Bridget & Nikki Brown - June and July
June and July whizzed by in abit of a blur but the demands of the farm and the horses kept us focused. Most of June was completely wiped out for me as I was struck down with a most horrible virus that lasted 5 weeks, but that didn't stop sheep shearing,
Not to be recommended with man flu, and haymaking. I did manage to keep Zeph ticking over though with the help of Nikki and Irene but was quite unable to ride a Dialstone where we had entered an 80km as a last pipe opener for the horses before the Caingorms. So Nikki and Irene went off on their own and I helped to crew with David and slept in the wagon. Murphy and Tink did brilliantly and did the route at a very acceptable 13.4 km\hr with both of them gaining a grade 2. So proud of the four of them, especially Irene who upgraded to Advanced after this ride. Both Murphy and Tink were looking great and Nikki and Irene had very much enjoyed the changes to the route.
A couple of weeks later saw Nikki and I on our way down to Thoresby Hall where Nikki was riding Kassy in a 80km, leaving David turning hay ready for baling the next day. Kassy was chilled when we arrived and vetted well and Nikki set off on the route with Tracy Thompson for company. I got out of driving to the crew points and hitched a lift with Richard. The ride went well with Kassy going really well but Nikki did say that after a few loops she was questioning whether they should be going round the same loop again!
Both Nikki and Tracy finished with a good speed of 12.4 km\hr on a pretty warm day and kassy gained a grade 3, so very proud. It was a long trip back up though and we were all tired so stopped a Weatherby for a coffee and a chance for Kassy to stretch her legs at the services.
Less than a week later saw us all on the road again heading up to the Caingorms. We set off in good time as it was 8 hours for us. We had Murphy and Zeph in our little wagon and Tink was in the little wagon hired from Claire Greenbank. We stopped twice on the way up to get the horses out at services, the best stop by far for them had to be Kinross where there was plenty of grass and a chance for them to roll and have a drink. We eventually arrived at Mar Lodge and got our camp set up and the horses settled in corrals. We all had a days rest and then Nikki, Irene and I took part in the 56 mile Caingorms ride. The scenery was fabulous, hard going but utterly breath taking. All three of us loved it. Unfortunately Murphy managed to pull a muscle in his bottom at some point so sadly he vetted out at the Invacoule vet gate, we were gutted for Irene and very sad to leave her. Nikki and I then headed up onto the tops along ancient roads, along an endless but beautiful valley and finally through magnificent forests. It was nearly dark when we got to the end of the last forest and we were relieved to see our magnificent crew of Linda and Caitlin Birkett who led us in along the roads to the finish. I have to admit to being exhausted and was so grateful to the other half of our crew Steve and of course Irene who had set up our beds in the faithful little wagon. What a fabulous ride and the icing on the cake was Nikki and I joint 2nd over the line and Tink won the best condition.
With barely time to draw breath and clean out the wagon, Nikki and Chico were off to Aram grange where Chico was entered in his first 40km for two years. David and I crewed for her and Nikki rode with Caitlin and positively flew round the course, every time we met them they had huge grins on their faces thoroughly enjoying the great route with Chico and Sophie going brilliantly together. Chico did us proud by getting a grade 4 at 13.4 km\hr, what a brilliant come back for him.
Tink and Kassy now entered a quieter time and had their shoes taken off and Sandy to his delight was turned out with them so time will tell if we will be blessed with foals next year. Murphy was still troubled with his pulled muscle so after seeing the wonderful Gemma for a massage he was turned out in the bottom fields with Star for company for a well earned rest. Things were moving on on the farm as well and we were soon bringing the cows up to the farm so that they were nearer to keep an eye on while calving.
I got a few nice work sessions in with Zeph and then Nikki and were off again, this time to War of the Roses. Unfortunately Chico and Zeph can not travel in the horse box together so we again loaded up the little wagon and David came along separately in the car to crew. It throw it down as we set off and all the way there and both of us were starting to doubt our sanity but it wasnt actually raining when we vetted and tacked up so off we went saying to ourselves " we are tough Yorkshire lasses, what can possibly go wrong" nothing did go wrong either, we had a fabulous ride, the route was lovely and we really enjoyed it but boy were we wet. We vetted within about 10 minutes due to the rain worried that the horses would get chilled and stiff and were pleased to gain a grade 4 each at 12.5 km\hr. A good but soggy result. August is looming with cows to calve and a bunkhouse to build along side our ride plans.