Our Visit To A Rescue Reindeer Farm

A Truly Unforgettable Reindeer Experience

I don’t even know where to start with this blog post as it was one of the most amazing experiences! This year, I had said that I didn’t want any gifts for Christmas and instead wanted something like an experience and a memory as that means so much more to me – and that’s what I got. Adam had given me one of the coolest surprises that I could think of! He knows how much I love animals (he does too) and reindeer are extremely special to me, so he organised a trip to see rescued reindeer at a farm and experience caring for them and being with them.

Now before I go into the experience, I need to put a disclaimer as I know there can be some issues and thoughts regarding wild animals and their well-being. I’m completely against animal cruelty in every way, I love them more than humans, and these reindeer are very well looked after. I wanted to make a point of saying that they are rescued from being culled, so Andrew and his wife specifically adopt reindeer that weren’t considered as good as others for reproducing in the wild and were going to be culled. Thinking about what happens to them makes me feel so sad, so I’m thankful to people like Riverways Farm for adopting them and giving them a brand new life. They have 14 in total so they live in their heard as they would in the wild, and they have huge amounts of space and different fields. The farm even adopts goats and has so many free range chickens (they sell the eggs – you can see a portion of their field in the background sometimes), that they look after, and there’s geese/ducks as well as pigs that they rescued from the end of their life. So do keep in mind what they are doing is a wonderful thing by rescuing animals and giving them a home.

This sort of experience isn’t something that’s open to anyone and they hadn’t actually done it before, but Adam sorted it out as a special gift and the money will go towards looking after the animals. We took a train from Bath to Reading and then from Reading to Twyford which is where Riverways Farm is located. When we got there it was surreal to see the reindeer! They were so excited that they all came over (as did the chickens) to see who we were. We got to feed them first so that they got used to our scent and saw us as friends, before we could take a few out on a walk to a new field. Blizzard seemed to take to me and we made friends instantly. We took 3 out in total, the first reindeer above with the red lead and the full antlers was Tornado, while the smaller reindeer with the pink lead was called Cloudy, and the white reindeer that has lost the fur on his antlers with the black lead was called blizzard, as he looks snowy.

I was surprised at just how friendly reindeer are, they’re very interested in seeing what you’re about, running around and being playful, as well as being inquisitive and enjoying the company, so that made me feel at ease right away that we were accepted by them and liked. I don’t like it if my presence stresses animals out, so I’m glad it didn’t. As reindeer can run up to 40mph and enjoy sprinting around, that’s the reason we had to have the fabric reigns and rope lead as we didn’t want them to run away. A lost reindeer is not good!

While we were walking with the reindeer, Andrew was telling us all about them and their anatomy (they have 4 chambers of the stomach like cows) and that was really interesting as I love knowledge. Their antlers lose their fur/velvet (they do this by rubbing on trees) around this time of year and then soon they will drop off, so a reindeer loses its antlers every year in order for them to grow back again, even bigger. They grow at a rapid speed! The female reindeer will hold onto hers a little longer than the males so she has more protection for her babies, which I thought was sensible. Their fur is incredibly dense and thick too which keeps them warm, they don’t even notice if they have snow on their backs. The antlers are much more warm at the base than the top too, as the blood supply is very strong. And the coolest part, you know that part of the Mariah Carey song ‘All I Want For Christmas‘ where she says ‘hear those magic reindeer click’, well they do. I found this out before, a couple of years ago, but each time they walk, there’s some ligaments in their feet that pop across and it makes clicking noises with every step. The purpose of this is because they’re heard animals and in Finland and their native countries, it’s so snowy and foggy sometimes that they can’t see properly and the clicking tells them where everyone is so they can stay together. Andrew is really passionate about reindeer and that shows through in all the information he was telling us.

As I’m a blogger, I couldn’t do this experience and not share it with all of you and document it with photos as I think photos are a huge part of a memory. I have a photographic memory so when I see visuals, everything comes flooding back and I can picture it well, so that’s why we stopped to take some photos for about 15 minutes or so out of the 3-4 hours we were there. Being part of a place that loves, rescues and protects animals was wonderful. The older chickens that don’t lay many eggs anymore are also re-homed and living out the rest of their lives on other farms and people’s houses, enjoying their freedom, which made me smile. It truly was a wonderful one of a kind experience and one of the best things I have done, so thank you to Adam for arranging this as a present and thank you to Riverways Farm for having us. Lorna xx.

P.S. – If you want to see a few videos, check out the Reindeer story on my Instagram profile by clicking here. It’s only view-able on the app version, not the desktop.

Outfit Details: Coat – Joules (faux fur) | Jeans – PAIGE (Hoxton) | Wellies – Hunter (Norris)

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53 Comments

  1. December 28, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    Wow Lorna, what a cool post. An amazing story indeed, I love the new approach to Christmas, it is truly moving. You both are an example of how we can make the world a little brighter and help those who need it. The pics remind me of bit of Brad and Angelina who did a lot for other people.

    It is so amazing and it inspires me seeing you with the reindeer and being so animal friendly. I think more people should do it and experience the animals in a shelter. Experience can be so much more than presents. (and I was a bit on a shopping spree yesterday, so I might have to cut down after seeing this)

    Lovely post indeed and wonderful outfits you both have.

    • December 28, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      Oh thank you, that’s kind of you. I was a little worried when I started reading your comment that my post came across as trying to make others feel bad for having presents, which definitely was not the case! I still bought gifts for everyone else and had some face wash πŸ™‚

      I love animals so much, always have, so I will always go out my way to help and rescue them. Even insects and snails etc. I used to volunteer at the animal shelter here walking dogs and cuddling cats, and now my mum and I work with another local charity for abandoned pets. It’s been tough this year with some of the things I’ve seen, but I do it because I love them and want them to be ok πŸ™‚ There’s various parts of my life like that that I don’t really share online or on my blog as it’s more of a personal thing, but I thought everyone would love to see reindeer!

      • December 30, 2017 / 3:48 pm

        Haha, well I sure don’t want anyone to feel guilty for getting presents. The story is just so inspiring that it made me think. I was on a shopping spree and bought new chelsea boots, luckily they are vegan, so no animal cruelty there.

        Good to see how you shared your personal story here. It is difficult to share it, but it is amazing to read. Have an amazing 2018!

        • December 30, 2017 / 11:37 pm

          Thank you! Happy 2018 too!

  2. December 28, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    Great photos Lorna, they are beautiful animals!

    • December 28, 2017 / 11:06 pm

      Thank you, John!

  3. December 28, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Oh my word, such an experience! I also love animals, and never ever saw a reindeer that way, so sweet! So nice that you fed them and that they are treated so well! I looved the photos, they seem to be so calm! I never knew that they made clicks when walking, so I am amazed, and why I never paid attention to that part of the song πŸ™‚ Hope you have a wonderful new year’s eve and year ahead, what for an unforgettable experience that was – so one more happy moment to cherish in 2018! May you all have health, love, happiness, friends around, success and always stay this sweet girl that you are! Looking forward to reading your new experiences in 2018! Hugs!
    DenisesPlanet.com

    • December 28, 2017 / 11:07 pm

      I’m glad I could give you some information on them that you didn’t know before, Denise! It was truly magical and I loved every moment of it. Spending time with animals always makes me so happy πŸ™‚ Wishing you a very happy new year too!

  4. andy
    December 28, 2017 / 5:43 pm

    hi lorna really nice pictures of the reindeers and a lovely outfit you chose
    plus it was really nice to see you both in wellies as i understand this was a first for adam
    its something i must do start visiting places on days out

    • December 28, 2017 / 11:08 pm

      Thanks Andy! Yes, the very first time Adam wore them as you know, thank you for that! Glad you liked the photos!

  5. December 28, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    I love animals too and I have a dog love him so much! This looks like a great experience and such a thoughtful gift, the pictures are so cute x

    S x
    SHELISES WORLD

    • December 28, 2017 / 11:09 pm

      Awh! I love doggies too! Glad you love him xx.

  6. December 28, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    What a WONDERFUL gift indeed from Adam, and very thoughtful indeed. I too dislike any harm to animals, as humans we are meant to protect our animals, and it makes me sad when we don’t.

    I love reading posts such as this and I think it’s wonderful to hear about a farm that rescues Reindeers, so wonderful and it looks like you had a truly magical time πŸ™‚

    Laura xo
    http://www.shehearts.net

    • December 28, 2017 / 11:10 pm

      I’m glad you love animals too πŸ™‚ That makes me happy! Thank you for stopping by and reading the post. Happy new year!

  7. December 28, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Wow what an amazing experience Lorna! It’s great that this sanctuary exists, and that the reindeer are treated well with a lovely environment for them to wander. I was fascinated to learn all about the reindeer from reading your description. I never knew reindeer were so friendly and interested in humans, or that they lose their antlers and they come back stronger! The pictures are lovely. It’s great that you got to spend lots of time with the reindeer and bonded with them! Thank you for sharing!

    Lots of love Saba xx

    http://www.trulymadlydeeplyfashion.blogspot.com

    • December 28, 2017 / 11:12 pm

      Yeah! They drop off completely, really fast as well, so they can have antlers one minute and the next hour, they don’t lol. And each antler shape is unique to every reindeer and grows that way every time. Every few years a little bit more grows on as they get bigger, but they will always be the same shape. I’m really happy I could give you information you didn’t know! Yay!

  8. December 29, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    What a beautiful and memorable experience! They are such amazing creatures and the thought of anyone playing god and culling any animal is disturbing to me. So this is refreshing to see and read, bless those wonderful people for creating a place of safety and bless you for sharing this with us all. I hope you had a lovely Christmas πŸ™‚

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

    • December 29, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      It’s disturbing to me too when I hear things like that, we’re all equal, we’re not in charge. Glad you liked it πŸ™‚

  9. Lindsey Puls
    December 29, 2017 / 6:33 pm

    Oh my goodness!! I’m so jealous! Haha. This looks truly amazing. Way to go Adam! What a perfect Christmas gift! And that is really awesome that this farm is rescuing the reindeer. πŸ™‚

    ~Lindsey
    https://have-clothes-will-travel.com/

    • December 29, 2017 / 10:22 pm

      So glad you liked it πŸ™‚

  10. natcrys
    December 29, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Cute photos! It’s great that these reindeers get to have a good life! πŸ™‚

    • December 30, 2017 / 1:42 am

      Glad you like them πŸ™‚

    • December 30, 2017 / 1:43 am

      I’m glad you do too!

  11. December 30, 2017 / 12:20 am

    Aw this is beautiful! This farm sounds amazing. I’m happy that those cute reindeers are happy and well. <3
    Lovely post. Happy new year!

    • December 30, 2017 / 1:43 am

      So glad you liked it!

  12. December 30, 2017 / 6:08 am

    Oh what an amazing gift !How nice of Adam to arrange that for you, such a special present! πŸ™‚ I’ve never seen a real reindeer up close, that would be a once in a lifetime experience! They are a lot smaller than I thought, I was thinking they were similar to stags! How lucky you are to have done this πŸ™‚

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are having a great week! It’s hard to believe there are just a couple of days left in 2017! A happy new year to you.

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • December 30, 2017 / 11:41 pm

      These reindeer weren’t full size, they were young. I think just a couple years old, so you do get much bigger ones when they get older, especially the leaders of the heard. Not sure what their full size can be as I haven’t ever seen a stag in real life, but they can be quite powerful. He was saying they often are instinctive and in the wild they would go up on their back legs and slam their front feet down to smash the ice, so sometimes they do that here too, and when they go up on their back legs they are absolutely huge lol! Happy new year to you too!

      • January 2, 2018 / 4:02 am

        Oh wow that would be a bit scary to see them up on their back legs like that too, haha! How sweet they are just babies too! πŸ™‚

        • January 2, 2018 / 4:13 pm

          Luckily I never witnessed that, ha ha πŸ˜€

    • December 30, 2017 / 11:37 pm

      Thanks!

  13. December 30, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Oh my goodness this is wonderful and so adorable! I really want to visit now. Thank you so much for sharing your visit. All your snaps are SO cute! xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

    • December 30, 2017 / 11:38 pm

      So glad you liked them!

  14. Dasynka
    December 30, 2017 / 7:55 pm

    Wow! I can’t imagine how beautiful and incredible it was! Lucky you πŸ™‚
    Wish you an amazing New Year!
    xx Dasynka
    http://dasynka.com

    • December 30, 2017 / 11:40 pm

      Thank you! You too πŸ™‚

  15. Ali
    December 31, 2017 / 1:48 pm

    I love this post. I dearly love all animals and this is beautiful. You both look amazing. X

    • December 31, 2017 / 11:28 pm

      So glad you liked it!

  16. December 31, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    After Christmas I feel a bit as though I’ve got 4 stomachs too… πŸ˜‰

    This is such a great experience idea and the animals certainly look to be enjoying it too. They look to have such cute faces… it makes it so much harder to comprehend how they could all have been so cruel to poor old Rudolph… πŸ˜‰ Not letting him join in all the reindeer games, indeed…

    You’ll retain such great memories from this day for always. What a wonderfully thoughtful gift choice from Adam – and especially so as he had to make such unique arrangements to bring this about. πŸ™‚ This whole entry is so heart-warming. πŸ™‚

    • December 31, 2017 / 11:31 pm

      It’s definitely going to be something I cherish forever! And hopefully can possibly do again! And well, these reindeer here don’t have red noses do they, so you know, make fun of the minority and all that lol. Everyone’s cruel to what’s different!

      • January 1, 2018 / 12:14 pm

        So true!

        Were you at all nervous around those antlers? They look like they could do quite a bit of unintentional harm with those just be nothing more than turning their heads? I think I’d be quite wary. πŸ™‚

        • January 1, 2018 / 7:34 pm

          Oh no, not at all, I’m weird like that, I never seem to associate danger with animals unless it’s sharks or wasps lol. I just trust animals instantly and often put myself in harms way without thinking, ha ha. They were great though, didn’t hurt us once or even try to, they’re just so friendly. He did stand on my foot though so I was pinned for a while as he was HEAVY, but that’s about it lol πŸ™‚

  17. sabrina
    December 31, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    very nice gift, that you had
    an original idea
    very beautiful photo

    • December 31, 2017 / 11:31 pm

      Glad you liked it!

  18. January 3, 2018 / 8:36 am

    This is awesome. Living in the city, I could only imagine how great it is to be that close to these beautiful animals.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    • January 3, 2018 / 1:16 pm

      Glad you liked it!

  19. Face to Curls
    January 4, 2018 / 9:01 pm

    Those are really such beautiful animals. Thank you so much for sharing your visit. Great photos. x

    Ann-Marie | http://facetocurls.com/

    • January 4, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      Glad you liked it!

  20. Thomas
    January 9, 2018 / 3:33 pm

    Hi Lorna!
    This all is so amazing to read and see. What a wonderful experience! I hope that you started well into 2018.

    As usual you wore the perfect outfit for the event – really gorgeous! The matching of the colors from your jacket and your so nice wellies is fantastic. Hunterboots are simply the best kind of footwear for events like this, aren’t they?
    Oh, and was your finacΓ© wearing wellies too or am I wrong? What kind of wellies are these, they look really good on him! Did you convince him to wear them or were they a present? πŸ˜‰

    Greetings
    Thomas

    • January 10, 2018 / 6:24 pm

      Thanks, Thomas πŸ™‚ Really glad you liked it. Yes, Adam had wellies too. He was given them by a friend, they’re Dunlop black men’s wellies. Came in really useful for the trip!

      • Thomas
        January 11, 2018 / 11:42 am

        Oh, great to hear that. They will have been a good choice of footwear for sure! I didn’t know, that Dunlop is making such nice wellies for men, they look really good! Did he acquire a taste for wearing wellies too? You really can give him good advice for getting a nice pair, or can he keep this ones?

        • January 11, 2018 / 1:43 pm

          Nope, only for must have situations like fields and stuff, ha ha.

          • Thomas
            January 11, 2018 / 2:56 pm

            Oh, what a pity! But at least for that, really reasonable I must admit. Many men wouldn’t even do so when the situation really demands wellies. Maybe you can convince him to wear them more often – you’re giving such a good example :-).

Thanks for your comments =) I read & reply every one =)