So we were planning to ride on Wednesday, but of course, it rained all day. In Ireland, this would not be a problem, but I must confess, I've gone Native. I drink fizzy water and strong black coffee in tiny cups. And wine. A bit. And apparently, I don't DO rain any more, so Flurry got another day off on Wednesday.
Thursday's forecast, however, decreed that the morning would be dry, with an increased chance of showers in the afternoon, and that's exactly how it turned out. We presented ourselves at La Florentine shortly after ten and brought in Flurry and Pepite. I took a few photographs of Pepite today, here she is wearing the cavalry saddle.
After all the rain on Wednesday, the ground was suddenly treacherous - a skin of mud on top of hard-baked subsoil. Fani and I agreed that we'd be better off sticking to the roads, so we did a route that takes us across the D900, past the forest where we rode the other day and back to Céreste - about an hour and a half. Flurry was a bit fresher than usual, after his two days off, but behaved himself fine.
The only real issue was with his boots. We were barely 500M down the road from La Florentine when he pulled one off completely, by over-reaching, I assumed. We both hopped off, I put it back on and the YD tightened and fastened it. (My right hand is now capable of picking out feet and putting boots on, but not tightening them.)
Off we went again... ten minutes later, the same boot had twisted badly and needed to be reseated again. This time, the YD tightened it as much as she could, and in fairness it stayed in place for a good while. Eventually, after some rough ground, it twisted badly again. This time I took off both front boots and hung them from the saddle bags. I was fully expecting Flurry to be a bit tender, but I was delighted to find he felt GREAT barefoot, even on stony ground. I don't quite understand why - I did a short ride barefoot with S and Ugoline last week, and he felt "ouchy" if the ground got any way rough. Still, I'm very pleased, and will probably try him barefoot a little more from now on, especially if it's very wet - that's the only reason I can think of for the boots slipping so badly today.
|Tony O'Connor style picture of Pepite!|
We took the longest walk available - three hours, but we think that must be at small-child speed, as it took us 1.5 hours with plenty of photo time! We had brought the hyper-terriers - Cookie has to be kept on the leash as she's a complete nutter, but Cinnamon was off-leash and thoroughly enjoying all the exploring - not bad for a ten year-old with a heart problem!
The YD walks faster than me, so she strode on ahead. Cinnamon ran back and forth between us for ages, checking up on both of us.
After some time though, I stopped seeing her. I kept expecting her to appear, tail wagging, smile on her face, but there was no sign of her, or of the YD and Cookie.
Eventually, I asked a German family if they'd seen her : Entschuldigen sie bitte, haben sie ein klein Hund gesehen? Excuse me please, have you seen a small dog? Well, my accent must be really confusing at this stage, because they replied in a mix of German and French! They told me that they'd seen deux hunden, avec une fille, two dogs, with a girl, and they'd gone THAT way - the wrong way!!
I briefly investigated the route they had indicated, but quickly decided that the Germans must have been mistaken and backtracked - the YD would have stuck to our planned route. I passed another couple who had been behind us - they had seen neither dogs nor daughter. This reassured me a bit - at least I knew the YD had not gone back looking for me! I decided that the best course of action was to finish the walk as fast as possible. With any luck, the YD would be waiting with both dogs at the car park. If not (and I dreaded this outcome) we would have to go around again, looking for Cinny. So I started to jog. Much to my surprise, I jogged for a fair distance - maybe a kilometer (it was downhill)! No comment please, Fit People!!
Eventually, hallelujah, there was the YD with Cookie, waiting by a stream, and there was Cinny, splashing through the stream! PHEW!
The YD said she had stopped and waited for me three times, and got bored each time. We reckoned that we were only seconds apart the last time I'd seen Cinnamon... anyway, all's well that ends well, we finished the walk together and left Colorado Provencal just as the rain was starting.
Thank goodness we didn't have to go around again in the rain, looking for Cinny!
There's a few more photos here: Colorado Provencal, long walk at EveryTrail
Also, if you click on trip stats, you can see where my speed increased, at about 3km!