Summer riding in the Dordogne countryside is a constant pleasure; no more worrying about cars dashing to work or parents racing to do the school run. Sometimes I realise I am taking it for granted. I can ride for miles and never see a car and there’s no need to ride along roads or cross motorway and railway bridges. All this I have had to do in the past, holding my breath as another lorry rattles by. Here I enjoy the true experience of hacking out; even a quick “round the block” is peaceful and relaxing.
It’s time for my weekly meet up with a friend and her horse. We’re off to explore another new ride following the randonnée signs and soon we find a great track and set off in a canter; her horse an ex endurance skips and flies over the shaded sandy tracks through the woods, me thundering behind lying on my 167 cms horse's neck to avoid the branches my friend has gracefully ducked under. In places the sun can't penetrate the dense leaves and it’s like riding through a tunnel. Suddenly there is a bright clearing and the horses jump forward into the light. We tear along the track like 2 children, laughing and shouting out things to each other.
Pausing to let our horses catch their breath I look around. This is absolute heaven, exploring the countryside on horseback with a great friend – what more could I ask for.