[Warning! If you are one of those weird horse people who get on their high horse (see what I did there? Ha) and judge everyone who has a bad word to say about horses, probably don't read this.]
I have always found there to be two types of people in the world when it comes to horses. There are people who like horses. Now let me clarify when I say like, I mean they believe horses are magical, beautiful, majestic, deep, gentle-souled creatures, rainbows flow from their manes and looking into their eyes will bring world peace. Then there are normal people.
With those prejudices with me today I went on a horse trek on Pakiri Beach with my friend who likes horses. I was actually quite exited because I always want to like horse riding. People who do it seem to really love it, like really obsessively love it, so I thought this is going to be fun. I hoped it was all going to click together, I'll connect with horse riding, so when I move back to London I can join a fancy pony club and trot around Hyde Park and life will be wonderful.
That didn't really happen. I was riding Bundy, he was brown. That's about as in depth as my horse aesthetic analysis is going to get. My BFF* was riding Des. He was white, underneath a layer of dirt.
|Horses like selfies too it seems.|
The views on the coast were lovely and the trek went throughout the forest which was really nice - bird song, nature, all that jazz. For the first 2 and a half hours everything was fine. I learnt the basics as we ambled along, back straight, heels down, lean forwards, lean back, pull this, kick that. Bundy had two speeds: too slow or too fast. He was also terrible at judging distances: so far back Des isn't visible, or so close he's attempting to give Des a prostate exam. Safe to say Des was not impressed with Bundy's advances. Neither was Des impressed with Bundy falling behind as apparently he had important horse business elsewhere, he had places to be and was in a hurry to get this trek over with.
However, despite my constant falling behind and woeful attempts to get that 1-2 bounce while trotting, I was having a nice time. I made sure to look the part with my Topshop riding boots (that have never been near mud before), jodhpurs (which I was told later used to belong to a 10 year old kid), and a french braid in my hair. My sound logic was if I looked the part it would come naturally to me.
|This is what horse riders do, I've seen it in movies.|
It was about the halfway point, just before lunch when it all started to fall apart. Coming down the hill towards the lunch spot Bundy decided lunch was happening now. Like a typical guy eating was his priority anything else be damned, there was grass here, we were stopping. There was no moving him, that horse was stubborn as a mule. While Bundy pigged out, Des threw a tantrum, so we had to hop off and walk the 5 minutes down the hill. That feeling when your feet touch the ground is truly blissful. My ass and legs were so thankful for the break.
After lunch we were facing another three hours. I thought the break and delicious grassy snack might have chilled the horses out. It didn't. We had to make up time on the way back so that meant more trotting and numerous attempts to canter. This would have been fine if I hadn't lost ALL feeling in my legs and was utterly incapable of even moving my legs to kick the horse forward let alone grip the horse with my thighs to canter.
It was around then that some dogs ran out on to the beach and Bundy spooked and bolted, scaring the hell out of me and validating everything I've every thought about horses. Herein lies my problem with horses. Horses don't give a shit about you.
The dogs didn't even do anything, they were way down the beach happily bouncing around in the sea. There's the comparison. Horses are void of emotion. They are never happy to see you, never sad when you leave. You can feed them and care for them but they'll never care about you. I once was severely ill and my dog, who at the time was a hyperactive puppy, stayed by my side, managing to be still and quiet for once. Horses won't do anything like that for you. You've heard those stories of dogs guarding their deceased owner or staying by his owners grave. Have you ever heard of a horse doing this? Go on google it, I'll wait.
The answer is no, because horses do not give a shit about you. I'm the kind of girl who likes to be appreciated, if I invest my time, love and loyalty in you, I damn well expect the same back. I spent three and a half hours attempting to love Bundy that morning. I patted him, even though horses show complete indifference to the act so how are you supposed to know if they even like it. I forgave him for walking me into low hanging branches. I contemplated sharing my lunch with him. I steered him carefully around the wood so as to avoid sticks I thought might hurt his feet. I cared.
All he did was blink back at me. Is blinking good? Are you happy? You have one expression, I'm getting nothing from you. Then, at the first sign of danger what does Bundy do for me? He fucks off.
My friend and I managed to make it back alive and well. Our friendship was not so much well, but just about alive at least. Getting off that horse was probably my favourite moment of the day.
Trotting back along the beach, silently crying thanks to the horrendous pain in my legs, I came to the conclusion that horses are like olives. You either like them or you don't, there's no middle ground. No one has ever said 'Oh olives? Yeah I could take 'em or leave 'em mate.' Just no, that doesn't happen. You have to choose a side. But invariably even though I know I hate olives, I always try them again, I still want to like them. I should like them, they're good for me! Same with horses.
Will I ride a horse again? Probably.
Will I call the horse afterwards? Definitely not.
*I'm going to need a new BFF as the current one is going to dump me after reading this. Applications for the now open position are welcome.