"Life is what happens to you while
you're busy making other plans"
Who in his youth had gone
Walking on the crown of the road
Under delectable trees
And over irresponsible moors
To find the rainbow's end
Ever since we were young and poor and life was simple, we’ve talked
about doing a big ride. Now we’re old and poor and life is
complicated, we’ve finally decided to blow all our savings by
actually doing it. Afterwards we’ll be even older and even poorer
but that’s fair enough; we are, after all, going for an enormously
Thanks to Mr Tschiffelly, and Mancho and Gato, we had, of course,
talked about doing a ride in South America. Then, after a climbing
trip to the Karakorum we spent a few days on a bus across the Pamirs
to Kashgar in China – all that rolling grassland of the steppes made
us think about riding to Asia. It should be pointed out at this
stage that we’d never even considered not taking our own horses.
For one thing, we’re very fond of them and wanted to spend some
quality time with them. For another thing, if they ever found out
we’d just jetted across the world somewhere and had a huge holiday
with other horses…well, they’d never forgive us.
So that ruled out South America – we couldn’t afford the airfare for
two adults and three horses – and despite saving up for a long time,
we hadn’t saved long enough or hard enough to be able to get all the
way to China and back. However, a quick look at the map revealed
that about half way to the East was the Middle East. This seemed
about right for those twin party poopers: time and budget. So there
it is, we’re heading in the general direction of Syria/Jordan. For
Audin, Hannah and Sealeah, this will be a deep and meaningful return
to their Arabian roots. For Lisa and me, this will mean going to a
very hot place with lots of sand – but you have to put the horses
It’s always good to have a plan, even if you don’t stick to it
precisely. Ours (see map) involves
Wales, England, France, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria,
Turkey, Syria and Jordan – blimey, that’s eleven different
dictionaries. Although there are several British riders in recent
times who have completed long trips in Europe, the most common
approach has been to travel abroad and ride back home. We aren’t
aware of many who have set off from Britain with their own horses.
I guess there are advantages and disadvantages with both methods.
Luckily we didn’t have to worry about choosing; our three insisted
on coming along.
The only other part of the plan is to try and stay as high as possible, not by taking loads of drugs (although that would be a lot easier and probably cheaper too) but by sticking to the mountains as much as possible. We all love the mountains but Sealeah, in particular, needs to put the hours in if she’s to qualify in her chosen profession of Alpine Guide.
you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.