Update from our brand ambassador, Julie Jones
We’ve finally been out!
A great (if very soggy) training ride in Crychan Forest, mid-Wales. The first of the season here. It was SO good to get out after over 18 months of not competing. Raf and I went on our own (another first for us) and he behaved like an angel and really enjoyed himself. There were river crossings (thanks to Sue and her lovely section D who gave us a lead through these), tracks and haul roads. We had some lovely canters and there were some long steep hills that we had to tackle so it was a great fattening ride. It started dry but within 20 minutes the heavens opened, and it stayed that way for the rest of the ride. It was fairly warm, so everything looked misty as we rode through – very atmospheric. Not that I got chance to look at the scenery as Raf pushed on, glad to be out too! When we got back there was just time to give him a quick drink before I loaded him in the trailer to get him out of the rain. I just gave my bib back, thanked the organisers and got on my way. Everyone was doing the same. The people riding the course the next day were treated to sunshine and dry weather, but it didn’t matter that it was wet for us. Although I had to put a coat on the seat of the car as my riding tights and pants were soaked through and I didn’t want the leather seat ruining. Luckily, I’d brought a spare sweater so peeled off my sodden jacket and t-shirt (in the rain) and changed my top – it’s really difficult to put a dry jumper on a wet body and so it took a bit of tugging on my part to get it on.
Our training is going well, and we average about 35-40K a week now and going a bit faster with more hill work. I’m really looking forward to Wirral next month and have entered Cirencester in July and hope to do 64K there. So next week we will start pushing on with a bit higher mileage and longer rides to get the fitness there for both of us. I’m using a lot of Muscle Magic and TLC Lotion on him at the moment as I want to ensure that after our rides, I give him the best chance (and anyway it smells divine). He’s washed off after each ride with water and a dash of shampoo and also has any rubbed bits anointed with Bye Bye Itch Lotion. I also tend to rub it around his dock and crest just to make sure!
As I write it is very high winds but not so much rain luckily. The horses are all out as even though they aren’t keen on the wind I think they’re better off than in their stables. They can shelter by the hedge to get the worst off and are checked regularly.
Little Hari is now starting ‘work’ – well as a yearling not really but he comes in on his own once a day for a feed and to be groomed and have his feet picked out. He has Phytobalm on his nose on a sunny day as he has pink skin there and it can get to look a little sore. Now he is happy with me doing that I will start putting sun cream on – but even the baby factor 50 has a scent and I want him comfortable before introducing this otherwise I may end up with difficulties later on. He trots nicely in hand now and loves his Herballs treats when he’s done something well. And of course, he has Bye Bye Itch Lotion rubbed in too as I want to keep him mane and tail looking lovely. He’s a dear little thing and I’m looking forward to the day I take him on his first training ride – hopefully, it will be a dry sunny one!