So a full day spent now training the horses for their upcoming endurance competitions. Here at Perseverance before any horse under goes a fitness program they are each run through a Kikkuli test across 4 days and totalling up to 80km in all. This test is to test their capabilities physically and mentally. In order to pass they must not stop or become lame. The test is as follows:
First day - A.m. trot 18kms, canter 420m, let pulse recover canter 600m
mid day - trot 6kms, gallop 420m
p.m. - trot 6 kms, canter 420m
Second day - A.m. trot 15kms, canter 420m, pulse recover canter 600m
p.m. - trot 6km
Third day - A.m. trot 12kms
p.m. - trot 6kms
Fourth day - A.m. trot 12kms, canter 4.8kms, recover canter 7.2kms
Day 6 was to be the start of "The Kikkuli Test" for the 3 stallions; Amir, Magic, Orient and my mount a 6 year old, gelding called Nile. The 18kms was to be ridden before breakfast, so Bob, Laura, Ashley and myself set off on our mounts. The route taken was out through several camps to a circuit. This circuit we took 4 loops round at a trot. It did not matter about speed just as long as they continued as this is not supposed to be a training ride. Once the 18kms of trot had been ridden then it was back to the farm and along the way we did the stretches of canter.
Once back at the farm it was breakfast/ lunch and then back out to the horses to ride the next loop. The second loop was to be 6kms so we headed off back towards the circuit but doing it in reverse. All horses jogged round and on the way back to the farm we allowed the horses to stretch their legs in gallop.
Back at the farm we were able to have a bite to eat and a break for us as well as the horses. We left the farm to do our final 6km at around 5pm just as it was dusk. Back through the camps towards the circuit and around we went for about the sixth or seventh time that day. By the time we were heading back to the farm it was getting dark which made it more difficult to spot the aardvark holes along the track. But we all got back so day 1 of the test was completed by all horses.
The second day of "The Kikkuli Test" for Amir, Magic, Orient and Nile. Out we trooped to do the 15kms in trot. Back on the circuit, Nile was feeling particularly grumpy about it but that was presumbly because he was bored of the same track, which does get monotonous after a while. Several trips round the circuit and we headed back to the farm with a canter along the way and I had an exuberant Nile who decided to look at plant life as though it would eat him.
Back at the farm and we were able to have our late breakfast. Then it was time to take some of the other horses out exercising. I was able to ride Liberty once again with Laura on Jedi, Lucy riding Mabruk and Ashley with his favourite, Mercury. We headed off out the farm along the road and past the stallions camp and through the neighboring farm. It was this ride where I first encountered the sizes of the spiders in this country. We proceeded down a track which I have nicknamed "Cobweb Corridor". These spiders make their webs up in the trees reaching across the track to the other side and being of a convenient head height when mounted. I absolutely hate spiders so during this track I kept my head down but it clearly was not low enough as I felt a cobweb strand across my mouth. Luckily the spiders were all right at the top of their web, but I still panicked and hugged Liberty's neck as we went through. After this we headed up the hill/ skloof and along the top in canter. This was a good work out for all, with Laura and Jedi disappearing off into the distance and waiting for us at the top. It was then a walk back down the skloof allowing the horses to catch their breath and through the dreaded "Cobweb Corrider", which I took the chance to hug Liberty's neck once again and bury my face in her mane as she followed Mercury through. It rained the entire ride, which reminded me much of home, so by the time we all returned back to the farm we were soaked to the skin.
A quick hot drink and change of clothing, Laura, Ashley and myself were off back out to do another 6km in the rain. As the track was very wet by this time and would be slippy we took them along the road, although the road is a dirt track so it was soft under foot. Nile picked up along this road and enjoyed the change of scenery, even if it was reining. The two stallions; Amir and Magic particularly enjoyed this outing when we went past one of the camps with all the mares in, in which they both picked up pace. As it was only 6km it was a short ride but we were still very wet when we all returned but it was in daylight this time before dark.
Tomorrow we shall continue with "The Kikkuli Test" but hopefully it will not be raining here. Due to the amount of rain we have had in the last few days some of the major roads on the South Cape have been closed and Port Elizabeth is suffering with much flooding.