Sunday, 26 February 2017

What shall we call her?

Sorry for the long delay with this one, I've been waiting for us to come to a conclusion on this:-

Girl? Red? Mare? Pretty?

These are the most common names for horses in the Alpujarras you know?!
Yes, 'Blanca' (white), 'Torda' (grey), 'Chica/o' (girl/boy), 'Guapa/o' (pretty) & 'Yegua' (mare) are the norm..'Tio' Mark's horse means 'Uncle' and 'Rayo' my boy has a super corny name that sounds fine if you're English, means lightening!

So, we've been through the lot here and she is beginning to get confused! Starting with 'Rosie', 'Africa' &  'Savanna', then various goddesses of various things, most appropriately 'Juno' or 'Hera'  being the Roman/Greek goddesses of marriage! 

We then thought about how we actually got the money to buy her and Mark proposed 'Lorna', being the name of his Nana who sadly passed away last year...So yes, I like it, it suits her.

May the spirit of Nana live on, she was a strong, hard working lady and was always beautifully turned out.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Bringing the Golden girl home.

It was only when I was telling my brother "Its a 3 day ride to go and fetch her" that I realised how riding distance has changed for us over the years, we didn't even consider getting transport!

Mark went with Tio, whilst I drove there, to assist and bring supplies, and back, to feed the rest of the horses and animals at home - several times.

So this girl, sweet as you like, followed Mark & Tio, from her remote mountain top home, without question, down & up (it wasn't up then down!) some of the most difficult terrain we are ever likely to encounter on our 2000 miles! Also passing through Orgiva town, where we experienced an unusual spike of heavy traffic including coaches & lorries (air brakes hissing), bread vans beeping etc etc!!

Even spreading the return over two days was hard work for an unfit horse - AND the weather turned bad..

Perhaps Mark will elaborate as he rode and led all the way, but theres no doubt that we couldn't have hoped for a better nature from our golden girl.

Sunday, 12 February 2017


As Wynkyn de Worde said in his fifteen points of a good horse (1496)...

A good horse sholde have three propyrtees of a man, three of a woman, three of a foxe, three of a hare, and three of an Asse.
Of a man. Bolde, Proude, and Hardye.
Of a woman. Fayre-breasted, Faire of haire, and easy to move. (!!)
Of a foxe. A fair taylle, short eers, with a good trotte.
Of a hare. A grate eye, a dry head, and well rennynge.
Of an asse. A bygge chynn, a flat legge, and a good hoof.

My Tio has sixteen, along with the above, he has one propyrtee of a Scotch!
He was born in Scotland but is of Spanish blood..

13 years young, 15.2hh, grey gelding..

Past winner of the Lobrasan Stakes and the Alpujarran Raid.


So, let me tell you about my fab boy - the horse of course!

'Rayo' is a 9 year old bay 'Tres sangres' (3 blood - arab/spanish/thoroughbred), so basically a mongrel of very good source!

He is bonkers! But in a very predictable way - LETS GO FASTER! 

I have never ridden a horse with such go and stamina, quite astounding.

I love him dearly but he's not an affectionate horse, sadly my love often feels unrequited...but the special times are all the more special for their rarity!

Here's a fab photo...

This photo, by the way, was taken (by my good friend and fellow trekker Nadia P Wilson) at 'Siete Lagunas', just below the summit of Mulhacen, the highest mountain in Spain.

See how he is looking upwards in anticipation - that's my boy!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Losing my cool..

YES! YES! YES! (I have got out of bed- don't worry!)
I have called him!

We HAVE got a pack horse!

& she is no ordinary horse - like Paco said she is Oro puro...

Pure gold...& great feet too (did I mention?)

He only came down 50 euros but hey ho! It's only 11.15 now, didn't manage to wait til midday.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Gambling for the Golden Girl

So out of Paco's horses, one stood way out, the criteria being: not too big, compact, easy going nature & very importantly, easy to sell on as it will stay in the UK and we won't have long to home it.
 She's not just lovely to look at, she gets about like a mountain goat! It's not easy to act like you're not interested when you really are, but for the sake of getting a bargain...
... 8am Friday, thinking about the golden girl! I'm going to ring today and make the offer, we MUST have her! I've managed to stay cool for 48 hours in an attempt to scare Paco into dropping the price.  She's already peanuts but we have such limited funds. It's stupidly frightening! Did our sums last night and its a bit justo to say the least... 
Also I'm waking early these days and thinking (well, worrying) about the time left to get passports done etc.  But it is OK, there's still time!
OK, I'm going to ring him at 11.00... or maybe I can cope til midday? Then I'll go to market and celebrate with a beer and a fag probably (even though I don't smoke any more)! 
Please let us have her!!

So here's our wall at 2 months to go..

We've got a big fat super confident green line on the map following the GR7 through Spain, and notes showing places where people have generously offered for us to stay on the way. We got a wonderful response after posting our plans on the facebook page 'Horse owners in Spain!
Mark has also plotted a proposed route through France which continues along the GR7, but I think its quite a long way round so we obviously need a discussion...
It's good to have a big visible list to refer and add to, we both have a poor memory (but for different reasons). The wedding (dress), if you can see it, is right at the bottom of the list ..obviously not a priority - yet!
So now to start ticking things off... 
El Lorrito:
We think we've decided on getting:
a) an English lorry (more scope, cheaper and less red tape); and 
b) a 7.5t or at least one that can take 3 horses (a lorry then).
So I'm looking with renewed vigour and inundating my brother in the UK with lorry links..
Oh, hang on a minute, no.. Mark now says we should get a 3.5t because it'll be easier to drive, guess that's true..(el lorrito after all then).

The Pack-Horse:
I've rung a guy called Paco and we're going to see potential pack-horses on Wednesday.  Ojala we'll find a good one...

We've got plenty of time haven't we??!!!

[Apologies for the small font... technical hitches - we are learning on the go!]

So here we are, our wall filled with maps and lists, people keep scaring me with comments like 'how many weeks now til you go?' Weeks? you mean months! Actually dare I say, two and a half months is about right, still sounds OK, but when it's less than two months it becomes weeks and then I'll be stressy, especially if we haven't got certain key things sorted, like having the packhorse/ mule! 

So I'm busy looking for a suitable packhorse, and on Wednesday I'm going to see a few .. what fun! I'm also searching like mad for the lorrito (that's a small lorry). Trying to get one set up early as our safety net, but actually we should only need to get across the channel. It's fun looking for a two horse lorry with possibly room for a bed, even though we're limited with just a 3000 Euro budget. 

Mark is the navigator, he's plotting the route, getting to know Google Maps, blogs and websites..finding and losing things, swearing a lot.. 
He's doing that and I'm doing this, now and again he or I will enthusiastically quote something interesting from our findings, but we aren't really listening to one another cos we're too engrossed, we just make an appropriate response noise without looking up.