Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Travel Tuesday-An Adventure in the Mountains

Today’s story is a short tale of my horse riding adventure in Poland. This would be much better with some pictures, but I suppose I just need to work with what I’ve got here. I’ve adapted this story from my travel blog which I wrote while I was away this Spring. I’m thinking I’ll leave this one pretty much exactly as it is in the journal. This story is a slightly different format than the others! Enjoy!

“Okay, the farther east I get, the more wonked out the computer keyboards get. Please excuse any grammar or spelling errors!! It is allll the computer.
Zakopane is a very cute little city…right in the Tatra Mountains. Everybody is friendly, there are cheese and bread stands filling the streets, and it just smells…fresh.

Today we went horseback riding, which I was totally looking forward to, because yay horses! When me and Deanna initially signed up, we told Carlos our tour manager that we were beginners, because while we have both ridden horses before, we could in no way be considered good at it. But he was like, “if you say beginner, you will have to just stay in the pen area, so I am going to write you down for advanced.” Warning sign one. But we were just like…okay, that’s fine, we will deal with it when we actually get there.

So we got into a car (we being Me, Deanna and Nikki), with this polish woman,who drove us to the horse farm. It was beautiful. We get there, and standing before us were three of the most effin huge horses I have ever seen in my life. I was like…ummm do you have one half this size?? I cannot emphasize enough how large these horses were. We may as well have been riding elephants, although that very likely would have been less scary. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Giant horses-warning sign two of impending death. Instructor that does not speak english-number 3. horses that only understand polish,number 4. Can you see where this is going?? I mean, I love horses, and these horses were absolutely beautiful, but holy shit, I could tell this might not turn out well. The guy working there had to actually lift me onto the horse. The stirrup was so high that I could not physically boost myself up. The instructor told us that the word “volo” means “slow” in Polish. “This is all you need”, she assured. We tried to tell her that we weren’t expert horse riders, but I really don’t think she understood us.

Off we went. We walked through the woods, and at one part we had to let go of our horse and move branches out of the way. Hmmm get your eye poked by a tree branch or dangle precariously off your giant horse? What to choose, what to choose. We went down rocky slopes; we walked on bolder covered paths. We went through the river (which was awesome). Deanna’s horse fell on some rocks at one point, but she managed to right herself. We did all this while walking at a nice pace. It was leisurely, and the scenery was beautiful. When I picture riding horses, this is basically what I picture. Giant open fields filled with wildflowers, mountains in the background, all while walking at a slow and non life threatening pace.

W eventually get to the end of the one road , and the instructor said to me, “you want to try trotting?” In my mind I was like, well no,not really. But then she yelled,”KICK YOUR HORSE!!”, which I did, but he did not move. SO THEN, she gets out this whip thing, and just slaps my horse on the ass, and he takes off like a bat out of hell, all while I was clinging to his back for dear life. I screamed at the top of my lungs, and I’m pretty sure the whole of Zakopane heard me, because my scream ricocheted off the mountains. The instructor was behind me yelling, “STOP, STOP!!!” Which…I had no idea how to get my horse to stop. I was pulling reins, I was yelling an increasingly panicky “Volo! Volo!! Volo!!!!”, but my accent must of been off, cause horsey did not stop until we were up the road and around the corner.

The instructor trotted up on her horse, stopped beside me, and proceeded to yell at me, because I had grabbed that little handle on the saddle instead of the reins. I was like, “lady, I thought I was going to die, I had to grab something!” She just stared at me. Nikki and Deanna came riding up, hysterically laughing. “That”, Nikki said, “was hilarious. But you are doing a really good job!!”

Deanna and I trailed behind for the rest of the ride and chatted about our horror of a horse riding instructor, and our complete dumbness in thinking this was a good idea. We made it back to the farm in one piece and to get off the horse, the man again had to lift me off while I slid down the horses side. I was the very picture of grace. I backed away slowly from the horse, all while thinking I would not be horse riding again anytime soon.

So concluded our horse riding adventure. It is funny now, but at the time, I was certain death was coming to greet me in the form of a giant Polish mountain horse.

And I haven't even gone near a horse since!!


carissajade said...

Meg, I am so happy that you survived!! That sounds down right scary and I probably wouldn't ride a horse again either.. I've only ridden once and when I did they separated my friend and I to the front and the back of the group. That was probably the most traumatic thing that happened, but still it pissed me off!

Laura said...

LMAO that is so funny!!! ..well I guess I see it as funny since I am a rider. ;) glad you made it out alive!

if you ever want to try it again, i have a little pony you could ride! ;)

Meg said...

@carissa-every time I ride a horse, something traumatic seems to happen. You would not believe the amount of scary horse riding experiences I've had. You think this woudl teach me something...yet, I just keep hopping on.

@Laura-it is hilarious to think about now, believe me. haha, so scary at the time though. and yes, I think a small pony would be right up my alley! I wouldn't even need to ride him, I could simply walk beside him!

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha, keep trying! I never mastered horseback riding, but I love it.

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