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HomeFarming NewsFarmer's Diary: Every farm needs a horse - especially this one
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Farmer’s Diary: Every farm needs a horse – especially this one

Clodagh Hughes runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen; she is That’s Farming’s newest contributor and will provide an insight into her farm on a weekly basis.

My horse-riding days are not what they used to be, but I can still scramble into a saddle and go for a wee jaunt over the fields.

Now, this is the story of how Gorsey the horsey came to live with me. I had been thinking of adding an equine friend to my wee farm for some time now. When my father informed me that a friend of his was looking to re-home an animal which had been abandoned in her field around the time ‘The Beast from the East’ hit our shores in early 2018, I had to investigate.

Time was running out for Gorsey as the field was needed for another purpose and this kind-hearted person had explored all available homing avenues but to no avail.

Well, wild horses couldn’t have kept me away! I had to go have a peek at this pony and folks, let me tell you he was some pony! All 18 hands high of him, approximately 6 foot to his shoulder in new money!

I fell for him straight away and knew immediately he was coming home with me. He’s an older gent of about 20 which is no bad thing; he was in great condition after being very well looked after by this kind lady and he had a lovely nature.

It was obvious he was used to being handled and had not been too badly treated which was of great solace to me. Talk about a whirlwind, he was back to Carracloghan within 24 hours and has been settling in brilliantly ever since. The farrier came to trim his hooves and he is now sharing pasture with my lambs.

Grazing conditions

I mentioned last week that the next job on was gathering hay which we did last Monday amidst scorching weather and big thanks to Peter and PJ Fitzsimons from Inniskeen, Monaghan for their top-quality service and produce.                                                 

On one hand, I’m delighted to have a shed full of sweet meadow hay, but on the other, I now have to start feeding it to my sheep as I’m seriously low on grass. These are the things that negatively impact on any profit margins you hope to achieve as a farmer.

It’s coming time to wean my lambs and I may bring this forward a week earlier than planned due to the scarcity of grass as I’ll need to supplement their diet with meal rations or all my hard work will be undone…there go those profit margins again!

Next week

In other news, my fleeces are fermenting away nicely for about 4 days now and wow… the smell would curl your toes and other parts of your anatomy! Another few days I’ll rinse it out and then onto the next stage of drying. We’ll see where I go from there.

I love a project; I’m looking forward to next week already! Bye.

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