Monday, September 12, 2011

Horseback riding

Well, we were supposed to go on a horseback ride on Icelandic horses which I thought were all miniatures. Despite the fact that I haven't written a horse for probably 35 years or more, I decided sure-why not go? That was my first mistake, by the time I was dressed in my gear which included a helmet in case I fell off and a mosquito net so the flies didn't eat me alive, I'm wondering big time what I am getting into? I should have known when I tried to mount my horse from a stool and couldn't swing my leg all the way over the horse that I was into trouble.

But the patient instructor saved me from falling off the horse while I'm trying to mount it and grabbed my left leg which was stuck on top of the horse and moved it to the other side. That put me in an upright position for the moment. Then my stirrups were adjusted for my long legs, so I could take some pressure off my buttocks by standing in them. Well, I'm looking for the saddle horn to hold onto so I don't fall off, only to discover there is no horn on the saddle just a place to hold on to the saddle with both hands in the front or I'm told I can hold onto the horse's mane. Note position above.

Then there are the reins to also hold on and a few instructions like not kicking the horse in the ribs cause he'll gallop away or start trotting whatever that is. So we are off following the lead horse on a 1.5 hour ride. The only problem is immediately my hip starts aching and my knee doesn't work, but there's nothing I can do now but hold on tight and try not to let the horse know I'm panicking and want off now.

Our leader takes us up a steep embankment on a narrow trail leading to a steep hillside by the side of a gorgeous lake (see photo below.) We are told to lean back while going up and lean forward while going down. Good luck with that. I have my camera around my neck, but there is no way I can let go of one or both hands to take it out, focus and snap a photo plus staying on the horse. If I fall off the horse I can't get back on, though that possibility seemed inviting as the pain from sitting on the horse was most excruciating. I keep telling myself I can do this, even though I'm 71 years old and hurting. This will be an experience I'll never forget.

Finally the ride is over and the only problem is how to get off without falling off. Well, the instructor comes to my rescue as I lean on his shoulders and throw myself toward the ground only to discover I can hardly walk for a few minutes or perhaps for the rest of the tour? Remind me never to ride a horse again, even if it's in Iceland.


  1. I have always loved riding, but it gets lots more challenging if one hasn't done it for a while. You use muscles that don't ordinarily get used, and aging knees do not react as well to stirrup positions.

    Good for you in giving it a try!

  2. Oh, how I laughed at this narrative!!! Not laughing at your discomfort, but laughing because I would have done exactly the same thing - - mounted that horse because I was in Iceland! I would still be paying the physical price for an adventure like that. I am so happy that you took advantage of the opportunity! Just don't tell Cousin Bill or he will have you out in the field punching cattle..... : )

  3. You were certainly very brave to ride the horse! I don't think I would have attempted it. Great photos and the mosquito net is just what I need for walking in the woods along the marsh!

  4. I would love to ride but it is a complete no no for me because of my slip-disc problem.That net reminds me of the protection honey -collectors wear out here.

  5. Oh dear. What an ordeal. I guess we live and learn. Next time you'll just say no! :-)

  6. how brave of you and what gear you had to wear..