Tuesday September 22 – week 3 – we have now been at a standstill for 10 days. And yes, starting an adventure requires some unforeseen events and we did not go by the wayside …
On the second day a bump appeared at Amoer’s girth passage. As good novice hikers that we are, we thought it was just a bug bite. Our brave horses both somehow continued their journey under the Breton sun.
Not far from Dinan, at the Lessard bridge, fate wanted us to cross paths with Rinaldi – our guardian angel – out for a ride with a friend, along the Equibreizh like us. We immediately realized that Rinaldi was much better equipped and experienced than us on horseback riding. His mount, Pont-Aven, wore a magnificent saddle pad, a saddle and saddlebags, all from Guichard (THE reference in hiking) whose harmony, balance and quality made Amoer and Brutus drool with jealousy. . Yes, it must be said, our stuff was hanging on by our fingernails.
As we spoke with Rinaldi and especially after he looked at Amoer more closely, we learned many things including the following obliging us to urgently put Amoer and Brutus to rest: the horses were swelling in the girth area (the equivalent of a blister for us) and on their back due to the constant friction. We realized that we had to buy almost all the equipment and in priority a saddle, a pad and a girth adapted to our trip.
A 10 day holiday for Amoer and Brutus
We stopped our horses for one night at the Perrières stable in La-Ville-es-Nonais. Vanessa the owner welcomed us late at night and offered us sandwiches. On Monday evenings, it might be difficult to find something to eat! The horses were able to rest one night in a box before leaving the next day in a van to the next “cheval-etape” le gîte du Pont-Prin at Marie-Jo and Henri’s place to enjoy a big field full of green grass. Our horses can graze in the company of pigs, chickens and even wallabies!
Don’t think we are resting! Amoer and Brutus have since been able to see a farrier, an osteopath and a saddle-fitter to get on the right track.
- A horseshoe suitable for our trip
Although the vast majority of Equibreizh is made of grass paths, after the miles traveled the irons were so worn that Amoer’s irons broke when the farrier arrived. The farrier, Ombeline, did a great job on our two companions and put tungsten points on them (on the advice of our friend Rinaldi) so that the irons do not wear out less quickly.
- An osteopathy and stretching session
Here comes Karine Beaufils, osteopath since 15 years, who was able to take care of our horses for more than two hours. The osteopath treats horses when they are stiff, lacking in flexibility or symmetry. In principle, a horse must see an osteopath once a year as a minimum. Karine immediately noticed with her professional eye that the saddles did not correspond to Amoer and Brutus which brings us to the third person that we have involved: a saddle-fitter.
- Saddle-fitting, a practice mainly English and German
On Karine’s advice we got in touch with Claire, saddle-fitter in the Saint Malo area. Saddle fitting consists of adapting a saddle to a horse / rider pair. Claire therefore examined carefully the morphology and took the measurements of each of the horses while asking us questions to analyze the problem. Rinaldi, as well as the saddler Guichard had alerted us to the importance of the saddlebag holders on a hiking saddle so that the saddlebags are not placed directly on the horse’s back and their weight is evenly distributed.
Brutus is a round horse with a spine that sticks out a bit, so care should be taken that the gutter – the part of the saddle that frees the horse’s spine and vertebrae – does not pinch its spine.
For Amoer, the situation is more complex because with its protruding withers, he needs a very specific saddle adapted to his morphology, almost tailor-made.
To this day, we have been able to find on LeBonCoin.fr (and get to know Brigitte and Loïc!) A Guichard Long Distance saddle size L for Brutus with the appropriate front satchels, backsatchles and saddlebag. We are still looking for a saddle to match Amoer. The saddle-fitter has to make us try one tomorrow. We have also ordered two PAD US PRO saddle pads from Guichard which should arrive on Friday and hope to get back on the road as soon as possible. To be continued …