I went back to Caeiago for a great weekend in March. I realise I should have got round to blogging about it before now, but, well, it didn’t happen. So here’s the post you should have had a bit sooner.
For my second trip to Caeiago I had a bit more of an idea what to expect than on my first visit, so I was considerably less stressed from the outset. This time on the journey there I overruled the sat nav and used motorways wherever possible. Unfortunately this meant I encountered a large number of speed restrictions, traffic cones and closed lanes which pushed my journey time up considerably, but I still arrived in time for dinner, which was the important thing! I have to say I found the cross-country route I took last time rather more visually appealing and more interesting to drive, and given a choice of motorways with road works or A roads without, I think I’d take the A roads.
But, as I said, I arrived in time for dinner somewhat less anxious than I’d been on my previous visit. I’d escaped to Wales again! Any doubt that I’d managed this feat was dispelled by one of my hosts, Roddy, and his friend, a fellow dinner-guest, speaking Welsh. People tend not to do that in other places. Of course in much of Wales they tend not speak much Welsh either, but Caeiago is far enough west that you can be sure it’s Wales. If you’re still not sure it’s Wales, then visit, as I did, in the height of the daffodil season and realise that the garish mass plantings you see on English urban roundabouts and verges are supposed to be an imitation of the nodding grace found in the banked verges of Wales. (This is the bit where you hope I’ve taken a picture of the daffodils, but I have failed in that mission, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Or if you can’t imagine it, I recommend you go to Caeiago in March next year and see for yourself.)
So after a lovely dinner and entertaining conversation (in English, of course) I retired to my pleasant room. It was a lovely light room with windows on both sides. That night I dreamt there was a piano in the en suite, but upon waking I discovered this was not true, which was a relief as I was feeling awkward about explaining to my hosts, Lesley and Roddy, that it just isn’t right to keep a piano in an en suite.
The morning dawned damply and progressed on steadily to torrential rail by lunchtime. This is why I was wearing my fetching raincoat and my pony, Ffion, was dripping, as you can see in the picture. I also had my waterproof trousers on- an absolute must for weather like this. Ffion took care of me for the day and we had some lovely canters and a great day, despite the weather. Also being ridden on the trek was Ffion’s daughter, Mai. She was out learning the job, ridden by Carol. Unfortunately there is no love lost between Ffion and Mai and Ffion took every opportunity to pull faces at her daughter during the ride. It was good to see Carol there because I met her on my last visit to Caeiago, when she was a regular customer, and now she is riding with them as staff.
On the ride back the weather eased and we dried out a bit, before we got back to tea and homemade cakes. An afternoon walk took us nearly up to dinner time, and so to bed.
Breakfast is always a treat at Caeiago (although so are all the other meals), but on Sunday it was especially good, as I looked up from my cooked breakfast and out of the window to see a red kite soaring towards the house with the morning sun lighting up the colours on its feathers.
On the Sunday I rode Jay. Jay was ticklish to groom but I got her properly brushed in the end. Most of the horses I’d ridden so far, both at Caeiago and elsewhere, are used to beginner riders and used to interpreting inept leg and hand movements. Jay was less used to this and if I gave a poor command I didn’t get the response. If I gave her a signal she understood, she was very responsive; if not, she was confused. This meant she was giving me really good feedback on how well I was riding, although it took me a little while to adjust to this! When I rode her well I had an excellent ride and especially enjoyed cantering her. One of the big things I like about trekking is that you learn how to ride from your horse. Jay was a good teacher! In lessons you have to learn from a human more than from your horse because of the restricted time frame. It’s quicker for a human to tell a human “your leg’s in the wrong place” than for a horse to communicate with the human by not responding well until it’s right! When you go out for the day and you’ve got so much longer on the horse they have plenty of time to teach you how they prefer to be ridden and what they think of various aspects of your riding.
We had a nicer day weather-wise on Sunday, the only unpleasant part being the hail that came just as we were finishing our picnic lunch, a few minutes before this picture was taken. We saw red kites again, and a pair of nesting buzzards as well as hundreds of tiny lambs, fewer days old than they could count on their legs, who stared at the horses, not sure if they were friend or foe, before bouncing back to their mothers.
And so we returned and it was time for afternoon tea and then time for me to leave. Another weekend at Caeiago gone so fast. But at least this time I know that I’ve got a 4 day visit in August to look forward to!
Ah yes, this is the part where I do my bit of advertising for Caeiago. If you’re looking for a trekking holiday and you’re an adult with some riding experience, go to Caeiago. It’s great. You won’t regret it. If you read the reviews on Tripadvisor you’ll see that everyone agrees, so, get over to their website and book it now. http://www.horseridingholidaysgb.co.uk/