Some may think this is a bit lame, but hay, I’m not ashamed to admit that days like these really stirrup the emotions.
I’m talking of course about the day that I took to the saddle on a beautiful Dominican beach to ride Pinto, my spritely stallion, and bringer of joy. There’s nothing quite like riding a horse along sand. I’ve only been lucky enough to do this twice in my relatively short life, but there’s just such a feeling of freedom about it.
The first time was in Jamaica in 2008. We struck out through lakes and groves and finally came across a deserted beach where we were free to gallop to our heart’s content. Unfortunately I was severely under-prepared and ended up losing a flip flop as we screamed along the shoreline. This time I was decidedly more prepared, opting for sturdy trainers. If there’s one thing you can say about me, it’s that I learn from my mistakes.
So here we were on a bright Thursday afternoon, awaiting our pairings. “Who has riding experience?” Asked the man in charge. Sheepishly I came forward, knowing that this would mean almost certain death from being assigned the biggest and scariest horse, which bolts at any small rustling. How wrong could I have been? Pinto was a complete gent, and accepted my bulky frame with no protest at all.
He belonged to the instructor, and I was surprised to see a 12 inch machete (in a leather case) tied to his withers. A real man’s horse! Of course, this was hastily removed (without so much as a cursory comment) and we were on our way.
Well, it was absolute heaven. We padded along the soft sand, the horses trying to walk ever so slightly faster than each other which resulted in a comical smush of humans and horses. They nipped at each other’s bottoms, veered into the warm waters and just generally horsed around. I can’t remember the last time I was so happy.
I soon broke away from the group to have a gallop, something I miss from my childhood days and which sent tingles of adrenaline through my fingertips. In fact, I was so stirred by our afternoon’s jaunt that I made a video to thank the lovely horse which so gallantly showed me around the coastline. I call it ‘My lovely horse’, and it features the music from a 1997 episode of Father Ted which unless you’ve seen, this is going to be a very weird couple of minutes.
So, don’t be a neigh-sayer! Next time you’re offered the chance to ride one of these beautiful creatures, especially in such an increadible setting, take it. After all, we won’t be on this planet furlong, so take every opportunity that arises before you’re pasture prime.