th October 2015
The Aberdeen Shetland Sale was held earlier this week and congratulations are due to John Lawrie of the Milday stud near Edinburgh for his success in the pre-
5th October 2015
Arghhh…sticky burrs!! After the micro-
29th September 2015
What funny creatures Shetland ponies are. The strip-
We couldn’t deal with them immediately as we had an early vet’s appointment for Meg the dog and Levi the cat to have their boosters. When we got into the field -
26th September 2015
It’s almost the end of September and we have STACKS of grass. In past years we would have moved the ‘fatties’ (mares without foals) onto The Downs a couple of months ago, but instead, we are strip grazing them at home. We have never done this before, but it should do the fields good to be grazed more efficiently. Some of the girls are proper roly-
There has been quite a lot to do with the ponies recently. The group of boys -
All the foals have been micro-
17h September 2015
Two of this stud’s three year old fillies have achieved excellent results in the show ring for their owners recently. In the Shetland Isles Tawna Tilia took another 1st at the Unst show -
The three foals that are back at Tawna now are happily coming into the stable (without the mares) every day, and eagerly scoffing their stud and youngstock feed. They are definitely not hungry -
Today we did a bit of extra education with them . . . trimming their feet for the second time, and taking them for a little walk on the halter along the lane. Starting off by following their mums, they were each confident enough to soon be walking ahead, and have already learnt to stop and start reasonably obediently.
The only difficulty, with all three of them, was each time they came to a puddle in the road . . . and there are a lot of puddles! The lane is peppered with water-
14th September 2015
The foals’ thick winter coats are growing now. They are looking gorgeous. The youngest -
12th September 2015
As the seasons come round, there are familiar jobs to be tackled. This week we have filled in our foal registration forms -
On Thursday morning our super equine dentist came and took care of several ponies. I dread having their teeth rasped, but some have previous experience of the process and were really well behaved. Only one rebellious stallion upset the smooth running operation, and there was obviously no way that Gill could manage to deal with his teeth because I couldn’t hold him still. After only a few attempts he developed a quick rear and twist action which sent us both flying. Shetlands may be small but they have an alarming turn of speed and such tremendous strength. We will have to get a sedative from the vets before she tries him again.
In the years that Gill has been coming to us, she says her dentistry power equipment has improved considerably. The burr heads, in particular have been refined -
In the afternoon we collected some hay ‘off the field’ from our friends. This year we haven’t done our own hay and we have been getting a little worried that with the autumn approaching we still had an empty barn. It seems that small bale hay is in fairly short supply locally -
8th September 2015
Whilst some of us spend time and effort shampooing, grooming and generally preparing our ponies to enter the competition arena in an effort to win a prize, Maria in Lincolnshire has proved that it’s not necessary at all . . . in fact, the dirtier the pony, the better!!
Maria owns four young Tawna ponies, and has just won a photo competition from about eighty entries for ‘Muddy Ponies/Horses’ with an image of Tawna Sienna and Tawna Rupert -
The photo is on the facebook page of the sponsors, Lively Hoods who will award Maria with a lovely new lycra pony hood. I don’t know about a hood . . . I think these ponies each require an all-
1st September 2015
The boys have come home to roost! Two of our stallions who have been out on lease have returned and we’re delighted to have them home again.
Tawna Sage has been at the Helenbrie stud in North Devon for the summer and was returned yesterday. Last year he went to a small stud in North Cornwall and has sired two super fillies and a colt, so we hope he does an equally good job for the Chugg family next Spring.
Our great favourite, Tawna Rubus has been at the Milday stud near Edinburgh for two seasons and has returned today -
30th August 2015
Our summer show season finally ended today in appropriate manner with the Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Champion of Champions finale. Ponies have been qualifying at selected shows all over Cornwall for the past 12 months. Over the years we have qualified several times but have only actually gone to the C of C show once because by the end of August our ponies haven’t looked good enough, for one reason or another. However, Lowenna -
The procedure was slightly different from the last time we went. They ran a whole selection of ‘wild card’ classes during the morning for anyone to try their hand at last minute qualification, then the actual C of C classes began at 1 o’clock. Audrey and I found it very strange rolling up at lunch time and just preparing one pony! All the pure-
It’s so wonderful for a miniature Shetland to hold her own amongst all the larger breeds, and no-
22nd August 2015
Phew! The ‘silly season’ is over . . . five shows in twelve days. The final one was Chagford -
We were back with three ponies again, and this time Pam and Andrew acted as support crew. Our pony team did us proud once again with another 1st for Clarius, and second prizes for Lowenna and Victoria. The mare class was really good with thirteen forward and many super ponies . . . there were several there that could easily have taken the top slot so I was pleased that Lowenna took second place. She doesn’t much care for showing and tends to look bored. For her, the only advantage of going to shows is that each is a new location for a picnic. She has been on restricted grazing since June, so we relent and allow her to stuff her face whilst outside the ring!!
Meanwhile we have received good show results for three year old Tawna Tilia (Kerswell Sprite x Tawna Fuchsia) in Shetland. They don’t have many shows in the islands, and they seem to come quite close together too. Tilia has been out twice this month, winning a first and a second. It was the same two fillies at the top of the line at these two shows -
17th August 2015
This past week has been a whirlwind -
We could not have wished for better results -
15th August 2015
Do you want a giggle? Take a look at the facebook page of Equilibrium products to see a short, very amusing video to publicise a new foodstuff called “simplyirresistible” that they launched on 13th August. The ponies on it all belong to Fiona Lawrence . . . and the three mischievous ones are all Tawna ponies bred by us!! Apparently they behave like this every night!! Go to www.equilibriumproducts.com -
10th August 2015
Every year, early August heralds the start of the ‘silly season’ for us . . . a rush of relatively local shows with classes for Shetland ponies. We have supported some of them for several decades. We particularly enjoy the agricultural shows . . . but it is a shame that they all come so close together. The furthest away is only about one and a half hours driving -
The first show of the silly season was yesterday -
Our three ponies did very well this year -
Although the show is rather a relaxed affair, it is quite a test for any inexperienced ponies because there are more spectators, and associated noise and movement, around the ring than at any other show we attend. There are usually a lot of dogs, always a lot of children, and this time at one end of the ring there was a generator rumbling away, a raucous Punch and Judy show, and a tent with live amplified singing! But what caused the most stir amongst the ponies was a double-
7th August 2015
Here he is . . . Basil the Champ! He is only four years old and it is quite unusual for such a young pony to win a stallion class where the standard is so high, let alone the championship at the National Show. The more mature, experienced boys tend to take top honours, but we are told he really sparkled, and his movement was fantastic -
2nd August 2015
Tonight Audrey and I are OVER THE MOON! We have just heard that at the annual Shetland Pony Stud-
Basil (Tawna Rubus x Tawna Saffron) was an outstanding foal, and we had high expectations for him, but we haven’t seen him since we sold him at six months old. This was only his third show so he was fresh on the show scene . . . and what a way to make his mark. There is a photo of Basil as a foal on our ‘About Us’ -
This success comes in the same year as Basil’s sire -
29th July 2015
Today it was the turn of Fiona Lawrence to give us great show news. Her chestnut dun gelding -
27th July 2015
When you wake on show day to the sound of heavy rain and strong winds, it takes the most dedicated people to carry on, load up and drive to the showground . . . where the bad weather continues, and the gateway linking the lorry park to the show field soon turns into a quagmire, making carefully prepared, sparkling white pony socks a wishful thought! That was the scenario for the Fraddon Horse show yesterday . . . and two of those hardy people were Pam and Vic Tabb.
The weather did unfortunately affect the number of entries, but all credit to those who did turn out for this long-
At yesterday’s show Pam thought she would have a bit of fun and try her hand in some different classes -
A quick undoing of his plait, a change of ring, and a change of judge and he won the Miniature Shetland 2 & 3 year old class, whilst Tawna Boy George was placed second in the four and over class. The day was completed with a Reserve Miniature Shetland Championship for Nutkin, led by Vic -
19th July 2015
We have just added a photo of a proud little girl to our previous diary entry, and have updated our youngstock page with a few new photos.
What will our neighbours be saying? I guess it might not be complimentary! We have taken our stallions away from their mares, given them a bit of cooling-
Another aspect of this process is that we have now put all the mares with foals together into a single large field. This week has been quite educational for the foals. Before meeting the rest of the mothers and babies, they have all been lightly haltered, wormed for the first time, foot-
Tawna Topsy Turvy has also had an interesting week. Her owner -
11th July 2015
It’s a great pity that reports in the media immediately before today’s Liskeard Agricultural Show of an outbreak of ‘strangles’ on a part of Bodmin Moor near Liskeard sent panic through some of the horse owning community, and reduced the numbers forward. Strangles is a very unpleasant, infectious, respiratory condition and horse owners should always be aware of it, but the sad fact is that it is ever-
There were definitely less horses than usual at the show, but actually there were not many missing from the Shetland classes. We took three ponies . . . have to say that only taking two to the last show was so much easier!
Our little Tawna team did a really great job. Clarius -
The 2 and 3 year old class brought a 1st prize for Victoria (her first time at the top of the line-
Lowenna (dieted, but still a bit overweight) took top honours in the mare class, and we hoped she would be in-
In addition to our own ponies, Tawna Midas and Tawna Morvoren were 2nd and 3rd in their respective classes, and Topsy paired up with Madi (pictured) to win the Young Handlers class. Madi did a very professional job and won not only a large blue and white first prize rosette, but also a beautiful tartan Shetland Society one.
5th July 2015
It’s so uplifting to hear good news from owners of our ponies. Today, Tawna Boy George has been strutting his stuff at the N.P.S. Area 26 Summer Show. George -
Not only did he win the open Shetland class, but Pam was over the moon when he was pulled forward as Reserve Reserve M & M Champion. George is a diminutive little chap and he must have looked tiny next to the others in the championship . . . but that didn’t stop him and Pam doing a full ring individual show. Pam now has two miniature Shetlands qualified for the N.P.S. Leyhills M & M National Championship. Good going Pam!
4th July 2015
Oh dear . . . our fillies are in my husband’s bad books! A group of young girlies are running in the fields behind our house. When Andrew went out with the tractor and topper to cut the weeds, three of them -
After a meal break Andrew continued, but this time the fillies PRECEDED him! He found this very frustrating because he spends much of his time looking backwards to check the machinery, so he had to be very wary of the ponies going ahead of him . . . and stopping . . . which they kept doing!
The following day, he unhitched the topper in the same field, and hitched up the hay turner to spread his father’s field of hay. Some of the tines were broken and needed to be replaced, but the nuts were seized up so I was helping him with these. We were engrossed in this task when there was a crash behind us and we span around to see that Victoria had pushed the open socket set case off the topper where it had been carefully laid out. All the pieces were scattered in the grass. Andrew was not pleased! Shetlands are such curious creatures -
29th June 2015
We are so chuffed for our friend Gemma Hannaford who ventured much further than us this weekend. She drove up to the Welsh Shetland Show from Cornwall with her two children, and two year old Tawna Topsy Turvy. Topsy travelled and stabled on her own, without any fuss, whilst the human element of the party had a great time with other enthusiasts from the South West at the showground.
The show has a marvellous array of classes and Topsy graced no fewer than four separate classes under different ring judges . . . Gemma worked hard to manage all that, and with great results! In the breeding classes -
Topsy is a full sister to our Daisy May and has a wonderfully calm demeanour so it doesn’t surprise me that she enjoys showing and loves the children, but something I didn’t know is her taste in music. Apparently Madi likes to play Bon Jovi when they are travelling in the horse box and each time it starts, the pony whinnies . . . Gemma says Topsy is a Rock Chick!!
28th June 2015
It has been an exceptionally busy week for me with work, so it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that we definitely decided to go for it and get a couple of ponies ready for today’s Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s breed show. The weather then was nice and the ponies were pretty clean -
The drizzly weather today wasn’t so good, but the show is held on the Royal Cornwall showground which is a fantastic venue and not too far away for us. Shetland entries were, unusually, a bit thin on the ground, but all the mini classes were supported so that was good.
The judge was new to us -
Photos and details of the final two foals for sale are now on our sale page. Ironically we have been waiting so long to get them all on there that quite a few of the photos need updating. The foals are so photogenic that it’ll be a pleasure to take more. In some cases -
23rd June 2015
At last, we have got some updated photos and details of our foals on the ‘FOR SALE’ page . . . still two more to add, but hopefully they will appear in the next day or two. Oh, the frustration of not knowing how to do it myself, and having to rely on Andrew to do it!
21st June 2015
Our attempts to reduce Lowenna’s circumference -
Our juniors did really well too. The incredibly glamorous ‘blondie’ -
20th June 2015
YUCK! Walking back across Nutcracker’s field this week I was alarmed to come across a large skeleton. To begin with I couldn’t think what it was -
Tomorrow is the SW Shetland Group’s Summer Show -
18th June 2015
Kerswell Sprite and his girls have been grazing one half of a field at Tawna that is divided by a post and wire fence. For the past couple of days they have been hinting heavily that they wanted a change by hanging around the gate in the fence, so Audrey opened it to let them all pour through . . . all that is, apart from Pansy.
At the last moment she decided to dive along the wrong side of the fence. The rest of the ponies immediately cantered off to the far end of the field, leaving Pansy flustered and charging along the fence, calling to her mother. Fuchsia, meanwhile, had forgotten that she had a baby -
After some time, parental duty fell to Sprite who left his group to gallop back, through the gateway to fetch his wayward daughter. He gathered her up, prancing and playing, and led her back, but at the gateway the filly’s courage failed her again and she cantered off. Once again he tried to lead her to join the rest, and once again she turned back. Eventually Fuchsia thought she had better take control and collected her baby, but the whole episode with Audrey trying to get the foal through the gateway took a good half hour. All was well in the end. But how very sweet it was to see the stallion doing his bit -
11th June 2015
This picture is of Fiona Lawrence’s 4 year old Tawna Midas being judged in the gelding class at last week’s Royal Cornwall show. What a handsome lad he is . . . really says “I am here -
Our ponies have had to take a back seat today because I have been otherwise occupied by the arrival of our new cat. Andrew and I have lived here for twenty years and have always had cats . . . but have never been able to CHOOSE a cat because they have always chosen us! All of our cats have been strays that just turned up on the door-
Our most ancient girl passed away in March at the grand age of at least twenty years, which has left us with one not-
8th June 2015
The past week has brought sadness, followed by happier events. After weeks of anticipation on our part, Agnes finally foaled last Wednesday -
Aggie was quite agitated when Levi, the cat, wandered into the field as she was about to foal and was disturbed when Audrey peeped around the corner of the hedge to see how things were progressing, so Audrey stepped back and waited for a few minutes. Next time she looked Aggie had easily shot out her baby . . . in the event -
On a more positive note, we took two ponies to our County show at the end of the week. Lowenna (BIG hairy tum) was placed third and Florence was fourth -
In addition, the first prize gelding is by Tawna Bea’s Knees (currently on our ‘for sale’ page); the first prize mare is by Tawna Trooper and the second prize mare is by Tawna Frizby, so it is gratifying that our stallions have influenced so many of the prize-
Closer to home though -
29th May 2015
Audrey was chuffed a couple of weeks ago to see a blast from the past in the Horse and Hound magazine. The feature was on “Prolific (Point-
In her youth, and long before she became ‘hooked’ by Shetlands, Audrey had the honour of hunting Lonesome regularly and exclusively for his owner. She says he was a small horse with a big heart, and was utterly fearless. They hunted with three Cornish packs which undoubtedly kept him incredibly fit. Audrey didn’t actually race him: his equally fearless jockey was Diana Coker -
23rd May 2015
We have not long returned from the Devon County show. Audrey stayed at home with Agnes -
Once we were into May the realisation dawned that there was no way that the yearling was going to be out of his coat, and as the stallion only went in with his mares at the beginning of the month he had far more important things to do than be groomed and pampered!
It was a relief in the yearling class to see ALL the youngsters were as hairy as Poldark, if not more so. I think he did as well as could be expected with a fourth prize. Although small, he is at that rather gawky/yearling stage and there were some really lovely more developed yearlings.
In the stallion class I felt Finch deserved to have been a little further up the ranking than sixth. He is looking really nice -
In the two year old class Gemma, exhibiting for the first time at this show, was thrilled to get a fifth place with Tawna Topsy Turvy -
21st May 2015
The big debate here is . . . Can Agnes stop eating long enough to get on and have her foal? She is absolutely bursting in every department. Come on Aggie -
18th May 2015
Congratulations to our Cornish friends with Tawna ponies who travelled to a Shetland show at Bicton College near Exeter in Devon yesterday. Gemma was pleased to win the 2 & 3 y.o. class with Topsy Turvy (Tops) who was also awarded Reserve Junior Champion. Gemma’s young daughter Madi showed great flair by winning her young handlers class with Tops -
15th May 2015
A surprise arrival last night -
The filly -
Just Agnes to go now. Up until this week we thought Star was also in-
10th May 2015
Several weeks later than anticipated, Scarlet gave birth to a bay and white skewbald filly on Saturday evening. The foal is very strong, and looks to have a white belly band, white in the tail, three tiny socks and one a bit longer . . . but to be honest we haven’t been able to get near it since they went out this morning -
Today it was lovely to see Tawna Flair return to Tawna. We sold her with the option to be covered by one of our stallions and she has come back to run with Nutcracker. I’d forgotten just how pretty she is -
4th May 2015
Phew! It’s taken quite a bit of working out, but we have now moved all the ponies into their summer groups. There might be a bit of jiggling around at some stage, and the mares who have not yet foaled will have to be moved, but in general IT’S SORTED!
Four of the foals have now travelled in the lorry. We took them nice and quietly and helped them up the ramp, but each one walked out alongside their mum in a calm manner . . . great initial lorry experience for them. The four stallions we are using this year are now running with their girls . . . needless to say they are happy about that. They are well apart from each other and we have ensured the fields they have gone into have not had any other male equines for a long time . . . ponies have a good sense of smell and unfamiliar scents can lead to un-
After we did some long overdue remedial fencing earlier in the week the young colts have a nice little meadow with (hopefully) pony-
1st May 2015
Rubus is certainly earning his keep at the Milday Stud in Scotland where he is on lease for two years. This morning we heard that his sixth foal has been born, and there are still quite a few to go. Out of the six so far, five are fillies!
Daisy May -
29th April 2015
In a day or two the mares with foals will be dispersed to various pastures with their respective stallions for the summer. We’re always sorry to see them ‘going away’ as it is such a pleasure to go out into the field and see the whole group together. Currently they are in a small sheltered meadow with a stream running through it. Beside the stream and under the trees the ground is rather boggy. Guess which foals have been up to their knees in the mud. Yes it is all the boys -
27th April 2015
We had to wait a bit longer than expected for it to happen, but Daisy May foaled in the middle of this afternoon. After her behaviour yesterday morning when we led another mare and foal away, she did actually settle down again, but just before lunch today she was cantering around the field. Daisy is not given to any forms of extreme exercise, so this was completely uncharacteristic and we reckoned it wouldn’t be long.
Audrey and I were in attendance and just gave her a final helping hand. For us, foaling out in the field on a sunny day is much less stressful than a middle of the night job . . . I don’t suppose it makes much difference to the mares though. Daisy has excelled herself with her first baby -
26th April 2015
Now she’s dry and out in the daylight, Fuchsia’s baby is very clearly showing signs of blue roan colouring along her back. Fuchsia tends to be one of those laid-
When we led Fuchsia and foal away, Daisy May got quite agitated, so we think she could be fairly close to foaling. As a first-
The roads around Cardinham are ringing to the sound of metal on tarmac today. It’s the annual St. Meubred’s Ride. St. Meubred is the patron saint of the parish church, and this endurance ride was established many years ago. It’s well organised with plenty of stewards and the riders have the choice of 16 km or 33 km routes. I passed several small groups of riders when I went to check the ponies on our other farm. They were all setting a really brisk pace and most of the horses I saw were Arabs. The weather conditions today couldn’t be better for them.
Also enjoying the perfect weather were competitors at the Native Pony Association of Cornwall Spring Show . . . although I think it was held in an indoor school. It was the ‘battle’ of full brothers Viceroy and Midas in the Shetland, Dartmoor and Exmoor class . . . and Midas came out on top! This is his first year in adult classes, so well done to his owner, Fiona Lawrence. In the same class Viceroy was second and a lovely roan mare, Tawna Dahlia was third. In the youngstock class Tawna Nutkin took second place, so it sounds as if the minis really made an impression with the N.P.S. Judge.
25th April 2015
About nine o’clock this evening Fuchsia did the biz with the very speedy delivery of a minimally marked skewbald filly, by Sprite. Fuchsia is a wonderful calm mother and takes it all in her stride. The foal is still wet and looks piebald, but we shone the torch on her, parted her coat and are pretty certain she is already showing blue roan. When we left her, Fuchsia was turning around having a good bite at her own belly and hind leg . . . itches that she hasn’t been able to reach for months!
24th April 2015
Whoopee…a filly at last! At 4.15 this morning Twinkle foaled. One leg was back from the knee, but because Audrey had been watching the mare on the monitor we were on hand right away and I soon sorted it out. The foal is skewbald and by Tristan. She has the usual big patches on one side, but on the other is a ‘rash’ of dark spots on her white coat -
22nd April 2015
Last week we were thrilled to hear that Sage’s first foal had arrived. It’s always a great relief to learn that our conviction in spending years, and a considerable expense, in bringing on a home-
Andrew thinks he’s got the perfect name for Rosella’s colt . . . Paella . . . hmm, maybe not!!!
20th April 2015
At teatime today Rosella foaled. Thankfully it was straight forward. Two years ago she had quite a tough time producing the handsome Rupert so we didn’t cover her again that year. Naturally we were extra apprehensive this time . . . especially as her udder altered dramatically two nights ago and Audrey hardly slept at all last night, watching her on the monitor. Ella has been under constant surveillance all through today, but almost managed to get away with the job on her own when our neighbour collared Audrey for an in-
19th April 2015
Towards the end of last May we had finished foaling so were able to attend the Cornwall Open Show for the first time. We really enjoyed it…..easy access from A30, excellent parking, nice surroundings, we were in a dedicated sand-
In the M & M ring Viceroy gained 2nd in the small breeds, 4 and over class, whilst in the Shetland ring Fiona Lawrence’s sweet little mare, Ariel also gained 2nd in the 4 years and over class. In the youngstock class it was a One-
Clementine’s gorgeous baby is ever so pleased to have another foal in the field . . . even though Charisma does not approve of this over-
17th April 2015
A full two weeks after Clementine foaled, number two has arrived. At around bedtime last night Charisma got down to it and produced a very pretty little bay and white colt by Sprite. Despite using Sprite on various skewbald mares ourselves, this is the first skewbald foal we have had by him. Strangely, he has sired skewbalds for other people! Charisma’s little boy is cute and quite small, and she has been trotting him so much today that we were worried that she would exhaust him. So this afternoon we have brought them indoors for the poor little chap to have a rest!
12th April 2015
Today Pam and Vic took Viceroy to the Devon N.P.S. Area 10 Spring show. Held at The Grange at Okehampton, they said it was a very well organised event, and attracted some excellent ponies. Viceroy continued his run of success in mixed breed classes. In the home-
Our gorgeous little colt foal is seriously in need of some brothers and sisters. He is 10 days old, and it’s high time that we had some more foals. There are three mares all developing at the same rate, so they are all stabled tonight. Only meant to bring two in, but couldn’t decide which two! The cctv covers two stables and the microphone will pick up anything happening in the third box.
8th April 2015
More Springtime news -
Recently Sage has left Tawna to go on his summer holidays in North Devon. Well, he will be on lease and has gone to work actually, but as he will not be having anywhere near as many wives as Rubus, I guess he will be having quite a nice time, and a change of scene. He was absolutely filthy with dried mud when we brought him back to Tawna before he was collected, so we had to put in a fair bit of grooming to get him looking presentable, but he was looking very handsome by the time he left here.
4th April 2015
What an exciting time of year! Thrilling news from France today. Our incredibly glamorous and handsome strawberry roan and white stallion, Tawna Neptune who now lives there, has just had his first baby for his French owner. Not only a filly, but a ‘buckskin’ too -
Here is a photo of her on her first day in this world.
2nd April 2015
What a special early Easter pressie we have had!
Clementine decided she wasn’t going to take any notice of due dates for foaling . . . and about two weeks early, by our calculations, she has given birth to a gorgeous fluffy Easter Bunny. Well it’s a chestnut colt foal actually, but he is a corker -
The other big event for us this week was the S.W.S.P. Group’s Spring show, held at the Duchy College last Sunday. With the forecast leading up to the show being for COLD, windy conditions, we did rather regret our decision to take two skewbalds -
Remarkably on the day before the show, Finch only needed his hind socks scrubbing, but Florence did require more attention . . . she had found some fresh mole hills to roll on!! Come the day, and they both looked quite presentable though. Our third pony -
It was great to see quite a good turnout of Shetland breeders and owners, despite unpleasant conditions -
Happily our threesome met with the judge’s approval and were awarded: Poldark 2nd (mini yearlings), Florence 1st (mini 2 & 3 year olds) and Finch 2nd (mini stallions). The added bonus was that the two yearlings were chosen to step forward in the Miniature Junior Championship, so Poldark was Reserve Junior Champion too. Clever little boy.
This was only Finch’s second show, and I was pleased to see slightly calmer behaviour this time. He was still excited and vocal, but he didn’t break out in a sweat thankfully. He’s a great little stallion to show -
Three other lovely Tawna ponies were in the ribbons on Sunday and their owners deserve congratulations: Viceroy 1st (mini geldings), Ariel 2nd (mini mares) and Nutkin 4th (mini 2 & 3 year olds). Nutkin is a full brother to our little Easter Bunny, born today, and to our other yearling colt -
25th March 2015
Phew! The big ordeal of the day was taking the lorry for it’s MOT. I shouldn’t be worried, because our mechanic gives it a thorough going-
Fortunately Andrew has accompanied me the last couple of years and he helps calm my nerves and interpret the hastily barked commands from the tester. With the engine running in the confined space I can’t always hear ‘the orders’ and my confusion leads to rising panic. Today, when told to put the headlights on full beam my mind went completely blank. I stared at the symbols on the sticks on the steering column and couldn’t think which one it was . . . I turned on the windscreen wipers twice instead . . . and beeped the horn before I got the right one!!! WHAT AN IDIOT . That’s probably why he’s so abrupt with me -
The funny thing is that I don’t have any trouble recognising the controls when I’m driving because it’s instinctive to the situation, but when stationery and being told to do it, all sense evaporates! Anyway the lorry passed . . . even if I didn’t.
24th March 2015
Here in Cornwall, the solar eclipse last Friday was not as spectacular as we anticipated. Luckily it was a slightly hazy morning, but not cloudy. Coverage of the sun was predicted to be around 86% so Audrey and I made sure we were amongst the mares for the event -
When there was a full eclipse in 1999, we stood on high ground and it was fascinating to witness all the birds becoming quiet when darkness fell at an unnatural time of day. I happened to have a little mare on a halter with us at the time, and as the light lessened, she looked around in a slightly agitated manner and called for her friends. This time, the bright light dulled slightly, but not enough to cause any reaction amongst the ponies. Andrew said his hens didn’t seem to notice either.
We had a go at the yearling colts with brushes the other day to see if their coats are shifting….not really anything coming out, but when I trimmed up Sage’s toes in preparation for him going away on lease it was a different story. I was wearing a navy fleece jacket . . . BIG MISTAKE! After a close encounter with him for five minutes I was covered in white hairs. I also noticed white hairs on the ground beside protruding twigs and branches in the hedge of the fillies’ field, so they are beginning to feel itchy with their loosening coats. I guess last year’s babies want to hang on to theirs for longer. Our yearlings usually still have fluffy bellies at the end of June -
14th March 2015
WOW! The show season has well and truly started with a bang . . . VERY exciting news from Scotland today. At the 154th National Stallion Show held at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, our gorgeous Tawna Rubus won the mini stallion class, was Miniature Champion, and won the Broken Colour Trophy (standards and miniatures) too!
Rubus was turned out magnificently and shown by John Lawrie of the Milday Stud who is leasing him in 2014-
Meanwhile, at this end of the country today, Pam and Vic Tabb have taken Tawna Viceroy to the N.P.S. Area 26 Spring Show. His class was mixed small breed M & M (including Welsh A & B) and he claimed 3rd prize and has qualified for the N.P.S. Leyhills Spring Festival M & M Championships. WELL DONE EVERYBODY. . . thank you for doing the Tawna Stud proud . . . and keep up this brilliant work!
9th March 2015
Ahhh! I’ve just been to check the girls in their new field and found that Florence has taken Zelah -
8th March 2015
Our ponies love a change of scene, so a group were chuffed yesterday when we shifted them into a field that’s been empty since last summer.
The group consists of fillies and some mares that are not in-
As a follow up to yesterday’s change of scene for the girls, our task today was to separate Zelah -
It was high time to take Zelah away . . . the two colts are very lively. Luckily the boys use up a lot of their energy and exuberance on each other and don’t often bother her. Zelah is so laid-
2nd March 2015
Managed to catch our beautiful girls -
Meanwhile, elsewhere the fillies were feeling very frisky yesterday . . . probably the wind causing high spirits and bursts of joyful galloping around their field.
In turn, the stallions could hear, but not see, the thundering hooves -
26th February 2015
Is she? Isn’t she? Audrey and I have been scrutinising some of the mares, trying to decide if they’re in-
Meredith has rather disgraced herself by breaking out of her paddock several times, by going under or through the electric fence. People with riding horses rarely realise just how low the tape needs to be to contain a Shetland. Unfortunately it was far too high on her first day out with Minnie and she went right out into the adjoining paddock. Having learnt that she could do it, the same thing happened a few more times -
22nd February 2015
Meredith has begun ‘special duties’ today. A neighbour who has a large dressage brood mare called Dior asked if she could borrow a Shetland for a couple of months.
This morning Dior travelled to a professional yard where she will be monitored for foaling-
I chose Meredith because she was the sole companion to our Arab mare through the winter two or three years ago and behaved very sensibly. She’s a very sweet little pony -
12th February 2015
A spell of lovely dry weather has meant foot trimming time. I had been guiltily looking at the ponies feet for several weeks when they were wet and really muddy and just couldn’t face the job, but this has been a great opportunity. To give my back a chance I limit myself to only about three ponies per session, but have worked through over half of them. Only thirteen left now: that’s 13 x 4 = 52 little hooves . . . still quite a lot of back bending!
The stallions have been rather difficult -
Arrangements have been made this week for Sage to go out on lease this summer. He’ll love that -
6th February 2015
My recent ‘good turn’ for a group of four of our fillies totally backfired on me. With the flush of rich grass last Autumn, in a bid to avoid them laying on too much fat, we put them in an excessive acreage, but with very poor grazing. They have been having supplementary hay for the past month, but now the frost has really begun to bite, I felt sorry for them and moved them into a better field with enough grass to see them through to the Spring flush.
On my daily visit the following morning it was gratifying to see them all lying down -
To be honest we knew there was a slightly weak point in the dividing hedge, but only the most agile ponies could tackle it! There has been quite a lot of activity with the local Water Board in the area since Christmas, and it looks as if their men have been climbing over the hedge at that point to a collection of water meters. When I looked closely I saw there was quite a pronounced track over the hedge. That’s still not an excuse for the ponies escaping though -
They were good girls to catch and followed back obediently, but my only option then was to put them in the field I was saving for the old riding horses, and now my planning has all gone awry.
31st January 2015
Soggy, muddy ponies, and soggy, muddy fields are not conducive to spending quality time with the ponies at this time of year. The majority of ponies are away from the homestead at Tawna, so it’s mostly a case of feeding those who are being fed, do a head count, cast an eye over each group for any problems . . . then jump back into the car before the next shower!
Even the 2014 foals -
All three of them took part in the November youngstock shows and there’s no denying that giving them a good experience at that age pays dividends. The big difference now is how ‘coltish’ Poldark and Clarius have become. My knees are just the right height for them to nip at as I lead them along . . . I should wear knee pads for protection! Actually Audrey and I had a good laugh at their antics -
Here are a couple of photos that I took last August when I was in Shetland itself and visiting the Gue stud. This is two year old Tawna Cordelia (Kerswell Nutcracker x Tawna Mermaid), who we sold as a foal and is a full sister to Marina and Meredith who are both still here at Tawna. Cordelia is the most beautiful colour -
26th January 2015
I think it’s quite possible that the air near Tawna was ‘blue’ a few days ago! Audrey looked out of the house window, down into the meadow below where last year’s three foals were excitedly bombing around. They stopped and all gazed towards the hedge at the far side which borders the lane. Over the hedge Audrey could see a piebald horse standing in the lane -
The horse was fascinated/petrified by the Shetlands and it would seem the reaction was mutual. After a short spell of inactivity our lot shot off again -
After a moment the foals couldn’t contain their excitement any more and off they went around the field again before returning to ‘eyeball’ the horse. This display was repeated several times, during which it was probably just as well that Audrey was out of earshot . . . the man must have been pretty annoyed with our ponies, although I guess he could have gone to the horse’s head and lead it forward. To the horse’s credit, it didn’t turn around and bolt. After a considerable time he managed to un-
15th January 2015
Brrrr…..so much for talk of catkins and Primroses! Winter has well and truly arrived now. So far we’ve been lucky not to get any snow, but we have had a lot of hail showers and gale-
The ponies don’t seem too bothered. Although yesterday Florence caused me some concern. She and her pals were way up the field and when I called, she led the way -
Therefore I was quite relieved that when she arrived, all became clear. One front hoof was full of compacted hail stones, and she was, in effect, walking on one platform shoe!!!
12th January 2015
The usual band of loyal supporters turned out for the South West Shetland Pony Group’s AGM yesterday morning. The Group is now in it’s twenty third year. Whilst some Groups are struggling, it is encouraging to see a strong committee and to hear that membership and show entries have remained stable over the past few years -
After a chat and catch-
7th January 2015
We have just moved a small group of fillies into a lovely pick of grass in our neighbour’s field, but it has a dodgy fence so we thought it prudent to set up an electric fence as well. Before I could do this I had to tackle the vigorous brambles which were encroaching through 20-
The fillies who had all been up the field, dozing in the sun, decided I needed help and couldn’t wait to join in. Every time I bent down for my secateurs, Florence’s furry white snout was in the way. When I put my gloves down, Victoria couldn’t resist picking one up, and when I tried to pull the long brambles up out of the grass where they were rooting, ‘someone’ was invariably standing on the end! I unearthed an old wooden door lying on the ground. This was the source of great entertainment for the fillies who took it in turns to ‘tap dance’ on it. If I had wanted to lead them across it, no doubt they would have been horrified! Oh well, it didn’t speed up my job, but it helped them pass the afternoon!
5th January 2015
Welcome to our brand new website -
Huge thanks to Andrew for persevering and building it. I am totally clueless with technology -
Special acknowledgements are due to Gemma Hannaford for the drawing on The Type page under the About Us heading, and to Fleur Brown for four photographs taken on a visit to our stud.
1st January 2015
Here's wishing everyone a healthy, happy and successful New Year!
I just don't know where December went -
A very dark memory was losing our lovely, cherished mare Razzle Dazzle in March, but on the brighter side, foaling was over and done with in just over a month -
Undoubtedly the highlight of the year for me was travelling to Shetland in August to judge the miniature classes at the Viking Show. It was only a brief visit, but to see the ponies in their breath-
Today is our Arab mare's birthday -
Update on our new website . . . it has been pieced together and is ready for publishing. It's a very complex process -