Alpacas, Lambs and Water Buffalo

It was finally here, the long-awaited week in which we would move to Fair Winter Farm. It is safe to say things were not looking good with a long line of unsuitable farms viewed and no new farm on the horizon but then some things it would seem are just meant to be.

Shirley and Nick had first viewed Fair Winter Farm back in the summer and it is safe to say Shirley had fallen for it in a big way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be at that time so imagine the whoops of joy that filled the air when it suddenly came back in the mix in February.

Fair Winter Farm is a stunning stud farm which has housed some of racing’s most elite. Some such as Time Charter and High Line have left their mark at Fair Winter with fields named in their honour. It creates the sense that we have move our own bloodstock herds to a place steeped in a bloodstock legacy of its own.

So, we had it all figured out…. the Alpacas moving into sun drenched fields in some beautiful end of March sun shine. Oh, the pictures we would share! Nick had been telling us nonstop that “If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb”, he channels his 96-year-old father a lot these days! As it turns out Nick had to admit that the lamb was either in need of a good drying out in the bottom oven of the aga or it had in fact morphed into more of a water buffalo. Sun drenched turned to rain soaked but not even the most torrential downpours could dampen the spirits of team Evolution as the trucks rolled up and loading began.


Shirley had been pressing Nick to make a plan for the day for some time, but events of recent years have left him fairly adept at the whole ‘transient alpaca’ caper so it had taken a twenty minute meeting round the dinner table with Dutchy and Alex to decide on a strategy and who would go where both in terms of trucks and pastures. By this stage Dutchy had been loading, traveling and unloading trailers full of paraphernalia between the old premises and Fair Winter Farm like a man possessed for a couple of weeks. On top of this the weanlings and TLC groups had already moved to Fair Winter to benefit from some better grazing opportunities which just left the big groups to be contended with.

Wednesday morning dawned, and the rain fell. With the help of the hauliers from Michael F Merriman and sons the girls began loading calmly and easily into the waiting trucks. It wasn’t quite two by two, but the rain certainly lent itself to some Noah’s Ark connotations! It was quite a sight as the trucks backed up to the farm gates and lowered their ramps allowing the rain drenched girls to wander down the stunning driveway in all their soggy glory.


There were four truck loads that day plus some following in the horse trailers. They all took to the new place in an instant, running here there and everywhere torn between the desire to sample the grass and the curiosity to see their new digs. The alpacas who had been at Fair Winter for a couple of weeks delighted in seeing more of their number arrive and of course made sure the majority stopped for a quick chat over the gate.

As the hauliers pulled away there was no time to rest as the task of getting feeders and hay out to the groups commenced. It is fair to say we all fell just a little more in love with Fair Winter as each Alpaca took up residence and looked so meant to be.

By Thursday most of the herd was making itself at home with just the loading of the studs to take care of. Alex commenced the feeding round whilst Nick and Dutchy returned to collect yet more precious cargo. The day had started a little brighter and some sun even made its way out which made for a pleasant change. Watching the Studs run up the race through the archway of the Mare’s yard was simply breath taking.

Now, with the clean up of the previous premises behind us, and the alpacas at Fair Winter it is time to look to the future. But for this week it is time to enjoy the simple pleasures like feeding the Alpacas, watching them relax in beautiful surrounds in between chasing away rogue hares and most importantly, it’s time to draw breath.