It has been a bank holiday weekend here in Britain and we took a little trip up to Yorkshire to go down into a cave. The descent into Gaping Gill in a bosun's chair was an extraordinary experience and I am glad to have had the opportunity.
We came home on Sunday so that we would be able to ride on the bank holiday Monday. Dee seemed almost keen to be caught and came straight up to me and put her head out for the head collar. We have been looking forward to this ride because it is the first time we have been out to the Wenallt horse trail together since Dee came home. C. from Briwnant joined us on Thomas as well, so the three horse friends were together. Surprisingly Dee decided she was going to lead the expedition. Those who have been reading Ceffylau for a while will know that Dee naps and will not usually take the lead. Yesterday however she led all the way down Briwnant's track, down the road, and halfway along the first part of the Wenallt trail before the first hill. Then she just stopped – and that was it; she would go no farther. Red took over as lead horse and Dee happily carried on behind him. I was very pleased with her for leading this far, and I think it is an indication of how happy and relaxed she is at Briwnant.
We had a pleasant ride through Coed y Wenallt and then C. showed us how to get into Briwnant land at the top of the hill to avoid the long walk down Wenallt Road. This road is steep and narrow and not all car drivers are sensible or considerate when they meet horses. In places there is insufficient room for a car and a horse, so it is good to be able to get off the road. I often ride all the way back through the wood in order to avoid the road. The only disadvantage of entering Briwnant land at the top of the hill is that there are two gates to deal with. They are not suitable to open while mounted so this meant that one of us had to dismount and remount twice. It seemed logical for me to do this – Dee is the smallest of the three horses and she stands still better than Red. I haven't mounted a horse without a mounting block for a long time so this was quite a challenge for me. I struggled a little to get a few rungs up on each gate and then get a foot in the stirrup – but I succeeded and feel proud of myself for it.
There is a magnificent view from the top field across the Severn Estuary to England. The grass up there is long and lush and Dee sneaked a few mouthfuls while I was sorting out the gates. Rabbits scurried into the bracken as we approached the steep path down onto the track to the stables. It had been a delightful ride. It is so good to be able to ride together again.
After washing the horses down where they were sweaty and giving them a 'thank you feed', I led Dee first to the field. She was most reluctant to go back in the field ... until Red arrived ... and then she went straight through the gate. They do like to be together. They are fully integrated into the herd and often in the midst of things, but they still stay near each other. I feel that at last I have found a place where Dee and Red are happy, they are able to live at pasture, and where we can settle and keep the horses long term. Hurray!!