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It has been a very good weekend! :) Yesterday we had a really easy, lazy day; a nice lie-in, followed by playing with horses (Ben rode Iris, and I played at being a competent horseman by doing groundwork with Cash) and visiting a friend of ours who Ben was giving a horsemanship lesson to. I actually recorded it for a DITL, so I'll post photos from it at some point this week.

Today we got up reasonably early, checked on the horses and then made the short journey over to Losely Park to visit the country show and watch the ploughing match. Last year we were there doing an agri display with Waldburgs, so we didn't get to see any of the ploughing - and also the weather was horrific, so it wouldn't have been fun to watch even if we had had time.

Don't get me wrong, I love working the country shows, but it was a lot of fun to be able to photograph heavy horses again without any time constraints or feeling like I should be elsewhere. I got a lot more nice photos than I thought I had, so I was pleased. I originally whittled it down to 36 that I really liked, and have since squashed it further to 17 ... so hopefully I won't be accused of photo-dumping!

Because the majority of my posts are accompanied by photos, I do worry about boring people with them so I try my best not to include too many in one entry.

10 17 39

There were only two plough teams, which was a shame, but better than none at all! We had Clydesdales...


...and Shires. This pair are very close to the traditional Shire type (although they have a lot of white markings), the sort who would actually have worked the land as a regular job. They are short and stocky, whereas the modern Shire is bred to be tall and fine-limbed.


I remarked to Ben that I was surprised how much of Losely was arable land, because whenever I think of country houses I inevitably think of parkland and landscaped gardens. Ben said that it probably generates a lot of income for the house; because the soil round here is sandy, when a fertile area was found is was presumably highly valuable. You will see in some photos how the fields are divided into sections via hedge or ditch, which is an indication of a more feudal era. Reading this stuff in the landscape makes me happy. <3


There was a lot of plough alterations going on that I am not knowledgeable enough to explain.


If you get a chance to watch horses ploughing, then I would recommend it just to see their turns - as good as anything you'd see in the dressage arena. They know their job so incredibly well.



The Clydies were cute, because every time they stopped the offside horse ("Madge") would use her mate's neck as a scratching post.



This was an accidental shot but it came out rather well, haha.


Two of the Fullers brewery horses, giving dray rides.


This peregrine was badass (even with a fluffy feather on her beak). He/she kept doing that with her wings, which I thought was a thing birds of prey do to shield a kill? Only she hadn't been fed, so I'm not sure what the reasoning was behind it; maybe she was feeling anxious. I love the shape.



The sign said this was a Lanner falcon (well - a Lanneret), which I'd not heard of, so I'll take them at their word! He was very fluffy and kept preening himself.


Three month old kestrel! <3


When we got home there were still a few hours of daylight left, so Ben took Iris out on a quick jaunt onto the common and back.



Oh, also we saw the local drag hunt display in the arena and one of their hounds was called Hitler. We know this because he was weeing on a straw bale and the whipper-in kept yelling at him. :)

It was also a good weekend food-wise - roast crackling pork on Saturday followed by homemade apple crumble, and this evening Ben and I had tasty pesto followed by dairy-free ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Mm-mmmm. Also, tonight we were civilised and ate at the actual table rather than in front of a DVD. :P Ben told me about the 14th century Cad Goddeu (Battle Of Trees), which is really fascinating and something I will be researching more. Another new thing I've learnt today is 'psychopomp', which particularly grabbed my attention as it says some cultures associate them with horses.

A hundred Caers I have dwelt in.
Ye intelligent Druids,
Declare to Arthur,
What is there more early
Than I that they sing of?

-- Cad Goddeu

Edit: Also, Ben took some film of today's ploughing match and made a music video for Jethro Tull's "Heavy Horses" song. View it here!


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 29th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
Beautiful photos! Love the draft teams - neat to see them "in the field" as it were.

Lovely falcon shots as well! I don't know about falcons, but I do know that the turkey vultures will hold their wings out like that if they're wet in order to get sun and dry out their feathers. Doesn't really look like it was wet there though... lol.
Sep. 30th, 2013 11:56 am (UTC)
Birds of prey will do that with their wings when either worried or feeling like they need to do something to balance on whatever they are standing on. His jesses were probably irritating him (birds of prey get irritated at EVERYTHING!!!!!!), he was probably covering them so no other predator could see he was not able to fly. Like trying to hide an injury. They are awesome birds but unless the keeper REALLY knows their stuff, you can get those birds into a neurotic constant freakout within days from which they never recover. Takes hella skill to keep them happy. Oddly enough, owls take to it much, much better and seem to really enjoy being with humans. Falcons etc, not so much at all.
Sep. 30th, 2013 12:15 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! I had no idea, but it makes a lot of sense - him feeling worried and trying to hide the fact that he couldn't fly away. His neighbour was a harris hawk who kept leaping off its perch, so maybe that was bothering him. Oh. :( I feel kinda bad for standing there and looking at him, now.
Sep. 30th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
Nah, I wouldn't. Most BoP are so exactly what you would call terribly smart. He would have gotten over humans looking at him long, long ago. The way to tell if he was REALLY stressed would be if he were panting constantly. This bird looks pretty chillaxed, really. Alert, but not exactly about to launch itself off the perch to get away. The way he's sitting on his falconers glove, wings neatly tucked in, looking around alert and the fact he was happy to preen (as opposed to pulling his feathers out) shows a bird about as relaxed as they ever are. Seriously falconry is such an art, mainly because not only are the animals you are trying to train not exactly the Einsteins of the animal kingdom, not even in the bird kingdom, but because they are such high strung little maniacs. Keeping them happy is an art form in and of itself! This guy looks in very good condition. Your laws over there for keeping BoP are,,,rather firm!
Sep. 30th, 2013 01:02 pm (UTC)
I could NEVER be bored with your picture posts! What an awesome weekend!
Sep. 30th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
Wow, the way they turn is really neat to watch!

Don't ever worry about posting too many photos! Especially if they're of horses and/or birds of prey. :)

I'm off to read about the Battle of the Trees... Sounds very interesting.
Sep. 30th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
How can someone call their dog Hitler?! O_o Poor thing ... I don't want to jump to any conclusions about the owner.

Ha, picture posts will never bore me - especially not picture posts about pretty horses and pretty English landscape. =) And maggies_lens was quicker than me explaining about the antics of that peregrine, but - what she said. ;)
Sep. 30th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
This was a hunt hound, so they really aren't pets by any means.
Sep. 30th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Yep that peregrine is 'mantling', which you're right in saying is what they do when they have a kill but they also do that when they're getting ready for a flight and to sun themselves! :) I absolutely love heavy horses, shires are my favourites :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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