I thought I should show you how much Zeph and Zsa Zsa have grown. And also show you that the horses are alive and kicking, along with two other horses who are grazing with us for a few weeks.

Zeph turned one year old on October 7. That was the day before I left Italy, so I missed out on his birthday celebrations. But he was the happy recipient of a number of juicy bones. Zsa Zsa is just about to turn nine months old and she’s quite the diva dog. Whereas Zeph occupies his own world (which is full of butterflies and birds), Zsa Zsa believes herself to be the prettiest English Pointer on the planet and demands that you admire her. I will often find her sitting right behind me – waiting for me to pat or hug her.

Both have the most wonderful temperaments and are reasonably well-behaved. I say reasonably because Zeph hasn’t quite learnt that jumping on people is not good manners.

As for the horses, Rosie was schooled a lot during my absence by my riding instructor. She is a totally different horse now. She can stand her ground when she gets a fright. She used to be quite skittish and run off at the slightest noise. You certainly don’t want that when you’re out riding your horse! Rosie has been trained to accept commands via a long custom-made lead rope, using pressure/release signals. All the horses are now together in a herd and we are awaiting the birth of Karma’s foal.

The horses enjoy a natural diet with no processed food and they are wormed using diatomaceous earth. I’m about to learn how to trim hooves. I can clean their hooves but have to use a farrier for trimming – so I’m about to learn how to do that myself. The horses have a large track or race that skirts the inner paddocks of our property and they move around this track all the time. It’s important to keep your horse moving, rather than standing in some paddock when they’re not out riding. During the Winter, the horses were not covered – even during the cold wintery blast in August – and they survived very well because I had allowed their thick winter coats to grow. After all, out in the wild they experience all sorts of weather conditions and can’t just drop into the local saddlery to pick up a winter rug.

I’ll get some decent shots of Karma in all her pregnant glory. But in the meantime, here are some photos to show that my dogs and horses are alive and kicking.

Zsa Zsa as she often appears – just sitting and waiting for someone to admire her.

Zeph doing what he does – roaming the property and saying hello to all the animals.

Two horses grazing with us for a few weeks.

Zeph is 13 months old now.

Muff on his way around the track.

Muff and Zeph get on well. I often find them touching noses.

Rosie ambling along the track.

Karma is behind Rosie. They are the very best of friends.

Rosie and Karma going back around the other way.