Sunday, September 2, 2012

Horseback Riding

I grew up with horses.  My grandpa had around 40 Arabians, and we lived on his farm.  I also had friends who lived on farms, and some of my favorite memories involved herding cows on horseback with them in the summertime.  I love horses!   Jeremy's grandpa raised horses as well.  So when Jeremy and I were given the chance to go horseback riding when we were dating, I jumped at the chance.   The guy who owned the horses gave me the "tame" one, and put Jeremy on the bigger, "more spirited" one.  He said that the spirited one liked to follow the tame one-- so off we went on a mountain pathway, with me in the front.  At some point I realized that Jeremy was a little anxious on his very spirited horse.  So I thought it would be funny to give my horse a good kick and take off-- hoping his horse would follow.  It did indeed, with Jeremy screaming like a little girl (at least, that's how I like to tell it)!  I finally reined my horse in, and his stopped as well.  I turned around to see tears streaming down his cheeks.  To this day, he claims it was his severe horse allergies (which he legitimately has) but I like to think I scared him a bit.  (:  At that point, I offered to switch Jeremy horses, and he quickly accepted.  Something I'm sure he regrets to this day, as I love to give him a hard time about it.  (:

You would think with my background, my kids would have at least had ridden a horse before, but it's been a long time since any of Grandpa's horses have been tame enough to ride, and several years ago he finally sold them all.  A few days ago, our sweet neighbors offered to let the kids ride their horses-- and we were all so excited!  I was shocked that Sophi, who is terrified of most animals, had the most fun out of anyone!  She kept asking to go again and just couldn't get enough!  Xander was pretty much terrified, but he finally calmed down at the end.  Lexi was somewhere in between Soph and Xander-- alternating between being very nervous and very excited.  Things are so different with someone who is blind-- we have talked about horses with her, but really she has had no concept of what a horse is!  I didn't realize how much we rely on pictures to teach our kids about things until we had Elli and Lexi.

Thank you, Blackburns, for helping me finally get my kids on a horse!  Now we just need to get on down to Aunt Leslie's so we can ride some more!!

PS  As I was posting these pictures, another horseback riding memory came to mind.  It was in Egypt, and I guess now that it's been 16 years, I can blog about it without worry!  It was the end of my semester abroad in the Holy Land.  There was a week-long extension to Egypt that someone anonymously paid for me to go on.  It was incredible in every way-- one of the highlights of my life.  One night, about 10-15 of us snuck out of our hotel and went to a place that rented horses (the things a college girl will do to hang out with some cute guys)!  The guy spoke very broken English, but somehow got it across that he had enough "good" horses for everyone but two of us.  He asked if any of us had ridden horses before, and I raised my hand.  (Dumb decision).  After everyone else had climbed on their horses, he brought out two additional horses for me and the other unlucky guy.  These horses were not exactly tame, to say the least.  After finally managing to get up on mine, it took off at full speed into the Arabian desert.  I had to use all of my strength to rein him in, and finally got him to understand that I was boss.  The other friend wasn't so lucky and was bucked off-- but not seriously hurt.  The group of us headed off into the night with a guide and the Great Pyramids as our destination (they were very close by).  For those of you that don't know, it is illegal to climb the Great Pyramids-- so you have to be creative.  A guy in our group had learned from friends that you have to go at dark with flashlights and then bribe the guards.  You give them enough money and then you climb up the pyramid on the side he tells you while he keeps a lookout.

Can you even believe I was this stupid?

I did indeed climb to the very top of the pyramid (the smallest of the three-- but it wasn't small by any means) and even made it back down, across the desert on my wild horse, and back to the hotel in one piece without being discovered.  Looking back, I feel a mixture of pride and "what in the world was I thinking??!!!"  It is kind of cool to think that I climbed one of the Great Pyramids, but risking a big fine and being kicked out of college???  Yikes!


The Great Pyramids

What they looked like in the middle of the night!
Some perspective on how big they are!