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Trail ride Poland Polseski szlak konny 2022

Finally it's time, after another very nice summer with many guests, horse rides, good hay harvest,..

Time to go on a trail ride again.

The plan was that Geert would ride with Dior, I would form a team with Calisto.

But Dior had suffered a nasty insect bite on his wither early in August and it was quite inflamed.

He didn't let us take care of it and the vet even had to sedate him in order to take care of it.

It healed well, but not fast enough to take him on a trip.

Reserve horse Patchouli was fit.

Went on a test ride together and Callisto and Patchouli did great together!

But Patchouli got an infection on his man parts, vet again.

That morning he also had a watery eye, yes, an eye injury. He was also unable to travel.

Shit, now what…

To Geert's great regret, he could not come along.

Repacking stuff and it became a Girls team. Michèle, Nadine and me (Iris)

September 4

It's finally time!

The car was already loaded ready from the day before, just load Calisto and we were on our way.

And it was double exciting, this summer we both got our CE driving license so after all these years of sitting next to my dad, I could finally drive the trailer myself.

After a 5-hour drive by car and trailer, we arrived safely at Michèle, Bartosz and Nadine. (Ranczo Rajbas)

We went for a ride of an hour so that the horses get to know each other.

I also had to make some adjustments to my saddle.

It is very important that all luggage stays off his back.

My saddle also shifts forward a bit. I'm not so happy about it.

Fortunately, Michèle has a lot of stuff, I'm going to put an extra pad under my saddle tomorrow, in the hope that it will stay in place better.

Tomorrow the adventure begins!!

But today we already enjoyed the hour in the beautiful surroundings here!!

5 September

Day 1: 28.5 km 7 hours

This morning at 7 o'clock, I went quickly to the store for breakfast.

Have breakfast together and then put the last things in the bags.

I was saddled surprisingly quickly.

The planned departure time was 9 am. We finally left at 10:20 am.

No problem. Saddling will go more smoothly every day.

Michèle and Nadine also have 2 big horses and they are quite small themselves, so it is sometimes difficult. That is absolutely no problem for me and Calisto. 😁

Michèle had been exploring with the quad together with Bartosz, so she already knew the way for a very large part. Very handy on the first day.

After those 19 km it was another 9.5km to our overnight spot that we found very easy.

We mainly rode through very large expanses of fields. A completely different view than our rides at home and our previous trip 😅 But really beautiful!

Sometimes I felt in Grimbergen (Belgium) again, where I often rode through the fields. Occasionally we rode through a forest and then back into the fields.

Radiant blue sky! The sun was out!! Just a pity that the wind was there too. That led to many sweater on and off sessions. 😅 But no complains!

After 28.5 km and 7 hours of riding (with breaks of course) we arrived at Jacek, a friend of Michèle.

He also has horses and welcomed us to his home. The horses are allowed in the garden. Which I really like because then we don't have to make a paddock and the horses can get to know each other a little better. We pitched our tent, got food, very tasty pasta and pizza (the man has a restaurant 👌👌) We were able to shower and we were even allowed to sleep inside! But since our tent was already up, we just go to sleep in the tent.

Calisto already has a wound on his leg. How he got there, I have no idea, but it's taken care of.

What a successful first day!! And now we hope for a good night.

Anyway, I'm very well tucked in. 🙈😅

September 6

Day 2 24.30 km 6h25min.

The night was chilly but manageable.

At night I was awakened several times by the cold and by the horses. It was a fight. 2 men and 1 woman well that's hard...

Up at 7 am, just checking the horses and they had some wounds here and there. Especially Calisto was in bad shape because his macho behavior played up (probably learned from Dior 🤣). Not too bad now. Just some scratches. So I don't think they rested much at night...

We got a fantastic breakfast and stayed too long at the table. Oh already 9.30 am and we still have to pack and saddle everything...

Fee, the mare already had some back pain yesterday. Which is also not abnormal after such a long day with all the luggage. Today the swelling was gone but she was still sensitive. Difficult...

11h40 we were on our way.

Jacek had explained the way the night before via Google maps on his computer. I made a video of his explanation. That was useful!! Through the video, Michèle guided us perfectly untill the point that he knew the way.

We even did a little climb. 😅 For me and Calisto it was peanuts but very nice! Especially because it also made Michèle so enthusiastic!

On the way we came across some apple trees and then I can't resist picking some for Calisto. I fill my sweater pockets because he can sometimes really get a kind of slump. And if there is no decent grass to hand, I can give him a few apples. He immediately cheers up!

Despite the smooth route, it was quite difficult. Lots of in and out the saddle. Lots of mosquitoes! Especially in the woods. It is also very dry here, fortunately there is still a lot of green grass here, but no puddles.

We passed a river and Michèle went to scoop up a bucket of water. Only Calisto wet his lips, but they didn't want to drink.

At 4 o'clock we arrived in a large forest. Very beautiful but such a stupid road with stones. Despite their shoes, we don't go faster than walking here. Michèle and I had already selected a few places to stay, but those were more guidelines. The point where we thought to sleep was too far away. And we both got a kind of tension over us. Luckily we could share those feelings.

Michèle is really great at navigating, especially with her phone. I prefer to hold the card. It's nice how quickly we have adapted to each other. Together we decided to find a place to pitch the tents. But... We were in that woods on that stone road. No grass, no level place for a tent. Fortunately we were quite close to the edge of the forest. So off the main road, take the first best road to the left towards the edge of the forest. What a beautiful dirt road! And we ended up in a kind of paradise. Grass!! Lots of grass! Since we are higher up we could see a house. Such a typical Polish house where you would spend your Sunday with a fence around. We only have 8 poles to make a paddock for the horses and after tonight we thought it would be better not to put Calisto with Fee and Skip anymore.

So that wire seemed ideal to us to also use so that they could make a nice big paddock.

Beautiful grass for the horses! Top! They were quickly unsaddled and the fence was up in no time. Top! But! Fee had huge back pain!! Swollen in some places and very sensitive.

We had to come up with a plan.

But first we had to look for a flat spot for the tent. Hmm, the flattest spot seems to be in the fence of the house. (there was no gate by the way, the fence just stopped). Tents pinched, went pretty smoothly again and then hungry!

But... In the morning I went to refill my water bottles even though they were not empty

I know from experience that you should always have water with you. 😁

Michèle and Nadine didn't have to fill their bottles yet, they still had ice tea from the previous day. Secretly I knew it wasn't a good idea but you learn through experience.

So I was a bit sparing with my water just in case...

So tent up and hungry... What do we need, water... Hm oops, that's gone. I could have easily shared my water, I had 1.5 liters left. (of the 2 liter)

But we only had to walk 5 minutes out of the country road and we were in the civilized world. So bottles in hand and some courage.

With full courage I rang the doorbell at a house (it was a miracle that there was a bell...) No one answered. Okay we try somewhere else.

There were 3 guys walking across the street a bit further up. Michele shouted: good evening! We have a question.

To which they called back: What question? (as if we were going to ask them for money🙄) We replied: can we get some water?

Them: water??

We: yes some bottles of water.

Ok that was good.

Many questions: what are you doing here, why do you need water, do you sleep here? With horses? You do know that there are a lot of wolves here?.... It crept into the girls' heads a bit. Sometimes wolves pass by our house and I'm not afraid of that. Here they have enough to eat in nature, so the chance that they will approach the horses at night is quite small. Everyone reassured.

And the food tasted good.

At the small house is a bench and empty beer boxes.

Very handy as a table and chairs 👍 With me it was puree with cheese and broccoli and with them it was risotto.

Checking the horses. Fee her back wasn't much better.

What now? Continuing to ride with a horse with back pain is simply not possible. But we were convinced it was because of the bag packing.

Bartosz, the helpline has been called again.

We had some options.

Either pick up another horse with the trailer and take Fee home.

Or leaving luggage off her, which is not easy with all the stuff.

We would sleep on it.

Get into our tents fairly early. I think it was about 9:30 PM.

It was cold!! Terribly cold.

We had covered ourselves as best we could, but we all have a synthetic sleeping bag, good for +15 degrees. After last year's experience I bought a liner to make that stupid sleeping bag a bit warmer. But at -2 degrees you need something better than a liner and the army blanket I use as a saddlecloth. Oh well, we survived but we didn't sleep much.

September 7

Day 3: 37,11km 8h

What a shitty night!!

We were like frozen mummies. All three of us had barely slept and we were really frozen! Fortunately, the sun came out early, but the cold still lingered in our clothes. Our tent was white and when the sun came up they were completely wet.

We had a nice breakfast. How good that was! I wasn't even hungry but once I ate I got through.

Have a look at the map. And the place where we normally would ride to yesterday didn't seem far when we looked at the map. So our new plan was for Bartosz to come and collect our stuff and drop it off at that place.

But first call there to see if there is a room for us.

Yes! Horses are welcome and we would have a room. Not luxurious, but warm. Top! Let's go!!! So this day would be a short easy day. Uhm...

So, after breakfast, we packed our stuff, (meanwhile the horses took a nap in the morning sun, they also clearly enjoyed the heat).

Everything in the car. Except for some snacks for on the way and water.

Bartosz drops off our stuff in Bachus, the stable we ride to.

Warmed up and left in good spirits.

A nice way back into the woods. So we try to follow a mapped out horse route. Occasionally there is a marking but usually nothing. Difficult to follow the route then.

I had the map, Michèle her phone. But it hadn't been charged properly, so she only had something like a 20 percent battery. So I lent my phone to her from time to time. (so I missed some nice spots to capture on photo).

At one point we had to take a turn in the forest, we would have to cross the yellow route and then a river. And somewhere there, something went wrong.

At one point we walked on the yellow road, hmm that's not right, we had to cross it. But maybe we'll get there this way.

It was a very nice path. With a lot of trot and canter. Nice without bags.

And then we realized we were following the yellow route to the wrong side.... Shit.

Okay no problem. Have a look on google maps how we can cross the river. We thought we saw a crossing, but it turned out to be a cloud. 🙈😅

So the only option was to ride all the way to the next village, about 6 km, to cross the river there. Easy, no?

Although the stretch to the bridge was quite long. There we came across a shop. In good tradition last year, bought an ice cream for Michèle and me and a coke for Nadine. Ha, delicious!!

But unfortunately we had a long stretch along a large busy road. Not so nice and cozy. The horses really did great (especially if you know the Polish drivers). Then we rode back into the field and forest somewhere. Beautiful roads, until we came out at that damned river again! First there was a beautiful grassy plain, then that grassy plain became narrower and the grass higher. It was quite difficult to walk there. The horses also loved the grass, but then you don't get that far if they are always eating... Then we had to go back into the woods somewhere in the wild. Oh yes and we also sang there 🤣 we go down to the River.... 😅

But then we came across a bit of a strange kind of house in the middle of nowhere. There was a small path so let's follow that.

Suddenly we meet 2 young guys.. Very friendly. And they accompanied us to the right path so that we would easily find the main road again. That was nice!

So we were back on that miserable long busy road again.

A few trotes to gain some pace.

Then we had to pass a pig farm. We couldn't breathe because of the stench, but meanwhile we also had the giggles. Those horses just trot and Nadine even had puke tendencies. It was a very funny situation but we were glad we got past it!!

Then through another village and then follow a very long road again. Fortunately, we were able to ride anywhere on the roadside. So a few trots later we finally turned into the last street and arrived at a very nice farm.

The horses had a nice place on the paddock, lots of good hay and water. We helped take care of the horses. And then we got to work!

Looking for places to stay. Fee can't take any more luggage and it's too cold for the tent, that's for sure 🙈

After a long search we found something. It was already so late that we couldn't call anymore. So we hoped they have room for us tomorrow...

We slept in the tack room. And it was really nice and warm!! Small and dusty, but warm! And there was a toilet and a sink. Dirty but convenient. And the shower was full of horse food so we washed us at the sink. 😁

We survived. And we slept very well. So all in all a very nice and nice day that turned out a bit longer than expected. But the horses did very well. 💪

September 8 Day 4: 28.60km and 6h26

It was a good night in the tack room. Nice and warm!

In the morning during breakfast with the help of Bartosz called the place and yes!! We were welcome!!

Our stuff stayed at the stable, Bartosh came to pick it up again.

It was another beautiful sunny and warm day. With many beautiful routes. Wonderful dirt roads and forest roads. Really a beautiful day!!!

Departed from the friendly man on the farm. We got some guidelines for a nice route and we were off.

Very early this time! We were already on the road at 9:30 am! We rode through a beautiful nature reserve with beautiful big old trees, ponds and many animal species.

We also encountered quite a few horses along the way. Especially those large, much too fat draft horses. But it's nice to see them outside.

Also a man working in his garden. Apparently we were on the horse route then. It was honey to his eyes to see horses again he said. It had been 8 years since any passed. 🤔🤔

We noticed that from the markings, because there weren't any. 😅😅

Because of Michèle's agility with her navigation, it went very smoothly to find a nice route.

It was really awesome!! Sand, grass, views, beautiful trees, the sun. This day was really perfect! We came across plum trees and apple trees, the horses were also happy with that. We passed a shop so go get an ice cream and something to drink and carrots for the horses! The horses are doing so well!! Drinking from the ditches, eating where you can, peeing when they have to. 🙈😅💩

They also have a very nice pace together. A nice 5.5 km/h without difficulty. Very nice! Michèle almost always takes the lead. Occasionally Nadine or I will take over. Nadine and I do change places regularly. And that's all okay.

A last bit through a busy road to get to our overnight stay. There we encountered 2 police officers who were doing speed checks. We walked with the horses on the footpath because it seems safer to us, since all drivers always fly past us at high speed. But we had to walk on the street. First a whole explanation of what we were doing. What horses, where we come from. They took a picture and then we moved on.

Very warmly received by our host.

I was going to get off very elegantly but something went wrong. I ended up under Calisto who was shocked. I had pulled out a whole tuft of mane during the fall and scraped my arm. But the worst part was my ego which took a dent. Because everyone had seen it in all its glory. I jumped up and pretended nothing happened. 😅🙈

The house was a bit further away from the big road. It was a cute house with a spacious garden. And luckily the lawn was 'quite tall'. Enough for 1 night.

Unsaddled the horses and wait for Bartosz. He has the poles and wire in the car. And we didn't call him too early so he didn't have to wait for us. 10 minutes later he was there. Poles and wire installed. We put Calisto aside because otherwise it's a fight between the boys for Fee who has her horsey days.

We repacked because now Bartosz will no longer be driving around by car. But we don't need our mat and sleeping bag anymore. So just some clothes and toiletries and we're done!! Nice and light!

In the meantime, call the pizzeria, wait an hour. We were so hungry. 🤣 The next overnight stay was also arranged. Perfect! No more stress.

Horses were good, we had a nice house. A tasty pizza and homemade raspberry wine! A wonderful shower and a warm bed! What a successful day!!

September 9

Day 5: 28km 6h40

We slept great!!

Michèle was up early and looked at the map and pinned points on her phone. How she does it, I have no idea but it's going very well anyway.

It was already raining but we were still nice and warm inside.

We had to work up a little courage to go out. We had breakfast quickly and were quickly packed. Fortunately, we were able to saddle up in light rain before it started to rain harder.

I let Calisto loose a lot. I hang my reins over my water bottle, so they are short enough so he doesn't step on them but long enough to eat. And he does that great. Michèle has made rain covers for her saddles so that they stay nice and dry when it rains. Fee was already saddled and therefore also had a rain cover on her saddle. It looks like a big red plastic balloon. (because the wind came under it) So Calisto was loose and I was winding up the thread. Fee came towards us and Calisto panicked!! What's coming there!! I had to take him on a rope and reassure him 🤣🤣 And when he smelled Fee for a while, his quarter fell. Oh it's Fee. 😅 Rested in our rain suits we bravely went on horseback.

Waved goodbye to the host and we were off, day 5!

Back on that big road. The horses did great despite the splashing water and noise from the hard rain. 1 km further into the country roads!

Beautiful dirt roads that turned into grass roads and soon we were at the Bug, the river that forms the border with Ukraine. We met some men who directed us in the right direction and saw the border guard.

What a beautiful area!! Big hay bales everywhere that just stay there, which they would be very happy with in Belgium! The view of the Bug, hardly any mosquitoes now in the rain, that's an advantage 😅 The Bug has something mysterious.

Through the village and back into the field. And then we arrived in no man's land!! For several hours we rode in large endless grassy fields. Beautiful!!

The only company we had were the horses and a whole bunch of swallows busily flying around and between us. Probably because we attracted mosquitoes. I will come back here! You can gallop here for hours!! But now it was quite cold and especially wet. There was a strong cold wind. Nadine and I stayed quite dry, Michèle had a leak in her pants. And she navigated with her mobile phone, so every time her coat opened and closed, she also got a bit wetter than us.

At one point it looked like she peed her pants!! 🤣

But again great job and we rode from one beautiful place to another...

What a beautiful country!!

We passed many border markers and saw the Ukrainian markers on the other side. I got a bit of a weird feeling about it. On the other side of that river there is so much misery and we enjoy riding our horses along the border. Sometimes it felt a bit wrong.

Even when we passed through some small villages, people asked if we were riding to Ukraine because with our rain suits we looked like soldiers. That broke my heart.

We passed a beautiful lake where we let the horses drink for a while. We had some nice views over the river.

After 6 hours and 40 minutes we arrived at our accommodation. It didn't feel like we had been on the road for so long at all. Which is strange because we were quite frozen.

The horses could stand in the garden again. From the house we had a view of them. Again Calisto apart so that they are calm.

It was again a beautiful place with a nice big lake. The fire was burning and we laid everything out to dry. We got pierogi ruskie for dinner. (Polish dumplings with potato and cheese with cream) That tasted!

Then we walked to the store for another 10 minutes in the dark. Bought some snacks, a beer and food for the next day. Our first beer since we left! That was a good one!

And then off to bed!

September 10

Day 6: 23.13km 4h12

Cyk cyk cyk i szybko z Kozakiem.

Michèle was woken up by Fee who walked across the terrace, came to look inside and left a nice, fresh, green package. 😅

It was still raining. We had a good night and a nice breakfast.

Our stuff had dried pretty well.

Today Jacek Kozak will join us. The man where we slept the first night and welcomed us so well and gave us good food.

He knows the region well and today we ride to his house in the forest where he has some of his horses. The day started quietly with 3 km on foot along a busy road.

We passed Dorohusk, the border with Ukraine. We walked under a highway bridge where a long queue of trucks is on their way to the border. Kind of a weird feeling.

Finally off the asphalt, through a park and we were back in nature. On beautiful sand and grass roads. Again we came to no man's land, accompanied by swallows.

Occasionally we meet the magical Bug river. The roads here are really great! Despite the rain we could trot and canter without any problems. The pace is clearly faster today. Jacek Kozak is a real horseman and likes some speed. I was delighted! I would have preferred to make this trip without luggage, but it went pretty well.

Jacek!! Stop!!

I lost a shoe! Give me 5 minutes!!

To which he asked: 'why do you wear shoes on the grass?'

Good question...

At there are stones everywhere, so shoes are not a superfluous luxury.

The first days shoes were also useful. But the last few days we only did grass and dirt roads. Then shoes are of course superfluous.

Top invention those shoes, except if you lose or break one. Then it's an expensive case. 🙄Anyway, it was a bit comically chaotic.

I was eating a sandwich when we were galloping and it wasn't finished yet. Sandwich in my mouth and his heel piece off and hung on my bag. Took off his entire shoe and also hung it on my bag. Back in the saddle and full gallop a bit back to where I heard a sound. (still eating the sandwich meanwhile) Cali was a rocket! Despite the neighing and bucking, he still went nicely with me. Love it when they are like this! 😁

Arrived at the part where I thought I lost the shoe, but unfortunately nothing to see.

Ok I will put my sandwich away because it's not so handy at that moment. 🤣 And go back with my neighing and bucking fury. When we rounded the corner I couldn't remember whether we had come from the left or the right. Okay Cali, you take your pick. Hop off we were, and sure enough, behind the bushes the group was waiting for us. Just making a stop because the whole shoe had already fallen off my bags while leaving in a gallop 🙈🙈 We were able to continue. We did some nice long stretches of trot and canter. And we didn't lose any of our luggage. 😅

Let me say how proud I am of Calisto who, with his 1.42 m, was able to keep up with the 3 other horses of + 1.60 m! Great guy! ❤️

Pretty soon we arrived in the forest. We walked on a beautiful dirt road and suddenly a paradise appeared!! Jacek has a mixed group of horses here on a piece of land of 20 hectares. These horses have a fantastic wild life here. There are foxes, wolves, deer, deer, moose and a cat here. They have a nice shelter in which they hardly stand. They have nice big trees to shelter and always food and water.

It is very nice to see how well this herd works together.

There is also a cozy wooden house that has everything you need. Especially that beautiful spacious saddle room is great! 😍

And the fantastic view you have here! I immediately felt at home!!

The plan was to make a paddock for our horses because adding new horses to a herd can sometimes be hard.

When we entered the terrain, the herd already curiously came to see who we were.

Maybe just try to let them go? With 20 hectares you have enough space to run, don't you think. 😊

Calisto went to defend Fee very much. I had never seen him like this! He looked like a stallion! In the meantime we put everything to dry and again got a hearty but very tasty meal! What a great guy that Jacek is!

We spent the afternoon watching the herd of horses and sitting comfortably warm inside. In the evening Gosia arrived and again had good food. We didn't expect food at all! What a treat!!

Everyone had a hot shower and then went to bed quite early. The bad weather got in our bones and if you have eaten well and are warm inside, you don't need much to sleep well.

September 11

Day 7 11km 2h10

Rest day today!!

No alarm clock and a good night's sleep.

We got off to a slow start. Cake for breakfast.

Not much later said goodbye to Jacek and Gosia.

We had some nice soup from yesterday to eat. And some other things.

I get bored pretty quickly so I wanted to do something. Just google if there is a store nearby. 6 km away is a shop and it is open!

Put on my rain suit, made a list, emptied my bags and gathered courage.

Get Calisto, saddle up and wave goodbye to Michèle and Nadine.

With a lot of noise I left, but Calisto was brave. The whole group came walking along the fence. It was raining but the road was in good shape.

Beautiful dirt road through the forest at a trot.

We came out of the forest, passed some houses and an apple tree where he stopped himself to wait for his apple 😅 Then followed a long boring road and we arrived in the village.

The place where the store should be was empty. 🤔 And you clearly saw that they were renovating.

Luckily there was still a Groszek open. I was quite nervous about leaving Calisto out alone. Not that he wouldn't be good, rather someone would take him 🙈 There was a tree opposite the store with some blades of grass around. Tied him there and asked to wait nicely.

I went in like a soaked chicken and the woman from the store looked a bit strange.

I wanted to shop as fast as possible so I got a bit of a tilt.

Everything was very illogical placed in the store. I had already found spaghetti and when I found the sugar, I could only find sugar of 1 kg. I didn't feel like putting that in my bags. I asked if she had a smaller package. She was standing at the window. There was something about the horse. Spaghetti pushed into her hands and I ran out.

He stood on his rope and luckily he remembers not to panic.

When I came back in the woman helped me very well. I found everything we needed. 👍

Calisto was waiting for me in the rain. Bags loaded, a little chat and back to the cottage.

I tried to trot and canter once but the bags moved too much. Okay then everything in walk.

In the meantime, it only started to rain harder and a vicious wind came up. There was something hypnotic about the tapping of the rain on my hood.

Despite the bad weather I really enjoyed it. But just walking made me feel cold.

I had a song stuck in my head all the time.😁

If the going gets tough, the tough get going. (Just look it up, it's a real top song!)

Meanwhile, the beautiful sand road in the forest was soaked and we had to go through a lot of puddles. Of course he did great. He was very happy when he saw his friends again! Handed in my bags to the girls and went for a tour around the terrain. I was too curious! What a paradise it is!! The herd came towards us which made a deafening sound.

Calisto behaved in an exemplary manner!

Then he could go back into the herd. They were all cozily sheltering under a very beautiful, large tree. During our ride back, 2 cans of beer had opened in my bags. 🙈 I washed it out and hoped the smell would go away. Ate delicious soup from Jacek and then made spaghetti. With sauce from a jar, of course.

We spent the whole afternoon sitting in front of the window watching the horses and the birds. Looking at photos from last week and looking back at our adventure together.

We are quite proud of ourselves! We haven't known each other long either. I had seen Nadine once in July. And I have known Michèle for about 1.5 years. But since we live 3.5 hours away from each other, we don't exactly see each other every week. Nadine and Michèle have also only known each other for 1.5 years. But we make a good team. A bunch of crazy horse girls. When it got dark, the horses became active. They started running around which was quite impressive. You hear them coming, but you don't see them. They probably heard something in the bushes.

We went to bed too late and just when we were almost asleep we had a nightly visitor. At 00h30 our bedroom window was being used as a scratching pole.

The horses were standing in a row at our window. When we opened them, they came by one by one for some attention. 🤣 Okay window closed and try to sleep. A few more giggles and then it was quiet again.

September 12

Day 8: 26.42km 5h30

"So wake me up when its, all over*🎶

Michèle's alarm goes off!

The first thing I saw through the doorway when I opened my eyes was Calisto resting in front of the window.

That's how you want to wake up every day.

Nice breakfast, making a lunch package and packing up our stuff.

We came outside, no horses to be seen. On 20 hectares they can be everywhere.

So I started whistling and clapping my hands. Something our horses know.

And it worked! 5 seconds later they came galloping towards us!

I was a little afraid that the herd would hang around us while saddling but that was not too bad. One was very curious about our saddlebags but the rest was under their beloved tree. We left this beautiful place with a heavy heart. That's how it felt to me...

There were still large puddles in the forest on the sandy path, but a lot of water from yesterday was already gone. What a great region this is!! The forest itself is also very beautiful. A mixture of pine and deciduous trees that gave off a wonderful scent after / during the rain!

The horses went through the puddles a bit doubtful at first, but then it went smoothly. Fee and Nadine took the lead. They started a nice trot. I was still eating my sandwich when we trotted. (that's the guideline, me eating on my horse and while trotting or galloping 🤔🤣) My last bite and Fee left in a nice pleasant trot. For her... With her beautiful long legs she went ahead! Even Skip had to go into a gallop!! Calisto started in trot but soon he also changed to canter.

It was such a comical sight that I couldn't stop laughing. Gasping for breath. Meanwhile at a gallop, dodging the branches. But it was a lot of fun and Nadine and Fee did a great job!

We passed some houses in the woods and met a woman in her front yard. After we had greeted each other she asked Michèle if we had a cigarette for her. 🤔 Bit of a special question. But no, sorry...

In the forest it was still pleasant but then we came to the open plains. The wind was strong again and the drizzle made us wetter than you would expect.

Some roads with stones, which we did not miss, and some asphalt. We passed a farm where a man came out and asked if we wanted to buy a bridle or halters? 🤔 Another weird question...

The roads changed. It got slippery. We left the beautiful sand behind us and went more into the loamy area. It was difficult for the horses to walk. But they bravely went on.

We refrained from the strong cutting wind that made the drizzle feel like hail on our cheeks. Our hands and our feet were freezing. Getting off every now and then helped for a while, but once back in the saddle it was soon cold again.

I really had an autumn feeling today. One of those days where you sit in front of the window with a large mug of chocolate milk with a blanket and only go outside if necessary.

That's how it felt to me. I'm not ready for that yet...

I had the giggles a few more times for no reason. Or 🤔 we just looked so funny too! With our suits on, flapping in the wind!

Today's guideline was also: 'shit kaki gówno' and lots of sighing, blowing and 'moaning'.

It was really tough today! The heaviest day we've had this week.

On a difficult road we came across a lot of tracks of moose. According to Michèle really big ones!! I had a certain tension in me because I really want to see one in real life. From a safe distance for the horses, but that must be something really powerful!

It remained with roe deer and deer. And some birds and a hare.

A piece of asphalt that we were happy with because then we could trot on the roadside to get warm. A car approached and we heard a friendly male voice calling 'hello'.

It was the couple from the stable where we spend the night! Just through the woods, a field and you're there!!

The forest was very beautiful. It's something magical. As if the trees would come to life at night. We came onto the field and could see the stable in the distance! But it was very difficult for the horses to cross here just like that.The fields have also become very soggy due to the rain. While we could walk over every field without any problem in the first days without collapsing, that was absolutely not possible now.

Crossing the forest, what a long time that was!! One puddle after another and then plodding on. To top it off, we came across another piece where they are cutting the trees. Fortunately not today, but it was full of branches and felled trees.

We were very happy when we got on the asphalt and saw the stable! Horses are unsaddled and they get the whole yard to roam freely. Lots of hay and fresh water. But of course the other horses were more interesting.

It was a good idea to throw them loose into Jacek's herd on Saturday. Now they get along well with the 3 of them and we don't need to separate Calisto anymore.

We sleep today (unfortunately for the last time) in the saddle room.

But it is a luxury saddle room! With a couch and a bed. A stove that burned wonderfully when we came in, we could warm ourselves immediately. A table, a mini kitchen and a bathroom with shower!! Fantastic!! We were very hungry but they would bring pizza for us!! 🤤 Not much later they were there! 2 guesses where that pizza came from... 🤔

From Jacek's restaurant 😅 How coincidental!

It got hot in here with the stove. Bartosz also came to visit. Since we are only a day away from home, he didn't have to drive far. We just enjoyed a lovely shower and our eyes will soon be closed.

We have company here of a mouse that is looking for some food. Furthermore, it is very cozy here!

Tomorrow is the last one!!

How fast did that go!

September 13

Day 9: 28.5 km 6h16

We had a warm and good night in Stajnia Kresy's saddle room.

Breakfast and packing for the last time. I got off to a slow start. I had a dip. I think it's because it is the last day.

It had stayed dry at night so the horses were dry. Finally we could give them a decent brush. My saddle was still wet and I left my rain pants off today. Which resulted in nice and cozy wet pants.

Waved off by the lovely couple we left. 9:30 am, we are already well into the rhythm.

We left and went straight into the fields. Literal. No road, only deeply collapsing fields. The horses felt a bit stiff for the first time this week. Probably some muscle soreness from yesterday's slogging. But they did their best. So immediately starting to slog in the morning is not too pleasant.

It was dry. Finally! The sun came through every now and then, which was already wonderful, but there was still a cold wind.

We went through yesterday's mysterious forest again, passed a beautiful ruin, passed many farms, a lonely fat horse and a cute granny on a bicycle.

Although it was dry all night, the roads were still slippery. Very tiring walking for the horses. With every step they take they slide away. We saw many tracks again. Roe deer, moose, big dogs that looked like wolves for a moment and I think boar too.

We rode into another forest and felt like we were in a medieval movie. As if there were robbers in the bushes.

And the sun that occasionally shone through the leaves. It warmed our soul, even though we didn't feel much warmth yet.

Out of the beautiful forest, we had a pee stop. Oh are we glad that we can easily make a pee in the bushes again without all those layers of clothing during the rain!

That was quite an adventure, holding it in as long as possible until it was really no longer possible. Then get off our horse, get even wetter while looking for a place, then raincoat up, rain pants down, breeches, underwear, doing the need, in the cold and rain. Then get everything back on with those numb hands! Haha but today it went smoothly again.

We let the horses eat because despite the much good hay they had last night, they were hungry. It is of course the horse's nature to eat more now that the days are shortening and their coat is changing. So you can't blame them.

It is also striking how well they extract certain herbs. I don't know everything Calisto ate but normally a horse knows what is good and what he needs.. The thistles were very popular and some little blue flowers, no idea what it was.

We crossed another field (plowing, plowing) and saw many deer!

We got many views again. Around the river the land is somewhat flatter. Here, just like the first day, it is sloping and you see beautiful views!

Into another forest that was very wet. Glad we got out again!

Then we could finally do our first trot of the day! That immediately became a gallop on a beautiful grassland with an amazing view!! Then on the street. A bit walking next to our horse because we were stiff.

I suffered a lot! Not only those wet pants were unpleasant, but I also had a lot of muscle pain. Probably because of having had such a cold long slogging day yesterday. After the street we went back into the fields. Our 2nd gallop on a field that was sinking in deeper than we thought. But the horses went well for it.

Then into a forest that was very promising, but the disappointment was big when we saw a little further on that the road was covered with branches and felled trees.

They had been busy with cutting but clearly still had to come and clean up. (if they do, because it happens that they just leave the branches on the road.)

Back in the saddle at the end of the forest and just when I was complaining to Calisto that he wanted to eat again, we heard Nadine calling. 'An moose!! A moose!!'

From a distance we saw a nice big male moose cross the field and flee into the woods!! He still had a small set of antlers, but was quite impressive himself.

I saw my first moose!!

Unfortunately I only have pictures of his tracks. But we were very happy with this passage! We walked next to the horses again for a while and that was quite a challenge.

The loam soil stuck under our shoes and was difficult to remove. It looked like it had 5 kg on it! The hooves of the horses were also full of soil. Ugh what a dirty mess!

We came closer to home. I recognized the roads from day one. Unfortunately we had to make a small detour because the short way home would be all slippery.

But we were still able to do a few trots and gallops! Then just 3 km on the asphalt road and we were home.

Sad that it was over but also glad that this day was over.

We all agreed that these last 2 days were really the toughest because of the slogging on the roads.

The horses were also happy to be back home.

Calisto just joined the herd. It is very nice to see how the 3 horses have now become such a click. We couldn't imagine that on the first day.

It's a wrap! 9 beautiful days.

Many plans that had to be changed but we did quite well.

It is already certain that there will be a return. And then we're going to prepare a little better. Or choose another time so that it is less cold to sleep in a tent. (Because those beautiful plains along the Bug River are very inviting for wild camping!)

Or we go on a luxury tour and look for places to stay.

We do not know yet. But there will definitely be a sequel. And that time with Geert.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible!!

It was another wonderful adventure. And we are very proud of our horses who did a great job! Because that's what it's all about in the end!

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