Ladette to Lady!

I can hardly believe it’s almost two months since our last guests left & that we’re halfway through November already!

We often get asked what we do with ourselves over the Autumn / Winter, the implication being that with no guests we must therefore be bored. On the contrary this is when we plan, rethink, revamp, redecorate…in fact all the things which would be more difficult if not impossible to do during the season. Over the last 6 years we haven’t had a Winter yet when we have got right down to the bottom of the To Do list. Maybe this has got something to do with the fact that I’m guilty of adding most of my Wish List on to the To Do list making finishing it very unlikely but where’s the harm in aiming high?

Admittedly it’s always good to have a bit of down time after a busy season and we have had a couple of weeks off visiting family during the school holidays but still it has passed all too quickly  & here we are once again preparing for the season ahead.Just before we left Susie went off to Domaine de Favard to embark on her 2 week training course. She was eventually coaxed into the horse box which admittedly was a lot easier than we’d anticipated.

On the way to Domaine de Favard

We also had a bit of a stressful time just before the holidays with poorly animals. Susie’s abscess flared up for a second time resulting in a second vet’s visit & me being required to give yet another 5 days worth of penicillin. I am now quietly confident in the art of administering inter muscular injections ( at least of the equine variety)!!

Miss Molly also decided to come out in sympathy and suddenly stopped eating. She wasn’t her usual lively self so yet another trip to the vet …she ended up in hospital on a drip to regulate her poor kidney function, brought on because she hadn’t been eating. This is very bad for cats apparently so just as well I didn’t listen to Amar who lies very much in the let’s wait & see camp. I have to admit I probably would have done if we hadn’t been going away 2 days later. Thankfully we have some lovely friends who took good care of her while we were away and she is looking really good now, the only evidence of her ordeal being two little shaved legs and a very expensive bag of cat food, hopefully not to be replaced once it’s all eaten!

Two little shaved legs!

Susie has now completed her “Ladette to Lady” course with the excellent trainer Stéphane Buisson from Aventure Cheval Decouverte , based in Tamniés just 30 mins from here and has passed with flying colours! Complete with stetson & lassoo, Stéphane wouldn’t look out of place roamin’ the Prairies & has a calm, easy manner with his animals which makes me think of him as a French Dr Dolittle.

Stèphane Buisson meets Susie!

Certainly Susie got on well with him and was walking to heel & being ridden within days. The secret I think is a serene & zen attitude and a big bag of horse sweets! Working on a positive reward system donkeys are easier to train than dogs.(Allegedly)

Susie having fun at Domaine de Favard

Susie having fun at Domaine de Favard

We have taken her out every day since she got home and we can now lift up her feet which is a huge achievement! Susie hated having her hooves trimmed with a vengeance and anyone who tried going near her feet was in danger of a hefty kick or bite, making vets’ & farriers’ visits really stressful. This was the main reason for sending her to training school…..the next farrier’s visit should be interesting but so far we’re really pleased with the other extra benefits!

The end of season is usually all about tidying up for the Winter. All the Summer paraphernalia has to be put away, pool closed up, leaves swept, grass cut, Winter pruning done, & the 7 gites all to be secured against the cold weather. Nothing too exciting, pretty mundane in fact, but necessary nonetheless. Determined not to be caught out like last year when the extreme cold weather hit, we fitted an extra security system to one of the gites’ water pipes which gave us a lot of trouble last year. Luckily it held out while we were away but decided yesterday to give up the ghost…it was a gorgeous sunny day & a balmy 20°C so if there was ever a good day to have a flood, this was it!

No lasting damage done, just a long morning bailing out.

Other than that all is quiet here at the moment so I’ve been taking the time to explore the region a bit  – there are lots of signed walks around here. Latest one for me was No17 St Geniès, Boucle des Etangs, 7.7 kms and takes around 2 /2.5 hours. Hoping this gorgeous Spring weather keeps going for a bit longer..!!

L'èglise à Saint Geniès

12th century Church at Saint Geniès

St Genies

Saint Geniès along the circuit Boucle des Etangs, 7.7 kms


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