We enjoy reading about the horses and ponies in Abernethy so we thought you might like to hear about the horses at Brackenbrae Croft, Aberargie. You may have noticed the big brown horses with black legs in the fields to the right of the A912 road to Perth after the Aberargie roundabout. They are Cleveland Bays, one of the oldest and rarest of the British native breeds, which is listed as critical on the Rare Breed Survival Trust watchlist. Our last foal, Marshall, born in 2012, was one of only twenty-six registered in the world that year. The breed originated, as the name suggests, in the north of England in the Middle Ages as pack horses and general farm workers and over the years developed as carriage horses, making good cavalry and artillery horses, which proved their downfall with large numbers lost in WW1. Nowadays they are deeply unfashionable in the equestrian world, their place as hunters and eventers having been taken by Continental breeds.
We have two family groups: Diamond (17) – “The Boss” and her offspring Jack (7) and Crystal (5), and Lizzie (14) and her offspring Sky (8) and Lockie (6). Warlord the stallion is a lovely natured handsome gentleman of twenty years who came up from Northumberland a few years ago to enjoy his retirement with us after a very successful and prolific career down south.
Residents of Aberargie will have seen the youngsters out for a walk in-hand around the village on occasion, and Jack and Lockie are now under saddle so hopefully as the weather improves they will get a little further. Lizzie is also going to be a riding horse as she cannot have any more foals.
We are hoping for three foals this year. Diamond and Sky are in foal to Warlord and Crystal is expecting her first foal to the well known Fife Thoroughbred Bollin Terry. If all goes well with her it will be particularly special as she survived the usually fatal disease Equine Grass Sickness as a two year old, while losing her yearling brother Chieftain to the disease.
We also have some Zwartbles sheep (Dutch) which are black with white markings on their faces and socks and very friendly and easy to handle for novices like us, and a one-eyed pygmy goat called Cameron who thinks he is one of the horses. We have a website at www.brackenbrae.co.uk if you would like to know more about our animals and we plan to be at the RBST stand on the Friday of the Perth Show with one of the youngsters or hopefully a mother and foal if anyone would like to come and say hello.