Call it juggling or keeping plates spinning, either way its tricky. Over the next few days I will give a brief description of what is on the list. That includes:
• Getting fitter; him and me.
• Training for all sorts of places and circumstances.
• Sorting the route, the accommodation and back up – vets, farriers, and other support round the route.
• Finding, sorting and testing all the kit.
• Fundraising for the charities.
• Raising sponsors and sponsorship for the costs of the ride.
• Building the PR.
• And sorting out my life so I can be away from it for seven months ........
Nine mile hack over the Common and down quiet lanes is a good bit of work getting to Sheila Reed’s Agility Training Day at Upper Dowdeswell, see http://chelthorseclub.co.uk/Home.php What a good day! Strider took some careful looking, processing and considering before several of the obstacles but he finished up taking on almost all of them really happily. The “curtain” was fine when the wind blew a gap; not so happy when all of it hanging down! And the bridge he slid his way past more often than not, but from first time round the course to last time we got better by miles. And then nine miles home, very contentedly.
The first donation has come in via the new Virgin MoneyGiving page. Thankyou Myra. In the middle of a thousand things to do it is a real boost when support and a kind message pops up.
AND John Codner and the Dragon Veterinary Centre in Cheltenham http://www.dragonvet.co.uk/ have given me a 1st Aid kit for Strider. So now the professionally selected basics (can only carry the basics) will be in a saddle bag for when needed.
AND ........ not yet seen in writing, but in the next week I hope to have two more bits of support to report. That feels good, even if Strider is Tweeting a moan about Purple Spray spoiling his Bay Tobiano good looks. He needs to be more careful about not making holes in himself.
Riding and Driving Safely on the Road
Do take a look at this
Riders depend heavily on drivers driving safely. I reckon the Ride Round England will include around 1,800 miles on road. A fellow rider alerted me to this from Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Rider or driver, its worth a quick read. http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/information/documents/cache/PDF/Document1143_711885.pdf
Yesterday, grey, damp and strong wind. We went down the Common and on east to Roel Gate. Route markers were up for a fun ride. Red and white tape tied to gorse bushes and blowing madly in the wind on the Common got his “I dont like that” look. After we had seen them on gate posts, trees, fences etc for a mile or two they were not a problem. Just under 3 hours with plenty of trot and a good sense of working.
Today, warmer, sun coming through, less wind and down into the middle of Cheltenham. A bit sluggish to start. Tired from yesterday or stuffed full of grass from a night out? Slightly more watchful, possibly things gleaming and shining more in this unusual sunshine! We went up Bayshill Road, down through Montpellier with people heading for Food Festival events, past the bus station – let a National Express coach turn out in front of us; past Boots Corner and back out again via a little alley I have been longing to ride through, then Pittville Gates and the park. I am learning where there are grassy bits in town where he may feel comfortable to have a pee and that are not likely to be sat on. 3 hours 20 minutes and he was delighted to see his breakfast.
A note to explain why we have swapped the online Donation Page from Just Giving to Virgin Money Giving. Just Giving were only able to process the donations through to one charity, so the Family Holiday Association had to split the money and then pass half on to Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre. Virgin Money Giving can split it immediately and send half to each charity which is simpler for everyone.
Unfortunately we cannot transfer the Just Giving donation record onto the new page so may I thank all those who gave through Just Giving and apologise that their names etc no longer show on the website? I remain hugely grateful to you all. Over £11,000 is a fabulous achievement at this point.
Just quickly this evening; end of a long day. Thanks to Alan we trailered up to London to the Pony Centre, arriving 9.40 am as their Open Day was getting prepared. Strider settled in a box with plenty of hay and at 12 noon I tacked him up. By 12.30 we were in their indoor arena and he was just terrific. Flags, bunting etc and he took no notice. We had a long time with the photographer taking him, me, John MacDonald of the FHA, Mary Joy from the Pony Centre. Then groups of the children came to pat him and ask questions and after that I talked for 20+ minutes from his back with him as steady as a rock, ears forward and behaving impeccably – just bending one hind leg and pointing his foot so he felt a bit uneven to sit on. We were over an hour in the arena and I am so proud of him.
Thankyou Alan for your help. Photos and more about the day later. Now I need some sleep!