The Secret Night Life of Nickel

Nickel’s night life is not something that I usually think about. However a few weeks ago, I noticed that Nickel’s bed was weirdly scuffed in the morning. On initial investigation I thought that it looked like he was struggling to get up after sleeping. All the marks pointed to this. Coupled with the fact that Nickel’s arthritis and associated problems have meant he has had to retire from full work recently. So there was me, thinking this is it, this is how it ends.

I was worried and chatted with other liveries about it. We decided we needed to actually see him getting up. Now this is hard, he is very secretive. You will rarely see him lying down at all. One kind livery and work colleague, offered to lend me their nature camera. This works remotely to start recording/take pictures when it senses movement. Woo – A cracking idea, but getting the footage was far harder than it initially seemed it would be.

Night 1

Camera now in my possesion, I set about putting it up. Nickel is very angelic and rarely fiddles with things in his stable or pen. To the extent that he has a box of his gear and his most used rugs in his stable all the time. So I thought the camera would be safe….

The rest of the night the camera was pointed up the pen and recorded very little.

Night 2

The next day, I placed the camera on a much higher part of the pen and thought that I had got it all set up perfect. However this time my technical skills had let me down as I had flicked it on to photo only. Therefore was not much use but I did see that he had been down four times during the night including on his bad side. And so things were looking good.

Night 3

Replaced the camera in it’s position. Carefully selected video mode and left him to it. The next morning on investigating the footage I found the SD card had filled up and stopped recording shortly before Nickel’s sleep time. Every night he started his lying down sleep around 11pm, 1am then 3am.

Night 4

Hallejuah – finally I got the footage I wanted and weirdly the answer to the scraping was not at all what I had thought.

What I learnt from filming Nickel over 4 nights –

1 – Nickel sleeps a lot, mostly sitting up

2 – Nickel notices a whole lot more than I ever gave him credit for. He is known as the watcher and likes to be in a position where he can see the comings and going of the yard. His attention to detail in the pen was amazing to me.

3 – Nickel can get up and down with no problems, even on his bad leg so I do not need to work about that.

4 – The weird foot scrapes on the floor were caused by him play fighting with his neighbours next door. There is a gap of nearly a foot at the bottom of the pen and he was playing grab the headcollar of the ponies next door. This playing also involved digging with his front feet. I didn’t put this footage into the video as it includes footage of horses that don’t belong to me.

So mystery solved and a very entertaining week of trying to get the footage I wanted. The model I used to get the footage is the X-Lounger Wildlife Trail Trap Camera , easy to use and very robust. At around £50 I am seriously considering getting one for myself. I definitely have a lot of respect for those wildlife videographers. I had a captive beastie in a small enclosure and stuggled!

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