by Tracy Wilson

My first thought when I saw this ride being advertised to club members was I can’t possibly tow that far, I don’t know where I’m going, it’s Bank Holiday Sunday, the roads will be too busy…! But with encouragement from my husband and Carina, I pulled on my brave pants and booked in – closely followed by Pauline as we could travel our horses together.

The day dawned and it was beautiful – blue skies and wall to wall sunshine. We loaded Prince and Stragus and left North Cornwall at 7.30am, heading for Tavistock. 

The Sat Nav kept wanting to take us off the main road which we largely ignored but at one point found ourselves wiggling through a housing estate and down a steep and increasingly narrow hill – my palms got a little sweaty at that point but we re-found the main road and progressed through a golf course (not literally) and onto Dartmoor! More sweaty palms when we went wrong again but Becky guided us over the phone to the agreed rendezvous point and proceeded to guide us right across the moor!

Having tacked up, four of us set off, calmly at first but once the horses settled we picked up the pace and enjoyed some wonderful gallops up some long, beautiful, open tracks. The scenery was utterly breath-taking, it was peaceful, tranquil and just good for the soul – human and equine alike.

We were then joined by Becky’s friend Doreen who seemed to emerge from nowhere on her very speedy chestnut thoroughbred Frankie. She took us even further into the moor, traversing some tors and terrain where there didn’t seem to be a track! I simply had to look up and let my trusty steed pick his way through – it’s extraordinary how sure-footed they can be without us interfering!

Caroline and Ebony were valiant in their efforts to keep up with speedy Doreen and Frankie whilst Prince and I, Pauline and Stragus and Becky and Mary kept pace as best we could, the others generously waiting if we fell a little far behind. Then lo and behold, as if by magic mid-moor, Doreen’s husband and two dogs appeared with tea and biscuits! Pauline and I dismounted with some trepidation as that meant clambering back on board somehow but as they pointed out, being on Dartmoor, there were plenty of mounting block shaped granite boulders to choose from and we really didn’t need to worry!

Suitably nourished we re-mounted and left Doreen and her two and four legged family members and wound our way slowly back to the boxes, across some equally beautiful terrain and tracks which took us over and under bridges and introduced us to some of the moorland ponies and their inquisitive off-spring. Pauline and I, as well as our steeds, were getting a little tired at this point but felt so very lucky to have been able to enjoy such a wonderful ride across Dartmoor with such skilful and knowledgeable guides. Thank you Becky and Doreen too for a ride that will be forever etched in my memory – it was truly magical.