Like Lesley Carter, I have my bucket list. I also hold, sometimes unrealistic, admiration for people, and, because of that, I want to try to do the things they do.
Enter Carmen again. She’s taking horseback riding lessons, and she’s going to ride with the stars. When will I ever learn, Marsha Lee, you are not Carmen? Carmen can do things you can’t, and it’s ok. But I tried.
Start with the end and work backward. I made it up the mountain. You can all see that. I made it back down or I wouldn’t be writing. My husband asked, didn’t you love the views?
I knew I was in trouble as soon as the guide adjusted my stirrups. He tried to pull my leg back to put it in the stirrup, and it wasn’t going in that direction. He managed to get it in the stirrup, but I was already in pain.
You notice that the picture is a little fuzzy. I wanted you to see what I was seeing. Remember I was bouncing with every excruciating step. The view wasn’t in focus anymore for me that it is for you! Not only that I had my camera around my neck and hanging at my side. The guide wisely reminded me that lenses and saddles didn’t mix and if the lens accidentally came in contact with the saddle… This is my third lens already.
So you can see that it really was beautiful This was VERY early on. I could still lookout when the guide stopped to give us a break. We are going through a housing development developed to continue agriculture. Each plot was something like 10 acres, and they had to grow something. I admit I wasn’t concentrating on his words right then.
This aqueduct was built in blah, blah, blah. Amazing work of engineering. I will appreciate it when I get home. Meanwhile, my camera is still safe, but at what cost? I have the reins in my right hand holding tight because my horse likes to veer to the side whenever he/she sees something green. Down goes her (I’m thinking broad, gentle, must be an older woman horse) head. MMMMMM. “Don’t let the horses eat,” warned the guide in the beginning. I yank with all my might and she grabs her bites to go. My left hand is twisted behind my back holding onto the camera lens to protect it from the saddle.
She looked comfortable in the saddle. I definitely was NOT. I got the BROADEST mare. When I was 10, I never could do the splits sideways, no matter how much I stretched. I could do them front-to-back, but that position was not needed for this task. At 60 sitting atop Bessie, I was stretched wider than my widest 10-year-old splits. I had my heels down which stretched my nerves and muscles ways they couldn’t go either. My toes were pointed up, and my knees were pressed in. I don’t know what my ankles were doing, but they hurt too.
At the top of the mountain, we finally got to dismount for a bit. That was not easy, but my legs were still functioning at this point. I blessed my husband over and over for choosing the morning ride that only lasted 2 hours instead of the lunch ride I had wanted that lasted 2.5 hours.
You can’t see how fat my horse is, but Francis’ horse is obviously looking for grass. He didn’t get ANY on the way up! I think horses must eat anything – tree leaves, grass, rocks…
I was trying not to cry in front of everyone, but at least I was safe for a bit. She had not fallen off the rocky path – came close a few times, I thought. So I gave her sweaty body a brief pat. She won’t look at me. The horses in our neighborhood love me and look at me, but they don’t have to carry me up a steep mountainside.
We’re ready to go back down. I’m smiling on the outside. Francis isn’t under the same obligation. This is it until we get back down. No more pictures. Bessie was really hungry on the way down. She would pull off to the side of the road, bend her head down. I used both hands to keep her on the path, not going over the cliff to higher grass.
Then she jogged to catch up to the rest. I begged her to slow down. I pulled back on her reigns. I cried. I pleaded. She kept jogging until she caught up. I was able to get off of Bessie, but a nice young man had to almost lift me off. I couldn’t get my right leg over the saddle. I slid onto the ground with him holding on to me. I clung to Bessie until I could stand. I didn’t care that she was sweaty and dusty. I couldn’t see anything for a few minutes. Slowly I came back to life and walked away from the horse.
Everybody told the guide what a wonderful trip it was. I was crying. I couldn’t stop the tears. I told him I was out of shape. The ride was great.
I was just grateful that I didn’t kick the bucket on that trip. The next day I was fine. We probably walked 6 miles along the beach to Whalers’ Village and back. No stiffness, sore muscles, nothing. Go figure!
Warning to newlyweds – don’t try horseback riding on a mountain trail on your honeymoon unless you are REALLY used to doing it!
- Horseback Riding: Good for Your Health? (marcellarousseau.wordpress.com)