Orion 6: Orion’s Snowy Winter

Orion in the snow, January 2013
Orion in the snow, January 2013
Chris in our farm lane, January 2013
Chris in our farm lane, January 2013

The winter of 2012 – 2013 was particularly severe on Exmoor, with heavy snow and a persistent north-easterly wind. Orion and his sisters, Gaia and Demeter, were lucky because they didn’t have to fend for themselves on the open moor with the rest of the herd. They spent the winter in a field close to the farm. Although they weren’t stabled they were fed hay every day, and they seemed perfectly happy. Their thick double-layered coats kept them warm (Exmoors have a dense furry layer next to their skin, with long hairs to shed water over the top).

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Orion, Gaia and Demeter in the snow
Orion, Gaia and Demeter
Orion and Demeter grooming each other
Orion and Demeter

 

 

 

We didn’t bring Orion in to handle him during the winter and spring of 2013 because all the sheds and stables were full (the cows have their calves in the sheds during the winter and the sheep are housed in the farmyard for lambing during April). However, the three Exmoor ponies saw us every day when we took hay to them, and they began to get quite friendly. By the end of the winter I could stroke Gaia and Orion when they were free in the field.

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Demeter was more wary, and her spookiness often set the others off; they’d all gallop away if anyone accidentally made a sudden movement, as if to remind me I still had a long way to go with their training…

Orion
Orion

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