Today’s events are why I love travelling 🙂
Mum, Dad and I had left Starbotton in the direction of the beautiful Lake District. All we had was accommodation for the night booked in Keswick, about a two-hour drive away. The rest of the day was up to us to fill. We had stopped in the town of Kendal for a look around and a much needed coffee. Kendal didn’t look like much of a town as we drove in, but once we got out of the car and had a wander around, it turned out to be a great little town.
We had coffee at The Famous 1657 Chocolate House that made the most wicked chocolate cake I’ve tasted. It was an adorable two-story building on a serious slant and with a very low roof. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland after she drinks the potion and grew to a giant! We were perusing through local magazines as we sipped our coffee and came across an ad for Cumbrian Heavy Horses – the only company in the world that offers rides on heavy horses, such as Clydesdales and Shire Horses. The three of us, having horse withdrawals called them immediately and booked in for an afternoon ride. We chugged down the rest of our coffee and practically ran to the car, we had plans for the day!
It was about an hours drive to the farm and took us through more incredible countryside. The grass is that green that it hurts your eyes. As we neared the farm we could just see the Irish Sea in the distance past the paddocks. The Cumbrian Heavy Horse Farm was your typical English farm, a huge stone house, big green paddocks and blackberries spilling over the fences. They had about twenty horses, all beautiful big draught horses which I instantly fell in love with.
We had a briefing with Johnny our riding leader and assigned our horses. I am probably a bit biased here but I think I scored with the best horse, Zac. He was a giant 18.2hh black Shire horse with fluffy white, feathered legs and a big white blaze. His head was pretty much the length of my upper body and his hooves were the size of dinner plates. But he was very gentle and loved getting his ears rubbed. Mum was on a bay Clydie called Miri and Dad had a roan Shire horse called Otto.
We mounted (with the help of a very big mounting block!) and had a walk around to get used to the horses large, long strolling walk. As we were riding in little dressage saddles, I felt a bit wary compared to how I feel riding in my bigger stock saddles. Though as we rode on, I went back to my Pony Club Days and got used to the smaller saddles.
We rode out through the paddocks, trotting and cantering in places but mostly enjoying this unique way to see the countryside. Zac had this lovely loping canter that felt like a rocking chair and even though my butt ached from not riding for over a year, I didn’t want to get off him!
The ride went far too quickly, even though we went for over two hours. Once we reached the stables again, we gave our new giant friends one last cuddle and pat, thanked the owners and headed off towards the Lake District.
The whole day was such a fun and different experience. It’s always the spontaneous decisions that turn out the best fun. I’m so glad we picked us the magazine in Kendal that led us to Cumbrian Heavy Horses. It’s an experience that I won’t ever forgot! Even if I have a sore butt for the next few days!