Ride Round England 27 February 2013
Newsletter No. 1:
I will try to get a letter out every 10 to 14 days over the next couple of months, and then weekly during the Ride. See below: 7.00pm on Thursday 7 March at Cotswold RDA
The fortnight of snow, and longer of freeze, meant no riding and Strider turned out with his fellow geldings in a large field with plenty of hay and a proper feed each evening. That had a silver lining: the time saved by not riding enabled me to push forward on other things. And it had a downside: We both lost fitness. The last couple of weeks has seen fitness get back up and now we are building for much longer rides. His feed ration has increased and he now gets Simple System Instant Linseed. I am merely eating more ..........
Finding Accommodation: This has been a patchy process, though lots of progress too, and I think my earlier estimate of around 4 hours spent for every place confirmed is proving correct but a lot more has been sorted or is getting sorted. Some offers come out of the blue and others need looking for. I had hoped to spend 4 nights at Ringstead in north Norfolk but they cant fit me in and I was trying to come up with ideas. I remembered my mother, years ago, speaking of a farmer who bred horses not far from where she lived on that coast. A search on “horse breeder” and the village name brought up a name and address and I tried ringing. It was the right person, now aged 84, and he can give me a field for Strider. Now I will find a bed for me and see where I can get some nights for a rest stop.
I have made progress towards filling gaps: NW of Coventry, near Lichfield, up in the Keilder Forest in Northumberland (thankyou a riding lady vicar) and near Bishop Auckland. And I have found places: close to Peterborough, near Oakham, near Prudhoe and close to Alnwick. Someone is looking for somewhere just south of Chester, and Todmorden is sorted after a long search. Some rest days are fixed near Battle in Sussex and I have a number to ring in the middle of Exmoor, plus some on the Ridgeway. Really the key issue is now keeping tabs on everything that needs follow up!
Enough is now in place for the schedule to be set right through to London, and that has confirmed what I hoped: I can plan two weeks rest a few days north of London. We can either get a long break or use some days to catch up and have a shorter break.
Sponsorship and Shopping:
A request to wormers direct for help with a worming programme and supply of wormers along the ride produced an instant and very positive response with a couple of questions and then the necessary programme and promise to send the right products to where Strider and I have got atthe due times: for free! What stars. Thankyou.
And a parcel arrived from V-Bandz with the exercise sheet they have made specially for me. We set off through high summer so it needs to be light weight, and there will be saddlebags and other stuff strapped to his girth so I want a quartersheet so straps can reach the girth. His rear bags will sit on this sheet so needs a numnah for that section. V-Bandz have some extra tough hi-vis mesh and have made me a one-off sheet from it. They sent it without the numnah so I could fit it with the bags, mark up where the numnah was needed and send it back for the additional work. That is done and it looks good.
The Metropolitan Police have offered a mounted escort through London and they will help me review my route to get it as friendly as I can. That is truly fabulous and will make the five days on the road in London a much less stressful period.
The British Horse Society has circulated bridleway groups about the ride which has brought in a pile of offers of help – and sorted some more accommodation.
The Worshipful Company of Farriers has sent details of the ride to its members and I now have 8 offers of free farriery on the ride route. Thankyou
Events, planned and held: For your diary or pinboard: 7.00pm Thursday 7 March at Cotswold RDA. http://www.cotswoldrda.org.uk The Ride Launch we postponed from 24 January. Come and meet Strider; hear about the ride and the preparations; and enjoy a horse agility demonstration by Sheila Reed, http://www.sheilareedequine.com/ . Refreshments available; Entry Free; donations for Cotswold RDA gratefully received.
On 6 February at Pucklechurch I gave a talk to the Veteran Horse, Pony and Riders Club http://www.vhprc.co.uk/ They were a super lot and asked good questions, like “Was I scared?” “Yes”. If you live in the South Glos area and are eligible I suggest you sign up to the club. And it resulted in a £66 donation to the charities. Thankyou!
I had a very good meeting at the RDA national office and they are really spreading the word. More than 10 RDA Groups have been in touch to help with accommodation, route suggestions, plans for talks and so on.
The Pony Club Annual Conference is in Cheltenham on 6 March and I have been given a table there so I can tell people about the ride and look for thir support as well as see how I can help the Clubs
Meanwhile, planning has started for the ride visits to Coventry and Sheffield. Both are cities where the Family Holiday Association has good contacts so schedules need careful working out. Riding a horse all around the middle of a big city needs some thought to avoid backtracking, competing with the big lorries and in Sheffield taking care for trams! And that its only 4 miles to so-and-so suggested by someone who has done it in 14 minutes in the car ..... going slowly ..... translates a bit differently onto horse travel time!
Strider’s view If you are not on Twitter, where you can find him @riderndengland, but would like to see his views on things, he now has a Facebook page which gets his Tweets, see http://www.facebook.com/StriderTheHorseTravellingRoundEngland
Do, please, pass this Newsletter on to other people who might be interested.
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