Well a perfect day, weather wise, for the GH pleasure ride - sunny, breezy, not too hot and the moor was looking absolutely breathtaking.
We had a friend riding Bailey, I took Hector and Andy took Jacko, and we set off breezing along, as you do - but after the first few canters we realised that Sam, who has been riding Bailey regularly, was getting very out of breath... Bailey can be strong, and although Sam is very fit and active, she doesn't ride more than once a week, and I hadn't realised how much the ride would take out of her...
Andy offered to swap with her, as Jacko is as light as a feather, but she was determined to stick it out, all credit to her, and over the next hour or so she and Bailey relaxed and began to enjoy themselves.
Actually, it was such a beautiful day, and the horses were on such good form, that we decided to forget about times and just enjoy ourselves. Jacko, (formerly "psychotic and dangerous", now perfect-mannered hunter ) was clearly up for this new style of party, and had a marvellous time, behaving impeccably. Hector was a star, and bowling along at the back (terribly good for his manners!).
We also met Basil, the Exmoor pony who lived here a few years ago, and whom we backed - now a little dynamo, fit as a fiddle and storming along with his rider - still with perfect little rock-crunching hooves
Then we came across a client of mine, doing the ride on her cob mare, so there was quite a barefoot contingent.
And once we were back at the trailers, a farrier came up, who recognised me from a talk I gave last year. He recognised Hector too (who was at a very early stage when he last saw him), and said "what a good advert for barefoot" .
He said he had a client who wanted to go barefoot, and he had told them in no uncertain terms that there was a lot more to it than taking the shoes off - kudos to him !
So all in all a very successful and fun day, and we got home to discover that despite everything, we did it in 2hr 5 mins (12kph) and there was only one person faster than us... Just goes to show, sometimes less is more ...
A diary of whats happening at Rockley, whether its news on rehab horses or on our own horses hunting and competing. All the horses are barefoot, and the blog includes updates on hoof rehabilitation and information about barefoot performance.
You can find out more about research, rehabilitation and our horses on the pages above or at our website: www.rockleyfarm.co.uk.