From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Friday 13 April 2012

Day One - Wagons Roll!

The "Big Day" dawned, neither of us slept very well, and Anne's stomach was still at her. Could this be nerves? The horses were fed early to give them a chance to digest their food before we set off. We had been discussing extra rations with Fani, but Anne still wasn't happy that Gigi was putting on enough condition. It seemed to take ages to get all the gear packed up, but finally we left for the yard, got the very muddy horses groomed and tacked up. We'd bought a new American curry comb the day before, fantastic for removing dried on mud. And in much better weather than we had anticipated we set off.
Wagons Roll!
We both felt very emotional leaving Céreste, this was the last time we would hack these roads for a while ! Our goal was to reach St Amas (near Viens) via St Martin de Castillon.
The weather was still looking good, and Gigi had picked up on our excitement and lead for a while. Flurry loves when this happens, he just relaxes and goes into riding school mode, happy to follow along behind her, until her pace slackens, when he takes over again! They're a well matched pair.
Heading into the valley out of Céreste
There were at least two routes we could have taken to our destination, but we had decided to start off on the "dress rehearsal" route as we had both so much enjoyed winding back and forth through the Calavon River.
The Calavon River
Flurry was mightily impressed by the debris left by the flood waters, you really wouldn't want to be down here during a heavy rain storm !
High water mark!
Looking back at La Gardette it didn't seem we had come so far. The horses were great, they are getting used to taking new things in their stride, but just before we crossed the D400 at La Begude, a pigeon flew out of tree right in front of them and they both did impressive shies, but settled down immediately.

Just as we were coming into St Martin, Anne shouted "I have Blood", and hopped off immediately to inspect Gigi's left hind, Martine was almost as quick to dismount and rushed over to look as well. Only the day before we had discussed the medical kit, and now it came into use for the first time. If there is one thing we have plenty of after both of our trips to Apt hospital it is Betadine! It was only a small amount of blood, but it was under the upper strap of the boot, and appeared to have been caused by a small amount of mud that had lodged under the strap and caused an abrasion. Martine cleaned the strap, sprayed on the Betadine and refastened the strap really loosely, but we were both concerned .

Approaching St Martin de Castillon,
La Gardette and the Luberon in the background
Going through St Martin some people at a café were very interested in the horses boots, and we had a short conversation with them as we passed, Martine commenting to them that the boots were "Très Cool". We found a lovely quiet spot on the other side of St Martin, on the horse trail that goes to St Amas, dismounted and had a small lunch. Bread and water for us, and loads of lush grass and vetch for the horses. They deserved it ! Martine texted George to tell him where we were, and then we discussed wether or not we should attempt to go further, and try and reach Rustrelle. The weather still looked good, not much sign of the threatened rain, and it might be raining the next day, and then there was Gigi's foot, which didn't seem to be bothering her but.... After much to and fro'ing we decided to stick to the original plan.
Our picnic spot
And continued on our way
A typical trail
Most of the trails are incredibly well marked, this means go straight on, and there are others for turn left, turn right and another indicating you are leaving the trail.
Balisage - the yellow stripe marks a walking route,
the orange stripe marks an equestrian route
And sometimes there are these neat finger post signs, we were pleased to see this one !
Nearly there!
An impressive grouping of old oaks. Truffle country? we wondered.
The last stretch was through magnificent old oak woods
Suddenly we were back on a tarmac road, the trail had been very up and down, and one downhill stretch had been very steep, but very short. Even Flurry got sense and took this at a sensible pace, while Gigi took baby steps, which felt like a very collected trot.
approaching the jeep
Then we spotted the roof of the horse box in the distance, and on coming round the corner there was George and Cookie, and a great lunch spread out on the bonnet of the jeep, table cloth and all !
the table was set for lunch
We untacked quickly, let the horses graze some more, and tucked into the feast. Smoked salmon, pâté en croûte, and cool white wine. We were both mightily impressed with George's catering skills, and our thank you's were profuse. 

George had also brought feed for both horses, which was much appreciated as well, Flurry waving his front leg as a way of expressing their thank you's to George. On inspection Gigi's wound was now invisible, having been through another stream it was washed clean and there was no sign of any rubbing or hair loss, so maybe it was just a small scratch from a stone ?
Flurry expressing his appreciation of the good food
Le Big Trek day 1 at EveryTrail

The horses went willingly into the box, and after the short drive back to the yard, they were rewarded with lucerne, their favourite forage, and a night's rest. A very successful day, and the forecasted rain held off. But will it rain tomorrow........


  1. Oh well done George he did you girls proud!
    Congrats on the first day, glad the rain held off.

  2. Well done Ladies, I'm so glad it went well... And fair play to George!

  3. Richard Renshaw13 April 2012 at 10:40

    Congrats on your successful first day. Hope it continues.

  4. @Richard:- Thanks Dick, it's great to have started.

  5. Looks a very successful ride (and lunch!).