It turned out that I wasn’t quite capable of six full days on horseback; surprisingly, it wasn’t the gimpy knee that betrayed me, but an ankle, which I managed to sprain on day four during a series of canters along a woodland trail. I was riding a rather slower horse than Hank, an elder statesman by the name of Morgan, and we got along just fine. But somehow, in the last of these long woodland breakaways, I got my right foot too far forward in the stirrup and something went pop. I took the next day off, but when we set out to ride on our final day, I knew after the second trot that I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up all day, never mind the 400mg of ibuprofen I’d already taken just in case. So I turned back, with tears in my eyes, 20 minutes into the ride and returned to the barn on my own (causing a bit of consternation in those who saw me walk up the lane, as they assumed that I’d been thrown.
Once I recovered from my disappointment in missing the trek to the mountain top, I actually had a lovely day, walking up to see the foals, one of them only a day old, with little Ruby, the daughter of our guide. And I’m sure the rest could go faster without me to hold them back. So it’s off to the International Arthurian Congress with my pride more or less intact (I still didn’t fall off!) and a swollen purple ankle.