The Florence, otherwise known as the long ride, is around 6 miles long normally and runs parallel with the river Wye before sloping back up to the back of our woods. We hadn't done the ride in around a month and have had a lot of bad weather including storms, high winds, snow and a lot of rain! The weather was lovely when we set out and Flix felt great, rocking his hoof boots.
We lost one hoof boot at the end of the driveway and didn't realise until we got halfway down the hill so we turned back to pick it up ( and then proceeded to lose both of them... It wasn't meant to be).
The original track down to The Fence (the wood) was extremely rocky with steps formed by the earth washed away from roots, Flicker had to scoot up the bank in places where the shelves were over 3 feet! The ride was going great, we had a couple of jumps made from fallen trees and a few that we had to skirt around and Flicker was really keen. We were enjoying a glorious flat out gallop when we came to a tree in the path which was slightly too big for Flicker to easily move around so I hopped off and held the branches back so that Flix could negotiate safely through.
The next tree was huge with smaller branches in front which I wasn't able to move without a saw. I turned Flix around to try to find a way around where the banks weren't so steep.
As Soon as I turned Flix up the hill towards dense trees and he instantly stepped up and began weaving in between trees and under and over branches. We walked alongside the track until we found a way down which wasn't, you know, like 10 feet! When we found a 3 foot high slope, he quick-stepped down and got us back to the track.
We were on the last canter track when I saw yet another tree down and rolled my eyes inwardly. Flicker wanted to go, knowing that we were on the steepest and best canter track. I slowed him and told him that I really didn't think he could jump it and we needed to get closer.
I tried stepping on the branch to snap the lower boughs but it had fallen so recently that it just sprang back so I snapped some of the top twigs off. It was probably at least 2'9" which is a bit big for him these days anyway and it was on such a steep slope that a decent take off would make the jump a lot bigger. Around 100 yards behind the first log was another thin twig which was much bigger than the first. I turned Flicker around and headed back down the hill to head back home the way we had come but, when I hopped on him at the bottom, he turned to face the hill, I could feel him saying 'I can do it Mum!', so I thought, what the heck and let him go. Flix amazingly flew the first jump but the other branch, which I had intended to stop him before so that I could move it, was on top of us straight away! Flicker jumped but caught his toe on the top and pecked on landing. He was incredible to find his feet! Clever boy, silly mum!!
The rest of our ride was fab and Flicker had a big feed later to say thank you for being so dependable! What a super pony, could we have a better mount for The Great Adventure?!