Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Dear readers,

As I have the chance to do this trip and take some time off to hopefully have a wonderful summer touring around the country, I would love to do it for a little more than just my own personal enjoyment.

Therefore I have chosen charities that are in need of financial aid to do their very important work. It has been hard to decide which to support and I finally decided on three as they are in various ways connected with the ride, the people around me or myself. Please choose which one is most important for you to support - or just support all of them to make a bigger difference.

As a person lucky enough to live in rural Wales, I have come to see just how far away from certain facilities we live. Should someboy in my area have a medical emergency, it may well take an hour to get to the nearest hospital in Carmarthen, but they are not equipped to deal with many kinds of emergencies. A trip to Cardiff would take two hours, which seems totally unrealistic for a patient with a heart attack or stroke where minutes, if not seconds, count. Wales Air Ambulance is therefore of great importance to the citizens of Wales and relies on donations to operate.

Their website is: www.walesairambulance.com

Secondly, as there are horses involved in the trip; or rather, as the horses are to be the heroes of the trip, it is only fair that those equines that are not so fortunate as to have a loving and caring home should be helped. We would therefore love to see lots of people donating to Lluest Horse and Pony Trust that does a fantastic job caring for horses, ponies and donkeys in need and, if possible, finding good new homes for them when their health allows it.

Their website is: www.lluesthorseandponytrust.co.uk

Thirdly, this organisation is of special importance to me personally. As a virtually vegan veggie who has been veggie since the age of seven and believes very strongly in animal welfare, I would love to support Compassion in World Farming. They stand for the good treatment of farm animals, work to improve their situation and to, hopefully, outlaw inhumane factory farming worldwide. Besides donating to such an important cause, I can only appeal to everybody to stop and think for a moment before going for the cheapest meat or eggs in the supermarket, which are probably a product of animal cruelty. I do not pretend to be able to make the world vegan, but would love to see a more conscious approach to food choice. Every little bit can and will make a difference in the end. After all, if there is no demand for such products, there will be no offer.

Their website is: www.ciwf.org.uk

I have set up three individual Just Giving pages for you to donate directly and very easily.

Please visit:

Wales Air Ambulance

Lluest Horse and Pony Trust

Compassion in World Farming

or simply go to www.justgiving.com and search for Elizabeth Hill where you will find them all.

Many thanks for your help and donations!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Weekend out

Well that was very educational this weekend...
We went for a little test trip to a friend's place on Saturday and came back on Sunday. The weather during the day was lovely so we didn't get to check the abilities of the wet weather gear, but then that has already been checked numerous times and passed the test.
There were, however, a couple of other things we had to test. First of all Artax's new front boots. So far all of the ponies have been in classic Easyboots, but the ease of putting "Gloves" on and taking them off led me to think it may just be nice to use them instead. They have no buckles at all, no wires, no rubber at the back, no metal touching the hoof. They are just slip-on rubber shoes with a gaiter to help keep them securely in place.
It seemed too good to be true and I was very worried about the gaiter touching the skin. I have always had a simple rule: everything must be below the hairline; anything else can rub. On the other hand - people use Gloves for endurance rides, so maybe it was worth testing.
Now Artax has done over 70 miles in them; 20 yesterday, 30 today, the rest during the week and his legs are looking perfect.
We might just be lucky! Interestingly, he doesn't even fit the size chart as his hooves are round instead of oval, which is what the boots are intended for. So I think we can safely say they are worth trying out.

Our next test concerned the newly acquired solar charger... it was good to find out now that it simply does not generate enough power to fully recharge the GPS in the evening. So what if the GPS is almost empty, we're in the middle of the highlands, don't have a place with electricity to stay the night and it rains so I can't use the solar charger effectively? I looks as if lots of batteries want to be our travel companions on the way... We'll see. Maybe a second charger will do the trick.
And last of all there was the VERY IMPORTANT issue of comfortable sleeping. It's quite simple: I MUST get a better and warmer sleeping bag. Sorry to sound spoilt, but I'm not sure I've ever been so cold for so long! I hardly slept all night, but was in the sleeping bag fully clothed shivering! You might argue that the trip is going to take place from May, but there might just be some truth to everybody's jokes about it being winter all year round in the highlands! It's just not worth trying...
Next, and hopefully last, shopping trip coming up...
That seems to be all there is to report about. All in all it was a lovely weekend. I may need to re-think the pack bags issue for Artax as I see a tiny tear on one of the straps, but we will see about that.
These photos were taken today as we crossed and went into the river Teifi in Llechryd. What a lovely place! :o)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Navigation becoming oh so easy

With this little device, we have received a new quality of life as far as travelling is concerned! I spent ages wondering whether best to get maps or to get an outdoor GPS and just carry an additional large scale map and compass for emergencies. The fact that I would have needed over 70 (!) 1:50,000 maps for the planned journey, which would have worked out very expensive and logistically complicated, eventually convinced me. Why on earth did I ever doubt what would be best?!
Satmap was so kind as to partly sponsor me with this wonderful unit that seems to be far superior to anything else presently available in the market! THANK YOU!
I have now tested it on two weekends for about 40 hours and done over 100 miles with it perfectly guiding me along the pre-planned routes - which are dead simple to plan in google maps and then transfer to the GPS.
Don't get me wrong - I love map reading and hardly ever get lost with one, but it is fantastic to know without a doubt what your position is and where to go!
I'll let you know more about GPS technology and how we get on with it after using it for a while longer.
If you wonder about batteries - it has a good battery life and we'll be carrying a solar charger on the way, so it shouldn't be a problem. Now we just need to hope for some sun to actually get the electricity generated...

Friday, 11 March 2011

A few memories from our Germany to Spain trip

Little rest on the second day
Somewhere along the River Ain in France
The alternative way to get clean when there's no real shower
Now normally we like donkeys, but this one was a bit strange so we had to team up to keep him away
This, according to the map, was a river. Not surprising we had to always get our water in cemeteries where there seems to always be a tap
In Spain Carlos even played some music for us

Thursday, 3 March 2011

We're famous :o)

Dazzy: "Gosh, can you believe it? We're becoming famous! I'm so excited! When I just ate grass and played with my friends years ago, I would never have thought I'd be famous one day! Just goes to show what kind of stars come from Britain. Maybe I'll get to meet Catherine, Gerard, Ewan or Orlando when they come home from Hollywood now that I'm playing in the same league as them... What do you think? Do you think they'll like my silky long mane?

Do you want to see what somebody has written about our trip? Have a look at the link below to see it.

I hope you enjoy it and till next time with more about our training and tootsies."


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Great day out

Dazzy: "My Team and I went for a couple of great walks at the weekend. We did about 20 miles on Saturday and 23 on Sunday and still felt soooooo fit afterwards. My Mum always gives us loads of tasty food and we get even more when we go for our walks.

I just love that! Hmmm, tasty muesli with loads of oats.

Have you noticed I'm probably the first slim Shetland Pony you've ever seen? I don't know why. Mum gives me loads of food - a lot more than my friend Dino, which he doesn't like very much when I go on happily munching long after he's finished his. :o)

Have you seen our boots, too? Artax has got these stylish red ones and Dino and I have got black. I wish they still made red boots so I could have some, too! Or maybe better blue for boys. Sometimes people mistake me for a girl because I've got such long hair! I definitely need blue shoes!

You know what's really funny? When we go out for our walks, we often meet people along the way who have never seen a horse in shoes before. They just stand there staring at us and say in a completely incredulous voice: `That horse is wearing shoes!´ Oh dear, I hope they get used to the sight soon..."