Monday, August 28, 2006

The Roots of Riding

All my family live in Canada, most in BC but there are others sprinkled across Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario as well. I'm one of those people who feel the need to be in contact on a regular basis, with both friends and family (my mother excluded). I'm much better at it than anyone else I know, which is often disappointing. But, it's not about what I get back, it's about what I give. Since riding has become a passion of mine I've been sending pictures and updates and the universal response I've gotten back is "Who knew?". I don't know why this irks me a little. I realize that I wasn't a horse-crazy pre-teen with a poster of Black Beauty above my bed, but I don't think it's so far out of the realm of possibility that I would enjoy horses and riding.

In fact, I come by it quite naturally. I've always been a huge animal lover and always been athletic. My crazy grandparents had horses on their farm in Manitoba and I’m quite sure my paternal grandparents had horses on their sheep farm in Northern Ireland. Here’s a photograph of my aunt Anne at about age 10 standing on the back of Prince, with the mare Jessie in the background. Today she raises Arabians and her daughter also raises and trains horses.

My teacher called this morning to postpone today’s lesson to Wednesday. I’m bummed. I was so looking forward to entering that idyllic place where all my cares vanish as the gates open and I catch my first glimpse of a flick of a tail or hear a whinny in the wind.

According to this site, horses make six basic sounds: snort, squeal, nicker (three different kinds), neigh, roar and blow. Go to the site and listen to all the sounds, they’re fantastic, especially the Ranch Cat and the Turkey.

One thing I’ve already done some research on is going on a vacation that involves riding. I found one in Tuscany called the Centro Ippico della Berardenga (the Riding Center of the Berardenga). Make sure you check out the pictures on their site. For $150 a day you can stay in a renovated farmhouse, take lessons in the morning, a trail ride in the afternoon and spend the evening wandering through the narrow medieval streets of Siena, enjoying a glass of Chianti at its birthplace, the Castello di Brolio (pictured below).

*sigh* A girl can dream, can’t she?


  1. Once again, breathtaking. I love hearing about your riding. Standing on a horse in a field - classic.

    I understand about the keeping contact. I used to be you. Then I stopped and they thought there was something wrong with me. Nope, it's them.

    I bet you'd make that vacation happen. As an alternative, I can tell you where to ride pack mule-ish horses in Costa Rica.

  2. People who maintain contact amaze me - I am one of those obnoxious people with good intentions who never initiate conversations (though I will respond.) You people make the world go round - seriously - even if you don't get much response people love to hear from you.

    As for your vacation - sounds absolutely perfect! -K

  3. I don't thing it's weird that you like riding. I think it suits your personality. I'm glad you found something you love so much. It's hard to find that as you get older I've found.

  4. A few words: Carpe diem. Dance like nobody's watching. In other words:

    Do the vacation. :) It sounds fabulous.

  5. I am envious of you and your horse-riding passion! The vacation sounds fabulous, in fact, Sienna is a beautiful town, I once spent a few hours there, and it would be wonderful to go there on horse. Come to think of it, isn't there an annual horse race around the town square? (I must go and look this up...)

  6. That's a great picture of your Aunt; she almost looks like she could be a vaulter!

    The vacation destination looks like so much fun! Gorgeous horses, delightful countryside, Italian wines...who could ask for anything more!?!

    I think you'll have to go take lessons in Chianti, especially if your instructor keeps canceling!

  7. Donna,

    Have I told you how much I love your stories???

    That is an absolutely marvelous photo of your aunt. Yes, I'm with Susan. She looks like she could be a vaulter.

    You know what? My husband had only ridden a few times as a kid. He was a military brat, and the prospects of him owning his own horse as a kid were nil. So his family never knew about his love for horses. Because it was so out of reach, he never told them.

    He is a natural too! We bought his feisty but lovely little arabian mare together shortly before we got married. I remember when we let her go in the pasture, and he told me he thought he'd never see the day when he had his very. own. horse. It was so cool.

    But his family has been really surprised to find out that he is indeed, to the very core of his being, a horseman.

    Sounds like you are too. It's really exhilirating to watch those doors open for another woman. How wonderful to discover something you really love.