2009 Season begins

The new season has opened really well with some fabulous weather and lots of bookings.  The horses are all home now, and moulting really well, although some area still wearing rugs at night-time as its quite chilly on the dry clear nights we have been having.

Easter weekend was wonderful with a full book and some great rides in the sunshine.  Staff, family and friends of Court Farm all got together on Easter Saturday evening for the first barbecue of the season, it was great to have everyone back together again.

Just before the season opened we had a new foal born to Chilli; Tom’s Appaloosa mare bought (in foal) last year.  She has had a stunning spotty colt by King Soloman, whom Tom as named Arctic Prince.  Its great to see him galloping round the field.  Soon he will have lots of new playmates as our mares currently in foal are all due before the end of June. Tom will certainly have his work cut out looking after all of them together with last year’s batch who are proving to be proper tearaways!

The building work at the farm is coming on really well with a new reception area and porch complete with fridge and freezer for meat sales, restyled kitchen and a dedicated office.  Its not quite finished yet but looks great already!

We have some new weekday staff, Sarah and Ani have joined to help on the days when the “weekenders” can’t be there and Paula is also helping out in the week too.  Lex and her eager helpers have just about finished the main lambing, a few calves are being born too, so Spring has definitely sprung at the farm.

It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the valley over Easter after the forecast had been so awful and then proved to be completely wrong, and we look forward to seeing you all, old friends and new, over the coming months.

Lots of love from Karen and all at Court Farm.

Happy New Year

3rd Jan 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

2009 started in great style, a fancy dress – Batman – and a jump in the river (for anyone crazy enough to try – Bryony, Annabel, Jamie, Jessie, Sarah.!!).

Llanthony Riding and Trekking were pleased to welcome David Harrison and the Monmouthshire Hunt to Court Farm today, along with renowned journalist Rory Knight Bruce and official photographer Trevor Meeks from Horse and Hound magazine. A glorious sunny day with the heavily frozen ground led to a beautiful meet. Hounds only as, due to the very hard ground, everyone was recommended not to bring horses. A lovely day.

The horses are all well, they prefer freezing to wet and are more than happy having a rest out in the fields. Those out on loan seem to be doing well, a couple have returned for a rest before we start again in April.

The foals are growing up fast and pushing me about everyday at breakfast time, little monkeys.!!!

Happy New Year to everyone, lets hope its a prosperous one.!!

Tom -x-

End of Season Staff Trail Ride

The “Last Blast”…

…Our last ride of the season took place last weekend; ever in tradition the staff and friends of Llanthony Riding and Trekking sported their “Wild West” fancy dress outfits as directed by Big Chief Cressy and Big Chief Katie.  And what a laugh it was… wet, windy and wild were but a few seasonal accompaniments but it was certainly not enough to dampen our spirits.  Along with the tasselled chaps, Barbour skirts, pistols, headdresses, feathers, ponchos and hand painted patches on the horses everyone had names to match the theme, I shall name some…

Big Chief Cressy riding Punch;

Big Chief Katie riding Mercury;

Bronco Billy (Tom) riding Magic;

Dances with Kittens (Harri) riding Cookie;

Senorita Marguerita (Paula) riding Sparks;

Candy – the Pinkest Cowgirl in the West (Karen) riding Gossip;

Calamity Jane (Polly) riding Rosie;

Whisky Mac Kid (Keith) riding Warrior

and me Texas Ted or ‘Teddy’ with horse cuddly toy mascot Nutmeg attached and galloping along with me on Monty.

We all want to say what a great fun season we’ve had, regardless of the weather and it’s attempts to ensure no one ever wants to venture outdoors ever again!!! Thank-you to everyone who has ridden with us; customers, friends and staff; and of course thank-you to our lovely horses who, despite having lots of new arrivals this year, have got on with the job of carrying us all up and down mountains day in and day out.

We hope everyone enjoys the winter, who knows it may stop raining long enough for us to get some snow to play in! Good luck to all the horses that are away (on loan) for their winter holidays.

See you all next spring for the start of our 2009 Llanthony Riding and Trekking season.

Bryony

End of Season Update

Only one week left now before Llanthony Riding and Trekking closes its doors for the winter.  Our last day for riding is Sunday 2nd November. We are open all through half term week, so let’s hope for great weather to finish in style.

Our ever-powerful wild Welsh weather has given us a varied year. Early on brought some fantastic days of glorious sunshine, breathtaking scenery, mysterious atmosphere and jolly good fun customers! Summer followed with pouring rain – thanks rain cloud!

Most of the horses have got their winter loan homes sorted out, some are packing their bags and going back to college again!  Staying on the farm will be the ten mares due to have foals in the spring, (note from Karen:- including the lovely Gossip, who I may get to ride for the last time for a while on the staff trail ride before she goes on maternity leave) along with Rosie, Duchess, Lady and some of Tom’s mares, Saira, Flame, Africa, Chilli, L’aani and Bonnie.

The 2008 foals are strong, healthy and getting bigger by the day. We are keeping all of them for the moment to give each a chance to prove they have what it takes to join the Llanthony Riding and Trekking team. (Note from Tom:- I am secretly hoping we keep them all. Dad is not so sure as numbers keep increasing damatically! – oops, another ten next year Dad!)

After we finish taking rides out on the trails the staff get one last yeeha! Literally, this year, with fancy dress of “The Wild West”. Watch out poor unsuspecting mountain visitors!

We are also looking forward to the annual Llanthony Show Dinner and Dance in Hereford, a sumptuous black tie affair when we all get dressed up to the nines and dance the night away to a live band.

We have had a good fun year, thanks to all our staff, helpers, friends and family.

Best wishes from Karen and Tom

Llanthony Show 2008

“That was the best day out I’ve had since the days of our gymkhanas” said one of my guests who had never experienced the Llanthony Show.

“What a great Show!… we city types had a great day and even won a prize for our float for the first time in living memory (we’ve lived a long time but don’t remember much)” from ‘John Biden’s crowd’ who have been trekking with Trevelog for many years, and who, incidentally, always produce wonderful floats!

Douglas Wright, who lives here in Llanthony, explains about the Show:- “Saturday, 2nd August saw the Llanthony Valley in the Black Mountains celebrate with forty five years of one of South Wales’ most successful local agricultural shows. The Llanthony Valley and District Show Society was set up in 1961, not just to showcase the usual sheep, cattle and horse classes, the local produce and handicrafts, but to confirm the strength of this tight local community in the heart of the Black Mountains.

This Show was started by the locals back in 1961, after the BBC had run a documentary film about us called ‘The Dying Valley’. A group of neighbours took exception, and determined to prove them wrong. Over the years, the Show has established a reputation as one of the best, and truly local community events. It has always been put on by local volunteers, working without big corporate support, and on a strictly non-commercial basis. It brings us all together and makes us very proud.”

This year’s Show, set in a bowl in the mountains below Llanthony Abbey, was no exception. All the produce and animals were on display, backed by children’s sports, dog races, a beer run, and even a prize for the scruffiest Land Rover, and the best cake made by a man!

Put the date in your diary for next year – Saturday 1 August 2009.

Best wishes

Cordelia