He has the patience of a saint! "What do you mean, there's no water?" I said in a very anxious voice as I noticed the old water point was now covered in hardcore. "Don't worry" replied Jon "we've already put in an extra tap for you".

e has the patience of a saint!

"What do you mean, there's no water?" I said in a very anxious voice as I noticed the old water point was now covered in hardcore. "Don't worry" replied Jon "we've already put in an extra tap for you". 

Big build has started

Our big build has started and Jon is responsible for the groundworks of our 5 new stables. It's a job he's done many times before. I'm involved for the first time, so he must be completely fed up with all my stupid questions. However he has the patience of a saint and is always one step ahead of me when I worry about something, he already has the answer!

We are now more than half way through the groundworks and I'm reassured that everything is on schedule to be completed within the 3 weeks. 

Surprised by the different stages involved

I've been surprised by the number of different stages involved, his job is a mix between hard graft digging and raking, plus technical measuring and planning and of course, driving all the big machinery - that's the bit I'd want to do!

At first, it was simply marking out the area, but although it looked almost flat, there was a diagonal drop of 0.9 meters which really surprised me. Using a digger he removed the grass and then started the complex process of levelling out the land.

Early into the work, our first deliveries of hardcore arrived, which was spread across the area to establish a firm base. Next came the water and drainage ditches, all carefully thought through in advance, and buried deep into the hardcore. 

Of course, these things are never simple, and when my husband decided he wanted to separately isolate the water troughs (I said he was the practical one), plans had to be changed, water pipes rerouted and a man hole built for access to the taps. Jon was calm and accommodating, being flexible as needed so we got what we wanted. 

Thinking ahead

Thinking ahead has been important and in addition to knowing where the water and drains will be, we've had to think about the power supply which needs to be extended from the house. 

Jon has a special machine for digging the trench which will be more than 100 meters long. He has been in direct contact with my electrician to make sure he has the right electricity cable to lay, it really is team work.

I was a bit surprised when one day, the delivery truck emptied black stone which I recognised from my train journey to London, it had previously been part of a railway track! I later learnt that the stone is reused as a cost effective way to strengthen the foundation under the concrete. Every effort is being made to ensure this is a high-quality base which will last for years.

As I write, the concrete has started to go down and last night I stood in the centre of my new yard, trying to imagine what it would all be like when finished. 

Each pony already has their stable allocated, I can't wait to see their beautiful Haflinger heads with blond flowing manes, looking over the stable doors. And that reminds me, I must tell Matthew at Jon William Stables about the door height for our miniature Shetland, known as MFP (Mini Fat Pony) - she needs to be able to look out and see everyone as well!

 

Petra Ingram

Patron of the Haflinger Society of GB