Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Bones Of These Hills


I have been painting chalk hares on hillsides. I can already feel this painting becoming a quilt - perhaps my big winter project!
This week's torrential rain has been a welcome relief. These hills are parched, withered brown grass exposes their granite bones. But now the earth is greedily soaking up the monsoon-like downpours.

Rosie pony has come to stay with us for the summer holidays. She's VERY old, and quite creaky, but we've put her on a several supplements, and she is very perky and positive. The idea is for middle daughter to regain her confidence cantering, while I work with Bethan.
About 3 weeks ago, I had pretty much reached the decision that, much as I adore Bethan, perhaps she wasn't the right pony for us. I was on the brink of advertising her for sale. I decided to have one last push with her, a 'make or break' couple of weeks. We've worked her hard every day for 10 days - My eldest daughter and her friends, taking it in turns to exercise her every day, culminating in a session in the school working in circles and over small jumps. Two things have come out of this - firstly she has behaved impeccably, no bucks, naughtiness, nothing. She has done everything she was asked. Secondly, what seemed like a little stiffness behind, and reluctance to engage her quarters, became more pronounced over the days, with her ears back, and neck and head held at an angle when asked to move in a circle. So we stopped, and tonight she had an acupuncture session with the vet. Flexion tests were fine, and her back is ok, but she seems to be very sore across her shoulder. The vet thinks this may have been a problem for quite some time, causing stiffness throughout her body, and quite possibly the cause of her bucking. Following her session she was very sleepy, and quite chilly, so she has gone out tucked up in her rug tonight, and after a day's rest we start on a programme of exercises with her. I am crossing my fingers that this is the turning point with her!

16 comments:

Clare Wassermann said...

I adore your painting

Terra said...

You are so good in caring for your ponies, and in turn, they are so good to you.

Valerianna said...

The painting will make a lovely quilt - nice image. Good luck with Bethan, and glad you got rain. We had a tease at the start of the week, now back to dry and cracked earth. Praying for whether balance, but maybe that's just a thing of the past.....

Emerald Window said...

I have always wanted to draw and do watercolors, but I don't have the patience for it. You are such an inspiration. I LOVE the new watercolor.
PS How is little Kestrel. We really enjoyed seeing his pictures.
Cenya

Joey said...

You are so gifted, not only in the arts, but with animals. Your writing just flows so beautifully.

The pony has claimed my heart.

Joey

Yarrow said...

Lovely painting :)
I hope you do get to the root of Bethan's problems, maybe she can work through the stiffness and move on from her usual reaction.

Rosie is beautiful and what lovely kind eyes she has. I hope you all have fun, working and playing together :)

ChrisJ said...

Such a nice looking pony.

A mermaid in the attic said...

I love the new painting...but a question! Is that a moon waxing to full then waning from L to R, because it's going the same way the moon does here in the southern hemisphere, and I thought it went the other way in the northern hemisphere?! Hoping that you've reached a turning point with Bethan, you should give yourself a pat on the back for being so caring and patient, I imagine a lot of people would have given up long before this!

Murphyfish said...

Nice picture of the hare, something special about these animals. We in the middle of getting soaked and battered by high winds here in N. Wales and it's a great relief.
John

Jessie said...

Hi Danielle, the photo of the countryside is stunning and your idea of making a quilt very exciting! Lovely painting too.xx

Kath said...

Rosie is a pretty girl! I was very interested indeed to read about Bethan's treatment, I await further updates with eagerness.

Karen said...

Beautiful painting and looking forward to seeing it as a quilt too :)
Have a good weekend x

Anonymous said...

I do not know why but I am cheering for Bethan, hoping that this little pony will be able to stay and become a permanent member of your family. Perhaps because you treat your ponies so kindly, who could wish for a better home. Are you giving devils claw? I have an arthritic horse that I am considering using it for but have not yet tried it. Love the paintings and am totally jealous of your talent! keep up the good work.

Bovey Belle said...

Rosie is SO beautiful - lovely head and a kind eye, and I've always had a soft spot for chestnuts (my darling Fahly was chestnut, with zebra stripes on his front legs!). I hope that you have got to the bottom of Bethan's problem now and will be keeping her.

I loved the latest painting and it will make a beautiful quilt . . .

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Beautiful Hare painting and loved the photo of the countryside. So beautiful there.

Rosie is a darling pony,and hopefully she will help instill confidence. Sounds like a good program for Bethan.

Freyalyn said...

Love the hare painting.

And how good to see someone who's prepared to work with a 'problem' pony and see if it's a physical, mendable problem before selling her one. I do hope it all works out for you all.

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