We have spent the last three days at the excellent Scottish Game Fair (in the grounds of Scone Palace) with some Highland ponies. It was most interesting to see the resurgence of interest in using ponies for estate work, even from young keepers and stalkers. Many estates have areas which are inaccessible by vehicle - either for reasons of the terrain or because of conservation issues - where ponies can happily be used for stalking or thinning timber.
The principal difficulty for estates is recruiting people with the skills to handle ponies - and the interest and enthusiasm to care for them properly. Still, it is heartening to know that they still have a place on the hill.
Many interesting people to talk to at the Fair - although as you can see not everybody was so very thrilled! This little guy was part of the 'Name the Foal' competition we have each year for kids: his name has to begin with 'F' (this year's letter) and be suitable for a boy. Some inspired suggestions: Fergus, Fion, Faro, Ferdie, Fiddle, Fang (!) , Flash, Fearnoch, Feshie, and Fingal were some of them. Judging from the picture, 'Fed Up' seems appropriate!
It's a good outing for the foals - so much for them to see and absorb. As we're close to the clay pigeon shooting, I can definitely confirm they aren't gun shy (although we have yet to teach them to retrieve...)
I'm pleased to add that Yeoman continues to improve day by day - he's sound in the field now. I know that's not the same as being sound climbing a hill track, but definitely moving in the right direction.