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  • Jacky Green

Birch Equestrian relocates!

"Everyone loves moving house" said no one ever. Add a whole yard of horses and gear and another house as well and its starts to get complicated! I arrived on day 4 of the yard and staff house move which meant that tempers were a little frayed and several injuries had occurred! Hels was most definitely limping in the morning and pretty much hopping lame at the end of the day! That was as a result of falling ( well, actually being barged off) the ramp by a geriatric livery who suddenly decided that this was possibly the trip to the Rainbow Bridge and she was not at all sure she was ready for that!

Whilst Sammi and a couple of helpers ferried horses over to the new yard in the big truck Hels and I started packing a two horse that Megan Heath had generously lent us for the day. I am not entirely sure if we had a system in the beginning or not but it rapidly degenerated into a bit of a chaotic 'everything must go' sort of pack. I think the photo adequately demonstrates that!

Sammi returned with an empty big truck and it was then that we discovered we had made a slight rookie error in taking all the top horses first. The top horses are well traveled and easy to deal with and we now had a mixed bunch of wild babies and questionably the rudest pony in the world as well as the generic chestnut mare.

Suddenly we had rearing horses as Findus disappeared up the ramp (after some persuasion from Sammi who turns out to be a horse whisperer at this job) and her best friends all wanted to follow her at once. Mr Chips is the most arrogant of ponies and despite being coloured ( euch), aged, balding and rather unkempt clearly feels he is right up there with the Gizmo status and should have been on an earlier load. ( Note look on his face n the photo below.) Whilst I had mysteriously ended up with him on the end of my lead rope he eyeballed me in that way that ponies do when they start to work out their strategy for leaving you faceplanted in the mud or with shredded skin on your hands as they make their exit.

This was the moment that for some reason Sammi turned into the most British of aristocrats quite suddenly. Maybe it's the move to Old Talland House with all its history, maybe its the fact that they are now officially home owners in the Cotswolds but whilst taking over a reluctant loader she suddenly bellowed " Ay need a whip, a chufney and some gloves" and looked at us in quite an imperious manner. Hels and I just lost it as the chances of locating any such objects in our truck packing were slim if not zero! But, never one to be unprepared Hels did manage to find a whip and some gloves and whilst we did have to admit to having no idea where the chifney was it was not required as Sammi did her circus training tricks and loaded Kevin.

Mr Chips was watching Sammi and everyone was watching me as I approached the ramp with him so I knew this was going to be embarrassing. Maybe Mr Chips thought he was going to Cornwall to retire or maybe it was my mention of dog tucker but he popped sweetly up the ramp and stood looking down at his staff. The looks on everyones faces varied from mild disappointment to openly gutted so I am assuming its not always that easy!

Sammi disappeared down the drive after a 48 point turn in the truck and Hels and I resumed the packing. The yard was pretty much empty by now and it was looking quite bleak as we did the final muck out and sweep. Sammi returned with another two horse and we packed up the showjumps which is always a horrible job! Then we left for the new yard in convoy.

Well, actually, Sammi got to the main road and decided to attempt the World Land Speed Record as she had poles and not horses in her two horse. As she bombed off and flew round the first bend I had a vision of all my load flinging itself against the side ramp and then scattering all over the road. Getting lost was far preferable than loading that up again on my own and after a while Sammi realised she had lost her co pilot and slowed down.

After a tour of the new base ( it is going to be staggeringly amazing after Ed the Builder has worked his magic! ) Ed the Builder turned into Ed the Skivvy and we unloaded the gear. The horses all looked incredibly relaxed and happy in their new stables and while the full doors are a bit of a pain it is possible to poke Gizmo through the bars and not get bitten which has its advantages. The indoor arena is going to be a godsend and the outdoor, at 25 x 70 metres is awesome. Whilst we were unloading showjumps Helen the Fire Fighter was doing some tree pruning at the same time as making a dramatic entrance with her truck which which was not only quite amusing it distracted Khia from noticing that we seemed to be doing even more damage to her on loan two horse. Ed made the brash "Just send us the bill" statement which I thought was most generous if possibly a tad unwise.

At that point Hels rocked up and totally lost the plot which is always very funny. Last time I saw her do that was when I called a horse that Sue Benson had bought " A piece of crap " at Gatcombe and she went ballistic and screamed at me that I always saw the worst in horses. Since Bert had dropped Sammi in the showjumping warm up and stopped cross country I thought it was well deserved but then as Hels demonstrated her belief in him he tried to kick her! ( Six months later Hels agreed with me and Bert went off to lead a new life at a somewhat lower level).

The girls must all be exhausted and Ed was looking forward to going back to work on Monday for a break! Still, there is plenty more fun ahead if anyone wants to join in as Sammi and Ed have not moved their house yet!

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