Training here in mid-Wales has its advantages. First of all, lots of hills which mean that horses (and riders) get fitter faster. We currently have some visiting thoroughbreds who are on one hill and our herd is on another – so I have two hill fields to climb every day twice a day to check them, even before I ride! As well as farmland-based bridleways there are some big tracks of commercial forests that we can ride in, and some even have designated marked trails (one has 1200 acres to explore, with corrals and picnic areas for after the rides), and of course there is the spectacular scenery.

Given the recent hot weather the ground is very hard and can be rutted so I have been doing a fair bit of roadwork as at least that is smooth. Raf gets liberally coated with TLC Lotion to keep his tendons strong and healthy; Muscle Magic to keep his muscles supple and now Bye Bye Itch Lotion to try and stop him rubbing his mane and tail. I nearly managed to get in first for him and little Hari but didn’t quite manage it and Raf now has a tail that is a bit rubbed and Hari has taken a big chunk of mane out 6 weeks before the Arab National Show that he is entered in…Needless to say he has Bye Bye Itch Lotion on night and morning, and it is doing a great job at keeping the flies off and stopping his rubbing.

I’ve taken to feeding the horses buckwheat too as it is a broad-based vitamin and mineral supplement. I tend to feed ‘straights’ so I know that whatever I put in isn’t going to cause over feeding of something. Salt of course is really important anyway, but especially this time of year when horses can sweat a lot when worked. Most horses are deficient in salt and so it is important to have a salt lick in the stables (I use Hilton Herbs’ Himalayan Salt Lick) and add a spoonful to their feed daily. Horses can excrete excess salt more readily than we can, so it isn’t too much of a worry if a little extra is fed.

Raf is fighting fit ready for our first endurance ride since October 2019 at Wirral on the 19th of June and I can’t wait. We are doing the 32K to ease us back into it but are entered for the 65K at Cirencester 3 weeks after that. Both are flat rides so our hill training will come in useful for that – I hope!