My Great Uncle Guy, born 19 September 1889 was my Grandfather’s twin brother. He served in the cavalry before, during and after the First World War. When I was young he mentioned two things that made a difference for the Ride.
He said that the popular image of the cavalry rushing everywhere on horseback was completely wrong. He told us there was only one Western that got it right (I forget which it was) and had the US Cavalry spending most of their time dismounted and leading their horses. The second thing was that if you were very hot and probably dusty (he had served in Egypt and I think in India) then a pair of silk longjohns under your breeches would stop them chaffing.
So, when I was thinking about what to wear for the ride and I wanted plenty of useful sized trouser pockets which modern breeches and jodhpurs do NOT have, I realised that if I wore cotton walking trousers I would get the pockets. Two identical pairs would cover days on the road and a change for evenings. The risk of the loose material rubbing would be avoided with the silk underlayer. Craghoppers did the job (available from Blacks and lots of outdoor shops). They have plenty of pockets though the stitching on the thigh pocket took a battering from having my phone with its ‘armoured’ case on it and I was lucky to find it quite quickly by the road when it slipped through in Dorset. I got silk longjohns from Patra to go underneath.
My plan was to dismount and lead for 20 to 25 percent of the time which would give Strider’s back a break and help my hips, knees and ankles. That would be 500 to 600 miles over the whole journey so I investigated light walking boots as an alternative to riding boots and got endurance type deep plastic stirrups to give me a platform for a boot that did not have the stiffer sole of a riding boot. Cotswold Outdoor checked my foot size very carefully and suggested Scarpa walking boots. They did me pretty well though if the original plan had been to walk over half of the eventual 2,700 miles I might have gone for a heavier boot. I wore out one pair and bruised the soles of my feet with so much work on roads and hard tracks.
Thankyou Great Uncle Guy.