The First Foal

We took an early morning trip into the forest today.

A favourite route takes us through Holmesley Passage which links the A35 with the Burley Road.

Each time we drive along this slender, serpentine, disintegrating rat run we wonder if it will be our last – so rapidly is the tarmac crumbling.

Nevertheless, the landscapes it affords, with its resident ponies and cattle, makes the risk of winding up in a ditch worthwhile. The intrepid creature in the last of this set of photographs has sunk up to its knees in soggy turf.

On Bisterne Close, Burley, we encountered our first foal of the season. Already steady on its feet, just two or three days ago this infant would, having emerged unaided from its mother’s womb, have immediately, in ungainly fashion, tottered to its feet on the end of stick legs, and maybe wobbled a bit on its first visit to the milk bar.

The couple walking down the lane told me they had seen the new-born the day before and thought it could not have been much more than a day or so.

It had been the first of the year for this horse rider, too. She confirmed the newness.

At the junction of Bisterne Close and Bennets Lane a tree, probably precariously placed in the recent windy weather, had been felled.

It was in Bennets Lane that we came across Abbotsfield garden open today as part of the National Gardens Scheme in which approved gardens are open to the public for an entrance fee donated to charity.

For me, the highlights were a splendid display of tulips in most of the beds.

I was also impressed by the erythronium pagodas.

Jackie was disappointed that there was no scent to an unknown shrub, but she did enjoy the cherry blossom.

The garden views included magnolias and Japanese maples.

The honesty in Abbotsfield was of the white variety.

I probably didn’t need to be enjoined to be careful, but this was a helpful sign placed at ground level.

This evening we dined on zesty lemon and herb chicken, creamy mushroom risotto, spicy ratatouille, crunchy carrots, and tender mangoes touts and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Toro Loco Superior Organico 2017, given to me for Christmas by Shelly and Ron.


  1. How lovely to see the little newborn – they are remarkable creatures! How did the garden you visited compare to yours? It seemed to my slightly prejudiced eye to be less than remarkable……

  2. Oh, I love the foal. I can’t believe his mum lets him get so close to a strange horse – in fact, he seemed more concerned with that horse & rider than she. His legs look to be twice as long as they should be.

  3. Derrick, I am amazed each time I read your posts how splendud your drives are through your countryside. Mother nature is so beautiful!

  4. That was a daring sojourn onto less frequented roads but you have a capable charioteer in control. I keep expecting the characters from English fiction, that I gorged upon in my younger days, to pop up anytime in those settings.

  5. Good morning to both of you!! So happy you got to take this walk!

    Struggling to stand on wet green land,
    Mother nervously at hand
    New born foalon spindly legs
    Welcomed to the world by chilly winds.

    First steps taken tentatively,
    Gives his first joyous whinney,
    Strengthening legs….he stretches out
    Soon…proudly , he struts about.
    Galloping now with great speed
    Of his mother….he takes no heed
    Owner looks in oer the gate
    Says ‘Someday Shergar you will be great’

  6. Bestest photos in this blog:
    1. Beautiful Jackie and her beautiful smile! πŸ™‚
    2. The little sweet foal! πŸ™‚
    Both of them warm my heart!
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  7. When a pony is thus pushed up to the hocks in the soggy area, is not there risk that he can not get by himself?
    The first foal born is absolutely beautiful.
    The garden in spring and tuluipe; it is for me a wonderful memory of my childhood where the flower garden of my parents amazed me so much.

  8. A very nice tour, Derrick. I too adore the tulips, so many variations.
    Are you certain that pony will get out of that muck he wandered into?

    1. Yes. The muck must have been solid underneath. He was moving quite freely. We wouldn’t have left him without reporting it, otherwise. Thanks very much, GP

  9. More superb photos of your flora and fauna Derick, Thank you.

    And i forgot to mention yesterday… the photo of your white maple was breathtaking. – Quite superb. πŸ™‚

  10. Okay, please oblige me with the answer to the question: are your photo shots of the horses wild? You take many pictures of them when you are out and about. It seems like in your part of the world they are free to roam at random.

    1. They are free to roam, on account of commoners’ ancient rights. They are, however, owned. There is an annual roundup for medical checks and branding, then off they go. Thanks very much, Cindy

  11. How lovely to see your first foal and also to get a sense of how often you engage with the people you meet along they way. I wouldn’t expect anything less!

    The ground level sign made me smile, although i wonderments whether anyone will take a tumble leaning over to read the small print.

    1. Wonderments was a WordPress correction I would not have thought of but I quite like. The i seems to have been all mine! It seems a pity we all stick to pretty much the same words when you read Shakespeare, who did not.

  12. I’m imagining the annual sighting of the first foal as an event in your lives. Here I have the sighting of the first swallow and later the sound of the first yellowhammer. (No swallows yet – I’m getting anxious…) Lovely post as ever, Derrick πŸ™‚

  13. You should practice your greeting to people who open their gardens to you – something along the lines of “So nice to be able to visit the second best garden in the New Forest.” πŸ™‚

  14. The tulips are certainly spectacular – what a splash of colors! – but to see that precious baby horse up close is truly a minor miracle. How fortunate you are, Derrick!

  15. Derrick
    My daughter just forwarded your blog to me. The rider is my wife Jan on her connemara pony. Its a lovely picture . Would it be possible to get a copy ?

    1. I’d be more than happy for you to have a copy. There are several options – you could take it off the blog post, or I could either post or hand deliver one – assuming we are near neighbours (we are at nearby Downton). I’ll e-mail this in case you don’t see the reply.

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