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Diary - 9


Expedition Diary at a glance 9

14 November: Day 34

Weight of total equipment carried by ponies and David = 110.1 kilograms (= 241.2 pounds). Roamer carried maximally 60.95 kg (= 134 lbs), representing 58% of the load carried by the ponies. Thorn carried 44.45 kg (= 97.8 lbs), representing 42% of the load carried by the ponies. David carried 4.7 kg (=10.3 lbs) in a rucksac.

Loads carried by each pony were determined by the allocated saddles. Due to the shape of Roamerís back at his withers, the British Military pack saddle was allocated to him. Thornís back was better suited to the Roman packsaddle to ensure avoidance of any rubbing at the withers due to the saddle pommelís relatively wide angle.

Heavier items were carried in soft plastic boxes within the British pack. Canvas bags were used to carry items within the Roman pack. Computers and the tent were carried by Thorn.

Roamer, though the shorter pony by about five centimetres (two inches), carried nearly three-fifths of the load. Although he worked harder that Thorn therefore, this was well within his capability and he was given extra Spillers high fibre food.

Roamer also had a slightly smaller stride length than Thorn, so needed to work a little harder to maintain the team pace on occasions. However, Thorn could be controlled more easily from the front to ensure that he did not overstretch Roamer.

Thorn was chosen as the lead pony because Roamer could be better trusted, when harnessed to Thorn, at the beginning of the expedition not to rush through gates after Thorn, avoiding damage to pack and pony. Though both ponies were capable of leading and following from the outset, Roamer was the more calculating pony at the beginning. He had also been trained exclusively using the British saddle and pack and could estimate pack widths exactly from expedition start, which he did with millimetre accuracy.

This combination, Thorn leading and Roamer following, worked admirably for most of the expedition, though inevitably there were setbacks, particularly during early days!

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