Q is for Quagmire#atozchallenge

Q  Quagmire is a noun. The dictionary says it is ‘a soft boggy area of land that gives way underfoot’ Other words which mean the same sort of thing are swamp, bog, mire, quicksand, even bayou.
However, as it’s Q day, I’ll use the word quagmire to describe the terrain on which we live.
The dominant geological feature is rock. Lots of big, hard rock. Mountainous amounts of rock, even. This rock is held together by -yes, you guessed, squelchy quagmire.
So, we have rock and bog. Ecologically it’s a wonderland.  However, farming in this fairly extreme environment is a bit of a challenge.
It is a challenge that we faced when we moved down from the city ten years ago.
You may ask why we felt the need to farm anything at all? Well, we inherited a small farm from my dear parents, and so the pressure was on to do something with it.
Mountain sheep thrive in this environment and are widely produced in the locality. However, sheep farming is a tricky business and demands a level of commitment and skill that we felt was beyond us. So, we had a bit of a dilemma on our hands.
 If life hands you lemons, you’re encouraged to make lemonade.
That’s all well and good. What if life hands you a quagmire to farm on??
It was quite a conundrum, a quagmire even:  (Dictionary also says a quagmire is an awkward, complex or tricky situation!)
Then we heard of a breed of animals that sounded perfect for our requirements.
KERRY BOG PONIES!!
There really is such a thing! To make matters worse, this thing is an endangered species, which means it’s at risk of dying out completely unless people breed them. In 1994, there were only 20 bog ponies left in the whole of Ireland.
Big highfive here! Ger and I discovered our very own way to make lemonade, so to speak.  And… it came with a certain feel good factor.
Five years into the breeding program and I have to say that we are coping! We are still not, and probably never will be real farmers. On the plus side, these ponies are ideally suited to the fairly harsh terrain. They are small and barrel shaped, and manage to maintain their condition in the harsh winter months. Apart from regular visits from the farrier to cut their hooves, they require very little maintenance. They are also very sweet, and aim to please, except when they’re being naughty.
cora.jpg
Meet Cora !
foal.jpg
And Cora’s Foal
I’ll end this post with a snippet of happy news. Five years ago, we bought two bog ponies. These ponies produced two more beautiful boggers. This Summer, if Mother Nature smiles on us, we hope that four boggy babies will grace our mountainside.
And who is the proud Daddy? Daddy is a stallion from a farm nearby. He is short, handsome and snowy white. He goes by the name of ‘Quagmire Jasper.’
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22 thoughts on “Q is for Quagmire#atozchallenge

  1. awwwww!!

    I’m not a horse-person and know nothing about them – or bog ponies. As you build up your herd, what happens to them? With their numbers so low, is there a pony market for people who want to buy one?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Unfortunately there’s not much of a market right now for them. Because they are a heritage breed, there is a certain commitment at European level to supporting farmers who breed them, so that’s all very positive.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh thanks. Sometimes, guests express an interest in seeing the animals and we are always happy to bring them around. Our two dogs just love hanging out with guests and that can be nice for people who don’t have pets themselves.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I am taking animal photos for my children’s book on alpacas and stopped by a local horse farm. I found a really interesting young woman who told me all about the horses she boards there. They are used as therapy animals and are so sweet and gentle. I may volunteer there this summer. (Oh, and I got some lovely photos. maybe I’ll do a post on it some day?) Maybe your foals will arrive in time for Mother’s Day! (May 8th here in the states)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That sounds like a lovely subject for a post and a volunteer position. How exciting to be working on your next book. At one point I contemplated getting a couple of alpacas here. They look amazing. I’ll keep you updated on the awaited babies!

        Like

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