John and Sharon are famous hosts and not surprisingly a nice little group has signed up for their saddle-fitting armchair evening tonight, Friday 24 October. Their equestrian business has blossomed over the past couple of years and a visit to their premises is always a treat. Tack shop, rug wash, saddlery workshop and more, generously seasoned with friendly dogs, puppies, cats and kittens, hens and more. And the family themselves. There’s a great evening in store.
East Donegal Pony Club has organised a first aid course for this coming weekend, Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June. Some spaces are available for non-pony club people. This is a great opportunity to learn the essentials or refresh your knowledge. You’ll never regret the time you invest in the course.
If you’d like to take part, contact Marina on 086 821 6335.
Last Friday evening’s expedition to Glenswilly to visit Mary Devine’s facilities proved most enjoyable and educational. Mary’s facilities are unparalleled in the region and her expertise as a qualified practitioner of Equine Touch, a highly regarded method of physical therapy, is very sought after. Her new solarium will shortly be commissioned and will add a significant new dimension to her work.
It’s much nicer to be at a yard like Mary’s as an observer than in the company of an injured or ailing horse. We all know that the care Mary offers her own horses and others is second to none. On Friday evening she demonstrated that she’s equally meticulous in her care of 2-legged visitors. She generously provided a wonderful table of refreshments to round off a very enjoyable armchair evening. We’re very grateful to her for her time and hospitality.
Friday last saw a very sociable gathering of members for a fascinating talk on bits and bridles by Mary Finneran. Armed with her travelling skull, she revealed all the hidden points of the horse’s head and opened up our minds about exactly how a bridle really works with — and at times against — the horse.
Her crate of bits was like a toybox for enthusiasts and she explained the essential uses of each bit group: snaffles, curb bits and gags. From there she moved on to nosebands and ran through the use of simple cavessons, drops, flashes and grackles. That left just the bitless bridle to round off an intriguing subject.
Although the classic bridle has existed for centuries, horsemen constantly search for improvements. Many of us have seen the Micklem bridle on other people’s horses and ponies. Mary, who knows its designer William Micklem very well, introduced us to the revolutionary piece of tack through the Horseware video on Youtube. For anyone who wasn’t there on the evening, you can learn a huge amount about the subject by watching this too.
A huge thanks to Mary for presenting the topic in such depth. Libby’s baking expertise didn’t quite match Mary’s expertise on bits and bridles but she’s working on it for next time.
Circumstances have contrived to prevent a good number of members attending tonight’s talk on farriery and horse health so Damien has made an executive decision to postpone the event. The rescheduled date will be organised shortly and we hope to open the evening to pony club members, Glenleary students, and other interested parties.
Full details in due course.
From now until late March the eyes of the club will be focussed predominantly on the North West League with our series of armchair evenings balancing out our busy schedule.
This Friday we’re being treated to a special double act with Damien and Rhona revealing the key to keeping your horse healthy in wind and limb. As a farrier, Damien is an expert in horses’ hooves and the indispensable relationship between the hoof and every piece of bone and soft tissue in the limb it supports. Very often, the farrier will be your first port of call should your horse show signs of unsoundness.
With her extensive experience as a vet specialised in horses, Rhona McKenzie will explain how to monitor all the basic signs of your horse’s health. She’ll cover the elementary aspects of horse first aid so that you will know how to treat minor injuries or, in serious cases, how to cope with an injury until the vet arrives.
The session takes place at Tir na nOg in Ballymacool. You’ll have to pony up for your own drinks but the (arm)chairs are provided. A great evening’s enjoyment and information is guaranteed.
Contact Damien on 087 763 1911 for further information.
Pictured below: Damien and Rhona at their 2009 demonstration. This time we’re trading in our star model Molly for the comfort of the pub.
None of us want to haul horses around twice a week so, on the Fridays of our North West league show weekends, we’ll stick to sociable unmounted activities.
There’s a big difference between a farrier and a blacksmith and there’s a lot more to your horse’s hooves than a set of shoes. No hoof, no horse! On Friday 10 February, Damien will give us a talk on the art of farriery accompanied by vet Rhona McKenzie who will talk about essential horse health issues. Rhona will cover first aid for horses, colic, worming and vaccinations. Use this opportunity to learn about keeping your horse healthy, fit and sound.
A week later, on Friday 17 February, Mary Finneran will give us a talk on bridles and bits. How many of us really understand the action of different bits in the horse’s mouth. Have you ever thought about the thickness of your horse’s tongue? And what about nosebands? How tight should a flash strap be and why would you use one in the first place?
On Friday 2 March we’re going to visit Mary Devine’s facilities in Glenswilly and find out about different physical therapies for horses, including Equissage and Equitouch. You’ll probably end the evening wondering if you couldn’t treat yourself to the same treatment.
The armchair evenings are open to all members and should be informative, entertaining and sociable. Full details to follow.