The 2009 Season of...
Behind the scenes
at Rose Cottage Riding School ...

This is the 2009 Season Archive of news from around the yard at Rose Cottage Riding School.  We arrange these pages by season so that each page doesn't get so big that those with slower Internet access find it hard to view.  As with the main page it is arranged in reverse order.

Go to Behind the Scenes 2007
Go to Behind the Scenes 2008


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November to January is the quiet season for Rose Cottage Riding School and the weather can often be difficult.  Nevertheless we sometimes get the chance to take a few shots of the horses.  Here are a few from before Christmas 2009 through to January 2010.

It's late October as we write this and we are approaching the less-busy part of the year. We are beginning to send off a few of our less needed horses to their over wintering field.  In common with normal practice in Ireland, most of our horses are kept in during the actual winter but a few do better by being out all year round.  Domino is of course one such and she recently has been taken to her winter pasture.  This year though it was a rather special move for her!  She has gone to the field where Patrick and Music are growing up.  Now, Patrick is Domino's foal from 2007 and she hasn't been in the same field with him since he was weaned!  He and Music have been kept together to grow up and learn how to be horses rather than being mixed with all the others.  So, we were fascinated to know if Domino and Patrick would recognise each other after all this time. Chloe was there to see it and took a few pics using her phone's camera.  She says:

"They didn't recognise each other at the start but now they don't leave each other's sides! Patrick is a complete mammy's boy :) Domino is wintering it out in that field with Music and Patrick 
and five 3 year olds (Hope, Cooper, Kate, Bayleaf, Knikki)"

How cute is that?

The pictures we have are of course inevitably rather small being taken from a distance in such a huge field and so are not very clear but they do show Domino (now 18) managing to keep up with the youngsters!  Left to right we see Domino with her 2˝ year old colt Patrick (Music is behind, hidden); Two of Domino keeping up with the youngsters as they all run across the field; Kate, Knikki, Hope, Cooper and Bayleaf getting used to their seasonal pasture; and finally, Music on her own and looking very smart!  And don't they have a lovely setting to overwinter in?  Sea views and all.  Nearly as easy a life as our donkeys....!

The easy life behind the scenes! Our donkeys have an easy time!  They do no work and just spend their days munching and being company for the horses.  We haven't featured them very much on this page before so we thought it good to remedy that.  Here are a few shots of them 'toiling' away at Rose Cottage!


A nice rural scene - Ballynally, Pepsi and Mini hard at work!

Knikki's having a bit of a break just now.  

Knikki's work has been put on hold for a bit because his wolf teeth are coming through and the dentist is coming shortly to take a look. He was being ridden but the bit started to annoy him so he was stopped and is now having a bit of a holiday.  All will be resumed shortly!

Explanatory note: The wolf tooth in a horse is a no-longer functional first premolar tooth. They are small teeth, usually found just in front of the second premolar (chewing teeth), but quite a few erupt on the cheek side of the premolar or on their own in front of the other cheek teeth in the gap towards where the bit goes.  It is thought that more than half of domestic horses have at least one wolf tooth, most commonly in the upper jaw. Those in the lower jaw are more rare and likely to be associated with discomfort with the bit. They can be hard to see and are best detected by feeling a little bump on the gums of the lower jaw.

Just have a look at these shots taken recently on and around the yard... Amongst the others are two of Jacob (Jake to his friends). Jake is a Fell Pony and he has only recently been 'started' for riding but after he came back, about 7 or 8 weeks ago, Chloe started riding him so that he will be able to join the riding school at a later date.  Chloe says that "He's absolutely the best Fell ever".


Here's Bailey hoping for a treat

Here are some pictures of Eimear's mare Alice with her foal Rosie (Rosie's the one with the big star!).  Our stallion Woody is Rosie's sire. Thanks to Chloe for these pictures.


Alice with her foal Rosie

Just see what Valco does for fun!

We haven't seen Hamlet for a while so here are a few pics of him taken this autumn in the field.  He is looking fine despite his funny turn earlier in the year.  Here he is in late September lapping up Chloe's attention, posing and playing with his bucket; which he later threw away...!


Hamlet in the field - in his parachute rug!

Domino had a visit from her former owner the other day.  Over a year since the last one and four years now since Domino came to Rose Cottage, yet still she recognised him. Just see how she responded when the carrots, mints and an apple appeared...!

Patrick looking wary!

At last, we now have some pictures of 'Little' Patrick and his friend Music!  A two-day old Patrick is used on our home page as a link to enter this site and we already have some photos of him just after birth on our foals and foaling page.  There have been some distant shots of them as yearlings on the 2008 Behind the Scenes Page but we haven't until now managed to get some close up shots of either of them. 

Go to our  Patrick and Music Page to see several shots of the two of them taken in late July 2009.

Remember Harvey and Ivan?  Although first purchased by Rose Cottage, they are now owned by the Harkin family of course but they still live close by and we went to see them the other day to see how they are getting along.  We thought you might like to see how much Harvey, a Clydesdale Cross, has come on in the past year.  Here are some pictures of him coming to say hello to the camera.  You can see how he looked a year (or so) ago by going to Behind the Scenes 2008 - or here for when they first went to the Harkins.  They don't have bad views from their field do they?


Harvey at the gate


Avid readers of this column will have been following the development of Knikki since he first arrived on the yard in May. Chloe has been doing all the work with him and she started by lunging him, then in June she started getting him used to a saddle and in July she backed him for the very first time.  The pictures below show this with Kate keeping her usual watchful eye on the process since like many young horses, Knikki has had a tendency to spook when faced with unusual things.  In the period since these pictures were taken we are delighted to report that he took it all in his stride and is now happily trotting on the lunge with Chloe riding him.  Hover your mouse over the thumbnails to read the captions and click on the thumbnails to see the larger picture..

We've been introducing our pony Biggles to riding... In early July and after a few weeks of lunging and long reining, he was ready to be sat on. Scarlett did all the work. She first leaned across him then got all the way up!  He was very good and is now, a only few days later, trotting away round the school quite happily. Kate is hoping he'll be another great school pony for Rose Cottage Riding School and, as he is 4 years old, that he can soon join some lessons to further his education as well as his riders'.  Here are just three pictures taken on that eventful day...


Biggles getting used to somebody on his back...

...and looking very calm about it...

Here are a few pictures of Knikki in June being collected from his field so he could be tacked up for the first time!  He's not too sure about it all but accepts it OK! 
We are sorry these pictures are quite not of our usual standard but they were snapped as it all happened and have needed to be colour processed.


Knikki senses that something is about to happen!


Here's a very sleek Domino looking a bit impatient whilst waiting in the June sunshine for her next rider.  We all exist for her of course!  Nonetheless she is a sweetie who will put up with a lot for some carrots, mints and apples. There are just two pictures of her here.


Whisper has had her foal!  She finally gave birth on Saturday 20th June 2009 to a lovely dun filly called Angel!  Here are nineteen shots to look at - though as you might expect they are just a few of the pics taken at the time!  Mum and filly are doing well.  Isn't Angel looking good?  Whisper is Ashleigh's only pony so she's over the moon.  Whisper is eight years old (in 2009) and came to us with Charm in 2004 from the Scottish Highlands. Our Connemara dun stallion Woody is the sire so Óisín and Angel are half brother and sister..


Mother and daughter enjoying a moment together..

Just see how Oisin has grown since he was born on the 21st March!  Here are some more pictures of him taken in early June with his Dam, Clio.  He's certainly a handsome chap.


Here's Oisin with his Mum, Clio

Meet Ben!   We have had a new arrival at Rose Cottage!  Well, his proper name is Benji really but, just to confuse you, he's often called Ben around here.  Ben is a 13.2hh Spotted Pony (he's actually a 'Few Spot Leopard' in colouring) and a real sweetie.. Knikki has become his friend and they love to groom each other.  Just look at these few pictures of the two of them.  We expect we shall be seeing more of Ben on this web site in the future...


Ben and Knikki grooming each other

Here we are in June 2009 and we have just started to lunge Knikki We have every hope that he'll turn out to be a sensible wee horse and kind too after he's backed in a few weeks..  Do have a look at these new pictures of him.  They are only low resolution images so sadly with these, you cannot click on them to see a bigger picture.



Hamlet had a 'funny turn' 2 weeks ago in late May and our vet, Anne Scott, thinks a previous neck problem may have recurred. He was nearly put down when he was 7 with similar problems - a cyst putting pressure on his spinal cord which caused him loss of co-ordination. We have been very worried about him as he lost a lot of condition very quickly. He now seems much better we are glad to say and he is out grazing again with his 'girls'. Time will tell if this will continue to recur though. We are all keeping our fingers crossed and hoping he will improve over the summer but we are not sure whether he will be able to manage another winter. He is 19 now so fingers crossed..  Even when he was unsteady on his feet he never lost his huge personality (or for that matter his rudeness and pushiness - he cannot bear other nearby horses to be given a treat!).  The pictures below show him recovering in his box. 'Hammy' is the horse of a lifetime and Kate certainly won't be letting him suffer. She says "Sadly, I don't think I'll have him next winter".


Sorry but these pictures are only low resolution so cannot be expanded

Also in May we had two new arrivals at Rose Cottage Riding School.  Say Hello to Knikki and SonnyKnikki has come to us to be backed and brought on for the school. He's 14.2hh at the withers and 15hh at his croup so we hope he should make at least 15 hands.  Sonny came to us from the same place as Zuko and Pippa.  Both horses had their teeth checked by Seamus Connell upon arrival.

In May we had a visit from our excellent equine dental technician, Seamus Connell who is based in Co. Westmeath.  He looked at all the horses of course but the following pictures show just a few of them having their regular check up and treatment.

Seamus checking out Tabs' teeth..

Seamus checking out Tabs' teeth..

and having all sharp edges rasped down.

Zuko was very good.

He can be very silly over things that don't occur everyday but Seamus quickly put him at his ease.

Sarah having her 'wolf' tooth checked.

It does not interfere with her bit and causes no problems when eating or being ridden so Seamus decided to leave it alone.

Joey having his teeth done.

Here Seamus is using a gag to get to the back of his mouth as Joey's teeth were really sharp and causing him to 'quid' - that's food dropping out of his mouth while he was eating.

Seamus having a good look at Valco's teeth, right to the back of his mouth..

It's a BOY !!  Clio has at last had her foal - on Saturday the 21st March.   Phew! What a wait that was!  Rose Cottage Riding School has several horses kept by their owners at livery on the yard .  Some are working liveries - where the horse is also used by the School and some are private ones.  Ellen has her own horse Clio who had been thought to be near term since the beginning of the month!!  The colt is by our own stallion Woody.  Just have a look at these, the first pictures of the little chap.  He's been named Óisín (it's a Gaelic boy's name which is pronounced Osh-in in this part of Ireland) - watch this space for any more photos that we may get in the coming days.
Óisín means "little deer" in Gaelic and is derived from the Irish os "deer" combined with a diminutive suffix.
In Irish legend Óisín was a warrior hero and a poet, the son of the famous Fionn mac Cumhail, a hunter-warrior of Irish mythology, occurring also in the mythologies of Scotland and the Isle of Man. Fionn mac Cumhail is known as the giant who is supposed to have built the Giant's Causeway and to have thrown a part of Ireland into the sea that became the Isle of Man.
Fingal's Cave is named after him.

We have some sad news to report.  Our horse Mario fell ill at the end of February and went downhill quickly in only a few days.  On Sunday 1st March he couldn't get up, our Vet (Anne Scott) who had been monitoring him closely was called again and Kate had to take the sad decision to have him put to sleep.  Anne's diagnosis was that his illness had been a consequence of old age - we now believe he was in his twenties rather than the seventeen he had been represented to be when we acquired him - and his heart and kidneys eventually had begun to give up.   Mario only came to us last summer, having not been treated very well in his previous life, but he started to blossom soon after his arrival.  As far as our customers have been concerned though, he was a true 'Behind the Scenes' horse most of the time, only doing the odd lesson for us - just to keep him active.  When he did do the odd lesson, he always behaved perfectly and clearly enjoyed everything he was asked to do - everything that is except jumping!  He soon let it be known that he did not 'do' jumping!!

In his time here he was looked after so well by everyone on the yard. He was only mixed with Emma and Charm so that he was not at risk of being bullied, he had our very best rug of his size, was brought in every night and even was always grazed down by the shore so he wasn't at risk from mud fever.  Mario rather came to expect this 'right-royal' treatment and could sometimes be a bit difficult but he entered everyone's lives and we are so sad he's gone.  Kate says of him "It would have been lovely to see him enjoy the Spring grass at Rose Cottage but sadly it was not to be.  He will definitely be missed and most certainly will not be forgotten". At least he enjoyed his last days.

Mario just after he arrived at Rose Cottage


How well do you know our horses?  We have started our own Quiz Page where we show you a part of a picture of one of the horses and you have to decide which horse it is...  To have a go click here. Best of luck.

In winter and when the weather permits we can sometimes let the horses come out of their overwintering facility for a little to enjoy the outside.  Recently, after the frost had hardened up the ground Zuko and Chino came out to charge round together.. Zuko seems to have taken on the role of mentor and Chino is fast taking up Zuko's naughty and cheeky ways.  Zuko's already taught him to squeal while bucking round the field. Here are some pictures of them. We apologise for the fact that some are not up to our normal quality and are a bit fuzzy but they do give a flavour of how wonderful it is when horses are enjoying themselves - especially when they are going too fast for the camera!!


Come on...

Domino, our 16.3hh cob mare, usually overwinters outside either at nearby Toni's place or at a farm near to Malin Head.  In the pictures below you can see her arriving at Toni's place in September and see how quickly she got down to her favourite pastime - eating.   She soon settled in. A nice bit of peace and quiet you might think with such a lovely field - until she tries to break out of course. Our visitors never get to see the ingenuity of the usually peaceable, docile and excellent Domino in her search for ever greener grass.  But, do not be deceived, Domino is a dab hand (even a star!) at that - and has been all her life!  She's like that even when presented with such lovely grass as here and she has even lifted electric fencing in her earlier life in England... Since these pictures were taken we hear that she did indeed break out a few times this year to try the grass in other nearby fields and so is now in her 'other accommodation' (!) at Malin Head.  This field is fenced for bullocks so she cannot get out of there!  If we get any more pictures we'll put them here.


Domino arrives at her new overwintering accommodation

Want to see our earlier entries?  Our 2007 and 2008 season snippets of Behind the Scenes have been moved to their own page in order to make this part of our site quicker to load and therefore easier to view by those with slower Internet connexions. But, clicking on the 2008 link below you can still see:

Three updates on Harvey and Ivan
Our helpers around the yard
High Tide at Rose Cottage
The RTE visit from the No Frontiers RTE Programme
The visit by a crew to film for A Shine of Rainbows
Mario arrives and settles in
Domino and Patrick - an update
What's round the back at Rose Cottage

and of course even more by going to the 2007 archive!

[Go to 2008 Behind the Scenes]
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