New Year 2012

Happy New Year everyone!

We have quite a bit to tell you since our last update.

The great news is that Kelly will be returning in 2012 as Yard Manager, and Harri will be rejoining the team as Ride Leader and Breaker and Trainer of young horses.  All the usual helpers will also be around, it’s great to keep as much of a successful team together as possible.  Bryony will be with us a bit more – it’s her resolution to ride Ace more this year.  Joey and Alex will still be touring New Zealand for most of the season but we hope to see them in the autumn.

Our riding dates for 2012 have been set, we begin on Saturday 31st March and ride through until Sunday 4th November, so do give us a call or an email to get booked in.  Watch our bookings page for when 2012 prices are added.

The horses are all safely tucked up in their winter homes, enjoying being pampered.  Tom has the few horses remaining on the farm stabled or in barns, away from the wind and the rain which has been battering the valley recently.  When weather allows some are being ridden, schooled and broken in.

New Year’s Eve saw some very imaginative fancy dress costumes from those at the farm and the bunk barn.  Court Farm and friends (including Harri and family, Kelly and Nick, Claire, Lex etc) decided to be an army of brown Antz that invaded the pub!  Annabel and Jamie were very green grasshoppers.  Cressy and Katie were angels, what else?  The bunk barn crew with Karen and Paula all dressed up to the theme of Dances, and others in the Half Moon had to guess what they were e.g. Karen in a POLKA dot dress, Paula with several tin cans attached to her (CAN CAN) along with many other clever costumes including the Mashed Potato, the Locomotion and the Jitterbug.  The prize for the best costume of the night went to Karen’s other half Chris, who went for the full monty and dressed as The Black Swan (Google it if you haven’t see it) with the full Natalie Portman hair, make up, tights and tutu.  Well done Chris (and his styling team)!

The next morning several brave souls jumped in to the river off the Bugle Bridge to raise money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, there were many still-brown Antz going in as well as others who were rewarded with a cup of hot mulled wine from Cordelia.  The Duck race was over in the blink of an eye as the river was running so quickly.  The New Year’s Day river jump and duck race is a long running tradition in the valley that raises money for an exceptional cause and it’s a pleasure to support it.

Don’t forget we have our Facebook Page up and running so if you have any of our horses over the winter do keep us updated on them and remember to put any photos up of your rides with us.  We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring.

With love from Karen and everyone at Court Farm.

End of Season 2011

The end of the year round-up

October Half Term week was our final week of riding for the 2011 season.  The weather was great most of the time and there were some lovely rides in the late autumn sun, with fantastic views up and down the valley as it transformed to an Autumnal landscape, red, orange, yellow and brown.  Its all change once again for Llanthony Riding and Trekking, as we said goodbye for a year to Joey and Alex, they are have now arrived in New Zealand for a year of backpacking and working their way around that beautiful country.  Kelly also left us for Cornwall, taking her beloved Llanthony Erehwon (Bean) with her as she is now his very proud owner!  We hope to see them all again soon and thank them very much for their hard work over the last two seasons.

We must also give our thanks to Claire, Lou and Lucy, who have helped throughout the summer and during our especially busy periods – good luck with all your studies, especially Claire at Cambridge University.  Paula and I have also greatly enjoyed the season, meeting new customers and those of you who are regular riders with us, we’ve had some brilliant days out with you all!  Tom has been working hard schooling youngsters and horses for sale and Bryony has been trekking occasionally while not at her full time job leading expeditions – she was of course very busy earlier in the year organising her wedding.

The trekking horses are now settled in their winter homes, some are at college again, others at their private homes or the other Passmore farm in Sussex where they will all be loved and looked after during the cold months ahead.  The remaining staff and friends had a great time dancing the night away at the annual Llanthony Show Dinner and Dance.  We were all intrigued about what Bryony and Cressy had got lined up for us the day after the dinner and dance this year.  It turned out to be a fun and varied day.  The morning was taken up with an Orienteering Treasure Hunt challenge around the farm – following the clues and a map without grid references – to collect numbers to make the final clue as to where there treasure was, teams were hampered by having at all times one team member blindfolded and another two attached at the legs!  Then there were a multitude of games on the yard, again involving blindfolds (hang on there’s a theme emerging here) and much rolling around on the floor!  After a lovely meal prepared by Cressy and her helpers we adjourned to the Half Moon for a very intense quiz.  Honours were shared throughout the day but my team were the overall victors across the whole days’ activities.

Don’t forget there is more news and a photo gallery on our Facebook page (Llanthony Riding and Trekking) while things are quiet at the farm.  If you have ridden with us this year and have photos of your day please do post them up for us to see!

Watch out for a new year update and then details of when we start to ride in 2012.  Plus, out now in the local area and wider afield is a film called Resistance, starring Michael Sheen and Angela Riseborough, based on local author Owen Sheers’ book all about the Llanthony and Olchon Valleys in war time.  Much of the filming was done locally with many people we know acting as extras!  We will all try to get to see it over the next few weeks, its even showing in Birmingham!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year

Love from Karen and everyone at Llanthony Riding & Trekking and Court Farm.

Staff Beach Ride

Let’s set the scene … Bright blue skies, brilliant sunshine, sandy beach and the sound of galloping hooves, sound like heaven?  Yes it most definitely was!

It all started on Tuesday when two lorries were prepared for a trip to the beach. Horses were loaded, Sparks and Bramble on Cressy’s lorry with Violet, Velvet, Erehwon and Maestro on Colin’s lorry then off we set to drive to Tankey Lake Livery Yard, near Rhossilli on the Gower, South Wales.

The horses were unloaded into a sweet little paddock for a roll and straight into tasting new grass.  Cressy and Colin set up the chuck wagon while Kelly, Tom and I set up our tents with copious amounts of bedding – well the forecast was for a cool night.  Alex, Joey and Claire soon arrived and we all set off to walk into Llangennith for our evening meal at the local pub.

Curry night prevailed followed by serious sessions on the pool table (Tom is now pronounced a Hustler) plus some unusual choices on the juke box thanks Alex and Cressy).  Needless to say we were the last men and women standing.  A gentle stroll back up the hill and down to our beds followed.

A good night’s sleep, not disturbed by Claire’s snoring, and we were all up for a feast of a breakfast prepared by Cressy, ably assisted by Alex – yummy bacon and egg rolls with tea and coffee all round, not forgetting Kelly and her choccy biscuits and Magic chocolate Stars.

Then horses were groomed and tacked up, and off we set for the beach, starting with a gentle ride along the heath and down onto the beach.  Colin and Alex bravely walked carrying extra gear, just in case, Alex being our official photographer.

Once onto the beach and away from sunbathers, swimmers and walkers we all had fun cantering and galloping and eventually going for a dip in the sea.

Thanks and laughs go to:

  • Colin for his patience with us all, for sharing the driving and the first round at the pub
  • Alex for his unusual choice of music (well he called it music) and for being the barefoot, running photographer
  • Tom for having a birthday on 1st September and inviting his friends to join in the fun, plus his manic smile on Violet in the sea and on land
  • Cressy for organising the whole outing, being head chef, leading the way on Bramble and proving that she really is a mermaid and Bramble a seahorse
  • Joey and Maestro for their circus antics jumping waves, cantering off into the sea with us all wondering how on earth Joey was still in the saddle
  • Kelly and Erehwon for preparing themselves for a future living next to a beach, looking extremely elegant and having the most fun jumping/bucking across the water inlets running across the beach
  • Claire and Velvet for being soooo SPECIAL!
  • Sparks for eventually taking a dip and proving that horses can swim, even with the likes of me on his back screeching like a banshee with excitement.

Check out Llanthony Riding and Trekking on Facebook for up to the minute news and photos.

We hope to see you all soon enjoying our own little bit of heaven in the beautiful Black Mountains.

Paula

Summer 2011 update

It has been an action packed few weeks with lots of lovely events.  Stella, our former yard manager got married to fiancé Simon, their friends and family gathered in their lovely garden to celebrate with a barbecue – congratulations to them.  Then we had the Llanthony show.  A day of mixed weather, some very heavy downpours that sent everyone scurrying for cover and some warm sunshine.  It was a busy day with an action packed schedule, all the usual entertainments were present, with a new sideshow, the Llanthony Pony Plop!  Basically you have to guess where Barney the very cute pony leaves a present in a numbered grid, and if you get the right square the prize is yours (the entry money not Barney’s contribution)!  The fell runners had a good race again, with a young Charlie Sapwell (aged 15) running with the seniors for the first time and coming in a very respectable 10 minutes behind the winner, a serious club runner.  Watch out for Charlie in the future – he has already had offers to join clubs local to Llanthony, the only problem is that he lives in Kent.  The Beer Race was as usual a great spectacle with the Dukes of Essex winning again. The Monmouthshire Hunt attracted much support with their display of horses and hounds and the gymkhana and rodeo had lots of entries.  Show Jumping took place all day and the showing classes were very popular, as the Assistant Secretaries (me and Paula) booking in the entries in the tent will testify.

A week later it was another wedding, this time our very own Bryony and Steve.  Preparations took place all week (and a long time before) with an army of helpers laying tables, making jewellery, printing orders of service, rolling meatballs, pressing burgers, baking foccacia, creating flower arrangements and decorations to name just a few of the many tasks for completion.  There was a simple but touching ceremony in a packed St David’s chapel, bubbles, canapés and photos in the Abbey grounds, and a reception in a beautifully decorated marquee in the Abbey Field.  Bryony looked stunning in an oyster pearl and deep red dress and the weather was kind, the rain kindly waited until everyone was under cover before lightly showering.  An evening barbecue was laid on for guests, but for the daytime guests Cressy’s wonderfully cured cider ham and Llanthony beef was delicious.  There was dancing to a live band who were very popular and once again the Abbey was floodlit in the evening.  With a full moon making an appearance the effect was truly magical – especially when the happy couple walked down the field at the end of the evening and over the fairy lit steps into the Abbey Hotel to whoops and cheers from the crowd in the marquee.  It was a truly special day for a very special couple and I know all our readers will be very happy for them both.

Riding continues for the rest of the summer holidays and right through now until the end of October, so do give us a call to book in.

With love from Karen and all at Court Farm.

Start of the Summer

Latest news from the farm includes some new foals, lots of new chicks being hatched and cared for by Tom’s chickens (see photos on Facebook), some new horses and a new member of staff!  Tom has two new foals and another imminent, and our new horses are Fluffy, who is very young and learning all about work, and Bertie, a bit older and more experienced, already popular for hacking.  All our new additions are settling in very well.

Kelly is back from university having completed her exams, and our new helper Lou has been with us since Easter working at weekends and in school holidays.  She has settled right in to the swing of things, getting involved in everything from going out on the rides to making tea and sweeping the yard.  Some regular readers may remember Splodge who retired some years ago – well he’s still fighting fit and being looked after by Lou a bit further up the Valley, so it’s really nice to get regular updates on him.

Fortune, another of our oldest trekking horses has now retired to a lovely family where she is living very comfortably and enjoying occasional rides out.  Maestro and Erewhon are now working regularly with Joey and Kelly.  Violet is being trained up for joining the line and Velvet is also now going to come into work.

With more good weather forecast we are all looking forward to the summer, the show isn’t far away and then Bryony’s wedding – so it’s all go at the moment.  Don’t forget to phone and get booked in, especially for those long sunny days – there’s nothing better than being on the hill in the sunshine!

Love from Karen and all at Court Farm.