Looking for help mostly handling and training my Highland ponies near Tain (Inverness), North Scotland.

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United Kingdom

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    23/05/2020

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  2020 

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

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  • Description

    Description

    This placement really is best for two friends as if you are on your own, it could be a bit lonely. I breed Highland ponies on my small farm in the north of the Scottish Highlands near the east coast and can use some help over the summer. This summer (2020) I have six young ponies, three of these were backed by workawayers during the summer. So there will be enough to keep it interesting but not enough to make it hard work!

    You can find out more by visiting my Facebook pages for "Derry Argue" and "Morrich Highland Ponies".

    I am retired and my ponies are a hobby. I'm old so my approach to training is relaxed and easy going. I have about a dozen ponies of all ages and stages of training. I prefer 'natural' methods and let the pony set the pace. I don't believe there is a "right" way to train and enjoy swapping ideas and trying new methods. On the other hand, I have been training various species all my life, so I might actually know a thing or two.

    Only one or two ponies will be rideable at any one time as they are sold at around four years of age when they have been backed and ridden. I do have a ridden champion that experienced people would be welcome to ride and there may be others while you are here. There is excellent hacking locally on the beaches and in forestry.

    No mucking out or poo picking as the ponies are tough and live out with shelter 24/7, even the foals! The poo is either harrowed in or picked up by machine.

    I try not to use the phone as I am a bit deaf, but I usually reply to emails within a few hours via my desktop computer. I do not have a mobile.

    Sorry, but your pets are not welcome as they may not mix wth my livestock and I'd rather not risk it.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Farmstay
    Animal care
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The farm is located about 3.2 kilometers from Tain and the main A9 road north and about 56 kilometers north of Inverness on the east coast. It is a good base for exploring the north of Scotland but still a bit isolated and self contained. Tain has several supermarkets, shops, health centre, etc. and is worth exploring. There is no problem to arranging 'time off' and I am happy to provide a limited taxi service. There is a main line railway station at Tain, an air port at Inverness (Ardesier), and there are regular local bus and train services. I have a bicycle you can use and plan on getting a second. You will find it easier to get around if you have your own transport as distances are large in Scotlnd.

    Please bear in mind that I am old and do not get involved with the local social life much. Sometimes I like to put my feet up and just watch TV or have a nap! If you are happy with your own company, studying, writing a book, or otherwise want peace and quiet to do your own thing, this would probably suit you down to the ground. And if you want to go off and explore Scotland for a couple of days, that's fine too. But be aware that this is a farm and cocks crow and dogs bark and animals still need to be fed and tended! The climate in the Highlands can be very variable and sometimes cold, even in summer.

    During a long and interesting lifetime, I have trained several species of hawks and falcons for falconry, bred and trained working gundogs which were exported worldwide, was commissioned to write a book, have transcribed and published several other books, produced videos shown on TV and as inflight entertainment on an international airline, and so on.

    Also, do research "things to do" in the Highlands before you come so when you get here you can explore the area and culture. There are a few links on my web page that might help.

  • Help

    Help

    You will be helping to groom ponies, lead, help in the round pen, long reining, and helping with backing. So it is best if one of you is experienced and confident around horses. I usually have some ponies already broken and others just backed and needing experience. There is excellent hacking in woodland literally on the doorstep and beach rides quite close for experienced riders. At the moment I only have one pony fully trained but he is a ridden champion at county level. Training horses is not the same as riding, so even if you are an experienced rider this could be a learning experience. I have been training various species for over 50 years.

    I have both Public Liability and Employers Liability Insurance but visitors might consider getting their own rider insurance if they intend riding in the UK. An idea of your weight, height , and a note of your experience would be helpful, also photographs.

    Sorry, no pets!

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Accommodation is in a self contained caravan with accommodation for two, so you can enjoy your own privacy. We share extra facilities in the house. The caravan has all the essential amenities (gas and mains electricity, heating, cooker, wash hand basin, sink, shower, etc, with sleeping bags, towels, bedding, and kitchen and eating essentials provided) and there is a refrigerator and washing machine in the house. So it is quite comfortable and we can each have our own privacy when we want. We can share cooking, buying food, etc. as I am easy with that, but if you have special requirements, that will be your responsibility.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    This is a placement best suited to two people, at least one of whom is experienced and confident around horses, as it is quiet here without a lot of social activity. But if you are 'horsey' and happy with your own company, that is fine too. I have a relaxed attitude and don't work to the clock or to a time table. I generally take the dogs out in the morning to go round the ponies, then check on the Internet and then have breakfast, starting work around 10am - 10.30am with lunch around 1.00. Some days I will spend time in the office. But it is flexible.

    The farm is secluded with no near neighbours. A single person might find it lonely. I can provide bicycles but visitors will definitely find exploring Scotland easier with their own transport as distances are large. There is no problem to your taking a day or so off to explore. There are bus and train time tables online and the nearest bus stop is a few hundred metres from the farm..

    My neighbours about 0.8 kilometers away are a popular trekking centre, Highlands Unbridled, who also take on volunteers. So when it is quiet here, you can introduce yourself and get to meet other young people as Jan and Graham take on workawayers every summer and are good friends! You may also get the chance to join one of their rides.

    When writing, please state age, experience, height, and weight. Minimum age 18. No phone calls please. I have Public Liability and Employers' Liability insurance but if you are wanting to ride, your own riders' insurance is recommended. Obviously, you'll need working clothes and a hard hat for riding, and, it can be cold here sometimes, even in summer. We try not to work in the rain! Apparently, the caravan is a success and has most of what you'd need with extras in the house.

    I get on with most people as I have had a long and interesting life, but do not tolerate dishonesty or those who lack respect for others. I treat people as they treat me. There are few rules here, just mutual respect, but that one is rigidly enforced.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    Two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    3 hours a day, 5 days a week (very flexible!)

New born foal. Ten minutes old!
Getting to know the family.
Young Highland ponies eating off a fresh deer skin to get them accustomed to the smell of blood.
Desensitising foals.
Desensitising foals.
Sometimes Highland ponies can be too friendly!
A picture from the past. Your host getting a goishawk used to the pointers, all now sadly gone.
More desensitisation.
Highland ponies can jump!
Your host with two young Highland ponies.
Morrich Highland Ponies
Derry and Max. Max is trained in protection work but he is a very friendly dog when properly introduced.
One of my helpers and Josethdene, my Highland stallion. Joe is a ridden champion at county level. He has a superb temperament as is the father of all the youngsters here.
Loading practice. Torran has to be held back or he would be first in and hoover up all the feed!
Black foals usually change colour, most eventually going grey like mum here.



Host ref number: 927969581196