Friday, September 4, 2009

Why the long face?

While in New Hampshire I went horseback riding with the kids. Oh what fun. We were introduced to the horses, and alarm bells went off in my head when I found out that my horse was named "Stormy". The guide muttered comments such as "you'll be OK as long as you are firm with him", "don't worry about whacking him with the end of your reins if he refuses to obey you" ....

We had an extremely bad start. The guide held onto Emma's horse ("Andy") and led him while riding her own horse ("Belle"). Robert's horse "Token" apparently would follow the group as long as Stormy was following. Stormy decided he liked to eat every piece of vegetation that he passed. I spent the first 10 minutes of the ride leaning over his head trying to pull it up with my reins, digging my heels in his side saying "walk on", or "get a friggin move on" or something similar, and flicking madly at his flank with the end of my reins. Token refused to follow because Stormy wasn't following, so Robert made similar motions with his horse too. The guide started to lose her composure and a few statements like "I can't help you if you don't help me" were uttered under her breath; I wasn't sure if she was addressing us or the horses.

But eventually I got the hang of things and learned how to pull my reins to keep Stormy away from the grass. We trudged up the hillside and through mud that came up over the horses' ankles (do horses have ankles?), and I was glad they were doing the walking not me. All in all, it was pretty enjoyable, with my only complaint in the end being that it doesn't half make your bum sore....

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