Sunday, 7 August 2011

Our Spotted Stallion Domino.

It was fourteen years ago that Domino was born to a small black Shetland mare, a mare that was not big enough to go in the standard Shetland show classes 38/42inches , and too big to go in the miniature Shetland showing classes 30/34 inches, in fact she was about 36 inches tall.
 See the whole story on this link



Domino, he stands at 33 inches tall, this was taken 7 years ago, in his winter the black spots in his coat stand up like a shaving brush while the white areas of coat lay fairly flat
Going back five years before this, it had been decided that we would let the little mare go and sold her as a companion horse to a large  hunter horse come race horse.
No more was seen or heard of her until some four years later we had a phone call from a dealer down in the south west; he had got a Shetland mare with its pedigree papers, he had rescued her in very poor condition, he had found that our name and address were on those papers.
Immediately we said we would have the mare back, the problem was she was 250 miles away, and almost a two day job to collect her. After a few months of regular phone calls to the dealer, it was established that he would be attending the National Shetland show and sale at Reading that October.
This being a sale that we had been to on quite a few occasions, it was arranged that he would bring the mare with him to Reading, and we could complete our transaction there. It was good for us, as it was only about 110 miles, and in effect we had less than half the journey that we otherwise would have had.
A thin and dull coated little mare duly walked down his tailboard and up into our trailer, after a few hour of rest for the pony we set out and brought her home.
I think, in fact I'm sure she sensed that she knew she had come home again after almost five years away recognised some of her field/stable mates and quickly settled in. She was wormed, as that is the most likely cause of her poor condition, and put on a cattle grazed pasture for the winter, as we do with all the Shetlands. We spread them out to range in winter, they need very little hand fed hay.
The following spring as soon as the grass starts to become green again, the Shetlands have to be tightly restricted on their grazing, Shetlands are well known to put their heads down and never know when to stop eating, ending up with laminitis, from which once afflicted are very prone to get it again and again.
So the little mare was put onto a small paddock next to our orchard only a ‘cock's stride' from the house. Some of the other mares had foaled and moved onto larger house paddock, leaving as we thought three baron mares on tight restricted grazing.
This small paddock by the orchard can be seen from the house widows and a good observation paddock to see who is looking likely to foal, and with three baron mares on there, we astonished to see this little mare we had helped to rescue had a black spotted foal running with her, skipping about, born during the night , as they always seem to be, licked dry and suckled, and now running in and out of the three mare who seemed to be as bewildered as us as to the colour and markings of this the smallest foal we had ever been born on this place.
Domino was registered with the Spotted Pony Society, and the dealer from whom we fetched the mare had a good idea where and when the mare could have got to a stallion and which one, and so he had a named farther for his certificate.
Over the next few years he was entered into spotted pony show classes, drawing a lot of attention as he had a sharp presence and alert ears and very vocal when other horses were about, in other word he was showing off, to tell the truth so were we.
Much to the annoyance of large spotted riding pony owners he often got put up above them, but shows with spotted pony classes were very few and far between, and he did not go out as often as some of our other ponies.



 This is Domino's daughter "Dotty", as you see she is getting a bit over weight and in her winter coat

Now retired, he still is a challenge to the blacksmith who periodically has to trim his tiny hooves, he never likes a hand gripped tight round his fetlock, so the blacksmith tried a trick he had been told by an old blacksmith from years ago. He gets a towel and puts the two ends around his fetlock and twists it tight then holds the towel ends between his knees, this improves his ability to settle the pony, but Domino does like to pose a challenge as he's strong, and on odd occasions I have to grip his nose, twitch like, until he knows who has to win the battle.
This is a little character who will never leave us, he will be here to the end of his days,
He is part of the family of ponies that have all retired, enjoying the care and attention given to them. We our selves are getting older, and are not able or fit enough to run them out properly to show them, although one of the younger of the old mare was taken out last weekend and came home with a rosette, shown and run out by our daughter.
I told you it would be a long story, more than a few lines, and feel that we have been so lucky to own and enjoy such an individual little character.  ---

   Domino.