Morning all. There is a reason why I am walking like at 80 year old cowboy this morning. Yesterday I went on my first fun ride with Mia. (I can’t believe I’ve been riding for 13 years and never been on one!) I took Storm, thinking it was walk and trot with possibly a couple of canters. I was wrong on that one, it was a lot more intense than I anticipated, it could have been because I was on a pony trying to keep up, but none of the several long canters felt like canters, more like good gallops! It was a baptism of fire for him, but credit where it’s due he was fantastic the whole time. He had one spook in three hours – at a tree stump of all things – and despite there being a fair few of us (I’d guess about 20-30?) going rather fast all together, he stayed where I put him and bobbed along quite nicely, seeming to enjoy himself quite a bit.
We met at the Forest View Inn, where we were offered port before we set off (which the morning after Mia’s 18th birthday party probably wasn’t a good idea but who was I to ignore tradition?) We set off down the road to a track into the forest. That first part down the hill was quite exciting for Storm, being his first time out with such a big group of horses (either ever, or at least over a year) and he was quite bouncy, but settled. We went off into the woods. If you’ve never been to Delamere Forest make sure you go, it’s a really lovely ride. Very scenic, dozens of different paths to go down and explore. I have no clue where abouts in the woods we actually went, I could very easily get lost (which we actually did…)
The paths went from wide and fairly hard to narrow and sandy, surrounded with ferns. It was good practice for Storm, moving over different terrain. Near the beginning and at the end we went up / down some steps (like the ones they have at somerford), there were a few good hills to go up and down, two little styles (we jumped one and kind of hopped over the other) and some long straight stretches for a canter. There was one particular stretch that was like a sand and grit path, which we cantered down. You know in nature documentaries when the animals stampede and there are huge dust clouds that billow up? It was like that. Aside from whoever was right at the front, we all were riding through these huge clouds, couldn’t see a thing but it probably looked very dramatic.
The ride was ran/held by North West Bloodhounds, during the summer when the hunting season is over the hold regular run rides & trips, for everyone – not just members only. They’re very family friendly, and are welcoming to new riders and those who’ve never hunted before, so if you fancy giving it a go I’d recommend it. Just be prepared for a fast, fun and exhilarating ride!
In other news, I got back on Fred! He didn’t really bother, just kind of resigned himself to the fact he isn’t in fact retired. I got on to test the water the other day, then rode a little circle in the arena a day or so later. Slow and steady & we’ll get there. The past week has been a good pony related week indeed.