Sixth Rest Stop: An old Farmhouse near Bromyard, Herefordshire

Tuesday, 23rd June – Sunday, 5th July, going nowhere, mid-three quarter way R&R.

Stats: Total miles 143.34; Average miles per day, 17.9; Accumulated miles to date: 514.22.

I had factored in a few extra days staying here with Fuffy in case we were delayed for any reason.  In the event, we arrived on schedule and so now have an extra few days of R&R.  Which is good news because it gives us a bit of extra time for Tommy’s sores to heal.  Plus sit out this heatwave…..so pleased we are not on the road right now.  Enjoying some proper coffee.  Didn’t realise so many people still like the instant variety.  Somehow these little things seem to matter.

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Catch up with a bit of unexpected family time with my grandchildren,

Get Tommy’s saddle looked at by a local Wintec saddle fitter.  Although the skin is not broken, I have been worried about Tommy’s saddle sores and hoping that they will be able to heal sufficiently for us to continue, rubbing an aloe vera and wychazel gel onto his withers every day to sooth and ease any pain. Tommy has become much fitter, more muscled and obviously changed shape over the past few weeks so it is time to check the fit of his saddle and make necessary adjustments where it might be pinching.

Caroline (from Equimix Saddlery, Stourport), kindly came out and made several adjustments to my Wintec, Endurance saddle: changing the gullet from a Medium (black) to a Medium Wide (blue); inserting a pair of 8mm front shims to raise and balance the saddle in front as well as provide a bit more padding behind the stirrup bars (where the sore patches are), and moved the stirrup leathers back a couple of notches on the stirrup bars.  I also have a rubber pad to place under the saddle as a back up measure in case I decide we need it.  His sores patches have had a chance to heal up and are no longer tender as his skin doesn’t flinch when I run my hands over them but I have also decided to walk and lead Tommy more over the next couple of weeks until I am happy things have truly settled down.  I am also aware we need to try and avoid too many long, consecutive days on the road.

Have some new shoes fitted.  Rob, the farrier says Tommy looks like an Andalusian!  With typical, tough little Connie feet.

Lots of walks with Fuffy’s Labradors in search of watery places for them to splash and play in, even coming across Tommy’s hoof prints.

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Finding a bug house near the woods was a delight.

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as was a week-end spent with my god-daughter, Heather.

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The earth is baked dry.

But the fields are abundant with ripening beauty.

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Remembering how summers used to be and revelling in nostalgia with the ’40’s’ gala in Bromyard (before my time!)

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Plus a good rummage around some ‘vintage’ stuff.

By way of a very small token of my appreciation for having us to stay, I make a start on designing a logo for Fuffy’s new breeding venture.  She has decided to call her breeding line ‘MikMaq Labradors’ using Native American tribal names.  Her very first litter of Labrador puppies from her yellow bitch, Glory, are due in less than two weeks and her belly is growing visibly larger by the day.  I will work on it more when I get home.

These last few days have flown by and there is still much to do, starting with sorting my way through the parcels I sent back,

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try to firm up arrangements for the onward journey whilst adding a couple more ribbons to the healing banner.

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It has also been a time to reflect on the journey so far.  I’ve realised just how emotionally drained I have become.  The physical trials of the road are nothing compared to the mental stamina required for undertaking a journey of this kind.  I have missed my family and felt very emotional at times.  Taking on the responsibility, not only for my own safety, but also the welfare and safety of a horse as well, is exhausting, particularly when there is no-one to share that burden with.  As we prepare to set off again on the final stretch towards home, I feel refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead.  Tommy has enjoyed his rest too and I wonder if I will be able to drag him away from his new best friends.

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Thank you Fuffy for having us both to stay.  It has been a truly rejuvenating, fun and memorable time.

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2 thoughts on “Sixth Rest Stop: An old Farmhouse near Bromyard, Herefordshire

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