Mam Tor, Castleton – Peak District 04.11.16

It was a blustery day, and the rain was battering the van on the way through to Edale. Henry didn’t feel 100% on a hind hoof that morning (I suspected an abscess brewing) so I borrowed Rocket a friends Welsh D for the trip instead. This wasn’t the day to take a horse that wasn’t 100%. 

Edale is a beautiful town in the north of the Peak District, unfortunately due to road works we struggled to get to the car park in Edale which was our original plan so we detoured and went to park in Castleton visitor centre car park instead. Both of these towns are at the base of Mam Tor ‘the mother mountain’ which sets a beautiful back drop to the quaint stone houses and pubs. 

The accent was up an old disused road, the A625 (which in itself is quite a climb)! The road was closed in 1979 due to a slow moving landslide and has warped and twisted over the years and at points is falling off the side of the cliff. It’s a popular walking route, and we were joined on our hike by walkers, cyclists and school children. 


The majority of this ride is a climb and is not for the faint hearted (or a horse who’s unfit) you’re riding through desolate parts of the peaks where there is nothing, no people and no phone signal. I don’t doubt that with more planning you could choose a more well trodden route, but the route we chose over the mountain and back again, for the most part looked fairly untouched by anyone other than farmers.

It took about 6 hours over and back, there’s some low land places to stop for lunch and the majority of the trails are well marked providing you’ve had a look at a map before but there’s nothing really in the way of a pub or a shop that we could see. A word of warning, this ride is a much smarter idea in good weather as the mountain is rather brutal, my hands have never been that cold before! Remember to tell someone where you’re going and your planned route before you set off, it wouldn’t be hard to lose track of yourself. 


Scary talk aside, the atmosphere and the views from Mam Tor are stunning, there really is nothing like it and the terrain is super good for your horse. I felt like it was a challenge for even rocket, who is super strong and sure footed. 

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The Great Horse Bake Off – Part 1!

Im not much of a baker, or a cook for that matter. Half of the food I cook for friends and family is only border line edible. 

One of the infuriating things about having barefoot horses is keeping them on a sugar free diet, and tack shops only really stock molasses filled treats! 

So why is molasses bad? Well, sugar isn’t naturally found in a horses diet in the amount that would be in something like a lick or a bag of commercial horse treats and will especially affect barefoot horses because their feet will soften with too much sugar. The problem is, horses love sugar! So companies will ram those treats and licks full of the stuff so well intending horse owners will think ‘wow my horse absolutely loves these, I should buy more ‘ unfortunately, it’s like the equivalent of stuffing your child full of Haribo. 

So I quite like the idea of being able to easily bake a batch of my own cookies/treats. Here are some ideas of what you can put together out of what’s in your house! 

‘Base’ ingredients. 

Most people tend to use either their existing horse feed, like a chaff, or something like bran or oats. In some recipes you can get away with a flour/oil/water combination, this involved a little bit of experimentation for me. 

So what do you use to ‘stick’ ingredients together? As far as I’ve researched, your best bets are:

A) Honey – locally sourced honey is also really good for things like hay fever or horses that suffer with pollen allergies. 

B) Peanut butter – there’s lots of mixed reviews about feeding horses peanut butter, the general idea is smooth is better than crunchy, but I’ve used crunchy because I have some in the fridge. Scandalous! 

C) Sugar free / low sugar apple sauce will be tasty and sticky! 

When you’ve got your main ingredient and your ‘sticky’ element, you just need to add something like apples, carrots or polos (can you get sugar free ones?) 
Tonight I’ve had a bash at these, let me know if you give it a go and what you find works! 

Turmeric Horse Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of Turmeric
  • Black pepper (a few turns of a grinder will do)
  • A tablespoon of oil (I used olive, but will try coconut oil next time) 
  • 4 heaped table spoons of flour.
  • Oats (I cheated and used a couple of crushed up oatibix)
  • Some water. (Add little and often until your mixture is doughy) 

I added some small cut up bits of Apple, and then used a rolling pin to roll the dough out about 1cm thick. I then a cookie cutter to make them a nice round biscuit shape. I oiled a baking tray and left them in the oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes. 

Sherwood Forest 25.9.16

Our first adventure away from home! 

I’ve always been so scared of just boxing Henry up and going out, which is ludicrous really, I live on the edge of some of the best riding the UK has to offer. It’s a silly phobia I think lots of people have, I know countless people who have their own transport that they don’t use unless it’s a show day or a vet appointment and fail to see the miles of spectacular riding that’s so close to home! 

So, with my big girl pants on, the horses were loaded and we were off to Sherwood Forest for the day. 

From Sheffield, Sherwood Forest is an hour or so down the M1, it’s really easily accessible from anywhere in the UK really as the road links are brilliant and the car park allowed for super easy parking of our van and trailer combination. We parked right next to the visitors centre, mainly so we could have a tea and loo stop before loading back up. 

Sherwood Forest is a fairly easy ride, there’s nothing too scary (other than lots of school children) it’s all flat and surfaced, the gates are all friendly and there’s lots of maps. It’s also great because you can tailor it to how long you want to go for, if you only want to do an hour that’s fine, and if you want to go all day that’s fine too, the routes all interlink so you can add bits on and take bits off. 

This is the route we took, mapped out using Iride Live. We only hit one small piece of quiet village road which was more due to a wrong turn than anything else, the rest was open and accessible woodland with logs to jump and views to admire. 


Now lunch was a slightly more tricky aspect because our half way point was a little out of the way, it would have been much easier to stop at the visitor centre for lunch before carrying on but we didn’t plan for that, we planned for ‘finding a bench’ which failed and we ended up picnicking in the undergrowth with the horses which actually was rather lovely, other than having to share your lunch with 16hh of greedy horse. 


After lunch we had a fairly quiet stroll back to the car (with some clearings to blast through) Sherwood Forest is such a gorgeous place wether you do it on foot or on a bike or a horse, I felt like this was the confidence boosting trip away from home both me and Henry needed, he’s never boxed up and gone out for the day, and usually has major issues about leaving home, which was why I was apprehensive in the first place. 



There’s room to tie up at the visitor centre to give the horses a break and a snack before boxing back up. The boys had lots of nice attention from people walking past wanting to say hello, it was all really lovely, especially for them to be in that environment. 

Remember to bring your halter, and my clip on reins from Total Horsemanship are perfect for clipping and unclipping in situations like this. I couldn’t be without them. 

iRide Live *Review*

I’ve been using the woof wear apps for some time now, their GPS was originally rather aptly named ‘track my hack’ which I believe has now been upgraded to ‘iRide Live’. Available from the App Store free! 


This screen is your home page as it were, the big button in the middle makes it easy just to press go and set off, no faffing, it just picks you up where you are and follows you till you press stop. 

The features are much the same from track my hack to Iride live, you can select different horses and add in their height, age, colour and breed, good when comparing how fast you did one route on one horse to another. (Rocket is a much speedier horse than Henry) 
What I love about it is that it follows you via GPS rather than through your signal or Internet. Much of where I’m hacking is a phone black spot, but this stays with me the whole way. I can see super easily how far I’ve been, where I’ve been and compare how long different routes were. 


Overall I guess I’d give it an 8 out of 10. It does the job, it can sometimes be sticky to save at first, and sometimes you’re not 100% it’s set off with you but it usually has had its just me being impatient.