Saturday, 14 May 2011
Days 5 to 9
Having been a little out of touch due to lack of connectivity and blogger being out of action, now everything is working again on our first day off.
It is Saturday and we are at a lovely place with some very nice people and the horses are on a big field with lots of grass, a salt stone and even some muesli, which Dazzy is especially pleased about.
After leaving Sue's wonderful place where we were on the day of the rain, we left late and did just a quite short distance to a village in a valley where we found a place to stay at a farm/campsite. It was lovely to use their utilities and get a good clean up again. The horses were happy on the field with the sheep - surprisingly unafraid sheep that came to greet and then follow them around immediately. Dino, on the other hand, wasn't especially happy about it and chased them away... but then chasing smaller animals is his idea of fun, especially if they are dogs.
Day six was again short for good measure. We continued through the valley to Crickhowel and climbed up the hill on the other side. Very shortly after, a lady stopped us and offered us a place to stay where she lived and had horses, but it was unfortunately a little off our route. She had a think, made a call, and in no time had another place organised which lay just along the road we were taking anyway.
We headed further eastwards to the Welsh/English border and then changed direction to go straight northwards along the borderline. After two days on it, I still have not seen Offa's Dyke - it is seeming like quite a myth at the moment, though I have crossed the official footpath numerous times and had it right or left of me at others. As yet, we have clearly not found the mere 37% of it that are apparently open for horses and I am not sure whether we will even use them. If the paths are like most British bridleways, the gates will be so numerous and small, that it will be a nightmare to get Dino and his panniers through them... watch this space.
It was freezing cold despite the sun that did its best, but the wind rendered all its attempts in vain. I began to contemplate spending the night on the hill as I really did not want to make the ponies and Maggie go too far, but decided against it due to the lack of grass and the freezing wind that would definitely have killed the romance of wild camping. The advantages of a good field later on far outweighed any advantage of stopping sooner.
Maggie, supposedly tired from a long day's walk, fell in love with Tam's dog, Meg, and spent ages playing with her. Tam was lovely, she is very interested in all sorts of alternatives to the standard pony club methods, iron shoes, dressage and jumping and organised our next night, too.
The person whose place we stayed at had had to be contacted in a roundabout way, or rather, she had not yet as she was working. She had a message on her phone, which she heard the next morning, but Tam's niece, who keeps her horse there made the preparations, asked the neighbours to look out for us and to take us to our place. Liz, the owner, found out about our arrival about 30 seconds in advance as she had just passed us while we walked along the road with our goal already in sight.
Having received a lovely warm welcome, tea, food, a barn to put the tent where it was dry and wind protected and with the ponies on a good field, we decided to stay a day longer. I have been riding - no, it seems I don't get enough of it - a couple of times on Liz's trotter that is of course able to tolt, so that has been quite a pleasure. You don't see many gaited horses in this country and most poeple don't seem to know much more about "the fourth or firth gear" than that Iceland Ponies have an extra one. Look out for it, people! It's extremely comfortable and there are lots of breeds that can do it. Actually, Artax can also tolt!
I was offered a bath inside (I don't really like baths) or a shower outside. Well, yes. One normally thinks of a shower outside as being in a little kind of hut, right? I was told where to find it, so grabbed my towel and stuff this morning in order to make use of it... walked round the house and this is what I found! I might mention it was cool with a very cool wind this morning and I had wrapped up in my scarf, fleece and three kinds of t-shirts underneath. To top it, my towel was blown off the nail where I had hung it and was suddenly lying next to me half in a puddle when I opened my eyes after washing off the shampoo! Damn!
But, guess what - it was great! :o) The water was really nice and warm and I am sure the sheep didn't care about what they saw :o)
So, end of stories for now, I should be outside with the boys and not sitting at the computer all day.
Thank you to everybody for reading and please don't mind any typos, I have limited battery life on the laptop and don't really have much time to always proofread.