The trials and tribulations of lorries and horses


I can’t believe we leave for Portugal next week, it has come around so fast! And I’m not ready.

Things haven’t gone to plan. Last week we set off to Cherwell with three four-year-olds and a five-year-old to jump in the British novice and discovery classes with Beth driving the little lorry and me following in the car as I was staying longer at the show to ride a couple of other horses.

As Beth got off the M4 and onto the A34 she phoned to say there was something wrong with the lorry so we swapped, she drove my car and hopped into the lorry. Well, the lorry felt OK to me and we carried but just as we got passed Didcot the acceleration just went and the lorry turned itself off! Luckily, I was next to a junction so I went down the slip road and pulled over only for Beth to phone me to tell me this was the wrong junction for Cherwell. No sh.. sugar, Sherlock!

Time to call the breakdown services. They seemed to take an age to come and managed to get a part and fix it by the roadside. I want to say it was something to do with a ‘fuel stop’ but I’m really not sure what goes on under the bonnet and I don’t think I need to know! By this time we had missed out classes so Beth turned the lorry around towards home – the baby horses have got used to going on and off the lorry and having a little trip out but little else – and I carried on to the show in the car to jump the other horses already at the show.

This weekend we went to Chard but that wasn’t without incident, either! We took nine horses and both lorries – the big lorry is now back from its service at the garage in readiness for Portugal – so I drove the big lorry and Beth was at the wheel in the little one. But when we stopped for fuel she told me there seemed to be a funny noise coming from the back. Oh no, not again! I investigated and it appeared I must have caught the mudflap at the back in the field so at 5am I am under the lorry at the services trying to fix the mudflap back on – or rip it off, whichever came first!

I’ve decided I really should stop driving the little lorry. It has had to work very hard while the big lorry was away and it really isn’t used to it!

So we had nine at Chard including a couple for John and Laura Renwick and two new ones for Jude Burgess to take to Portugal. They are really nice six-year-olds and this was just a ‘get to know you and see where we’re at’ before heading out to Vilamoura. We jumped a few double clears and finished third in a 1.30m and Beth was pleased to jump round her first newcomers with her new horse so overall a productive show.

As I’ll be in Vilamoura for the next six weeks the four-year-olds have now all gone out in the field on their holidays. I’d have liked to get them out to another show before they finished for the year but it was not to be.

We are planning to jump at Codham Park on Tuesday and this will be my last show in England before I go away. This week’s job is packing and getting organised for the trip to Portugal – I’m totally disorganised and not at all ready so it is going to be a mammoth task. And I’m hoping all the drama with lorries is now in the past!

Photo courtesy Beth Mantel

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