I hardly know where to start.
We set off with Barnaby and Zak yesterday morning, to go to a place called Bonsall Moor. Zak was pretty quiet in the lorry, only one brief bout of banging around. We arrived at the venue and were patting ourselves on the back for a job well done as we lowered the ramp. We opened the dividers and there was Zak looking sweated up, but none the worse for the journey. John led him down the ramp and tied him up.
I went back into the lorry to get Barnaby out, but stared at the partition in horror. There was blood and hair all over it, and a big pool of sweat and more blood on the floor. The wooden part of the partition had been smashed.
I went straight to John and said, "You need to check the other side of him." John walked round and stared in disbelief at Zak's side, which was covered in lacerations. Zak began to shake.
It took a while to calm down and try to think what to do. Both of us were trying not to cry. I think I was shaking as much as Zak was.
I got Barnaby out and saw loads of flies on him. I swept them aside and saw blood on Barnaby's flank, but realised it was Zak's blood. For goodness sake. Barnaby just stood there stoically.
We knew we couldn't travel back in the lorry. John said he would ride Zak home and come back for me and I could do the ride, but it wasn't really viable for either of them to travel in the lorry. I knew Barnaby wouldn't want to go round without Zak, and who really wants to swan off on a pleasure ride while their husband's horse is injured? I said we'd ride home together.
Then we couldn't think what to do about the lorry. This is one of very few weekends where Pongo and Missis are away. They'd gone to the V Festival in Birmingham. If they'd have been there they'd have whizzed over in the car and Pongo could have driven the lorry back.
In the end I said we'd have to ring eldest daughter and son-in-law to see if they could help us out. We knew it would take about 2 hours to ride home so rang them and asked if they could be at our house by 1pm and they agreed. They dropped their children off with Daughter 2, then set off for our place.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the ride had given us 2 hi-viz vests and a mobile phone. We couldn't very well ask someone to transport the horses home as
a) they'd come to do a pleasure ride, not sort us out and
b) there is a massive liklihood that Zak would trash their vehicle, too.
So riding was the only option.
Fortunately, after John had cleaned Zak up and dressed the wound, we walked him round and he was sound, so we tacked them both up and set off for home.
At this point I'd like to count my blessings, because
a) Zak could have broken a leg in the lorry or something that doesn't bear thinking about. I don't want to go there, but imagine having to call a vet out.
b) It wasn't raining!
c) Considering where we were, it's a miracle that we knew how to get home, as we were south west of Chatsworth.
We decided to make the best of it, as we'd come to do a pleasure ride anyway, and both mentally broke the ride up into sections, so nobody felt like saying, "Are we there yet?" The traffic for the first half was horrendous. This area is very popular with motorcyclists, and hundreds of them must have gone past us. I am so glad I knew I could trust Barnaby and that he would get me home. He didn't bat an eyelid at anything going on in the fields next to us or anywhere else. I love him so much.
And very quickly they knew we were on a mission and not just a normal ride. We had to go up the steepest of steep hills and they did it. It shows how fit they are. Obviously it was a long journey, but when we got to a place called Darwin Forest, they knew what was going on, it was weird. Barnaby just suddenly started the shoulder roll and could have trotted for England, it was amazing.
I was worried about John as he'd signed up for a 10 mile ride and suddenly found himself doing 20, but he was fine (because of him being not very well lately).
I have never been so glad to see signs saying 'Ashover Parish' in all my life, and it was actually thrilling to turn into our road and know we'd done it. They are such strong boys, and so fit, I never doubted for a moment that we'd make it.
I untacked Barnaby and washed him down and John cleaned Zak up again. It's hard to see how bad the wound is because he's got purple spray on dark skin, but it isn't nice at all, poor boy.
Then Lisa and Steve arrived and we went in the house to have a cup of tea while the men went to collect the lorry. I am meant to clean it out today but I just can't face it. It looks like somebody was murdered in there.
So we made the best of what was an awful situation. I don't know what we'd have done if Lisa and Steve hadn't been able to come over, I suppose we'd have had to leave the lorry there until today.
I've seen both horses cantering about this morning, so they are obviously fine. I am going to put my foot down though, and insist that Zak doesn't travel again for ages (if at all) and that Barnaby isn't going anywhere with him until I know he's totally calm again. It's not fair on Barnaby to have to put up with that. He's been a total man about it, but I don't want him to be put off travelling when he's so good.
I have slept through the night for the first time in weeks, absolutely exhausted. I never want to go through that, or put a horse through it, again.
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