Having been woken up by my house alarm at 3.30am, suggesting prowlers, I was thankful that last year I had a full security system installed.
I felt so sorry for the ponies today the horse flies were horrendous and the ponies were not cooperative and I had to remove a mare from Masterminds field, caught Mastermind and put him in the next field, then I caught the mare but the foal would not follow, so plan B run the mares in the passageway and caught the mare again & foal followed this time, I returned the others to their field and allowed Mastermind back in, he was very cross. I then caught the four year old gelding Honey Milord and stabled him, by this time I was soaked in perspiration. I was ready for a shower when I received a call to say that a car had had crashed into a field of mine off the A420, the fourth this year in fact on average four cars crash in the same area each year, each time the fence has to be repaired, arranged for the car to be removed from the field as the car had to be lifted over the fence, the driver was very lucky to escape with minor injuries. Refreshed I enjoyed a leisurely lunch with a friend, great to relax for a few hours before returning home. Hope that is the end of any more drama today.
Up at 5am, drove to Chippenham and then caught the National Express to London just £11 return, arriving at Victoria Coach Station hailed a taxi to St James Park then a fairly long walk to my allotted gate, by this time raining heavily. After passing very strict security, was given a goody bag and then handed a what I thought was PG Tips, just opened it at home and it is a beautiful cup & saucer, then collected my hamper the contents were impressive and gluten free. We were handed ponchos and in the end I wore it otherwise would have been soaked through. The first parade was then underway, it started to dry up and then Duke & Duchess of Cambridge & Prince Harry walked all the way down The Mall. Wow Prince Harry shook my hand saw my chain of office read out loud The Welsh Pony & Cob Society and said so you are Madam President. What a moment.
Then The Queen and Prince Phillip were driven slowly down The Mall to tumultuous cheering.
A second parade then all was over, so wended my way back to the coach station and was home by 8pm
Saturday & Sunday
Yesterday sat nav died and as I was driving up close to Stanstead that evening rushed into Chippenham to buy a new one, fantastic so easy, no hitches and so arrived at Holiday Inn for the night, enjoyed a meal with the other judges and talked of our experiences, sublime to the ridiculous over our years of judging. I had a very comfortable night and after breakfast at 7.30am left for the Eastern WPCA Show only 10 minutes down the road. After judging two ridden classes, small classes but lovely ponies I relaxed for the rest of the day until I judged The Supreme In-hand. Thank you to the judges who judged the five sections as beautiful champion ponies & cobs came before me, in my eyes on the day there was an outstanding section “D” Cob and section “B” filly, in that order they were placed supreme youngstock champions and then no change they were Supreme & Reserve Supreme of the Show. Sorry I don’t know the name of the Supreme but know that Reserve Supreme Champion was a Thistledown pony, I am sure someone will soon post who they were.
I would like to mention the people who brought their cobs forward at the end of very long day for The Young Judges Competition; I had two really competent young judges who will now go forward to the Young Judges competition at National Welsh Championship Show in August.
It was a round trip of over 300 miles, arriving home at 8pm
I would like to add that my busy years as President Elect & as President could only be possible because of Molly who looks after the home, dogs, bottle fed lambs and any ponies that receive hard feed and to Burt who keeps an eye open all around the farm, I cannot thanks them enough.
Also Forlan Honey Rhythm & Forlan Honey Buzzard were very successful today in-hand & ridden.
It is great to see my ponies winning ridden classes. Busy days ahead so have to decide what to wear and where, looking forward to judging tomorrow at Eastern Welsh WPCS Association.
I have been remembering the Folk Lore that is part of the farm and have enclosed photos with a story, also a chance to take fresh photos of the foals. Brian came to live in this area in 1939, he was 9 years old and he learnt so much from the people that had lived in the area and the tales they had to tell, he passed on these stories to the family. A farm labourer by the name of Jim Bird (he lived to over a hundred) worked on many of the farms, in the field just outside the bungalow when ploughing his plough horses would not plough over a certain area of ground and even now tractors slow almost to a standstill over the same area when making hay. The field where this happens just over the fence.
Yesterday was a difficult day thank you for your very kind remarks
It has been a lovely sunny day which can be very up lifting. Today over an hour updating and hoping blogs now will go straight to facebook, I had also updated my Web site, so hope you enjoy the changes.
New photos on the foal page and mare page. Also completed more paperwork. The lambs should soon be off the bottles, so when I open the back door silence will reign. The photo are of Forlan Masterminds three mares, foals hidden, another yet to be added..
Please visit my new updated website at http://www.forlanstud.com
written for a local magazine
The Forlan Stud
Nestled on the edge of the Cotswold, overlooking and running down to the village of Ford is the Forlan Stud, with its lovely hill and ancient woodland host to many grasses & wild flowers. The perfect environment to breed Welsh Mountain Ponies. Established in 1968 by Brian & Betty French, welsh mountain ponies have foaled and thrived on the hills and meadows. Brian died in 2010 on 1st June a day after his 79th birthday; we had been together for 48 years and of the many blessings were our two children Jeremy & Sara and grandchildren Charlotte & Freyja. With the children’s support it was time to take stock and I had to choose my own path, well the Forlan Stud has continued, the farm has been improved and I have had continued success with my ponies and have sold to fourteen countries. I am now President of the WPCS and have many duties, also very exiting is the pony that I bred has become a mascot for the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards. Brian is not here to take part in this special year, I have missed him but more than ever this year.
I moved a maiden mare away from a stallion as she would not let him near his other wives. Billie Jean had her hooves trimmed today for the first time, what attitude but hooray success. Forlan Honeypops 22 years is diabetic something in all of my years with equines I had never heard of, at the moment she is enjoying life. Was having a photo shoot today with mares and foals for a local news magazine but the heavens opened, so far to wet to go ahead, perhaps tomorrow.
Forlan Honey Sprite now out in a field but as yet no mares, all peaceful with the other stallions & mares. Honey Bubbles now in a lovely field of grass with Dazzler. My weekly shop was today, supermarket very busy. The bottle fed lambs now down to two feeds a day, when the milk runs out that is it, any way they are eating hard food. The lawns are all cut and I spent a couple of hours gardening. I shall have few relaxing days before a busy weekend Tuesday 7th June cocktails on the lawns of The Mansion House in Cardiff and then on 12th Lunch on the Mall. The Patron’s Lunch is a truly ‘Great British’ street party to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of her 90th Birthday. 10,000 guests will celebrate on The Mall in London on Sunday 12th June 2016.