by Liz Freeman

Last Sunday (October 17) it dawned a most beautiful day and I was due to meet up for a ride on Dartmoor  -   lovely two-hour or so ride I thought  - perfect! I had arranged to meet up with Becky in a layby on the A30 at Launceston.  Along she came with 2 other trailers in her wake so I tagged on – now we had us a convoy!

Firstly all apologies to those patient drivers trying to get to Tavistock (and those trying to get back later) they were also stuck in a convoy. We parked up at Whitchurch Down golf course – out of the way of flying balls. I met Sam and Caroline – we tacked up and away we went. 

Knowing the moor well Becky guided us up to the highest point overlooking Princetown.  The scenery was magnificent especially on such a beautiful day – seeing so many of the Tors and landmarks.  Coming off the moor towards a popular car park we spotted a man flying a bird of prey. It seemed a very colourful bird of prey – it was in fact a parrot! We thought we had been on the moor too long and gone a bit crazy, but no, it was definitely a parrot and he had also had a Macaw on his shoulder. Well, that’s Devon for you.

After a short hack on a quiet lane we ventured up a stony path. Unfortunately, this presented us with eight gates, but we did at least hone up our gate skills and the horses were all experts. 

We then picked our way up another part of the moor and eventually back to the down for a lovely relaxing hack back to the boxes.  I checked my Equilab app on stumbling off the pony to see we had covered 19.6 miles – 5+ hours. For the real geeks apparently that included 661 transitions – horse energy 22.2MJ – elevation  at top 1800ft. 

Thank you so much to Becky and the gorgeous Mary  for her guidance and entertainment, and also to Caroline and Sam for their company on the lovely Ebony and Bear.  Especially thank you to my Mr Perfect – Banjo for so enthusiastically lugging me around to enjoy this wonderful experience.  Even the old knees were not too shattered the next day (that’s mine not his).  Also to Becky for the lovely photos she took to remind us of this adventure.