Joints Not Yet Stiffened


After the usual weeding and tidying in the garden, Jackie drove us out into the forest, where we eventually lunched at Hockey’s Farm in South Gorley.

Ponies and foal 1

We travelled via Nomansland where I communed with a disinterested group of ponies cropping the grass beside a recumbent foal.

Foal and pony 1

One of the adults came close to nudging the infant of its chosen patch of sward.

Foal 1Foal 2

As it snoozed, the little one rested its heavy muzzle on the firm ground.

Foal 3Foal 4

Eventually even that became too much and the creature collapsed, prone and sprawling. You very rarely see the older animals lying down, for they all sleep standing up. Not so the youngsters whose joints have not yet stiffened.

Horses with fly masks

As we neared the village of Hale, domesticated horses in a field along Tethering Lane  wore the fly masks and ear muffs I have mentioned before. These lucky animals are thus offered protection from pestilential flies. As so often, crows peck around what the horses leave behind.

Hale village greenHale village green 2Thatched houses

The small village of Hale has a public green surrounded by thatched houses and a school, some pupils of which were engaged in hearty sports as we arrived. I thought it politic not to photograph the proceedings.

Hale House

The road through the village also divides the grounds of Hale Park. On one side we see the drive to Hale House;

Hale Park

on the other an avenue of trees extending into the distance. The approach is splendid enough now, but what an impressive coach drive would have been enjoyed in its eighteenth century heyday. There is no public access, so we rely on Wikipedia for the following information:

‘Hale House

Hale House was built by Thomas Archer, Groom Porter to Queen Anne, and Baroque architect, who bought the manor of Halesometime after 1712.[1] He demolished an Elizbethan mansion which had been designed by John Webb for the Penruddock family.[2][3] The house was designed and built by Archer around 1715.[3] It was remodelled around 1792 by the architect Henry Holland.[3] Other alterations were made in the early and late 19th century.[4]

The house has two storeys and seven bay-windows at the front.[5][3] It has cement rendered walls, a portico with pediment and Corinthian columns, and a slate roof.[5] The service wings flank the house but are detached.[5] They also are of two storeys, with cement rendered walls and slate roofs.[5]

It is now a Grade I listed building.[4] The house is in private ownership and is not open to the public.

Hale Park

The grounds were laid out from about 1715 by Thomas Archer.[6] During the 19th century and early 20th century the grounds were simplified and new features were added to the gardens.[6]

The park includes a circular pool surrounded by yew hedging and topiary shapes.[6] There is a Ha ha towards the south.[6] The park contains a number of copses, and lodges including the South Lodge which has a Doric portico.[6] Tree avenues cross the park, including a lime avenue which runs north east to Hatchett Lodge, and extends beyond park.[6] The Mount is possibly from the 17th-century house and is enclosed by hedging.[6]

At one time there was an ice house in the park.’

Woman photographing donkey and foal

Further on, outside Woodgreen, as I emerged from the car to home in on another equine mother and child, I noticed that another photographer had the same idea.

Donkey foal suckling

Possibly slightly alarmed by the attention the baby sought a top up from a comforting nipple,

Donkey foal and mother

after which it tottered away,

Donkey foal 2

twitching its tail and tossing its head this way and that in an attempt to repel flies.

Donkey foal 3

Then, like its pony cousin, it sunk to the ground,

Donkey foal 4

stilled its tail, supported its head, and settled down to sleep.

After our substantial lunches, fish fingers and baked beans sufficed for dinner this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.


    1. I recently lost my specs in the garden. Jackie found them trampled into the gravel. I can still see well (TV only) with them. I guess the horses’ mesh is as see-through as the scratches across the lenses. Thanks a lot, Pauline.

  1. I misread your opening sentence and read the entire posting waiting for the wedding… “After the usual wedding and tidying in the garden…” I guess I made an ass of myself.

  2. Such delightful little creatures, oblivious of the afflictions and agonies of the living. That is an out-of-the-world village, complete with a chateau and an expansive estate. This post is a wanderer’s treat.

  3. I know it’s a bit of a dumb question, but why are some of those animals called ponies when they look like, and appear as big as, those you call horses?

    I noticed that Hale House is now in private ownership; I checked Wikipedia, to see if the owners are listed.

    They are not. I suppose the house is owned by some poor communist from the old USSR down to his last 100 billion, I do wonder how they came by so much in such a short time, honestly

    Fish fingers and baked beans? Only a Pom would sit down to such fare!

    1. It is apparently all about size with the equines. Ponies are smaller. I don’t know any more. The house ownership is certainly a mystery. I waited in anticipation for your comment on dinner. You didn’t let me down 🙂 Thanks, Brian

      1. Mild pedant alert …. whilst it is generally true that ponies are smaller than horses and the cut-off for a pony is 14.2 hands in Britain (and I think the US) but 14 hands in Australia, there are breeds of both that do not follow the size category. Fallebella, are actually miniature horses that only stand around 7.2 hands and New Forest Ponies can occasionally exceed their height allowance!The real difference in a breed of pony is in it’s make-up … they are typically a bit broader and more barrelly in the body, have shorter legs and thicker manes and tails. I believe it is right to say that most experts in matters equine would say these all point to matters of keeping warm and also the terrain that ponies tended to live in. All of which require an animal to have a strong sturdy and more thickly furred form. Whatever the differences, I love them all and just adore your wanders through your very beautiful locale!

      2. Seems like some of the followers know a damned sight more than the CEO! Always the way! “twisted:
        Thank you Osyth you have me now more confused than ever. I shall stick to my dog, and dogs in genera,l and just admire the ponies/horses, birds of a feather, and any other creature, great and small, that Derrick throws at us.

  4. Loved all the pony and horse photos, made my day, had been out working as plumber, in this terribly cold weather down here in Geelong. I’m home, enjoying your photos, and now comfortable and warm.

  5. Those adorable babies! I enjoyed the pictures and history of Hale house. Like the name, too.

  6. Great pics of those beautiful small Pony’s Derrick, the village of Hale gives a feeling of rural tranquility, and looks like a perfect retirement village, the Hale House has a fascinating history, looks a bit like Downton Abbey.

  7. I wonder if they need some Vitamin E or glucosamine chondroitin? You’re clever and amusing, Derrick in your imaginings! 🙂
    I absolutely adored the white donkey foal and the horse foals, too. ❤ Lots of hearts and flowers 🌸 for this lovely post.

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