I've been so busy organising my ride, and actually doing it, that up until now I've never had time to introduce myself and my ponies. More coming soon...
Meanwhile the picture above will give you an idea of who we are. It was taken on my ride from Skye to Smithfield in the footsteps of the drovers in 2010. Perhaps wishful thinking to say I/we haven't changed much since!
Both on this picture, and on my Horseland Journey, I'm riding Murthwaite Mikado (Micky), a registered Fell pony gelding who we bought off the Fell at 2 years old. At that time he'd hardly had any human contact. For the next two years he grew (outwards and in character, not upwards). I backed and "broke" him at 4 years old, mainly for my son Jake to ride. Jake had great fun with Micky, hunting, doing Pony Club and all sorts of other things, but Micky had very strong views on what he wanted to do, and at what speed,and in the end Jake moved on to a Friesian x Welsh Cob better suited to tetrathlon, and Micky became mine. When my own Fell pony Lancer contracted tick fever on our ride from John O'Groats to Lands End, Mikado was only too happy to step into the breach, and at 8 years old rode from Callander to Lands End, as keen after >1000 miles as he was at the start. Officially Micky stands at only just over 13 hands, but rides and feels much bigger. When we're at home, I drive Micky as often as I ride him. He's a natural at both (albeit with dodgy brakes!).
I loved Micky's temperament so much that when I realised Lancer's riding days were drawing to an end, I went back to the same breeder, Tom Capstick, to buy another Fell pony, I bought Murthwaite Magic Spell as a yearling, again virtually untouched off the Fell. The first summer after I broke her as a 4 year old, she rode with me across Wales, and we've travelled together quite a bit since. She's my pack pony on the picture above, and on my Horseland Journey. In real life, she's just called Magic (although she also goes by a lot of other names, mainly 4 lettered).