Rio’s Recap #7

Hi guys, hope you all had a good start to the week – I had a surprise hack this morning, hurrah! Photos from that next week though, or I’ll get all my days muddled up.

So last week started as a good rest, and apart from the rain on Monday it was quite nice mooching around the field. I definitely earned a break after my hard work at Boundary Farm, and was grateful when I was all snuggled up Monday night in my 100g rug to make sure I stayed warm. Tuesday I got to strut my stuff in my bright blue 50g Swish Equestrian rug (one of my favourites).

It was all a bit too much like hard work doing all of this relaxing, so on Wednesday morning I wasn’t quick enough to get up before mum spotted me having a laze around. She seemed pretty surprised – but then I don’t usually lay around all over the place when I know breakfast is due, or at all really when she’s up here! Of course she had to snap a photo from afar before I leapt up like a ninja. That’s my BFF Elf in the front there, and I’m snuggled in behind the fence.

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I thought we were meant to be riding that evening, but mum had a long day and a headache, so I just came into the barn for dinner and a brush down. I really didn’t fancy it either so thanks mum!

I had my toes trimmed on Thursday. The farrier said I’m looking good at the moment. Why thanks very much Mr Farrier, but I always look good! Bit cheeky, although mum seemed to agree so I don’t know what that’s all about.

It’s been a while since I got to play with Elf, and there was a spot he just could reach over the fence when we were grooming together, so I decided to pop through the fencing and fix that issue. No problem – I didn’t even knock the fence down! Got my scratch, and chilled out for a couple of hours with my buddy before I had to go back into my own field. I made it super easy for mum and came down to the gate as she had the little person with her.

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Saturday morning (EARLY!) I finally got to go out for a hack again, and we went round the village with Bailey. We had a good fast canter – mum got up off my back so I did my best to be very brave but luckily nothing jumped out at me so I didn’t have to catch her at all! I couldn’t quite work out my feet when we cantered through the gap in the hedge so I had to trot to get going on the right leg again, but it was all good! I thought about jumping a muddy patch but mum steered me around it at the last minute (spoil sport!)

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I was in the bad books yesterday… Auntie Anna had to text mum to tell her I was in Elf’s paddock again – only this time I definitely misjudged it and might have taken out four posts when I made a break for it. By the time mum and the little person arrived they were out hacking so I was mooching around feeling proud of myself on my own. Mum walked up to my field with my breakfast – what?? I’m in here mum! Eurgh. I had to follow her up the field to where she was busy tutting and inspecting the “damage” I’d done, and step over the fallen fencing just to get my breakfast. I mean honestly, would it have been so hard to have let me have it next door? Well by the time I’d eaten brekkie, she’d propped some posts up and I was back in my own field. Ho hum. Later on Mr Cliff came and banged the posts back in and fixed it all properly so I guess I’d better leave it a few days before I try it again…

I did at least make it up to mum last night as she took me out straight from the field on my long lines! It was awesome going out for a stroll without her sat on me. I had a lovely old time of it, even when she asked me to steady up on the way home because she kept tripping over holes in the long grass (keep up mum… seriously…) I obliged anyway and it seemed to do the trick as she was giving me kisses and cuddles again with my dinner in the barn. Soo easy to get around her!

Well that was my week – what have all you other horses and ponies been up to?

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Vicky & Sophie, Harwich

Last month I visited Vicky and her adorable coblet Sophie. We had been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast as it was a bit hit and miss, but Thursday came around and it was looking as though we might just be in with some good luck for Friday morning when we had booked – I must have remembered to place my order with the skies! It was drizzling on the journey there, but soon cleared up leaving us with some overcast bright skies to shoot under, followed swiftly after my departure by rain showers. You just can’t ask for more than that. Vicky – I still think it’s your dad being there that did it!

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Sophie is a 12 year old gypsy cob, and Vicky has had the pleasure of being her partner in crime for 4 years. Together they enjoy roaming the countryside and popping the odd jump in the school, and Sophie does love to share her excitement via a bit of a buck or a spin! Vicky has always wanted to jump, and says one of her favourite moments was their first time jumping out in the school.

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Vicky tells me that Sophie has been driven in the past – something I’d love to see! She’s a real stamp of a cob, and although I don’t “do” favourites, I definitely had a soft spot for her as soon as I turned up. She wasn’t too sure about me and my camera to begin with, and Vicky had warned me that she wouldn’t co-operate with her ears forward. We needn’t have worried, as she seemed to know exactly what I was there for – at one point I could swear she was doing her best Kate Moss impression and working through her angles! We barely needed the squeaky carrot (more on that in another post!)

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We even managed to force persuade dad Ian to get in front of the lens for a few photos with Sophie as she’s very much a daddy’s girl! She was so sweet and came straight in for cuddles – PS dad, where were those carrots you had in your pocket again??

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Thank you so much to you both for having me, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you all, and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

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Rio’s Recap #6

Finally! I get to tell you about my week. Mum told me I had to wait until my photos (yes – MY photos! Woohoo!) were ready to post on here.

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It started out a normal week, me and mum did some work in the school on Monday after some rain, so it was nice under-hoof. It was going nicely, I had picked up a perfect rhythm and was trotting around singing my happy tune until I realised I was dying to go to the toilet. Do you think I could go? It’s been really uncomfortable recently and a proper struggle at times and this was one of those times. After a few minutes of trying mum said we had to give up and get on, and then she picked up that darn stick again!

Sod rhythm, she obviously wanted more forward. Apparently not though, she wants something in between the two. I mean honestly, I want to eat all the grass and treats in the world and not get tummy ache, but we can’t all have what we want.

We had a nice hack out with Bailey this week too, and did some fun cantering, I got a bit excitable, but kept it mainly controlled as I don’t want mum to stop letting me have a hoon. She can be a bit of a spoil sport sometimes… (sorry mum…)

I thought we were going to go for another ride on Thursday, but just ended up getting another bath. Thanks mum. I’ll show you what I think of that…

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I’m standing up at the barn waiting to be tacked up, and then I spot auntie Sarah and her trailer coming up the track. What’s this all about?

WELL

I GOT TO GO PLAY ON CROSS COUNTRY JUMPS!!!

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It was the best fun EVER!

Mum said I had to take care of auntie Sarah, so I tried my very best to keep hold of her at all times. I think she nearly wobbled off a couple of times, but we held it together all the way around. I might have spooked her a bit at the beginning though. We went trotting up to the first jump, and I’ve never done this before, so I thought I’d better stop and check what it was I was throwing myself over. I had a quick check and it all looked good, so I popped straight on over – I think I took her by surprise! Sorry!

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I must have done good though – all I could see of mum behind her big lens was a huge grin, and I kept getting told I was a good boy and getting lots of pats. My favourite bit was the big step down into the empty waterhole. Freaking awesome. Hop down, hoon up two steps wooooo! I can’t wait to go again.

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Rio’s Recap #5

Well I don’t know why I had to have a bath last week. It’s been rainy and yucky and hot and sticky all in one week, and I’m pleased to say I definitely don’t smell of herbal essences any more. Woohoo. So because of all the random weather, I’ve had a steady week, which has been lush. I also got my own way on the grass front – I might have snuck under the fence line on Monday and Tuesday evening into the long stalky stuff, and then mum decided on Thursday that I could have it opened up anyway. 1-0 to me.

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I had to go in the school on Tuesday night to see if I was feeling any better. I was – a bit. Honestly though, when there’s a riding crop involved, and people, and ponies, and I’m sure a horse-eating leaf at some point, how am I meant to concentrate? My tummy still didn’t feel great. I managed to do what mum was asking a few times, but mostly I was having to keep an eye out the whole time as she clearly wasn’t!

I had a lovely meal time on Friday – I got to come into the barn for half an hour and have my fly rug off. That was awesome. Standing in the shade, in the breeze and munching my dinner. Yes please.

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We had an early morning on Saturday, and still didn’t manage to beat the heat. We went for a walk out with Bailey; I didn’t spook or get silly, but was still feeling a bit tense and got quite sweaty even though we weren’t going very fast. Mum’s trying to figure out what’s going on with me as I have a new habit of being very steady (she says sluggish) on the way out. I’m feeling OK, but she’s got to work out what I need to get me working properly again – I can’t make it too easy for her! Plus she knows I am super sensitive, so she will figure it out eventually. I’m pretty sure she’s got more salt in stock again now, as dinner tasted a bit different!

I think next week we might be heading off on an adventure but I’m not sure just yet. Watch this space and see! Mum said auntie Sarah will be coming to see me again soon too. I hope this means I get to jump stuff again!

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Rio’s Recap #4

Hi everyone! You won’t believe the week that I’ve had… Mum’s been having real trouble deciding on what rug to put on me during the day and overnight with all of this muggy raininess, and chilly overnight, and flies, and who knows what else! On Tuesday we were expecting some light showers but for it to be warm enough that my fly rug would do the trick. Luckily she left my fly mask off, as those showers were downpours and I got soaked through.

Mum turned up on Wednesday morning, and I saw her panicking as I shivered my way over to her, rug stuck to me. I tucked into my breakfast and mum set about getting it changed into a 50g, and as soon as she undid the belly flap the water spilled out. I was so cold. Apparently my ears were like ice blocks to touch. Mum had someone check on me a little later as she had to get to work, and I started to warm up a bit. Auntie Millie came and took my 50g rug off mid afternoon but by then I was a bit toasty… My tummy didn’t feel too good.

People say that a cob is easy. Someone forgot to tell me about this, I don’t like to make things boring. If I experience extreme stress, get enclosed in a space I don’t like, eat anything that’s not a natural horse feed (including carrots, apples, parsnips, any horse treats…) then my tummy hurts. If my tummy hurts, I can’t think straight. Luckily mum knows my signs now.

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I don’t think she was too surprised when she got me out of the field that I literally couldn’t help dancing out of the gate. That massive pile of stuff in the corner was definitely chasing me. I don’t think she was too surprised that I jogged down to the school once she tacked me up, and although she was amazed when I stood nicely to let her get on, she certainly wasn’t surprised when after 10 minutes of us riding shallow loops at one end of the school, she had to get off. The wind was gusty, the barn looked terrifying, and there was so much going on there was no way I could concentrate.

I got all snuggled up Wednesday night, and on Thursday had a day off, to try and get everything settled so we could ride out on Sunday on a long hack. My feed had my extra tummy supplements in (L glutamine, black cumin seeds & aloe juice in case you’re interested!) On Friday I was feeling a bit better, and mum turned up after lunch with one of my favourite tummy fixes – my Quick Fix paste! I practically tried to chew the syringe out of her hand. We went out for a nice walk around the block in hand, and I was really brave even when a big construction lorry drove past us on the track, only a foot away.

On Saturday, mum brought my new friend to meet me! Have you met Raspberry yet?

We had a short session in the school, and did a good amount of trotting. I felt much better, and mum even rode me back up to the barn as I wasn’t dancing around everywhere today. Our long ride was on for Sunday after all! We set off with Megan and Mel just after 8.30 and mum kept seeing people she knew, so it was a bit stop and go, and I was a bit sluggish at the start. We ducked and dived the overgrown branches down the byway, and about an hour in Mum snapped a twig off; I decided I better start walking out.

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It was all going really well and I was being really good leading the girls. We got to the canter tracks, and I was quite merrily going along until…

Mum managed to stay up there – although I think she nearly lost it! We carried on once the walkers were out of the way, but when we got to the next bend I decided it was safer to trot it just in case anyone else popped up. Mum laughed and we had a bit more of a canter up the last straight. The ride was good fun, except for the scary motorbike that Buffy didn’t like much, and the walkers, we had a lovely time. I was super happy I got to canter out up front for a change again too!

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When we got home, I had my first bath and got all shiny white. Herbal Essences – thanks very much. Rosehips and jojoba are not my thing. This is what I thought of it all. Boy was it nice to have a good roll in the dirt and the sunshine.

See you next week!

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Rio’s Recap #3

Hey everyone! I’m loving life this week, I’ve been a gentleman of leisure hanging out in the field. On Tuesday I snuck under the fence into the middle part of my field where all the tasty grass is. Mum turned up soon after though with breakfast, and whilst I was eating she closed the fence up again. That’s OK, I’d had a snack and felt much better.

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On Wednesday Mum and I headed into the school to do some more work on bending and transitions. I was being good and doing what she asked, but kept it to a minimum – the school’s a bit deep at the moment! Mum’s been a bit worried since the saddle pad thing that I’m not feeling comfortable, and she wanted to find out if I am or not. For some reason, to do that she decided to pick up the long schooling stick from the fence.

Well, I’m not used to her carrying anything so I went for it! We’d already done some walk, trot and canter, and now that I’m finding cantering a bit easier I figured that’s what she wanted me to do. Even if I do say so myself, I did an awesome halt to canter – I just got a bit carried away before I realised mum was actually asking for trot. I remembered how to move in a much more forwardy way, or that’s something like what I heard mum saying anyway. Plus I have to admit it was a bit easier to trot when I put a bit more effort in. She told Auntie Millie she’ll be getting the stick out again to find my go button in the school. Whatever that means. I’ll show you my go button!

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Anyway after all the excitement Mum let her legs swing so we could have a chill out and walk around a few times. She’s so confusing though, as soon as she lets her legs hang it feels funny so I stop in case she’s feeling wobbly, but I don’t think she always wants me to stop. Then if we’re trotting and she’s wobbly I don’t always stop straight away and she starts saying “whoooa, and waaalk”. I just can’t win!

The rest of the week was quiet, muggy and filled with flies – so I had the joy of wearing my super attractive (ha!) Shires sweet itch rug. It’s way more comfortable than my fly rug last year, and it even covers my whole neck. My old one got all stretched and always slipped half way down. It was the little person’s birthday this weekend I’m told. Mum said she’ll put some photos here as apparently you might like to see them.

Totally unfair. I turned 8 last month. I didn’t have a party. I didn’t even get a cake or card. They even had carrots! Can you believe it? I mean, I don’t get carrots anyway, but come on!

Mum finally took some photos for me yesterday, although she decided that she wanted to be in them with me, and seems to have taken a sarcastic one when I turned away to ask for a bum scratch… Thanks for that! She said she’ll take some proper ones soon. So here’s us enjoying the evening sunshine. See you next week!

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Nicky, Coda & Darcy

Nicky joined us in the bluebells for our recent photoshoot with Wendy & Idris. She brought along her not so little coblet Coda, and little Darcy.

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Coda came home to Nicky when he was just 9 months old, and wasn’t expected to grow quite as much as he has (I think there’s a theme here ladies!) He was last measured at 15.1hh and at 6 years old, he might still go up a little. They spend lots of time together doing groundwork, and Coda is becoming a fantastic Parelli horse. We even got some shots of him without his headcollar on in the bluebells. He did decide to go off for a wander (cue momentary heart-stoppage) but he soon came cantering down the track to rejoin us – stopping just a foot in front of me and my lens! What a good boy.

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I’m sure it won’t be long before this pair are out hacking without worrying a jot, he’s a little dude, always appearing to have his own little plan going on. He was trying his hardest to put his best ears forward once he got the idea. Nicky recalled her first time sitting on him when he was old enough, and says it was amazing. It must be a wonderful feeling when you’ve had them from so young! He does have an interesting approach to trot poles though – either balancing on them with his front hooves, or putting in a stop half way over.

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I have to put in a little mention for Darcy, because she was a little sweetheart following us around the woods and waiting patiently for her mum’s attention and some photos of her own! Nicky I hope you love your images, it’s been a pleasure editing them.

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Wendy & Idris – Belstead

You may recognise Wendy as my cover star with her rather handsome cob, Chico. This year we caught up to capture some bluebell magic with her latest addition to the herd; Idris (affectionately known as Idris the Tall) has just turned 3.

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He is an Andalusian x WB x TB, and has now been with Wendy for 18 months. Wendy is teaching him groundwork at the moment which has proven to be rather amusing at times. His favourite trick? Laying down!

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Idris is just about as cool as a cucumber, and just loves to get his face into everything. This includes the feed room, where he has been found a number of times rifling around! Happy to pose, and even behaving in the woods without his headcollar, this quirky young man was a pleasure to work with! He adored being the centre of attention that’s for sure.

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I can’t wait to come back next year to see how he’s progressing and perhaps get some photos of the boys together!

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Rio’s Recap #2

Hiya guys! I’ve had a busy week this week, can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Bailey and I took the girls out for a hack on Monday, mum said we were out for 2 hours 40 minutes, and we went 10+ miles! Usually when we ride out only one of the girls joins us but Auntie Sarah came and rode Chip so they could come out together for a change. I think they enjoyed it! Polly super enjoyed our canters. Mum even let me hop over a log (she just about stayed on – she’ll get there eventually!)

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After my busy weekend I had a couple of days to rest – I was a bit achey after popping around those poles last week, so mum let me have a bit of chill time. On Wednesday she made me do some thinking in the school. She was trying to get me to stand by this new wooden mounting block, but if I’m honest, I wasn’t a fan of it – and I’ve NO idea what on earth she was doing. Basically she asked me forward and I ended up trying to jump the mounting block. I like my jumping. So I thought that’s what she wanted. Turns out, not so much… She said something about speaking to Auntie Wendy for help when she sees her! Anyway once that nonsense was done she let me stretch my legs a bit. I was feeling good, so I set off into canter. Mum looked a bit surprised but let me go and I went round and round until she gave me the signal to come in. I even managed to trot, and then walk around both ways and was very sensible. You’re welcome!

Mum abandoned me on Friday, she went off up to Lahndan, or something like that anyway. I wasn’t bothered. Auntie Millie brought me my dinner and tucked me into my rug. I had a bit of a moment when something caught my eye, but I did my best to look brave so I didn’t embarrass myself too much…

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On Saturday mum turned up with a new saddle pad. It looked posh and was fluffy on the inside. As it turns out, just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. Hope you’re listening mum [yes Rio… saddle pad has now been sold…] I did try to tell her it wasn’t comfy – I think I made it pretty obvious! First I walked off when she tried to put on my bridle, then when she was on and we had walked quite far enough down the road, I turned around very calmly and tried to walk back home. She wouldn’t let me, because she said she didn’t want me to get into a bad habit. I was coping OK, trying to be a good boy, and we had a canter up the hill. Mum got up off my back and it wasn’t so bad, so I did a good canter. In hindsight I should have thrown in a buck, as mum said she would have turned around if I had! We carried on through the countryside, and mum soon decided that she didn’t much like the saddle pad either (hurrah!) as she felt wobbly. Yeah, thanks for the wobbling around by the way… She finally got the message and got off to walk me the last mile home. It was such a relief when she got off and loosened my tummy strap. Thanks mum. I felt a bit better by the time we got back home, and was able to walk out properly again instead of crossing my front hooves a bit.

I got to have my old saddle pad back on Sunday. I was a bit nervous as I thought I was going to get pinchy back again, but it was alright. Mum took me into the jump field today. I was very chilled out, even when we went past a bit of hose that was hissing. Not sure what mum was doing – she managed to lose a stirrup in trot somehow, but either way I caught her and stopped quickly so she could sort herself out. It was hard work, and I felt a bit sluggish, but we did some trotting over poles on the ground. I only leapt a couple and not by a lot. I got made to do them again when I hopped over them as mum said I should be looking what’s there, not remembering what I did the other day with Auntie Sarah. The cantering was difficult. Mum’s leg keeps creeping up my side, she said she’s going to get us some lessons to try and help. If you know any good teachers please let her know! I did manage to canter a few times though, and we cantered over one pole, but I misjudged it and jumped it a little bit. Mum dropped one of the reins, but stayed straight so she picked me straight back up. It was a bit eventful, but we know what we’re working on now! Mum’s posting a video here:

Whilst I think about it – mum’s video channel is here, pop over and subscribe to keep up with our antics! There’s some old videos of some of our hacks and old attempts at schooling before mum had a baby – oh, and my first (and only!) ever dressage test! So much fun…

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Meet Elliot

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So, you’ve read about Sarah’s jumping lesson with Sarah Williamson at Back to Balance. Well jumping wasn’t the only thing I travelled out to capture that day.

There’s an adorable thoroughbred foal on the farm, and his name is Elliot. He was 6 weeks old when these photos were taken, and is out with his mum Hallelujah (known as Lulu on the yard). Lulu is by Avonbridge out of the Gallileo mare My Golly. She raced under James Fanshaw and won several races for Hayley Turner. Unfortunately she didn’t take so well to other jockeys and retired to stud soon after Hayley’s retirement.

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This gorgeous leggy bundle is Lulu’s first foal – and she won’t take any nonsense from him! She clearly dotes on him but is happpy to do so at a distance unless someone gets a bit too close. Sarah tells me she has been known to act as though she’s never been touched by a human hand but is easily won over by any offer of food!

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The day we took the photos was the first day Elliot had properly experienced flies – and I don’t think he was too impressed. We feel you, boy!

I could have spent all day watching him in the field. If you have a new addition to your herd, do drop me a message to arrange a photoshoot before they’re all grown up!

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There are a whole host of other animals on the farm – and I couldn’t leave without a couple of shots of the piglets! The farm have a sounder of Large Blacks, a rare Suffolk breed, so it was wonderful to see this scrumptious litter of babies! I just love their little piglet tails!

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