I have been so busy this week, I feel as if the ride is starting to come together now- all of a sudden it feels very real. Last night and work I got the go ahead to have six weeks off, I just need to let them know the dates. I have decided to start the ride as near to the 1st July as possible, to utilise the long daylight hours and to get home before september, when the weeks can be a bit hit and miss. I have just emailed a transport company that regularly does trips up and down the country with horses. i am just about the email a B&B in Caithness, at the top of Scotland about me and the horses staying there the night prior to the beginning of the ride, giving the horses chill out time after a long and tiring journey up the country, allowing me time to get my gear together and hopefully a big breakfast in the morning before I set off!
Since I bit the bullet and started to buy maps the route is starting to take shape, at the minute I am looking at the Great Glen Way and West Highland Way, both in Scotland and trying to get help with planning a route through Devon and Dorset.
I've been walking Cognac up some steep hills, which he has easily taken in his stride and I have also increased his schooling sessions to 30 min sessions, while asking for tighter turns and more uphill paces from him. I am also including lots of lateral work. Harry has been doing lots of trotting and cantering in the school in an effort to tire his mind out after he threw me out hacking at the beginning of the week- turning for home and running back with out me! and then a couple of days late, while hacking with two other horses he tanked off with me down a track. After break failure I am going to hack him out in a pelham bit with two reins, so I can ride him on the snaffle rein and if I find I need more control I can pick up my curb rein. I will continue to school in a loose ring snaffle as he is fab to ride in the school and very light in the mouth.
I have also been practising riding one horse and leading the other in the school ( with the gate closed!) I have only tried riding Harry and leading Cognac in a headcollar so far- we can stop, turn and even trot with little hassle, now I need to try them the other way round, which I think will be more difficult because of Harry being quite strong to lead at times. So far I've lead Cognac in a bridle , but will use a bridle with a lead rope for Harry.
Hopefully next week we can progress to short hacks out with company.