the five of us
is long with good company"
Hannah (the flying packhorse) aka 'The Baggage'
Welsh x Arab, 15hh, born at home in
1993, by Audin (before the terrible operation - see below) out of
our beloved Welsh Cob mare, Annie. Hannah was my riding horse for
years before discovering her new life as expedition pack horse. She
enjoys the freedom that her new role brings and, in particular, not
having to carry some idiot trying to steer her in what is clearly
not the best direction. She likes to lead from the front which
means the rest of us get to see even more of her extensive
hindquarters. As Head of Security, Hannah never fails to raise the
alarm – even when there’s absolutely nothing at all to worry about.
Pure bred Arab, 7/8 Crabbett 1/8 Polish, bred by Sue and Emrys Jones in Llandeilo in 1990, 14hh2, Audin is the undisputed Prince of Lurrrve and still has some of the equipment to go with it. Unfortunately (for him) Lisa carried out a terrible operation on him in our back garden one sad day in 1994. Hannah was the only child he’ll ever have.
Apart from his deep-rooted fear of
plant pots, which only years of psychoanalysis could explain, Audin
is Mr Cool and keeps his head when all around are losing theirs and
blaming it on him. As Chairman of the Welcoming Committee, he’s a
friend to everyone and is never afraid to extend the tongue of
friendship. The same tongue, incidentally, comes in very handy when
we can’t be bothered to go and do the washing up. Audin gets to
lick out the pans; we don’t have to wash up – a ‘win-win’ situation
if ever there was one.
Standing just over 15hh, bred by Jill Scudamore in Bristol in 1999 and given not one but two names, Sealeah is a classy bird through and through. Like Audin, she’s pure Arab and 7/8 Crabbett 1/8 Polish. We bought her as a yearling and brought her back home to Wales, where Hannah immediately tried to kill her in a fit of jealousy. Who the hell did she think she was just turning up like that? Since then, time has healed the old wounds and through travelling together they’ve learned to almost be friends.
Sealeah is far and away the most unflappable mare we’ve ever ridden; nothing fazes her – so much for Arabs being flighty. She only really becomes excited when the angle gets above 45 degrees and she storms into the front – this is how we discovered her desire to be an Alpine Guide. In addition, as Chief Yoga Instructor, she regularly leads the morning stretching sessions which, sadly, none of the rest of us can be bothered to join in with.
Finally, her love of camping is
obvious to all and she has, on several occasions, applied for the
role of Assistant Campsite Manager. The fact that she was treading
on the tent on each occasion meant that her applications had,
fortunately, to be rejected. There’s no doubt that she would sleep
in the tent with us given half a chance. This must be due to her
Bedouin ancestry - surely there can be no better selective breeding
for a travelling horse than a few thousand years of living with
Lisa Adshead (née Durham)
Born in a Welsh Valley in 1967, she now stands16hh2 to the top of her blonde head. Thanks to her childhood pony, Skipper, she learned to ride before she could walk. This was quite worrying for her parents because she was thirteen at the time. Nowadays, of course, Skipper would be banned under the Dangerous Pets Act 1999 but back in the good old days before the nanny state, Lisa was allowed to ride this chestnut basket case wherever she liked. This helped to give her both a sense of adventure and a bombproof seat that comes in handy when she’s riding Audin and he’s suddenly ‘attacked’ by a pack of stationary plant pots. Now a vet, and an equine one to boot, she experienced only limited competition when she applied for the post of Chief Veterinary Officer for the trip. Her other roles include Senior Farrier and Head Groom.
Born on St David’s Day 1967, 18hh2. Prior to marrying Lisa, it’s fair to say he didn’t know his horse from his elbow. Even now, fifteen years later, his complete lack of knowledge regarding equine anatomy still horrifies his wife. He’s tried to learn the ‘points of the horse’ on twenty seven separate occasions but only once got further than that bit just above the hoof…what’s it called?…no, don’t tell me…it’s coming…the clarinet band! After a decade and a half as a civil engineer specialising in sewerage, he now knows exactly what happens when poo and rainwater get together in pipes that aren’t big enough. He was bitterly disappointed to discover that his professional skills were of absolutely no use whatsoever to the trip. While Lisa’s busy doing all the dirty jobs, Harry’s expedition roles include Senior Route Planner, Chief Navigator, Campsite Manager, Taker of The Holiday Snaps and Lead Diary Writer.