Out There column: Weekend spent with black beauties and manure

One of the Friesian horses at Greenbank stud farm.
One of the Friesian horses at Greenbank stud farm.
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There are few sights as captivating as a powerful pure-bred stallion cantering through a wildflower meadow.

Over the weekend I encountered a whole group of black beauties at a stud farm near Cartmel in South Lakeland.

The stunning horses were Friesians belonging to a friend of a friend who had kindly offered us some manure for our garden.

My husband Mark had been to Greenbank Farm a few years earlier to photograph the magnificent horses.

Owned by Rynardt and Tracey Venter, Greenbank Farm gives members of the public a chance to ride the horses and some brides and grooms even opt to have their wedding photographs taken with them. Known as the ‘the black pearl of the horse world’, the Friesian is a breed like no other.

Tracey told us that Friesians originate from Friesland in the Netherlands and are surprisingly graceful for their size.

A few of the horses - Hidde, Hoitze, Droomwals and Vela - were being groomed by Tracey when we arrived.

I was amazed at the length of their long, curly manes and almost mirror-like black hair. Tracey’s farm has 75 acres of land and the views are simply breath-taking. The farm dates back to the 17th Century and has been owned by Tracey’s family for more than 100 years. It was a beef and dairy farm until 2006, and now Tracey and Rynardt are breathing new life into it.

Tracey, who is president of the Friesian Horse Association of Great Britain and Ireland, said goodbye and pointed us in the direction of the manure heap.

Mark insisted on doing the shovelling as he didn’t want to touch the manure. I held the bags and got covered in muck. Luckily it was very well rotted and didn’t smell – even though Mark said it did.

The manure was for three new raised beds that we have created in our back garden.

It will enrich the soil and hopefully give us good crops. We’ve been doing a huge amount of work in the garden and there’s more to do as we’re going to put up a greenhouse.

In the meantime I’ll be dreaming about our next trip to see those incredible horses...