15th May 2022

Well what do you know…you wait years for a mushroom foal to come along, and then two turn up at once!!

Our second mushy this year arrived a couple of days ago, in the afternoon. Rubus’s extremely glamorous daughter, Victoria, has produced a pretty mushroom colt by Champagne Charlie. Of course I knew both parents were confirmed mushroom carriers, but somehow discounted them producing this colour - I guess because it is such a rarity. I fully expected the foal to be chestnut or palomino.

That’s what make’s breeding so exciting. How dull to have a stud of just one colour where the only anticipation is whether it’s a filly or colt!!

5th May 2022

I would have put money on Victoria being the next to foal, but in fact two nights ago it was Pansy who produced a strong skewbald colt….with blue eyes! In no time he was cantering around the stable, and in the morning he followed Pansy out into the field, but having checked her udder, and watched him for a while, I got the impression he had not suckled her. He messed about near her udder, but did not suck when I put my finger in his mouth.

It was then a case of milking her, little and often, and getting the colostrum in him. Pansy is such a good little mare that at least she makes that part easy. He resented me trying to help him, and even with the taste in his mouth, he still did not look for the milk bar like he should.

Knowing that Pansy had produced him extremely quickly the night before, I realised he had mild ‘foal maladjustment syndrome’ symptoms - usually caused following a quick birth. The foal actually needs to be squeezed to a certain degree, and for a certain time, to trigger the chemical change in the brain from a somnambulant state in the womb, to an active state out on the ground. Not suckling is a classic sign.

Having rushed home to double-check the method on u-tube, I cautiously administered the ‘Madigan Squeeze’ on the little chap. Basically a soft rope looped around his ribs several times, and gentle pressure applied for twenty minutes. IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. Just as I had seen, he immediately fell into a deep sleep, and remained like that for the full period, and as soon as I released the rope, he woke, got up, stretched and looked for the milk. I tried my finger in his mouth and he sucked.

From that moment he has continued just like a normal foal. I’ve been aware of this scientifically-proven method for ‘dummy foals’ for a long time, but never had any cause to try it. I am totally blown away by it - quite miraculous. I can only hope that I got enough colostrum into him, but fingers crossed he won’t look back, and I am just so chuffed to have experienced this amazing phenomenon.

1st May 2022

It has been quite a week - THREE filly foals born, two visiting mares arrived, all the stallions moved into their summer pastures with their girls, and our sweet little Meredith sold and off to her forever home.

The third mare to foal was Freckles. Tiny wax drops in the morning indicated that she was getting near, but I didn’t expect her to get on with it quite so soon. As a first foaler, she was very tight, and it was a real squeeze for the poor little girl, but in the middle of a nice dry day a tiny bay and white filly arrived. I was glad that I was there to help her - it might not have been such a happy outcome if she had been on her own.

Carefully observing the pair during the afternoon, it was clear that Freckles’ state of excitement at having her first baby meant that she kept whizzing around in circles every time the baby looked for the milk bar. Putting a halter on her to make her stand still, the foal still struggled because Freckles’ teats were minuscule. Andrew came and held the mare while I - practically standing on my head to peer in under the mare - patiently tried to guide the foal. Luckily the foal had a strong sucking instinct and after our second attempt to help, she got the idea and was well away. Added to that, Freckles calmed down and all seems to be okay now.

I have photographed all the foals and the ‘foal page’ is now updated. We think they are a stunning bunch - so many favourites!

28th April 2022

The filly fairy found her way back to Tawna this week, with wonderful results. On Tuesday Florence finally had her baby - she has had us on tenterhooks for well over two weeks - and has produced a nicely marked chestnut and white skewbald by Bo, a full sister to last year’s Florentina. Naturally we have been watching Florence intently. She has been quite a boring pony to observe - all night in the stable she would place herself in a corner and barely move, only lying down occasionally. In the field she just ate all day long - never lay down, never just stood and dozed, just eat, eat, eat.

This afternoon Charisma has excelled with a mushroom and white skewbald filly by Rubus. This one is a full sister to the licensed stallion Tawna Poldark. She is the fourth mushroom that Rubus has sired for us, and I think she may be a keeper! It’s perfect weather for new babies so they can stay out where the mums will be happiest.

23rd  April 2022

Over the Easter weekend I took photos of our gorgeous foals, and at last we have set up our ‘Foals 2022’ page on this website. Even in that intervening week, they have all filled out and changed, but as we will update the pics from time to time anyway, it’s nice to see them at their earliest age. They are all friendly and gaining in confidence when I give them their daily scratch. This morning I had three of them in attendance . . . I didn’t have enough hands!

22nd  April 2022

Eek! Over three quarters of Rio’s mane should be white, but currently it is grey/black. The filthy beast has been rolling in the ashes of a bonfire!! Not a good look.

The stallions are always the first to cast their winter coats and generally haven’t got much hanging on now, but the mares are a different story. Most look hairy, but their coats are coming out and making them quite itchy. The fields have patches of hair scattered all over - either where they have rolled and left a film of hair on the grass, or where tufts have fallen out. I have taken a plastic curry comb to several and removed bucketfuls. Visually it hasn’t made much difference, but the girls did enjoy the grooming . . . especially under those big bellies! Following all the storms there are several fallen branches in the fields which I haven’t cleared up yet, and the mares are loving having a rummage around in those - lots of scratching opportunities.

20th  April 2022

Tawna ponies were out and about at several shows over the lovely Easter weekend. In Wales Julie took the beautiful yearling, Veryan (aka Blondie), to her first show. Julie was delighted that she accepted bathing, loading, travelling and showing really well and they came home with two third place rosettes.

More locally, Fiona took another yearling - Red Ember, to the Cornish Association of WPCS fun event near Newquay. He was the only Shetland in a mixed M & M youngstock class where he also achieved a third. He is an excitable lad - like his dad! - and Fiona is pleased that he is gaining this show experience in different groups at an early age.

On the same day, Pam and Vic headed to Devon with Angus. He’s certainly not a novice, and in good-sized classes he gained a first, second and sixth. It’s so nice to hear that the owners of Tawna ponies are enjoying taking them out.

Meanwhile ‘back at the ranch’ we are still waiting for Florence to foal. She has a vast udder and has fallen in on either side of her tail. She seems to have been like that and coming in at night for weeks, but still we wait.

15th April 2022

Good Friday is a good day for a new foal to arrive. After a sudden change indicating imminent foaling, and just one night under the stable cctv camera, Fuchsia was waxed up this morning. By 11.30 am she had foaled - a lovely jazzily marked colt by Bo - full brother to last year’s Magnolia. The conditions outside are  perfect - still, dry, not cold, so Fuchsia and baby can stay out and he can have plenty of room to stretch his legs.

14th  April 2022

What a clever old girl Daisy May is! This morning, as I checked each of the in-foal mares and turned them through from their night-time field into their day-time field, instead of ambling off as usual, Daisy turned back and stood looking at me with those beautiful big eyes. I didn’t know why she had paused in this way, but she had physically advanced since yesterday, and I had had a few words with her, pointing out that she had foaled in two days time last year, and asking if she was aiming for the same date again!

In hindsight, I think she was telling me that she was about to foal. I actually carried on mucking out stables, but within half an hour I looked up the field, and sure enough . . . she was foaling . . . and in trouble. The foal was coming with head only - both legs turned back, but thankfully I was able to sort it, and before too long a handsome bay and white colt was out on the ground.

Later in the day I went and sat near them. Although only a few hours old, the colt was curious and wanted to come to me, but Daisy had other ideas. With real determination she head butted him away, and when he didn’t take the hint, she repeatedly used her body to block his route. It was so amusing to watch.

13th  April 2022

Agnes has kept us waiting for ages, and she eventually foaled yesterday just after midnight. It was worth the wait - a very pretty skewbald filly by Rio - full sister to last year’s fabulous Red Ember. She is a strong foal and was up on her feet in no time and spent most of the night stretching her legs by cantering around the stable. She has Rio’s lovely big star. In the middle of her white back is a tiny chestnut spot, and on her chestnut neck is a tiny white spot - as if it has been displaced.

9th  April 2022

Well Tia Maria clearly did not approve of her first night in the stable under the foaling camera because the next afternoon she had her foal outdoors. She foaled in the daytime, in the same field, last year too. Thinking back, I know Sherry was born outdoors in the morning, and I think the same applied to Patrick. Tia doesn’t seem to want to come into the stable to have her babies.

She has had a stonking chestnut filly by Bo - a full sister to last year’s Mackeson. In the morning Tia did not appear any more advanced than a week ago. After lunch I was doing some jobs in the adjoining field, and keeping an eye on the mares by peeping through the hedge every so often. Having checked the mares yet again, at 4pm I jumped in the car and popped home for a coffee. Caught up with some work at home, at 5.10pm I thought I would just look at my phone and check the mares on the field camera. I couldn’t believe my eyes - there was Tia walking across the field with a new-born foal rambling along beside her. Boy - when all goes smoothly, it is incredible how quickly they can fire out their babies.

The forecast was for near-frost conditions last night, so Tia and foal ended up in a stable overnight anyway!

7th April 2022

We are still waiting for foal number two to arrive. That group of mares are keeping us guessing as to who will be next. Agnes has got an udder like a dairy cow, whilst Fuchsia’s seems to be receding. I have been bringing Florence into one of the foaling stables for several nights, but tonight I think I might swap her with Tia Maria. Daisy May is overdue, according to our calculations, and those unusual activities a few days ago do not appear to have had any bearing whatsoever.

I had a wonderful experience a couple of evenings ago - a close encounter of an unborn kind! Whilst gently pressing Tia’s pelvic area to check for softening/slackening prior to foaling, I saw a large bulge suddenly appear in her flank. Unlike the usual little flashes you might see in a mare’s belly when an unborn foal kicks, this bulge stayed there. I cupped my hand over it and felt the pressure pushing outwards. Not much room in there! After maybe 10-15 seconds it disappeared again, and left me wondering which part of it’s anatomy I had felt. Time for that one to be out on the ground!

Some good news from Scotland came our way recently. Two more of Rubus’s sons have just been licensed as stallions. I think that is nine of his boys licensed, and we will be putting Orion forward next year. That’s quite an impressive number from one stallion.

4th April 2022

Hurray! At last we have a foal.

For weeks I have been moving what I think are the most imminent mares into the ‘foaling field’ each night, so I can check them during darkness on the cctv camera. Currently there are six mares who all appear at roughly the same stage - no one standing out as the first to foal, so I really don’t know which ones should come into the foaling stables.

A couple of days ago Daisy May alerted me by trotting back across the field, having been to the trough for a drink. That in itself is unusual because Daisy is very stately and rarely gets out of a walk! Then the following day I saw her pawing the ground as she was grazing . . . a twinge of pain as the foal moved? Naturally these two observations led me to believe she would soon foal . . . but no! Daisy is still heavy-with-baby.

It is Rosetta who has started the ball rolling by producing a very pretty strawberry roan and white filly by Rio. Not the greatest timing - after having quite a long period of mostly dry weather, the week ahead is forecast as rain. Never mind, we can tuck them up in the stable, but we prefer the mares to be out on grass. Last year Rosetta had the beautiful Rosalea, and this new filly has been named Rose-Marie. A real little beauty.

28th March 2022

It seems to have taken forever to come around, but yesterday was the long-awaited SW Shetland Group’s Spring show. It was so nice to catch up with our friends at this time of year, especially after both the 2020 and 2021 Spring shows were cancelled. What’s more, the weather was amazing - sunshine all day, and barely a breeze. The show was held indoors, but we all had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the sun while chatting in the lorry park.

The dry conditions leading up to the show made my task of preparing two skewbald ponies much easier. Considering they live out 24/7 without any rugs, I thought they looked pretty presentable. Three year old Alice is such a sweetheart - always a pleasure to handle. She was placed second in her class.

The same award went to Rio in the stallion class. Only his second show as an adult, he was very excitable, but on the whole, I felt he was better behaved than when I showed him in February. He’s perfectly keen to walk and trot, but just cannot stand still. He’s so interested in everything going on around him, and is very aware of other ponies close by. I looked at some of the other exhibitors with stallions standing placidly in the collecting ring, being placed in their show pose in the show ring - and staying put - and couldn’t help sighing, and thinking ‘he’s got a long way to go yet!’ Still . . . I like a challenge, and there’s such pleasure if/when I can see an improvement.

It was lovely to see six other Tawna ponies at the show. Although they all looked a real credit to their owners, on this occasion, the brightest star was Tawna Angus who delighted Pam by winning the mini gelding class before being chosen as overall Reserve Champion Gelding.

Let’s hope this is the start of a more ‘normal’ showing calendar for the year.

19th March 2022

With some long awaited drier conditions it’s been pony shuffling time!

The babies - I still call them babies until the new ones start arriving - have been promoted to a handy little field well away from the homestead. Undoubtedly a shock to their systems with no more breakfasts, and only seeing me once a day. I’m always sorry to banish them away from home like this, but we need to concentrate on the in-foal mares now. However the babies’ new field is sheltered, full of fresh grass, and has no muddy spots for them to roll in! Definitely a bonus I reckon where Florentina is concerned…she’s a devoted mud wallow-er!!

After some deliberation I chose the first three mares to be moved across the road into a fresh field where we can observe them more often, but before doing this, I had to move the stallions further away so that they cannot see or hear the mares.

Having completed these tasks I returned home for a coffee, but no sooner was I inside than the postman was knocking on the door to say he’d just seen a Shetland loose in the lane. The mares that were left in their winter field had been quite excited when I took away the three - calling and rushing along the hedge trying to peer over. Back I went with a halter, fully expecting to find Pansy on the loose - she has earned a bit of a reputation as an escape artist - but no, it was Fuchsia and Tia Maria….a most unlikely pair to have misbehaved in this way.

On closer inspection, it appeared that they had limbo-ed their way over the hedge and under some branches. Naughty girls! They were two that I almost had moved in the first place, so it was as if they were telling me that it was time to be promoted!

16th March 2022

Sadly, foaling has not started well for us with the loss of a premature foal for our beautiful Meredith. He was perfect, but coming backwards, and six to seven weeks early. After previous misfortunes, Meredith is clearly just not destined to be a mother, so we will not try breeding from her again. She is naturally a little bit shy, but is the prettiest, sweetest, most gentle girl imaginable, and we would have liked nothing better than seeing a bonny little baby at her side. That’s not meant to be, but it’s a huge relief that she’s ok.

After the difficulty of birth, the poor little girl was subjected to twice-daily injections, which did nothing for her confidence, although I must add that she was very brave when they were administered. After that course finished, she was understandably wary of anyone approaching, but I’m pleased that she is now more relaxed and happy to come up for her daily piece of carrot.

We’ve just started a new sack of carrots. The ponies greatly enjoy them as a treat during the winter months. This time they are ‘normal’ carrots; the previous sack contained the biggest carrots I’d ever seen - more like big parsnips. One carrot would have fed a human family for a week!!!

6th March 2022

The storms of two weeks ago wreaked havoc across the country. We were lucky to only lose electricity for less than half a day, but there has been a lot of damage to trees on our property; never had some many come down - uprooted and broken in all directions. The dreadful weather also caused the postponement of the Devon Native Pony Association’s winter show. It was re-scheduled for today, and I rather rashly thought this would be a good trial-ground for Rio’s first show with us.

Preparing a mostly white pony who lives out 24/7, unrugged, in early March is definitely rash, but with a bit of planning and care we managed it and I think he looked surprisingly presentable. Apart from being shown as a foal, I think he has only been shown once, as a three year old - all in his homeland of Shetland - so now that he’s eight, he is inexperienced to say the least. Everything was new to him - coming away from his pals, being stabled on his own, loading and travelling in our lorry. At the show he was excited to see the other ponies, and I have to admit he flew around the ring at such a pace that I only just retained control of him!

Our class was Exmoors, Dartmoors and Shetlands 4 and over. His rivals were three Dartmoors and an Exmoor, and I was very pleased when he was awarded second prize - despite being a real fidget when asked to stand. I’d like to think that he will settle when he’s done a few more shows…..we will see!

Flying the flag for our breed in the youngstock class were two cute little chestnuts - very similar in type and colour. Not surprising really as they are both by Tawna Rubus, and their dams are both by Kerswell Russet. Elaine showed three year old Bracken, who like Rio, is inexperienced and also powered her way around the ring to win a second, while Toby’s two year old Ambrose trotted smartly into fourth place.

I have never been to a show so early in the year. If the forecast had been iffy I wouldn’t have embarked on taking Rio, but I’m glad I did make the effort, and enjoyed being amongst the various breeds and meeting a different group of people.

9th February 2022

Just as I’d said there’s nothing interesting going on at Tawna, a lovely package from the Shetland Society arrived with the postman this morning. It contained a fabulous rosette and framed certificate, along with a letter saying that our gorgeous home-bred stallion, Rubus, has achieved second place in the National Awards Scheme Sire Ratings. What a thrill!

This is an extremely prestigious award which has been earned by the successes of his progeny. What better proof that a stallion is a worthy example of his breed? We knew Rubus’s offspring had had a particularly good season last year, but as this scheme takes in the whole of the country, and the Society website has not published any show results, we had no way of knowing what other ponies were doing well. Huge thanks to the various owners of Rubus’s progeny who contributed to him winning this accolade.

Who knows - he may even have gained first place if the results from two more of our shows had been included: two placings and junior champion at Okehampton were not included because the secretary did not return the results, and our wonderful young Jupiter’s first, jun champ and reserve mini champ at the SW summer show did not qualify because - at eleven weeks old - we had not yet registered him at the time of the show!!

Anyway, we are well and truly chuffed, and I think Rubus will be getting an extra piece of carrot tomorrow.

6th February 2022

There’s nothing terribly interesting happening at the stud at this time of year, although there are thrilling times ahead, judging by the bulging tummies on the mares. Looks like we could be expecting a similar number of foals as last year.

Just thinking about the longer spring days and the sight of mares proudly trotting around with their new babies makes me smile. There are some slightly different stallion/mare combinations expected, some tried and tested matches, and a few first-foalers . . . all so exciting. The mares are blooming. We believe in keeping them hardy as befits their Native character - outdoors with plenty of scope to exercise. Although they were offered a bit of top quality hay the other day, they weren’t interested.

Two ponies left us for their new home recently - our youngest 2021 foal, Polly Pocket, and our mushroom stallion, Poldark. Both special ponies which we hope will fulfil all the dreams of their new owner. Apparently Polly - although smaller and younger than her new friends - is already the boss!! There are a couple of new photos of Poldark on our ‘current stallions’ page - taken the morning he left us.

9th January 2022

The Shetland Pony calendar kicked off with a good start this morning when a keen group gathered in Devon for the AGM of the SW Shetland Pony Group.

With covid precautions in mind, we assembled in the larger, airier main village hall instead of the usual smaller side room. It was a productive meeting with enthusiastic reports from various officers. Despite all the difficulties faced in 2021, the Group still managed to successfully stage three formal shows and two fun shows, plus of course, the super-memorable Breed show held in Somerset.

What’s more - plans are afoot to hold all the usual Group shows in this coming year which gives us so much to look forward to. Several very hard-working and influential members have finished their terms on the committee, but with one new face, some returning, and a change of some officers, we have a great new committee going forward….every reason to be optimistic.

7th January 2022

Check out our ‘current stallions’ page for some updated photos. Four new ones each of Scenario and Charlie, and two of Clarius.

Charlie has really chunked-up now he’s four years old so it’s good to record him as he matures. Rio is such a stylish boy but having so much white, he is not usually clean enough for a glamour shoot - we made a special effort in September! It was lovely to receive the photos of Clarius being shown to great success in Scotland. He is a very special boy and he has won the hearts of quite a few people whilst on lease . . . not only for his looks, but also for his kind temperament and good manners.


1st January 2022

Happy New Year! May we wish everyone good health, happiness, and hopefully better times in the coming year.

It’s been a tough 21 or so months, but like so many of our friends with ponies - we have been extremely fortunate to have animals and outdoor space to keep us sane through it all. The ponies have always given us pleasure, but in recent times they have taken on an extra importance. Added to that, this morning I found that we have a potential cross-country prospect in our midst….Charlie, our palomino stallion was in the adjoining field where he was not supposed to be, having jumped over a wooden stile! Our neighbour went hunting today - I think Charlie had ideas about joining her!

29th December 2021

How I enjoyed today’s Christmas Fun Show with our black two year old filly - Sherry. The organisers of the SW Shetland Pony Group got it all absolutely right, and everybody had a blast. The atmosphere was fantastic - such genuine good humour, and the ponies were, without exception, perfectly behaved. To see them decked out in tinsel, jingling bells, hats, reindeer antlers, fairy lights, and more was a joy to behold, and their acceptance of the decorations was a testament to their patience and great temperaments.

From the tiniest children to - shall we say - the more mature handlers, everybody joined in for novelty classes, fancy dress, and then some party games, all efficiently overseen by a big friendly elf!! I’ve come home with a fistful of rosettes and chocolates . . . and I can’t even remember in which classes they were won!

Sherry was a little star, being interested in all the goings-on, and remarkably not freaking-out at the variety of themed decorations that I attached to her. For some of the classes, our young friend, ten year old Jasmine led her, and this inexperienced pony didn’t put a foot wrong.

After the ponies were put away in their trailers and lorries, the human participants assembled in the arena for light refreshments and a relaxed half-hour of socializing - how often can you do that at a show?! All round, an excellent event which lived up to it’s FUN title.

23rd December 2021

As we near the 25th may we, Audrey, Fiona and Andrew,

 Wish Everyone a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

It has already been made more special for us by all the lovely messages from all over the country, and photos of our ponies in their new homes - decorated stables, festively turned-out ponies, and joyful owners. The ponies all look content and happy . . . which makes us happy!

19th December 2021

It’s almost the end of the year and Pam and Vic have today squeezed in a final outing for Tawna Angus - his last show as a three year old; next year he will be in with the ‘big boys’. It was at Cholwell in Devon, and naturally it was a Christmas event - Pam says the indoor arena looked very festive, and ponies were decked out in tinsel and bows. Christmas jumpers were encouraged (nice baubles Pam!). . . apart of course from the Best Turned Out class, which they won - no mean feat with an unclipped skewbald Shetland in mid winter!

Pam and Vic could not be more proud of Angus who won 3 x first and 1 x second (beaten in the coloured class by a lovely and very well marked filly) before topping his day by taking the in-hand championship. We already know he’s a special boy, now he’s a Christmas Star as well!

We are hoping to go to our last show of the year on 29th - the SW Shetland Group’s Christmas Fun show - also at Cholwell. There are some great novelty classes, fancy dress, and a few party games, involving ponies, followed by a light tea! Entries close in a couple of days, and the organisers are appealing for more participants (don’t have to be members of the Group) to boost the atmosphere and have a jolly time.

13th December 2021

It should have been a real thrill yesterday to find a UNICORN in our field . . . but it wasn’t! The ‘unicorn’ which came to greet me was in fact yearling colt, Orion, whose forelock was scrunched up into a solid spike and pointing skywards. He looked ridiculous!

Earlier this week I moved the stallions and Rion into their proper winter field. The move has been greatly delayed due to the mild autumn conditions which allowed them to stay longer on their former grazing. Their winter field is super - four and a half acres which haven’t been grazed since April, and have just had one cut of haylage taken off during the summer. Despite all the fresh grass, Rion had managed to find burdock plants with their barbed ‘sticky’ burrs. I didn’t even know there were any of these plants in that field so he must have been rummaging deep in the hedge to find them.

As well as his forelock, his mane is thickly matted with the burrs. I can even feel more of them under his jaw in his beard! It’s going to take hours to get them out - being careful not to drop any seeds on the ground - and get his hair straightened. The other boys have a few tangles wrapped around burrs, but Rion has definitely cornered the ‘severely back-combed and disreputable’ look.

3rd December 2021

Can it really be December already? There’s no doubt that we did enjoy a very long autumn here in Cornwall - exceptionally mild weather, plentiful grass, and the beautiful autumnal colours didn’t appear on the trees until really late, which will hopefully make the winter seem shorter. From September until well into November I was kept busy weaning and training small groups of foals. They were all amazingly sensible and well-behaved, and the sold ones have acquitted themselves well in their new homes. We have received many compliments on how well handled the foals have been.

One foal remains to be collected - Polly Pocket, the baby of the bunch. She and one pal were weaned much later than the rest, so at the moment she is running with our three ‘keepers’. She might be the smallest of the group, but she isn’t going to be dominated at the food trough. She’s very funny and has a personality that far outweighs her diminutive size.

As each little group of foals have been due to leave us, I have taken photos of them. Looking back, it’s amazing how much they have grown and blossomed in the six months or so since they were born. They have left Tawna in good condition and well-developed. The latest images are now on our ‘foals’ page. I seem to have missed an update of Lucy Glitters, but will try and rectify that soon.

12th November 2021

Isn’t this a great picture….sent to us by Anne Allen. Anne is heavily involved with RDA activities, and her Shetlands are very popular with both the helpers, and the clients who enjoy handling, grooming and communicating with the little equines. Anne says the ponies behave perfectly and seem to know they must be on their best behaviour when working.

Two of her ponies are shown here from a recent event where they travelled to Warwickshire to put on a RDA long-reining display attended by HRH Princess Anne. The skewbald on the right is Tawna Smartie Pants who was bought as a foal, and has been educated and trained especially for this job.

8th November 2021

The organising committee for the SW Shetland Group’s show yesterday could not have wished for better weather - rain the day before, murk and rain today, but sunshine and above average temperatures on the crucial day. This made for very happy attendees, and I think there were entries in all 23 classes for the judge to sort out. The presentation of all the ponies was excellent at this difficult time of year, and it was most encouraging to see quite a few children very competently showing their ponies. A great atmosphere prevailed throughout the show, and we thank everyone who contributed to the day.

I was rather ambitious, taking three young ponies (plus one companion foal) on my own, but friends kindly helped me out once I was at the show. This year, with so many of our own foals to choose from, I had quite a few ‘favourites’, but one of my favourite favourites is Cherie (Rubus x Charisma). In my eyes she is just perfect, and moves like a dream. She is quite a feisty girl, but I rather like that, and I was pleased when she won her mini filly foal class. However I was even more pleased that Fiona L’s Tawna Red Ember (Scenario x Agnes) won the mini colt foal class then took overall champion foal, ahead of a stunning standard filly. He is a very special boy and is another of my absolute favourites!

Toby’s T. Ambrose is developing well and took top spot in the mini yearling colt, filly or gelding class, and our skewbald Daphne stood third. She’s a lovely, nicely marked, and obedient girl, but I think she would rather go to sleep than run around a show ring!

In the mini two year old class, T. Sunny Jim, belonging to Jane S was second, with our T. Sherry standing third. Sunny takes after his mother in being rather a slow developer, but he has really blossomed this summer, and had already delighted Jane by winning the Novice Youngstock class (mixed standards and minis) earlier in the day, so she was well and truly elevated to cloud nine when Sunny was pulled forward as Reserve Junior Mini Champion. There would have been celebrations in the Stidwell household last night methinks! In the final youngstock class, Pam’s T. Angus was second, but it must have been a close call, because he is looking fantastic and moves so freely.

I didn’t want to prolong the day for our four young ponies I had on board, so I left before the adult pony classes, but Jane had another second prize with T. Martha in the mares class, so all in all, a happy and successful day. We hope to return to the same venue for the Group’s Christmas Fun Show on Wednesday 29th December. It promises to be a really special event.

6th November 2021

A phone call before 8.30 am usually means trouble. This morning it was our neighbour Paul who was returning to his farm on his tractor and found a loose Shetland in the road. Several other people around the parish own Shetlands, but if there are escapees, it’s usually (rightly) assumed that it’s ours!!

Paul said the pony had a lot of white on it, so I immediately thought Rio! and cursed the fact that the other stallions were probably on the loose too. However when I arrived at the gateway where Paul had cornered the miscreant I was very surprised to find Meredith - the most humble, shy and unlikely pony to cause trouble. Totally perplexed as to how she was out, I decided to put her in a different field with the mares whose babies have been weaned.

But the big question was - where were the other two Shetlands, and Anglo Arab, that Meredith shares her fields with? I didn’t have to ponder long - another neighbour arrived in his car and showing me a photo on his phone, told me that they had a pair of Shetlands in their yard. Luckily Pansy - who I have no doubt was the ring leader - and Betsy Blue had pitched up with knowledgeable horsey folk.

This small group of ponies have 14 acres of rough grazing, scrub, and woodland to roam over, but appear to have gone over the hedge into yet another neighbour’s stubble field where they generally don’t close the gate out on to the road. There was nothing in there to eat to tempt our girls, but his sheep did get into our fields last winter, and I guess he didn’t do a very good job repairing the hedge. Fortunately the Anglo Arab did not seem to have noticed her ‘friends’ had left her.

To look on the bright side, I am glad it was today and not tomorrow when I will be away at the SW Group’s Autumn show. To avoid any repetition of their naughty ways - at least until I am home again - Pansy and Betsy are now in the ‘Inner Sanctum’ - the hens’ enclosure, behind a nine strand electric fence!!

27th October 2021

Another week into Autumn and three filly foals have left us, and arrived across the country with their delighted new owners. All were bought sight-unseen, and their purchasers could not be more effusive with their praise of our beautiful girls, both in appearance and temperament. Naturally it makes us extremely proud to hear how happy they are, and it is satisfying to know that these young ponies will have the most appreciative homes. In fact one purchaser has already put in an order for a matching filly next year! I’ve had a word with the mare, so I wonder if she will oblige.

Our youngest foal - Polly Pocket - can’t be weaned until mid November so I plan to wean one of our ‘keepers’ with her for company until she is collected by her purchaser. That has left our remaining two keepers which I am currently in the process of weaning and training. One or the other will be going to the SW Shetland Group’s Autumn show in less than a fortnight. I’m dithering over which to take, and am leaning towards the one with no white . . . getting skewbalds clean in November is no easy task!

22nd October 2021

It only took a few hours after being offered for sale again before Veryan was snapped up. Hardly surprising - she is such a beauty and her new owner will be charmed by her friendly, confident nature.

We have actually been thinking about next year’s foals this week. Breeding is a lot about trying to fulfil our hopes and dreams, and a few days ago we were one step nearer when Colin - ‘the Scanning Man’ came to tell us what the mares’ fluffy tummies conceal. We didn’t have them all scanned; several girls are looking almost certainly pregnant. I had made a list of those to be scanned, and had marked, with ticks and crosses, which I thought were in foal. I got nearly half of them wrong!!!

Gosh these ponies can deceive you . . . but we know that - in the past some have fooled us almost up to their due date! Usually it’s a case of those big tums not containing a foal, but we had some pleasant surprises when Colin scanned some girls that I thought were looking too slim. He uses a lubricant on their bellies - in front of the udder and using the scanner over the area he can see the images on his visor - clever stuff.

It was so thrilling when he exclaimed ‘Oh yes!…ribs, beating heart, and I can see it’s legs moving!” There’s a long way to go yet, and it’s unrealistic to expect these little foetuses to all go to full term . . . but this information helps us continue to hope and dream. Exciting times ahead!

16th October 2021

Check out our For Sale page for details of the beautiful Tawna Veryan who, due to a sad change in circumstances of her purchaser, is unexpectedly offered for sale again.

11th October 2021

Aww, it’s that sad time of year when our babies are flying the nest. The six colt foals have already left and are happily ensconced in their lovely new homes. We are receiving photos, video clips and news from their delighted new owners. The boys were carefully weaned and were well and truly ready to move on to the next stage in their lives. I will miss them - all so handsome, and nice little characters - but it’s so good to know that they are going to be greatly appreciated, well cared for and will have the chance to develop to their full potential.

The first trio of fillies have started their gentle weaning process. I must say they are proper guzzles. Whereas the boys took several days to start eating up their food properly, the girls licked the trough clean the very first time they were shut away from their mums!

2nd October 2021

Many thanks to Maxine Ingham for these stunning photographs which she took at last week’s SW Group’s Fun Show. We love these beautiful head shots of three Tawna girls. Below left, piebald mare, Topsy Turvy who spent all day in the charge of three young sisters who took her in just about every class. This was taken when she won the ‘prettiest mare or filly’. I overheard the judge commenting on her lovely eyes!

The skewbald is our yearling, Daphne. I took her for much-needed experience, as up to the previous day she had never even been in the horsebox. She amazed me - didn’t bat an eyelid at any of it - a really laid-back filly. The little black charmer below is Martha, belonging to Jane Stidwell. You can see what a huge personality she has in her expression - full of mischief!

There are lots more super characterful photos on the SW Shetland Group’s facebook page - well worth checking out as they really capture the flavour of the day. We’re delighted that following the success of this event the Group is planning a Christmas Fun Day at the same venue - 29th December.

27th September 2021

Yesterday’s SW Shetland Fun Show was an over-whelming success. Everything was great - lovely weather, tremendous support, happy atmosphere, LOTS of chat, very well behaved ponies, loads of children - some really young - and having a marvellous time with their ponies, but adults equally enjoying the relaxed day, helped by the dress-down code. Well done to the organisers for creating such a popular event.

There were seven Tawna-bred ponies taking part, and it was so nice to see their owners having a good time. Ponies were exchanged between several different handlers to take part in classes as diverse as in-hand jumping, longest mane, and matched or opposite pairs.

I came home to exciting news from the SW Wales Autumn Shetland Show - also held yesterday. Sandra’s blue roan and white Henry (Tawna Ever So Blue) had won first in 3 y o class (all others were uncut colts), first in gelding class, Junior Champion and Reserve Miniature Champion. WOW! Sandra, what a fantastic way to finish your show season.

Another success story was from last weekend at the Eggleston Agricultural show in County Durham. Tawna Camilla, now two years old, went to her first show since Cora bought her as a foal . . . and won a strong youngstock class. She was a cracking foal so we are not surprised. Cora sent photos and she looks exactly like our two year old, Sherry. Funnily enough Sherry (who has also not been out since she was a foal) was at the fun show yesterday, and together with Tawna Martha (see left), won the pairs class. All three girlies could easily make a matched trio - all are small, black, perky, cheeky and sired by Kerswell Sprite. He certainly gave us typey foals.

20th September 2021

We have weaned the three oldest foals here at Tawna. The boys are not making too much fuss, but the mares are very unsettled. They have all been through this process many times before, but that doesn’t make it any easier for them. They have very tight udders which must be extremely uncomfortable. They have still been producing masses of milk for their babies. I have to resist milking them to relieve the pressure as that would only result in them making more.

19th September 2021

Matthew and Clarius have been out on the show circuit again today, and what an amazing record they are building for themselves up there in Scotland. At the two day Laminitis Charity Show in East Lothian, Clarius was Miniature Champion and Supreme Breed Champion….again! We’re keeping everything crossed that next spring he will produce lots of little mini-me’s for Matthew at the Chesterwood stud.

Our next show is going to be much more low-key - the SWSPG’s Shetland Fun Show next Sunday. A chance to do something different with our ponies in a totally relaxed manner . . . although the pairs relay jumping might get quite competitive!

8th September 2021

Not one to rest on his laurels, Toby has been out showing his young mare, Luna, again, with more success. At the Royal Cornwall Association’s Equine event (partially in lieu of cancelling their main show for the second year) Luna won both a strong in-hand M & M class, and the coloured class. She was the only miniature at the show, so she certainly made a good impression. Congratulations!

How quickly the different seasonal jobs come around. It’s already time to start the gradual weaning process of our oldest group of foals, but before that, there have been other issues to sort out.

Following the Breed show, Flash Harry has gone off on lease, which left his field mate, Orion, with no companion, so I have re-introduced him to his sire - Rubus. For several months the four mature stallions have been settled very well into a peaceful group, so I was in two minds about disrupting that dynamic. However, Orion needed to have company, and he and Rubus soon settled into cosy comradeship.

Having established a new best friend for the yearling, I have since introduced him to the other mature boys, with the idea that even if the others were a bit belligerent, at least he and Rubus would be friends. As it turns out, after firstly taking a great dislike to the youngster, Champagne Charlie is now his best mate, and they are once more a settled group. Orion is not intimidated by the older boys, and they seem to be very tolerant of him. I am delighted with that outcome.

During the past week Andrew has taken a second cut off our three main hay fields which were cut in July - big bale haylage this time for a local farmer. This has freed up all that land for the mares and foals which makes a welcome change for them. The fields they have grazed for the summer can now have a rest, and we have put nearly all the mares and foals into one big group. It’s lovely to see them all together.

The three oldest colts have been separated out with their mothers and brought back to Tawna. For the past few days the foals have been spending a few hours away from their mums, learning to eat hard food, and having some training sessions on the lead. Even though the foals have only had two halter-training sessions, alongside their mums, out in the field during the summer, they have remembered and are already walking fairly obediently and confidently on their own. Going along the lane, they are seeing all sorts of new and interesting sights. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly they learn.

5th September 2021

It was a 2.30am alarm call for me last Sunday for the long-anticipated Shetland Breed Show at Chard Equestrian Centre in Somerset. By 4am Pam, Fiona L and I were loaded, with three ponies on board, and we set out for the highlight event of the Shetland year.

With a large part of the journey in the dark, it was lovely to arrive as the early morning sky promised a glorious late summer day. The venue was superb, with all six rings on beautifully prepared sand schools, plenty of space, and excellent facilities. . . . and to make it even better, the weather was ideal.

The miniature classes were very strong with 14/15/18 entries in some, and most of those ponies forward. With several Tawna ponies entered, my attention was drawn in various directions, but things started well in the youngstock geldings with Pam winning with her 3 y o Angus, and Toby taking second with his yearling Ambrose. Henry (T. Ever So Blue) was unplaced, but we thought he looked and performed superbly. Angus then topped that by taking the Miniature Gelding Championship. To say Pam was over the moon would be an understatement. She even forgave him when he accidentally knocked her over on the ramp - and trod on her - when loading afterwards!!

In the 2-3 y o colt class Phil T showed 3 y o Flash Harry on his first ever outing. I have been giving Harry some training sessions at home, but you just cannot prepare an inexperienced pony for the noise, sights, and excitement at a major show. Harry exceeded all my expectations by behaving like a real little gent . . . and didn’t he and Phil fly around that ring! Sadly it didn’t amount to a rosette, but I could not have been more pleased with the little mushroom boy who has since travelled north for stud duties next year.

A class for four year olds was introduced this year especially to cater for the ponies which missed their three year old classes last year because of the pandemic. Toby’s Luna gained a brilliant second place in this + a special rosette for the opposite sex to the winner. In the class of older yeld mares, his Izzy Wizzy didn’t get placed, but after some serious health issues over the past year, she had the most marvellous time out in the show-ring again.

I completely mis-calculated the time and took our two ponies down to the collecting area miles too early, but that could have been a good thing for Orion, because he settled and was very well behaved in his yearling colt class where he gained a third place.

Then it was Alice’s turn to shine….and didn’t she charm the judge. In the biggest class of the whole show she took first place. Amongst so many lovely fillies, that would have been enough, but she was then chosen as Best Exhibitor Bred Miniature, Best Broken Colour Miniature, Junior Miniature Champion, Reserve Miniature Champion, and Overall Best Broken Colour. I was quite dazed with the succession of rosettes being handed to me!

There was a little recovery time before the progeny class. We weren’t quite sure how this would proceed, but we decided to enter the ring in order of seniority - that is both in ponies and handlers! Pam and Angus led the way, followed by myself and Alice, then Toby and Ambrose. We had been particularly looking forward to this class, as it was a chance to show off our full-blood siblings - all Tawna Rubus x Tawna Agnes - and all similar in type, quality and movement. It was good fun to try and synchronise our little display for the judges, and being pulled forward in first place was a great finale to a long day. Photo (courtesy of Fiona L) shows from left - Ambrose (yearling), Alice (2 y o), Angus (3 y o). More pics of Alice on youngstock page.

Dear little Alice was definitely flagging before the end, and I have to say it took me two days to get over my weariness. So many people, so many ponies, so much going on all the time - it was amazing. The SW committee had worked tremendously hard, and organised the day with such care, and we send them, the judges, the stewards, the sponsors, and all other competitors our congratulations for creating a great event.

22nd August 2021

As we just potter away with everyday jobs here at the stud in Cornwall, it’s thrilling to receive reports of our ponies’ show ring successes in far-flung parts of the UK. Our gorgeous stallion Clarius did the biz at the Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group’s show yesterday - Miniature Champion and Reserve Supreme. WOW! We were already extremely proud of that boy, but must thank Matthew for presenting and showing him to such good effect once again.

Meanwhile in Wales, Henry (officially Tawna Ever So Blue) has been to three shows in a week including the SW Wales Shetland Group and Pembrokeshire County. He flashed those smart white socks off to pick up various first and second rosettes, an overall Best Gelding AND winning Reserve Junior Champion at all three shows. Well done Henry and Sandra.

It’s feeling very much like late summer here - evenings drawing in, some leaves starting to turn colour, and very damp, but the forecast promises better things for this week so we are hoping to get our last field of hay done.

Soon we will be into September and will be bringing home the first of the foals to start weaning. They are looking very mature - no longer cute little fluff-balls. We have updated some of their pics on our ‘Foals’ page. Not only is their appearance mature, their behaviour is as well. They are becoming quite independent. I brought four mares and foals back to the yard for micro-chipping this week. While I waited for the vet I put head-collars on the foals, led them out of the stables without their mums, and tied them up while I trimmed their feet. I was amazed at how relaxed they were - especially as they have only had a head-collar on twice before. I look forward to the first group coming back to Tawna so I can handle them a lot more. It’s so rewarding to see them enjoying new experiences.

14th August 2021

Just over a week ago we collected our new horsebox. How exciting! It has been custom built for the Shetlands by Trevett and Smith near Salisbury. It was a long way to go to find a firm that were so adaptable, but they could not have been more helpful, and the build quality is superb. We have had the old box for nineteen years - can’t believe it’s that long - so it has served us well, and I was very reluctant to replace it.

Got to admit though, that it’s very nice having a shiny, clean, new lorry, but it had to be christened, so we loaded up two ponies for Okehampton show on Thursday. So many agricultural shows have been cancelled, but the organisers of Okey show must have been delighted at the success of their day. We stayed in the horsey area and didn’t go into the main part of the show, but we could see the public car-parks brimming.  

The Shetland classes were down slightly on numbers, but I know that much of that is due to the equine flu vac requirements. How I wish the authorities would ‘strongly recommend’ the flu vac, then it’s up to the individual’s choice - as it is with the human flu vac, or of course, the covid vac.

Although only a yearling, Orion is getting more coltish at each show, and did not show himself well in his class, ending with a third rosette. At two years old, Alice is still very green and inexperienced, but I was thrilled when she won the 2 and 3 year old class and took Junior Champion. The judge made some lovely comments about her. Alice is the sweetest girl, and her placid nature balances with the excitability of Orion!

The next outing for the new box is the big one - the Breed Show at Chard in Somerset. The mini classes appear to have a large number of entries, so it’s going to be a very long day.

9th August 2021

Matthew Davidson has continued his winning streak at a very popular horse show near Fife. His super-star this time was our gorgeous bay and white stallion, Tawna Clarius, who is on breeding lease at Matthew’s Chesterwood stud near Edinburgh. With 199 horses and ponies entered, it was a long day, with the Supreme Championship not able to take place until the evening. However the wait was worth it when the four judges unanimously chose Clarius. WOW! What a thrill to hear our little boy made such a good impression on the judges from different equine disciplines. Well done!

7th August 2021

Life has been extra busy here in the past three weeks - a nice settled spell of weather in mid July gave us ideal conditions to make hay. So different from last year when there were only the briefest of windows of ‘dry’ weather, interspersed with weeks of rain, despite which, we somehow managed to make good hay, but only one field at a time. This time we did three fields in a week and a half. It was really hard work - small bales! - in the extreme heat, but we now have a great store of super quality feed-stuff to sell to the horsey community. Ironically our own ponies only require very few bales.

In between hay-carrying sessions, I took the stallions away from their mares - always a key-point in our annual pony management. I put them in adjoining stables where they could sniff and squeal at each other over the dividing walls, and rotated them into all the stables, so that after two and a half days they were thoroughly bored with each other. When I finally put them out together in a fresh field they were surprisingly settled, and there has only been the occasional half-hearted skirmish ever since.

Having removed the stallions, I was then able to gather the mares and foals into two bigger groups. I always look forward to seeing the foals together, and it’s good for them to meet others. They’ve had a limited group of ‘friends’ all summer, and now they are learning to mix with new friends - all good social skills.

26th July 2021

It’s always nice to hear when owners of our ponies have been out and about enjoying showing them. At the Three Counties show last month three year old Henry (Tawna Ever So Blue) achieved a worthy second place for his happy owner, Sandra. She is so pleased that this year there will be a few opportunities to show him in this, his final year in youngstock classes.

But it doesn’t even have to be affiliated shows - in fact it’s really heartening to know that the mini Shetlands can hold their own in mixed classes against all-comers - and it can be really rewarding to be involved with a different set of ‘horsey people’.

This is how two friends with their Tawna ponies enjoyed themselves at the St Austell Bay Equestrian Club’s show. Jane showing Martha and Sunny Jim, and Sue showing Rowan. It sounds as if they had a ball: Sue coming home with a first, second and third - most notably with Rowan winning the coloured class again; Jane’s ponies winning a first, two x second, and a fourth, and the icing on the cake?…two year old Sunny Jim taking Reserve Show Champion. The judge was super-impressed, not only by his physique, but also by his behaviour being so young. It was his first time in an indoor school, and walking on sand was a novelty, so Jane was more than pleased that he coped so well. Congratulations to you all.

14th July 2021

GREAT news from the Great Yorkshire show today…..Rubus’s fabulous son, Milday Ferresamo won his stallion class and was Champion Miniature…..again! What a boy. Well done Matthew - your journey south was well worth it!

Got to say we are very proud that some of Rubus’s other children bred here at Tawna have been performing so well recently - Angus, Alice and Ambrose (full brothers and sister), Jupiter, Orion and Sunny Jim (full brothers), Luna and Rowan. I tell Rubus of their successes. Not sure what he makes of it all - he’s quite happy to stay at home with his mares and foals.

11th July 2021

The foals are so funny . . . recently I have been introducing them to pony cubes by offering them, one piece at a time in my hand, and the way they cope is so varied . . . and amusing.

Crispin was the star of the bunch - first time I held my hand under his muzzle, he took the pony cube, and ate it right up. Several of the others either don’t know how to pick it up from my hand, or if they do get it into their mouth, they don’t understand that they should chew this small hard pellet.

Rosalea got the idea reasonably quickly, but her pal, Red Ember was hopeless. Every time I posted it into the side of his mouth he immediately spat it out again, but he was quite happy to continue playing that game. I was persevering, sitting on the ground with him and Rosalea when their daddy - Rio - wandered over. I gave him a handful of pony cubes and as he crunched his way through them, I fancied I could see the cogs whirring in Red’s brain as realisation dawned. He watched his dad intently, with his cute little ears pricked, and the very next time I offered him a piece he chewed it up and asked for more!

In another group, Charisma’s chestnut filly, Cherie, is quite shy and tends to stand back while her field pal, Mariner, comes up for a scratch and some fuss. However once she saw him taking pony cubes from me, her curiosity got the better of her, and she is now coming forward for her little treat, and is now far more confident about me touching her.

Some of the foals try and bite down into my hand with their teeth, while others are gentle and take the cube with their lips. It’s fascinating to see how they all tackle it in different ways. It’s only a small part of their education, but it’s good to see them learning new skills.

5th July 2021

Whilst we enjoyed dry showing conditions in Devon yesterday, friends suffered torrential rain at the popular Lamerton Hunt show back in Cornwall. Sue and Vic took their chestnut and white, three year old gelding - Rowan, and Jane and Alan took their bay and white mare - Tarantella (both Tawna ponies) and enjoyed their day. Despite the wet conditions, support for the show was strong and all the mixed classes that the Shetlands entered had ten or more entries.

Tara won a third, and 2 x fifth places, and Rowan had a third, a fourth, and excelled in the coloured class by winning it. Well done to all. Great to see the minis holding their own amongst all those other horses. The verdict from our friends - a soggy day, but great fun!

4th July 2021

I reckon it must be six years since we have been to the Devon County show. It is usually held in May, and entries have to be made in March, so we are never confident that our mares will have finished foaling by the time of the show. As we make it a priority to be at home for our pregnant ladies, we have been giving it a miss. Therefore an upside of the wretched covid pandemic has been a change of date to this week, so today Fiona L and I made an early start for Exeter.

The rings were as I remember - level with easy access, and equine vehicle parking is excellent. We just had two youngsters - Orion and Alice - to show today and were chuffed with two first places, and Orion being brought forward as Reserve Junior Mini Champion….though it was disappointing that at a County show they couldn’t muster a rosette for that achievement!

I felt that both inexperienced ponies performed better than last week - clearly getting more familiar with what is asked of them, although they both need more practise at standing nicely. Toby’s two Tawna ponies were both fourth in their classes, so all-in-all it was a successful day, and lovely to show at a County show again.

3rd July 2021

The foals all seem very slow to cast their foal coats this year. They’ve got their ‘spectacles’ which is giving a good indication of the colour they will eventually be, but seem reluctant to part with the rest of their fluff.

Rosalea has revealed more of her true colour than anybody else, and she is going to be a rich liver chestnut. With her white markings she is going to be very flashy. A second of Rio’s babies - Red Ember - is also going to be really dark. We love dark shades of chestnut so this pleases us enormously. Another boy who promises to be a stunning deep colour is Clarence. We have updated some of the photos on our foals page, but will continue to record them as they develop during the summer.

27th June 2021

Preparing four ponies, packing the lorry, remembering all the paraphernalia that is, or might be needed for our first show since 2019 has been quite challenging, but it was with great excitement that Fiona L and I set off for the SW Shetland Pony Group’s summer show this morning. I thought it would be rather strange meeting our fellow competitors who we haven’t seen for such a long time . . . but it was lovely to see everyone again, and it all seemed remarkably familiar as we settled into the usual pony-chat and catch-up in no time.

There was a marvellous turnout of Tawna ponies at the show  - it makes me so proud to see all the friends we have made through the ponies enjoying showing off their beautiful boys and girls, and of course enjoying the social side as well. I could not be more pleased with our own results - firsts for all four - yearling Orion, 2yo Alice, brood mare Celeste, and her foal Jupiter.

Sadly our’s was the only mare and foal entry, but that fact did not matter as the judge was so taken with eleven week old Jupiter - expertly shown by Fiona L - that our little chestnut boy was also chosen as Mini Junior Champ AND Reserve Overall Mini Champ. How fantastic! I must say Jupiter was wonderfully well behaved and stood and performed better than I could ever have hoped, although by the Supreme championship of the show he was clearly quite a tired baby. Thanks to Fiona, and also Sue who kindly led Celeste….on quite a few circuits of the ring.

Other Tawna ponies had an excellent day for their owners: 4yo Luna 3 x 1st + Reserve Senior Mini Champ in her first year in ‘grown-up’ classes, yearling Ambrose 1 x 1st and 1 x 2nd; 3yo Angus 1 x 1st, Reserve Junior Mini Champ + Champ Mini Gelding + Overall Champ Gelding, gelding Moonshine 4th; 3yo Rowan 3 x 2nd; yearling Pippin 3rd, yeld mare Cherish 5th; 2yo Sunny Jim 2nd, yeld mare Martha 2 x 2nd and 1 x 4th. Gosh, I hope I haven’t missed anybody. Well done everybody, and thanks to the committee for organising a lovely well-run show.

21st June 2021

To complete a great week of events, we heard yesterday that Pam had taken three year old Tawna Angus to another show in Devon and had exceptional results. There were over 90 horses and ponies pre-entered, so the classes were well supported. With three first prizes in mixed classes, Pam took Angus into the in-hand championship against show ponies, hunters etc . . . and took the Supreme! The judge LOVED him . . . and so did a lot of other people! Wow - that’s the way to go!

18th June 2021

What a week this has been for good news. Working backwards:

Thursday - Matthew Davidson’s Milday Ferresamo (I’ve seen any number of spelling variations, but that is his registered name) was Miniature Champion AND Supreme Champion at the prestigious Royal Highland show. This absolutely stunning six year old stallion is by our very own Tawna Rubus. At the same show in 2019 two other Milday sons of Rubus, and also belonging to Matthew, were Miniature Champion and Junior Champion. Well done Matthew - not only superb ponies, but expertly turned out.

Wednesday - having roused our horsebox from hibernation - since Autumn 2019 - and done the necessary preparations, we were immensely relieved when the old girl passed her MOT. I get extremely nervous as the ministry inspector pokes and pries, taps and tests, and issues sharp instructions. I get in such a state that I can’t even remember which is the clutch pedal and which is the brake!!!

Tuesday - after a very long wait, our final mare, Dolly Dimple foaled. We don’t think the foal was overdue, but last year she fooled us into thinking she was pregnant, so by the time we realised she wasn’t, she was late going to the stallion. She has had a tiny, and very pretty chestnut filly, by Champagne Charlie. It has been an extraordinary foaling season here: we have been on foal-watch since mid March - probably the longest span for foals arriving that we’ve ever experienced; the first six foals were all colts, then the following eight were all fillies - what are the chances of that?; it’s been a real year for red-heads - so many solid chestnuts from multi-coloured parents; and most importantly, every single birth was straight forward, with the foals correctly presented - another first I think.

Monday - a vet’s visit for flu jabs for the show ponies, two more foals microchipped, and the nerve-racking one….VVE for three year old Flash Harry. Shouldn’t have worried - he sailed through. It surprises me that some people seem to think that it’s a given that their much loved colt will pass, but a thorough examination by a good equine vet can throw up unexpected faults that completely kibosh future breeding plans. Harry measured in at 30.5”, and our vet who is very discreet and non-commital actually commented on Harry’s showy paces! Another mushroom stallion in our midst. We took some pics whilst he was clean and tidy and will put them on this website soon.

7th June 2021

When Pam decided to go to yesterday’s fun show at Cholwell in Devon, she made the conscious decision to only take three year old Angus so that it could be a relaxed and enjoyable day. As it turned out, it was anything but…..

En route to the show she and Vic were held up for an hour and a half by an accident on the main road which had happened only a few minutes before they came along. The emergency services were not even on the scene. When fire engines, police and ambulances did arrive they all had their sirens blaring, and Pam was amazed that Angus did not turn a hair . . . just carried on eating his hay. Well, after all, food is the number one priority for Shetlands!

Traffic was at a standstill for so long that it didn’t look as if they would get to the show at all, but as there were several competitors in the queue, the organisers had been notified, and kindly delayed the start of the show.

Although considerably shaken by events Pam was in time for her four classes, and Angus seemed unfazed, although a little tired by his final class. They came away with 2 x second, 1 x third, and a fifth.  

Then to cap it all, as they joined the main road on the way home another accident had just occurred - an articulated supermarket lorry had careered right through the central barrier into the oncoming traffic and jack-knifed. Vic and Pam were glad to get home from what turned out to be a very stressful Sunday.

3rd June 2021

Over the past few days I have been trying to take some updated pictures of our beautiful filly foals for this website . . . but ohh . . . it is so difficult! As they become more and more friendly, they just keep coming towards me, and I really want a side view of them. I could get any number of photos looking up their nostrils, or deep into their eyes! Also, as I line up one for a shot, there are usually two or three others pestering me for attention, jogging my arm, or getting in the way. It’s a problem, but a nice problem! After all, it’s wonderful to have them so tame at an early age.

Seeing the foals every day, one doesn’t always notice how much they have grown and filled out, but I have been looking back at pics of them when they were new, and it’s amazing how they have changed. Take a look at our ‘foals’ page to see the latest photos.

30th May 2021

It’s been a beautiful day and ‘Team Fi’ (two Fionas!) has made the most of it by starting basic halter training with some of the foals.

The foals have actually had several visitors recently and it’s great to see them all growing in confidence. They are more independent from their mothers, more curious, and getting nice and friendly. I don’t like to put a head-collar on them until they feel a degree of trust with humans, but it still comes as a big shock to the babies when they find themselves on the end of a leading rein and they can’t go just where they want.

We worked with seven of the babies this afternoon - not doing too much, but introducing them to the concept of wearing a headcollar, and endeavouring to get them to walk beside their mother in a relaxed manner. . . easier said than done.

Without doubt Rosalea accepted the training best . . . but we had two or three contenders for the worse behaved, but I was pleased that each of them settled to the idea, and walked nicely with their mums after a time. Going on past experience, the lesson they had today will be a valuable stepping stone, and we should see a marked acceptance of the headcollar/leading next time.

24th May 2021

It’s heartening that there will be a few horse shows to attend this year, although sadly most in our area have cancelled for the second year. After such a long time, I can’t help wondering if I will remember the process of preparing ponies, vehicle and myself ready for the first show! However Pam has dusted down her show outfit, show bridles etc, and she and Vic headed off to Devon yesterday for their first show since 2019.

They took two of their Tawna boys - Moonshine and three year old Angus - for the Fun show at Cholwell. The show was held in an indoor arena so covid rules were observed. Even though an informal show, it was good to see miniature Shetlands doing well against horses of all sizes and types, including classes for coloured, solid and youngstock: Angus won a first, and two seconds, and Moonshine won a first and a third. Pam was chuffed when the judge also complimented her on Angus’s obedience and good manners - he remembered all the training at home, and behaved and performed perfectly.

We don’t plan to be going to our first show until the end of June….so a bit more time to get those winter coats out.

23rd May 2021

It has been a remarkable foaling season here at Tawna: six colt foals, followed by six filly foals, all straight forward births, and trouble-free. I guess our luck couldn’t hold . . . last week, maiden mare Pansy, had a very pretty skewbald filly by Rio. The birth was easy, the foal was healthy and bright, and Pansy was a proud mum, but a couple of mishaps left the foal’s well being compromised, and I had to milk Pansy and feed the foal day and night. With veterinary help and our best attention, the darling little girl passed away - just eight days old. So sad for Pansy, and for us.

The time spent nursing that dear little filly was lost in a blur, but since then I have taken new photos of some of the foals and updated our ‘foals’ page. Just one mare still to foal….sometime.

10th May 2021

After weeks bringing Victoria in every night under the cctv camera, she finally foaled just before bed-time last night. Audrey and I have become very tired with our all-night and all-day watch, but that weariness is immediately forgotten as soon as a beautiful, healthy foal has arrived, and mother and baby are well. Victoria has had a filly - pale chestnut with flaxen mane and tail, and blond eyelashes - she’s going to be very glamorous. It’s unusual for our chestnut foals to be born with such a light mane - they are usually the same colour as the body at birth, then grow out lighter later on - but with both parents having fantastic flaxen manes, I guess it was inevitable.

What is also unusual is the distribution of the sexes - the first six foals were all colts, the next six have all been fillies! We’re perfectly happy with the average now, but it’s strange how it’s worked out. We’ve almost finished foaling now, so as long as they’re trouble-free and healthy, we don’t mind boys or girls!

30th April 2021

For weeks now we have been working towards the BIG day today - stallions going in with their mares. It doesn’t only involve those particular groups, but also preparing a field for the two young colts - Flash Harry and Orion to move into for the summer, plus another for the young fillies, and of course all the boys need to be kept as far apart as possible. We have been attending to gaps in hedges, mending gates, erecting electric fences, ensuring water supplies, harrowing fields, spot spraying weeds in empty fields etc etc.

After the driest April on record, there’s not as much grass as usual in some of the fields, but we are promised rain next week, and probably before long we’ll be worried that there’s too much grass. Our friend, Fiona, gave me an invaluable hand this morning to move all the mares and foals into their respective fields.

It’s a two-man job to get the foals to follow their mums through gateways. They often get to the point of balance, then turn back, especially if there are other mares eager to get through. Also, although we are way out in the sticks, there is still a lot more traffic on the roads nowadays. Once, I could happily and safely lead a whole bunch of ponies along our lanes to their fields, but it is now necessary to have someone else to wave down vehicles, although mostly, the drivers are enchanted and fascinated to see our little ponies trotting along the road in front of them and are happy to wait.

28th April 2021

Nearly two weeks ago several of our pregnant mares all appeared to be at a similar stage, near to foaling. Some now have their babies, but Florence and Victoria have lingered on . . . and on . . . and on. Audrey and I have been watching them intently day and night. By day they have been doing nothing but eat - not stopping to lie down, or have a rest, not even pausing to contemplate the world. By night they have lazed in their stables, bored and inactive.

Last evening I was rather later than normal bringing them in. After doing some jobs around the yard, I was overjoyed, as I walked through the gateway to fetch them in, to see Florence collapse heavily to the ground at the far end of the field. I watched, and moments later she was up, before taking a few steps, and going down again. At long last! She took no time to produce a beautiful skewbald daughter (by Mr Bojangle). Victoria was in attendance, so we’re rather hoping that she will now be inspired to have her baby . . . soon!

18th April 2021

Foaling has been fast and furious at Tawna this year; the latest addition was at 10.30 last night - a gorgeous chestnut filly from Charisma x Rubus. Up on her feet in no time, she was doing stumbling canters around the stable after only twenty minutes. Amazing.

Excluding Mack who was born early, that is nine foals in twelve days. No wonder we feel somewhat dazed. Today we have updated the foals page on this website with the photos I had already taken, but we’re two foals behind already! They will be added in due course. There are still some more mares to foal.

NB Some people have reported problems with getting our ‘Foals 2021’ page. I’m not technology-minded, but it seems that the website doesn’t automatically update on some devices. If you click on ‘Foals’ at the top of this page, and the ‘Foals 2021’ option doesn’t appear on the next page, try clicking on the refresh button. That should work, and if not, try going to a different page, then returning to the foals page. That’s as much as I know!!!

A little while after they have foaled, I give all the mares a pamper session. It’s nice to tidy them up and it gives me the chance to handle the foals and get them used to human contact. It was during one of these sessions that I discovered that the foal had not sucked - several hours after birth. The mare’s udder was tight as a drum, and by quietly observing the foal for a long time, I could see that he didn’t once find her teats. All he did was suck her stifles which were soggy with his saliva.

This is a classic sign of a ‘dummy foal’, but he seemed otherwise normal. Foals will never accept ‘help’ in finding the udder - they merely fight against the helping hand, so I milked some of her vital colostrum into a needle-less syringe and squirted it into his mouth. With a bit of persistence on my part, he got a taste for it and after an hour and a half he latched on to the milk bar and has not looked back since. Would natural instincts have succeeded to guide him to find the milk on his own? We’ll never know. Humans shouldn’t interfere if it can be helped, but it’s not worth risking with a newborn baby.

16th April 2021

Another day, another foal. After just one night in the stable, under the surveillance camera, Daisy-May decided she wasn’t going to do that again, and late this morning she lay down briefly in the field and shot out a lovely strong bay and white skewbald filly (by (Charlie). Without exaggeration, the whole affair was over and done with in five minutes. It’s no wonder we miss seeing some of them. It was a perfect sunny day for a new baby. She was on her feet in no time and soon exercising those bay and white legs around her patient mum. Well done Daisy.

15th April 2021

Goodness me!….for the third time this year, we have had two foals born on the same day.

In fact at the beginning of this week I told Audrey that there were five mares all at a similar stage, and I wouldn’t know which ones to bring in under the cctv at night. Luckily, now we have the outside, infra-red camera trained on the field, we can keep a close eye on more mares overnight. It’s generally acknowledged that mares tend to wait for night-time to foal, but strangely this year, several are doing it in daylight hours - which is very civilized of them.

Early evening yesterday, maiden mare, Rosetta, had a skewbald FILLY - yes I said FILLY. What a welcome arrival after six colts on the trot. This interestingly marked baby is another by Scenario. Rosetta seems perfectly chilled about being a first-time mum.

Then later in the evening Fuchsia also had a filly, this one by Bo. Chestnut with a full set of socks and a full-length blaze, she is a lovely strong baby. A full-length blaze is unusual for us; those with face markings usually have broken, or shortened blazes, so this is a nice change.

We are relieved that although a bit chilly, we have been having dry weather; with so many young foals, it would be quite a job to get them all into separate stables if it was pelting with rain.

14th April 2021

A friend joked “You just need one more chestnut colt foal and you’ll have a matched driving team!”….and late yesterday morning, Clarissa obliged. He is our very first foal by Champagne Charlie. I must admit, I expected a bay, or if we were lucky, a buckskin, so a creamy chestnut was a surprise. He is very pretty, with huge eyes - reminds me of a llama! Clarissa is proudly looking after him - first time experience for her as she sadly had a stillborn foal last year. It’s lovely to see her taking to motherhood so well.

10th April 2021

I repeat . . . you wait for one, and then two come along!! Yes two more foals have arrived, within a very short space of time from each other. Marina has had a chestnut colt (by Rubus) - a full brother to Mariella, Truffles and Flash Harry. Celeste has also had a chestnut colt (by Rubus) - full brother to Orion and Sunny Jim. The two mares are both by Kerswell Nutcracker, so that makes these colts, cousins, and half-brothers - I think. Anyway, at the moment, although they are so new, they look like a well matched pair.

7th April 2021

You wait and wait for one to come along . . . and then two arrive at once! After the excitement of Clementine foaling early yesterday morning, Agnes had her baby that evening. She had been ENORMOUS so I feared a huge foal, but in fact her little boy is surprisingly small from what is probably our biggest mare. Her chestnut colt is gorgeous - small, compact, sturdy and with loads of presence. He is very reminiscent of her last year’s Ambrose, but he was by Rubus, and this one is by Rio. Photos in a few days time.

6th April 2021

Our dear old mare, Clementine, has foaled - bang on her due date. Actually, with such a long gestation, mares can easily be several weeks either side of their expected date, and as our mares and stallions are together at pasture during the summer, we don’t always see them being covered to have a guiding date anyway.

However, Clemmy was due today, and at 3.50am she produced a pretty skewbald colt - our first foal by Rio. I was immediately impressed by his strength and balance . . . he didn’t take long to get to his feet, and once up, he stayed up. No tumbling over, or buckling legs!

Mother and son are out stretching their legs today while the sun is shining, but there is a very keen, cold wind, so they will come into a cosy stable tonight. Clemmy will disapprove as she likes being out, but I will give her a nice feed to appease her! This will be her final foal as we decided last year that we would retire her from breeding. She has done us proud with many super foals over the years, and now deserves an easier life . . . although it has to be said that she does like having babies.

4th April 2021

Amidst all the show cancellations, the NPS Area 10 (Devon) Spring Show committee forged ahead today, and pulled together a well supported event. Originally planned as an indoor show, they moved it outdoors to comply with social distancing/health regulations, and although bitterly cold, the sun shone throughout. The show attracted many top quality ponies as it offered umpteen coveted qualifiers.

Toby kicked off his showing season with two of his Tawna ponies in the mixed Dartmoor/Exmoor/Shetland classes. Luna - in her first year as a ‘grown-up’ - achieved a very creditable fourth in a strong class of eight, where she was the only mini…she looked so small! Ambrose, now a yearling, was the only Shetland in his class and although a little bit excited, he did well with a third placing. Let’s hope there will be several more opportunities this year for them to get out and strut their stuff!

1st April 2021

Uncertainty surrounding future restrictions due to the coronavirus has sadly led to at least four of our popular Cornish agricultural shows cancelling for the second year. Launceston, Liskeard, Camborne and Camelford had already made the difficult decision, and this week, the biggest blow was learning that our wonderful three day county show has joined them, despite having previously postponed from it’s usual early June date, to early September.

These events take an enormous amount of organising so their decisions are perfectly understandable, but it’s hugely disappointing for everyone involved. Being located on this long peninsula, we only have a limited number of relatively local shows to look forward to, but at least, at the moment, we know of three agricultural shows in Devon that are planning to go ahead . . . albeit in a revised format. Fingers crossed! We’re hoping that it’s possible that some of the various breed society regional groups will be able to put on some smaller events later in the year.

29th March 2021

Further to yesterday’s report on Tia’s baby, I can now confirm that he has a second small white spot - on his off-side elbow. I thought I saw it yesterday, but Tia was taking him off at high speed, so I wasn’t sure. Today she is somewhat calmer, and Audrey and I have been giving him a scratch, getting him used to our hands on him, and familiarizing him with our voices. He seems to be quite a placid little boy, and as full brother to last year’s Tequila who was super-friendly, I would expect him to have the same disposition.

28th March 2021

What joy! Our first foal has arrived, a little earlier than expected, but safe, sound and healthy. Tia Maria has had a strong upstanding colt with four striking white socks. He is by Mr Bojangle, and is likely to be black, but has the most beautiful silvery grey cast over his coat at the moment. The only additional white is a small spot right in the middle of his rump . . . a very minimally marked tobiano!

In the past week we have had a fabulous outdoor surveillance camera installed with infra-red night vision which is fantastic. I have only been using it for the past two nights to observe the most imminent mares out in the field. This morning I decided that Tia had progressed, and should come into one of the thoroughly cleaned and disinfected foaling stables to be more closely observed overnight, but she had other ideas. When I popped home for coffee and to check some other ponies this morning, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I returned to find her foal on his feet, and she had already cleansed. I was gone for about an hour and three quarters. If only they could all be that easy!

15th March 2021

The customary excitement, anxiousness and anticipation is beginning to build as we approach the time our mares give birth. It felt one step nearer yesterday when I decided it was time to bring the first mares away from their winter group, and into a fresh field nearer the house at Tawna. We will be able to observe them more frequently, and there is a better pick of grass to sustain them in their final weeks of pregnancy.

Another job that marked the season was introducing yearling colt Orion, to three year old colt Flash Harry. They are destined to be field pals this summer. They are both feisty boys, so they spent over half a day together in the yard, but parted by a post and rail fence. This allowed them to get most of their excitement over - amid the shrillest of squeals, and much posturing - and when I finally put them out together, there was the expected chase, but by unanimous agreement, they decided when they were tired, to stop, graze, and today they are the best of mates! They are a most attractive pair of boys - both by Rubus.

8th March 2021

What a difference a few consecutive dry days make. Andrew has been harrowing the fields, we’ve had several bonfires of hedge trimmings + garden prunings, and I am delighted to have trimmed all the ponies’ feet. I don’t think I have ever managed to do all of them in such a short span of time. This has been partially down to my lovely new foot clippers, which were a Christmas present from my thoughtful husband . . . yes we do go for practical gifts! These are so sharp and efficient that I have sailed through all those little feet.

All of a sudden, the mares have started casting their coats - great handfuls of fluff are coming out, and no doubt before long the birds will be glad of it for their nests.

26th February 2021

I can’t help laughing at some of our ponies: I am strip-grazing the brood mares and each morning they tend to stand, reasonably patiently, spaced along the electric fence, waiting for me to move it. We don’t approve of regular tit-bits, but currently we have a net of carrots from the farm store, and I occasionally dish out a chunk to each of the ponies.

Florence and Pansy always make sure that they are first in the queue, after which each mare waits for me to get to them with their treat . . . then I find Florence and Pansy again, at the end of the line-up! They remind me of those old panoramic school photos where every pupil from the whole school was arranged in tiers and had to stand very still while the camera panned from one side to the other. Invariably there would be some joker who stood to attention at the start, and then ran around the back to appear a second time. Florence and Pansy definitely have that same mischievous streak!

Dolly Dimple also makes me smile. She is a very friendly girl and as you approach her, she nods her head up and down. I don’t know why she does it, but it is an endearing characteristic.

10th February 2021

As expected, the joy of seeing flowers blooming and hearing the birds singing only a week ago, was false hope . . . Spring is ‘on hold’ again. Very strong and bitter Easterly winds have been blasting across the land. Even winter-flowering plants like my Hellebores have keeled over and are looking sad. The ponies’ water troughs have thick ice which needs to be broken, but fortunately two groups of our ponies are in fields bordered by small rivers so drinking water is not a worry for them.

The grass always grows earlier beside these waterways and doesn’t tend to become so frozen as elsewhere. Today the fillies were down in the valley finding a few blades of green, but they still appreciated their daily helping of hay. All the ponies are fluffy, and as the cruel wind has dried up the ground, they are also clean . . . apart from the fillies who have muddy legs from the boggy ground beside the river! As a friend commented - this is the weather that Shetland ponies are designed for!

3rd February 2021

It may only be 3rd February, but Spring is in the air. Birds singing, Hazel catkins, Crocuses and Snowdrops are out, and today I saw some wild Primroses struggling into flower. Of course we’ve got a long way to go yet before the risk of wintery weather leaves us, but the young colts are also feeling the effects of the season with surging hormones.

We have over-wintered three of 2020’s foals - two being colts - and lately they have been constantly scruffing and pestering each other. Sometimes they pick on Daphne, but as she’s so sober-sided, she’s not much fun and they go back to chasing each other. However it won’t be long before we have to separate the boys from the girl, and then they will go to live with Harry.

Harry is rising three and has spent the winter with the ‘big boys’ - the mature stallions. He is by far the youngest, and smallest, in the group but just recently he’s been trying his luck - antagonising the big boys. He just pesters and pesters them  - trying to provoke a reaction, but for the most part, they can’t be bothered. However I think he’ll get all the reaction he can cope with when he is introduced to Orion and Finley. I really don’t know who is going to be ‘top dog’.

We took some new photos of Harry In January, and they are now on our ‘youngstock’ page. Hopefully he will be put forward for licensing this year.

21st January 2021

HIP HIP HOORAY! I can hardly believe it, but . . . we have updated our ‘Current Stallions’ page . . . AT LAST!

It has been totally out-of-date for literally years, but as a complete idiot with technology myself, I have to rely on my husband to do this sort of thing. He really dislikes computers, but when he eventually got down to building the new page, I think he’s done a splendid job. Thank you Andrew!

We are immensely proud of our collection of boys, so I am chuffed to bits to finally be able to share images of them. They are all so characterful, and - in our eyes - fine examples of the breed. Keeping everything crossed that their babies arrive safely in a few months time.

10th January 2021

Last night we had a hoar frost which has left the countryside looking very pretty. It also produced an unexpected touch of magic amongst the stallions. They have recently been moved into a field of long coarse grass. The first stallion I came to was Rio, and I noticed that there were clusters of ice crystals on the ends of his beard. When I looked at the other boys, the tips of their long manes were encased in masses of tiny icicles - formed where they had dragged through the grass when grazing. As they moved their heads, the curtains of icicles caught the sun and sparkled like Christmas decorations. Quite enchanting.

4th January 2021

There is a bitter north-easterly wind blowing today - a real nose-running, finger-numbing blast, but luckily the sun is out too. The ponies are happy as can be - their coats are all fluffed up, and their eyes are shining bright. There have been precious few days this winter when they haven’t been wet, with their hair flattened down. As cold as it is now, these are the conditions in which this breed excels, with their thick double-layer coats. No molly-coddling rugs needed here!

1st January 2021


We wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy 2021.

Due to the covid 19 pandemic, the past year was one that many wish to forget - the whole world in turmoil, the ramifications of which will last for many years. Normal life has been turned upside-down, but we are so grateful to have our ponies and other animals to care for and to enjoy. We missed meeting up with our friends at the shows in 2020, but thank everyone who has kept in touch through emails with news, photos and videos. It’s so heartening to hear about our ponies leading great lives with their new owners. Let’s hope we can see each other properly in 2021, and it’s a better year in every way.

27th December 2020

Well that’s the bulk of the Christmas excitement over and done with. A lot of families had a pared-back Christmas, but ours is always low-key anyway, so it was much as usual. All the ponies had their Christmas morning treat - a piece of apple each this year - yes we are still benefiting from a neighbour’s windfalls! There’s often a little crisis here of some sort over the festive break . . . and true to tradition, it happened on Christmas Eve.

I did all the pony chores in the morning so that I could settle down in the afternoon to prepare for the next day. No sooner had I started than a neighbour phoned to report she had just seen a big horse wearing a rug go past the window and up the road, trailed by two Shetlands. Perplexed by this combination, but convinced the Shetlands must be ours, my husband and I jumped in the car and went in search of these miscreants. There are always halters in every vehicle - ready for such occasions.

Meeting a wide-eyed driver at the crossroads, we learnt which way they had headed, and that immediately sent alarm bells ringing with me, as they could be lingering in the road outside the stallions field  - and possibly tempting the boys out over the hedge. Indeed that is where they were, but luckily the stallions had not noticed! The runaways were two of our brood mares (who are on restricted grazing in a neighbour’s field), together with a 16hh black mare which I had seen locally once before, but didn’t know the name of the owner.

All captured, Andrew and I headed back with them to Tawna, as the only safe place for them was in the stables. The big horse was incredibly uncouth and it took all my strength to control her, but by remarkable luck I met some riders who were able to make a phone-call to trace the owner and she arrived within the hour.

It turned out that the big black mare had burst through her own electric fence, travelled through two adjoining fields, and exited on to the lane through an open gate. She had then come across our two mares who were in our neighbour’s ‘open-plan’ field, but behind a double strand electric fence. Needless to say, in her excitement, the big horse blundered straight through our fence - which would only have been knee-high for her! Electric wire broken, several fence posts snapped, crocodile clip ripped off it’s lead, but no person or animal was hurt, and all’s well that ends well . . . and the sprout-peeling was just delayed by a couple of hours!!

14th December 2020

Bulging, blooming and beautiful! That would be a fair description of our mares at the moment. Despite the mostly wet conditions they are looking well, and every day it’s exciting to look at those expanding tummies. I often have a little ‘discussion’ with the girls about what they have cooking inside. Some of them look at me very earnestly as I witter on, others walk off - as if to say “Do leave me in peace!”

7th December 2020

It’s been very strange for us at Tawna to have a whole year with no shows, and I’m particularly sorry that our young ponies - both here, and ones we have sold to would-be competitors - have missed out on that experience. They are my favourites to show - love training them, seeing their reactions to new situations, and seeing them develop - both physically and mentally. Our beautiful skewbald yearling, Alice, was one of my prime candidates for this year, but I am delighted that yesterday her baby brother did the biz at a show.

The equestrian centre at Cholwell in Devon has been running a variety of carefully-managed shows under government regulations, and this was their All Breeds Foal and Youngstock show. Postponed from last month, it was eagerly anticipated by the competitors . . . not least Toby with Tawna Ambrose - his new mini Shetland, Alice’s brother. Apparently Ambrose loaded, travelled and behaved perfectly, and impressed the judge for a first place in the Shetland/Exmoor/Dartmoor foal class, which was the first class of the day. There were a further fourteen foal classes, but worth the wait, because Ambrose was awarded Overall Reserve Champion Foal. What a fab start to what we hope will be a brilliant show career.

22nd November 2020

Mild, murky and mizzly sums up the November conditions here, and as such, we had to keep the remaining foals in for several days to get them dry enough to take their final 2020 photos. Even then, Daphne was still damp and dirty on her (very broad) white rump, but we did the best we could - on yet another damp day. As well as ‘our keepers’, we like to get photos of all the sold babies before they go - they have changed and developed so much during the summer. They are all updated on our ‘Foals’ 2020 page now.

Orion, Finley and Daphne will spend the winter at Tawna, until the colts get too full of themselves next spring, and then they’ll be separated and run with slightly older ponies of their own sex who will teach them the ropes.

14th November 2020

Tawna ponies featured in two other winning photos in the GEMS competition, one of which belonged to our friend Pam. The category was for Fancy Dress, and the pony was the very lovely, light bay, Tawna Prudence (Kerswell Nutcracker x Tawna Cornish Piskey) - one of the first two miniature Shetland foals that Pam and Vic purchased from us.

Pru was a stunning girl and won any amount of prizes in both breed and M & M classes, but in the photo in question she was in an entirely different role - as Rudolph, with Pam as a very cheeky-looking Christmas elf. Pru had a marvellous temperament and would have made a superb child’s riding pony, but sadly her life was cut short at just five years old. It’s rather touching that Pru can still achieve a posthumous win, albeit dressed as a reindeer!

10th November 2020

What an exciting day it has been….

Firstly, a package arrived in the post with two beautiful rosettes - a first and a reserve champion - won in the GEMS annual photo competition. They were for this photo of our lovely Celeste with her handsome baby, Orion, taken this summer. I was lucky to catch them in this pose, both looking at me, with the glorious background of trees. A moment later Orion was on his feet and striding towards me to say hello. GEMS rosettes are always special, but I have to say the reserve champion one is mouth-wateringly gorgeous!

Next, the big event of the day - having some of our mares scanned for pregnancy. We have never done this before, but decided that it would be very helpful with these particular mares so that they can be managed accordingly this winter. They were all plenty fat when they went to the stallions back in the summer, and are still carrying too much weight. It was thrilling to hear that three are definitely in-foal - all by different stallions. Now those mares will join the rest in the maternity group, and we’ll endeavour to slim down the empty girls, and maybe even put them with the stallion earlier than usual next spring.

The final highlight of the day was a nice little piece on our early evening, regional, television news about Tawna Patrick who lives in South Devon and is being very thoroughly trained to become a therapy pony. He looks as if he will be well suited to all sorts of situations because the film showed him completely at ease in the pub, in a shop, in a lift, walking down the high street, and even riding on a bus!!

6th November 2020

Dear Bo (Milday Mr Bojangles) is - inadvertently - our only ‘good boy’. Yesterday all the other stallions had escaped from their field. Fortunately they only got into an enclosed farm lane, and then in with our neighbour’s cattle, but Bo was left on his tod - by virtue of the fact that he didn’t see the others making their bid for freedom. His forelock is so long and thick that he can’t really see anything. When he first arrived at Tawna I plaited his forelock but he hated it. I often see him in the field, head up, turning in different directions, ears pricked - trying to tell where sounds are coming from.

Anyway, he was the only one left in the field, and he was a little agitated. The rest had squeezed out of a gap behind the gatepost. I have been aware of it for some time, but considered it was too small, and too low, to pose a problem. However the boys thought they would try their luck . . . and succeeded. The ‘hole’ was actually where some of the stone and earth bank had fallen away at the base, but strangely was still intact at the top. It must have been a very tight fit for some of those lads, and I reckon the only way they could have got through would have been by sliding out on their bellies. It would have been quite entertaining to watch!

1st November 2020

We have a mini mud monster! It seems that Orion has a penchant for dirt - typical boy!

The foals have been in a field with two gateways, one of which holds the water, forming a large puddle. The foals really like spending their time pottering around in that particular gateway and have created a much larger muddy surround, with the middle being stirred into a slurry of liquid mud . . . and Orion likes sitting in it! He’s been coming in at night absolutely dripping. So far he hasn’t actually rolled - it’s only his under-carriage, hind legs and tail that are filthy. I am about to move the foals into a fresh meadow, bordered on one side by a small stream . . . even more potential for mud!!!

In contrast to Orion, we have taken photos of four clean foals, before they left us for new homes. Check out Dulcie-Belle, Curio, Pippin and Ambrose on our ‘Foals 2020’ page. We think they are all beauties.

21st October 2020

In a normal year we would aim to get most, if not all the youngsters out to at least one show each. We like to ring the changes and give them that valuable experience, but . . . this has been anything but a normal year. I’m particularly disappointed that the young ponies have missed out, but hopefully there will be a chance next year.

Of course we would have photographed them too - once bathed and brushed, and looking their best. It’s good to keep a record as they mature, and we always find it interesting to compare with earlier photos.

When we had some lovely fine days last week we took the opportunity to get some pics of the yearling and two year old fillies. No preening and polishing - three of the girls were au naturale out in the field, but they did oblige by stopping grazing and lifting their heads long enough for me to get a picture. Betsy on the other hand was posed for the camera, with a quick brush out of her mane and tail . . whilst loose in the field, eating is her number one priority, and a look at her belly confirms this!!! Check out the girls on our youngstock page.

18th October 2020

Our two gelded colt foals left us for their new homes this weekend. Both are staying local, and we will be seeing them when the shows can start again. Pippin has gone to live with his half sister - Cherish (sire Kerswell Sprite), and Ambrose has joined his two half sisters - Luna and Izzy Wizzy (sire Tawna Rubus). There’s bound to be a bit of settling-in time, but hopefully it won’t be too long before everyone is the best of friends.

The two boys are such little characters - I know their new owners will enjoy having them. In the past week I wanted to ensure that they would load easily, so I shut them in the yard with the lorry ramp down. I knew they’d be curious to try it, but as an extra incentive I scattered a few chopped apples up the ramp and in the lorry. Returning later, it was easy to see that they’d been up the ramp . . . the apples were gone! I walked up the ramp to see if the ones inside had been eaten and the boys skipped up, right behind me. When I came to practise leading them up, there was no hesitation. Job done!

9th October 2020

Dulcie-Belle was collected by Allwood Horse Transport on Tuesday to travel to Shropshire. Both Curio and Dulcie were bought sight-unseen, but during the summer we have been in frequent contact with their purchasers - receiving photos of their new homes and facilities, and I have sent photos of the foals as they have developed. It was quite sad when they left, but both the new owners could not have been more effusive in their joy with the foals. Dulcie has been pronounced “perfect”, and Curio was described as “awesome” six times in a single phone conversation!! That makes us VERY happy!

The anticipation through eleven months of gestation, the sleepless nights, the worry, and constant watching at foaling time, then the following five-six months seeing those foals mature, grow in confidence and develop their individual personalities is all so worthwhile when they go to wonderful new homes with fabulously appreciative new owners.

4th October 2020

There are going to be some mighty fat squirrels this winter! The storm has brought down thousands of acorns; the ground under the oak trees is carpeted, and as I drive along our little country lanes, I am often accompanied by the sound of acorns crunching under the tyres. Audrey says walking down the little lane from her house is like walking on ball bearings! Despite all the areas in the fields that I have fenced off with electrified tape, the proliferation of acorns is frustrating my plans for the various groups of ponies by limiting the areas we can use.

The stormy weather continues; we have had heavy rain all day today. Our second group of foals to be weaned are currently coming in at night  - without the mares - and going back with their mums by day. In the evening I usually have to bring the mares into the yard to entice the foals in, then quickly whip the mares out again. This evening, as the rain beat down, I called them at the gate and the foals piled in immediately, before the mares could get there . . . they didn’t have to be asked twice to come into their nice cosy stables!

2nd October 2020

Aww…our lovely Curio left us today - the first of our babies to fly the nest. He’s a really special boy with oodles of presence and personality, so he will be sorely missed. He’s got a long journey up to Yorkshire with Supreme Horse Transport. Shame that the ferocious Storm Alex hit us today, and will no doubt make the journey hard work with such a strong head wind. I was chuffed that the driver said that after six years of transporting hundreds of horses, she had never seen a foal load so well. Clever boy!

23rd September 2020

Glad we’ve got yesterday over and done with - vet came to do two foal castrations and five microchip-ings. These were the remaining foals who are still running with their mothers. We had some of the foals microchipped a while back so their passports would be ready for them to travel to their new homes.

We have also just weaned the first group of foals, so are keeping an eye on them and watching their mothers for signs of mastitus. There has been so much grass that they have been milking like dairy cows. With so many lush fields, I have been worried about where to put them to dry them off. In the end I have used other ponies to graze off a little poor-quality meadow, and put the newly weaned mares there temporarily.

A major seasonal problem here is acorns. This area is blessed with masses of trees, but this year there is an absolute glut of acorns, and they are huge. Audrey doesn’t recall ever seeing such a crop. I don’t think we have a single field without oak trees, either on the hedges or overhanging. Given the chance, the ponies get hooked on eating the fallen ones off the ground. I don’t think just a few would cause problems, but they would hoover up every one if they could, probably with dire consequences. To prevent this, I already have five separate areas protected with electric fencing . . . and have had to go to the local farm store for more plastic fence posts in order to be able to use some other fields. What a problem. We need some nice little piggies to snuffle them all up. The birds and squirrels usually get rid of the acorns eventually, and the other day Audrey saw a deer in behind the electric fence, delicately picking them up.

9th September 2020

I hate to say it, but I think our Swallows have left already - so early. That heralds the end of Summer for me, although it has been feeling very Autumnal in the evenings for weeks. The ponies certainly think so with their thick winter coats coming through. The foals are all well grown, in great condition and looking good. They are - mostly - becoming really independent. Pippin is rather a ‘mummy’s boy’ and tends to cling to Clementine more than any other pair does, but that is probably because she is still a possessive mum and frequently calls him back to her.

However it is time to start thinking about weaning so we have taken all the stallions to a distant field to clear the way, and the first three mares and foals have come back to Tawna. During the Summer all the foals have had an introduction to being led, but now the foals can come into the stables I am looking forward to handling them more and getting them leading properly. It always amazes me how quickly they learn, and actually enjoy the new adventure of leading along the lane and seeing different things, being groomed, loading into the lorry etc.

26th August 2020

It’s been a very tricky summer for making hay. The brief periods of real sunny conditions have been tightly sandwiched between frequent wet spells. I wish we could have sent some of our precipitation - and abundant grass - to our friends in the South East who have apparently been dry and short of grazing! Despite the difficult conditions here, we have managed to harvest three fields of hay - on separate occasions - without a drop of rain falling on it, although it has been a close call each time.

A few days ago we were moving a load from the storage in the field, and when I turned around from setting up the electric fence I found the trailer surrounded by a crowd of our ponies giving the hay a taste test. Looks like it’s got the thumbs up!

16th August 2020

Success! The stallions + Flash Harry are all settled in one group. They are remarkably calm and it’s great to see them all together. It’s always a nerve-wracking time when we re-introduce them, but taking it steady seems to be the answer.

The foals are getting to look so grown-up now. All but Mariella have cast their foal coats, and are starting their thicker winter coats already. Mariella on the other hand still looks like a teddy bear, with just her face and legs clear of fluff. I think she will hang on to it now until next spring. Shame - I was looking forward to seeing the little cutie-pie under that coat! We have updated the photos on out foals page.

11th August 2020

Mathematical problems have never been my forte, so the logistics of introducing all our stallions to each other in an orderly manner has had me scratching my head. We never just turn them together and hope for the best; we do it gradually to hopefully minimise any aggression, and then they will stay together until the end of April next year.

There are seven boys - yes that is rather excessive! - and we have four adjoining stables where they can sniff and squeal at each other over the low walls. I don’t even know how many permutations that presents, but luckily about ten days ago we did re-introduce four of the boys, so that hurdle was over and they have been out in a nice fresh field together. There are little skirmishes from time to time, but on the whole they haven’t been too bad.

Now we are introducing the other three, so I have actually drawn a chart to make sure everybody has met everybody else, before we put them out together. Ticking the boxes makes it so much easier! The stallions do make me laugh; they make such strange noises - anything from shrill squeals, to deafening roars! The neighbours must dread this time of year! Rio (Breckenlea Scenario) only arrived here from Shetland last Autumn, and as we didn’t want to disrupt the harmony of the already-settled boys, he spent the winter with yearling colt - Flash Harry. Flash Harry - now two years old - has spent the summer with Clarius, therefore both Rio and Harry are new introductions to the group.

10th August 2020

We have good cause to celebrate on two counts. Firstly our three year old palomino - Tawna Champagne Charlie has just passed his VVE and is now a licensed stallion. We had planned to put him forward in April, but with the lock-down that obviously did not happen, so it is thrilling that at last he has been officially given the seal of approval. We bathed him beforehand, and were quite shocked at how grubby his mane and tail had become. A good shampoo-ing and they came up so light and bright - very glam! New pic of him on our youngstock page.

Secondly, by rights we should also be breaking out the champagne to celebrate our stud’s 60th anniversary! Audrey bred her first registered Shetland foal in 1960. The mother was a brown mare - Longmead Chocolate Bun (seen here with Yours Truly) - and the sire was Avening Coffee Cream. That first foal was Tawna Crumpet who became a 34.5” foundation mare for the stud, and the grand-dam of the prolific mare - Tawna Custard Cream, who produced an incredible 18 foals for us and then enjoyed good health and retirement well into her thirties - marvellous.

28th July 2020

We’ve got unicorns! Yes - pretty little mini unicorns.

Not sure if they are magical, but I do know that our ponies have been grazing beside the hedge, amongst the burdock plants, and are laden with the sticky burrs. They’ve managed to get manes, tails and beards entangled, and in the case of some of the foals - their forelocks, giving some of them the appearance of a protuberance from the top of their heads.

Curio is the best example; his mane and forelock tend to still stand fairly upright anyway, and now his forelock is all matted into a tightly twisted ‘horn’ . . . very fetching! I’ve managed to tease some of the burrs out, and have now gone along that particular hedge with secateurs and cut off the offending plants . . . wish I’d remembered to do it sooner!

19th July 2020

It’s one of my favourite times of year - putting (nearly) all the mares and foals together in one field. Many thanks to Fiona Lawrence for helping me sort them. We haven’t quite got a field ready for the stallions yet, so they have all been left in their own summer pastures, each with just one mare for company. So far we have seven mares with their foals in the field where we carried hay last week. The overhanging trees on the hedges mean there’s a wide verge of long grass left uncut, so there is plenty for the ponies to browse over, plus the rain immediately after we cleared the field has brought on a nice fresh pick.

These ponies have spent the past few months in four different groups, so there is curiosity, jealousy, upsets and new friendships amongst the foals. It is a valuable part of their education to meet different ponies. The foals are pretty independent now, and are quite happy to wander far away from their mums, but some of the mares - particularly Clementine and Daisy May - are still very protective of their babies and are rushing - glaring - at any others that stray too close!

I am just in the process of moving the youngstock fillies into that field as well . . . the mares definitely don’t approve of them coming near. There’s a bit of squabbling at the moment, but they will sort themselves out, and the fillies must learn to respect the older ponies.

30th June 2020

The last day of June already, and the foals seem slow to cast their baby coats this year. I’d have thought that the long, hot, dry spell back-along would have hastened them casting, but maybe instinct told them that we were then in for this long, cooler, wet spell. The only baby to make a significant change is Finley. He has almost completed his transformation from black to blue roan, but most of the others have little more than their faces showing their summer coat.

Although we have the SPSBS registration forms already, we won’t complete them until the foals are showing their true colours and markings. Unfortunately the stud book is full of ponies which have been incorrectly described due to registering them too early, which can be misleading when researching pedigrees.

All the foals had their first halter training session last week. They were surprisingly good; none were particularly upset about the experience, so I expect them to progress well on their next lesson. They are all friendly and confident, and - after the initial shock of being lightly restrained on a lead - are sufficiently independent now that they enjoy doing something different. They were all wormed a few weeks ago, and about half of them, so far, have had their first foot trim, so their education is progressing well.

21st June 2020

Tawna (not Twana as in the report on the attached link!) Patrick who was mentioned here earlier in the year as a regular visitor, and Guiness-drinker at his local pub in South Devon has been bestowed a great honour. The lock-down has curbed his drinking habits, but he has been very busy doing useful work and raising the spirits of isolated people. He is the first Shetland to be selected as a ‘Hero Horse’ for the War Horse Memorial and Purple Poppy Fund. This is the link:

https://bit.ly/2Yc0iZV There is a lovely photo of Patrick with Annie - the first ‘Hero Horse’.

15th June 2020

Due to technical problems our website has been ‘off air’ for a few weeks . . . something to do with the server and ‘migration’ - all way beyond my comprehension. All sorted now, and the foal page has been updated with some new pics and marked with those already sold. There has been an amazing amount of interest in our foals - even before they were born, and we are extremely pleased that those sold will be going to fantastic homes. Unfortunately our available foals couldn’t meet all our potential customers’ required combinations re desired colour, filly v colt, particular bloodlines, but we always live in hope for next year!

Our own hopes for some late foals were dashed this year. Audrey and I were absolutely convinced that we had three more heavily pregnant mares. We have been diligently watching, and feeling, and studying, and discussing, but when we worked out the latest date that they could reasonably be expected to foal we came to the conclusion that they had fooled us! They are now in with their respective stallions . . . and they STILL look the size and SHAPE of expectant mums!!!

28th May 2020

Our very pretty blue roan and white mare - Pansy, was covered by a stallion last year, but decided she is not ready for motherhood yet. She was way overweight, so maybe not surprising that she didn’t take. This year we have managed to slim her down quite a bit and she’s looking really lovely, so we have put an updated photo of her on our ‘current mares’ page - almost out of her winter coat. Her beau this time is our smart new stallion Breckenlea Scenario, so fingers crossed for 2021.

21st May 2020

How beautiful is this?

I came across this gorgeous baby in one of our fields - beside a little stream, in a copse of willow trees. It was curled up, fast asleep when I first spotted it. By the time I returned with my camera it had woken up, but stayed absolutely still.

There was no need for the zoom on my camera…I was really this close. What a wonderful encounter with nature!

18th May 2020

Whilst government restrictions mean hairdressing salons are out of bounds, many women (and maybe some men) are possibly bemoaning the fact that their ‘roots’ are showing through in their natural, but unwanted, colour. This occurred to me today when I was examining Daisy May’s chestnut filly - Dulcie-Belle. Born with a chestnut mane, each shaft of hair is now graduated in colour, from the red tip down to the root which is blonde! How lovely. I thought she would be flaxen, but it is a curious thing that the chestnuts are not born with blonde manes. I expect her tail will match.

12th May 2020

No chance of taking a photo of the latest arrival yet . . . Marina is her usual foal-proud self and taking her baby off at great speed. She’ll settle down in a day or two. I did take photos of some of the others last week, so their pics are updated on our foals page. They are so friendly that I have the dickens of a job . . . I’d have no trouble if I wanted to take a view up their nostrils! No matter how many times I push them away, they rebound back before I can get them in focus. Tequila was in the process of swivelling back toward me, but it was the best I could manage!

A neighbouring farmer has several fields of maize. The modern method when planting is to cover the ground with strips of ‘plastic’ to get the plants off to a good start. It looks and feels like cling film, but apparently is not actual plastic - it is a plant derived product, and it dissolves into the soil after a few weeks. However the ferocious wind in the last couple of days has sent the ‘plastic’ all over the parish. This morning I have been picking up long strips of it from some of our fields - three or fields down-wind from the source, and the hedges are draped in it. It might well break down and disappear in time, but currently it poses a very serious choking hazard to grazing animals, and especially our curious foals.

10th May 2020

Ahh . . . Marina had a visit from the filly fairy last night - a sweet little, rich chestnut girl by Rubus. She is very pretty with four short white socks, although one is just a white band around the coronet. Needless to say Marina is extremely proud of her and is energetically exercising her around the field. It seems ages since our last foal which was a fortnight ago. The final mares to foal look as if they are more than two weeks away, but we will stay on the alert as they might take us by surprise.

30th April 2020

It’s been a very busy few days - sorting mares and stallions into their summer groups. We always aim to get the majority of them together at the end of April/beginning of May, and the final group should hopefully be introduced tomorrow. Then there will only be the mares who have not yet foaled to be added in, in due course.

I have been really looking forward to the ‘big sort out’ because the stallions have been getting quite aggressive with each other. All winter they have been quite a companionable group, but of late, it’s been obvious that their hormones are racing, and they are aware of the time of year!

It takes considerable planning to ensure there are enough fresh fields, well apart, and suitable for the number and condition of the ponies to go into them. For example, Bo’s group includes two mares without foals, both of which will have to be watched for laminitis. Therefore that group are close to Tawna so that we can manage them, and whip those mares out and into ‘Slimmer’s World’ if needs be. In another group all the mares have foals at foot so they can go in a field with better grass, further from home.

The fields have also been prepared: Andrew has harrowed and rolled; a couple of fields have required him to cut and lay perimeter hedges; another field needed a new gate; one field needed an electric fence set up; I’ve had to sort out water supplies to some fields, and this afternoon I have been stuffing stones down rabbit holes!

We have a terrible rabbit problem in one field - despite several cats, and no doubt - foxes, hunting there. Not only do the rabbits dig out the hedges, but also create a considerable number of holes of varying depths out in the field. I have an absolute horror when turning ponies into a new field, of any of them breaking a leg in a hole whilst galloping around. Anyway, I feel much better now I’ve done that . . . and after the lock-down we must try and get someone to come and reduce our bunny population!

26th April 2020

Another bundle of joy arrived at Tawna about 1.15 this morning. Our beautiful mare, Celeste, had a very pretty skewbald colt, by Rubus. For more than a week she has been staring wistfully through the gate into the field with the other mares and foals, and at least twice a day I have said to her “Just get on and have your foal then you can join them”. Unfortunately I might have to break that promise, because depending on the amount of rain we get this week, I might be bringing them into the stable instead.

25th April 2020

After the vast quantities of rainfall last winter, who’d have thought that in only the fourth month of the year we would be saying “we desperately need rain!” The long dry spell has allowed us to get on with a lot of outdoor jobs at last, and it has been wonderful for the foals who have been playing, racing and snoozing . . . in between a lot of visits to the milk-bar.

There is some rain forecast for the coming week so I thought I’d get some updated pics of the foals before they get wet. Most were obliging and posed beautifully for me . . . eventually. Take a look at our foals page. It’s amazing how quickly they fill out, become more adventurous and develop their individual characters.

16th April 2020

Did I mention an expected lull in foaling? Our mares had different ideas . . . two more foaled before nightfall yesterday.

A couple of days ago Florence suddenly started dripping milk so we were on the alert. I have been worried about her as, at the age of seven, this is her first foal, and whenever I have felt her udder to gauge her progress (which I started doing in early March), she has been irritable. That is completely out of character for her because she is normally fearless, bold and loves attention. None of the other mares have behaved in this manner.

Maybe she’s ticklish, but once again, yesterday morning, she swung away from me, did some token ‘cow kicks’ and swished her tail when I checked her. I was concerned that at the crucial first stage, she wouldn’t tolerate her newly born foal suckling, but I need not have worried . . . she absolutely loves him, he is as lively as a cricket, and all natural instincts have kicked in! Last evening she was so excited she was nipping him - a little too roughly for my liking, but he’s fine, and she’s calmed down slightly today. She has had a tiny colt by Sprite. He is black with short hind socks, and I think he might turn roan later.

Daisy May is an old hand at having babies, but didn’t really give us any signs that she was about to foal. She has had a super chestnut filly by Mr Bojangles. Last year Daisy’s full sister - Dolly Dimple, had an outstanding colt by Bo, so it looks as if this is genetically a good pairing.

Whereas Florence is obviously so thrilled with her new bundle of joy, Daisy is totally chilled and is more interested in eating.

12th April 2020

Well we have certainly received a couple of Easter treats . . . of the non-calorific kind! The two mares that we have been waiting for have finally foaled. In the early hours of Good Friday Agnes had a gorgeous chestnut colt, and on Easter Saturday Charisma had a jazzy skewbald colt with distinctive face markings. Both foals are by Rubus.

Charisma could not have been more obliging. I brought her into the stable sometime after 7pm, but I suspected she was really close. Her demeanour was different and her shape had altered slightly. After observing her for a few minutes I decided to put her out again and left her to it while I removed the other mare from the field. Her foal was out on the ground before 7.45 . . . textbook stuff!

We’ll get photos on to our ‘Foals’ page in the next few days. We think there will be a little lull now before the next arrivals.

9th April 2020

There was a sudden population explosion here for a few days last week, then everything went quiet again. Four mares foaled in four days, but sadly we lost one foal - a mal-presentation and he just took too long to be born. So very sad, but thankfully the mare is ok. The other foals are an absolute delight, and Andrew has now set up the ‘Foals 2020’ page where you can see them.

Currently we have two mares who are apparently very imminent, but they seem to have other ideas. As I was bringing in one of them this evening to stable overnight under the cctv camera, not thinking about anything in particular, a familiar sound penetrated my brain - over and above the tremendous chorus of bird song. It was the first Swallows of the year - a pair zig-zagged right over the meadow. What a joyful sight and sound to behold in these troubled times.

1st April 2020

Yay! At last, something to cheer us up amidst all the dreadful doom and gloom . . . Fuchsia has presented us with our first foal of the season - a strong, well marked filly by Rubus. Clementine was waxed up more than two weeks ago, and has had clear drops then milk drops on her teats for days. Fuchsia hasn’t apparently altered for the past fortnight, yet she was the one to foal. We’re hoping the sight of the new baby will inspire Clementine to pop now!

29th March 2020

Audrey and I absolutely love the two fillies that we retained from last year’s super crop of foals, and were looking forward to seeing them both out in the yearling class at last Sunday’s SW Group show. We would have taken photos of them once smartened up, but as the show was cancelled we have been out in the field and taken some pics anyway . . . not presented to show standard, but at least dry, and clean-ish. Take a look on our ‘Youngstock’ page.

21st March 2020

We have a pair of miffed mares at Tawna! Most of the Foaling Meadow can be seen from the house, so it’s ideal for keeping an eye on the imminent mares, but the current residents - Fuchsia and Clementine, have taken to spending nearly all daylight hours squeezed into a corner concealed by the curve in the hedge. Audrey checks on them umpteen times a day, so it is disturbing to have ‘lost’ the ponies. I have combated this by running an electric fence across the corner, and I swear - Fuchsia is giving me the dirtiest looks now her little ploy has been foiled!

18th March 2020

Ahh…Patrick didn’t appear on the TV after all. Not surprisingly the fast-paced changes about the Coronavirus took precedence in the programme, and Patrick’s birthday party in the pub had to be cancelled too. He still had a great time though, and one of the This Morning presenters personally delivered a card from the team.

Like us, many of our pony friends look forward to the showing season - especially after such a wet and miserable winter, but the organisers are having to make major decisions regarding their events. Many are cancelled, and our own County show has been moved from June to September. They did the same when Foot and Mouth was endemic. Though there are far greater issues at stake nationwide this time, it’s good to look forward to the return to normal life . . . whenever that may be.

Here at Tawna, it’s certainly business as usual. The mares are heavily pregnant, the most imminent are in the ‘Foaling Meadow’ for observation, and the foaling stables have been thoroughly cleaned out, scrubbed, disinfected and bedded up - ready for action.

16th March 2020

We all need something light-hearted to cheer us up in these depressing times, so try and watch or record ITV’s This Morning TV programme tomorrow morning (Tuesday). Patrick is going to be on the programme to help celebrate his birthday. There is not a firm time, but it’s likely to be around 10am. He has become such a little star that he now has his own facebook page - try googling Adventures of Patrick the Celebrity Pony

8th March 2020

As I walked up across the field this morning to check the brood mares some of them were partially obscured over the brow. They were all more or less in a group, apart from Fuchsia who was way off to one side. I could only see the top half of her to start with, and was highly alarmed at her unnatural movements. She was throwing her head up, as if in pain, and waving it around. Although not due yet, I instantly wondered if she was foaling and in trouble. Initially I couldn’t see whether she was lying or standing, and as I hurried towards her I feared the worse.

I needn’t have worried . . . as the rest of her came into view, all became clear . . . she was standing astride a fallen tree branch and having the most wonderful belly scratch. Total bliss!

5th March 2020

When we sold the handsome young Patrick to Kirk and Hannah in December, little did we realise that in just a couple of months he would become a media star! Kirk has been furthering Patrick’s education, and ‘de-sensitising’ him in preparation to become a therapy pony, as well as to break him to harness in the future.

Much of the ‘education’ has involved taking him into the local pub where he has become a very popular attraction. The local media got hold of the story, and interviewed and filmed Kirk with Patrick. With a name like ‘Patrick’, Kirk thought it would be a bit of fun to offer him a drink of Guinness, and guess what . . . he loves it!!! The story has now become national and this great picture appeared in the Independent’s news-stream amongst many others.

What’s more, the pub owner is throwing a birthday party for Patrick’s second birthday on St Patrick’s day - 17th March…can’t be bad for business can it. By the way, Kirk assures me that Patrick only has a slurp or two . . . I wonder what happens to the rest?!

1st March 2020

The rain and gales have continued, with the addition this week of hail and sleet. It was a pleasure to welcome John and June from the Milday stud, but it was such unpleasant conditions to show them around the ponies on Tuesday. It’s not how we would wish to present our animals - muddy, sodden and bedraggled - however J & J insisted that they enjoyed themselves, and actually all the ponies seemed bright enough despite everything.

On the rare occasions that it’s not been raining I have found some of the brood mares lying down - resting their legs. Their tummies are getting pretty heavy now, and we’re excited and nervous as foaling time draws nearer.

I can’t believe that it’s only three weeks to the SW Group’s Spring show. How will we ever get any of our ponies fit to take before a judge?! Haven’t even decided who we will take yet. Maybe IF we get some dry days things will be more encouraging.

23rd February 2020

As mentioned before, all our fields are surrounded by Cornish hedges - stone and earth banks covered in vegetation and topped with trees and bushes. We don’t have very much fencing as the hedges are generally reasonably good stock-proof boundaries, but being a living structure, they are always changing and requiring maintenance - rabbits get in and pull out earth - creating a ramp, bushes grow taller, leaving gaps at their base, wild animals wear tracks over the banks etc.

It was such a track made by badgers and deer that led all the stallions to escape into another field this week, so I had to enlist Andrew with his chainsaw and hook to make good the gap by cutting and laying the adjacent bushes. Meanwhile I got the boys back into the correct field, and Clarius and Charlie came and watched us do the repairs - delicately nibbling on some thorns that we had put aside.

It took us an hour or so, but in the satisfaction of having done a good job, Andrew and I walked back across the next field to the car parked on the road. Andrew loaded his equipment while I fastened the gate, and as I turned to the car he exclaimed “Look!”, and there, right behind me was Clarius . . . in the field we had just fenced him out of! I couldn’t believe my eyes.

So back we had to go to inspect the rest of the hedge, only to find an even more pronounced track which the boys had obviously been using on a regular basis. It’s a funny thing that when I have checked them every day, they have been ‘all innocence’, in the correct field, but judging by the droppings in the next field, and the well worn escape route, they have been partying every night where they should not have been! Anyway, it’s all sorted now, and (I think) they are staying put - where they should be!

9th February 2020

Storm Ciara is certainly making it’s presence known, but to be honest it’s not as bad as we expected . . . so far. The wind is mighty powerful, but it’s not at all cold. The ponies aren’t taking any notice, but if they feel the need for shelter, our high Cornish hedges protect them from all directions.

Every day, as foaling time gets closer, I am studying the mares carefully. I can’t make up my mind whether a few of them are pregnant or not. We don’t have them scanned, so I guess time will tell. They are all in good condition . . . actually rather too good. We have had such a mild winter that it’s been a bit too easy for them. It’s natural for native ponies to lose quite a bit of condition in the winter months.

25th January 2020

Oh my goodness - what an interesting life Patrick is leading now. It’s so entertaining to follow his adventures on Kirk and Hannah’s facebook - K & H Cockington Carriages. His latest claim to fame is as a ‘wedding crasher’! There are lovely photos of him with a bride in the most glamorous wedding dress. This could be a whole new career move for him!!

24th January 2020

How the ponies appreciate being dry for a change. A week of settled weather with some beautiful frosty mornings, followed by clear blue skies, and wall-to-wall sunshine has been a real treat. I have been able to get on with over-due foot-trimming - a job that I just could not tackle when the ponies were so wet and muddy. I have been working my way through the brood mares, and it has been such a pleasure to see them standing around - full (of foals AND food), happy, and utterly contented. One day they had congregated by a hedge in a proper sun-trap, and the sun was so powerful that several of the mares were puffing in the warmth . . . in January!

All our mares are extremely well behaved when I trim their hooves. Very often, the gate is the only safe place to tie them up when out in the field, but as the gateways are always the muddiest part of the field, that is far from ideal. Often I catch the chosen pony with a rope halter, and just let the lead dangle whilst I work. I think they are so good to patiently stand for me - out in the middle of the field, with the others moving around them.

Trimming the stallions whilst out in the field is a completely different story . . . there is always someone wanting to pick a fight with the very one I’m trimming! I generally have to take the one I’m working on into an adjoining field, but having done so, the boys are almost as patient as the girls.

17th January 2020

Already more than two weeks into the new year….and still waiting for winter to hit. Although we have had exceptional rainfall, and strong winds, it has remained mild. The countryside is looking amazingly green for the time of year. Hazel catkins and snowdrops are out, and recently when we moved the brood mares into their official winter fields, I noticed a lot of dandelions in flower.

As breeders, it gives us the greatest satisfaction to know that ponies we have sold are leading interesting happy lives. This could not be more true for young Patrick who left here in December for his new home near Torquay in south Devon. His new owners run K & H Cockington Carriages where they provide horse-drawn carriage rides around the picturesque thatched village, and also for weddings. It appears to be a wonderful community, based around an ancient manor, and Patrick has most definitely been welcomed into the heart of the village . . . and attained star status already.

Kirk and Hannah’s facebook content is FULL of photos and videos of Patrick. He is receiving the most amazing education - meeting people, meeting dogs, meeting Father Christmas, going for walks, IN the manor house, IN the cafe, IN an office, and IN THE PUB . . . multiple times!! As it’s the closed season for Kirk and Hannah’s business, it is giving them the time to widen Patrick’s horizons. He certainly looks to be taking everything in his stride, and appears to be an extremely popular personality in the community. Such a contrast in lifestyle from his quiet and sheltered existence here at Tawna!


31st December 2019

We’ve passed the shortest day - hurray - and as the new year is due to begin, we have at last updated some of the photos on our ‘youngstock’ page . . . just as they are about to be out of date again! Better late than never. There are also some new photos on our ‘current mares’ page. The new ‘stallions’ page is still waiting to be done. I’m hoping Andrew will tackle it before too long.

A new decade is just around the corner, and we would like to send to everyone our very best wishes for a happy, healthy, and fun-packed year ahead with their ponies.

20th December 2019

Ahh . . . our dear little Patrick has gone to his new home in Devon this week. He is the calmest and sweetest natured little chap and is ideally suited to his new role in life. Besides being a much loved family pet, he is going to visit schools to promote the Purple Poppy Appeal - recognising animals that have died in warfare. Later he will be broken to drive, and will be an undoubted attraction in a popular tourist resort. His new owners are over-joyed with him, and when their vet came to check and vaccinate him, he told them that Patrick is the best behaved Shetland he has ever come across!!

We would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2020. We have expanded our “Tawna Family” and made many new friends through our ponies this year - we wish them much joy and success in the future.

Audrey, Fiona and Andrew.

16th December 2019

What a super time we had at the SW Shetland Pony Group’s Christmas lunch yesterday. The committee really go the extra mile to make it a happy and festive event, and the food was absolutely scrummy. This is the third time the Group has chosen the Trethorne Country Park, near Launceston on the Cornwall/Devon border, and although it’s a long haul for members from Somerset and beyond, I should think everyone would agree it is a splendid venue.

It was great to sit with friends and have a relaxed catch-up, and the meal was followed by the end of year accumulator presentations. It was lovely to see Pam get a second place in the gelding section with Tawna Moonshine, and a fourth in the youngstock section with yearling - Tawna Angus. Toby’s Tawna Luna took top honours with a joint first in the latter section. A tremendous achievement with maximum points!

I was quite surprised to be called up myself - Tawna Clementine was fourth in the mare section - the only brood mare entered - and Milday Mr Bojangles was joint second in the stallion section. Although they have both done very well this year, Clemmy has only been to four shows and Bo has only been to five . . . and points can be claimed for up to six shows, so we were bound to be lacking in points. All sections in the accumulator, apart from the youngstock, were for standards and minis combined, so these ponies really did very well.

An auction and a colossal raffle completed the day, all funds from which will go towards the running of the 2020 Breed Show to be held in Chard, and organised by our Group. There are still some classes looking for sponsorship so if interested, do please contact Julian Walters of the Sharptor stud.

13th December 2019

How utterly cute is this? I must thank Cecelia for this wonderful photo. It is our gorgeous Lowenna in her new duty as companion to twenty four year old, Welsh section A - Clover.

Audrey and I wanted Lowenna to lead a more interesting life now she has retired from breeding and showing. Cecelia and her five daughters have offered the perfect caring home on their Cornish smallholding which stocks a variety of traditional animals, including a pig called Apple!

Before Lowenna moved in, the garage was transformed into a pair of cosy stables with specially adapted door for Lowenna . . . perfect!

7th December 2019

Grrr . . . every year some thieving scum-bags steal one, or more, of the wooden gates from beside the cattle grids that surround the moorland, just up the road from us. I don’t know why the Council don’t reverse one of the hinges to make it more difficult to remove, but that’s authorities for you. As a result the cattle come down into the narrow lanes and wreak havoc.  Earlier this week I reported a gate stolen, and the Council did act after a few days and erect a temporary barrier beside the grid, but in the process, unwittingly trapped a small herd of cattle on the wrong side!

So where did those cattle spend the night? . . . in our neighbour’s field, with three of our ponies! These semi-feral cattle have no respect for Cornish hedges, or any but the most substantial fencing. When I checked the ponies in the morning, I found ten Longhorn and Highland cows, plus one calf holding court in the small meadow, with our new stallion  - Rio - and two yearling boys warily keeping their distance. The cows had wrecked the electric fence which was draped all across the field. I am amazed that our boys had not escaped because there was nothing to stop them!

The boys allowed me to catch them to move to safe quarters while my husband and I evicted the cattle, but they were clearly upset about the intruders and quite jumpy. I can’t blame them - the cows were substantial beasts, all of which had huge horns with a span of 4ft-5ft, and they were as wild as hawks - obviously not used to seeing people on their feet. Anyway all four-legged beasties are now back where they should be, and our ponies are a lot happier.

We are very pleased with all our yearlings - two fillies, one colt and one gelding. They are maturing very nicely . . . and naturally. We really dislike seeing young ponies which have been ‘pushed’ too much and are unnaturally fat and over-topped. Patrick is shaping up into a stunning young man - take a look at his latest photos on our ‘For Sale’ page.

26th November 2019

It was joyful today to see the mares in high spirits. It was NOT raining, and the strong wind sweeping across their field caused them to be in playful mood. One or two did vertical take-offs, all feet off the ground, before nearly every one in the group took off at a gallop, kicking up their heels. They were happy to be dry for a while, but as we’ve had seven consecutive days with BBC warnings of possible flooding, on already saturated ground, I don’t think they will stay dry for long. Luckily this is a hilly area so when it pours, the water passes on by quickly.

Our final sold foal was collected yesterday. It was our ever-so-handsome Dandini . . . although we have to get used to calling him Crunchie now as his new owner wanted to change his name! We hope to see him on the show circuit in the future. It seems rather strange to just have the two retained filly foals at Tawna now, but judging by the big tums on a lot of the mares, there are hopefully some more gorgeous babies cooking away for 2020!

We have now updated the photos on our foals page - all except Sunny Jim, who was too wet when I wanted to photograph him, but he’s only just down the road with Jane S, so I’ll catch him on a nice day.

15th November 2019

What excitement the ponies had today! A group of young equestrian scholars from the Polwhele Prep School near Truro made an educational visit to our stud. Ten 8-13 year olds arrived, with accompanying adults, to learn a bit about Shetlands and breeding.

The children were all suitably kitted out with hard hats and wellies and were refreshingly sensible around the ponies. However I’m not sure who was most excited when they met all the mares in the first field…the children were over the moon, but the ponies loved all the attention as well. As I expected, some of the more reserved mares like Marina and Celeste kept their distance, but others were right in the thick of the crowd, not batting an eyelid. Clarissa turned out to be one of the favourites. Our ponies have NEVER seen so many people at once in their field, so I was really thrilled to see how well behaved they were, and some put on a little frisky display to entertain their visitors.

Few of the children had ever come across a rope halter, but after a quick lesson they were off catching mares left, right and centre. We discovered one young ‘horse whisperer’ in the group who was quietly befriending ponies in all the fields. For the photo, the children posed in front of the loose mares, but the latter somehow managed to disperse at the crucial moment. Would you believe there were sixteen ponies in that field!!

We moved on through two fields of youngsters, then to the stallions’ field. Before I knew it, three of the stallions had been haltered and were being led around, and another one was giving kisses. I have to say I was proud to see the boys exhibiting their wonderful temperaments in unfamiliar circumstances. There were lots of questions from our guests, and they will have to write up reports when they get back to school. We look forward to a return visit in the summer when they can see the foals.

11th November 2019

Today we received the sad news that Noreen Burt who ran the Trewordergrange Shetland Stud with John Brendon-Cook has passed away after a short illness. She was 88 years old, and although frail, even this past summer was still attending shows to proudly watch her ponies in the ring. The funeral service will be at Egloshayle Parish Church on Thursday 14th November at 11.30am. Family flowers only. Donations in lieu for Egloshayle Church and the Cinnamon Trust. Funeral directors: R J Bray, Egloshayle Rd, Wadebridge, Cornwall PL27 6AD.

News of a more cheerful nature comes from Toby on the showing front. He finished his showing season with two year old Luna in fine style at this weekend’s SWA of WPCS Winter Show. Besides the usual Native classes there were riding ponies, hacks/hunters, broken coloureds, part-breds etc. Luna won the M & M Youngstock class - all the other entries being Welsh. She won the Shetland Youngstock class, before winning overall (non Welsh) Youngstock Champion, and then Supreme (non Welsh) Champion of Show. Wow Toby!…what a fantastic way to end an amazing season. We have also heard that at the Central Scotland SPG’s Youngstock show, Milday India Jane (sire: Tawna Golden Shred) was Champion Mini Foal. Good to know we have such pleasing influences North of the Border!

5th November 2019

The showing season for us finished on Sunday with the SW Shetland Group’s Autumn show. I rather ambitiously entered four ponies, but with Fiona L’s excellent help once again we managed pretty well. The show was very well supported with competitors travelling long distances, and plenty of spectators. It was marvellous to see good strong classes of standard ponies once again, and throughout the day the quality of Shetlands was of a very high standard.

We had a good day, especially with our foals, but I was also thrilled and proud to see so many Tawna ponies looking gorgeous and achieving great results for their owners. It’s such a pleasure to meet up, hear about their ponies’ antics, and see the obvious enjoyment that these feisty little four-legged characters give. We must all be slightly mad - trying to get them ready in appalling weather conditions, getting up at very unsociable hours to set off, getting soaked, hungry, cold, back ache at the shows, but at the end of the day, we love it!

Results for Tawna ponies: Dandini 1st, Sherry 1st + Overall Reserve Champion Foal, Bracken 2nd, Luna 1st and 2nd, Angus 2nd, Moonshine 2nd, Cherish 3rd and 3rd, Betsy Blue, 4th and Clementine 4th. We can put away the bridles now and reflect on another successful show season . . . and start planning for next year . . . the SW Spring show is only four months away!!!

27th  October 2019

Our own two youngsters did us proud at the Native Pony show. For one thing, they had kept themselves clean . . . I felt sure Alice would lie in some poo overnight - despite having a deep bed in a huge stable, but she surprised me. Fiona Lawrence kindly offered to act as groom/helper for me today and the ponies really did give us an easy time - travelled well, not much grooming required, and for two inexperienced ponies, they didn’t require much settling.

Alice (Tawna Rubus x Tawna Agnes) was amazingly cool, calm and collected and performed like a pro to earn a first place in the Shetland foal class. Previously I had thought she was an exceptionally big, well-grown girl, but she looked pretty small next to the standard foals. At the end of the foal section she flashed those white legs around the ring once again to take the overall Foal Championship (all breeds), so could not have done any better. I should have stayed to take her in the Supreme, but both Fiona and I felt she was quite tired.

Stella (Tawna Tristan x Tawna Celeste) has a more timid personality, but still went well to take second place in the Shetland yearling class. The winner was Pam’s Tawna Angus, who is Alice’s full brother! Angus then took the overall Reserve Yearling Championship, below a gorgeous Highland. Angus has a tremendous mane and tail . . . which I pointed out to Alice, and asked her to grow the same!

Both Toby’s girls carried on the good results with a first for Luna and a third for Izzy. Our judge was a breeder of Welsh ponies but she gave all the Shetlands a fair look, and nice comments. An all round good day.

26th  October 2019

The final sold foal left Tawna for his new home yesterday, though the journey was in complete contrast to Truffles last week. Sunny Jim walked to his new stables! Jane and Alan live less than a mile away, and they brought their mare - Tawna Tarantella, to accompany Sunny along the way. Once there, Sunny was stabled beside Tawna Martha - who was initially highly indignant at this young upstart, but today they are all making friends and settling down. We look forward to seeing plenty of the handsome Sunny as Jane likes to take her ponies for walks around the lanes, and will also be attending some shows with him.  

Talking of shows, we have the first of our Autumn shows tomorrow - the Native Pony Association of Cornwall. Luckily we got our two youngsters stabled before the dreadful weather yesterday and this morning. Thank goodness the forecast promises better conditions tomorrow . . . hope they’re right!

21st October 2019

Ahh . . . another baby leaves Tawna. Our very sweet-natured mushroom and white filly - Truffles, set off on her long trip to Austria last Friday. Seen here in the capable hands of her transporter, Adam Gibson, she travelled well, and she had the company of two other mini foals collected en route. She arrived safely and we have already had a lovely photo of her out in a meadow in her new home.

Tremendous news from last weekend’s Scotish Shetland Pony Group’s show . . . Milday Rubicon (sire: Tawna Rubus and MGS: Tawna Cousin Jack) won a class of almost twenty youngstock, before taking Mini Champ, overall Junior Champ . . . then Supreme of Show. WOW!! What an achievement in the stronghold of big Standard black ponies . . . and under a judge who breeds Standard blacks!! Very well done Matthew - you are creating an impressive record with your ponies.


14th October 2019

Well our new stallion has settled in very peacefully at Tawna with two yearling colts. He is 5 year old, 32”, liver chestnut and white skewbald, Breckenlea Scenario (North-Wells Little Fella x Gott Surrey). . . and he is a real head-turner!

Known here as Rio, we could not be more pleased with him, and thank Amanda Slater for allowing us to buy him. He had a long trip down from Shetland to Cornwall, and comes with excellent credentials. Rio, and both his parents each achieved Gold Awards in the Pony Breeders of Shetland Association’s Evaluation Scheme. This is a thorough examination by three panel judges, who individually give both points and written comments on conformation, movement and temperament, according to the Breed Standard. Rio was awarded the highest points of all the Shetlands forward for evaluation last year.

His first foal - Breckenlea Firecracker - indeed a cracker - was born this year, and can be seen on that stud’s facebook page. Exciting times ahead for us I think…..

3rd October 2019

Guess who won the ‘Longest Mane’ class at the Fun Show? Tawna Victoria (29”), seen here with her handlers for the day - eight year old twins, Daniel and Jasmine. Tawna Lowenna (27”) was second, Tawna Ariel  - third and Tawna Moonshadow - fifth.

The past week has seen two super foals go off to their new homes - Bracken just into the next County of Devon, and Cherokee to Wiltshire. We wish their new owners every success with them and look forward to updates on their progress.

Cherokee was probably my favourite of all the foals this year. He had it all - well marked, great conformation and movement, gorgeous head and big intelligent eyes, plus a lovely kind nature. I’ve had a word in Rubus and Charisma’s tiny little ears and have ordered a filly just like that next time!

The next foals to leave are a well matched pair of roans - Peggy-Sue and Tilly Trotter - who will be travelling to Kent later this week. Peggy and Tilly are very closely related and have been particularly popular with visitors here this summer. Peggy has a really big personality for such a little pony, and Tilly is quite an eye-catcher with her pretty white socks and white tail.

30th September 2019

The SW Group’s Shetland Fun Day was a great success. It completely lived up to it’s promise, with an array of classes to appeal to a wide cross-section of participants. Poor conditions on the preceding days and an overnight weather warning may have prevented some people going, but there was a great turnout and a lovely friendly atmosphere.

All classes could be undertaken in-hand or ridden, and for some of the children, it was their first ever show, so it was ideal that they could ride in the safe indoor school. There was a good mix of adults and youngsters taking part and the relaxed approach to dress code was appreciated. The ponies enjoyed the jumping - many had never done it before but they flew around the twisty course, especially in the class against the clock.

The novelty show classes were well supported, and impossibly difficult decisions were graciously made by the charming judge. Just imagine being faced with 13-15 characterful little ponies…and their proud owners!… and having to chose the prettiest mare, or the pony you’d most like to take home!!

The fancy dress class presented some great entries, including a strawberry roan and white gelding disguised as a dairy cow….yes, really! Nearly everyone had a go at the interesting, and testing agility course which included the pony walking over a see-saw obstacle, and the handler opening a large umbrella above the pony. A few gymkhana games rounded up the day, and were quite reminiscent for us ‘oldies’ whose competitive spirit resurfaced as we hurried up the course with our potatoes and spoons! It was altogether a brilliant and well run event and the organisers and officials must be congratulated. Same time next year please!

23rd September 2019

The past week has seen a lot happening at Tawna. The big ordeal was a morning’s worth of castrations and micro-chipping . . . definitely not a day to look forward to, but necessary, nevertheless. We’re always relieved when this has been done. We are part-way through weaning the second group of foals, but they were not involved in the vet’s visit, so in preparation, quite a few of the ponies have been moved to different fields to ensure we had the right ones close to the yard. It’s a paper and pen job to work out the logistics!!

The first of our foals to leave has flown the nest. Our utterly cutesome Camilla has safely travelled north to her lovely new home. The first-born each year is always extra special and Camilla certainly won lots of hearts when she was here. We wish Cora every happiness and success with her.

And finally . . . there is a new arrival at Tawna. Who’s this . . . ?

14th September 2019

Betsy’s home! She has been on showing loan since the spring, and has returned now to renew her friendship with our other yearling filly - Stella. We must thank Fiona Lawrence for taking good care of her and broadening her experience. In Fiona’s hands she has had a very successful summer including second prizes at two County shows + a couple of firsts and a couple of third places. Betsy looks very pretty and moves beautifully, but she has been a little ‘high spirited’ in the show ring at times! However it sounds as if she has endeared herself to Fiona’s family - not least her husband John who has enjoyed Betsy’s ‘help’ when poo picking!

9th September 2019

Everything is beginning to feel quite Autumnal now - not that the ponies are complaining. I’ve seen several of them with heads buried in the hedges - picking blackberries. To add to their enjoyment, our kind neighbour has offered us boundless supplies of windfall apples. We chop them up so they are easy for little mouths to cope with, and in each field there is an eager queue of salivating ponies!

All the ponies’ coats are thickening up and they are losing the gloss of summer now as their coats lengthen. We have started weaning the first group of three foals. Doing it gradually in small groups ensures they have the least stress. This first little trio are doing very well, and are quite ready to leave their mums.

Toby kindly helped me yesterday, foot trimming and doing more halter training with the rest of the foals. I am very pleased with how well they have already learnt about being led - stopping and starting, and changing direction. The foals are all pretty independent now, and really are not too bothered about their mothers. They are all in great condition and it won’t be long before most of them will be leaving for their new homes.

27th August 2019

There was the luxury of a full week between shows leading up to our last outing of the summer season on Sunday. It was the Cornish branch of the WPCA Medal Show. I don’t know why there are two separate Welsh groups in the County, but they both put on good shows, and both have a full range of affiliated classes for Shetlands and deserve to be supported. For this show Toby and I headed west to the lovely permanent Stithians showground - first time either of us had been there.

Having ascertained beforehand that we could park close to the ring, I rather ambitiously decided to take three and a half ponies . . . and not an easy combination either. For yearling Stella, it was her first ever show; for two year old Champagne Charlie, it was his fourth show, but his first one outdoors, and his first time travelling with females in the lorry; it was also Tia Maria’s first show this year, and of course first time out for her foal Sherry. All in all, potentially quite a tricky bunch for just the two of us to deal with.

In actual fact I was extremely pleased with their behaviour and performances, and felt it was a very worthwhile education for all of them. Stella did become quite stressed and flighty when she came out of the box, but eventually settled. After standing like a lamb in the collecting ring, Charlie became deafeningly vocal and fidgety in the ring . . . but they are only young, and the judge allowed for their inexperience.

When all our ponies had first prizes and had to go back in the ring for the championships, I had to ask by-standers to help us out and they kindly came to our rescue. Tia was Mini Champion, with Stella in Reserve. Then in the combined overall championships (standards and minis together) Tia was Senior Champion, Stella was Reserve Junior, and finally Tia was Reserve Supreme Shetland . . . so not a bad day’s work!

Our next outing is going to be very different - the SW Shetland Group are holding a Fun Day on Sunday 29th September at Cholwell in Devon. Non members are welcome to participate, and unregistered Shetlands are also allowed. There is a great mix of classes, some requiring skill, some requiring speed, and some absolutely for fun. It should be the perfect wind down after a busy summer, and we’re hoping lots of Shetland enthusiasts will come and join in. Toby and I are looking forward to this informal day as a change. Proper showing is all very well, but there should be more to Shetland ownership than that!

19th August 2019

Just a few more days and we’ve been to two more shows. For these we chose to give some younger boys an outing. Chagford is another of our favourite shows. Set in a charming location in the Dartmoor National Park, the Shetland classes are usually quite strong. In the mini classes we had reasonable results: Patrick had a third place in the yearling class (with Betsy Blue standing second), and in the stallion/gelding class, Clarius was second.

But it was in the open coloured classes that our gorgeous bay and white boy shone - under a different judge. In the coloured 14.2hh and under class the exhibits were actually all Shetland/Shetland types. It was the biggest class of the day, and attracted a good audience. I was chuffed to bits when Clarius was pulled in first, and even more so when chosen as Reserve Coloured Champion, standing below (in more ways than one) an extremely smart and well-disciplined skewbald riding horse.

Toby is giving his ponies a rest, and has been helping me at these recent shows so yesterday we headed west for the Kernow WPCS Bronze Medal Show. My plan went slightly awry, as I had intended to take little yearling, Stella, for her first ever show, but she was a tad lame on Saturday, so it was a quick lorry trip to pick up Patrick again. This time he gained a second prize, and our super-glam 2 y o palomino colt, Champagne Charlie picked up first, Reserve Overall Junior Champ, and Reserve Mini Champ. Both boys were so well behaved, gentle, obedient and a pleasure to show and in the lorry. However Charlie’s deafening neigh may have unnerved a few people with delicate dispositions! It’s curious that three of Marina’s offspring all have disproportionately loud voices . . . and the other two are fillies!

Pam had an outstanding day with Tawna Moonshine - 1st, Mini Champion and Reserve Supreme Champion. She ran out of places to put the rosettes. I’m sure I heard the (male) judge say “You’ll have to hang one in your cleavage.” !!

14th August 2019

Rain, fog, wind and drizzle . . . all at the same time! Yes it was traditional weather for today’s Camelford Agricultural show. The show site is extremely exposed, so there were a lot of wet bodies at the end of the day . . . well, after only an hour or two actually. The show has earned a reputation for bad weather, so competitors expect the worst, and you certainly discover just how waterproof your waterproofs really are!

I kept things simple and just took Milday Mr Bojangles and he did me proud today - 1st mini 4 and over, Mini Champion AND Supreme Shetland Champion. We then ducked out under the rope into the M & M ring where he also won the 4 & over - what a boy!

In addition Tawna Angus was 1st in mini yearlings and Reserve Overall Junior Champ, T. Izzy was second in Bo’s mini class and fourth in the M & M class, and T. Moonshine was 1st in mini gelding class, Reserve Mini Champ and Reserve Overall Gelding Champ. If that sounds confusing, it wasn’t half as confusing as it was for everybody sorting out handlers for various ponies. I ended up leading a friend’s standard mare, who won her class, then won Standard Champion. I have certainly never shown the champion mini AND standard ponies at the same show . . . what a novelty.

Now the task is to get everything dried out for tomorrow’s Chagford show. It doesn’t require flu vacs so I’m looking forward to taking two different ponies.

12th August 2019

There’s been a lot going on recently so it’s time to catch up on the diary.

Last week Toby, his parents, and his two Tawna ponies spent a couple of days away at the NPS Summer Championship show at Malvern for the first time - although Toby had a taster last year when helping a friend with her show ponies. It was a great family experience which Toby had been looking forward to for months. All the excitement and anticipation culminated in Miniature Champion for Izzy and Reserve Champion for Luna. Even a lorry problem on the way home did not spoil their enjoyment of their trip.

The following day it was my turn to be showing…but I could not manage such success at Okehampton Agricultural show. As they had the flu vac stipulation, and I expected to be on my own, I could only take Mr Bojangles. He’s a handsome boy, but yet again we had to be content with a second place below the fabulous Eiger Oliver. We keep meeting him this year, but cannot complain when beaten by such an outstanding stallion. Pam’s Tawna boys gained a third place in each of their classes, and all three ponies were awarded glamorous GEMS rosettes.

Yesterday was Tregony show, probably my favourite on our annual circuit. Due to a prior commitment I had to miss it this year, but our stud was well represented . . .and how! Fiona and Betsy Blue were first in the yearling class, followed by a first for Jane S with little black Martha in the 2 and 3 year olds. (Both these fillies are by Kerswell Sprite who we have just sold). Jane was over the moon when the judge then chose Martha as Reserve Junior Champion (standards and miniatures). She says she was so happy that her day was made, and she took her striking bay and white Tarantella into the strong mare class, not caring what happened. Imagine her shock then, when Tara stormed her way to a win, and Miniature Champion! We’re not expecting Jane down from Cloud Nine any time soon!!

For a completely different activity with a Shetland pony, we were fascinated to hear from Anne Allen that her skewbald three year old - Tawna Smartie Pants, was chosen to lead the musical ride at the recent Gatcombe Festival of British Eventing. Smartie was actually led by 12 year old Milly and accompanied by Anne. Princess Anne chatted to them and Anne described the therapy work that Smartie does for her RDA group, and especially for Milly who has formed a close bond with him. Apparently when the Princess moved on, Smartie whinnied a ‘thank you’ to her which she found amusing!

4th August 2019

All accounts of the recent Shetland Society Breed Show, held in Shetland itself, point to an outstanding week of events leading up to an excellent show. Congratulations to the organisers from the Pony Breeders of Shetland Association. Over 300 ponies, 50 or so travelling from the mainland, and international visitors from far and wide made for a memorable event. We’re pleased that Tawna ponies had a small input in the mini classes, even though it was so far away: a sixth place for Cavalier in the yearling colt class; the first prize yearling filly was sired by Tawna Dundee; and the second prize three year old filly was by our own Tawna Rubus. The next Breed Show will be in Somerset and we hope to actually take a few of our own ponies to that one.  

Meanwhile closer to home, two little Shetlands made an impact in the fancy dress class at a fun show on the Devon/Cornwall border. Ellen and Jack transformed Fiona Lawrence’s ponies into a pair of miniature draught horses, complete with magnificent feather, braided and decorated manes and tails, coloured ribbons, and a leather surcingle for the mare. Brilliant! Both being roan, the intention was for them to be ‘mini Clydesdales’, but a spectator pronounced them “Shirelands” which was a great name. On the left is Tawna Ariel, who earlier in the day - with long mane and tail flowing - won a class of eight M & Ms, and on the right is Wotknotts Angus. It’s good to see folk having such fun with their ponies.

Another roan - yearling gelding Tawna Ever So Blue, aka Henry, took a second prize in good company at this weekend’s Cardigan show. His owner, Sandra, was pleased when the judge complimented his movement. Always good to hear.

26th  July 2019

All the foals now have tidy toes. This week I have wormed them, and trimmed all their little hooves for the second time. I like to keep on top of their foot-trimming because it helps the angle of their pasterns and saves exerting unnecessary strain on their infant tendons. Having had it done once before, they were - on the whole - reasonably well behaved. Some tantrums are to be expected, but it is all good education for their future handling….and none of them sulked afterwards!

We have received a lovely photo of Tawna Golden Shred who is now a licensed stallion at John Lawrie’s Milday stud in Scotland. Shreddie was a stunning foal, and he has matured into a magnificent stallion - full brother to our Clarius and Clarissa. It’s a great photo of him posing, loose in the field and we have now added it to our ‘home-bred stallions page’ on this website.

13th  July 2019

Liskeard Agricultural Show is quite local for us and one of our favourites for showing the ponies. A dedicated level ring for Shetlands, collecting area away from the bigger horses, and easy parking near by, all help to make it one of the more enjoyable shows.

Today’s show was certainly a good one for Tawna ponies with our marvellous seventeen year old brood mare - Clementine winning a strong mare and gelding class before taking the mini championship and the reserve supreme Shetland championship. Birthday girl, Jacqui (Toby’s mum) kindly took Clemmy for the championships and Sue quickly changed back into her showing clothes to take charge of Camilla for me. Once again Camilla, did not have any opposition so was awarded the SPSBS Best Foal Rosette. It may have been a walkover for Milly, but she is gorgeous and received so many admiring comments, not least for her amazing good behaviour.

Mr Bojangles was more animated today than on his last show day - despite the fact that he was working, covering Victoria only yesterday! - and gained a first prize and reserve mini champ. In Clemmy’s class Pam was delighted to be pulled in second with Moonshine and he gained another second place in the mixed standard and mini gelding class. Also in Clemmy’s class Tarantella had a worthy fifth place after an impressive trot-out.  Betsy Blue won the yearling class, and Angus was third in the same class.

Today the judge liked our ponies, but nothing is certain in showing and things could all be turned upside down next time!

10th  July 2019

There’s certainly been no need for a visit to the gym in this past week - as if we would anyway! - as we have been well exercised carrying hay. Unfortunately we are not greatly mechanised when it comes to actually getting the bales in so it’s down to good old-fashioned muscle power. The weather has been kind, and the grass was just at the right stage so we have some good quality forage in traditional bales which will be sold off as required.

As soon as we had cleared the second field I opened the gate to let Rubus and his family through. They have been staring longingly through the bars of the gate for weeks so they were very excited to at last get into the field. There’s plenty of grass around the hedges for them to browse over and they just appreciate a change.

It’ll soon be time to take the stallions away from their girls and then we’ll condense all the mares and foals together in one place for a few months. I look forward to seeing them as one big group, and it’s good socialising for the foals to meet other ponies too.

30th  June 2019

What a busy week it has been, what with work commitments, followed with hastily preparing ponies, lorry etc yesterday, and then attending two shows both held at the same venue today.

The numbers forward for the Shetland classes at the Native Pony Association of Cornwall show far out-stripped any of the other breeds, and many more arrived for the SW Shetland Group’s show which ran alongside, and started a little later. There were so many quality ponies it was hard to know where to look first. Needless to say I loved seeing all the Tawna ponies belonging to other people, but with the two shows and many classes going on, I’m afraid I didn’t manage to keep track of all the results. I do know that Moonshine, Luna and Izzy each had a first prize in the SW show, and Moonshine aka Mr Lush was Best Miniature Gelding from all classes, and overall Reserve Champion Gelding. In addition yearling Betsy Blue was 3rd in the SW show and yearling Angus was 2nd in the NPA show.

I thought our own ponies were looking gorgeous, but unfortunately Mr Bojangles’ performance didn’t impress the judge in the NPA show. She commented that he lacked sparkle, and I have to say I agreed with her. He did feel rather flat as I was leading him, but I’m pretty certain it was because he has had two mares in season this week . . . and I think he was rather tired!! He did achieve a second in the Group’s show though. Clementine looked stunning in the brood mare class. I always like it when Toby shows her so I can admire her! Baby Camilla was an absolute star - marching around the ring like a pro and doing her individual show so well. Sadly there were no other brood mares so it was an easy first place for each of them.

So all three ponies qualified for the championships. In the junior championship Camilla strutted her stuff and was totally unfazed by the whole proceedings. I was so pleased with her. Although a lovely shape and type, her coat is beginning to look rather moth-eaten at the moment so she was never going to be chosen, but it was all marvellous experience as she has been sold to a showing home. Neither of our two adults got anywhere in the senior championship, but it was nice to be there, and I was grateful to Jordan for taking charge of Camilla for me. The two shows running together is a great idea, and the SW Group’s show in particular was a great success. Well done to all concerned.

23rd  June 2019

The foals are all growing away well. They are such a beautiful bunch that it’s a huge pleasure to visit them each day. They are gaining in confidence and becoming more independent from their mothers. In turn, the mares are not really fretful any more when their babies wander off.

Apart from our late arrival, the foals have started casting their coats to varying degrees. Several have got lovely shiny faces, some have just got ‘panda eyes’, and some bottoms are revealing their true colour underneath! A curious thing that we have witnessed before is that the foals that are born with very short smooth coats cast them much quicker than the foals which are born with long coats. You would think, in the warmer summer conditions, that the hairier ones would naturally need to get rid of their hot coats sooner! We have updated some of the photos on the foals page. They are growing up so fast.

20th  June 2019

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Heartiest congratulations to Matthew and Craig (owners) and John (breeder) for their results at today’s prestigious Royal Highland Show. Milday Morse - 1st and Miniature Champion and Milday Valintino - 1st and Junior Champion. Earlier this year Valintino was 1st and Reserve Miniature Champion at the National Stallion Show, and another colt - Milday Rubicon was 1st, Junior Mini Champ and Overall Mini Champ at the recent Central Scotland Group Show. And why are we so very chuffed at these tremendous results? . . . All these ponies are by our own fabulous stallion, Tawna Rubus, from the two years that he was on lease to the Milday stud!

16th  June 2019

Today our surprise baby boy - Bertie (Albert) is one week old so we thought it was about time to take some photos - despite the drizzle. Victoria is proving to be a marvellous first-time mum, and he is just adorable. He is as smooth-coated, as Camilla (pictured below) is hairy. Mind you, she is three months older!

Vicky and her baby have been in the Foaling Meadow for the past week, which is overlooked from the house at Tawna. Audrey has been really enjoying watching Bertie exercising. She would have watched hundreds of foals there over the years, but she doesn’t think she has ever seen such an energetic, speedy and bold foal at such an early age. She is convinced that instead of milk, Vicky is producing rocket fuel!!! Check out the pics of Bertie on our Foals and For Sale pages. I love the ‘ripples’ on his forehead.

11th  June 2019

We love this photo of Camilla standing up so proudly for the judge at last Friday’s show. She looks so confident, pretty and perfectly formed.

Our latest foal - Albert, is a little darling - small, cute and full of energy. Unfortunately the weather has turned quite nasty, so he and Victoria have been in the stable last night and today. I took them out on the verge for Victoria to have a graze and was highly entertained by Albert bucking and galloping up and down the grassy strip. He’s got a lot of filling out and growing to do, in order to catch up the other foals, but judging by the amount of milk he’s putting away, he’s doing his best!

10th  June 2019

The phrase “I couldn’t believe my eyes” was never truer than yesterday morning when I arrived outside one of our fields with some visitors. Glancing through the hedge I spied Victoria standing facing us with something dark on the ground beside her. I stared for a moment . . . it wasn’t a shadow, it wasn’t a fallen tree branch, there are no mole hills in that field . . . there was only one thing it could be! I raced into the field to see a tiny slip of a foal get to his feet and Victoria immediately trotted off with him.

What a shock. We had no inkling that she was carrying a foal - she was no bigger than normal and we had long-since decided she wasn’t in-foal. We’ve been fooled a number of times, thinking mares ARE in foal and it turns out that they aren’t, but we have never been so completely fooled into not realising a mare IS in-foal.

Recently Victoria has been in the meadow in front of the house so we have seen her regularly at close quarters, but not seen a sign. This is her first foal so he is small, and she has a long body which obviously concealed her little bundle. Anyway he is lively and healthy and is called Albert. What a surprise! Photos in a few days when he fills out a bit.

7th  June 2019

Well our “two and a half” ponies acquitted themselves very well at today’s Royal Cornwall show. By yesterday afternoon we had them looking really fabulous - clean, shiny, silky manes and tails, and in perfect condition (weight-wise). But all week Friday’s forecast has been for heavy rain showers . . . and they weren’t far wrong . . . today it rained for the whole morning, with only one brief break. Glossy coats and shining locks counted for nothing!

Dismal weather aside, everyone’s spirits were surprisingly high and our judge and stewards kept cheerful. For the stallion class I took Milday Mr Bojangles. He is incredibly handsome, and although not very experienced, he is an extremely obedient boy to show. It was a second prize for him.

In the brood mare class, Toby showed our beautiful Clementine’s paces off superbly for a first place, and I was thrilled that training had paid off for Camilla who won the SPSBS rosette for Best Foal. She just amazed me - her first outing and she really did not seem fazed by all the sights and sounds. In fact, on the trip from the lorry park to the collecting ring, she wanted to lead the way! What a little star! Thanks to Jacqui, Ella and Andrew, who got cold and wet whilst patiently holding ponies for Toby and myself.

Other Tawna ponies achieved marvellous results for their owners too: in the yearling class - Betsy Blue 2nd (to the same filly which beat her at Devon County), Angus 3rd and Rowan 4th; in the 2 y o’s - Luna 1st; in the barren mares - Izzy Wizzy 3rd; and in the geldings 4 and over - Moonshine 1st. He followed this up by winning the SPSBS rosette for Best Gelding from all miniature classes, then overall Reserve Champion Gelding. All-in-all a satisfying, but soggy, day. Our overalls, jackets and coats are now gently steaming by the fire at home!!

2nd June 2019

Congratulations to Sylvia at Somerset’s County show - the Royal Bath and West. Her very pretty dun and white mare - Tawna Petunia gained a very worthy third place in a class of nine mares. Petunia does Young Handlers and ridden as well, so she is a super all-round pony. It’s our own County show next week, so I’m looking forward to that. We are taking two and a half ponies!

31st May 2019

Schools have been on half term this week so it was great that Toby has been able to help me do a little training with the foals. I wanted to give them an initial introduction to being touched all over, wearing a head-collar and being restrained on a leading rein.

Currently the three groups with foals are running with their stallions, and all in fields away from Tawna. It would be so much easier if we could just bring them into the stables for this work, but we manage quite well. This was the first time the babies had been stopped from just dancing off wherever they want, and it always comes as a shock to them. We only give the foals a short lesson, and ensure we finish by giving them a nice “scratch and giggle” session so they are relaxed when released. We find that this first basic lesson pays off, and they remember it and build on it next time we do some halter training. We managed to do seven of the foals so must see to the other three before too long.

27th May 2019

The show season is certainly getting into full swing. At the other end of the country, the Central Scotland Shetland Group has just held their Spring show, and we are delighted to report that one of Tawna Rubus’ sons was Miniature Junior Champion, Miniature Champion, and Reserve Supreme Junior Champion. Many congratulations to Matthew with his three year old Milday Rubicon.

26th May 2019

I cannot deny that our young bay and white stallion - Tawna Clarius, is one of my all time favourites. I do have an awful lot of favourites, but he is extra special, so it was a great pleasure to get him ready and take him to today’s Cornwall Open Show. Whilst waiting for his class and watching the mini Shetland youngstock class, I was immensely proud that there were no less than five Tawna ponies in it. Every one was beautifully turned out and shown, and a credit to their owners - who are all good friends, so diplomacy prevented me choosing a favourite! They actually took the first four places - Luna, Angus, Betsy Blue and Martha, so they all deserved a cheer.

In my own class Clarius impressed for a win, with Tawna Moonshine second, and these two later took the Miniature Championship and Reserve. The schedule had not stated that there would be a Junior Championship so it was a lovely surprise when the judge pulled forward Luna and Angus and presented them with SPSBS rosettes too.

After putting Clarius back in the lorry I watched the friendly rivalry in the ‘Golden Handler’ class . . . for people over a certain age! With a first,second and third for Pam, Jane S and Wendy respectively, they clearly enjoy having fun with their ponies. Keep it up ladies!

18th May 2019

For most of us who enjoy showing our Shetlands, one of the highlights is getting a good placing at a County show where there is generally strong competition.

As we expected to still be foaling here at Tawna, we did not enter for today’s Devon County show, but we’re delighted that Tawna ponies made their mark. This morning it was exciting to receive reports as each class finished: Toby’s 2 y o Luna was placed second to the colt who was the ultimate miniature champion; in a good yearling class, a second prize for Fiona’s Betsy Blue who is on showing loan from us; and in the same class, a fifth prize for Sue’s Rowan. Well done to you all.

13th May 2019

At only her second affiliated show of the year, Pam had a wonderful day with her Tawna boys at the 76th two day Troon horse show.

Angus won the 3 years and under class - he was the youngest in the class - and Moonshine went foot perfect to win the gelding class. There was a slightly unusual combination of championships: an overall Junior Championship in which Angus took Reserve to the very experienced three year old standard, but no overall Shetland Championship. However there was a Miniature Championship which went to Moonshine, and Angus took the Reserve. To say Pam and Vic were over the moon (pun intended) with their boys is an understatement! Well done “Pam’s Pint-sized Show Team”!

11th May 2019

Ahh….Celeste’s little boy - named Sunny Jim (photo now on foal page) - was promoted into a different field yesterday. Since birth he has been in our well-grazed ‘Foaling Meadow’, but now he’s joined his half-siblings in ‘Pool Field’. This morning when I visited them, Sunny Jim was extremely aggravated by the plantain seedheads which were tickling his tummy. They’re all over the field so he can’t get away from them, and he was stamping his feet and swishing his tail in annoyance! The other foals don’t seem to mind so hopefully he will get used to the tickling before long.

4th May 2019

All photos updated on our ‘Foals 2019’ page. Take a look - we think they are all gorgeous!

3rd May 2019

Hurray! Our final mare has foaled. Just after 2 o'clock this morning Celeste had a nice chestnut colt by Rubus. It was a trouble-free delivery and she soon cast her after-birth, so she was comfortable to tend to her baby who was up on his feet and trying out his legs in no time.

It is a great relief to have completed foaling. It has not all been plain sailing, but we have kept constant watch and been on hand when required. We tend the mares so diligently that it becomes very tiring. Ten mares foaling in about twenty eight days was rather manic but actually a bonus. …now we can relax and start to enjoy getting to know the foals.

Today I learnt something about Fuchsia’s chestnut colt - Bracken - that I didn’t know before . . . he is a SHE!! I just happened to catch sight of her having a pee. I immediately caught the mare and examined the foal . . . and sure enough, that super-chunk of orangeness is a girl . . . Oops!

The night Fuchsia was foaling I had opened the stable door to go in and check everything was ok, when she decided to lie down and produce the foal out through the open doorway. The foal was so exceptionally strong and well developed that we assumed it was a colt, and I have a feeling I only did a cursory check under the tail, without getting the torch. Ever since, Bracken has been so mature and square that it’s never occurred to me to doubt his/her sex . . . until today!!

Anyway, that mistake aside, the foals are a cracking bunch, and we will update photos on our foals page in the next couple of days.

2nd May 2019

It’s been a busy old time at Tawna lately - it’s the time of year when we put our mares and stallions together. We have been saving fresh fields for each group, some of which needed electric fencing erected. Boundaries and gates have been checked, salt licks installed, and water troughs set up - unfortunately three of the fields do not have a water supply so it’s a case of many hose pipes! The mares have each had a pamper session - hair and nails done, and have been wormed. The two youngest foals and mums are still close-by in the ‘nursery’ at Tawna, but all the others are now settled into their groups with their stallions.  

28th April 2019

Marina presented us with a real little treasure last night - a mushroom and white skewbald filly, by Rubus. The baby is just so pretty with a blaze and a good balance of colour to white. Like Rubus’ other foals, she seems quite placid. After commenting on the lack of white markings on our foals, the latest three have really jazzed things up. Only one more mare to foal - so fingers and everything else crossed for a safe delivery.

25th April 2019

Last night saw another new arrival at Tawna. Our very lovely Charisma had a chestnut and white colt - a full brother to our mushroom stallion (Poldark). It’s good to see her with a foal again - she last foaled three years ago, which was piebald Cherish, by Sprite.

This colt is by Rubus and is a strong little boy with a broad back, and a broad blaze. Charisma took several hours before she cleansed which made her night uncomfortable . . . and Audrey’s sleepless as she watched the cctv and worried over the mare. However once Charisma had cast the afterbirth naturally, she felt better and has had a restorative day out in the sunshine and showers, grazing and resting while her baby has been stretching his legs. They make a very colourful sight out in the grassy field which is surrounded by trees bursting into leaf in many shades of green.

21st April 2019

Audrey and I had the best Easter treat of all last night when Agnes eventually foaled and had a very beautiful skewbald filly by Rubus. Better than a chocolate egg . . . and less calories!!

We have been on tenterhooks with Agnes for more than a week - she has been enormous with such a taut bulging udder that we couldn’t imagine how she lasted so long. This baby is as hairy as the last one (Topsy’s) was smooth - such a contrast. Naming her didn’t take long - Tawna Alice - we had the name lined up last year, but then Agnes had the gorgeous Angus instead. I quietly anticipated a filly this time because she appears to alternate sexes each time!

There are updates on our foals page - pics of the latest babies (apart from Alice), all at a few days old. As they grow and fill out we will update these again, but it’s nice to record what they look like when so new.

Our friends, Sue and Jane S have been out today with their respective Tawna ponies - Rowan, Martha and Tarantella. It was the Fraddon Spring show. Luckily each pony fitted into a different Shetland class which brought first prizes all round and Champ (Martha) and Res Champ (Tara). Sadly the enforced Equine Flu vaccination requirements there excluded several would-be regular competitors in these classes, leaving little for the judge to look at. I fear many shows will suffer reduced entries throughout the summer.

Apparently the ladies (and hopefully their husbands) had a great time - were given sweets in the ring, were given lots of valuable and relevant advise by the judge, and received plenty of compliments on their ponies. The judge emphasized that although numbers were low, the quality, movement and type before him were exactly what they should be. That was nice to hear.

20th April 2019

The swallows were late arriving this year. We didn’t witness the first joyful twittering and acrobatic swooping until 18th April. The following day, the flies arrived - hundreds of little black, what looks like house flies, settling on the ponies heads. It has probably been too windy for them recently, but now the weather has settled they are out with a vengeance . . . Ugh!

Toby and Luna celebrated Good Friday with a successful day at the SW Ponies Association show in Devon - a first in the mini Shetland youngstock, and a fourth in a strong M & M youngstock class. It’s always extra pleasing when a mini holds it’s own against the other breeds. Well done!

18th April 2019

We have been wondering where all the white has gone! Not one of the five foals has got a single white marking. Two of the mothers are well-marked skewbalds, another has socks, and another has minimal white markings and socks.

Therefore it was very nice last night when Topsy produced a minimally marked filly. She is a full sister to last year’s Henry aka Ever so Blue, and she too is already showing signs of a blue roan undercoat. She’s not big on white markings - short hind socks, white in tail and a distinctive little white squiggle on her rump, but it’s all very pretty.

We have now settled on a name for Fuchsia’s boy - Bracken, as suggested by Toby’s mum Jacqui. It suits his lovely rich colouring and fits in with the plant theme of his parents.

16th April 2019

My goodness - can Dolly trot!! She is thrilled with her little boy and is powering around the field at a rate of knots. I truly believe she could keep pace with a Welsh cob. She has tremendous strength and propulsion in her hind quarters and is wonderful to watch. Luckily her little lad is very speedy too and enjoys all the exercise. At first we were slightly concerned that Dolly might not have much milk - her udder seemed tiny - but the foal is full of beans so the milk bar must be fine.

‘Stable Cat’ is spending more and more time at Tawna. His owner, next door, assures us he goes home for breakfast, but he must be very quick about it so he can return to us. He is loving foaling time because Audrey and I are down in the yard so much, and at all times of night and day. He was in attendance when Daisy foaled in the middle of the night - he tottered along the rails around the stables to keep an eye on things, and he came right out across the field when Tia was foaling one morning and patiently waited until we came away. He’s a very endearing cat.

15th April 2019

Not to be outdone by her sister (Dolly), Daisy foaled last night and has given us a beautiful bay roan filly. She didn’t take long over it either . . . the ‘white bag’ first made an appearance at 1am, and by 1.08am the foal was out on the ground!! Another Sprite foal, this one is a full sister to last year’s Betsy Blue. We suspected Daisy could be pretty close to foaling because during the previous two days she had been in an evil temper with the other ponies. She is always quite dominant in the herd, but this level was uncharacteristic. We put it down to being hormonal. She is very happy now she has her own baby.

Our ‘Foals 2019’ page is now up and running, with the first three illustrated.

13th April 2019

There is mixed news on the foaling front here at Tawna. On Tuesday evening Twinkle sadly lost her baby. We knew she was about to foal and were in attendance before she even started. It soon became clear that it was a mal-presentation and a job for the professionals. The vet - Katy, just could not get the foal into the correct position and called a colleague for back-up. Between them, Hazel and Katy did eventually deliver the foal. They reckon the foal had died about twelve hours before and therefore was limp and not correctly presented. There was no particular reason for this to have happened - just very unlucky. The foal - a filly - was not too big, was perfectly formed, and an absolute look-alike for her sister - Toby’s Luna. Dear Twinkle had a tremendous ordeal, but thanks to her strong constitution . . . and all sorts of drugs, she is amazingly well.

To balance with that terrible upset, Dolly Dimple had her first foal this morning - with no trouble at all. She is looking after her new-born like a pro! This is another strong chestnut colt - possibly with a lighter mane - by Mr Bojangles. Dolly is taking to motherhood very well and keeping him safe. Clever girl!

8th April 2019

Being born so early has meant that Camilla has had no other foal companions for a month, so this morning she was over the moon when I promoted the two youngest foals to share her field. She was fascinated to see the other little ones and celebrated by doing multi high-speed circuits around the group.

It wasn’t until I saw them all together that I realised that Tia and Clementine have had matching babies for the second year in a row. Last year they had bay colts that were quite difficult to tell apart until Cavalier started to turn roan. This time we have matching black fillies, albeit almost a month apart in age.

Congratulations are due to Toby who showed his Tawna girls at the NPS Area 10 Spring show in Devon on Sunday. Amongst some hot competition in the small breeds M & M classes Luna gained a second and Izzy a fifth. In Luna’s youngstock class the top place went to a standard Shetland, Luna was second and the remaining four or five ponies were Dartmoors and Exmoors. Well done Toby . . . good to see you fly the flag for mini Shetlands!

5th April 2019

There are two new arrivals at Tawna. At 8 o’clock last evening Fuchsia had a really strong chestnut colt - a full brother to last year’s Rowan. He is super-chunky, and only toppled over once after initially getting to his feet. He is so square and strong that he got up and stayed up! We were alerted to the imminent birth at lunch time yesterday when Fuchsia left the other mares and trotted, then galloped around the field several times. She did this a few more times during the afternoon, then when it was time to come in for the night, she wouldn’t be caught - all unusual behaviour for her.

At about 8.30 this morning it was Tia Maria’s turn, but she was in trouble. One leg was turned back from the knee. Audrey had seen her not too long before, so she had not been foaling for long. Having experienced our fair share of problem foalings over the years, it’s a stomach-churning sight to see a foal’s head with only one, or no legs, hanging out of the back of a mare. The possibility of a traumatic birth is great, but we were there quickly and luckily I was able to sort it out and a beautiful black filly - full sister to last year’s Patrick - was soon out on the ground. She is by Sprite, so like Camilla, she could roan out later.

The weather has turned really nasty this afternoon, so the mums and new babies are tucked up nice and dry tonight.

2nd April 2019

Congratulations to another Jane, this time Jane G whose mare - Mignon Quickstep had a colt foal this morning, sired by our Mr Bojangles. Jane says he is a strong, well-marked skewbald with an attractive blaze. This is the first foal for Bo since moving ‘down South’ from Scotland. We are expecting one by Bo, and Jane has another mare in-foal to him. This year he will have more wives here at Tawna.

1st April 2019

Congratulations to Jane S (we know at least four different Janes in connection with the Shetlands) who took her two Tawna girls to the Native Pony Association of Cornwall Spring show yesterday. She had a marvellous day with both the ponies winning their classes and then her striking bay and white mare - Tarantella, winning Reserve Champion Shetland (standards and minis combined). Although numbers weren’t strong, the judge favoured Tara over some ponies with very successful show records, so Jane says her girls gave her a wonderful Mothers Day!

30th March 2019

A couple of months ago Audrey had double glazed windows fitted at Tawna. It had been a big decision, not only financially but also aesthetically. Tawna is a very pretty old cottage (see pic on ‘About Us - Location’ page) and we were worried that the modern windows would ruin it’s appearance, but they are fine and Audrey is thrilled.

However there is a downside. This week Andrew has been trying to set up the cctv on our foaling stables and discovered that the signal to the monitor in Audrey’s bedroom is corrupted by the metal in the frames. In an attempt to work around the problem he scrambled up into the attic with the receiver which gave a better image, but required a longer cable to be purchased, so for the time, the project was halted. The attic is not boarded out, and we very rarely go up there, although there are a few old bits and pieces which have been lurking there for many decades.

Yesterday though, something very strange happened. When Audrey was upstairs, she heard a double bump above her head on four separate occasions. These were fifteen minutes or more apart, quite loud, and all seemed to come from exactly the same direction. Then between 6.30am and noon today, she has already heard three more such bumps overhead - again from the same direction.

This afternoon Andrew has returned to get the cctv system up and running so she asked him to look around in the attic to see what could be making the noises . . . and here’s the SPOOKY thing . . . he says that a chair which had been lying on it’s side, has rotated 180 degrees horizontally and turned over 180 degrees vertically. He had taken particular note of it on Thursday because he had described it to me. He can also see the mark in the dust where it had been, and that is exactly the direction the sounds were coming from!! When he was up there a couple of days ago he opened an old trunk, and an old suitcase which were apparently empty . . . but now the question is “Has he released a poltergeist?!!”

28th March 2019

Once we had got over the SW Group show, we were able to get on with the customary Spring sorting out of ponies, the biggest part of which was carting all fillies, and barren mares away to the other side of the parish. They are very happy with their new quarters - three inter-connected meadows, along two of which runs a small tree-lined river.

When I called the girls this morning they came plodding up the slope for their carrots, but Victoria remained under a willow tree, by the river. It’s not at all unusual for her to stay back as she is very much a loner - doesn’t bother at all if she has company. As I approached, her stance looked strange, and when I reached her, I could see why. She has a very long, glamorous blond mane (see her on our ‘current mares’ page), and in scratching her back on a low, broken, stump of branch, she had completely wound up her mane to the point that she couldn’t move. She was totally calm about it, and once I released her - luckily without cutting or breaking any of her mane - she wandered off to catch up on her grazing.

There was no way in this world that Victoria could have got free without help. The same thing happened years ago to a dear little mare called Fancy That. She was missing from the group on the Downs, and Audrey found her with her long mane tangled in a scrubby little tree. It’s amazing what they can dream up!

We have also grabbed the chance to update photos of Patrick which are now on the ‘sale’ page. He is maturing really well and although rather dusty in the new pics, we think his qualities are obvious.

25th March 2019

Yesterday’s show was an undoubted success - dry, sunny weather, good entries right across the board and very efficiently run. It’s great to see the standard classes going from strength to strength after a decline some years ago. There were plenty of quality ponies, and amazingly well presented for the time of year.

From our point of view, the absolute star of the day was Toby with Tawna Luna. At her first show as a two year old, Luna looked wonderful. She is maturing very nicely and has tremendous paces. As always, Toby had turned her out beautifully and the rewards were 2 x 1st, Reserve Mini Junior Champion and Reserve Mini Champion . . . what a result!

I can’t say that the ponies I took were so well turned out, but I was reasonably happy with their appearance considering preps were hampered by a failure in water supply, making it all very much at the last minute. Champagne Charlie had to be bathed twice to get his pale palomino coat clean, and even then he managed to acquire no less than five stable stains overnight before the show . . . all that from just two night-time piles of droppings!! Thank goodness for our blower which enabled me to get him washed and semi-dried on show morning.

Charlie’s good behaviour at the show was most gratifying - a two year old colt can be a nightmare, but he was patient, polite and obedient + he was well entertained whilst waiting by Toby’s parents who found his itchy spots! Charlie won 2 x 2nd. Our novice mare - Pansy had a first and a third. She enjoyed the day because she is a very sociable pony and found everything very interesting.

My third contestant was Milday Mr Bojangles. He has only ever been shown a few times in Scotland, but this was the first time I had taken him out so I didn’t know how he would behave. No worries - he was a gentleman, and in type, substance, masculinity and sheer wow factor I thought he was ace. Unfortunately the judge didn’t quite see it that way and he achieved a second place! Other Tawna ponies made their mark too - Angus 1st (yearlings), Moonshine 2nd (geldings) and Rowan 3rd (yearlings) . . . so all round, a pretty good day.

21st March 2019

The SW Shetland Pony Group will be holding it’s Spring show in Devon this Sunday. I always look forward to seeing everyone and their ponies for (for us) the first show of the season. I optimistically sent our entries off, and now the task of cleaning up three ponies and a whole winter’s worth of accumulated mud must begin! They are all away from home and normally never see a stable . . . or a rug, so it’s a tall order. Two are also inexperienced, so I have been taking them out on the road to do some training, and am pleased that they are obedient and responsive to my commands.

It’s great to see a pony that hasn’t been anywhere, gain in confidence, and become a more rounded character through the showing experience. Just coming away from their friends, going into a stable on their own, and travelling a distance in the lorry are all novelties.

The forecast is quite reasonable for the weekend, so let’s hope it’s a successful show with a good turnout of entries.

17th March 2019

Camilla continues to be an independent little girl, and is not greatly interested in following her mother. Audrey has brought them into the stable every night since she was born, so she is well aware of the routine. She tends to stick when she gets to the open doorway and lingers so that Audrey can’t get past her to push her in.

However last evening she had help from an unexpected quarter. As Camilla fiddled around just outside the stable, ‘Stable Cat’ (Hugh) appeared at the end of the walkway and proceeded to herd her in….like a dog. It worked a treat. So now Audrey is hoping that her ‘collie-cat’ will appear at the crucial moment every time!

11th March 2019

Here she is! Camilla at just three days old.

She is a real live wire and has been boldly cantering in circles of increasing diameter, around her mum. Luckily Clementine has calmed down now and is happy to bring her baby in to the stable for the night . . . although baby is quite reluctant to go out in the morning. She hesitates at the different surfaces underfoot, and once outside, defiantly goes in the opposite direction to her field! There’s a nice pick of grass for Clemmy, but the weather is most un-Spring-like for them.

8th March 2019

The new baby is just gorgeous and has been officially named - Camilla. Within her first twenty four hours, she had five visitors, whilst still in the stable. Now they are going out in the daytime if it’s not too wet, but coming in at night.  Clemmy is very proud of her and has no intention of allowing us within half a field of her!  Catching the mare requires a good deal of craft on our part! She’ll settle before too long, but is naturally still excited with her new infant.

6th March 2019

Our ponies always have the power to shock us, and this morning it was Clementine’s turn. Audrey couldn’t believe her eyes when she looked out of the window first thing to see a foal frisking around Clemmy. This little mite was born last night in torrents of rain, yet it was up and lively….thank goodness. Clemmy has been in the meadow close to the house, but we truly were not expecting her to foal for another month. We actually had 6th April as a possible date!

We whisked them into a stable and towelled off the foal, who remarkably appeared to be none the worse for her soaking. Yes . . . I said ‘her’ . . . a precious filly - full sister to Crackerjack and Cavalier in recent years. She’s black at the moment, but might roan-out as her sire is Sprite.

Other up-lifting news came from last weekend’s National Stallion Show in Scotland. First prize 2 & 3 y o colt, and Junior Miniature Champion was Milday Valentino who is by Tawna Rubus. Another Rubus son won exactly the same two years ago plus Reserve Mini Champion at that show. That same year two other Rubus offspring won their junior classes too. Also at this year’s show, the first prize mini yearling was by Milday Mr Bojangles . . . and we have both those sires here at Tawna!

23rd February 2019

I had to smile yesterday when I went to check the stallions. Three of them were lying down - enjoying the glorious sunny day. Charlie was sitting up, but with his eyes closed - dozing. I walked up to him quietly to admire him, but was diverted by Clarius who was lying out flat behind him. Clarius was making little squeals and grunts, and all his feet were gently paddling back and forth. The dear little chap was having a lovely dream. He reminded me of our fluffy cat when she sits on my lap in the evening, except she makes little squeaks and sighs when she’s in the land of nod. I wonder what he was dreaming about…….?

It’s feeling amazingly spring-like here. I saw my first butterfly of the year this morning, and there are quite a few bees and other flying insects buzzing around. The ponies’ coats are starting to move. Some are coming out in handfuls. The biggest indicator for us is that the udders on a couple of mares are moving. Exciting!

31st January 2019

For once, today’s local weather forecast was right - rain sweeping in this morning, followed by snow. We’ve got off very lightly so far this winter, but this afternoon we have a ‘white out’.

Huge wet snowflakes have been falling for a few hours now and accumulating, so we decided the foals/yearlings ought to come in for the night. They’ve been out 24/7, and having their hard feed al fresco from a trough for a few weeks because we had moved them into lovely, unusually lush pasture . . . but it is three fields away from the yard, so not practical to bring them in daily.

As I entered their field, trudging through the carpet of snow, they emerged from their shelter under a dense holly tree. Their coats were wet and darkened by the rain earlier, but by the time they had cantered over to me, it looked for all the world as if we have a little herd of blanket-spotted ponies! The big flakes had landed and splattered apart on their backs to give an amazingly realistic effect.

The snow has stopped now. They’re tough little ponies, but it’s good to know they are tucked up indoors for tonight. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

16th January 2019

Already halfway through January, and after quite a decent spell of dryish weather, nature is raising our spirits with Snowdrops, catkins and lots of chirpy birdsong. For sure, there is something nasty around the corner, but at the moment we are enjoying seeing the countryside looking amazingly green and the animals looking so well. There’s mud of course, but the ponies are not having to cope with day after day of constant rain.

We took the opportunity to take some new photos of Patrick who has a marvellous almost-shiny winter coat, and masses of mane and tail. They are now on our ‘For Sale’ page. We have changed a couple of photos on the ‘Current mares’ page, and also updated our ‘Home bred stallions’ and ‘Reference stallions’ pages with some new entries, and a better photo of Tawna Trooper. Our ‘Current stallions’ page is a work in progress.

Whilst searching through my photo files I came across some forgotten ones of Pansy and Freckles for our ‘Youngstock’ page. These have replaced the ones taken in November. Thankfully I think both fillies have slimmed down a bit since then . . . they were shockingly rotund!


30th December 2018

At long last we have updated our youngstock page on this website . . . just in time for it to be out of date again!!

It takes the youngsters so long to cast their coats, and then in no time at all they are growing next winter’s woollies, so I had not really tried to photograph them until I managed to get these pics of them in fairly clean condition last month.

All but one are informal images. Always tricky to photograph when loose in the field, it took quite a few attempts and a lot of patience to catch the rare moments when they had posed with their legs reasonably positioned, they were not eating, there were no other bodies in the way, and the shadows were not too deep from the low winter sun.

Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get our stallions page sorted. It’s been out of date and faulty for ages, but I have some photos earmarked for it, and Andrew has promised to see what he can do with it.

23rd December 2018

To all the good friends and acquaintances we have made over many years in the Shetland community . . . we wish every one the best of Christmas festivities and a bright and exciting New Year.

18th December 2018

How’s this for a view? Our handsome roan colt, Cavalier, took up residence at the Gue Stud in Shetland a few months ago, and this was the scene from his field on Sunday morning. There was a bit of a breeze!

Coming from the soft living down south to such a dramatic environment could have been quite traumatic for him, but apparently he has been quite unperturbed. Carole said there was a marked difference in the thickness and length of his coat, compared with her island-bred foals. Fortunately he arrived early enough to adapt and grow some more!

17th December 2018

What a splendid day Andrew, Toby and I had yesterday when we headed east to Trethorne Leisure Park for the much-anticipated SWSPG Christmas lunch. With ninety members and friends booked - many of whom had travelled considerable distances - it was bound to be a noisy, jolly, colourful event. The meal was absolutely delicious . . . ooohh . . . the most heavenly raspberry and white choc cheesecake - and the committee had gone the extra mile to make it all festive and fun.

As we sat back and digested, the end of year show-points accumulator winners were announced. All of Toby’s efforts were rewarded with an excellent first for young handlers, against some particularly keen opposition this year. In the showing section, his yearling filly, Tawna Luna, achieved a well-earned second place for youngstock.

I did not have any high hopes for the two entries I had submitted as, although they had done exceedingly well when I showed them, neither pony had been to the maximum number of six shows permitted. Therefore it was a lovely surprise when Clarius was second in the stallion section, and Tia Maria was third in the mare section - both of which were for standards and miniatures combined. I am particularly pleased that Tia should have managed this as the only brood mare, and as a first-foaler too. Finally, Pam’s Tawna Moonshine did her proud with a worthy third in the hotly contested gelding (standard and miniature) section.

Gorgeous ‘frillies’ awarded, it was time for the auction, and monstrous raffle. There were probably close to a million raffle prizes, yet our table only had two numbers come up! Hey-ho, we had all those beautiful rosettes to console us!!

All too soon it was time for home and final wishes for festive cheer called across the car park. As we sped away with Andrew at the wheel, Toby and I were engrossed in conversation . . . until I noticed that we were on the main road . . . heading east again!! Andrew has the most appalling sense of direction, and was driving away from home. I wonder how long it would have taken him to realise?!

12th December 2018

Did we really have a drought only a few months ago? It’s hard to believe it now. The springs all around my house have re-immerged with a vengeance - one has surfaced only a few feet from my kitchen door. We have had some wild weather recently - a lot of high winds and a great deal of rain.

The fields are soggy and the ponies are happily caked in mud. All our females are in one big group at the moment. It’s a joy to see such beautiful girls all together each day, looking well, and in many cases, it’s very obvious which ones are pregnant. Some are keeping me guessing though. There will definitely be at least one first-foaler next Spring, and we also expect our first off-spring by our new stallion - Milday Mr Bojangles. Exciting times ahead!

29th November 2018

Our excellent equine dentist - Gill, visits the stud about twice a year to carry out work on any ponies which we think require her attention. The process has moved a long way from the days of the vet struggling to manoeuvre a one-size-fits-all rasp in their tiny mouths, and now Gill has a whole range of equipment, and expertly deals with any dental irregularities with minimal discomfort to the patients. She has been to us recently, and we’re pleased that those ponies are now more comfortable in the tooth department.

There is a new member of the team here at Tawna . . . of the feline variety. Way back in the summer we kept seeing a tabby cat around the yard and fields. He kept his distance, but didn’t seem nervous. Audrey and I both love cats so we would talk to him and he became bolder.

One day Audrey found him asleep in the hay and had the chance to actually stroke him. That was the turning point. Ever since then, “Stable Cat” is a regular around the yard. After quite a while we discovered that he belongs to a neighbour, but as she goes out to work, he prefers to come and visit us in the day. He often appears soon after we are both in the yard. He hears us talking and comes trotting across the meadow. He is most affectionate and loves to climb up onto gates or railings to get nearer us, but - as we constantly witness - he has a lousy sense of balance. He totters along the wooden handrail trying to attract our attention, but invariably over-balances and has to scramble back up to his starting position.

Also he rolls on his back and wriggles around on the ground, blissfully unaware of the foals looming up and the potential threat of being trodden on. He’s very endearing, and after many months referring to him as Stable Cat, we have recently learnt that his official name is Hugh!

12th November 2018

Waking on a dark morning to thunder, lightning and heavy downpours did not fill me with enthusiasm for our final show of the year - SW Assoc. of WPCS. I should imagine some others felt the same as the number of entries was down, but I’m so glad we made the effort - for the organisers’ sake, as well as our own.

This was the debut appearance of our lovely palomino/cream yearling colt - Champagne Charlie. All season I have been looking forward to taking him out sometime, but as he didn’t finish casting his winter coat until August, he has been in no fit state to present in public. We always try to get our youngsters out to at least one show as it is a marvellous education for them.

Charlie surprised me with his good behaviour and I was chuffed to bits when he won both his classes + youngstock champion and overall ring champion. The opposition included a stallion, and several dainty little plaited part-breds which I felt sure would be the judge’s choice. Rowan, Izzy and Gloriana all looked lovely and won rosettes in various classes too. I felt so sorry to turn our lovely clean boy out with the other stallions back at home - knowing that he won’t be that immaculate again for a very, very long time!

7th November 2018

For the most part, Audrey and I agree on all policies in connection with the ponies, but for last weekend’s SW Shetland Group show, we had a difference of opinion.

I always look forward to what I still call the Youngstock show, as it is the one where we see all the foals coming out - usually for the first time. As much as I love our filly - Betsy Blue, I am embarrassed by how fat she is - just grass and mother’s milk. She only started on hard food about three weeks ago. She’s beautiful, but I would have left her at home. Audrey’s good sense prevailed and we were delighted when ‘The Pudding’ won 1st in the mini filly foal class . . . and she received many compliments. Freckles had a second, and Tia a third in their classes.

However what really made our day was two Tawna boys taking first and second prizes in the colt foal class. Their proud new owners had these very special boys looking fab, and it was Pam with Tawna Angus who pipped her good friend Sue, with Tawna Rowan, to top place. It’s a difficult time of year to turn out skewbalds, but these two handsome sons of Tawna Rubus looked a treat. The icing on the cake - Angus was awarded overall Champion Foal - brilliant!

There were actually five offspring of Rubus at the show, including Toby’s two girls, and they were all prize-winners. It’s interesting to see the family links: Toby’s Luna won the trophy for the best mini yearling filly, and Betsy won the trophy for the best mini filly foal. Amongst the names engraved on both cups was Tawna Twinkle, who was very successful when we showed her as a youngster, and at Sunday’s show there were three of her daughters competing - Luna, Freckles and Tia Maria. Good to see that continuity.

It was a really excellent show - masses of ponies of a high standard, and all well presented. The judge from Scotland had a really full day, but she and the steward kept things moving along very efficiently. Congratulations to all involved.

31st October 2018

Our ponies are not like butterflies! Butterflies like to warm themselves in the morning sun - spreading their wings to soak up the rays. On many occasions I have been struck by the way our ponies will stand in the deepest shade, especially when it’s cold.

I usually check the ponies first thing in the morning. During the exceptionally hot summer that we’ve just had, I would have expected them to be out grazing before the mid-day heat, but on several visits they were in the deep shadows. Maybe they had already filled their tummies by the time I arrived.

However I have been amazed many times on bright, but cold, frosty mornings, to find that instead of being out in the field, taking advantage of the sun - where the frost and ice has melted and everything is warming up - they are gathered in the chilly, dark, depths against the hedge. Funny animals.

It’s not difficult to tempt them out though - for weeks they have been treated to chopped apples, courtesy of a local lady who has dozens of apple trees. This year there is a glut of apples and she’s having difficulty giving them away as most people have access to a supply. I struggle to dish them out fast enough to all the eager faces, so I began scattering a trail on the shortest grass across the field. Most of the mares enjoyed seeking out the treats, but I was amused that two - Victoria and Fuchsia - thought it was beneath them to pick the apples off the ground. They would stand back, looking quite aloof, but with pleading eyes  - so that I was forced to hand-deliver their personal treats . . . and it worked every time!

22nd October 2018

There were some very good prices achieved at the recent Reading Shetland Pony sale - five ponies exceeded £2000. As a breeder, it is pleasing to see the people who really appreciate good bloodlines and quality stock and will pay for something decent. Four of the highest prices were for filly foals, and the other in that bracket was Tawna Pip (Kerswell Russet x Tawna Clementine) - a ten year old bay mare. I hasten to add it wasn’t us earning the mega- bucks! We sold Pip as a yearling having been lightly but successfully shown. She continued in that vein with her next owner and then passed on to the current vendor. We wish her new owner much happiness with this charming little girl.

By mid-week, another two foals will have flown the nest at Tawna. It’s so exciting to be receiving news, photos and updates from their delighted owners. We have really enjoyed seeing these babies develop during the summer, but now it’s time for them to meet new friends, and learn new ways.

Now we’re thinking about our entries for the SW Shetland Group’s show in a fortnight. The weather here is lovely at the moment - ideal for preparing ponies. By then the time will have changed and it will probably be wetter and colder - shame the show isn’t this weekend!

Toby managed to squeeze in another fun show a few weeks ago. He only took his mare, Tawna Izzy Wizzy, and had a great day - several first and second prizes, including a second in the open coloured class which had THIRTY TWO entries! And at the Southern Shetland Group’s Autumn show, the lovely dun and white Tawna Petunia continued her successful year with another first and second in good classes. Well done Sylvia.

15th October 2018

A couple of days ago we moved the first group of mares into the first of two fields which will be their winter quarters. It is a super field of nearly six acres which was re-seeded with a horse and pony pasture mix earlier this year. Recently a crop of haylage has been taken off it, and as it has only been used for arable crops for several decades, it is a really fresh new area for the ponies. I couldn’t help thinking how happy they would be there.

Twenty four hours later when I visited them, I was shocked to be faced with seven Ena Sharples lookalikes . . . you have to go back a long way, and have been a Coronation Street viewer to recognise the analogy!! The mares look frightful with their hair “up in curlers”.

Whilst sheltering from the tail-end of Storm Callum they had obviously pushed in against the hedge, under the over-hanging trees where, unbeknown to me, there were big healthy Burdock plants growing. The mares’ manes, forelocks, and in some cases - tails, are FULL of sticky burrs. In most cases there is no loose mane remaining at all - it has ALL been wound up in a tangled mess of prickly seeds. Grrrr!! . . . It is going to take many hours to patiently tease out the offending objects without damaging the hair. This morning I have been around the field with secateurs and removed the plants. Wish I’d thought to do it in the first place!!!

11th October 2018

Congratulations to Toby and Pam who have been announced as champion and runner-up respectively in the 2018 GEMS Cornish accumulator.  GEMS (Group Established for Miniature Shetlands) is a friendly national body which keeps owners of minis in touch with a magazine, facebook and photo competition. Audrey and I have belonged to it for years. Gorgeous rosettes are up for grabs to the highest placed members at selected shows, and this year, several regional championships have been introduced to add a little extra excitement for those who enjoy competing with their ponies. There has been friendly rivalry between Toby and Pam all season, and in the end there was only one point in it. The awards are well deserved as they both show great dedication to their ponies and set high standards for themselves.

It’s that slightly sad time of year when the foals leave us. Three have already left for their new homes, but we are proud that they are all friendly and confident, are in superb condition, have been sympathetically weaned, and are extremely obedient on the halter. Before they were weaned we ensured they would load into the lorry with their mums. Two were rather reluctant, so the next day we left the ramp down and shut the foals in the yard with it, so they could explore. In next to no time they had discovered what fun it was to go up into the lorry and were treating it like a game. When we next tried leading them in, which was without their mums, there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation . . . job done! Well rounded little ponies, ready for their new owners to carry on their education. Looking forward to seeing some of them out on the show circuit.

1st October 2018

The smile says it all! Four year old Hannah proudly displays her rosette and trophy from the Fun Show a couple of weeks ago. It was her first show, and she had only briefly met Victoria once before the Young Handler class. Hannah loved the experience and can’t wait to go to another show.

Meanwhile in the Adult Handler class, Pam’s husband Vic (with Tawna Nutkin) was happy to join in with the fun element of the show!

We had a busy day at Tawna a week ago when three colt foals were castrated and all nine foals micro-chipped. We were lucky that the weather was perfect for them to stay out afterwards, and were amazed to see the boys chasing each other and playing the following morning. As usual we arranged for the operations to be performed before the colts were weaned. It always seems to be a big help in their recovery when they still have their mums around. Actually they are very independent lads and will soon be ready to wean fully. They are already coming in overnight without their mums and are fairly indifferent about milk when they go out in the morning.

16th September 2018

For several weeks we have been looking forward to today’s End of Season Shetland Fun Show in Devon. It lived up to it’s name with a friendly atmosphere, classes which were a bit different from the norm, and some unusual bonus prizes . . . Toby won buckets in two classes!! Without exception, everyone entered into the spirit of the day and the classes were well supported. There was a tremendous turnout of Tawna ponies - I counted eleven - which shows that owners of Tawna ponies are ‘fun people’!

I enjoyed taking our two entries - the impossibly glamorous Victoria with her incredible long blonde mane, and our handsome and amazingly well-behaved Patrick. I was so chuffed that our friend Jenni’s four year old daughter took Victoria in the young handler class. Victoria doesn’t quite understand children, but she is gentle and Hannah did a fine job in a class with her two older sisters. Victoria and Moonshine also won the pairs class. The judge asked us to do an impromptu coordinated display. That was unexpected, and being the first to go, Pam and I didn’t have time to plan anything…..but it was FUN!

We weaned Patrick a week ago, and he has settled well. Today he was such a grown-up little lad (although he was the only foal) - marching around like a little trooper in the youngstock class with six or seven others and taking a second prize.

To be honest the show was a whirl of activity and I couldn’t keep up with results. However the crowning glory of the day was overall champion for Pam’s Tawna Moonshine….and a reserve reserve champion for little Patrick. To finish the day we had in-hand ‘clear round jumping’. Quite a few of us swallowed our pride and had a go. The poles on all but two of the jumps were on the ground so it wasn’t too taxing! Victoria was perfectly capable of jumping the cross poles but I’m afraid I struggled there. Nevertheless we managed and it was fun to do something different with the ponies. Well done Tessa for organising a great little show.

8th September 2018

As much as I appreciate the concept of self-service when I’m shopping, I do not approve of our ponies exercising their right to self-service with our neighbour’s apples!!! He rang me early yesterday morning to say that our fillies were scrumping in his orchard!

They were supposed to be in another neighbour’s field, but had found a little tiny route out, low under the thorn trees. Having no idea how much they had eaten, I have had them under surveillance beside my house ever since, and luckily there’s no sign of upset tummies.

5th September 2018

Tawna Smartie Pants is an adaptable little boy. Two weekends ago he was amongst the shopping trolleys at his local supermarket near Bath in Somerset - raising money for charity. No doubt he was a great attraction to the shoppers - cute animals are hard to resist. Then this past weekend he was strutting his stuff at the SW Pony Association Championship Show. Under three different judges he won 1st in coloured youngstock - he was the smallest in the class; 2nd in Shetland youngstock; and 3rd in Shetland any age - also winning the prize for best youngstock. What marvellous consistent results. Well done Anne and Smartie!

Here at Tawna we have started the weaning process with the three oldest foals. Cavalier and Patrick are particularly mature in their attitude, but Stella is a bit more of a mummy’s girl. They are all eating their hard food and hay when they are in the stable and we don’t think it will take too long before they can be separated.

30th August 2018

Just had a lovely afternoon halter training the foals with Toby. They are still away from Tawna so we took a halter for the mums, a headcollar and lead rein for the foals, and the Society’s registration forms up to their field. It was sunny but not too hot, and with no wind to blow away the paperwork, we have completed several of the passport outlines. We’ll have to wait a bit longer for the markings to become more clear on some of the foals. I know that Flash Harry has got socks and a small white patch on his bottom, but until he casts his foal coat I can’t be exactly sure where the markings begin and end!

The ponies were all extremely interested in what we were doing so we didn’t have to take many steps to catch each candidate. We took each mare and foal through a gate and out into the adjoining field to lead so the babies didn’t have the distraction of all the others tagging along. We didn’t bother to lead Patrick or Cavalier as they are well educated lads having been to six shows between them.

Although the foals have all been caught and had their feet trimmed during the summer, we couldn’t recall that the two youngest - Henry and Harry, had actually been led. Henry took to it well, but Harry did fling himself on the ground at one stage. Other than that, the foals were all marvellous. They all understand ‘stop’ and ‘go’, and all were chilled about their training. I am really pleased at their attitude.

24th August 2018

We love receiving happy news from owners of ponies we have bred and sold. Tawna Petunia is a very attractive dun and white who belongs to Sylvia - a long-standing member of the Wessex Shetland Group. At their summer show last weekend, Petunia really pulled out the stops to win 2 x 2nd prizes - one in a class of seven coloured ponies, the other in a class of thirteen mares. Brilliant! Petunia has had a foal in the past, has done young handler classes, and is now being ridden as well, so she is a really active little pony.

I hopped in the lorry yesterday to move it and noticed a whopping great molar tooth on the dash board. Poor little Freckles spat it out on the ground just before her show class at Chagford last week. Yuck! It’s surprising how rarely we see the teeth that the ponies cast naturally. I guess they just get lost in the grass.

20th August 2018

Our little rush of shows finished with a lovely visit to Chagford Agricultural show. It’s a charming event and another of our favourites. Clementine was our chosen representative for the mare class, and shown to her best by Toby she looked absolutely stunning. She came a creditable second and Cavalier behaved impeccably to claim another champion foal rosette.

Freckles, although rather too tubby, is one of the prettiest ponies we have ever bred . . . and I tell her this nearly every day! She also gained a second place in the youngstock class. Toby and I both agreed that the ponies that beat ours were truly worthy winners and deserved their top places.  However another top place was claimed by Tawna Moonshine in the stallion and gelding class, and Pam was delighted when he was chosen as Reserve Mini Champion. “Mr Lush” is every inch a champion in our eyes!

Just for a change, Toby later took Freckles in the under 14.2hh broken colour class. A bit of a novelty for us, and a third prize for our pretty little girl. A relaxed wander around the show, watching the camel racing, and indulging in freshly made warm doughnuts completed a great day out.

13th August 2018

We attended one of our favourite shows yesterday - Tregony Heavy Horse show. Most of our friends say it’s their favourite too. It’s unusual for us, in that the show is part of a country fair that attracts a lot of visitors who crowd around the ring to watch the Shetlands performing adjacent to the Shires and Clydesdales. This creates a great atmosphere and there’s rapturous applause when the winners do their lap of honour. The downside of such a busy and noisy environment is that some of the ponies tend to freak out. Yesterday it was the live singing in a nearby marquee which seemed to send some of ours into a spin!!

We took our lovely mare Clementine and TWO of her sons. At sixteen years old, she is looking marvellous herself and is doing her handsome foal - Cavalier extremely well. Clemmy was second in the veteran class and fourth in the mares. After his initial misbehaviour, Cavalier settled to put on quite a decent show to win the foal class and the foal championship. After the lunch break Clarius won the stallion class and was judged miniature Champion. He has become much more settled at shows which makes things easier, and needless to say, we are delighted that his three outings have each resulted in a championship……gorgeous boy. Another gorgeous boy - Pam’s Tawna Moonshine earned a first in the mini gelding class plus the overall Reserve Gelding Championship.

There were also two second prizes for Toby’s ponies, and a second for Jane’s Tawna Martha. Toby was kind enough to offer to show Clemmy for me, and entrusted his own Izzy Wizzy to his mum to show in the same class. Toby must have been so proud of both his mum and Izzy when they were pulled into second place out of nine entries.

But the biggest excitement was for Debbie who is a new convert to mini Shetlands. In their debut appearance at a show, Debbie and her pretty filly - Tawna Lily Longsocks, won the yearling class. ‘Over the moon’ doesn’t come close!

10th August 2018

We had a super day at Camelford Agricultural Show on Wednesday. A major factor was that we only had one brief shower of rain, plus a couple of light skiffs while we were there. It’s a bit of a standing joke in Cornwall that it will always rain at Camelford show: last year there was a deluge and I think the show was abandoned part way through the morning - after we had done our showing! I had never been so wet (whilst dressed) in my life!!! Plus our lorry had to be towed out of the field.

This time the show was on a new site, and the pony rings were safely tucked away from the ridden, driven, heavy horses. There were a few things to be improved another time, such as the rings being rather small, the ground being perilously rutted after the wet winter, and cars driving through ponies in the collecting area, but a new venue is always going to throw up problems to be ironed out.

There was a fairly good turn-out for the mini classes, the largest being nine forward in the 4 & overs, and seven in the geldings. Here is a bevy of prize winning Tawna ponies - many thanks to Sue Buckley for the photo. From the left: myself with Clarius - 1st (4 and over) + Mini Champ + overall Breed Champ, Vic with Freckles - 1st (2 & 3 y o) + overall Junior Champ, Pam with her own Moonshine - 1st (geldings) + Res Mini Champ + overall Res Breed Champ, Toby with his own Luna - 1st (yearlings).

Toby also earned second place in the open Young Handlers class, plus a lovely Society rosette for the best competitor with a Shetland. I also took Clarius in the open M & M class and was extremely chuffed to gain second place - moved up from third - in a class of nine. All the rest were Welsh, New Forest and Connemaras, so our little man done good!

Earlier in the week we got some slightly better photos of the foals we are offering for sale - now on the ‘For Sale’ page. Frustratingly, Stella still hasn’t got rid of her coat . . . but she’s getting there!

5th August 2018

Oh dear . . . some of the ponies are in disgrace! When I went to see the mares and foals, their field was empty. I looked out through the hedge, and there they all were - in Andrew’s grass seeds! The field was only planted in late Spring, and with little rain since to push on the plants, they are very delicate. He was not a happy bunny! He was naturally concerned about the damage they may have done. I was more concerned about the ponies’ sudden intake of fresh young grass and the possibility of colic. As it turned out all was well on both counts.

I caught Tia Maria and led her to the gate, followed by a ‘crocodile’ of mainly foals, but then the mothers tagged on at the end. Their tummies must have been full, because they wouldn’t have followed otherwise! In an otherwise sound hedge, it turned out that they had found the one place where the badgers and deer make a bit of a runway. I expect a few of the foals went over first and then everyone else piled after them. To be honest, I am surprised that some of the most hefty girls - like Daisy May - were able to haul themselves up and over the hedge . . . but I suppose no-one wanted to be left behind!

28th July 2018

Mixed feelings today . . . some longed-for rain has arrived, but the severe weather warnings for tonight and tomorrow - heavy rain and strong winds - have resulted in tomorrow’s Fraddon horse show being cancelled. How ironic is that in this drought-stricken summer?! It’s such a difficult decision to make for the organisers, but this morning two of their marquees had blown down, and they have to be mindful of the farmer’s land. All grazing is extra precious this year, so they can’t risk vehicles possibly ruining his ground. Fraddon show is a long-established and popular traditional horse show and we had entered two girls who haven’t been out for a while. I was looking forward to showing them in several classes. . . but there will be other opportunities.

So far we haven’t had a great deal of rain, but the ground, the plants and the wildlife must be lapping it up. Just since yesterday I can see a marked difference in the amount of water the mares and foals have been drinking. We haven’t got any automatic drinkers, so manually filling the troughs in several fields has been a time-consuming task this year.

I am elated to have finished pulling ragwort this week. It is a job I dread every year - hard work, hot conditions and I always get bitten by horse flies. This year there were considerably less clumps than usual which is why I have completed the job so early! Every year I ensure every stem is removed, and the large majority come out with their roots, but inevitably some plants have dropped seeds before I get to them. The plants loved the wet conditions last summer and grew enormous, so it has been a doddle to deal with the stunted plants in this dry summer. I think I have caught them all before seeding….hurray! We find it shocking that some horse owners just ignore this dangerous plant in their pasture.

Andrew has just updated most of the photos on our ‘Foals 2018’ page. How the babies alter over a few months. He doesn’t see the foals in the flesh (or in the fur) very often so doesn’t know how much they have changed. In some cases, as he was replacing the previous photos with the latest images, he did a second take and exclaimed “Really?!” I don’t feel some of the pics do them justice so I will try again….when the sun shines!

25th July 2018

Just recently there have been lots of jobs with the ponies. Everything hinged on the stallions coming away from their mares. Having got them back to Tawna they were reacquainted with each other over several days. After taking their turn sniffing and squealing at each other over the stable walls, and we were satisfied that everyone had met each other, they are now all out in a field together - seven handsome boys, including the newbie - Champagne Charlie. Every so often there is a challenge and a lot of noise, deep breathing, followed by a bit of chasing, but with so many in one group, any aggression gets shared out quite fairly.

Once the boys were sorted, that enabled us to get all the mares with foals together in one field - what a lovely sight! It’s good for the foals to meet other ponies so they are more socialized. I had previously taken all the mares without foals away onto some poor grazing to try and control their weight. The mares and foals are currently in one of the fields that we cut for hay. My husband deliberately cut it quite high so the grass didn’t consequently suffer in the dry weather. The field is coping well with the drought and there is an additional good pick for the ponies around the edge of the field where the overhanging trees prevented the tractor getting close to the hedge.

Yesterday Toby and I did a bit of halter training. We managed to get through six of the foals. I’m not worried about Patrick as he is a very educated young man, having been to four shows, so there are now just the two youngest boys to do. I was very pleased with the foals’ behaviour. There were no particular upsets and on the whole, they accepted being restrained quite quickly. Of course, having always had their complete freedom, it comes as a great shock to them when they go to skip away . . . and I stop them! Sometimes in the past we have have had major tantrums and foals flinging themselves on the ground in a rage. I think this lot are particularly bright!

18th July 2018

Unfortunately two of our lovely colt foals are back on the market. Their purchaser - who already has one of our ponies - was forced to withdraw from the agreement through circumstances beyond her control. Such a shame as we know they would have had a super home. I have taken photos of them today and added them to our ‘For Sale’ page plus some updates of the others for sale. Take a look because there are some big changes in their appearances!

17th July 2018

To say last week was rather busy would be an understatement. A large part of it was taken up with hay-making and the ensuing stress of machinery problems teamed with the threat of heavy thundery rain before we had carried the crop. Like everyone, we desperately need rain . . . but not on our cut hay! As it turned out, the rain did not materialize beyond a few random drops, and we managed to get a worthwhile crop of top quality fodder stashed away in the barn. Unfortunately I took a tumble when we were nearly finished - falling off the hay trailer on Thursday evening and twisting my knee. Before I even got up from the ground I was already thinking “Oh no - will I be able to run out our ponies at Liskeard show on Saturday?”

The answer was yes, but not very well. The judge would have definitely pronounced me unsound! I really like Liskeard show, and having missed it last year due to work commitments, I didn’t want to do so again. I took two ponies with contrasting results. Charisma - who was mini champion at the SW Shetland show only a few weeks ago was way down the line, but Clarius took over Charisma’s mantle and was both mini Champion and Supreme Shetland Champion!

I was so very proud of him - always a very special boy, he is now four years old, but has only been out a couple times since he was a yearling. He was quite uncouth on those two occasions so I thought it was high time for him to get more experience and he surprised me by behaving very well. I couldn’t run fast enough to do him justice, but it’s surprising what a helpful effect adrenaline can have on an injured knee . . . + Paracetamol tablets, pain-killing gel and a large bandage!! There were three second places and a fourth for other Tawna ponies in the Shetland classes, plus Toby claimed an excellent third prize with Izzy Wizzy in the open Performance Pony class where they had to negotiate a series of tasks. This is a great class for handlers to demonstrate their control, and their pony’s obedience. It would be nice to see these classes at some of our Group shows.

Then it was an early return home, a quick turn-around to meet a fellow judge to travel a few hundred miles to officiate at a Shetland show the following day. It was really enjoyable to see all the beautiful ponies and lovely owners in another part of the country, and the young handlers were such little stars.

3rd July 2018

Last weekend saw our Area’s NPS summer show. Toby took his Tawna girls, and after patiently waiting over three and a half hours for an unannounced last minute re-scheduling of his classes he did well with a fourth for Izzy in the Shetland 4 y & over class (below three top-flight standards), and a first for Luna in the M & M yearlings. I have to commend Toby and family for waiting all that time . . . I think I would have gone home!

Back at Tawna we are enjoying seeing the foals growing away. Some of them have had their toes trimmed for the first time and we have also started halter-breaking them. Of course, having been to four shows, Patrick knows all about that stuff. Not expecting much of them at this stage. Just having a head-collar on and being prevented from skipping away when they want to is enough for the moment.

28th June 2018

Only a few months ago we were utterly sick of the constant rain . . . but dare I say it - we are desperate for a drop now. The ground is hard as iron, the grazed fields are looking parched and turning brown in patches, and any standing crops are suffering. We’re not worried for the ponies - livestock generally seem to do very well in these conditions as long as they have plenty of drinking water.

Despite such a long spell of hot weather, some of our ponies are still hanging on to some of their winter coats. I have to say I was quite heartened at the show on Sunday to see several ponies with fluff - which the owners said refused to move.

Our foals are slow to cast their baby coats too, but this morning I made use of my time while waiting for the water trough to fill, by having a go at some of them with a wire-bristle dog comb. It didn’t appear to make much difference visually, but I had the satisfaction of removing several comb-fulls of soft down-like fluff, and the babies quite liked the experience too . . . especially having their tummies combed!

25th June 2018

Ah….the vagaries of showing. We took two mares and a foal yesterday, but I only entered one pony into the Native Pony show. It was our beautiful Charisma - one of our favourites - and in the four years and over class she was placed third out of nine or ten ponies. Naturally I felt that this didn’t bode too well for the SW Group show which began soon afterwards, albeit with a different judge. How wrong could I be!?

It was a first place for our lovely Tia Maria - one of our favourites! . . . and a first place and Best Foal for her son, Patrick. At last - a proper class for him where he could show off his paces.

This was immediately followed by the yeld mare class for Charisma. With a similar number forward as in her earlier class things were turned upside-down with a first for her (and a second place for Toby and his own Tawna Izzy Wizzy), followed by Miniature Senior Champion, Miniature Champion, and culminating in Reserve Supreme . . . WOW! We reckon this gorgeous girl has not been to more than about three shows in her life, so we are immensely proud of her achievements yesterday. We had never seen the judges before in this part of the world, but were delighted that they liked our type of pony so well. There were several other Tawna ponies successes at the show. With all my excitement I’m afraid I cannot recall them all, but it was lovely to see them and their owners taking part in so many classes. My loyalties were desperately divided on several occasions!

It was a long and very hot day, but the two shows appeared to run well alongside each other and there was a super atmosphere . . .although the Native Pony commentator may have given away the surprise of the World Cup football results as he announced each England goal as it was scored - live! Especial thanks to Toby’s parents, Sue, and of course Toby for leading, holding, minding and generally supporting….couldn’t do it without you!

21st June 2018

Hearty congratulations to John Lawrie and friends with their Milday ponies at the Royal Highland Show today. We are naturally extremely pleased because their two year olds who are BOTH by our Tawna Rubus were first and second in the 2 and 3 year old class (15 forward) + Junior Champion AND Reserve Junior Champion. In addition their yearling filly who was second prize in her class (18 forward) is by our new stallion Milday Mr Bojangles. Well done to you all at such a prestigious show.

We will be preparing ponies ourselves for two shows this weekend - Native Pony Association of Cornwall and SW Shetland Pony Group Summer show. These are being held in conjunction with each other on our County showground - a super venue. The concept with the two organisations sharing the site was first tried last year and seemed to work well so hopefully this will be equally successful.

12th June 2018

Help - not enough hands!!

It’s a real pleasure now to sit down in the fields - which have gone rapidly from wet and slushy to rock hard and uncomfortable - and play with the foals. Only problem is that they all want attention immediately and don’t want to wait their turn. In Sprite’s field there are five foals, and it’s difficult to cope with them all at once. Little Henry makes me giggle . . . he is considerably younger and smaller than all the rest, but he is bold and characterful, and not at all worried about pushing in amongst the big boys.

At last some of the foals are beginning to reveal their true colours underneath those woolly baby coats. The most striking change so far is with Angus, whose face has cast out to a shiny dark (liver) chestnut - gorgeous. Rowan’s bottom is casting to reveal chestnut freckles on his white buttock! The roans are gradually showing more of their grey undercoats. It’s all quite fascinating.

10th June 2018

After many weeks of diligent daily grooming, Audrey declared defeat on Thursday, and our yearling, Rosetta, had to stay home. A strawberry roan only half out of it’s coat is not a good look for a County show! So on Friday we had a very light load for the Royal Cornwall - just Tia Maria and Patrick.

Patrick is such a chilled little chap - not at all fazed by the sights and sounds. Tia was rather more bothered when we reached the collecting ring, but we managed to find a slightly more peaceful area for her to wait. Our’s was the last mini Shetland class, and there was a first for Tia, and the Society’s Best Foal rosette for Patrick, but these were hollow victories because after well-filled earlier classes, we didn’t have any opposition. However, we have the knowledge that Tia proved herself at the last two shows.

I also had the pleasure of showing Tawna Moonshine for Pam. It was his first time at the Royal Cornwall show and as he is quite a sensitive boy, we weren’t too sure how he would react to so much going on. Outside the ring he became pretty wound up until we joined Tia in the more peaceful area . . . away from the blacksmith belting the life out of something on his anvil . . . and away from the ‘Countryside Area’ where they let off a gun . . . etc etc! Once in the ring, he was actually quite settled and apart from pulling on the downhill trot, I was extremely pleased with his behaviour. He earned a second prize in the gelding class and very complimentary comments from the judge.

4th June 2018

We were really torn yesterday . . . two shows, both about the same distance away, but in opposite directions. Toby and I chose to go west to the Cornish Association of the Welsh Pony & Cob Society where the Shetland classes were affiliated to the Shetland Society.

It was a good decision - first and mini Champion for Tia + overall Reserve Breed Champion. Toby collected three firsts and Reserve M & M Champion with Luna, so we were encouraged by the organisers (and Toby’s mum!) to stay for the Supreme. It took forever to come around, but it was a nice showground, lovely weather and Tia spent all her time grazing so she was happy. We didn’t get anywhere in the final, but I was really, really pleased that the three judges decided upon the standard Shetland gelding for Supreme. What an achievement at the WELSH show!!!!

Meanwhile, several of our friends headed east into Devon for a fun show. There was an excellent representation of the Tawna stud there - at least six ponies. We have received several reports that the participants - two-legged and four-legged - all had a great time and enjoyed the relaxed aspect of the event - swapping ponies, borrowing ponies, and even unprepared spectators being pressed into competing! There were Championships for Moonshine and Martha, Reserve Champion for Boy George and rosettes a-plenty for others. It’s extremely heartening to know that our little ponies are going out and having an interesting life, and giving their owners such pleasure.

Next stop for us - the County show.

27th May 2018

It’s two months since I have taken any of our ponies to a show, so it was good to get ‘back in the saddle’ today at the Cornwall Open Show. It’s a nice event for us: an easy run down the A30, plenty of parking, good range of classes, and relatively good facilities . . . although the outdoor sand school was pretty soggy, with a pond at each end after last nights thunder storm!

Whilst Toby was in the youngstock class with Luna - winning second prize - Jacqui and I waited outside with Tia Maria (who is a full sister to Luna) and her foal - Patrick. Just before our class, a bird passing overhead ‘blessed’ the top of Tia’s head with a white deposit! Folklore has it that this is a sign of good luck, and so it turned out to be - a first for Tia and Champion! Tawna Moonshine won his class and stood Reserve Champion, whilst Tawna Luna took Reserve Junior Champion.

Luna was also third in the coloured class (any age) and Toby won the Young Handlers (13-18 age group). The youngsters were all very proficient so that was well-earned. Our neighbour, Jane had her two Tawna girls - Tarantella and Martha, who were looking marvellous, and won several rosettes between them.

All these results were a great pleasure, but for me the greatest achievement today was how well behaved Patrick was. At ten weeks (and one day!), his first show was a big education and I could not have asked any more of him. In the past few weeks we have been halter-breaking him, and it was not until his fifth lesson that the concept suddenly clicked with him. Today he loaded without hesitation, didn’t have any tantrums, and was interested but not frightened by all that he saw . . .a true success!

24th May 2018

This morning I have been out taking photos of some of our babies to update our ‘Foals 2018’ page (now done). Some of the older ones are so hairy that I am longing for them to cast those coats so we can see their true colours. The final two boys, who are now only about a week old, are filling out and changing daily.

It’s fascinating watching young foals . . . it’s a constant round of eating, sleeping and playing, + a lot of peeing! I couldn’t help laughing out loud at Topsy’s boy’s antics - hilarious. A young foal will sometimes overbalance as it finishes at the milk bar, and will totter forward under the mare. Topsy’s boy was going under her for fun! He would get half way under her (at the udder end) and then his rump would jam so he’d wriggle and rock forth and back. After a moment he’d push on and pop out the other side. Topsy is such a patient girl because he must have repeated this 8 - 10 times while I was in the field.

Once he tried going through under the deepest part of her belly, but soon decided that wouldn’t work. But the amazing thing was when he succeeded in popping through to the opposite side . . . only to immediately go into reverse and end up where he started!! Priceless! His three year old cousin - Blue Moon (same sire and out of Topsy’s full sister) won a third prize at last week’s Devon County show. Well done Moon and owner - Jane.

19th May 2018

Hurray - foaling has finished at Tawna. Two nights ago maiden mare - Topsy Turvy had a black colt (by Sprite) with four white socks, a small star and three minute white dots along his back. She was extremely excited about her new baby who was exceptionally lively and trying to gallop across the stable soon after he got to his feet. As he stretched his legs at ever increasing speed, Topsy spun around and around to keep him in sight. It made us dizzy just watching! Now the immediate novelty has worn off, she is a bit calmer.

Then last night Marina had a colt foal (by Rubus), again with four socks and a star + a white blob on the top of the tail, but we are thrilled that this boy is the rare MUSHROOM colour - very special. Last night I thought he looked rather unusual, but in the artificial light it was difficult to tell just what colour his wet coat was. I was most impatient to see him in daylight!

We had hoped that one or both of these final mares would give us a filly, but we are grateful that they arrived safely and are handsome and healthy. Last year, five of our seven foals were fillies, so the girls beat the average then. This year seven out of nine foals are boys . . . but it has to be said, they are a gorgeous bunch!

12th May 2018

The foals enjoyed their young visitors today. Angus and Rowan received LOTS of kisses! Many thanks to Gemma for all the fab photos.

11th May 2018

After a great deal of deliberation we have finally settled on a name for Rosella’s pink and white boy - Ronaldo. He will probably be called Ronnie though, on a daily basis. The names for all the other foals came easily, but for some reason we were stuck with his. We are not football fans at all, but I believe there is a top player with that name . . . maybe our Ronaldo will be nifty on his feet too!

Our little Ronnie’s roan yearling sister - Rosetta, is just a ball of whitish fluff at the moment. Audrey has been grooming her and there seems no end to her coat coming out. At least it’s providing plenty of nesting material for the birds.

Their skewbald two year old brother - Smartie Pants, who lives near Bath has been to a couple of shows recently in Somerset, winning several prizes in a variety of classes - broken coloured, youngstock and young handlers. I look forward to seeing him in Cornwall at our County show next month. It’s so interesting to see young ponies as they progress through the different age groups.

8th May 2018

I have been out with my camera and managed to take updated photos of some of our babies - take a look at our ‘Foals 2018’ page. All the fields are on the slope so it’s never easy to get them standing nicely for their publicity shots! Plus there’s usually someone else's head or bum in the way! It’s so interesting to see them maturing through the summer: I hope to update their images from time to time.

6th May 2018

Toby and his family did a longer trip yesterday to the SW Shetland Group’s new Spring show in Somerset. I had too many commitments here, but Toby did the Tawna name proud with his two girls (T. Luna and T.Izzy Wizzy) - winning three classes and gaining a fourth in the nine-strong mare class. He said it was a beautiful venue, a glorious (if rather too hot) day, and he enjoyed competing against ponies and owners who he had not met before. There were decent numbers forward in his other classes too - seven in the yearling class which he won with Luna. Well done Toby and Support Crew.

On the following day Pam took two of her Tawna geldings to a show here in Cornwall. There was only one open class for Shetlands, but she was chuffed to win with T. Moonshine and have a third with T. Boy George . . . and even more tickled that the steward fell in love with Moonshine - to the extent that she said she couldn’t take her eyes off him!

It has been exceptionally hot today and nearly all our ponies are sweating buckets in their big thick coats. I’m having to look at them very closely to ensure they are ok because they are breathing much faster than normal.

28th April 2018

We have a pink and white boy! Rosella foaled last evening, giving us a pretty skewbald colt. He looked chestnut and white whilst wet, but in the morning light today we can see that he will be strawberry roan and white  - like his mum. He is the last foal for us by our lovely Tawna Tristan who we sold last Autumn. This colt is a full brother to our yearling Rosetta….and to several other handsome geldings, so he comes from a family of very good looking siblings!

Hurray! At last our 2018 Foal page is on view. Take a look! The latest boy isn’t there yet, and there will hopefully be a few more additions.

26th April 2018

In actual fact there were two fillies by Sprite born yesterday. The other was from our friend Jane’s home-bred mare - Mignon Viola. Jane reports that filly is bay but showing signs that she will turn bay roan. I parted the coat on our filly this morning and can see grey hairs underneath, so it looks as if she will be blue roan. We are probably going to call her Betsy Blue which seems to suit her rather nicely.

I have taken photos of all the foals and am waiting for Andrew to make a new ‘Foals’ page for this website. I know several people are dying to see our lovely babies, so I hope it won’t be too much longer before they can be seen here, in all their cuteness!

25th April 2018

The filly fairy has not been over-taxing herself at Tawna this year, but earlier this evening she made a return visit when Daisy May produced a baby girl. The filly is solid black, but may turn blue roan as she is by Sprite. I look forward to seeing her properly in the daylight tomorrow, but she looks very nice - a full sister for last year’s Lily Longsocks.

We knew Daisy wasn’t far off foaling, and it was as if she had waited to be brought into the stable for the night as she foaled within about fifteen minutes! There is a marked difference between her and the most recent mare to foal. Agnes was excited and attentive towards her baby, whereas Daisy is casual and laid back . . . sums up her attitude to life really!

23rd April 2018

Sorted! For several weeks I have been working towards the ‘Big Spring Pony Sort Out’. It’s the time of year for us to get the stallions separated out into their respective summer pastures, to be joined by the first of their mares. Actually we do it the other way around - the girls go in first and settle down together, before the lucky boys are let loose. It’s plenty early to do this, but we’d like to try to get the mares covered, and in-foal, before they pile on too much weight with the forthcoming flush of Spring grass.

Recently I have been busy trimming hooves and shuffling around small numbers of ponies so that when Toby helped me yesterday, we just had to put the planned moves into action. He said he was confused with it all, and I must admit it is a logistical challenge and took a lot of forward planning as we are using five stallions this year. Luckily we have a good choice of fields in a variety of sizes and locations, but ensuring the stallions are well apart and going onto fresh ground has been difficult.

This morning I was very pleased - and relieved - to see each group settled and content. Fingers crossed that the last of our expectant mares will foal safely, and then in a while they will join their allocated stallion for the summer.

22nd April 2018

Three Tawna geldings have been out and about at shows this weekend and doing their owners (and Audrey and myself) proud. At the SWPA qualifier show in Devon, Pam’s Moonshine stood second to a magnificent Highland in an all-breeds M & M class, and Nutkin stood fourth in a mixed broken colour class - most of which were clipped riding horses!

Meanwhile in Lincolnshire, Maria has had Amos strutting his stuff again. The panel judge in the affiliated Shetland classes not only chose Amos for first in a class of standards and minis, mares stallions and geldings, but also pulled him forward as Champion Shetland. In addition, he won three other first prizes and a third. If Amos is going to carry on in this vein, Maria is going to have to increase her very slim waist to accommodate all the rosettes!

19th April 2018

How’s this for great timing….

For more than a fortnight, heavily pregnant Agnes - mother of Amos pictured below - has been coming into the stable at night under the cctv. Audrey has been watching her closely on the monitor every night which naturally has been exhausting, especially as for about a week Aggie’s udder decreased in size and she looked further from foaling.

However somewhere between 6 o’clock and 7 o’clock this evening, Audrey phoned me to say the lights in the stable weren’t working. She thought there may have been an upset in the electricity supply and the safety trip switch had kicked in, but she needed me to reach it.

Arriving at Tawna, I soon sorted the problem and we went across the yard to look at Aggie. Whilst we watched, she tipped out several little lots of droppings, which is not unusual for her, and I light heartedly said to her “Well Aggie, are you emptying out ready to have your baby?” After I’d mucked her out I felt her chest . . . boiling! Today has been the hottest day of the year so far, but she was unnaturally hot.

We watched a while longer and within minutes she was gently pawing the ground so we quietly left the stable. Within FIVE minutes I heard a grunt, looked in, and the foal was already on it’s way out. One more heave and she had delivered him.

Now THAT is the way we wish they would all easily give birth . . . but it also shows how quickly they can get into trouble if the foal isn’t presented correctly. She has had a lovely upstanding skewbald colt - by Rubus - and like Fuchsia’s boy he has my favourite markings - four white socks and white on his face. We left Aggie giving him a very vigorous all-over licking.

17th April 2018

More interesting news from afar: Maria from Lincolnshire took four year old gelding, Tawna Amos, to only his second ever show last Sunday. It was the Notts/Lincs branch of the NCPA Spring show and they proudly brought home third and fourth rosettes.

Apparently Amos found it all VERY exciting as his previous show had just been for Shetlands and Miniature Horses. The variety and activity of a full-blown horse show gave him plenty to look at - not least the loose horse hurtling straight at him!

The top two from one of his classes (Highland and standard Shetland) went on to be M & M champion and reserve, before being overall in-hand champ and reserve, so the little man was in good company. Amos can be seen as a baby on this website’s ‘home page’ - the photo with the two foals looking at Meg the dog. Amos is the colt on the right….although Maria owns the other colt (Tawna Lachlan) too!

And here he is at the show……..WOW, what a proud and handsome boy!

10th April 2018

We love a bit of good news . . . today there is much jubilation at the Milday Stud near Edinburgh because John Lawrie has just had three x three year old colts sail through their VVE (voluntary veterinary examination) to become licensed stallions.

Audrey and I have good reason to join in the celebration because all three handsome boys have Tawna breeding: Tawna Golden Shred (Kerswell Nutcracker x Tawna Clementine), Tawna Kismet (Kerswell Sprite x Tawna Charisma), and Milday Midnight Noir (Tawna Rubus x Kinnoull Tabitha). We really rated Shreddie and Kismet as foals, and sold them at weaning as worthy colts with stallion potential. However, passing the VVE is by no means a foregone conclusion, so it’s good to have confirmation that these boys meet with the exacting International veterinary standards, and we hope they go on to make their mark in the Shetland world, and especially at the Milday stud!

8th April 2018

After the joy of such lovely babies arriving in quick succession, there was much sadness here this week when we lost a foal - disappointing for us of course, but so upsetting for the mother.

Our very beautiful little dun and white mare - Meredith, began foaling in the evening. We were there right away and found a mal-presentation. The foal’s head was turned back and I quickly decided that I couldn’t sort it. The vet only took twenty minutes to get to Tawna . . . but every minute seems like half an hour in that sort of situation. She had quite a job, but managed to get the foal straightened out and delivered. To the amazement of all of us he was still living - just - but it had taken too much out of him and he faded away soon after. Meredith had had a major ordeal, but she is young and strong and thankfully seems to be recovering very well. Her baby was the same colour as her and would have been just as beautiful.

We have had a number of other upsetting things happen this week, but our spirits have been lifted today by the arrival of our first two Swallows - always a wonderful sight.

3rd April 2018

Well, our girls are certainly firing them out this year!

Foal number four arrived last evening. Fuchsia chose a very civilized time - around 9.30 - to produce a beautifully marked skewbald colt. He is another strong, compact baby . . . and very hairy - the first offspring by Rubus this year. Fuchsia delivered him quickly and easily, and cast her after-birth soon after. She sadly lost her last foal two years ago so it was wonderful to see how attentive she was - clearly over-joyed to have him. However Audrey, observing her on the cctv monitor, was rather concerned all through the night that Fuchsia was still quite uncomfortable, but she seems to have been fine today, and mother and son have made a very attractive sight out in the field.

It’s been so cold and wet since they were born that the previous three foals have been coming into stables every night. This has met with approval by their mothers because they have had a nice tea awaiting them each evening. It has also meant that we could handle the foals more than usual at this age. But with improved conditions today, those three were promoted to another field . . . and tonight they will be out for the first time.

2nd April 2018

The popular Devon (Area 10) NPS Spring show was held on Easter Sunday, and was Toby’s chance to ‘fly solo’…..with the support crew of mum and dad of course. He’s been to enough shows with me now to know the ropes, but it was still a big venture with his own two ponies…..plus dad - Nick’s maiden voyage with their recently purchased trailer.

Everything went to plan and the family returned home well-pleased with their day out. Toby’s two classes were for Exmoors and Shetlands combined, and little Luna was against ponies up to three years of age, so he was happy to be placed third in that class, and second in the four and overs with Izzy . . even more heartening that after her individual show she was moved UP the line! Well done to the team - it was a very successful trial run for another show that Toby is eyeing-up - further afield and fairly soon!

1st April 2018

Happy Easter!

We had our own little Easter bunny arrive here last night . . . Clementine had a super colt foal - full brother to last year’s Crackerjack, but a bay roan this time. He’s very strong and well developed, and has a beautiful head. Clemmy was enormous prior to foaling and we wondered if she was going to have a baby elephant! He looks bay at the moment but when I parted his coat this morning his undercoat is grey, so he will end up  the colour of last year’s Agatha - very nice.

That’s a foal born on each of the past three weekends! It’s strange that we should get three foals so early, as the stallions go in with the mares at roughly the same time each year. There are more mums-to-be looking fairly imminent so we are watching closely.

25th  March 2018

Well it’s amazing what a difference a fine sunny day and a happy pony gathering can do for your spirits. The show today had a great atmosphere, people seemed genuinely pleased to be out with their ponies for the first time this year and meeting up with friends. There was also a nice number of spectators so there was a LOT of chat, and it was great to see exhibitors helping out each other to lead ponies in the ring, or just hang on to them outside.

There is no denying that Tawna ponies had a fantastic day. The judge who had travelled all the way from Shetland was extremely efficient, and gave all entries a VERY thorough assessment. I would think overall numbers were slightly up on last year, and without a lunch break he was kept busy well into mid afternoon.

Our own Rosetta was placed second in the yearling class, and Lowenna - yes, at sixteen years old Lowenna has come out of retirement - won her mare class and took overall Reserve Miniature Champion. All the ponies at the show were well turned out, especially in view of the exceptionally wet conditions we have all suffered, but I think Lowenna was probably one of the hairiest ponies there - not only her massive mane and tail, but also a fulsome coat and wonderful feather…..a vision of real Shetland hardiness. Toby’s mum, Jacqui, who accompanied us today likened her to a woolly mammoth!

Pam took two of her handsome boys for the gelding class and was very happy to be placed first with Tawna Moonshine and fourth with Tawna Boy George, BUT the day belonged to Toby. My goodness - did he have a tremendous day with his own two ponies: yearling filly Tawna Luna (full sister to Tia who foaled last week) won three classes (although one of those was actually Young Handler so it was Toby being judged), and then was chosen as Reserve Junior Mini Champion. Later in the day his skewbald mare Tawna Izzy Wizzy took a first and a fifth.

Jacqui really enjoyed her day as groom to both Toby and myself and must have been a very proud mum…..I rather think she has been bitten by the Shetland ‘bug’ too!!

…..and the icing on the cake? Just before midnight Celeste had a sweet little filly foal……a long but happy day.

24th  March 2018

Never did it feel less like show weather - after very heavy rainfall again last night, it is cold, wet, dark and dreary, yet tomorrow is the SW Shetland Pony Group’s SPRING show. Even Toby who is always ready for showtime says he’s struggling to get enthusiastic! At least this show should be going ahead as planned - the Wessex Group had to cancel their’s last week due to snow.

However I have entered two ponies, and Toby will be taking his own two, so they are all tucked up at Tawna now, ready for the off in the morning. I have managed to get our two looking surprisingly presentable considering they live out 24/7 and never see a rug. Toby had to work harder with his two because they have white markings.

I’m sure once we get there and meet up with everyone else we will feel the usual excitement. At the first show of the season I always like to see how young ponies have developed since last year, and see what new talent is around. Got to remember to put the clocks forward at bedtime!

19th  March 2018

It was a case of snowballs in every field today . . . well, more like ‘snow clumps’ actually.

We had a fair fall of snow yesterday afternoon, though not excessive. This morning I firstly visited the stallions and noticed several compacted, roundish clumps of snow/ice scattered across the field. These had bits of dried up grass mixed in and had obviously built up under the boys feet as they walked around, before falling off by their own weight. Quite uncomfortable for them, but luckily only a short-lived problem.

In the mares field Topsy’s legs instantly caught my eye as she trotted towards me. Her feather was caked in various sized balls of snow which looked like bells or some such around her fetlocks and feet. As she moved they swung around her legs - a bit like that old-fashioned pom-pom trim. Several other mares had the same, plus some had snowballs built up on the ends of their tails. One lump on Fuchsia’s tail was bigger than a cricket ball!

The most impressive ‘pom-pom trim’ was on Lowenna who has very hairy legs, and she also had ice crystals on the tips of her long mane where it had brushed the ground as she muzzled through the snow to the grass. Although there has been a bitter wind all day, the sun has been shining and much of the snow has melted. Let’s hope that’s the last of it now. We really do need proper Spring weather.

18th  March 2018

Here he is! Born on St Patrick’s Day, the name just had to be!

Tawna Patrick and his mum were tucked up safely indoors during the snow last night. It quickly started to melt this morning, so we put them out to stretch their legs for a few hours and for Tia to graze in a sheltered little meadow, but when the snow arrived again they were snatched in once more. The pair had four admiring visitors yesterday with more due today . . . nothing like a cute little new arrival to bring on the Oooohhhs and Ahhhs!

17th  March 2018

Audrey was expecting a Recorded Delivery from the postman this morning.

What she wasn’t expecting was a Special Delivery from Tia Maria, but that’s what she got!!! Although Tia was one of the two most imminent mares that we had moved near the house at Tawna for observation, she was not due for at least another two to three weeks . . . but clearly ponies don’t study charts and calendars! Tia has presented us with a small but strong, and utterly gorgeous bay colt (by Kerswell Sprite). This is her first foal but she seems to be taking motherhood in her stride.

With another nasty blast of weather on the way this weekend, we have brought them into a nice cosy stable, but plan to take Tia out onto the verge to get a good feed of fresh grass later. It’s important that she gets plenty of moist food to stay healthy and keep the milkbar flowing. In a day or two, when conditions improve, we’ll try and get a photo for this diary page.

14th  March 2018

Despite some of our old hedges needing attention to make them properly stock-proof, on the whole our ponies are pretty good at staying put, but recently two went ‘walk-about’. On the daily check Freckles and Pansy - both three years old - were missing. I searched all around the fields several times, at the same time looking out into the neighbours’ fields. Out in the road I couldn’t find any footprints, so was absolutely mystified.

Later my husband came and helped me search. We did discover just one tuft of hair on some wire and some scuffled up leaves before finding an area of bitten off grass a little distance outside the fields. Conclusion - they had escaped . . . but where were they? We drove around the lanes in an ever expanding radius, peering over hedges, stopping to look for footprints or droppings, gazing across the valleys into distant fields, and asking anyone we met. At one stage I thought I had spotted them - but it was some black and white Jacobs sheep.

Having spent over three and a half hours searching, by the end of the afternoon we were returning home, worried and perplexed. We just happened to pass my cousin’s house, and her husband hailed us to ask if we had lost a couple of ponies. They had spotted them in a nearby field AT BREAKFAST TIME but hadn’t got around to telling us!!!!

Yes it was Freckles and Pansy - perfectly ok, and quite pleased to see me. I would never have dreamed they might have travelled so far from their original field - over a mile - having passed through the village of Cardinham, and no-one having reported to us that they were on the loose. What’s more, we have since learnt from a farmer that there was evidence that they had been outside one of his fields . . . a mile in the other direction! If this had happened only a few days earlier we could have easily tracked them in the snow!

11th  March 2018

What a week of contrasts we’ve just had - the promised snow arrived, but was preceded and followed by beautiful bright days. My goodness, how we all grind to a halt when the white stuff hits. I guess that we aren’t particularly used to it down here in the SW. Luckily it didn’t last for long and now we are back to a load more rain. We passed our local reservoir on Bodmin Moor the other day and we don’t think we have ever seen the level so high!

Despite the catkins, Primroses and Daffodils, it doesn’t feel in the least like spring, but time is marching on and we have had to do some sorting of the ponies - in line with the month, not the weather conditions. Two mares have started developing udders, so they have been promoted to the field next to the house at Tawna, in order to keep a closer eye on them.

Earlier in the winter, the soggy ground conditions forced me to split up the mares into smaller groups in a variety of fields, but I have now gathered the pregnant and probably-pregnant ones together again so I can check them more easily.

The three foals we kept from last year have been running together all winter, but Charlie is a precocious little boy and has become a bit of a pest with the fillies. To be fair they have been standing up for themselves very well - especially when it comes to meal times, but he is getting too playful now so yesterday I took him away and put him in a stable with Clarius and Poldark in stables on either side. They have had a good chance to sniff and squeal and we hope to get them all together eventually.

Yikes!…..I only realised today that it is just two weeks to our SW Shetland Group’s spring show……definitely not ready for that!

23rd  February 2018

Brrrr….the wind has gone around to the East and is blasting us with bitter gales….but it’s dry. For the first time this winter we have had to top up the mares’ water troughs today. They are not automatic, and we have long stretches of alkathene pipe and hose pipes which are charged from a tap. All winter the rain has filled the troughs, but as soon as we get this Easterly wind the water content in the grass is greatly reduced, and the ponies drink a lot more.

Whilst waiting for the troughs to fill we were greatly entertained by the mares having a race around the field. They were obviously delighted to have some dry weather. They had a good gallop, with some less than elegant kicking up of their heels. Those big tummies don’t lend themselves to particularly athletic moves, but they still managed a fair turn of speed. After circling several times they came back to us - snorting, puffing and spluttering - heads up and eyes shining. It was lovely to see them looking so well and happy.

5th February 2018

At last, a sunny, bright day, with no wind . . . and NO RAIN! It has been very cold today, but what a difference the dryer conditions have made to the ponies . . . they have been sun-bathing! It was really lovely to see ponies lying down in at least three of the groups I visited this morning. They looked very happy to be relaxing, and resting their legs, especially in the case of the in-foal mares who are beginning to get quite heavy now.

A few days ago Audrey and I visited all the mares together to try and suss out which ones really are pregnant. I see them every day: I think I can see those tums getting larger, but is it wishful thinking? Those big coats do a good job of disguising the bulges. Just lately I have even been leaning over some of the girls and hugging their bellies to see if I can gauge what’s in there - that must present an odd picture to anyone passing on the road who happens to glance in the field!!!  

We studied each mare in turn, from all angles, and I caught several of them and stood them facing uphill, then downhill, then walked them around to see how those tummies swayed as they walked. We’re undecided on one or two, but on the whole things are looking rosy and - fingers crossed - there are exciting times ahead. Three that look to be pregnant are Rubus’s daughters and will be first-foalers.

This is our beautiful Celeste who, before Christmas, didn’t appear to be expecting at all, but now it seems a lot more likely. She was looking extra cute and fluffy when I took this and surprisingly clean, apart from her feet. I am thrilled with how her behaviour has improved. She used to be quite offish and difficult to catch, but since her summer season being shown by Toby in 2016, and then having a foal last year, she has been transformed and is now a very mellow little girl.

23rd January 2018

I have NEVER known the ground to be constantly waterlogged for such a long time. Even walking up the sloping fields the surface is a sheet of water most days. The ponies’ legs and tails are just encased in mud, and where they shelter against the hedge from the prevailing winds . . . and there’s been a lot of them . . .is a sea of mud. Despite this, the bulk of the fields are holding up surprisingly well.

However I was not very pleased yesterday when the Hi-line guys who are in the area trimming trees under the power lines drove their truck and chipper into one of our small fields and got stuck. Andrew had to go and pull them out with his tractor. If there’s one thing we don’t want to do in these conditions, it is to take any vehicle on to the land . . .oh my, what a mess.

This winter our group of six fillies of various ages have the run of three inter-connecting meadows. They are a friendly little gang and generally come when they see me. Therefore it was a little puzzling one day when only five were present. It was Florence who was missing, and I proceeded into the next meadow expecting her to be around the corner - in a dream, as is her wont. But no Florence, nor in the third field, so with a rising panic I went through all three fields again, calling and clapping my hands, and checked behind scrubby clusters of bushes, expecting to find her any moment.

By the end of my second circuit I was really worried. Had she been stolen? The boundaries are pretty stock-proof, but I decided to check the boundary against the road, by walking along the lane in case I could see any footprints outside. Passing an ancient, dilapidated, stone-built pig sty, something made me turn back. The door had long since disintegrated, and the doorway had, for decades, been blocked by an upright 40 gallon oil drum jammed in the hole. But there, peering out from the dark depths was a smiley-faced Florence - ears pricked, eyes twinkling, expression saying “What’s up?” She had knocked the drum on to it’s side, got past it, then managed to roll it back across the doorway so she was trapped inside. Trust Florence! What a relief . . . I could feel the panic subsiding, and I had to laugh at her predicament.

6th January 2018

Here we are - nearly a week into the new year, and what a wild start it has been. Storm after storm, rain upon rain, gales and more gales. Despite all this, we are still considerably luckier than those further north because we haven’t had snow . . . yet.

The ponies have been almost constantly wet, yet they are looking well and remarkably happy. They all have high hedges for shelter - and they make good use of them. Audrey and I have been longing for the three foals that we retained to be dry enough to groom, and at last today I have had the chance to tidy up Charlie. He is a right little mud-monster and is usually liberally coated in an all-over layer of mud. Today I found that his coat had set into rigid patterns, but it was really pleasing to have him dry enough to scrape, and brush, and comb, and groom. His legs were just too disgusting to tackle, but at the end of it, there was a half-decent looking pony.

We love Charlie’s personality - he is confident and bold, with that cheeky side that we love to see in a colt . . . although I often curse it when trying to present a civilised well-mannered young colt in the show ring! Tomorrow is forecast as dry again, although bitterly cold. The SW Shetland Group are holding their AGM in the morning, but hopefully there will be a chance later to get the two 2017 fillies titivated for once.


Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Wonderful New Year from All at Tawna

 27th December 2017

When we set off on the daily rounds to check the ponies, we never know what we shall find. Most often it will be that some ponies have escaped from their allotted space and are in the wrong field . . . or the high winds have brought down a heavy ivy-laden branch, or even a whole tree.

However just before Christmas, it was a first - a 40ft, articulated lorry, laden with concrete slabs had taken a wrong turning and headed up the tiny lane to our furthest block of land. Realising his mistake he tried to back out, until he reached the really narrow bit . . . and got wedged - good and proper! With his back corner jammed in the hedge on one side, and his front wheel in the mud of a ditch on the opposite side he was helpless.

Poor driver - he was only young and quite upset. There wasn’t room to even squeeze by on foot. In order to get past we had to climb onto the hedge and then onto the lorry itself. A rescue truck came to pull him out, but that was not as easy as it sounds as the access for him to get to the front of the jammed lorry is not suitable for anything bigger than a transit van. Anyway, they managed it somehow and the road was all clear the next day - apart from the mud, and earth pulled out of the hedge.

So much for sat-navs!

18th December 2017

What a lovely time we had yesterday! It was the SW Shetland Group’s Christmas lunch and Toby, Andrew and I headed off to a new venue in the morning to join over 70 others for a lively, chatty, jolly, festive meal . . . what a lot of noise our group created! Several participants had travelled considerable distances to join the merry throng.

After an excellent meal, the end-of-year show-points accumulator winners were announced and the winners presented with really beautiful rosettes. I am chuffed to bits that our gorgeous Rubus has earned the grand title “Stallion of the Year”! He’s our very special boy, and although it takes much more work and forward planning to take a stallion along with one or two females, I really did enjoy getting him out in the show ring this year. Now he has a big red and gold rosette with ‘Stallion of the Year’ emblazoned on the long satin tail.

Christine Rundle’s veteran stallion - Tawna Trooper, was third in the same section - a super result in his first proper season’s showing for many years.

Fiona Lawrence’s golden boy, Tawna Midas was announced as “Gelding of the Year” - a well deserved title following his best ever season of results. A quite unexpected accolade for our beautiful Tawna Clementine came with a third in the “Mare of the Year”. As we try not to drag the same ponies out into the show ring again and again (we actually exhibited four mares this year) Clemmy only went out three times . . . but she did achieve first + champion or reserve each time!

Needless to say, we are delighted that these Tawna ponies featured in the accumulator awards, but more especially because the categories were for standards and miniatures combined. As a general rule, the miniature classes in our area have far more entries than those for standard ponies, therefore it is harder to accrue the good placings and points in our classes during the showing season.

There was yet another special award for Toby at the lunch. He won a well-earned second in the “Young Handler of the Year” and was presented with a beautiful blue and gold rosette. He has shown a great number of different ponies throughout the season and has gained tremendous experience . . . now he can’t wait for it to all start again next year! Leaving aside the excitement of the awards, it was a very enjoyable gathering and a super end to our SW Group’s year. Congratulations to the organisers, to all who took part, supplied gifts for everyone, and generally supported this thriving Group.

9th December 2017

Male animals need their dignity, so it’s just possible that doing up a stallion’s forelock in a girlie plait could do some serious injury to his macho image in the company of other boys!

We have given our new stallion - Mr Bojangles - plenty of time to settle here at Tawna. Although he nearly always comes to call, he initially was a bit shy . . . until we realised his forelock is so thick, as well as long, that he couldn’t see us putting out our hand to touch him. He has not been handled by women before so he’s had a lot of new experiences. Audrey has spent a lot of time getting to know him which has really paid off, and once we dealt with that amazing forelock he became much more confident. He has a lovely kind nature and his ears are always pricked.

Our other stallions are such a well established gang that we did not relish upsetting the balance by introducing Bo, but at last we have done it. As usual we allowed them to take turns to sniff and squeal over the low stable walls, and earlier this week we got them all together. We had the equine dentist on Wednesday so we deliberately kept the two boys that she tended in overnight afterwards so when we put Bo out, followed by them, everybody’s attention was divided to such a degree that the introduction went very well, and I am happy to report that there is no bullying from any quarter. The only thing is . . . I kept his plait in, so he could see the others, and the electric fence . . . so do they now think he is a cissy?!!

5th December 2017

Here’s a great pressie idea for a Shetland pony lover from www.shetlandoncanvas.co.uk. This charming picture is of Tawna Cordelia who was bought as a foal by Carole Laignel for her Gue stud, and is photographed in this pretty summery scene in Shetland. Cordelia is a full sister to our mares - Marina and Meredith.

This image is available as a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle or as a printed canvas picture. The photographer - Kim Marie Rendall -  lives and works on Shetland and specialises in scenes all around these unique islands. On Kim’s website, Cordelia’s photo is number 25 in the South Mainland section.

It’s worth looking through the photos, just to see the incredible landscape that our hardy little ponies originally hail from!

2nd December 2017

Awww . . . our handsome, gentle, lovely stallion Tawna Tristan is sold and has already gone off to his new home. He is such a well mannered boy - a true gentleman, and never a moment’s trouble - it was a big decision to part with him and we were only prepared to let him go to the perfect home. Therefore we are extremely pleased, and proud, that he has joined the most prestigious stud, and we hope he will continue to sire more excellent foals. We have retained some of his fillies here at Tawna and, fingers crossed, we will be having some more of his foals next year - his mares look nicely bulgy.

26th November 2017

Lucky, lucky ponies! It’s almost December, and we wouldn’t normally expect to have a fresh, grassy field for our ponies, but in the last couple of days, not one, but three groups have moved into lovely new pastures.

Apart from the foals who are at Tawna, all the other ponies are away from the homestead. The brood mares are now in a field that hasn’t been grazed for nine months. The fillies are in two little meadows bordered by a small river that last had horses twelve months ago, and the stallions are in a fabulous big field - new to us - that has only been used for cutting silage for the past twenty or so years!

We are privileged to now have use of the latter field, but the boys will have to share it with possibly up to eight deer which are often seen there. In the summer we will have to sub-divide the space to manage the grass more efficiently, but for now, the stallions can roam over the whole area.

17th November 2017

What speed those little pony legs can achieve!…..

We have just had a beautiful, still, sunny day and I think the ponies have appreciated it as much as we have. This afternoon I have been out in the field with the mares, trimming feet. Whilst I worked on any one pony which was tied to the fence, I was surrounded by nearly all the other girls who were watching . . . or interfering. The favourite trick being lifting items out of my ‘foot bucket’ with their teeth and depositing them on the ground, or knocking the bucket over - also spewing the contents on the ground.

Suddenly there was a commotion and little dun and white skewbald Marina shot off down the field at a rate of knots. She disappeared out of sight then came back into view, galloping at full tilt until she reached the herd. This stirred up the others and off they shot - galloping, bucking, and generally kicking up their heels with joy. I just had to stop and watch - it was wonderful to see them all so happy. They would go off down the field in groups, then one or two would peel off and do circles interspersed with ‘vertical take-offs’, while others would apparently race each other.

It’s pretty obvious where Norman Thelwell found his inspiration . . . those determined faces, with noses thrust out, ears flat back and manes and forelocks flying, combined with round bellies above a blur of legs was hilarious. It was all very entertaining. Meanwhile one or two girls really couldn’t be bothered - they watched with interest, but the likes of Daisy May is built for comfort . . . not for speed!

12th November 2017

The Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group has just held it’s Youngstock Show and we’re delighted to hear that several of Tawna Rubus’s youngsters, bred by John Lawrie at the Milday stud made their mark once again. Most notable was that 2 year old piebald colt - Midnight Noir, won his class and was awarded overall Mini Champion.

Two yearling fillies by Rubus took both the first and second prize rosettes in their class, while yearling colt - Valentino was third in his class. Additional encouraging news is that the winner of the mini filly foal class AND Reserve Mini Champion to Midnight Noir was Milday Velvet Bunny, whose sire is none other than our new stallion - Mr Bojangles! So all round excellent results. Well done to the Milday team.

It’s extremely heartening for us to know that our mares and stallions are producing youngsters who are proving themselves in the showring time after time. If they are consistently in the ribbons, then we must be getting it right! Now that Rubus is back on home turf in Cornwall after two seasons in Scotland, he ran with several mares this year. We only had one foal by him this spring, so fingers crossed for more in 2018!

Another show this weekend, this time at our end of the country, was organised by the South Western Association of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society (what a mouthful!). Pam and Vic took their gorgeous/glamorous Tawna Moonshine who once again won his open Shetland 4 years and over class, and then took Reserve Ring Champion, standing below an Exmoor stallion. A very strong wind noisily rattling trees against the sides of the building, combined with having his class halted while the Welsh cobs thundered around the whole indoor school several times caused the little chap to get quite stressed. Pam says he was fine before his class, but the noise and big horses really upset him so he wasn’t on his best form today. Nevertheless those are more great results under his belt - or should that be under his girth?! Shine On Moonshine!

5th November 2017

Our final show of the season wasn’t our best with regards to results, but it was still very enjoyable. There was a good buzz with plenty of ponies and spectators. No classes were huge, but on the whole there were fair entries. Of course I was taking more notice of the mini classes where the high quality of the animals was very apparent.

Toby had a busy day with four classes: he won the Young Handler championship with Luna, and then stood third with her in the foal class, with Rosetta in fourth. Luna was also second in the Novice Youngstock class which I thought was a particularly good result amongst much older ponies. I love watching Luna trot - she is very obedient, holds herself well and has a lovely bouncy stride. Freckles was second in the mini two year olds. Until last week she has only been out to a fun show this year, and she seemed to be powered right up today . . . trotted around the ring with great enthusiasm.

Tia Maria was our mare entry this time, and I was very pleased that she won a second too. She is a very beautiful mare and is a full sister to Luna. What’s more, those two and Freckles all share the same mother (Twinkle) - so it was a proper family affair today! Pam and Fiona took the two top slots respectively, in a real quality mini gelding class. Their Tawna boys - Moonshine and Midas - looked fab, as did the girls - Gloriana, Tarantella and Martha who also performed well in various classes.

There was a cold wind today, so we were all glad that the show ran very efficiently with the ring steward ‘kicking on’ and keeping proceedings moving briskly, and the judge making quick decisions. A good end to the SW Group’s three shows and well done to all concerned.

4th November 2017

Two more of our babies have flown the nest this week - travelling to Hampshire and Sussex. Both Crackerjack and Agatha have been huge characters in the foal group and we were very fond of them. We miss them, but know that they will be greatly appreciated in their new homes.

Our attentions have since been taken up with preparing for our last show of the year - tomorrow’s SW Shetland Group Autumn Show. There are other shows in our area after that, with classes that would suit us, but it all gets too difficult at this time of year. As it is, we have got twelve . . . yes twelve white socks clean(ish) for tomorrow. They are definitely not sparkling white, but they are presentable.

At least we will not have that worry of the time change like last week. I know the clocks went back - and that worked in our favour . . . but there’s always that niggling doubt about setting the clocks, and the alarm, the night before. People do get it wrong - last Sunday a friend had arranged to call here to go shooting with my husband at 10am . . . he turned up at 7.50am! Apparently he and his wife had disagreed over which way the clocks should go, with her winning the argument . . . but getting it wrong!!

30th October 2017

Well, our girlies certainly did the biz yesterday, and with very complimentary comments from both judges. Rosetta - 1st Shetland foal + Champion M & M foal, Freckles - 1st 2 & 3 y o Shetland + Res Champion M & M 2 & 3 y o + 1st coloured, Agnes - 1st Shetland 4 & over + Res Champ M & M 4 & over, Luna - 3rd Shetland foal + 2nd coloured. Other Tawna girlies - Gloriana, Martha and Tarantella achieved 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively . . . so all-in-all a good day.

Besides the showing aspect, it was a very nice, relaxed day with a good atmosphere, quite a lot of spectators . . . and LOTS of chat. Several people fell for Rosetta - she is a real fluff ball and the strawberry roan is a relatively unusual colouring. With her thick grey undercoat, and longer chestnut ‘guard hairs’ it is a bit of a novelty . . . a friend described the effect as ‘ginger frosting’! It was great to have Toby’s mum, Jacqui, with us for the day - not only an extra pair of hands, but she kept us up to date with how the classes were proceeding in the indoor school. Jacqui enjoyed the experience so much that she wants to come to next week’s show too!

It’s not every day that one of our ponies has an armed police escort! Agnes is seen here flanked by Toby’s dad and his work colleague who were on patrol nearby and popped in to say a quick hello.

28th October 2017

We’re looking forward to tomorrow and the first of our two Autumn youngstock shows - run by the Native Pony Association of Cornwall. Actually both shows include classes for adult ponies too, but for us the main attraction is taking out some of our foals for the first time. It’s been really enjoyable preparing Rosetta and Luna for their first outing - such good-natured girls. Toes and whiskers trimmed, washed and blow-dried, they are looking delectable…..but will they still be fluffy and lovely by the morning?!

Toby and I have had a few training sessions and the fillies seem to be going very well - responsive and obedient, but of course the sights, sounds and surroundings at a show might bring out a different aspect of their behaviour.

Something I’ve learnt about Rosetta in this process is that she is a ‘digger’. When tied up, she gets impatient and starts pawing the ground ferociously. If I shout at her, she will pause, look at me for a few seconds with those meltingly beautiful big eyes - as if butter wouldn’t melt - then resume her pawing with even more gusto. I only had her tied up briefly in ‘the foals’ house’ - which has an earth floor - but in that time she had dug herself a good sized pit!! It was quite handy when she was on the concrete walkway outside the stables though, as she raked up a large patch of moss!

We have also prepared Freckles and Agnes for tomorrow’s show. I love ringing the changes by taking different ponies out, and Aggie hasn’t been to a show for years. She is gorgeous and one of our favourites . . . and being dark chestnut, is an easy colour to prepare at this time of year. This Autumn’s wet and dreary weather has let up at just the right time, and we have had a few decent days this week, and tomorrow is forecast to be dry, with a colder northerly wind. That is ideal because if it’s too mild the foals, with their big thick coats, can sweat up with the unfamiliar experience of travelling.

24th October 2017

Besides the anticipation of Bo arriving last week, we also had slight sadness knowing the first of our 2017 foals was to fly the nest. The lovely Lily Longsocks has only moved near the sea in the South of Cornwall, and her new owner is hoping to do a little showing with her, so it shouldn’t be too long before we see her again.

We had scheduled to deliver her the same day that the hurricane was due to hit. All the forecasts were so dire that we postponed the trip, and we set out two days later. Being a ‘veteran’ of lorry travel, we took Crackerjack along for company and they travelled well despite the very twisting route. Audrey and I enjoyed seeing Lily’s new home at the head of a beautiful wooded valley, and meeting her two new Shetland-sized buddies. They are all a similar age and we were amazed how completely laid-back they all were when they met . . . as if they had been reared together.

Although there will always be a tinge of melancholy when one of our babies leaves, it gives us immense pleasure to know that they have gone to a really caring long-term home where they will get far more individual attention than we can give them.

21st October 2017

            Who is this handsome chap?

Introducing our new stallion - Milday Mr Bojangles. He arrived at Tawna on Tuesday, all the way from his breeder, John Lawrie, in Edinburgh. Apart from a few yawns, he was surprisingly fresh after his long journey which was broken with an overnight stop near Cheltenham.

Although we have occasionally bought back a pony that we have bred, it is actually a great novelty for us to buy a new pony so we have been very excited. The only thing we ever buy is a stallion, or colt with stallion potential, and as we do our homework to choose the right one, we aim to keep our stallions for a long time!

We really like Bo - he has the best Breed type characteristics and his bloodlines should work well with our mares, but only time will tell.

It isn’t as if we are short of stallions, but as all our mares are home-bred, we are limited in the use of our home-bred boys so we thought it was the right time to bring in some new blood. Consequently we have decided we might reluctantly offer Tawna Tristan for sale. He is from one of our all-time most successful breeding crosses - Kerswell Musketeer x Tawna Cornish Cream, but he has so many close female relations here at Tawna that he is not being used to his full potential and that is a real shame.

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!


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


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!