...and I think we coped pretty well. Nikki Pearson from the Cumbria Endurance Group brought her TB Donald over to my village and we rode out together. After days of solo hacking, Bounce was a bit on his toes because there was another horse to show off to - another ex-racer what's more, but the two settled quite quickly apart from the odd bit of face pulling.
I had intended to drive the route first to work out its length, but that went the way of all good intentions - however I reckon it was around the twelve mile mark. There was no danger of plodding today - Bounce was really putting his best hoof forward, and inclined to go a bit too fast if anything (that's how he won his races - determined to be in front!) However Nikki liked the fact that he can get into a nice rhythm and maintain it. He also has a good, purposeful walk, and was really working himself well, yet never got puffed.
We had one interesting moment when we passed a huge yellow digger - Bounce would probably have gone past it with little more than a glance had it been on the road, but it was in a field, partially hidden by a hedge and making creaky, cranking noises and he really didn't like that, so we had a bit of a dance and a snort and then he careered into Donald. However, histrionics over, we got past the yellow dragon safely and completed the ride without any other episodes.
Horseback conversations can be the best - and Nikki was a great companion, happy to share her own endurance riding experiences and to pass on some very valuable tips and advice. We talked about everything from heart-rates to haynets, and lots in-between - including knickers! Of that - more anon.
Thought you might like to meet some more members of the family - so here's our senior cat Puskas - masquerading for reasons best known to himself - as an easter egg.