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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Life: a New Forest horse ride and badger watching

Caz loves horses. She goes riding practically every day including the day before her uni exams which, at the time, I found very shocking. Needless to say, I had no need to worry - Caz always did more than fine!

A visit to hers then, HAD to include a ride in the New Forest. I'm no horsewoman, I've still only been riding a couple of times under Caz's expert tuition. However, I absolutely love going on a hack through the New Forest and what could be better than ending up at pub nestled in the middle of the forest for lunch?

Caz's mum Una, keeps her horse Missy at a farm. It's such a lovely place to visit. There are several other horses and I was allowed to borrow a pony called Serenade.

Barney coming over all coquettish
I love farm cats - they're so unfriendly though, they run off as soon as you get remotely close to them.

There were also a couple of farm dogs - they were far friendlier, especially with each other!

There were two alpacas. Have you ever heard the noise an alpaca makes when it's a bit nervous? (there was a new dog on the farm that they hadn't got used to yet). It's identical to a loud squeaky toy - really bizarre.

We brought the ponies from the field to the stable to saddle them up.

We rode through the forest. I love these couple of photos. It looks like I'm riding on one of those toys with a toy horse head and stick like I used to have when I was a kid.

Crisis was narrowly avoided when an overly amorous New Forest stallion showed far too much interest in our girls. Caz had to shoo him off - apparently they can end up mounting your horse when you're still on it if you're not careful. After several hours of ambling and chatting, we ended up at the Red Shoot Pub for lunch. I love how pubs in the New Forest have designated areas for tying up horses.

After lunch, we rode back to the stables.

wild New Forest ponies
In the evening, we returned to Caz's friend's house and did a spot of badger watching. Such a highlight! Every evening the badgers come out of their sett and eat some food left out for them. There's also an adorable fox which comes too, but the badgers are the boss and he has to wait his turn before he gets any food. It was amazing seeing them so close and in such natural, beautiful surroundings.

Have you ever been badger watching or horse riding?

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