July on the Farm (2020)

Polo Pony

Richard Fonge writes:

July is the month which sees the start of the corn harvest. The field of oil seed rape off Park Lane will soon be ready, but it will be some time before the other crops around the parish are ready, as they were Spring sown, and therefore later ripening.

The lambs have been weaned from their mothers. Within three days they have forgotten about each other, and if re-united would not bond back. At four months of age the ewe is ready to be weaned from her lamb if it has not been sold already for meat. The exception are the later lambing Romney Marsh breed, seen in the fields behind Wemyss Farm.

The horse is an ever present animal seen in the fields and being exercised around and through our village daily. These horses, depending on their type have various uses. We have point to pointers, who race over fences and are ridden by amateurs and they are thoroughbreds. The hunter is a thicker set horse, ridden for pleasure and following hounds in winter. These horses usually stand between fifteen and seventeen hands tall. A hand being four inches, and the measurement from ground to the top of the withers. We have polo ponies, a smaller horse as the name implies, used for that summer sport. A quick and nimble animal, often imported from Argentina. And of course the every day hack and pony ridden purely for pleasure.

Together they are a vital cog in the rural economy, bringing much employment, as they have done over the centuries. As a youngster I can remember bringing my pony to be shod by George Gascoigne at the forge in Church Street. With no traffic so to speak, he did his shoeing on the road outside the forge door, or if wet in the trap shed opposite. He was another village character of his day, who had no idea of time, and was upset when the street light went out at midnight, on one occasion, when he was still milking his cow by hand beneath it.

Click here to visit the website page with photographs of the old forge and George shoeing horses.

The past months have been challenging for us all, but here in Sulgrave we have blessed ourselves in the fact that we have a rural setting. It seems that many more people are thinking of moving from an urban to a rural location. In doing so they must embrace the country way of life. Agriculture is the prime industry, shaping the countryside, followed by the horse in many areas and they along with the footpaths and woodland enable us to walk and observe our surroundings, at our leisure as we go about our daily tasks.

Richard Fonge



One Response to “July on the Farm (2020)”

  1. I haven’t checked in to the website for some time and really enjoyed revisiting today. I read various entries and showed the lovely old photos to my mother (now 94) – Jo Roullier. We reminisced about our time in Sulgrave (from ‘61 to ‘66). I don’t suppose there are many people there now who would remember us. We lived at Stone Court, next door to Bentleys Farm. I have stayed in touch with Sally Gascoigne over the years.
    Richard Fonge’s entry above really brought on the nostalgia…. I have been a horse girl all my life and the passion was kindled in Sulgrave, thanks to Joan Gascoigne and Hazel Killick. Does anyone know whatever became of the Killick family? I would love to reconnect with Anne and Phillip.
    Anyway, Hazel helped find me a suitable pony and got me into Pony Club – so many fond memories of riding at the ring across the road from the manor, gymkhanas, participating in a junior hunt (so exciting!!!) Amd of course, I too spent time at the Forge with old George ?
    Thank you, for the trip down memory lane, Richard. And as always, thank you Colin for the most wonderful village website! Absolutely brilliant!!!

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