The new 2008 season has got off to a great start and the improving weather is opening up routes all across the valley.
We have recently added to our trekking horse team with Shire Kitty, little Halflinger Heidi and a stocky Ardennais called Sienna. All the guides are working hard teaching the new horses the ropes with hopes that soon they’ll be taking customers out on our various treks.
It’s an exciting time this spring as some of our mares are due to foal. Mares Saira, Brandy and Ebony have already given birth to fit and adorable little foals with others due any day. Last year’s foals Velvet and Sugar are out enjoying the grass along with their new playmate Violet, who is Sienna’s foal.
The team and our customers are enjoying the summer weather and beautiful scenery. With any luck the good weather will continue throughout the rest of our season. We hope to see you soon! ;0)
Steffi and Harri
Well its started, the new season that is. Well done to those eager customers who braved the elements – we had wind, rain, hail, snow and beautiful sunshine in the first two weeks of the 2008 season. Most of the horses are still in their warm and cosy rugs to protect them from the cold nights, the few that aren’t rugged have their thick and woolly coats to keep warm. An added advantage is that the clipped and rugged horses are not so hard to groom in the mornings!
Work is progressing with the new Belgian Draft mare Sienna, and our Shire, Duchess, mother of last year’s foal Velvet, to get them ready to join the trekking line. Cobalt, Tom’s gorgeous stallion is also doing very well and has even been leading some rides.
The eight mares expecting foals have been brought down from the top of the farm to a nearby field where Tom can keep an eye on them as foals are due in the coming weeks. It’s so exciting!
Lambing is now well under way under supervision of the resident vet student, Alexis, Tom’s friend from uni, and there have even been two very tiny calves born already.
So spring is definitely here, a lovely time of year in Llanthony. Just remember to wrap up warm and come and enjoy the fresh air with us!
Love from Karen and all at Llanthony Riding and Trekking.
It’s nearly here – the new season of riding is almost upon us and preparations are well in hand for the first ride of the season on Saturday 29th March.
Harri and Steffi, our full time guides, are busily getting things ready, Tom is organising the return of those horses and ponies who have been away for the winter, and everywhere is being spruced up after the long dull winter.
We have all been riding the routes and checking them out this Easter weekend – in the snow, hail, rain and wind. Next weekend’s weather will be much better!
We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of lots of foals this year – hopefully we will get photos up on the website as and when they are all born in a few weeks time. Before that of course is lambing, one of the busiest times of the farming year and always a welcome sign that spring is here, although not for those on the late night shift.
We look forward to seeing you all during the coming season, so give us a call or drop us an email. Dates and prices for 2008 are now on the website.
Love from all at Llanthony Riding and Trekking
For all of you who have been wondering how he is after finishing his 20th trekking season last Autumn, our long serving guide and faithful friend Cowboy Pete is recovering after a successful hip replacement operation on 11th January. He was up and about on crutches within 48 hours of the op and was allowed home in under a week. Our love and best wishes go to him and Margaret. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he’s back on his feet (and a horse) very soon.
OK. So these are my New Year’s Resolutions:-
1 Write more Updates
2 Take more photographs
3 Put more photographs on website
4 Eat less
(5 Drink less).
Number 5 is in brackets because one mustn’t attempt too much in one go!
The Valley came alive on New Year’s Eve, with all sorts of brilliant pink wigs, green painted faces, witches hats, and a Frenchman in stripy jumper – yes, it was fancy dress at The Half Moon. Paula and Keith had gathered together a Harry Potter cast, and Tom, Annabel, Jamie (Annabel’s boyfriend) and Harri (our Trekking Leader) were revoltingly bilious as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Bryony remained rather more elegant as Betty of the Flintstones. It was a fabulous night, and great fun to see so many people from the Valley getting together – especially as we didn’t do so in August when the Show was cancelled. The “Biden crowd” – the Trevelog riders, and big float rivals – helped swell the throng. They are now as much part of the Valley as the permanent residents, and things would not be the same without them. Long may they keep coming!
Any hangovers were dispelled with the traditional New Year’s Day swim in the river. Tony Smith led the jumping, resplendent in royal blue long johns. Kris followed in the previous night’s Fred Flintstone costume, followed by at least twenty swimmers. There appear to be more and more each year, everyone happy to raise money for charity.
History of “The Swim”.
It all started in 1975 when Tony Smith took up a bet to do something a little mad on Christmas Day! A lone swimmer then, the bet raised £5 for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, chosen because Dai Griffiths from The Grange Trekking had lost his sight.
The idea continued the following year when Rex and Tony took the vicar’s bicycle in the river. It took two days before it was retrieved downstream. I hope it wasn’t too rusty by then! Gradually more swimmers have joined them, and New Year’s Day was deemed to be a better day for everyone, swimmers and spectators alike.
Other bets were put forward – one year someone said they would give £50 to see the swim. “Good heavens” Rex spluttered “I’ld swim nude for that amount!”. Well – you know what he had to do. Another year Neil the Broadley proclaimed that he couldn’t possibly swim for under £100. Never has £100 been raised so quickly by the Half Moon clientele as on that night, and Neil kept his bargain.
On his 50th birthday Tony decided to hang up his swimming trunks. “Enough is enough”, he said. And Christine said he was too old to jump in the river any more! But, as you see, he couldn’t stay away from those freezing waters of the Honddu, and he has continued to lead the swim every year since then. On a sad note, the benefitting charity has changed. Bob and Margaret Juggins, who rode regularly with Tony, lost their grandson in an accident, and in respect to the help offered by the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital the collection now goes to them.
All are invited to swim – the more the merrier. After mulled wine on the river bank, some swimmers retire to the Abbey or the Half Moon for hot mince pies and further sustenance.
AND SO IT IS TIME FOR ALL OF US AT LLANTHONY RIDING AND TREKKING TO WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY 2008.
To make sure I stick to my New Year Resolutions, watch this space for further Updates, and photographs of our New Year activities on our photo page.