Monday, 19 September 2011

Golf course bridleway

The trail from Briwnant yard
We've had a few lovely rides recently.  The weather is pretty changeable and we did get soaked on one ride, but then the sun came out and we were all dry again by the time we got back to the yard.

Last Thursday TK came over from Bristol again and we started on our mission to try out new rides.  This time we were aiming to find the bridleway that crosses the Ridgeway golf course.  I already knew how to access it from the Rhiwbina Hill side but did not know the way to it from Caerphilly Road  – so that was the task of the ride.

I was also trying out Red with a saddlebag with water bottles for the first time and he was fine.  It didn't bother him at all.

Across the stream from the Wenallt
We took the horses up the road to the end of Wenallt Road because we felt the trail that goes up there straight off the yard would be rather too muddy with all the rain we have had.  Red was so funny.  I was surprised at how well he was stepping out at the beginning of the ride, but when we got to the top I found out why.  He expected to turn into the track back down to the yard.  He was quite put out to be asked to carry on further.

Wenallt trail
Arriving at Caerphilly Road by The Travellers Rest we then walked the horses along the pavement by this busy road.  Fortunately there were no buses or noisy motorbikes.  In fact the entrance to the bridleway was clearly obvious.  We did miss one of the trail markers and went a little off course (well actually on course – the golf course, oops!!) but eventually arrived at the gate by the stream that marks the end of the golf course.  TK kindly dismounted and remounted to negotiate this gate and the second one near Ridgeway livery – Nell's place.  We think the horses remembered it as they used to live there.  Then it was back through the Ganol and a good canter, and home along the Wenallt trail.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Horse trail vandals

I was interested to read on White Horse Pilgrim recently about his displeasure at endurance riders marking the bridleway, because similar markings have appeared on the Wenallt trail.  I do not know whether this is from a fun ride or an endurance ride.  It definitely was NOT from the Briwnant fun ride.  The markers occur all along the horse trail so I am pretty sure they are related to horseriders.

These markers are sprayed on with bright orange fluorescent paint.  They are ugly and deface the trail.  This is horse trail vandalism.  These marks will not wash away and may be there for years.  They are not even necessary as the trail is pretty clearly marked anyway.

I hate this.  If you are a local reader and know which organisation or group did this, please ask them to stop.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Jumping on the cross country

Here are a few more photographs from the Briwnant fun ride on August bank holiday Monday.  There are a lot of jumps on the cross country course and Red was a good lad and jumped a fair number of them without any fuss.  He and his rider had a good time.

I rather wished I had taken Dee's saddle and bridle up with us.  She would have enjoyed the cross country part of the ride.  Never mind – the jumps will still be there and we can do them another time.  Nicky who leads many of the rides at Briwnant and led the fun ride, often takes people over the cross country.  She told me that sometimes Dee joins in and jumps some of the fences with them—without a rider or tack—just because she loves jumping.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The most wonderful Dee

While the first part of the fun ride was taking place on August bank holiday, we were not needed as helpers at Briwnant.  We took the opportunity to bring Dee in and groom her.

When we had first arrived the horses were all gathered by the lane.  Inevitably with the excitement of the fun ride, the remaining horses of the Briwnant herd had gone up to the top field to watch the ride head out.  They were all gathered under the trees, with Dee at the front.

Cleaning around Dee's eyes
She was happy to wander down to the yard with us and we gave her a small feed and groomed her.  It struck me that day, that Dee's rehabilitation is complete.  She is a perfectly content mare.  When we first bought her she was head shy – she hated having her neck groomed and it was almost impossible to get near her head and face.  She did not even like being stroked on her head and neck.  Gradually this has improved.  Now she looks soft and sleepy for any part of grooming and keeps still and quiet while I clean around her eyes.

When we liveried her at Wyndham she would yank away from you as you took her head collar off in the field and immediately move off to graze.  I think this was an indication of the lack of grazing time at that yard.  Now when we put her out in the field she likes to hang around with us for quite a while before calmly making her way back to the rest of the herd.

On the day of the fun ride Dee was exceptionally relaxed and affectionate. When we put her back in the field she stayed with us for ages enjoying being stroked and petted.  She continually allowed me to stroke her face and neck without pulling away at all – so lovely to experience.  She even submitted to having her nose kissed!  My heart is full!