Happy Saturday everyone. I hope you're all having a fab weekend so far.
I am still reeling from my visit to Highclere Castle this week by kind invitation of Dengie Horse Feeds. This exciting event was in collaboration with Highclere Castle Horse Feeds and was aptly named 'From Field to Feed'. This year Dengie are celebrating 'feeding fibre for fifty years.'
Happy birthday guys!
Details of the event itself were rather illusive until the official invitation arrived in the post.
What a shock it was! Until then, I had only received a message from a member of the Dengie team asking for my address as they wanted to invite me to an event...
As a passionate country lover and supporter of British Farming, I think it is important to mention that Dengie share a similar ethos. All of their product is produced in the UK using local farmers. They are able to trace the fibre ingredients in each bag right back to the field it was grown in.
For those of you who aren't Downton fans and haven't already made the connection, Highclere Castle was used as the iconic Crawley family's magnificent stately home in the even more iconic ITV drama series, Downton Abbey. What you may be able to guess from the above statement is that I love Downton Abbey so this was a pretty exciting day out for me!
Being based in the South East normally means travelling a good 2-3 hours to attend any of the country shows or events hosted throughout the year however, Highclere is only about an hour away from me so the shorter drive was a welcome change in my books.
When we were arrived, we were welcomed through the front doors and into the reception hall for tea, coffee and biscuits all served on beautifully elegant cups and saucers. There was an immediate sense of grandeur from the moment we walked in. I was delighted to see Victoria Brant's (the girl behind Diary Of A Wimpy Eventer) familiar face waiting for me as I arrived. We were asked not to take any photographs or videos whilst inside the house which of course I totally respected. Highclere Castle is first and foremost the Earl & Countess of Carnarvon's much loved family home and that becomes very clear once you're inside. Just having being there was enough for me.
After a short period of mingling with the other guests we took our seats eagerly waiting to hear from three fascinating speakers; Tim Randle MRCVS, James Pheasant and Dengie Team member, Katie Williams M.Sc.
Following the expectedly delivered talks, we were split into two groups and taken for a tour of the rooms used in Downton Abbey. It was at this point that we caught up with Sophie Callahan who joined us for the rest of the day. Whilst I was terrible at History at school, I find learning about it so interesting and so I was really soaking up the information given to us throughout our adventure around the Castle. Our tour guide was one of the most knowledgable lady's you could imagine, I don't think she missed a single piece of information. I think we walked away experts.
I was amazed to learn just how big the Castle really is! Whilst we had the privilege in exploring maybe half a dozen rooms they are set amongst a further 2-300, over three floors believe! It truly was an incredible place and I felt so lucky to have experienced it in such a way.
Following our tour, we were invited to The Coach House for a delicious light lunch of sandwiches, quiche and cake! It really was so yummy! Catching up with Vic & Sophie was so refreshing, it isn't often in every day life that you get to sit down with people who you can really relate to in terms of blogging and social media. We had an amazing discussion about the world of equine and country blogging and how we predict it might change in the future!
To finish off an excellent day, the Earl of Carnarvon himself came and sat with us briefly. We chatted about his genuine love of horses and the foals he had bred this year.
It was lovely to hear how he and the Countess regularly ride their stunning Arabian horses around the estate.
If you're interested, Lady Carnarvon writes her own blog about life at Highclere. I am a regular reader and I would highly recommend it. Read her latest post here.
I have fed Dengie products to my horses for years, ever since I can remember really. Hi-Fi Lite to the cheeky ponies I grew up with and Alfa A Original to my sports horse back when I owned her. However, I will admit, I hadn't been feeding Dengie to my current horse, Simba. I think really it was purely down to costings and comparisons.
However, following Tim's hugely interesting talk about Gastric Ulcers and Katie's talk about the benefits of feeding fibre and how their products can act as a buffer within the stomach to reduce the acidity of the 'soup' inside it...I was intrigued and have since moved Simba over onto Alfa-A Original and so I am quietly confident that I will see some positive results. The chaff he had been on seems to be more acidic which I think could have been affecting his tummy, so I am very interested to see if he seems to be more comfortable on this instead.
I will let you all know how I get on!
We each left the event with a bag of Dengie samples and Highclere goodies! It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I want to say thank you again to the team at Dengie and to Lord and Lady Carnarvon for the invitation and fantastic hospitality.
Until next time...
Lots of love,