Saturday 18 July 2009

Ride bare day one

Made it! First day completed and we were only rained on for the last
couple of hours(!)

Ghost and Morris were stars, more about them later :-)

We did over 18 miles today and over 80% was roadwork or stony tracks
so the boy done well.

Friday 10 July 2009

The rain came... 7pm tonight...despite not being forecast to arrive till tomorrow.

So no thanks to the met office, but thanks VERY much to all of you who crossed fingers, did weather dances or just got down on your knees and prayed for us ;-)  We got all the haylage in, baled and wrapped with about half an hour to spare - pheweee!!!

The baler performed beautifully all day, with only one bout of impaction colic from some extra thick grass, which was easy to clear.  The loader broke one of its grabbing arms, but that was repaired and barely slowed things down, so alls well that ends well and the horses will eat this winter after all :-)

Thursday 9 July 2009


Still dry, sun shining and breeze blowing so though not warm it fantastic drying weather.  The haylage could be fantastic and we are supposed to be baling it tomorrow...

There is a horrible forecast for Saturday - heavy, heavy rain - so we HAVE to get it in by the end of tomorrow...only problem is that my neighbour is having his baled today and the baler has broken...Due to be mended overnight so we are hoping, hoping, hoping the repair works...

EEK - its a nightmare having all the grass cut and rain due in 36 hours...

On a more cheerful note, Sarah has done a fab job on the Ride Bare website  - - which is now almost complete in all its shiny pinkness!  There is lots more info on where we will be going and details for those of you who plan to join us en route - see you there :-)

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Ride Bare Exmoor test ride

Cutting the grass!

We've crossed the Rubicon...grass is being cut and we are hoping the current forecast is more reliable than last week's...

At least it will be done before Ride Bare, which will be a big relief :-)

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Another "navicular" myth

You read some great stuff online, don't you?! The latest one has come from the FHOTD blog - normally a good read and very sensible.

The current post however contains the gem:

"I honestly cannot think of a single time I've seen navicular in a horse with a
great shoulder and a long, sweeping stride."

It would be nice if conformation were that easy, and you could just blame straight shoulders, end of story, but in reality horses with HUGE strides and great movement (I am thinking especially of Ghost and Dexter who both have classic laid back shoulders and enormous overtracking strides) can get "navicular" - actually DDFT if we are being accurate - just as badly as any other horse.

By contrast, you can have a horse like Felix with a fairly upright shoulder who is as sound as a pound and very light on his feet. He has a bouncier stride, and will never have the over-track of Ghost or Dex, but he is more compact and agile as well.

Its more to do with hoof health than straight shoulders, I am pretty confident about that :-)

Monday 6 July 2009

Ride Bare - test ride of the last day, across Exmoor

Sam and I tried it out yesterday and had a great ride in almost perfect weather (cool and breezy!) and with a well-timed pub stop - what more could one ask for on a Sunday afternoon?!

The ride was 17.4 miles and the headcam footage is here or in the post above :-)

Comment of the day went to a very interested lady at the pub where we stopped to re-hydrate (we reckoned a pint of shandy and a packet of crisps provided a near perfect electrolyte replacement for us and the horses!).  We told her about the big ride, and she said: " Well of course you'll shoe them for that, won't you?" :-)

Saturday 4 July 2009

Blue goes home

Blue went home today and although it is sad to see him go, because he is such a sweetheart, its great to think that he and his owner will be off for long rides on the beach in Cornwall to continue his rehab.

I've put up his final "before and after" photos from here - top photo from the day he arrived, the lower one from yesterday.  

I hope I will be able to put up more updates on him over the next few months - he should go from strength to strength and I am sure he will appreciate doing less hill work (!).  Both his owner and I think he looks happier and a bit more "toned" now that he has been back in proper work for a while and I am sure he will look even better with another 2 or 3 months work under his belt :-)  

Friday 3 July 2009

Angel's hooves - July update

Angel has now been here 3 months and his hooves are continuing to improve.  I've posted his sole and lateral shots, which chart his progress nicely.  It will be another 6-8 weeks I reckon before he has completely grown in a new hoof capsule - you can see the ring on the lateral shots where his shoes came off.  

I'll post some ridden photos of him after the weekend, I hope - need to persuade someone else to be holding the camera :-)

Thursday 2 July 2009

Problems with Ride Bare...

As we get closer to Ride Bare, and Sarah and I get more and more of the practicalities under control (where to stay, how to feed the boys, what to take, how to wash our undies etc), a few problems are starting to materialise...

In no particular order, here are the issues we are encountering:

  1. Horse flies swarming at plague proportions from 6am till at least 8pm - not leaving us much fly-free riding time(!)
  2. Kind, well-meaning people whom were are planning to stay with offering us lots of grass to turn out our horses on overnight :-0
  3. Concern from people who live in Wales because the land round them is VERY stony and we will never make it without shoes - in fact even horses WITH shoes apparently don't often make it(!)
  4. Generous, well-meaning people offering us fantastic rye-grass hay for our horses when they are stabled overnight...
  5. Concern from people who live in the Quantocks because the land round them is VERY stony and we will never make it without shoes...etc...
  6. Not being able (yet!) to find ANY effective repellent for aforemetioned horseflies (have tried 3 brands so far this week...suggestions welcome)
  7. Concern from people who live in Somerset because we will have to do lots of roadwork and we will never make it without shoes...etc...
  8. Sarah's mild panic at riding for 2 weeks with only 2 pairs of trousers - she is being very brave at the moment but will her nerve hold?
I am sure there will be more to follow... :-)

PS: Guess what? No flash floods today either...about 3 drops of rain - nearly enough to get us wet...Better luck tomorrow Met Office (they are still forecasting rain - I suppose if they persist long enough then one day they will get it right...)

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Oh for goodness sake, Met Office...

I've been waiting and obsessing about the weather for the last couple of weeks, hoping to be able to get our grass cut and baled.  Last week was no good because the balers were too busy, everyone was cutting and they had no spare capacity. 

Thats fine, its still early, we all agreed we'd try this week.  We checked the forecast on Saturday - no good, thunderstorms forecast on Sunday.  Actually it was dry, hot and sunny.  

We checked the forecast on Sunday and Monday - thunderstorms forecast for Sunday, according to the BBC and the Met Office, and heavy storms likely again on Monday.  

It seemed pretty odd to us, at the weekend, because there were clear skies and high pressure - but according to the Met Office those were just figments of our imagination and there was a low pressure front coming in.  

When we looked at the forecast on Monday - oops, the huge low pressure front had completely fizzled out off the coast of Cornwall - presumably 'cos it was too blooming hot here for it to survive - but nevertheless they said it was going to pour with rain the whole of Tuesday.  This morning they were forecasting heavy storms today, tomorrow and Friday. 

Meanwhile, in the real world that we inhabit, as opposed to the forecasters parallel universe, it has been dry, hot and sunny every day, with not a drop of rain.  Its not even been overcast!  It would have been a perfect week to get hay done, and instead we've done nothing because of the blinkin' forecast saying "rain tomorrow" day after day after day. 

The final irony is that the Met Office relocated to Devon a year or so ago, and everyone assumed the forecasts would improve...They might as well not bother forecasting and just look out of the window in Exeter, it would be a hell of a lot more accurate.  No doubt they will forecast glorious weather next week and it will pee down all over my cut grass....  :-(