Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
6:00 PM 26th July 2021

Summertime With The Team

Who else has been enjoying the lovely sunshine we have had in the UK this last month?

Here in the Yorkshire Dales we have been basking in the sun and enjoying the glorious weather – of course not forgetting the suncream when we have headed outside!

Since it’s been sunny here on the yard, it’s been important to make sure the animals have plenty of fresh water. When the weather is hot they drink a lot more water, so I’ve been walking up and down the fields a lot more regularly to make sure they are all okay.

Izzy and Ida, my Valais Black Nose Sheep, who have been with me just over a month now, have been enjoying getting used to everything on the yard. They haven’t particularly enjoyed the sunshine as they have extra woolly coats which make them very hot in the summer. They get sheared twice a year in September and March so they stay with the woolly coats all through the summer. This is mainly because of the show season, when they need to have at least 10cm of wool and a full body of wool.

At the moment I don’t have any plans to show them but in the future I might decide to get some experience of entering them into shows.

Alfie hasn’t been out for many walks recently due to the heat, but he has been doing a few clicker training sessions during the late evening when it is cooler. This he enjoys.

I’ve been teaching him to ‘touch’ the cones with his nose in the field. Clicker training has always been my favourite training with the ponies and my other animals as it’s about positive reinforcement and gets them thinking about the task ahead. I also do a variety of natural horsemanship training which has to be fun for my animals so they enjoy it.

Besides making sure all the animals are kept cool during this weather, Alfie and the ponies had their feet trimmed last week. Alfie wasn’t very impressed with the farrier but it’s one of the things that must be done so that he remains healthy.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be focusing on teaching and training the ponies and sheep some new skills during the summer weather. We also have to start some field maintenance work ready for the winter and at the end of August get the hay gathered in and stored ready for winter. Although we don’t need to think about the winter months just yet..!