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

Monday, 7 May 2012

Day 23 - The Final Frontier

We were on 487.7km, with 12.3 to go to make the 500km, but Everytrail on the smartphone has a nice(?) way of changing its mind about the distance we've covered - we've lost half a k here and there once it's actually uploaded - so we wanted to do at least 13km today to be sure of crossing the 500 marker.  It's 8.7 around the lake, so I added on an extra bit through the woods which looked like it would work out at between 13 and 14k.
We posed for photos in our "IGDB Volunteer" Hi-Vis vests before we left, taken by one of the French cyclists who are staying in the gite next door.  Front view... 
and back view....
but it's still hard to make out the writing!
Today's weather was the best we've seen in the Morvan, the sun shone a bit, and there was no threat of rain.  The fishermen were out in force on the lake - maybe they are celebrating their new President?
We were all tired, both us and the horses, so we took it easy for most of the hack.  We did ask them to canter up a lovely long stretch of grass verge, and they were happy to oblige, and just as happy to pull up and settle into "one foot in front of the other" mode again.
Once we came out of the woods and back beside the lake again, they suddenly realised that this was a SHORT hack and the speed of the walk became noticeably brisker!  But the funniest thing is that we are now calling a two and a half hour hack SHORT - a few weeks ago we considered anything over two hours to be quite long!
We watched the distance build up on Everytrail, and as we passed the 500km mark we cheered, punched air and shook hands.  There was no-one there to witness it but us and the horses, and in the great scheme of things it's not a big event, but it means a lot to us.
We've pushed ourselves as far as we could go - we have no doubt that the horses could have done more, but we're both at the end of our resources, with sore backs, bums and joints.  In addition to the physical fatigue, I found the responsibility of navigating for three and a half weeks, through unknown and sometimes difficult country, very wearing mentally.   I feel like I've run a marathon, and I suppose in our own way, we both have.
The very last French "Through the Ears" shot
Taking stock of things, we've all come through pretty well.
The emergency veterinary kit has travelled over 500km in my saddle-bags and was only ever needed once, when Gigi had a mystery cut on her fetlock.
The horses are slimmer, but fitter.  Flurry no longer looks quite so cobby, he looks like a trim little horse!  You can just see Gigi's ribs, despite the feed Anne has been shovelling into her twice a day, but she started the Trek a little bit thinner than we would have liked.  Both horses have changed shape noticeably, they have muscled up tremendously in their hindquarters and in their shoulders.  Their saddles are not fitting as well as they used to, but despite this we've had no lumps or sores under the saddle or on the girth-line.  Gigi has some new white hairs under her saddle and Flurry's hair is a bit worn where one of his numnahs rubbed it a bit, but otherwise they are great.
And their feet?  They're definitely in need of a trim at this stage, they haven't seen hard ground in four weeks.  The Renegade boots have done a great job of protecting them, and there is no way we could have accomplished this without them.
Well-used Renegades!
Gigi wore through the toe on three of her boots, and Flurry wore through on one.  The tread pattern on all boots has been worn almost flat, and we could feel this for the last week - both horses were slipping more than usual.  I don't think we could have done the really rocky bits in between Vaucluse and the Drôme without them, as metal shoes would not have given any sort of grip on the pure rock surfaces we encountered.
Holey Renegades, Batman!
Flurry and Gigi will leave tomorrow and will have a few weeks break when they get home.  Once we've seen them safely onto the transporter's lorry, we will breathe a sigh a relief.  We then have a day and a half to sort out the dogs' vet visit - they need to be wormed before they will be allowed into Ireland - and travel to Cherbourg for our ferry.  It's hard to believe we've done it.  We had a lot of things go against us - the broken wrist being the most significant, but the LSH's early return was also a major issue.  Neither of us wanted to finish Le Big Trek doing circles, but that's what we had to do to cover the last 100km - we hope our sponsors understand!
Flurry and Gigi, in front of the Chateau, blissfully unaware that it's all over
Twenty-five years ago, on this day, I completed another feat of endurance - 17.5 hours of labour!  Happy Birthday to my wonderful daughter Aideen, at 25 we will have to finally admit you are grown up!  Sorry I'm not there today, but I'll see you in a few days!

We are doing Le Big Trek to raise funds for Assistance dogs for families of children with autism. If you like our blog please take the time to donate at
Thank you

Around the lake Again at EveryTrail


  1. What an amazing feat! Hope you and the horses have a good journey home. See you soon!

  2. Richard Renshaw8 May 2012 at 09:29

    Congratulations on a marvellous feat of endurance. Will bring a donation when I see you in June. Hope you and the horses have a safe journey home. Petrol tanker drivers permitting, I shall be in York next week!

    1. Thanks big bro, it was at times scary, at times boring and at times exciting, but mostly fun. See you soon

  3. Amazing! So proud of all of you, horses and humans alike! And the cause for which you did it is one that is close to my heart.

  4. Congratulations Anne, your little brother is clearly proud of you.

    Hilary and Richard

  5. Congratulations. An achievement indeed. Both steeds look very well and will probably bounce back much sooner than you will!

    I am interested in the wear to the renegades. I would never have expected the toes to wear through like that. You must post about your next visit from a trimmer.

  6. That is some impressive wear on those boots! Maire, I think the toes wear out because of the way the hoof breaks over - my horse has nice heel-first landing and she wore out the toes on her first set of Renegades in much the same way.

  7. Gigi wore through her left hind first - she's always dragged that toe when trotting. Then she went through her right front - that's the one that she pawed the ground with for 45 minutes solid while tied up at lunchtime on our first "long" (18km) hack to Reillanne. But I agree with Funder (and you have way more experience with Renegades than us, F!) that it's to do with the whole breakover point thing.
    The other point to note is that the French, for some unknown reason, seem to think that a track coated with 4 - 6 inch rocks is a suitable surface for horses. We met a LOT of those, and then there were the genuinely rocky mountainous stretches - we met a lot of those too.

    1. Martine always has trouble with right and left! Surprisingly it was her front left that went first, I had already ordered a front right replacement because of the incident in Reillanne, but fortunately the straps are easily changed to turn the boot into a left fitting. And it was the right rear that went next. And then on the very last day a small hole appeared in the front right, accompanied by a fraying cable. The boots really did only just make it !

  8. Bravo. You did it -- trully amazing and a tribute to your (and the horses) stamina, dedication, perserverance. Congratulations.

    1. Thanks Leah, I have to say a lot of fun was had in the process!

  9. Hi Anne and Martine,
    I work for Renegade and run the news page...would you allow me to re-post or link to this as a great testimonial to the boots?

    1. Hi Ashley, yes we'd be delighted to be re-posted on your News page. Maybe Renegade might make a small donation to our charity, Assistance dogs for Children with Autism? You can follow this link, Although it comes up as Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind on the donations page, they've assured us that all money we raise will be ring-fenced for the "Autism Assistance" dogs program. It doesn't matter how small a donation, it all helps!