The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Friends

The West Highlands of Scotland were lovely, the wedding perfect, the company delightful, the ceilidh thrilling, the food delicious, and the liquor plentiful.

One thing, however, was extra-special. Take a wild guess as to what that might be.

Meet Glen Bruar Fern, a Highland Pony mare, and her foal, Islay of Ardtornish.
While coming back from a long walk up the hill on Friday, my brother and I found a yard with ponies in it. The one I liked best was a two-year old Highland pony gelding named Corran. I thought he had a rather Sorraia/Tarpan tint to him. He greeted us very cordially.

His future is to be the estate's stalking pony, bringing the stags off the hill for the hunters (aka stalkers).

The next morning, I got up and went out in search of more ponies and found the aforementioned Fern and Islay in another field, sheltering in a horse trailer. Fern was busy eating hay in the back of the trailer, but Islay came right out to say hello. She was spectacularly muddy.

Islay is the full sister of Corran. The estate factor told me that Islay and her mother are to be sold together, and that there is a woman in Germany who is interested in buying them. I was glad that he wanted to keep them together.

Over the next three days, I spent more time with Fern, Islay, Corran, and the other ponies. Here is a large skewbald pony who I thought looked rather peevish, but who came over and greeted me kindly. Maybe she looked grumpy because her feet hurt.

There were seven ponies in the yard. They seemed very equal to each other in terms of pecking order, jostling each other out of the way in turn. The one pony who seemed to have a slight advantage was this white pony.

He/she greeted me and then took a little swipe at my nose. I tend to always trust horses when they stick their noses in my face. Maybe this one wasn't really going to bite.

This pony was shy.

The other ponies took turns coming over to say hello.

Little bay pony

Little dapple pony

Large dapple pony

But my favorite was still Corran. He has the same look as his sister - and the same sweet mischievous expression.

Corran (like his mother and sister) is pure Highland; the white pony looks to be Highland too, and maybe the large dapple pony. The others are a mix, I think.

Every morning I went out to visit Fern and Islay. As long as there was hay in the trailer, Fern kept munching and ignored me. But the last morning I went out before the hay arrived, and Fern came out to say hello. I scratched her neck, and every time I stopped, she turned round and gently touched my hand with her nose.

Islay reminded me of Bridget in her curiosity and desire to interact - especially when, to my surprise, she initiated the Bridget leg game, shoving a foreleg at me and happily letting me pull on it and scratch it. And of course she enjoyed backing into me to make me scratch her hindquarters and tail.

There is something about horses that makes you feel you're with an old friend, even if you've just met. 


  1. Of course you met some ponies. They do look nice. I know just what you mean about how they seem like old friends straightaway. It must be something about their accepting nature. Hope you had a good trip over in these islands.


  2. Wonderful trip, thanks, Maire.