I'm certain that Mick Cross is a first class farrier - he did a lovely job on Doogs, always a bit of a challenge. I'm not sure how good he is at looking at lame horses though, as he didn't get to demonstrate that. No amount of trotting on concrete, turning sharply and everything else we could devise could persuade Yeoman to take as much as one false step. I'm well prepared to believe the very special Cliftoncote is an very healing place - but miracles?
The plan had been to ride the Five Valleys Challenge through the Cheviots with my friend Shonagh, who'd come down to meet us. Yeoman's hiccup however, left us unwilling to commit to what was some serious riding over longish distances, however sound he might seem. So for the first couple of days we just did some shorter rides from Cliftoncote, one of them to look at the immense amount of flood damage from the week before.
The Bowmont valley, in common with other Cheviot valleys, had just about recovered from the devastating floods of last September: roads, bridges and fences had been repaired, the mess had been tidied - when it all happened again. Tremendous flash floods had ripped out the repaired roads, carried away bridges and removed whole fences - in fact, the valley had been cut off a few days before we got there and many roads in the area were still closed. How disheartening (and expensive) for the farmers who try to make their living in what is already testing ground. The mess and destruction was (and is) everywhere.
As Yeoman coped well with a couple of shorter day rides, we decided he was up for something a bit more testing. So we rode to England (!) along the route known as 'the Street', and back to Clifoncote via 'Clennell Street' - some of the finest upland riding I have ever done. More details in the next post - but Yeoman coped brilliantly over some testing ground without the slightest sign of lameness. The wheels are back on our wagon - for now, at any rate!