The rain was so heavy, that it washed out our bridge between Castelfalfi and Castellare, making it necessary to re-route our day horse ride to San Vivaldo on the Wednesday.
The horses tackled the terrain well, and we out to my friends Kyra and Ivano’s house near Montaione for lunch instead. Kyre and Ivano are the caretakers of a beautiful 500 hectare organic farm and 3 holiday villas that are distributed throughout the estate. The farm breeds Chianina cattle, so it was nice to take a former ‘farmers wife’ who was riding with us to meet the real Tuscan cows – one of the tallest in the world!
After lunch on the farm we set off up to the top of the property, where we went exploring through the rugged forest. We came across obstacle after obstacle (fallen trees, steep slippery sections of the trail, and dry riverbeds turned into creeks). Still, the horses were great, and we came home with two big porcini mushrooms.
On the Friday morning we made a quick dash to San Vivaldo via a forest path that detoured through a Cinta Senese pig farm. Their were mushroom hunters everywhere, and it was almost surreal how many little men kept popping out from behind the bushes.
After the ride I said my goodbyes quickly, rushed to the office, and then took a cab to the airport in Florence as I had the Horse of The Year show to attend in England.
I flew to Germany first where I should have had a connecting flight to Birmingham. Unfortunately, my flight was cancelled – and I was forced to spend a night in Frankfurt. No complaints though, as Lufthansa were fantastic. They put me up in a hotel, paid for my dinner and my transfers back to the airport the next day.
Finally I got to England on Saturday afternoon, and headed straight to the HOY show at the NEC. It was lovely talking to everyone about our horses, and sneaking out to see some of the classes and events during breaks. We watched the grand prussance on the Saturday night (boy those horses could jump), and a great display from the pony club, with some fantastic fast little ponies flying about in the team games event.
On the Monday I spent a day with the In the Saddle team discussing work, and then it was back to Florence super early on Monday morning.
This week we had a visit from two lovely Australian women, one of whom is a natural horse practitioner in Victoria. She worked on one of Franco;s reining mares, using massage and acupuncture to ease some tight muscles.
We all went out for dinner on Saturday night, and I really really enjoyed their company and hearing about their horsey experiences and travel stories.
Now I have London to look forward too on the 3rd of November, when I will be taking part in the Riding Holiday Show over there along with 36 other guides and representatives of different riding holidays around the world. Do come by – tickets are free and can be booked through the In the Saddle site!