Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Ox! Wo shu niu - in other words my Chinese zodiac sign is the Ox - so hopefully this will be an auspicious year for me!
A lot has happened since I got back to the UK in the autumn. First priority was to bring my Ride website http://www.thelonghorseride.com/ up to date - drastic measures needed to be taken to sort out the problems with updating the diary from abroad, and I hope this has been solved with the creation of this blog, courtesy of an excellent course run by Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop of http://www.digitalexplorer.co.uk/ at the Royal Geographical Society. In November I went on the RGS 'Explore' weekend for people planning expeditions (http://www.rgs.org/ for details) which was a fund of useful information and contacts. Among other people I eventually met Becky Sampson in the flesh - she is planning to ride from London to Tokyo so we may cross halfway!
The year ended with a week in sub zero temperatures in a damp wood in Gloucestershire with seven men (!) - not a replay of Snow White, but on a survival course which I happily survived, although the night alone in a self made shelter was a little too reminiscent of the Blair Witch project for my liking.
After Christmas festivities and a bout of flu, I am now back on the case, and the first piece of good news is that EnduranceGB http://www.endurancegb.co.uk/ (the official British long distance society under the auspices of the British Equestrian Federation) will be backing the ride.
Our sponsor Vidazorb http://www.vidazorb.com/ have also confirmed their continuing support, and we are now offering paying places on the second stage of ride. This is not only to help towards covering the costs of the challenge, but also to raise money for our chosen charity. If you are interested, please contact Emma Getliffe of http://www.havehorsewilltravel.com/
And lastly, a photo of a rather wooly Section B colt foal Cwrtycadno Rhys enjoying himself at his new home at the De L'Aurore stud in France where he went in January as a future stud stallion! All best wishes to Ingrid Delaitre.