A True Test Ride

A little while ago Jackie mentioned the possibility of a morning trail ride in Mae Rim (about 1/2 an hour if Lukas is driving) and TODAY WAS THE DAY!!  We headed out early this morning to the M-Place and had an amazing mountain-jungle tour organized by the Skill Center Chiang Mai.

My horse for the day was Dang.

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Dang means red in Thai.

We got all the horses ready and all the people ready and headed out for a trip through a beautiful tropical forest – bamboo and mango trees galore.

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This picture does not do the beauty justice.  This was magical.  Much more vibrant than the picture portrays.

We stopped at the top of the mountain (some would call it maybe a bit more of a hill) for a much needed snack of fried chicken and croissants with ham and cheese and steamed sweet corn.  All provided by Khun Ning – thanks Khun Ning!

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Lukas was familiar with the route and at times would have Ning and I ride ahead and once we’d cleared the path he’d yell at Jackie that she could gallop and she and her horse would gallop up the trail to catch us.  It was so impressive!

There were also many branches to avoid along the way and Lukas mentioned (maybe more than once) how handy it was that I’d managed to learn to bend down and touch my toes while riding so I could dodge these branches.  And he was right.

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Towards the end of the ride we came to a place that could have been right out of The Chronicles 0f Narnia – if The Chronicles of Narnia had been set in the tropics.  We came into a bamboo forest where the sun was shining through and making everything all glowy.  There were also mango trees and the horses were snacking on mangoes – their fill of mangoes.  Horses can eat a lot of mangoes.  We eventually moved on and ended with both Jackie and me (Jackie leading, thankfully) galloping to the end of the trail.

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It was a wonderful day.  A huge thank you to Jackie for a wonderful gift!

 

 

A Saddle

I’ve had 4 more lessons since my last post.  I’ve managed to touch my toes when Lukas says.  I’ve made Lola trot and gallop without Lukas’ assistance and I’ve made some jumps – some small jumps.  With no hands or saddle.

Today I got a saddle.  Pretty excited about that.  I feel like an angel who has earned her wings.  I’m was so anxious that I had two dreams about it last night.  The first wasn’t so bad, I dreamt I overslept.  The second Jackie and I were chatting while we were waiting for Lukas to assign us our horses for the day and we see Lukas walk up with two elephants.  Not sure what that meant.

We saddled up our horses – or rather I mostly watched the horses get saddled up.  Today I was riding Mario.  He’s a little less sensitive than Lola and since I’m totally inept that’s probably good.  We walk the horses to the paddock and get on.  I discover that my saddle has no horn.  I wanted a horn.  I wanted to hold on to the horn for dear life.  Today we galloped, we trotted, and we walked.  We did a lot of walking.  We also did some little jumps.  For the most part Mario and I followed Jackie and her horse around.  I didn’t mind that at all.

After our lesson, Jackie and I rode through the back part of the neighborhood that the stables are in.  Early on, Mario and I had a bit of a battle to see who was in charge.  I might have won, but it’s just as likely that Mario decided I wasn’t worth the fight.  I then learned how to remove the saddle and the harness and how to care for the horses after they’ve been worked.

Lots of confidence built today.  Plus, I rode for a whole hour.  I think that brings my total riding experience to about 3 hours.