Our Paddock Paradise Plan

Our ultimate goal for Pony Playland isn’t just for people (especially children) to be able to come and enjoy the horses/ponies, it’s for our horses and/or ponies to get the most out of their lives here, too. That is why we’re planning to develop a Paddock Paradise, or Track System here. It’s still a fairly new concept here in New Zealand, but we’re ready for the challenge–and the fun!

So, here is our current proposed map (it changes as new ideas/information is gathered, but not a whole lot):

Our Paddock Paradise plan

You’ll see we’ve got two paddocks designated as Hay paddocks. That’s because neither of these paddocks are accessible without going on the road, so I’d prefer not to include them in the plan, and if we can grow most of our own hay, all the better!

We’re hoping to plant some food-bearing trees to suit the areas available to them (some will need to love wet areas!). These would help feed our family, but hopefully also those who come to visit.

Our track system will effectively consist of two halves. One side will pretty much surround our house (I love watching the horses run past the window!), and the other will loop through and around the large pockets of native trees we are going to plant in our 5-acre paddock. It’s this 5-acre paddock that I picture when I envision future Christmas celebrations, the sparkly lights and Christmas songs floating through the trees, and ponies pulling carts (…”in a one-horse open sleigh…”).

We suffered flood damage at the end of July (Cedar Creek goes from a pretty steady flow to crazy fast, and back to normal, very quickly in heavy rainfall), which has wiped out a few of our fences (luckily the horses are currently in the paddock marked “Normally closed off” as this is the best paddock for them at this time, anyway). But from potential tragedy comes new dreams. We’re planning to realign the fence that currently follows the stream to go straight across to the driveway. It will open up the entrance to our property to make it more accessible to the public, and potentially give us a car park. We will likely have to reinstate a fence along the creek for health and safety, but we will work on that as funds allow.

One of our fences pushed over by floodwater

Another feature I’d like to invest in as funds become available (We’re a hard-working family! We’ll get there!) is a playground. I’ve toyed with a few possible locations, but with the fence realignment, I really like the idea of having the playground down there near the creek. It’ll make it more accessible, and it’ll mean kids can play there and say ‘hi’ to the ponies as they meander along their track.

So, the first part of the track to be set up will be a little square around the “Standing Hay” paddock. It will grow grass to a hay stage in the middle and the horses will be allowed in there for short periods of time. The second step will be to extend the track up around the back of the house to that top left corner in the image above. Behind the house is a nice steep climb, so it will be great for their muscles.

It’s likely that the three ponies we currently have (miniatures Chino and Micki, and Welsh x Diego) will stay in that track for quite some time while we get the 5-acre paddock planted out in trees. Then we’ll put in fencing as money allows and eventually they will be able to alternate between tracks, and even sometimes have the run of the whole place. Imagine watching them go, then!

Here we are…

Not only have we finally moved in, but we’ve been here two weeks! My goodness, how time flies.

The move went about as smoothly as could be expected for a family with far too much stuff, five-year-old and 11-week-old boys, and a dog, and a cat to move. Actually, it went very well. Pixie (the cat) arrived around 10.30pm, just before Lindsay’s cousin Heidi & family (husband Allan, and daughter Grace) pulled in to stay for the weekend. Needless to say, Pixie spent a good chunk of the weekend under the house. But, the point is, she stayed, and once we had the house to ourselves, she settled in very well.

So one task of the first two weeks has been about getting used to Continue reading

Chino the miniature horse up close

OK. I’m excited again.

What a roller-coaster.

Finally, our house sold so we could close the deal on the lifestyle block. Or, for simplicity’s sake, “the farm”–if 9.5 acres can be classed as a farm. Farmlet? Well, it’s probably as big a farm as I’ll ever manage, so it’ll do.

So, all those dreams I started having months back are possible, in one form or another. And after months of curtailing them just in case we missed out, I’m allowed the open the flood gates again; dreaming and making plans.

Strangely enough, it was slow going at first. I’d dulled my hopes regarding the farm all through having our current home on the market because, even though we had an accepted offer on the farm, there was always the chance that someone could come in with a better offer that didn’t rely on a house sale and all would be over. So, I trained myself not to dream, not to be excited.

Then everything went through, but it took another couple of weeks for it to sink in and for me to get excited again. And then I’ve been busy with a new baby, so that’s also curtailed my sharing here (time).

Our plans are developing.

We’ve been talking to people with more experience of living on the land; gathering contacts and collecting ideas. And I’m back to dreaming, which is super fun.

So watch this space. I’ll be sharing our plans from idea to fruition. From a native walk to a playground. From hay paddocks to horses. From kittens to the garden. We’re going to attempt to do it all.

Dunedin. What’s it got?

I know a lot of tourists to New Zealand either cap their travels at the North Island, or they venture south for the picturesque Central Otago or West Coast. Don’t get me wrong, they are stunning locations with a bunch of stuff to see and do. Those beautiful mountains, stunning waterfalls, ski fields, bungee jumping, and river rafting. They’re all there. It’s also worth remembering sunny Nelson with its great vibe, and local Saturday market. Kaikoura is also beautiful, and if you’re into whale watching it’s the place to go.

What about Dunedin? Why do I think it’s worth your while coming here? Well, gosh, where to begin?

For me personally, there are two big features that matter more than anything:
Continue reading