The last couple of weeks have been very hot here in Montaione, and though we are not doing any full day rides due to the heat in the middle of the day, we have been doing some nice long morning rides with early departures.
Earlier this week an Italian guest asked about an early ride today. He was quickly joined by a lovely German guest who had ridden with me three times last week too, and this morning we had a friendly dutch girl join in as well. The wind came up last night, and there was still a little of it around this morning, making the crisp morning even fresher. The horses worked exceptionally well, and the climate was perfect for a long and fairly adventurous ride through Castelfalfi, down the Capello del Lup and into the Bosco Armeno trail. The dry heat has turned the tufo trails into sand, and today with the horses feeling keen, many of the canters churned the dust up so much that the last horse almost seemed to be a vision of a desert film. It has been months since I felt my horse so energetic, and the three behind me were equally keen – all due to the wonderful change in temperature.
We are extremely lucky to have the forest trails of the Valle del Carfalo right on our doorstep, and the Italian guy behind me today exclaimed throughout the ride, how it really was like something out of paradise to ride in an area so pristine and cool in the middle of August.
Brownie our new Quarter Horse gelding has been out all week, and is getting really good at negotiating some of the steeper hills. Brownie comes from a breeding farm in the north of Italy, where the hills are not so difficult, so the last couple of months have been a sort of trail ‘boot camp’ for him. He is always a big favorite among his riders though, and is one of the sweetest horses in the stable – always wanting cuddles. In typical Quarter Horse style, he excels at the uphill starts, and vineyard canters.
This afternoon Iza and Cate have their weekly ‘Kinder Reit Woche’ children performing in front of their parents in the indoor arena. It is always interesting to see how these kids can put together a show with only 7 days of riding; especially since many have had very little equestrian experience prior to their arrival.
Its a very exciting afternoon for them, with serious mane plaiting, pony washing and determined practice drills before their parents arrival. After the show all the kids receive a diploma and then have a party out on the grass in front of the stables with fizzy drinks and pizza made in the restaurant.
This year the Kinder course has been really popular, with 6-9 horse mad kids signed up every week. It is always nice to see so much horse passion with these kids. They really love everything to do with horses, from the paddock to the riding – and the horses at CT genuinely like kids too. Check out Otto below playing with little Filippo’s hat. Too cute!