For a long time we have wished to have some more animals at Tre Cancelle, you might think we have quite enough with the 10 dogs in the Woof-Gang !!!
Our land takes a deal of looking after, and before the summer and the risk of wild fires, Paul has to spend lots of time and energy strimming the groves. We had talked of getting some sheep to graze our land and keep the grass and weeds down, but somehow we had never got around to organising it. One evening we visited our friends at the Bellavista Restaurant in Itri and Giancarlo eagerly told us that they had acquired a pony to clear their small patch of land. The horse was named Pino and was temporarily on loan from a farmer named Pietro who lived nearby. We asked if Pietro might have any other horses that needed grazing.
We soon got to meet Pietro who arranged to come and find us to see the lay of our land. Pino had done a very good clearance job up at the Bellavista, in fact he had practically eaten his way out of a job. Pietro suggested that he could bring Pino down to us for a trial period. First, however, Paul had to organise some more fencing to make him an enclosure.
Finally Pino arrived and seemed to take easily to his new surroundings. At the restaurant he had been always tethered but here at Tre Cancelle he had much more space to roam.
Having had no experience of horses previously we didn’t know what to expect, but we soon came to realise that he had an individual character, as much as any of the dogs do. He is very friendly, very used to human contact and comes to find you when he hears you call. He is very happy to received tasty morsels such as carob pods, apples, water melon, but his particular favourite is carrots. Paul would go down to find him early each morning and a friendship has developed. Pino’s appetite never seems to diminish and he eats a range of plants, grass and weeds, but does not touch the olive tree at all.
Originally we’d incorporated the wooden posts, which had plain wire running between them for supporting the vines, but before long we realised that three lines of plain wire did not constitute a “Pino-proof” fence and he escaped with alarming regularity to where the grass was greener and tastier on the other side. It seemed that every day we were going to retrieve him, often from the vegetable patch where he’d polished off all the lettuces we had planted !!! Bit by bit Paul improved the fencing and before long we had to extend his enclosure as he had done such a good clean up job. Pietro and his children comes up regularly to see Pino and and is always available when there are problems. He has taught Paul how to improve his technique of barb-wire fencing and also shown him how to install an electric fence.
It became apparent that poor Pino was becoming severely bothered by flys so Paul decided to experiment with Neem oil, a natural insect repellent, which we have used on the dogs for ticks and fleas. On one occasion, whilst massaging Pino with the oil, without realising that they were both standing a little too close to the electric fence, Paul bent down to apply the Neem to Pino’s legs and somehow managed to reverse himself into the electric wire giving himself a severe jolt on the bum.
Not to be recommended !!!
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott