End of Season Staff Trail Ride

The “Last Blast”…

…Our last ride of the season took place last weekend; ever in tradition the staff and friends of Llanthony Riding and Trekking sported their “Wild West” fancy dress outfits as directed by Big Chief Cressy and Big Chief Katie.  And what a laugh it was… wet, windy and wild were but a few seasonal accompaniments but it was certainly not enough to dampen our spirits.  Along with the tasselled chaps, Barbour skirts, pistols, headdresses, feathers, ponchos and hand painted patches on the horses everyone had names to match the theme, I shall name some…

Big Chief Cressy riding Punch;

Big Chief Katie riding Mercury;

Bronco Billy (Tom) riding Magic;

Dances with Kittens (Harri) riding Cookie;

Senorita Marguerita (Paula) riding Sparks;

Candy – the Pinkest Cowgirl in the West (Karen) riding Gossip;

Calamity Jane (Polly) riding Rosie;

Whisky Mac Kid (Keith) riding Warrior

and me Texas Ted or ‘Teddy’ with horse cuddly toy mascot Nutmeg attached and galloping along with me on Monty.

We all want to say what a great fun season we’ve had, regardless of the weather and it’s attempts to ensure no one ever wants to venture outdoors ever again!!! Thank-you to everyone who has ridden with us; customers, friends and staff; and of course thank-you to our lovely horses who, despite having lots of new arrivals this year, have got on with the job of carrying us all up and down mountains day in and day out.

We hope everyone enjoys the winter, who knows it may stop raining long enough for us to get some snow to play in! Good luck to all the horses that are away (on loan) for their winter holidays.

See you all next spring for the start of our 2009 Llanthony Riding and Trekking season.

Bryony

End of Season Update

Only one week left now before Llanthony Riding and Trekking closes its doors for the winter.  Our last day for riding is Sunday 2nd November. We are open all through half term week, so let’s hope for great weather to finish in style.

Our ever-powerful wild Welsh weather has given us a varied year. Early on brought some fantastic days of glorious sunshine, breathtaking scenery, mysterious atmosphere and jolly good fun customers! Summer followed with pouring rain – thanks rain cloud!

Most of the horses have got their winter loan homes sorted out, some are packing their bags and going back to college again!  Staying on the farm will be the ten mares due to have foals in the spring, (note from Karen:- including the lovely Gossip, who I may get to ride for the last time for a while on the staff trail ride before she goes on maternity leave) along with Rosie, Duchess, Lady and some of Tom’s mares, Saira, Flame, Africa, Chilli, L’aani and Bonnie.

The 2008 foals are strong, healthy and getting bigger by the day. We are keeping all of them for the moment to give each a chance to prove they have what it takes to join the Llanthony Riding and Trekking team. (Note from Tom:- I am secretly hoping we keep them all. Dad is not so sure as numbers keep increasing damatically! – oops, another ten next year Dad!)

After we finish taking rides out on the trails the staff get one last yeeha! Literally, this year, with fancy dress of “The Wild West”. Watch out poor unsuspecting mountain visitors!

We are also looking forward to the annual Llanthony Show Dinner and Dance in Hereford, a sumptuous black tie affair when we all get dressed up to the nines and dance the night away to a live band.

We have had a good fun year, thanks to all our staff, helpers, friends and family.

Best wishes from Karen and Tom

Llanthony Show 2008

“That was the best day out I’ve had since the days of our gymkhanas” said one of my guests who had never experienced the Llanthony Show.

“What a great Show!… we city types had a great day and even won a prize for our float for the first time in living memory (we’ve lived a long time but don’t remember much)” from ‘John Biden’s crowd’ who have been trekking with Trevelog for many years, and who, incidentally, always produce wonderful floats!

Douglas Wright, who lives here in Llanthony, explains about the Show:- “Saturday, 2nd August saw the Llanthony Valley in the Black Mountains celebrate with forty five years of one of South Wales’ most successful local agricultural shows. The Llanthony Valley and District Show Society was set up in 1961, not just to showcase the usual sheep, cattle and horse classes, the local produce and handicrafts, but to confirm the strength of this tight local community in the heart of the Black Mountains.

This Show was started by the locals back in 1961, after the BBC had run a documentary film about us called ‘The Dying Valley’. A group of neighbours took exception, and determined to prove them wrong. Over the years, the Show has established a reputation as one of the best, and truly local community events. It has always been put on by local volunteers, working without big corporate support, and on a strictly non-commercial basis. It brings us all together and makes us very proud.”

This year’s Show, set in a bowl in the mountains below Llanthony Abbey, was no exception. All the produce and animals were on display, backed by children’s sports, dog races, a beer run, and even a prize for the scruffiest Land Rover, and the best cake made by a man!

Put the date in your diary for next year – Saturday 1 August 2009.

Best wishes

Cordelia

July Update

We need to let you know what’s been happening on the farm since our last update about Pete.

July has seen yet more unsettled weather, which we think may have put some people off coming to ride. Please don’t be discouraged, we can lend you waterproof clothing if you don’t have any! There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes! Bring a spare set with you to change after the ride.

There was a staff outing to the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show – we went specifically to see Tom judging the Trekking classes and a very good job he did of it. Loud cheers came from the section of the crowd kitted out in Llanthony green tops! Supreme Champion was given to a very small girl and her incredibly well behaved roan pony.

The weather was glorious all day, so much shopping to do, so much scrummy food to eat and so many things to see, beautiful horses of all kinds, livestock, pole climbing, motorbike stunts, Cossacks on amazing horses also doing stunts, free falling parachutists, mounted games and much much more. We were all very tired after a long but enjoyable day.

There was also the recent “Tom and Bryony Fest” in the Bunkbarn with a fancy dress theme of farmyard animals. It was funny to see the faces of passers by from the camping field looking at all the wonderful costumes of various cows, sheep, pigs, chickens/ducks/geese, cats, a mule, a goat and even a peacock. Bryony dressed up as her horse Ace, Tom was a very convincing sheep and a fun time was had by all.

Things begin to get very exciting over the next couple of weeks as the show isn’t far away. There are all sorts of plans brewing for a float, but we can’t tell you the theme yet, you’ll have to come along on Saturday 2nd August and find out! As usual there will be entries from Court Farm in lots of classes, jumping, trekking, gymkhana and lots more. It’s a great family day out with something for everyone. Make a weekend of it and explore the beautiful surroundings either on foot, bicycle or on horseback.

We say goodbye very shortly to one of our trek leaders Steffi who has been working with us for a while now, we are sad to see her leaving. Steffi has worked very hard and her lively and outgoing personality has been a hit with all our customers. We will miss you Steffi, do keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on. What will the Guinea Pigs do now, Harri will have to cuddle both at the same time!

That’s all for now, there will be another update after the show, but we would love to see as many people there as possible to support it after the cancellation last year due to the very wet weather. The good news is that the field has been cut and is being got ready for show day – Saturday 2nd August.

Love from Karen and all at Llanthony Riding and Trekking.

Cowboy Pete back in the saddle!

I went to see Pete the other day, to take him a retirement gift from Llanthony Riding and Trekking (a signed photo of us on our trail ride all in fancy dress!) and to see how he has been since his hip operation in January (see earlier update).

The fantastic news is that the recovery from the hip replacement has been complete, and Pete is now looking more like his old self and is pain free. He’s been regularly walking Stanley the dog and building up his strength.

For all of you regular customers who have been asking, I passed on all your best wishes, which he was delighted about.

EVEN BETTER NEWS – Pete is riding again! Whoop Whoop! He’s been doing some riding out on the flat at his local stables, and is planning a longer ride on Cannock Chase, about 30 miles from where he and Margaret live. Margaret is also back in the saddle after a while not riding, its great that they can both enjoy this wonderful hobby together.

There is also a very good possibility that Pete (and Margaret) will be back to ride in his beloved valley before too long. He won’t be riding up any mountains just yet, but on the flat in the forestry will be ideal. Pete, if you are reading this we can’t wait to see you back in Llanthony!

I know many of you have been waiting eagerly for an update on Cowboy Pete, and I am so pleased to be the bearer of such good news.

Bye for now

Love Karen

18th June 2008