The astute readers among you will have spotted that I started off on Ride Bare with Ghost and finished on Felix...
I'll say straight away that Ghost has absolutely nothing to prove - he was a superstar and behaved flawlessly. Long distance riding is obviously his niche - I wish I had discovered it years ago, because he seems to like nothing better than marching on to find out what's round the next corner. By contrast Felix, although perfectly polite and totally unfazed, regards it as a rather pointless exercise - he may be the smarter of the two ;-)
So what happened?
For a start, the ride was made much more arduous by the appalling weather, which turned many of the drovers tracks we had planned to use into steep, slippery streams and many of the grass tracks into skating rinks.
The horses were magnificent: brave, tough and persistent despite foul weather and long days.
Sarah had very bad luck when Morris unfortunately fell on a very nasty path on the 2nd day - he cut and bruised his fetlock and although he is fine now, he was lame and unable to carry on. He also blotted his copybook by beating up poor old Ghost, leaving him with various bites and kicks, of which the worst was a nasty cut and swelling on his right front leg.
For a while it looked as if that would be the end of Ride Bare, but Ghost is a tough old bird and was sound on the leg, so we carried on, very carefully, prepared to pull him if necessary. In fact despite the terrain being incredibly hard, and very hilly, he coped well and although we gave him an extra day off after an extremely difficult descent from Offa's dyke, he was on good form.
Ghost soldiered on south and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself (apart from the weather - sideways sleet and mist EVERY time we were on the hills...!) but coming through the Brecon Beacons, at the end of the Welsh leg, we had to cross a mountain pass, and a combination of terrible, uneven, slippery ground and a very stiff climb brought the swelling back up again, so it was time to take him home and substitute Felix.
It was a magnificent performance by the old boy, though - at 24 years old he came all the way through Wales, over the most challenging possible terrain, despite a bashed up leg - and then when you factor in that he had "navicular" and was dead lame at 17, its even more impressive :-)
At this point Sarah had to go home as Morris' injury, instead of healing nicely, had become infected - he is fine now but it was a worry, so Felix and I carried on on our own for the last 5 days.
At this point the weather finally started to improve, after another dreadful day of non-stop rain, which was just as well as my sense of humour was starting to run out after our endless run of bad luck!
In the meantime, Andy was looking after Ghost who by the time I got home was back on good form again. He still has a slightly filled leg but its improving daily and he is sound trotting across the field so I will probably bring him back into work gently next week.