Four beats to freedom - a horseback journey through New Zealand

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Briefing from Boris

HOME ! there’s no place like it . A chap feels good to know where he belongs in the world… just looking forward to telling all my old friends about the things I've seen.







We’ve covered a fair few miles since I wrote last…. Had another brief touch with show business carrying Lady Godiva in Whangarei but I don’t seem to have had any calls from any agents which is disappointing. I rather fancy a big feather in my bridle and a lady in sparkly tights and all the crowds eyes on me and me in the spotlight… but maybe I’ll settle for a few days pig hunting with the Boss – real men’s stuff that, or perhaps a 5 day trip up to lake Taylor, where the eating is good and the people like the views enough to share their muesli bars with me… 

It rained a lot up north. I think covers are a bit wussy but I did get a bit wet in Puketi forest

We came through lots of thick forest and we stayed in some very tasty paddocks. In northland lots of the grass is kikuyu grass which is quite chewy but it makes you feel good and full and there’s lots of it but then we had three days on a beach that went on for MILES

All that sand and nothing to eat – miles and miles of it – scary waves some of them, too. Can't think what those wild horses live on . Maybe they eat sand, but I don’t think much of it myself. We saw a big black slippery thing without any legs too – frightened me rigid I don’t mind admitting as it slopped over the sand and into the sea. I was dead glad to reach Cape Reinga where the children had lots of apples and carrots for us. The grass near the Car park was pretty good too. 

Then we had a ride back to Kaitaia in a milk float.

And the next day we ate and slept all day just in case Mary decided to ride back down again. 

I cant get my head round this travelling thing though. We spend months plugging up the island, and then we get back here with two long journeys in a float. Don’t think much of the long journeys cos there's nothing to eat in the float . We stayed in KIWI HORSE TRANSPORT paddocks in Cambridge and Shane did give us some nice hay in Blenheim, but I was pretty rumbly when I got to Hawarden. I soon make up lost time when the ramp goes down, but if this is where we were going to end up, I wonder why we didn’t just stay here.

And here I am back home. Lots to think about. Foggy has gone off and left me – I was devastated for a while but I’m told we’ll meet again and it's nice to be able to eat without him making condescending remarks . I've got two young foals to look after – think they are nephews of mine, cos their Dad is my half brother. He’s a Connemara just like me though of course he’s not so well travelled. So I ‘ll boss them about a bit, tell them what a big world it is out there, and just enjoy a winter holiday. When the fun starts in the spring I’ll be there, taking the visitors up into the Hurunui once again. Why not book a holiday with Rob and Mandy and come and say hello? (Maybe you could bring a food parcel as well? Muesli bars would be particularly welcome….)


Here I am, back in Christchurch where I can see the mountains from a safe distance and dream of where we’ve been. Taking full advantage of the need to ‘build myself up’ – I was on the lean side when we finished and if I am to join Boris working for Hurunui Horse Treks in the spring, I need to do a little body building first. It’ll be good to go out in the hills again, look at the view – and know that in just a couple of days I will be back in my own paddock. But I wouldn’t have missed it. Every day something new. I was still storming when we reached the Top, though I nearly got blown over twice. We've made some new friends too – its always nice to have something other than Boris’s endless topic of food and I enjoyed meeting The Inesons and discussing dressage with their horses. I used to do dressage you know – until I became an explorer that is.

We’ve had some scary times. I didn't like the Puketi forest – definitely full of wolves and I gave serious consideration to jumping that electric fence and heading back to Okaihau . In fact I did make an attempted getaway – the rain was just so heavy and I thought it must all be some big mistake – but Mary caught up with me pretty quickly and made a safer paddock in the trees. 

She put an extra layer of warm duvet under my cover too so I couldn’t really complain. I had new shoes all round near Pipiwai. A very pleasant young man called Simon Cogan came and set me up early one morning. I have to say, he did a pretty good job – he shod me ‘hot’ with shoes he makes himself and my feet are still in excellent shape. Better than when we set off in fact. 

90 mile beach blew my mind. 

It would have been fun to have a hoon but the wind was in my ears and the rain stung. I found that if you step HARD on jelly fish they go SPLAT. I didn’t drink much and I think that may be why I found it all a bit difficult. But I have been getting two good feeds a day ever since we left Auckland and that has certainly helped. 

Getting back to Canterbury was the worst bit of the whole journey. I always lead the way into the float , but if I’d known I was going to be in it for THAT long I might have held back. I felt quite groggy when we reached Hurunui – think they call it jet lag. And that’s despite being in a really nice green truck with KIWI HORSE TRANSPORT written on it and being very well driven – I cant complain. I’m just not as young as I used to be and these things catch up on me.


The Long Riders' Guild

Read previous reports from Boris and Foggy by clicking on the links below - 1 is the earliest and it progresses from there!

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