The last time I went for an outride, just a month or so before, was wonderful! Exhilarating! And, very very painful for the four days following the adventure. It really shook up every muscle in my body. Some of which have been in hibernation for quite some time. But, still, I wanted to go again! And again! And again!
This time, however, I had a slightly different experience. Something that involved a wild gallop on an ex-racehorse, just four months off duty as a brood mare. Needless to say, it was a comical sight for all those behind me. Behind being the operative word. Mine, that is. Bouncing up and down skyward, with my nose planted firmly in my horse’s name. My horse. Named Tempest. Hmmm.
I do remember seeing the ground speed beneath flashing hooves. That is, between the mane lashing that my face received. That part of my face that wasn’t squashed in my riding helmet, which had migrated to my nose area. I remember thinking, "that ground looks rocky and hard." I also remember thinking, "I can’t die now. My kids need me!" Sorry, babe. I missed you out in that fleeting moment of panic. Okay, not-so-fleeting-moment of panic. Those rocks were too hard for fleeting moments. Not to mention the narrow path. And the fact that my behind was still skyward. I lost a stirrup somewhere in the commotion. And, at one point, my arms were wrapped around dear Tempest’s neck. My head buried in half-helmet-half-mane. And my behind pointing somewhat parallel to the ground, what with the greater half of my body hanging on the right hand side of the saddle.
Thankfully it all came to an end at the top of the mountain. I mean, I gained control of the reins and my stirrups. Even if I didn’t gain control of the horse. But… Tempest stopped. Not because of me. But because any further galloping would’ve resulted in a rather ugly encounter with a mountain face. It was the end of the gallop and Tempest was done.
Turns out, I discover later, that Tempest is a race-horse. Okay, just a brood mare, but she’s got that "I gotto beat any horse in my way" mentality. Plus she was in season. I didn’t think about that when we took off with a horse in front of me. Tempest just had to beat the boy in front. Show off. So, she side stepped (side cantered?) into the bushes to get around him. I was still moving forward at the time. Hence the undoing of me and anything that resembled control as a wild gallop up the mountain ensued.
The rest of the ride was uneventful, and I did managed to enjoy a few nicely controlled canters. But, I discovered first hand what I’ve long suspected. I’m a wuss. A chicken-livered scaredy cat! So, if we go again, I’ll ask nicely for River Canyon. The push button horse I rode last time. Strange gaiting canter or no – at least I felt safe on top of him!
Thankfully mom didn’t get a shot of me in my posterior prancing. But she did pick up a few sweet shots of me and the kids. We have some lovely shots of the girls and boys enjoying their own horse riding experience two days later too. Even a few of Craig the Horse Whisperer. Yip, my self-professing non-horse riding hubby seemed to have the horses eating out his hand – both literally and figuratively. The strange hooded woman is me. It was CO—OL-D. And my ears were freezing. So my poncho was temporarily a shawl/scarf. Another hobo-woman moment for me. But, as those close to me know, when it comes to weather function comes before form. Or, in other words, I don’t care how crazy/ugly/weird/unattractive it looks – if I’m warm, I’m happy! 🙂
Check out all our horse riding photos, including the Horse Whisperer on our slideshow: Horse Riding in Hermanus. There are some beautiful moments there!