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YOUNGSTOCK FOALS MARES STALLIONS

11th October 2017

Aargh……sticky burrs!

All the foals are weaned now, and nicely settled - no fretting or fussing. All the mares have accepted it well…..apart from Rosella. She has weaned foals before and knows perfectly well what it’s all about, but this time she is making an unnecessary song and dance, and consequently is disrupting the peace. I don’t want her spreading unrest amongst the other good girls so I have taken her away and shut her in a little orchard with one other for company. And how has she repaid me?…..by completely entangling her mane and tail in sticky burrs. Her forelock especially, is twisted, knotted and generally scrunched up to just a few inches in length - she looks as if she has rollers in!

I completely forgot to go in to the orchard and cut down the offending plants - that was a big mistake. A few moments then could have saved such a lot of time patiently teasing out this hair fiasco!

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-stretched . . . great if I want a picture looking up their nostrils! I actually want a side view, so I have to hope that something will distract them long enough for me to stand back, focus, and click . . . but there are many duds before I manage to get a decent photo.

It’s great if Audrey is there to draw their attention away from me, and best of all is if her pretty collie dog - Meg comes into the field. If Meg knows I’ve got a camera she puts on a silly expression, but if she’s unaware of me, she makes a lovely photo. The foals are curious and agile, and Meg is getting on in years now and not very nimble, so Audrey has to be careful that she doesn’t get caught by prancing hooves.

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-back at all, so we don’t know why he’s so out of kilter with everyone else.

We have been marvelling at how exceptionally soft his coat is. Audrey and I both have long-haired cats, and the texture of his hair is similar to them. I have actually been likening him to a lovely cuddly blonde teddy bear. However, now the hair is loose he is getting knots - like a yearling - and today we have been patiently cutting them out with tiny needlework scissors. Luckily he was a very good boy and didn’t fidget - very delicate area behind his elbows - and he loves being groomed. Hopefully he won’t do a full moult.

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 - Tawna Amos, to his very first show. Since she bought him as a foal, Maria has been plagued by a number of mishaps which have prevented her actually getting him in front of a judge, so her excitement was understandable.

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 - he is the black foal kissing the dog!  

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 - Agatha. The third foal is Charlie - not in order of age, but we felt that his mother would benefit by having him weaned. The foals have been coming in without their mothers for longer periods each day, and once they were staying in overnight for several nights without any fuss, we took the mares away, and they have settled well. All has gone very smoothly. I wonder if the next group will be as good?!

14th September 2017

With no colts to be castrated this year - the first time for many years - we had a notion that we would get the foals’ registration forms completed and the micro-chipping (which we normally have done on the same vet’s Autumn visit as the castrations) done as soon as they cast their foal coats and we could positively state their colours. Earlier form-filling also meant we would be able to see their whorls more clearly. But here we are - the middle of September, and we have only now done it. The best laid plans…….

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-chipping yesterday. I hate it . . . the foals are all friendly and trusting of people, and then we stick a needle in them. It’s only a momentary violent reaction, but at least that is all done now and the forms can be sent off to the Society for registration . . . . and today the foals seem to have forgiven us!

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 - which he won. He was then chosen as Reserve M & M Champion, standing next to a Fell . . . a wonderful result yet again for Moonshine.

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 - including many of ours! - are grossly overweight.

9th September 2017

Here is another group photo - taken last Saturday, at the long awaited Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Champion of Champions event. We were very proud that three of our Tawna boys qualified during the summer by winning championships at designated shows. From the left: Pam holding our Tawna Rubus (stallion), Fiona L holding her Tawna Midas (gelding), and Toby holding Pam’s Tawna Moonshine (gelding).

The judges went through a range of preliminary classes - we were all in the small breeds 4 & over - and chose three or four from each to go through  to the final. Our judge gave them all a good look, and I was thrilled for Pam when her Moonshine was short-listed. We all received an unusual gold and black rosette (the Cornish colours) with a ruffled centre.

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-line. Nevertheless it was still exciting to be in the big indoor ring marching around in a big class with all the other contenders.

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-listed, and with the large number of entries present it was then a wait of about five hours for him before the final championships. In the end he missed the top two slots by a whisker. One of the judges told him that if there had been a reserve reserve champion he’d have got it, so another very good performance . . . Well Done Toby!

The in-hand M & M championship sashes went to a New Forest and a Welsh Cob, but little Moonshine looked fabulous in the final, was foot perfect, and proudly flew the flag for miniature Shetlands amongst ‘the big boys’. A friend has nick-named him “Mr Lush” . . . looking at him here, I think it’s pretty clear that he is rather scrummy!



August 2017

At last little two year old - Tawna Blue Moon, has won a first for her owner Jane. Moon has actually been doing quite well all summer with a number of seconds and thirds, but she finally attained the top place in a mixed small breeds M & M class last week. She is a very sweet little girl - full sister to this year’s Lily Longsocks, and we’re delighted that Jane has had a successful season with her.

How I wished I had my camera the other day - Rosella was standing guard in the middle of the field, surrounded by four flat-out sleeping foals. She looked like the proudest nanny in the world!


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 - all shown that day. Pity there wasn’t a progeny class. On the far left is this year’s foal - Crackerjack. In the middle, Pam is holding her four year old gelding, Nutkin, and on the right, Vic is holding our three year old Clarius. I’m not sure that Clemmy was that bothered but she should have been even prouder of that family ensemble than Ella with her young charges!



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-event judging by the number of ponies in some of the classes. In the mini section there were 18, 20, 26 forward in some classes, but the real monster class was yeld mares with FORTY ponies!! Poor judge - what an ordeal! The latter class was very sensibly divided into ponies 7 and under, and 8 and over - but even then they were massive classes.

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 - you had a marvellous show, and we’re very proud that our Tawna boys have made their mark.

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 - on a different show field - probably more than forty years ago, and I don’t think we have missed more than one or two shows since!

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-strong mare class. Toby showed her while I hung on to Crackerjack which gave me the chance to watch her. I just love seeing Clemmy trot out - she is the most fantastic mover and looks so beautiful with her long mane flowing. Jack showed himself off proudly and was judged Champion foal.

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 - the Royal Cornwall). His lovely mum completed the day by taking the Miniature Championship. In addition, the Society’s Best Gelding rosette went to Tawna Midas who was second in a strong mixed stallion and gelding class.

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 - gorgeous weather, lorry going well, happy, relaxed atmosphere, lovely ponies, lots of chat, and great results for Tawna. This is an extremely popular show with all the Shetland enthusiasts, and being a Country Fair there is always a large crowd around the two horse rings - one for Heavy horses and one for Shetlands. Our judge commented afterwards how much she had enjoyed the experience - saying how especially nice it was to have a great audience enjoying watching the ponies and applauding the winners.

Did I say last time that Clarius had surprised me with his good behaviour? Well forget that - he was really quite wound up - jigging along instead of walking, and did not for one second stand still - or properly - in front of the judge. She was kind enough to say that he was ‘dancing’ as there was amplified live singing blasting at us from a nearby tent!! After that we were lucky to receive a third prize. Wendy’s filly - Gloriana aka Glo-Worm - had a second prize in the yearling class, and Pam’s Nutkin was fourth in the gelding class. The latter had a marvellous entry of fourteen ponies in the ring and at the end it was lovely when the judge addressed the class to say how impressed she was with the quality there - the best she had seen all season both as a judge and a competitor.

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 - both looking well and enjoying their day out. Meanwhile young Jack strutted around the ring, quite unconcerned by all the hubbub, and won first prize and a huge Champion foal rosette. He was quite well behaved, but couldn’t compare in entertainment value with a dun colt foal who decided to lie down and have a prolonged roll in front of the judge  - the spectators and all of us in the ring roared with laughter.

Today we have started preparations to get the stallions into their winter quarters. Once they have been moved - hopefully tomorrow - the mares and foals can go into a nice fresh field a bit closer to home . . . edging ever nearer the time when the foals will get more handling and education, and begin weaning, towards the end of next month.

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 - the skies lightened, the rain eased off and overhead conditions improved immeasurably.

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 - albeit with the headlights permanently on! Later than planned, we arrived at this lovely Devon show in beautiful sunshine with a gentle breeze - perfect show weather.

Two different ponies on board this time - our mare, Star, although rather tubby, still looked extremely glamorous and beautiful, and just missed out on a rosette in a large class. One of my favourites - three year old Clarius, was placed a rather disappointing fourth, but for me the main prize was his behaviour. He has only been out once since he was a yearling so he was naturally very excited, but he had a long wait in the collecting ring during which time he settled really well, and in the ring he was so much calmer then expected . . .what a good boy . . . even more reason to love him! Now for two more shows with a different combo entered for each……..

7th August 2017

Would you believe it . . . Charlie/Parsnip has earned himself yet another name - Limbo Larry . . . or it could be Harry Houdini. During the summer, he and his mum, Marina, have been in Rubus’s group of ponies in a five acre field which has a really good stock fence dividing it down the middle. The ponies have been contained in just one half.

Some weeks ago, when I arrived at the farm to check them I could hear some agitated high-pitched pony shrieks and a more mature voice answering. I found Charlie on the wrong side of the fence and Marina in panic-mode rushing up and down the fence. Her udder was tight as a drum so I guess they had been separated for some time. I soon reunited them, but on examining the fence I could find absolutely no way that the foal had got through. The only possibility . . .and I still can’t think how he would have actually done it . . .is that he went under, on the short length where the rabbits have been running forth and back and have worn away the soil. The bottom of the fence is LESS THAN ONE FOOT off the ground!

Since then, he has done the same thing again, but it was amusing that this time Marina was much less concerned - carrying on grazing with a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude!

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-fitting gates, and she, being quite small, had managed to follow. I wonder what I’ll find tomorrow?

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-pony owners had an excellent day at the Fraddon Horse Show in Cornwall. In the Shetland ring Fiona won her class with Midas and he was then Miniature Champion. In this ring Jane and Martha also won the yearling class.

Pam decided to show Moonshine in the M & M ring - large and small breeds competing together - and won, before taking the overall M & M Championship. At the end of the show the two handsome boys - Midas and Moonshine - came back for the Supreme in-hand which was judged by the six ring judges on a points system. It was an exceptionally close-run result, but by a narrow margin Moonshine was awarded Reserve Supreme . . . what a fabulous boy!

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-comers and there were twelve forward so he really did well to come second. Well done all. It’s so good to see the ponies looking so happy and well, beautifully turned-out and giving their owners pleasure. We mustn’t forget the social side . . . there’s a fair bit of banter and jesting goes on in the lorry ranks too!!

27th July 2017

One group of ponies were making a lot of fuss a few afternoons ago - swishing their tails and stamping their feet. As I approached I thought they had a swarm of flies on them, but when I drew nearer I saw they were in fact FLYING ANTS. I have never seen that before. I don’t know whether the ponies would have been bitten or stung by the ants, but they were certainly restless.

We have been shifting around some of the ponies recently - getting the stallions re-acquainted, ready for their boys-all-together winter rest, and also putting all the ‘fatties’ onto restricted grazing. They are not too pleased about it, but they are being strip-grazed for their own welfare.

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 - I can’t think of him as anything else now!!!

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-training all the foals. Crackerjack was of course trained for his outing to the Royal Cornwall show in June, but it was the first time for all the others. We don’t expect too much of them at the first session - just having something on their head and being restrained so they can’t go skipping off whenever they want is enough to start with. In turn, each walked along beside it’s mother around the field a few times. As always there was some prancing and somersaults, but they got the gist quite quickly.

In contrast, today we got our glad-rags on and headed west for my judging appointment at Penzance Horse Show. Toby was my very capable steward, and his sister Abby tended the ring entrance and acted as runner, so I was spoilt.

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 - Nutkin kept up the standard as he also had a first - in the broken-colour class.

These ponies, and dare I say it - Pam - are seasoned campaigners in these showing classes, but the new kids on the block are Tawna Martha (a pretty black yearling) and her owner, Jane S, who won their class and then were chosen as Reserve Champion - what a fab result. I believe a tear may have been shed!! Jane G with her Blue Moon was second in the youngstock class, and Jane S’s Tarantella was third in the 4 & over class - so much to celebrate all round I reckon.

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 - more or less - flowing along the main trunk road into Cornwall, and has taken over two years. During that time there has been 8 miles of 40mph zones which has caused long tail-backs resulting in traffic diving off into the side roads . . . and causing chaos in the unsuitable narrow lanes! The country parishes to the north and south, of which ours is one, have been enormously inconvenienced due to restricted access on to, and off the main road resulting in vastly increased journeys, both in time and distance, but the works have affected everybody travelling into and out of the county.

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 - which is not a good look. The foals seem to be taking a long time to cast their coats too, with some falling out practically overnight, and others barely started. Agatha has turned completely roan now, and Rosetta’s back half is fully pinky-grey. Lily’s black undercoat is showing in patches. Jack cast from his legs and face long before his body - so a bright, shiny little face, and a body like a knitted tea-cosy! Charlie doesn’t appear to have changed his coat at all!

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 - all owned and expertly prepared by Matthew and Craig. Their winning colt - Milday Morse then took the Junior Championship and Reserve Mini Champion. WOW! Those are fantastic results at a highly prestigious show.

A few days later it was our turn to get busy . . . and BUSY was the word - two shows on one day! Our SW Shetland Group shared the County showground with the Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s summer show. We normally attend both (on separate days), so it was a case of careful planning, a hearty breakfast, and keeping a close eye on both shows. It was challenging, but actually worked well, and the Shetland competitors and supporters, in particular, enjoyed a very happy and sociable atmosphere.

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 - Tawna Izzy Wizzy. It was a big day for Toby - only his second show with Izzy, but their first affiliated one with Shetland panel judges. Besides these three, there were at least nine other Tawna ponies belonging to our friends, so my attention and loyalties were being pulled in ALL directions!! It gave me enormous pleasure to see the ponies so well presented and their owners obviously enjoying the friendship and competition.

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 - three trophies and at least two first places, including winning Champion Junior Handler. It was so impressive seeing how Toby turned out his pony - and himself - and how attentive he was to what was happening in the ring. His parents could be justifiably proud to witness his successes.

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 - her first time entering! Her proud mum had clearly tutored her very well and Jessica did not appear at all fazed by the event. Another one to watch in the future!

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 - he is absolutely meltingly gorgeous. Pam’s husband Vic has observed that every time I see him, I can’t help but beam with happiness . . . at Moonshine that is . . . although I hope I also smile with happiness when I see Vic!!!

Pam’s boys had a superb day - 1st (Tawna Nutkin) and 2nd (Moonshine) in the mini gelding class + Overall Champion Gelding (Nutkin).

Moonshine - 1st Open, Solid Colour, 1st Open, Best Condition. It was a great credit to Pam that Nutkin was second in the latter class - taking the top two places in a Best Condition class is a notable achievement. Then in the final championship Moonshine was Reserve, and the judge chose Nutkin as Reserve Reserve! Pam’s boys had earned their tea that night . . . I expect Vic, as head stable assistant, got a pat on the nose too!!!

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  - MUDDY?! On Sunday, the Fun Shetland Show at Cholwell in Devon was relaxed, friendly, peaceful, un-pressured . . . and fun!

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-ground does dry out remarkably quickly and after early rain, when it stopped the strong wind did help, but the rain all through the earlier part of the week had done the damage. We tidied the ponies as best we could and tiptoed our way to the ring.

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-breaking him, and it turned out that he didn’t bat an eyelid at the whole event…..talk about confident - he just soaked it all in!!

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 - Crackerjack - not only won the Society’s Best Foal rosette, but was then pulled forward as Reserve Junior Champion! What a star at just 11.5 weeks old!

Sunday was Toby’s day, with his first show with Izzy. He had prepared her to perfection, and she travelled in her ever-so-cute sheep-pattern fleece. They had a very busy day with six or seven classes and they came home with a fistful of rosettes, although the most glam ‘frilly’ was for the ‘clear-round’ jumping. We had expected the jumps to be at 12”, so it was a pleasant surprise to find the poles were actually all on the floor! This encouraged more handlers to take part, so it was basically a case of remembering the course . . . and having FUN with their ponies. It was a good day with a super atmosphere, and many thanks must go to Tessa for all her hard work in preparing it so thoroughly, and stewarding so efficiently.

1st June 2017

Here are a very photogenic pair - this fab pic was taken by Toby’s mum.

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 - a daughter of Rubus - and has a wonderful kind temperament.

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 - learning to jump amongst other things. She has a rather natty wardrobe too! Their maiden show outing together isn’t far off. Toby greatly enjoys preparing the ponies for a show, so getting his very own pony ready will be even more exciting!





28th May 2017

Our second show of the year today - and not a crack-of-dawn departure for a change! The Cornwall Open Show had shuffled around it’s classes and instead of the Shetlands starting at the usual 8.30, we were scheduled for not before 1pm so we didn’t leave home until 11am. A very civilised hour to set out - the downside being encountering so much traffic en route to the show . . . especially tourists who can’t back up in the country lanes!!

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 - the highest placed yearling. Glo is looking very well and trotted out beautifully. Our favourite boy - Rubus, was the most vocal animal at the show, but won a good class and took Reserve Mini Champion, with the very handsome Tawna Midas - winner of the gelding section - taking the Championship sash for his owner Fiona Lawrence. Needless to say I was chuffed that Tawna ponies took the two top spots.

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-done by the youngsters, the following class was for far more mature exhibitors - the ‘Golden Handlers’. The judge asked them to do a more comprehensive show than normal, and several reverted to their show riding days with figures of eight and back-ups! All good fun, and after a foot perfect display, Pam was smiling broadly when she and Tawna Nutkin were placed in second position. It would be nice to see this class at more shows.

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 - usually somewhere in top left of your screen. It looks like a line in an incomplete circle, with an arrow at one end. Alternatively, try clearing the ‘cache’ on your computer - stored memory of previously viewed pages. Hark at me…..a little knowledge……!!!!

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 all of it good I have to say - but anyone who’s been breeding livestock for a number of years will know that we get some dreadful lows, as well as the highs. It’s best not to dwell on the sad things, and instead, our spirits are completely lifted with the arrival of seven gorgeous foals.

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 - an ex-racehorse who has been a field companion to another TB for a few years, but has recently been brought back into light work. Hold on to your hat . . . . !

P.S. There were no serious injuries

28th March 2017

Toby and I had a great day on Sunday - in all respects. The sun shone, I didn’t forget to take anything vital, it was super to see a good turnout of exhibitors and supporters, our ponies went well in the show-ring . . . and we brought home a fistful of rosettes! Not only that - but all participants (human) were treated to home-made cake at the end of the show!!!

It was lovely to see so many friends and have a good catch-up. The collecting ring at one end of the indoor school allowed people to chat and watch proceedings. Our two year old Pansy achieved a couple of fourth places, yearling Cherish won her class + Reserve Junior Champion, and Rubus won second prize and Reserve Miniature Champion. Not a bad start to the season. Toby also won his Young Handler class with Cherish. Sadly it was not the achievement he would have wished due to the lack of opposition, but the judge still put him through his paces and offered a couple of helpful pointers for the future.

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 - 4th in the yearling class for Anne, and T. Midas - 1st in the gelding class and overall Best Gelding for Fiona.

A new-comer to our Group is our neighbour Jane who really enjoyed her first all-Shetland show with her pretty little yearling, Tawna Martha - a half-sister to Cherish, they make a very attractive pair. Jane was well pleased with a third prize in the yearling class and a fifth in the Novice Pony Youngstock which was for standards and minis.

Back in Cornwall a mixed show was also held on Sunday, at the County show-ground, and another new Shetland owner gave her yearling her first show experience. Tawna Gloriana was highly praised by the judge and gained a first and a second for her delighted owner - Wendy. So all-in-all a good weekend I’d say.

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-to-wall sunshine - thank goodness. The concern has been because tomorrow is the SW Shetland Group’s Spring show.

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 - more or less - and settled in stables ready for the off tomorrow. All three are broken coloured with a total of eleven white socks between them . . . hmmm, shall we call that whitish? The socks are mud stained, and the two young fillies’ coats are quite uneven, but overall they’re not looking too bad. Since then I have been racking my brains to remember what we need to take - the first show of the season is always a challenge.

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 - so I didn’t look under his tail. However, Audrey did check next morning - and discovered the mistake!

Never mind, he is very much a bouncing baby boy - full of energy and utterly gorgeous. His dam - Clementine - is the mother of our lovely Clarius who is by Kerswell Nutcracker. This foal is by Kerswell Sprite who shares the same sire as Nutcracker - Vorden Picea - so he should be a worthy prospect. He certainly is square and strong  - only one day old in the photo. I have just checked back through the records as far as 1981 on the Society’s Grassroots software and as I suspected - we have never had a foal as early as March.


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 - especially as we had a foaling date of 12th April for her - and I suspected that she wouldn’t last until then. However I certainly did not think she was going to produce this early! About midday she had a beautiful bay (may turn roan) filly foal. Clemmy obviously foaled quickly and easily - although we didn’t see her do it. On that basis, my husband has already named the filly: baring in mind that mother is Clementine, he thinks the foal should be called ‘Easy-peeler’!!! I think not!

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-cooked’. The arrival of our first foal definitely makes us feel more Spring-like and adds to another piece of good news. At the Wessex Group’s Spring show the adorable Tawna Smartie-Pants won 2nd prize in a strong yearling class. It was his first show and his owner Anne reports that he was well behaved and was also awarded Best Gelding. He was always a very special boy with a lovely personality and we think Anne will have a lot of fun with him.

Jane Gillingham of the Mignon Stud in North Devon is offering the lovely mare Tawna Tarantella for sale - through no fault of her own. Check her out on our Sale Page. If interested please contact Jane direct.

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 - such an exceptionally pretty girl! We do hope that both ponies fulfil expectations and bring their owners much joy.

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.

But - they are extremely frustrated! The reason being that I have put up an electric fence to keep them from hiding behind the six free-standing oak trees that run parallel to the hedge! The trees mark where an ancient lane hedge once existed, and it is quite remarkable how effectively the ponies can disappear behind the boles and exposed roots . . . from whichever angle we look! Last year I threatened to put up a fence; this time I have actually done it . . . and the mares are highly miffed!


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-foaler, so it might be quite small anyway, so we will give her the benefit of the doubt. Meredith will also be a first-foaler, but she is colossal in the tum - no doubt about her.

Charisma is in-foal to Rubus - so we’ve told her that another Poldark would be very acceptable. Rosella is in-foal to Tristan - their previous three babies together have been stunning . . .but all boys, so we’d really like a female version of any of them. Daisy May looks like a tank - she is by far the heftiest pony we have. I really hope there is a foal in that gigantic belly. Anyone looking at her would think so, but she completely fooled us last year - even to the point of apparently making up an udder! She ran with Sprite again, so we hope for another Blue Moon. Oooo…a thought has just occurred. Maybe we put the kibosh on it by naming her first and only foal Blue Moon . . .maybe she’s only going to foal once in a…..!

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-offish, but last year when Toby and I were taking her around to several shows I thought I detected a subtle change in her demeanour. I remember saying to Toby that I felt she could be pregnant. Foaling time is drawing near, and with it, a rising tide of excitement. Although we can’t help making a mental wish-list, what really matters is that all the foals arrive safely, and the mares are ok.

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 - a real tribute to the hardy Scottish enthusiasts, as preparing hairy ponies in February is no easy task.

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 - Tawna Cousin Jack! Four further offspring of Rubus were placed in various classes. Finally, Rubus’s 2 year old son (Midnight Noir), having won a class of twelve colts, was mini Junior Champion and overall Mini Reserve Champion, and Rubus’s yearling daughter (Bella Boo) was mini Reserve Junior Champion. That haul was definitely worthy of celebration - Well Done All!

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 - a pleasing sign I guess.

Four of the mares had quite an upsetting week, last week. I brought them home to Tawna for a visit from Gill and Emilia - our equine dentists. It was for routine removal of sharp edges on their molars. I get very tense myself about this procedure, but Gill complimented the ponies on their good behaviour . . . they were probably braver than I am about such operations!

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 - they were in the meadow - but there was no time to move anyone else. There were ponies in adjoining fields on both sides. I was at home, some distance away, but our windows shook as the helicopter approached, hovered and landed. I should think the really frightening thing for animals is - besides the noise - the powerful waves of vibration as the rotors cut through the air. I was very relieved that all our ponies were OK once it had gone, and don’t seem to have suffered any adverse effects.

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-by are extremely varied. Our neighbour Jane often stops to watch the Shetlands when she rides past on her Arab - Jaeson. Jaeson started life here at Tawna and has a great affection for the Shetlands . . . even more so since Jane bought Martha from us last year, and he has his own mini Shetland field companion now. He adores the little ones and is not at all fazed by ours rushing towards him across the field - practically at eye-level.

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 - Clarissa continued grazing while Cherish started to walk towards the road hedge. That was enough for the grey pony who freaked out and took the opportunity to bolt. The rider was clearly inexperienced but luckily the pony came to it’s senses by the time it reached the end of the field. All was well . . . but I bet the rider was cursing our ponies!

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-working committee stepped down from office today, but it was very encouraging when an even larger number came forward to help run the Group. Good times ahead for Shetlands in the South West!

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 - £15 per class - and will have schedules ready in due course: separate mini and standard rings, riding classes, young handlers and fun classes. Do get in touch with her to send sponsorship or for more details: anneallen9@me.com  

1st  January 2017

1st  January 2017

The start of a brand New Year and we at Tawna send our very best wishes to friends - old, new, and yet to be made, and hope that 2017 will be full of happy times with ponies and pony-people!

Now that we have passed Christmas, there will be growing anticipation as foaling-time slowly draws nearer - the best, and potentially the most tiring and worrying time of the year. Just lately, on the daily rounds, I have been studying and deliberating over which of our mares are pregnant. They had an over-easy summer last year - especially as so many did not have a foal to rear, and despite our best efforts they went into the winter carrying rather too much weight, so they all have big tums. It is perfectly normal for Native ponies to fluctuate considerably in condition between summer and winter when kept naturally outdoors, so we hope our girls will achieve ideal weights with time.

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!


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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-worthy jokes, tinsel, laughter and a great atmosphere at last Sunday’s SW Shetland Pony Group’s Christmas lunch. Over fifty members and friends gathered for a most enjoyable event held in the beautiful setting over-looking Roadford reservoir in Devon.

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 - the Young Handlers accumulator. This is the first year that Toby has ever been involved with ponies - he had never been to a horse show in his life, so his achievements in learning to handle and prepare our ponies, and show them so competently have been exceptional. We were very proud when he was announced as 2nd place for his age group . . . a great end to his first year amongst Shetland ponies. He says he can’t wait for next year!

Andrew has just updated photos on our ‘Foals 2016’ page - how they change in a few short months! Also, check out the latest image of Poldark on our ‘youngstock’ page . . . he is certainly shaping up.

30th November 2016

What can our ponies be thinking about? We have just had a really beautiful day - frosty start, clear blue sky, no wind and surprisingly strong sunshine which soon warmed everything up . . . gorgeous. I didn’t do ‘the rounds’ until late morning, by which time it was glorious - for the time of year. Yet all three groups of ponies - fillies, stallions and mares - were standing against hedges or under trees in the cold shade. Funny animals. In fact the fillies were in such deep, dark shade under an overhanging hedge that I couldn’t find them for a while!

It might be a few weeks yet until Christmas, but Pam and her twin grand-daughters, Elissa and Naomi, have been getting into festive mood with another fancy dress ensemble - this time for the Cornish Association of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society’s Christmas show. Tawna Boy George has been dressed up again and this time their topical efforts earned them a second prize, with Pam’s friend Sue and grand-children taking the first with their mini Shetland. Here is shepherd Pam sporting a very impressive beard and lamb on her shoulder!

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-round pony George is - looks as if we might see him in some young handler classes next year!

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 Romeo - chosen as Reserve Miniature Champion. And who’s the daddy of all seven of those youngsters? None other than our very own TAWNA RUBUS!!! WOW! What a boy!

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-sire, and Tawna Tamar as a great grand-dam. Well done to all owners and handlers.

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-stocked since March so there is plenty for them to browse over, albeit poor quality grazing. The mares are all going into the winter overweight, but if they are (hopefully) carrying foals they will need their calories!    

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 - where the SW Shetland Group holds it’s Youngstock/Autumn show. It will be an all Shetland event on Sunday 11th June, and will have a range of classes for miniatures and standards - including gelding classes - in the morning, with fun classes and in-hand jumping in the afternoon. Sounds good.

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 - especially as ours live out and are not rugged. However I was extremely pleased with how good they looked in their classes.

All three did us proud. Our 2 year old mushroom colt - Poldark, took a first, a second, and Reserve Miniature Junior Champion. His unusual colour caused a lot of interest amongst our fellow exhibitors, and his behaviour amazed me . . . he was a little monster yesterday when I took him for a walk and he spotted some mares, yet today he conducted himself in a very civilised manner! He has really developed this summer with his hind-quarters catching up with his front, and he should be ready for his V.V.E. next Spring.

Cherish - our delightful piebald filly foal was completely unfazed by her first show and came in at a respectable second place. Toby sprinkled more of his magic dust on Star . . . well it was actually a variety of shiny grooming products! . . . and he showed her to win both her classes, and Reserve Miniature Senior Champion. She doesn’t particularly enjoy showing, but she looks very classy and beautiful in the ring, and has the best mane and tail of any of our ponies.

It was a good end to our season, and we were pleased for Pam whose Tawna boys - Nutkin and Boy George both won second prizes. George, of course was demonstrating that he can turn his hoof to anything as it was fancy-dress last week. What’s next I wonder . . . show jumping I suspect!


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 - weather-wise. Toby and I had four ponies ready and loaded on time, and we were the second vehicle to arrive at the show. This gave us the opportunity to quickly unload the two foals - Martha and Clarissa - and give them a whizz around the indoor school. They were initially unsure of the sand surface, and were a bit sticky about trotting, but like everything else they have been asked to do, they soon understood what was required.

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-like mealy muzzle. We love her - but hope that she remembers that she’s a mini and stops growing soon! All the Shetland classes were open to standards and minis together, and our breed along with the various sections of Welsh were well represented in the in-hand classes, but sadly there was a dearth of the other Natives.  

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  - I think Glo instantly took a shine to the older pony because she looked like a bigger version of her own mother! We have heard that little Glo has coped with all the experiences of a new home very well.

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 - she looks a bit grumpy about things, but he seems delighted to have new girls to befriend.

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 - no big traumas, no unnecessary stress. They are leading on the halter very confidently, scoffing their stud and youngstock mix, and enjoy our attention.

We loaded the mares up and took them to a field well out of earshot, and with the least possible grass - to help cut back their milk production. After a couple of days of being extremely taut, their udders eased right off. They must have been still producing a lot. As soon as they were more comfortable they stopped looking for their foals.

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 - Mojo - also had a deafening neigh. We had never heard anything like it - sounded more like a 15h.h. stallion! We thought she must have inherited it from her sire - Goodworth Bertie - as she was our first foal by him, but as Martha is by Sprite, it now seems that the powerful voice must come from Marina’s side of the family!

6th October 2016

There was something completely different on the cards recently . . . Miniature Shetland show-jumping!

Toby and I (minus ponies), headed off to Cholwell indoor school in Devon where they were holding a friendly unaffiliated show-jumping competition. The course of eight jumps was set up for the first of the ridden classes - at probably about 12” high - but when there is interest from IN HAND competitors, they allow these to have a go at clear round jumping first. Tessa, who partakes in various activities with her mini Shetlands, had kindly invited Toby to take her two mares around the course. The ponies absolutely loved it and eagerly popped over the poles with the greatest of ease. As they were proper show jumps with high wings, it meant that Toby had to jump too . . . but that’s no problem for a twelve year old! He ended up taking them both around again - against the clock and came away with a handful of rosettes. Many thanks to Tessa for introducing us to this enjoyable pursuit. As Cholwell put on these events regularly, I hope more local people with small ponies go along and have a go at something different.

What a great group activity for our mini equines - where good looks don’t matter a jot! Some of our friends are keen too so there could be fun practise times ahead . . . depending of course, for those of us who are less athletic, if we can train our ponies to jump whilst we run around the side!! Maybe we’ll settle for poles on the ground.

Earlier in the year our beautiful dark chestnut mare - Scarlet, left us for a lovely new home in the north of England. We were tickled to get this photo of her entitled “Scarlet - Embracing life as a Yorkshire Lass!” Brilliant - thank you Hannah - the Heather setting is wonderful, and the flat cap suits her surprisingly well!


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-side is that the appearance of food does bring out a lot of jealous behaviour.

We have put newly-taken photos of one final mare - Coriander - on our FOR SALE page. She is a sweet, gentle little girl and like all our mares, it is not an easy decision to part with her.

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 - and as home-made pasties are one of his favourites, he said he would let me get on and go and look again.

Ten-fifteen minutes later he rang to say he still hadn’t found Florence and I needed to come. The oven was under control so I grabbed a couple of halters and headed for the fields in the fast-falling dusk. Jasmine was really worried, and my calling didn’t produce any response from Florence. From Jasmine’s behaviour we had a feeling the Shetland was in the woods - even though Andrew had already been through there. The remains of some very ancient mine workings and some boggy gullies played on our minds.

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 - her white patches glowing in the dark. Florence had, as always, a happy smiley face, and was wondering what we were doing!! We cannot imagine where she had been during all the search, but it was a case of friends re-united . . . Oh, and the pasties weren’t ruined either!

14th September 2016

Uh, Uh, our ponies have been misbehaving again! The men have come back to install the super-fast broadband cable in the duct that was laid across our fields a few weeks ago. Apparently the stallions found this all very interesting, and in a typical Shetland fashion, couldn’t resist interfering. The foreman told me he caught one of them CHEWING the cable as it lay on the ground. He said he smacked the offending stallion on the bum - quite right! I’ve been pondering which of our boys would be so naughty, and quite frankly it could be any of them.

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 - we think he’s looking pretty good. Also, the pictures have now been added below to our 28th August report of Toby’s Young Handlers Championship.

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 - devoid of glitter - headed to the Knightswood Equestrian Centre where the Cornish Association of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society were holding their “Cornish National Championships”.

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-hand and ridden Concours were well supported, to the extent that the latter class was split into two. The competitors really went to town with their costumes and turnout, and the weather was perfect to show them at their best on a beautiful autumn day. The miniature Shetlands were expertly represented by Pam and Viceroy, resplendent in their glad rags and winning third prize. It was quite a novelty to watch and was judged by a tutor from the Falmouth University of Art. Good fun with native ponies.

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 11-16 years old class. However the star pony was Viceroy - 1st prize gelding, 1st prize coloured, Miniature Champion and overall Gelding Champion. It was a really lovely show to end the season - an unexpectedly attractive setting, good layout, very friendly atmosphere and well organised. Well done to the committee.

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’ - looks, conformation, type, manners, and the most lovely personality. Therefore it was a great pleasure to take him to Lanivet show today - his first outing for the whole year.

We’ve avoided the hassle of showing a colt this year up until now - altogether too difficult when we have females as well, but today was dedicated to him alone and it was ideal. He has been getting used to a bridle and bit this week and accepted it quite quickly, so I decided to enter him in the M & M section as well as the Shetland section at the show . . . all good experience, and two different judges with the second being a Society panel judge. At home I was marvelling at his good behaviour, but it was rather a different story at the show! Toby could see quite clearly why junior handlers are not permitted to handle colts or stallions.

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 winning Welsh section B filly fell in love with him and constantly craned her head around to flutter her eyelashes in his direction!! His triumph was in the Shetland section where he was chosen as champion, with Tawna Viceroy in Reserve spot. If it had not been pouring with rain these handsome boys would have made a fabulous picture as they are practically a matched pair. Hopefully we’ll get that photo another time.

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 - or eat 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-do is no more, but she looks so much smaller now that her mane isn’t the highest point!!

28th August 2016

We have a super-star in our midst. Today my role was relegated to chauffeur and groom because the day belonged to Toby.

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-smart in his tweed jacket. He showed his pony to her best advantage, sailing through the first age-designated class today, before very confidently taking Celeste through her paces in the final. All the children were perfectly competent but we thought the judge kept looking at him . . . and our hopes were raised . . . but it was an absolute thrill when Toby (and Celeste) was pulled forward as the NPAC Young Handler of the Year! He won two beautiful rosettes, a sash, a large trophy AND £50!!! WOW! I was so pleased that his parents were there for the first time to proudly see their clever son in action.

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  - Meredith and Marina.

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 - black filly Martha, cannot proceed, so she is back on the market. We took some photos of her yesterday and will put them on our sale page asap.

20th August 2016

Two annual milestones have been passed this week. On Tuesday we carried our hay - home-grown this year, and made in perfect conditions. It looks like excellent quality and we even have some spare to sell. We hardly used any hay last winter, but can’t expect to have such mild conditions again so it’s very satisfying to see such nice feedstuff stored away in the barn.

On Thursday we attended the last of the shows in the ‘silly season’ - four shows in nine days. Accompanied this time by my husband, we took Celeste and Freckles to the charming and popular Chagford Agricultural show. Both ponies were much calmer than at Tregony, and each was placed second in their respective classes. The ponies that won each of our classes went on to take Mini Champ and Reserve, so I was perfectly content with our results. Afterwards Andrew and I enjoyed a wander around the show and I even had an ice-cream to celebrate!

Just recently we have been taking photos of our youngstock - in the brief period between casting last winter’s coat and starting the next one! Take a look at our ‘Young’ page to see how they are coming along.

16th August 2016

What a jolly time our stallions are having at the moment. Contractors for BT are laying ducting for super-fast broad-band cable across their field. There are two mini diggers working and the stallions are fascinated. It is a seven acre field and I might expect our boys to be keeping well away from the working machinery . . . but not a bit of it! They are right in the thick of the action. I don’t know what the work men think of their diminutive equine ‘helpers’. The trench they are digging is one meter deep, but only about 30cm wide, so too narrow for any of our boys to fall right into it. The men are back-filling quite quickly so we don’t feel there is any danger to the ponies . . . it just provides great entertainment for them!

15th August 2016

Almost wall-to-wall sunshine yesterday ensured a very successful day for the organisers of the Tregony Heavy Horse Show and Country Fair. The visitors came crowding in . . . and so did the Shetland ponies - apparently the best number of entries for many years. Whilst many of the competitors were able to find a little shade under the hedge or beside a lorry while they awaited their classes, the judge was out in the full heat for three hours in the morning, and more than an hour after a well-earned lunch.

Toby and I felt we could cope with three ponies at this show, so in addition to the same two as last week - which we got away with not having to bath again! - we also took Tawna Topsy Turvy who we have recently welcomed back into the fold. Having spent a few years with the Hannaford family where she has enjoyed a great deal of love and attention . . . and more than a few ginger biscuits! . . . we have bought her back to join her full sisters - Dolly Dimple and Daisy May.

The day started well with Toby winning his large Young Handlers class. Celeste was very up-tight about the surroundings - always very noisy and with loads of spectators right up close to the ring + lots of dogs - and was very unsettled. Toby did well to show her when she was in that state, but I was afraid she would have ruined his chances, but I was extremely pleased that the judge gave him credit for dealing with a more difficult pony. Well done Toby. Unfortunately I didn’t fare so well in my two breed classes.

I tried a different head-collar on Celeste which allowed me to control her better, but neither she or Freckles were settled in the ring, both played up with their heads high and unbalanced gaits, and both were placed fourth. However Toby did the business again with Topsy in the 2 & 3 year old class, winning another first. I must admit piebald Topsy was looking very smart and she performed perfectly. Toby gave her THREE ginger biscuits when she got back to the lorry! Thanks to his grandma Penny for her help too - it was lovely that she accompanied us to see Toby do so well. In the mini gelding class Tawna Viceroy showed his paces off well to take second prize.

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-out morning. Waves of drizzle, rain, or fog came at us from the direction of the sea. On a good day the view is fantastic from the show ground, but Wednesday was not one of those days. In contrast, the sun shone at Okehampton and a breeze kept the temperature very comfortable.

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-strong 4 years & over mini Shetland class. We were very pleased with these results, but even more happy bunnies were Pam and Vic with their Tawna boys. Nutkin was second in the youngstock class, but their star was Viceroy who won Celeste’s class and was chosen as Mini Champion, plus later won 2nd prize in a large mixed broken-colour class with all sizes and types represented, under a different judge.

Hay-making beckoned Pam and Vic the following day, but our girls maintained their standard with a first for Freckles and a third for Celeste. Tiring but satisfying.

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 - maybe a bit more like when the snow has begun to melt into a dirty slush! Bizarrely she is still sporting the most ridiculous ‘Mohican’ mane - still sticking straight up in the air.

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 - making it look pink. Our only colt - skewbald Ringo is over a month younger than any of the others, yet he has cast all the baby coat from both ends and the lower half - face, buttocks, belly and legs. However he has retained a thick blanket on his back and draped down his sides . . . maybe he knew about the cold nights forecast for this week!

Meanwhile black filly - Martha, doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to get into her summer togs. Her face is black and shiny, as are the fronts of her lower legs . . . and everything else is covered in a thick layer of hair. We are dying to see the beautiful black creature that we know is lurking beneath.

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 - but two, out for the very first time.The horse show at Fraddon - grandly known for many decades as the “Show of the West” is an easy journey for us, and we have used it before as an ideal trial ground for inexperienced ponies.

Our chosen girls were yearling - Pansy, and mare - Tarantella. Not only is the actual show day a great education for them, but the preparation time before is good too: training to walk nicely, trot in straight lines and circles, stand still, be bathed and groomed, and be stabled on their own. I must admit Pansy had a bit of a strop about the latter. She had only ever been stabled with her pals up until this week.

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 - if I didn’t know better I would assume she is by Rubus with that movement, but she is actually by Sprite.

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 - also new ones of Martha.

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-week of new experiences for Roseanna on the tiny island of Bryher (about 1.25 miles long by just over 0.5 miles wide), but I believe she has landed in PONY PARADISE!

Of course the journey itself must have been an eye-opener for her, but now she’s reached her new home she has learnt so much in just a few days. She is taken to a lovely white sandy beach every day to “go paddling” in the sea, and is walked around the island where the inhabitants and visitors enjoy meeting her, and she has been complimented on her good manners. She has made friends with the farm dog, cows and pigs, and has had up to six children at a time grooming her!! Apparently she has not batted an eyelid at any of it. It gives us immense pleasure to know that such a perfect pony has found the ideal home.



19th July 2016

Wow! What a busy time it’s been with ponies leaving Tawna! Last Thursday, golden girl - Morvoren, travelled to her new home in Shropshire where she will be one of the foundation mares for a new stud of miniature Shetlands. On Sunday the stallion Goodworth Bertie returned to his home at the Zennor Stud in West Cornwall. We have been privileged to have this gorgeous buckskin boy on lease this summer to run with some of our mares. Not looking bad for a veteran of 18 years is he?

Today our sweet little strawberry roan mare Roseanna has undertaken an amazing trip to her new home on the island of Bryher - Isles of Scilly. She was collected from Tawna last evening for an overnight stay near here in preparation for the drive down to Penzance early this morning - had to be on the quay-side by 7am. The cattle trailer in which she travelled was then craned onto the Scillonion, on which she sailed to St Marys. The trailer - with Anna on board - was then lifted onto the quay before being transferred onto a smaller cargo boat for the final stage to Bryher. The whole journey had to be timed with appropriate high tides. So today Anna has been a little island-hopping sea-horse . . . and now she has arrived at her new farm home, has been greeted and admired by many of the children on the island, and is being fussed and adored by her new owner’s young daughter, Martha. Apparently Anna is completely unflustered by the whole experience and is taking her new surroundings in her stride!

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 - as a ten year old she has been part of our lives for such a long time, but we know she will have a super life at her new home.

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-collars on the foals for the first time and took them out one at a time into the meadow on the leading rein for their initial halter-training session. We didn’t ask too much of them on this occasion - basically they just followed their mothers, but because they were each behaving very well, I started to put a little tension on the leading rein so they realised that they weren’t running free.

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-catered-for. Toby and I took three ponies again, but this time three girlies made life a lot easier.

Looking around at the opposition I did not have any high hopes, but was actually very pleasantly surprised with our results - Freckles 2nd (although very pretty, she’s going through a leggy, ‘yearlingy’ stage), Victoria (quite plump) 3rd, and Celeste (less plump) 1st and Reserve Mini Champion. I was so pleased with that final result because I think Celeste is a really lovely little mare but at her previous two shows her placings were not great.

After a few further classes it was Toby’s turn in the Young Handlers - the biggest class he has been in. There were a good number of children, with an enthusiastic crowd of parents and supporters willing them to go the right way and do the right thing. Of course some of the ponies had other ideas and took advantage of their young charges by diving for the grass at every opportunity. Toby earned himself a well-deserved second place.

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 - in-hand Performance Pony. This appears to be a new introduction to the schedule and was for any pony up to 14.2hh and for any age handler. There was a prescribed test which included turning 180 degrees on the forehand, backing through markers, standing on a carpet, trotting over a white pole, and for Celeste the most difficult part - trotting back to the judge being led from the offside.

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-out some of the ponies!

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 - a 17 year old New Forest, a 19 year old Welshie who I thought was exemplary in his test, and a 23 year old Arab. From eleven competitors Toby and Celeste came 5th - so their practice really paid off . . . what a great little team and what a fun activity class!

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-behaved little man, but boy - it does make life complicated taking a stallion as well as two females.

Toby and I had to stay alert to ensure we didn’t miss our classes. The venue is a super indoor school - spacious, light and nice surface underfoot, but for those waiting with ponies in the collecting ring it’s impossible to see what’s going on. The secret is to ‘know your hats’! If you familiarise yourself with what headgear your fellow competitors are wearing you can more or less work out what’s going on in the ring - because hats are all you can see over the boarding!!!

Toby started the day with a well-deserved win in his Young Handlers class with Celeste, and being placed Reserve in the Y.H. Championship. I was so impressed with how well he showed the mare, noticeably improving his skills since his first class last week, and the judge was extremely complimentary. A kind, encouraging word is so important to these keen youngsters. This partnership ended the day with another first in the ‘solid colour other than black’ class, with the delightful Tawna Fudge in second place.

In the intervening ‘breed’ classes Freckles ended her winning streak - but only just - by coming second in the yearling class, Celeste was down to fourth in the mare class, and Rubus had a first in the stallion class. Sadly he didn’t have any opposition so it was not exactly a victory! Nevertheless, I was very proud of our boy who is looking eye-poppingly gorgeous!

Our hard-working committee run a variety of interesting classes in the afternoon which are for standards and minis combined. Toby persuaded me to take Freckles in the ‘broken coloured’ - which I thought would be a waste of time as it was also for all ages, and I thought a still-slightly-fluffy-tummed yearling would be well out of her depth in this always popular class. However I was in for a surprise, as after she had showed her paces well the two judges together brought her in to second place, with Tawna Viceroy proudly taking the top slot. A lovely end to the day for Pam who was placed second with him in the mini gelding class in the morning.

26th June 2016

I must admit I was the odd one out as an all-blonde team headed for the show today - Toby and myself with golden girls, Celeste and Victoria . . . the other three are all natural blondes! Toby was in complete charge of preening and showing Celeste - and what a splendid job he did! It’s hard to believe that less than a month ago he went to his first ever horse show. In the Shetland, four and over class Toby put the fragrant Celeste through her paces to win a third prize. I think this is only the third time this pretty pony has been to a show . . . and the last time was three years ago, so I was very pleased to see her behave so well.

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 - his first personal rosette - and qualified for the NPAC Young Handlers Championship in August.

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 - so reminiscent of his gorgeous Daddy - Rubus.

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 - his first ever attempt. A few weeks ago I gave him a short-list of ponies which I thought would be suitable, and could double up for us in the proper breed classes. He found the beautiful dun mare, Celeste, was the most amiable and responsive with him, and he has been doing some practising and handling when he has been at Tawna for a couple of weekends.

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 - not only in his first Young Handlers class, but prior to that he will be showing her himself in the Miniature Shetlands 4 and over class, so lots to look forward to tomorrow!

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 - on his girth line. It’s difficult to see the extent of this patch because his tummy is quite pale, but it almost connects the white elbow patches . . . very nice, but not likely to be seen very often! He’s a charming little chap and his and Rosella’s presence in Tristan’s field is already helping to tame Gizelle’s lovely filly foal. Gizelle is VERY ‘foal proud’ and has been keeping her baby at a distance, but Rosella’s influence is a big help as she is a very casual mother - not terribly bothered where her baby is - or what he’s doing!

11th June 2016

It was a one-two-three for Tawna ponies at yesterday’s Royal Cornwall show - but not all in the same class. Another first prize for Freckles . . . can’t believe how well this little girl has been doing. There were some truly gorgeous yearlings in her class so I was particularly surprised - and chuffed, when she was pulled in at the top.

In the super, thirteen-strong, gelding class, Pam’s Viceroy took second place. The standard in this class was excellent, and the winning pony - for the second consecutive year - is by Tawna Bea’s Knees - a super little stallion who is for sale and can be seen on our ‘for sale’ page.

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 - a bag of pony treats for class winners, and vouchers to spend in the local farmers’ store for championship winners.

With Toby’s able assistance this morning we were soon ready and - most unusually - left home 15 minutes early. I over-estimated our journey time, and arrived 30 minutes earlier than expected - even more unusual!! The repercussion was that we were first on the scene and the field that had to be crossed to get to the show field was still full of sheep!

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 - on a rare show appearance - and 15 year old stallion, Tawna Frizby.

Way across on the other side of England this weekend, our friend Maria took 3 year old chestnut filly - Tawna Sienna to a show in Lincolnshire and was overjoyed to come home with 2 x 1st and 1 x 3rd + a qualification to the Miniature HOY championship. We have also heard that at her local show - the Royal Bath and West - Anne’s three year old filly - Tawna Fudge was placed second. Great results ladies - well done!

3rd June 2016

Just heard from Fiona Lawrence who is at the Royal Bath and West show in Somerset where her handsome dun gelding - Tawna Midas has just won the new gelding class. Fiona’s other gelding was 4th in the class of seven ponies, so she will be coming home with two county show rosettes. Well done! That’s a notable achievement for the five year old ‘Golden Boy’. Amongst many other prizes, Midas has now won first prize at four different county shows: as a yearling at Devon County, as a 2 year old at Royal Cornwall, as a 4 year old at New Forest and Hampshire and now at Royal Bath and West….Go Midas!

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-cooked’ baby which would get jammed, it was actually a perfectly normal size. She has had a very pretty, attractively marked skewbald colt (by Tristan) and she had him very quickly and un-aided. Thank goodness for that . . . well done Ella! There’s a pic of him - only 18 hours old - on our Foal page.

Today was Cornwall’s Open Show - only three-quarters of an hour away, and our classes were first thing, so when we entered I never for a moment thought that we could still be waiting for Ella. When she still hadn’t foaled yesterday morning, we prepared the ponies anyway, Audrey was ready to continue ‘mare watch’, and I asked my husband (who was staying home) to have his mobile charged right up so she could call upon him if required this morning. Thanks to Ella finally ‘popping’ the extra worry was avoided.

This was a big event - the first show of the season for us . . . AND the first pony outing for a valued new member of our team - twelve year old Toby Bull. For the past few weekends Toby has been helping me with various pony-based tasks, and he has already learnt many of the ponies’ names and their individual personalities, and he has mastered putting on a rope halter!

Toby loves handling the ponies and would ultimately like to do some in-hand showing . . . but had never been to a horse show until today. It was going to be all about helping me, watching the classes from outside and learning the ropes . . . except he was thrown in the deep end. With two first prize winners to go into the championship, I hastily handed him our very beautiful yearling - Freckles, and what a triumph - Toby and Freckles were pulled forward into the top spot. Here he is sporting all her rosettes (she also won the coloured class) and her over-sized sash. What a great initiation into showing Shetlands . . . although I warned him that it’s not always this good!!!

Our lovely mare - Tia Maria - won the mare class and was placed as reserve champion, so we were very happy bunnies. Other Tawna ponies were also in the ribbons - Moonshine, Viceroy and Dahlia . . . seeing them all so beautifully produced by their owners makes me so proud.

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-sight) because we are STILL waiting for Ella! However two Tawna fillies did take part in the three year old class (11 entries) and came 4th - Tawna Fudge with Anne, and 5th - Tawna Topsy Turvy with Gemma - very respectable results at a County show. Topsy is a very laid back pony but the poor girl did have a little upset in the collecting ring just before her class when Gemma’s four year old son fed her a snack . . . and her tooth fell out!

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 - an appropriate phrase considering they make their own cider - and their children have named him Clarence.


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 - so Audrey hardly got a wink of sleep for the whole night, and yet here we are - 24 hours on, and still waiting.

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’ - Rosella, aka Elly the Belly has been coming in under the cctv camera as she is getting close to foaling, so when my phone rang at 2.25 this morning I was awake in an instant with bedside light switched on, and grabbing the phone expecting to hear Audrey telling me that the mare had started. Instead, it hung up immediately, but I thought I saw - through unfocused eyes - the screen said ‘unavailable’. Not right, but I thought perhaps Audrey was ringing from her mobile and for some reason it was different from normal . . . maybe her battery had given up? . . . maybe she had dropped it and it had broken? I tried ringing back but only got voicemail, so I jumped into my clothes, donned my wellies, grabbed a torch, and drove up the road to Tawna, arriving just after 2.30 . . . pretty speedy I considered!

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 - staring through the bars of a gate, so you can imagine the expression.

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-sight, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when the mares are foaling. Oh well…..we’ll have to wait a bit longer…….

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-trick of colts - all chestnut with white socks - a matched set! They have been born at three different studs - one in Kent, and two in Scotland, so are unlikely to ever be seen all together, but I bet they’d make an eye-catching group.

2nd May 2016

We have decided to call Marina’s filly Martha - a nice short name for a nice short pony! We have also added a “na” to Gizelle’s filly’s name, so she has grown from Gloria to Gloriana. It is in recognition of the Queen’s 90th birthday - just two days after this filly was born. Queen Elizabeth The First was known by this pretty name, so we felt it was fitting.

The oldest two foals and their mothers have already been shipped away from the homestead at Tawna to be with their respective stallions - always sad to do that - however we are enjoying having the two younger babes here for the moment. They are getting quite tame, and we have found they have a lot of itchy bits!

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 - see the Foals page.

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-cooked’ . . . it is already bigger than our oldest foal! A bay and white skewbald. We iodined it’s navel, Clemmy had cast the after-birth and was up on her feet, and the foal was getting on very well, so we left them to it.

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-like stride at walk - remembering it from when she judged him last year! Super start Fiona!

24th April 2016

The technology gremlin has been at work on our website - apparently some people are unable to get up our new Foals 2016 page. I cannot explain it, but the answer seems to be for the viewer to hit the ‘refresh’ button. It is a symbol somewhere in the top left of the screen and it looks like an arrow going around in a circle.

Our new foals have had two lots of visitors/admirers today. The mares have calmed down a bit now - they were, justifiably, extremely foal-proud for the first few days. We have brought them into the stables a couple of times since they were born - once when bad weather was forecast, and once just for handling. I think Cherish is going to be quite mischievous, but Gizelle’s little girl - now named Gloriana - is rather more staid in her demeanour.

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-cut where animals are concerned.

This is Gizelle’s second foal. Her first was two years ago - a cute-as-a-button roan filly called Grace (by Sprite) who was sold with three of our other ponies to a stud in Hungary. This one is chestnut and white, but her head and mane are that dark, almost sooty shade of chestnut that might turn grey. So she could end up the same colour as her mother . . . except Gizelle’s coloured patches have faded and she is now practically white.

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-bred filly on her first outing! So good for children to be enjoying their ponies, yet learning how to handle them responsibly. Keep it up folks!

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 - cleaned right out, disinfected walls and floors, completely new bedding, got the cctv set up . . . but none of the mares were showing any signs of being imminent, so they have not been occupied until two nights ago. Clementine has been the front runner, but last night Charisma decided to overtake and within a couple of hours of being brought in, she foaled. She has had a gorgeous, perky little piebald filly. It is by Sprite so might turn roan later. Either way, she is a beautiful foal with three evenly matched socks and only tiny little splashes of white. This is Charisma’s first filly - after three colts - so even more special!

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 - take a look at her new pics on the sale page.

Winter coats are certainly starting to move - all our fields have whitish patches where the skewbalds, roans or greys have been rolling. The other colours are casting of course, but their hair doesn’t show up so clearly on the ground. Easy pickings for birds looking for cosy nest linings!

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 - a handsome black stallion who had a great character, and after we had used him as a breeding stallion for a number of years, he was castrated and we broke him to ride and drive. I was light enough to ride him in those days, but for the most part we borrowed little jockeys for the shows.

In the breeding classes, some of the earlier names that appear on the back of the rosettes were home-bred stock; Meg - a chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, Glynn - a classy black mare, Meadowsweet - a beautiful black with a little snip between her nostrils. Then there are rosettes from gymkhanas and Pony Club events won on various bigger ponies: Joshua - a kindly part-Highland, Russet - a highly strung and slightly delinquent part-Arab etc, etc. Fond memories . . .

26th March 2016

HAPPY EASTER!

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-coloured moth-eaten rug. Note to self: next time wear a smooth anorak!

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 - Tarantella and Roseanna’s photos and details are now on there. We find it much harder to part with adult ponies than foals, but we can’t do justice to them all, and these lovely young mares should be allowed to fulfil their potential. We hope we can find fab new homes for them.

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 - very soon! Took the photos today, but have to resize the files and get them transferred to this website. That requires the expertise of Andrew, and as we have suddenly got lovely spring weather he doesn’t know which way to turn first!

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 - either getting in the way, or in danger of escaping through the open gate as I struggle through with armfuls of branches. They will be really bored when we have finished!



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 - luckily not engorged with blood, and I managed to get the vile little beasts off, all intact. Needless to say Florence just lapped up the extra attention and wasn’t in the least bothered by the ticks.

I have only once seen ticks on any of our ponies before - a few years ago, and strangely enough that was on Florence’s mother’s nose. She had been in some rough pasture near woodland which apparently is the tick’s favoured habitat. Interestingly, Florence who is companion to a bigger horse is also currently in an overgrown field, belonging to a neighbour. Of course I immediately looked more closely at our other pony muzzles, but they are all fine . . . probably because they are all grazing on better managed ground.

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 - kicking up their heels and cavorting around with excitement. I cringed at the sight of their feet cutting up the wet ground, but I must admit it was a pleasure to see them in such good spirits.

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-to-date photos and details are now on our ‘For Sale’ page . . . although we would be equally happy for him to go out on lease.

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 - they can join just to support the Group, and receive three newsletters a year to see what’s been happening.

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-April this time, by which time our mares should be foaling, so we will have to very regretfully give it a miss. I should imagine several breeders will be in the same position. The judges for the main summer show are - as far as I know - new faces in this area, so that’s really good news . . . always nice to have panel judges from further afield. As always at the AGM there were helpful comments, and some gripes to be dealt with, but we have a strong and active committee who will soon iron out any problems, and are working hard on behalf of the Group.

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 - sunshine, no wind, not particularly cold, and dry overhead . . . underfoot was another matter. With almost all our fields on sloping/hilly ground, we are fortunately in no danger of flooding, but my goodness, the ground is saturated.

When I checked the mares yesterday morning they were grazing out in the middle of the field - a nice sight in itself, when so often this winter they have been huddled against the hedge to shelter from the rain. In the afternoon Andrew and I had to return to their field to repair a bit of fencing and I was so pleased to see all twelve mares dozing in the sun - all standing facing in the same direction. It reminded me of butterflies warming themselves in the sunshine. They looked so contented, and the next time I looked, eight of them were lying down. Ahhh . . . it’s a long time since they have been able to do a bit of sun-bathing.

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-grown apples which we thought would be equally welcomed by our girls and boys. But NO . . . they turned their noses up, sniffed at my offerings with suspicion, and looked at me as if I was expecting them to eat medicine, before peering around me to see if I was hiding the favoured carrots behind my back. One or two accepted the pieces, but the majority said “no thank you”. I didn’t pursue the matter, but by the next time, they had had time to reflect and most did eat their pieces of apple. Funny animals.

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-time favourites, and my home-bred, part Arab riding horse - Xanthos, at the grand age of 37 years.

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 - and the collection of gorgeous rosettes on Audrey’s dresser indicates what a marvellous season it was. But we probably get even more pleasure when we receive reports of Tawna pony successes from other people. Undoubtedly the two most notable in 2015 were Tawna Rubus winning the stallion class and the Miniature Championship at the National Stallion Show in March, and his son Tawna Basil, winning the stallion class and the Miniature Championship at the S.P.S-B.S. Breed Show in August.

The forthcoming show season seems a long way off - probably only one show for us before the County show in June, but in the meantime we will enjoy our ponies and look forward to seeing what the stork brings in the spring!

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-blood mare went away to foal in the spring, and after a short spell with our Meredith, who did not settle, Dolly took over and has been a huge hit with all our neighbour’s family . . . to the point where they kept her on, long after her duties were finished! Ruth was reluctant to say goodbye to Dolly, but her ground conditions are forcing her to keep her horses stabled for a lot of the time, so now Dolly is back with her Shetland companions.

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 - which in turn alarmed the Arab who froze, and whose head and tail were also straight up in the air! Audrey couldn’t help laughing at the stand-off, which was broken when Mo had seen enough, turned tail and bounced back to her pals - still with tail in loo-brush mode!!

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 - completely out of sight! After Audrey had finished laughing, she decided to let Mo find her own way out . . . and when she did she dragged out wheelbarrows of straw with her! Mojo has so much life and fun - she is very well named.

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 - apparently picked up when we attended the Westcountry Equine Fair at Exeter last weekend. That was very interesting as we hadn’t been there before - never realised there was so much ‘bling’ available for horse and rider! - but catching a cold bug was not part of the deal!

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 - that worked out well - one box each for Audrey and myself!

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-picking glove disappeared completely! A generous-natured person could have blamed a lot of that on the strong wind . . . but we know different!

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 - ALL by Tawna Rubus - took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the mini foal class. The winning foal, Milday Buzzbee - a smart chestnut colt with four white socks - was judged Reserve Champion too. Well done John! Buzzbee’s grandsire is Tawna Cousin Jack and his great grandsire is Tawna Sherbert so there’s a considerable Tawna influence on that prizewinning little boy!

15th November 2015

We are probably crazy, but for today’s Native Pony Association of Cornwall’s Early Winter Show - our last for the year - we rather rashly decided to enter two skewbalds . . . not the first colour choice to get clean in the middle of rainy November. Whatever the judge thought of our ponies, we deserved full marks for making the effort!

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 - the smallest pony at the show - strutted her stuff around the indoor school like a little star, actually wanting to go faster than the standards! She took second place to a lovely standard chestnut filly, and in the M & M foal championship she was Reserve Champion . . . for the second time in her short showing career.

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 - particularly the action and propulsion in his hind-quarters and she said we ought to break him to drive. I agree that he would be sensational in a vehicle . . . but I don’t think we’re going down that avenue! In the Supreme Pure-Bred Championship we were chuffed when Tris was pulled forward in Reserve position. Then later, after the part-bred classes, our two added to their great results by each winning their respective coloured (including palomino, dun and spotted) classes. A very successful day for our father and daughter pair.

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 - now owned by Jane - fourth . . . it was lovely to see Moon again, looking as cute as ever. We were very pleased when Freckles also took the overall Reserve Foal Championship. She is such a classy filly and we love her to bits.

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-bred three years and under class so she had two prizes to her name.

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 - our yearling colt - Clarius, who after an excellent showing season, has won his section in the National Shetland-Pony Show Points League. When we showed him the lovely crystal paperweight award, he thought it was for eating and tried licking it! From eight show outings this summer he has won on seven occasions, and was second once, and has also won several junior championships and reserves along the way.



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 - guaranteed delivery by 9am today. Did we believe it? Not altogether - after the previous promises.

Well the first transporter was due here 10 - 10.30 this morning , so that seemed ok . . . but last evening he emailed to say he wanted to arrive about 9am. This was going to be touch and go! At three minutes to nine this morning, when I was in the stable fitting head-collars on to the foals, I heard a vehicle speeding over the road. Hurray! It was our trusty postie, Graham, with the errant passports. Only eight minutes later, whilst Audrey was still unpacking and checking them, the transporter arrived!

Actually everything went very smoothly after that - foals soon loaded and on their way to their new homes, and later in the day, two more boys loaded and off on their long trip to Scotland . . . but not without rising stress levels for us to be sure.

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 - being Sunday - all is peaceful and I have led each of the babies along the lovely new smooth tarmac. They find it interesting going along the road because there are a lot of new things to look at. Normally cars are few and far between at Tawna so it’s a safe environment. We’re very pleased at how quickly they have all learnt to walk obediently. Their new owners will have to continue their education of course, but once the foals have the basic idea they are confident to do what we ask. Only two more ‘sleeps’ at Tawna for these four!

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-laid-back - such a calm, sweet little girl. I led her over to the trailer, expecting her to sniff the ramp or maybe resist going near a strange vehicle . . . but no! Before I was even ready, she barely took one look and walked right up!

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 - it was too early in the day and the heavy dew made her legs and tummy quite wet + … the other foals kept getting in the way. The next day we waited until the grass was drier with better results. Check out our ‘for sale’ page…three pics for now and more to come.

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-sale show. John entered two of the chestnut fillies that our gorgeous Tawna Rubus has sired for him whilst on lease at his stud. In a strong class of 12-13 filly foals the two Milday girlies were placed 1st and 3rd, and a little later, the winning filly was judged champion miniature foal. Both the fillies were subsequently sold, and have gone to the same home which is lovely news. We are very happy that Rubus is now back with us in Cornwall but he will have a second crop of foals for John next year. We heard but have not had confirmation, that a yearling filly by Tawna Pablo also won her show class.

5th October 2015

Arghhh…sticky burrs!! After the micro-chipping day, and while the first three foals completed weaning, we put the other mares and foals in my father-in-law’s field for a week or two. They have found some burdock plants and are FULL of sticky burrs. Manes, forelocks, tails, tummies, legs, beards and even ears - there is no part that is not caught up in these clingy little seeds on one pony or another. It’s a large enough field so I would not have expected them to go rooting around in the hedge and finding these plants . . . but then . . . they are Shetland ponies, and usually up to mischief.

29th September 2015

What funny creatures Shetland ponies are. The strip-grazing ‘fatties’ broke through the fence last night. As the fence has gradually been moved across the field, it has become a little short to reach the hedge, so we thought we would fool the ponies by extending the two lines of electric wire with baler cord. It looked pretty convincing and has done the trick for several weeks . . . but last night somebody cottoned-on to our trickery! This morning Audrey found ten little ponies up to their bellies - which admittedly are pretty close to the ground - in lush grass.

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 - halters in hand - expecting to have quite a bit of difficulty getting them back through the fence on to the bare patch, where were they? ALL back on the bare patch, standing around looking full and bored! Who would have thought that greedy little ponies would self-regulate their grazing?!

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-polys and we’re still carefully monitoring all of them for any signs of laminitus.

There has been quite a lot to do with the ponies recently. The group of boys - five stallions and two yearling colts - have been taken away onto our other block of land, and all the mares and foals have come back to Tawna - good lorry loading experience for the foals . . . Blue Moon loaded herself!!

All the foals have been micro-chipped by the vet, so we can now send off their registration forms to the Society. Ragamuffin has been castrated whilst still running with his mum - Rosella. All went well and he will have a nice long time to recover before he goes to his new home at the end of October. The first three foals have completed their weaning process. They are completely chilled about it - no fussing or fretting. Golden Shred, in particular, is very mature, both physically and mentally. We never just part the foals from their mothers - it’s always a gentle, gradual process. The next group of three, including Ragamuffin are now lined up. If they are as good and well behaved as the first three we will be very happy.

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 - taking her winnings this year to 2 x 1st and 1 x 2nd from just three outings. Meanwhile at the Kington show in Herefordshire, Tawna Angelica - only recently purchased from us, won a well supported 2 & 3 year old class. Great work girls!

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 - belly deep in fresh grass and mares still milking well, but they love the new food. They only stay indoors for a few hours and then go out with their mums again.

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-filled potholes. Today, in between the showers, the sky has been quite bright so the reflections on the water have been very vivid, and naturally the foals were a bit alarmed by all those shiny things on the ground. However, none of them were naughty and it’s broadened their horizons!

14th September 2015

The foals’ thick winter coats are growing now. They are looking gorgeous. The youngest - Mojo, has not quite got rid of her baby coat, but we took some photos last week and have just put them on our sale page. We have also added a pic of Lowenna to the 30th August diary entry (below), taken at the Champion of Champions show. It was threatening to rain so the light wasn’t great, but it was nice to have a record of her on that special occasion.

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 - with just eight foals this year it wasn’t too onerous a task. It still takes quite a while though to identify whorls in the thickening coats, and not only draw the markings of the broken coloureds, but try to put those markings into words on the lower part of the form. All the foals have had a nice calm introduction to halter training too, and a group of three have been brought back to Tawna with their mums in the lorry to begin a leisurely weaning process.

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 - good news with little ponies and little mouths, and just the redesign of the handle from straight to slightly curved enables her to work far more efficiently and therefore achieve the results more quickly . . . before the patient gets impatient!

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 - apart from the very high feed value stuff that was made in the lovely month of June - which is richer than we need for our ponies. There has been no shortage of grass throughout the summer, but there has been a shortage of good settled spells of hay-making weather! Anyway, it’s a great relief to have a stack of late-season bales put away now - baled and carried without a drop of rain on it.

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 - absolutely covered in wet mud. She refers to this revolting pair as her ‘Muddy Monsters’, and indeed you can’t even tell what colour they should be!

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-enveloping onesie! We must not do Maria a disservice as she actually grooms her ponies regularly . . . but I’ve always thought that our Tawna ponies have a particular penchant for mud!

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 - he didn’t take up much room on the 23 ton horse transporter! This Spring Rubus sired eleven Milday foals - six of which are fillies. Apparently he has very much enjoyed the company of all those Scottish wives, but when he got back to Tawna, he couldn’t wait to have a good roll in the Cornish mud! It’s been a great year for Rubus - he was Miniature Champion at the National Stallion Show and his son, Tawna Basil, was Miniature Champion at the Shetland Society Breed Show in Sussex.

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 - who qualified in June and again in August - is looking fab, so it was out with the hose and shampoo once again yesterday. Her winter coat is starting to grow, but that’s only to be expected.

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-bred in-hand Native ponies came in for one of three classes. We obviously were in the small breeds section which Lowenna won. After the third class the first and second prizewinners came forward and were trotted out once again before the final decision…..what a fantastic surprise when our lovely girl was placed Overall Reserve Champion!

It’s so wonderful for a miniature Shetland to hold her own amongst all the larger breeds, and no-one could deny what a quality pony she is with tremendous movement. Talking of which - we were chuffed to meet the people who have given Lowenna’s lovely grand-dam, Tawna Cornish Cream, a super retirement home for quite a number of years. This grand old lady is now 32 years old and is a companion to a highly strung riding horse. In her prime, Cornish Cream was a lovely type of pony and had exceptionally free movement which she passed to her many off-spring.

Meanwhile - in another part of Cornwall - team Tabb have been out with their Tawna ponies today. Pam took Viceroy, who has been taking it easy this year but was quite excited to be at a show again, and he made his mark in the mixed M & M (which included plaited part-breds) class by winning. Apparently he lapped up the applause and put on a show of joyful bucks! But not far behind was Vic with Tawna Boy George in a very worthy third position. Hurray for the minis! Viceroy also flew the flag for his breed in the coloured class, taking the second place after a 17.2hh riding horse . . . that must have been a good photo opportunity! Well done!

22nd August 2015

Phew! The ‘silly season’ is over . . . five shows in twelve days. The final one was Chagford - a really lovely country show on the east side of Dartmoor. The Miniature Shetland classes are usually well supported, although there seemed to be a slip-up in the schedule this time as there was nothing for geldings over three years old, so they missed out on those entries. I hope that if enough people ask them, they will include them next year.

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 - so at the second show, the positions were reversed. In fact the winning filly then went on to take Supreme Champion of the whole Viking show which shows the high standard of the filly classes. Well done to Carole and Martin of the Gue Stud!

17th August 2015

This past week has been a whirlwind - in the five days following Tregony show we have been to three more shows…crazy! Thankfully we had the sense to only enter two ponies for each show, and decided to stick with the same two. We like taking different ones out, but it was so much easier this way - didn’t have to bath Lowenna again at all, and only had to scrub up the white socks on Clarius.

We could not have wished for better results - 2 x 1st at each show + 2 x championships, 1 x reserve championship and 1 x junior championship. By the third show Clarius had learnt to trot properly instead of prancing, cavorting and cantering. I was sure he had thrown away his chances at Okehampton, but fortunately the judge gave each pony a really good look and watched them all around the ring . . . so she did manage to see a few paces at trot, and said that she was happy to make allowances for the youngsters. I was so chuffed with him at Lanivet show - the last one - when he actually did several balanced, controlled shows at trot. A break-through . . . but will he remember that next time?!

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 - click on the “f” at the bottom of the page and then click on the video link. Update on our “silly season” of shows coming soon.

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 - so we try to go to all of them.

The first show of the silly season was yesterday - Tregony Heavy Horse Show and Country Fayre, where there are a full range of classes in a ring adjacent to the big horses. Although the location is out on a limb, the Shetland owning fraternity always enjoy this event - nice atmosphere, friendly committee and officials, easy parking, and lovely level, mown show ring (it’s a sports field). They generally have a Shetland Panel judge . . . apart from one occasion when they thought it would be OK for a donkey judge to do the job!!!

Our three ponies did very well this year - 1st for Clarius, 1st for Victoria and 2nd for Lowenna - she was beaten by a beautiful blue roan mare who was eventually Supreme Champion. Besides our own, Tawna ponies performed well for other owners - Moonshine winning the mini gelding class with Midas taking second place, and Nutkin taking 4th prize in the 2 & 3 year olds (all by Kerswell Nutcracker). It was great that Moonshine then was chosen as Reserve Champion gelding. Both the mini and standard gelding classes were well supported so it was a worthy achievement.

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-decker, horse-drawn bus which was travelling the perimeter of the show field, giving visitors a ride. Our ‘collecting ring’ was on the route, and each time the two large horses approached with their brasses jangling and the ground vibrating under their big hooves, many of the ponies flew into a panic. Luckily none escaped and we all soon learnt to take refuge amongst the heavy horse lorries.


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 - bringing cheers and applause from the spectators! Wish we had seen it.

2nd August 2015

Tonight Audrey and I are OVER THE MOON! We have just heard that at the annual Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society Breed Show held today at Ardingly in Sussex, Tawna Basil won the mini stallion class, and was chosen as overall MINIATURE CHAMPION!!!

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’ - ‘The Type’ page, and we are looking forward to seeing photos of him from today.

This success comes in the same year as Basil’s sire - Tawna Rubus was Miniature Champion at the National Stallion Show in Scotland.

29th  July 2015

Today it was the turn of Fiona Lawrence to give us great show news. Her chestnut dun gelding - Tawna Midas, had won his nine-strong gelding class at the New Forest show. She was quite understandably chuffed to bits with her Golden Boy. Midas (Kerswell Nutcracker x Tawna Merryn) has enjoyed considerable success in his young life. Today’s Hampshire show is the third County show where he has won his class at various ages - the others being Cornwall and Devon. I wonder if Fiona is going to try for any more with him……?!

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-standing show. Forty years ago when the Native Pony Association of Cornwall was formed, Fraddon show was instrumental in championing classes especially for the Native breeds.

At yesterday’s show Pam thought she would have a bit of fun and try her hand in some different classes - taking 2 year old Tawna Nutkin into the unaffiliated Miniature Horse classes! She plaited the mane over his poll and tucked it out of sight under his mane to give that clean bridle-path at the top of his neck. He was placed 2nd in his youngstock class, and 2nd in the Miniature Hack!!!

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 - obviously a first class combo!

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-off time, and currently they are in our ‘Foaling Field’ at Tawna which has not been grazed since May. The shrill squeals and shrieks made by the boys is both eerie and loud. They all know each other very well and later they will settle to be more companionable, but just at the moment there is a lot of pent-up testosterone in that field. It doesn’t seem very long since the stallions went in with their girls, but we don’t want any late foals, so we think it best to separate them in mid-July.

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-trimmed for the first time and the four that were at Tawna have all been loaded and travelled in the lorry for the first time . . . so, lots for them to think about. It pays to introduce them to all these things at an early age. There is a bit of jealousy going on amongst the mothers, and it’s funny to see some of the foals copying this behaviour, but they will soon settle. It’s interesting that when I go into the field they are still in their original groups.

Tawna Topsy Turvy has also had an interesting week. Her owner - Gemma - took her and another pony to the school’s Summer Fair. The ponies were an absolute hit with the children (and parents), and the ponies enjoyed all the attention. Topsy even had a refreshing shower at the fair . . . provided by the local fire crew who were there with their fire engine!! Topsy has also been to the British Skewbald and Piebald Association summer show (SW region) in Devon where she won the two year old class . . . such variety all makes for a well rounded young pony.

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-present in the ponies somewhere on the moor. The show organisers and several exhibitors sought veterinary advice, which was that the risk was negligible for horses attending this - or ANY OTHER show - and being handled and managed in a responsible manner.

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 - who we absolutely love - was second in the yearling class. Several of our friends are smitten with him . . . possibly because he is so reminiscent of Tawna Viceroy. Anyway, a fun bidding war started outside the ring, whilst I was in with Clarius. Someone said to Audrey in jest that they’d give her £150 for him . . . then the bids came piling in, and it was up to £700 at the last count!!!

The 2 and 3 year old class brought a 1st prize for Victoria (her first time at the top of the line-up), with Gemma’s Tawna Topsy Turvy taking the second spot - both 2 year old fillies are by Tawna Rubus (who also sired Boy George in the 5th July report!). A slow developer as a yearling, Victoria has really blossomed in the last month or two, and being so glamorous with her long blonde mane and tail, she draws attention to herself.

Lowenna (dieted, but still a bit overweight) took top honours in the mare class, and we hoped she would be in-line for Reserve Champion (we knew the winning stallion would take the red, white and blue), so it was a wonderful surprise when it was Victoria who was pulled forward as Junior Champion and overall Reserve Miniature Champion.

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 - a five year old black gelding with little white socks, is owned by Pam Tabb and he made a great impression on the M & M judge who made some extremely complimentary comments about him.

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 - led by Florence - were fascinated by the machinery and followed two full circuits of the field. Florence was so close that the vegetation flying out was hitting her in the face, but she just kept shaking her head and carried on.

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 - they cannot leave anything alone. About five minutes later I saw Florence put her front feet up on the topper and stand there proudly like a circus pony . . . luckily Andrew had his back to her and didn’t witness that!!

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 - second prize in the 2 year old coloured class, and third prize in the 2 year old mini class. Then it was the children’s turn to shine - 8 year old Madi won 5th in the 8 -11 year old Young Handlers, and at his first ever attempt, 4 year old Jenson won a gorgeous rosette in the 7 years and under category for Young Handlers. WOW - go Team Topsy!! The Hannaford family have returned home with a clutch of lovely rosettes - well done!

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 - apart from Clarius’s socks - so it wasn’t a big ask.

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 - an N.P.S. M & M judge from Essex, and she was most complimentary about our ponies. She obviously liked them because Lowenna won her class and was Miniature Champion, and Clarius was Junior Champion. Tawna Boy George, who we probably haven’t seen for a year, is now five and was looking really great. He had a third prize, and Tawna Nutkin had a first and was Reserve Junior Champion. It was pleasing to hear the judge make a general observation as to how greatly the miniatures have improved. I think she will go home with a favourable impression of the Miniature Shetlands in this part of the world.

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 - like with Blue Moon - she will look better when she changes her coat colour. In other cases, we have to wait until our wonderful crop of thistles are cut so we can see the foals properly!

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 - slightly - and to decrease the amount of fluff on her tummy since the last show paid off at the South West Group Show today. Our beautiful girl claimed a first in the yeld mare class, Reserve senior champion and overall Reserve Miniature Champion.  Pam kindly took Lowenna in the championship and both she and the mare finished up festooned in super rosettes and sashes.

Our juniors did really well too. The incredibly glamorous ‘blondie’ - Victoria took second prize in the two year old class, but we were most chuffed with yearling Clarius. He has only been out once before - last November - and is quite coltish now, so we were extremely pleased with his unexpectedly good behaviour. He certainly made his presence known, but considering he stood in the collecting ring surrounded by other ponies without causing mayhem, we couldn’t ask for much more. In the ring, he strutted around with great gusto to take first prize and Reserve Junior Champion . . . a very good day for the Tawna Stud.

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 - large rib cage, long neck, small head, long legs - but when I saw some hair (and fresh meat!) at the bottom of the legs, and noticed the cloven hooves concealed in the long grass and thistles, I realised that it was an adult deer. I am mystified as to how it was there. I often see deer crossing the field, but I would have thought it unlikely that it died out in the middle of the field, so I guess foxes have dragged it there. Now we have to decide how to get rid of it!

Tomorrow is the SW Shetland Group’s Summer Show - always an enjoyable event. We plan to take three ponies - two of which are not very experienced, so that could be interesting! I am glad that I went out yesterday and had a recce of the road works on the A30. This is the main trunk road into Cornwall and after many years of campaigning by locals, a two to three mile stretch of single carriageway near us is now being dual-ed. There have been many serious accidents, even deaths in this area so it will be brilliant when it’s done, but currently we are prevented from turning right and heading eastwards towards Devon. A bit of creative route planning is called for to get to the 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 - the excitement of a different field and lots of lovely grass had totally blotted her responsibilities from her mind. Audrey didn’t have a halter with her to fetch the mare, and despite her valiant attempts to coax or drive Pansy through the gap, the foal defiantly refused to ‘see’ the gateway and continued rushing up and down.

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 - shows what a wonderful temperament he has.

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 - look at me!” He was a worthy second prize winner in a good class.

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-step.

Our most ancient girl passed away in March at the grand age of at least twenty years, which has left us with one not-terribly-friendly boy. Feeling the need for another cat, Andrew spotted Jeffery Bobbins (have no idea where the name comes from) on the local Cats Protection League website. Not only does he remind us in looks of a previous resident here, but when the description stated that he ‘head butts’, we were smitten. We visited the cattery several weeks ago, but decided not to have him until we had a less busy period. That wait seemed interminable and gave me an idea of what it is like for people who book our foals but have to wait until weaning.

Well Jeff-Bob - a slightly fluffy tabby - is making himself very comfortable and is very, very pleased to be away from the cattery. He is incredibly affectionate and we will gradually accustom him to his new home before introducing him to our other cat. It’s just like introducing unfamiliar ponies to each other - we have to take it easy, read the signs and act accordingly. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to take Jeff-Bob too long to get his paws under the table!

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 - mid morning. Despite being apparently ‘fit to burst’ for such a long time, we worked out that she probably had not ‘held’ when we saw her covered last year, had actually gone another full cycle and was precisely on her due date.

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 - too easily - and in the process the bag had not broken and therefore smothered the foal. In that brief moment we lost the foal - so sad. The balance between life and death at the moment of birth is so fine. We have heard from several other breeders of foaling losses - it just emphasises how marvellous it is when everything goes right. So we have finished foaling for this year….eight beautiful babies.

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 - not great results, but other Tawna ponies fared better: Fiona won second prize with Tawna Midas in the gelding class and Gemma won second prize with Tawna Topsy Turvy in the 2 year old class, followed by Reserve Junior Champion. Topsy is having a great season for Gemma.

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-winning ponies.

Closer to home though - we must get Lowenna slimmed down before she goes out again!!

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-to) Pointers” and was about “the country’s most prolific pointer” called Chestnut Annie. At the end of the article it said “Annie will never equal Lonesome Boy’s all-time pointing win record - 65 successes, the last 53 in succession”.

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 - a farmer and Dartmoor pony breeder, who by a strange twist of fate later became a Shetland pony panel judge. There are two photos of Audrey on Lonesome on the ‘About Us’ page of this website.

23rd May 2015

We have not long returned from the Devon County show. Audrey stayed at home with Agnes - yes, still waiting - and Andrew came to the show with me. When entries had to be made in March we forgot that with ponies living out 24/7 and never rugged, just how difficult it is to get ours looking good enough to show. We haven’t entered for two years so, full of enthusiasm we entered Poldark and Finch.

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 - very fit and handsome. It was great to take him for another outing - I’m sure he found it very exciting, but was even more excited to get home where he had three in-season girlies waiting for him!!

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 - all those standing above her were colts. All the mini classes were large - the mare class had 26 entries, and about 15 forward, so all the prize winners are to be thoroughly congratulated. Next show for us - two weeks time, our own County show - the Royal Cornwall.

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 - how much longer?

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 - a notable achievement with an inexperienced two year old pony. Fiona stood fourth in the gelding class (standards and minis) with Midas. Well done girls!

15th May 2015

A surprise arrival last night - Marina had a filly foal. It shouldn’t have been a surprise as she was due around now, but we were beginning to doubt that she was actually in foal - no size at all in the belly department and no udder! Audrey called me as the mare went into labour and we anxiously stood by as this was Marina’s first foal - always an added worry. Both feet were coming but one was back by it’s head, so once I had straightened that leg out, all followed on.

The filly - a rich chestnut - is tiny, cute and very lively. What thrilled us greatly was how Marina’s maternal instincts kicked in. She can be a bit nervy and timid, and we fully expected her to take one look at her baby and head for the hills! However she was wonderful last night, and is proudly protecting the foal out in the field. The milk-bar is fully stocked and the baby is full of energy. Luckily we had made a point of handling Marina’s udder for the past few weeks. She nearly went into orbit the first few times, but recently has learnt that there is nothing to fear.

Just Agnes to go now. Up until this week we thought Star was also in-foal but have now decided that she is just FAT. So yesterday we put her back with a stallion . . . he’ll know.

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 - Scarlet is proudly keeping her well out of reach!

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 - huge, very beautiful eyes, and altogether a lovely pony. It’ll be nice to see her back with our ponies for a month or two.

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-characteristically aggressive behaviour from stallions.

After we did some long overdue remedial fencing earlier in the week the young colts have a nice little meadow with (hopefully) pony-proof boundaries. The young fillies are out of harm’s way, and the two old riding horses have gone into a neighbour’s field which should keep them happy for months. It’s very satisfying to see everybody settled.

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 - the most recent mare to foal here at Tawna - is the first of Rubus’s daughter’s to produce the NEXT generation. Our oldest Rubus daughter - Tia Maria, is a year older than Daisy and was covered in 2014, but did not ‘hold’ for this year. We have just updated Daisy’s picture…but it is still on the ‘youngstock’ page of this website as that page hasn’t been brought up to date yet….she will be moved to the mares page soon! Her adorable foal is now on the ‘foals’ page.

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 - the girls are keeping their little white socks sparkling and immaculate. Just goes to show that even at such an early age Boys Will Be 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 - a delightful filly with three white socks, by Sprite. Even whilst still wet her coat is showing grey in places so she will be turning roan. Well done Daisy. We will have to watch carefully to ensure she stands still for the foal to suck, but I think she will be a good mother - once she gets the hang of it.

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-back mothers who doesn’t really care where her child is, or what it’s doing. That’s all very well when the foal is older, but this morning Audrey was very concerned because the other expectant mares were coming over to inspect the new arrival, and then - as they often do - having a fit of jealousy and turning and trying to kick it. The poor little baby was confused and Fuchsia was a bit impassive about rescuing the foal, so we have moved mother and baby into the orchard at Tawna for safety’s sake. The other mares with foals are next door, so when the foal is a little older they can just pop through the gateway into the bigger group.

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-foaler we are not sure what signs she will show,  but she certainly has a sizeable udder for a young mare.

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 - so for once we agreed on a name immediately . . . Twinkle’s baby is Freckles. She is upstanding, strong and pretty - as we say in Cornwall, “Proper Job!”

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-bred colt, licensing him and breeding from him has worked well. Sage went out on lease last year with a few mares and his first baby is an absolutely darling little filly from a lovely Firth-bred mare. We’re dying to see what else he produces.

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-depth discussion, so Audrey only just caught sight of Ella squeezing out a nicely marked skewbald colt. Hopefully I’ll get a pic of him for the FOALS page tomorrow.

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-school show ring, a good range of affiliated classes for Shetlands + several other classes that we could have entered. This year they have brought the date forward by about five weeks, which means we are too committed to tending our foaling mares to go, but at the show today our stud was very ably represented by four Tawna ponies who did extremely well for their owners.

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-Two for Tawna ponies - Pam and Vic’s two year old gelding, Nutkin taking the top spot, and Gemma Hannaford’s piebald two year old filly, Topsy Turvy taking second place. Topsy followed that up by winning the broken coloured class. In the Miniature Championship, Nutkin’s quality and free movement led him to take the reserve. Well done everyone!

Clementine’s gorgeous baby is ever so pleased to have another foal in the field . . . even though Charisma does not approve of this over-confident upstart getting so close to her precious baby!

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-produced class he was third (beaten by two clipped ponies), and in the small breeds M & M, he achieved 2nd - behind a superb Dartmoor which eventually won the championship. He has also qualified for the N.P.S. Dragon’s Home Produced Summer Championships. Looks like it’s going to be a busy summer for P and V!

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 - this time a new arrival in Scotland - the first of Tawna Rubus’s foals at the Milday stud where he is on lease for two years. He has sired a very chunky skewbald filly - hopefully the first of many as Rubus covered - and got in-foal, all fifteen mares selected for him last year. Now that is a dutiful stallion!

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 - what a result! Congratulations Laetitia….hopefully the first of many special deliveries!

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 - as square and strong as can be, with a flat back, a fat neck and a dear little face. He’s just utterly cuddlesome! He’s the sort of chestnut that could have a flaxen mane and tail later on, but we shall see. We truly did not anticipate any foals arriving quite yet, but ponies never go by the rules! A photo of him will appear on the ‘foals’ page soon.

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 - Florence and Finch. It looked as if it was going to be far too cold and unpleasant to bath them close to the show . . . so we did it the preceding weekend! A bit rash, but we caught some sunny, reasonably warm conditions and they dried very quickly. We only washed the white bits - getting a winter’s worth of accumulated mud, and some of the staining out, and they stayed out for the next week - not even a rug on.

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 - Poldark - is a dream colour for a show. Being ‘mushroom’, he’s sort of the colour of dried mud anyway . . . brilliant!

It was great to see quite a good turnout of Shetland breeders and owners, despite unpleasant conditions - very strong winds laced with rain, plus fog on Bodmin Moor (never can work out how there can be fog and gales at the same time!). At different times during the day, both Audrey and I were physically blown off our lorry’s side ramp by strong gusts of wind, and during the show a corrugated sheet was torn off the roof of the indoor school with a sickening clatter. The committee very wisely decided to move into the adjoining building where nothing else came apart - even if the wind hammering at the structure was quite frightening at times and spooked some of the ponies.

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 - very obedient and light on his feet.

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 - Clarius.

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-over beforehand, but that still doesn’t prevent my stress levels rising sharply. It’s not helped by the very cold attitude of the official who does the test. He’s a man of few words . . . no pleasantries, before, during or after the test . . . not even a “hello” or “goodbye”!!! I’ve been taking our lorry there for years, but there’s never so much as a hint of a smile or acknowledgement when he comes out of his little office!

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 - he thinks to himself, ‘Here comes that stupid woman in a horse box again - shouldn’t be allowed on the road!’

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 - to see their reactions.

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 - not a good look!

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 2014-2015. Many congratulations to John who had a fantastic day - also winning with his own home-breds: 2nd and 3rd in the yearling class and 2nd in the mare class. The second prize yearling and mare are by Tawna Cousin Jack who John has owned for several years.


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 - the new girl - under her wing! Celeste, in particular, was rather jealous of the little one yesterday, which was not a nice welcome for Zelah, but the ‘baby’ is sticking firmly with Flo now. They are the only two chestnut and white skewbalds in the group - Flo is big and well-grown whereas Zelah is quite small, so is a perfect mini-me . . . so cute together!

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-foal, and their route was out of a gate, along an old ‘muddy lane’ across the farm, and into the new field. That particular gate is rarely used so we did wonder if they might be reluctant to go out that way. I caught and led Dolly up across the field, but the others didn’t seem keen to follow. Having crouched down to deal with the tricky fastening, I looked up to find all the little faces lined up - staring at me with anticipation. Once I managed to get the heavy gate about three foot open, the ponies didn’t need asking twice . . . they poured through in seconds and were gone out of sight in even less time! Audrey was up ahead to divert them into the fresh field, but before she could do that they had reached the ‘safety gate’ across the muddy lane, rebounded, and I met them on their way back . . . they were having a lovely adventure. They were soon escorted into the new field and we left them in happy mood.

As a follow up to yesterday’s change of scene for the girls, our task today was to separate Zelah - our one retained filly foal from last year - from the two colts. We generally keep them together until March, so the filly has now joined the other girls. It’s odd having only one yearling filly, but Florence, Victoria (her full sister) and Angelica befriended her right away.

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-back that she doesn’t take any notice of them anyway! It’s good to have got them sorted though.


2nd March 2015

Managed to catch our beautiful girls - the brood mares - in a close group yesterday. Quite a rare opportunity as they are usually more scattered which is difficult to photograph. Here, they are sheltering from a strong wind. The shape of the trees show that it’s the best place when there are strong sou’westerlies!

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 - actually more like squelching hooves - and knowing there were females nearby, were getting excited and were having a few skirmishes of their own - punctuated by shrill squeals!


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-foal. For most of them, there’s no doubt whatsoever, but we are dithering over a couple including Tarantella. She is nowhere near as bulgy as the more senior mares, but as a first-foaler, and having quite a capacious frame, she could be hiding it. Earlier this week I thought “no”, today I thought “yes”! Time will tell I guess. By this stage of the pregnancy, it’s often noticeable that any girls who are not in-foal are more spritely and playful, whereas the pregnant mares are comparatively heavy footed.

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 - despite the fence being lowered. Eventually our neighbour sussed the best way to keep her in, and now she has settled with her new friend…fingers crossed! I’m afraid this sort of behaviour reinforces what a lot of ‘horsey people’ think . . . that Shetlands are little escape artists!

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-down in the second half of March, so Meredith’s job is to baby sit Dior’s companion. I left them in adjoining stables, with the companion - a pretty grey Welsh pony - peering through the cutout ‘window’ in the wall with a bemused expression on her face. Five minutes earlier her 16.2h.h.+ buddy had been there, and suddenly she was replaced by a 31” stranger!

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 - in looks and nature. It’s a grim, wet day today, so I told her that she is very privileged to be in a nice cosy stable while her pals are sheltering against a hedge. Ironically the Welsh pony is called Minnie…and is twice the size of Meredith!

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 - not because they are badly behaved, but because I have had to do them in their field while surrounded by the other boys. Their gateway has remained wet and I couldn’t take them out of the field without getting seriously muddy, so I have had to tie each one to a tree or fencepost. No matter how many times I drive the others off, they can’t resist seeing what’s happening and creeping closer and closer. The stallion who is tied up naturally feels vulnerable and is quite twitchy . . . every movement of which reverberates down the pony’s leg . . . and then up through my spine!

Arrangements have been made this week for Sage to go out on lease this summer. He’ll love that - he’s going to have four wives.

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 - very full and very contented. But the next day they were nowhere to be seen . . . the little beasts had escaped into the neighbour’s field. They hadn’t stopped there either . . . they had continued into the adjoining field. When I found them, I don’t think they had long arrived because they were still galloping around in a very excited manner.

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 - SUCH INGRATITUDE!

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 - who are at Tawna - have just been running in and out of their stable from the field at either end of the day. But recently we grabbed the chance to give the foals a groom and some proper attention. They really surprised us - didn’t bat an eyelid when caught; once on the halter each one moved off immediately when indicated; every one remembered their training from last year and walked and trotted when asked. We were so chuffed that they hadn’t forgotten their lessons.

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 - we like colts to have plenty of sparkle, and there’s loads of time to teach them good manners before they go to another show.

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 - it may not be the technical term, but I’d describe her as “frosted bay”!










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 - wide-eyed and on tiptoes - gazing back. Some way behind it she could see a man, and she gathered from his actions that he was long-reining it.

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 - around the field with heads and tails held high. This just rooted the piebald horse to the spot more firmly than ever. Meanwhile the man was flapping his reins, trying to drive the horse on. His efforts were ineffective . . . even more-so when the foals rushed down close to the hedge to stare at the horse. The ground in the field is higher than the lane, and the hedge is very low so they could manage this quite well.

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-glue it from the spot and moved on . . . no doubt much more alert and looking for other scary little animals!

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-force wind. Each time the hails melt, the ground is becoming more slushy.

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 - at a hesitant trot. I don’t often get the chance to study our ponies trotting straight towards me over a long distance, so I was really disappointed to see that she didn’t move as well as she used to. She has funny leg markings - from the front her white socks finish on a diagonal line across the knee, so I watched her very closely in case her odd movement was an optical illusion . . . but no, she was not trotting straight and true.

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 - all the more so, considering the financial hardships and uncertainty experienced in that time. Quite possibly the continued strength of the Group could lie partly in the number of long-established, well-regarded studs in the South West. We certainly look forward to supporting the Group events being held in 2015.

After a chat and catch-up with various friends Audrey and I headed for home and were thrilled to see pollen-laden Hazel catkins hinting at Spring. I’m not surprised - I’ve had a wild Primrose in flower in my front garden since before Christmas . . . and I’ve seen weed seeds germinating! No doubt that means the grass is still growing in the fields. The ponies are certainly looking well. And although Audrey offered the brood mares some hay the other day, they weren’t interested.

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 20-30 yards of the rickety fence.

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 - it is finally ‘live’. As far as we can tell, all the links are working . . . hurray! It is a great relief after the difficulties people had with accessing our old website. But if there are any problems we would appreciate being informed please.

Huge thanks to Andrew for persevering and building it. I am totally clueless with technology - love taking photos and writing the text, but we completely rely on him to make it work. We’re thrilled with what he’s done . . . especially as he says that he hates computers and gets exasperated with technology! We intend getting pedigree charts added in time.

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 - it fairly flew by in the blink of an eye. Looking back, 2014 had it's ups and downs. Audrey's illness in the early Spring coloured that part of the year, but once she was out and about with the ponies again things settled back into more of the usual routine. It didn't look as if we would get to many shows, but we actually managed eleven in the end, and had the pleasure of giving twelve different ponies the showing experience - all but one of which achieved 1st or 2nd placings. In fact between them they managed 13 x 1st, 10 x 2nd and 9 x assorted championships and reserves for juniors and overall. Meanwhile we received reports of other Tawna-bred ponies who had a great year with their owners in the show ring.

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 - so obliging of our mares - and ten beautiful babies! The balance was tipped very much in favour of colts, but they were such delightful boys that we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know every one of them throughout the summer. By the autumn, all our surplus ponies had found wonderful new homes and we have made more new friends along the way.

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-taking homeland, and experience some of the warm Shetland hospitality left the best of memories.

Today is our Arab mare's birthday - Jasinda hits the big THREE-O on this day. She was bred at an Arab stud near by and we have known her since day one. We knew her birth was imminent at this unnatural time of year, and her breeder - a good friend of ours - phoned with the exciting news. We dropped everything to go and see the new arrival . . . and that was it . . . we couldn't resist!! Shetland foals are cute, but Arab foals are...exquisite.

Update on our new website . . . it has been pieced together and is ready for publishing. It's a very complex process - far beyond me. Andrew has done an absolutely splendid job but has hit a problem for which he needs to consult an expert . . . and our expert is on holiday! So there is likely to be a further delay. We're really looking forward to getting it up and running . . . it's been a long time in the pipeline, so fingers crossed that it's almost there!

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Diary