We went to the mountains and one of the many activities we did was horse-riding.
Although my parents sent us for some horse-riding lessons as children I believe all skills can be forgotten without regular practice. Every time I get on a horse I see myself as a beginner, trying to get as many tips from the guide as possible. On that specific day the only instructions I remembered were “hold on” and “put your feet in here”.
We went for an hour’s ride, walking down the mountain, looking down at the valley. The scenery was breathtaking, worth the money and effort. After a few minutes I made myself comfortable on the horse; getting bored walking I told her (assumption from its name Jasmine) if she wanted to go a bit faster it was okay with me. So we walked a bit… and trotted… walked… trotted… that was okay, maybe a bit hard on my backside, but okay.
Whenever we were a little behind the horse before us she cantered… that was fun!
Then the stables were in sight and Jasmine held back no more. She galloped. Fast! Without any warning. I was not in control at all and I lost my grip a bit. It felt as if I flew through the air while struggling to stay on the saddle, just landing quickly before flying again. “Stop!” I called. The guide said the horses can understand English, Afrikaans and Zulu. Somehow she didn’t understand the one word that is the same in two of these three languages. “SSTTOOPP!!!”
They talk about a fight or flight reaction in a traumatic incident… some people add freeze to fight or flight. I panicked.
My husband also started to shout behind me. Imagine his scare as it was his first time on a horse after he fell off one 10 years ago.
Somehow Jasmine stopped and I just cried. Adrenaline rush… check. Shaking legs… check. Thankful to be on the horse and alive… check.
Although I had a huge fright I am looking forward to ride on a horse again, maybe go for few lessons.
As Gary Player said: “The more I practice the luckier I get.”