If you read my last blog, you will see how i was none to keen to enter another ride with Merl. We had meant to enter the 36km Competitive Ride (CR) in Dorset but i cancelled it. Partly because being back at work had taken away time to train Merlin and partly because the last outing had really knocked my confidence in Merlin and myself. Work was really getting me down....so it was with surprise that i recieved a facebook message from Anna, the lady i had made friends with at Stoney Cross, and Nora her friend. They too had entered the Jubilee Trail Ride in Dorset but had had to downgrade from the 36kms to the 24km Pleaseure Ride as they had also struggled to get the training in with their horses, and was i coming too?? I sat and spoke at length to PH, who urged me to go, he would look after GB for the day and i should go do it and see how it went. And so i said yes! First thing next day had me doing some mega-chilled loading practice with Merlin, which went well and i vowed to stay uber chilled and just treat the day as a training outing.
Sunday 11th March dawned with a gloroius sunny start, so i knew it was going to be a great day! I was all alone this time, so just me and Merin to worry about, He loaded and off we went, a long drive from Collingbourne, Wiltshire, to Dorchester in Dorset. Beautiful sunny weather, Merlin loved my singing of 'ten green haynets' on duller stretches of road and all was well, venue was easy to find and we pulled up at the same time as Anna and Nora, who we were going to be riding with. Merlin was much more chilled and we unloaded and vetted straight away. Merl's heartrate was 46bpm, much slower than last time. We tacked up, handed in time sheets and were away, onto some of the most beautiful riding in the UK i should think. Chalky downs, coastal paths and some stunning grassy canters, it was a mega ride! Merlin stayed calmer, but was still very keen and led most of the way, all trot and canter for 24km. It was not a CR, but even so Merl needed to pass a trot up afterwards which he did, and his heartrate was taken, 47bpm! Merl was ace, loaded to go home then turned out. Completely sound the next day. It should be noted that Merlin last received a hardfeed in November 2011!! He is trained and competes off hay and grass only, and i think as you will see by the pics, looks utterly fab! Roll on the next ride next month!! Maybe we can do this after all....many thanks to my great husband for holding the fort and all my friends for all your continuing help and support.