Monday, July 11, 2011

What could possibly go wrong?

My view sitting on Sneakers, The Evil Horse, for the 30 seconds he was tied to a pole.

The Bucketlistour's blog says crazy travel adventures, so as promised here is one. Since so many of my husband’s bucketlist items have been completed, I thought it was time for some of my bucketlist plans to be checked off. What a bad idea that was. So far on this trip I have brought rain and traffic everywhere I go and the one hotel I really wanted to stay in was a major disappointment (see the blog Am I difficult?)  This past weekend however, I believe I hit the pinnacle of disastrous vacation adventure choices. We went horseback riding. Sounds tame or even lame right? Oh but read on.  Now I have only wanted to go horseback riding with my husband for our entire married life and we are not going to say how long that is. He has been promising for years, so finally we are going. I’m thrilled and ready. We arrive at the “stables” with our niece and her 5 year old daughter who are also going. They bring everyone to their horse and get us saddled up. Now I haven’t been on a horse since I was a kid so the 30 seconds explaining everything to me really wasn’t enough. But there we were, on our way. Right from the start my horse, Sneakers, or as I have renamed him “The Evil Horse” (TEH) was being difficult. He wouldn’t keep up with other horses, preferring to go backwards sideways or anyway but straight. He had an attitude and was not a team player. Now I am all for individual rights but not when I am on the back of one of those activists. We were in northeastern California, where the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges meet. Beautiful scenery or so I am told. I never got a chance to see it. I was too busy trying to get TEH to stop snacking and move in the right direction. Oh and did I mention mountains? This was supposed to be a nice one hour trail suitable for a five year old. Well if that five year old was born to a rodeo family maybe, but this was not a suitable trail for any age beginner. With rocks, hills, steep inclines and declines and oh and even stairs, this was definitely for more advanced riders. The rest of the group was moving along with a little difficulty, but mostly smooth sailing. Not me. I had the second guide behind me smacking my horse in the butt, startling us both and lecturing me about how I have to control the horse. Not for nothing but all I wanted was a one hour PEACEFUL ride through the forest. If I wanted to play mind games and be the “horse- whisperer” I would have stayed in New Jersey aiming my skills at my three “unwispered” dogs. And another thing "annoying unhelpful guide lady”, Why is the five year old who is barely holding the reigns and knows nothing about animal control ( who again is FIVE for goodness sake) having no trouble?” Obviously “annoying unhelpful guide lady” assumed I was afraid of the horse. I had no fear of the horse but based on my law of fall averages I knew how likely it was that I would land on the ground. I have an impressive track record with my air to ground landings. I guess she thought she would ease my fears by telling me no one ever falls with these horses, with this trail. Well that was as good as Bill Evans (our local weather forecaster) telling me to plan for a sunny weekend. After Bill promises the sun (literally) we all run to roll up car windows and plan indoor activities. Now I knew for sure this would end badly. After 20 minutes (seemed like hours) of this fun I was exhausted from trying to bend the horse’s will to mine. I am quite sure I would have had a better shot bending a spoon up on stage somewhere. Anyway I guess TEH finally had enough of me too. He turned sideways on a hill and started to do that Lone Ranger thing. Those of us from more easterly parts would call it a wheelie. I screamed for the guide who was of course suddenly nowhere to be found. TEH started neighing and began to make his move. Now I can proudly say I got my 8 (seconds) rodeo style which gave me enough time to plan my gracious dismount into the mud and the dirt. Once I knew it was inevitable, I made sure to get my previously shattered right foot (and leg but that’s another adventure story for another time) out of the stirrup and plan my decent aiming to hit ground on my best padded parts. Ten feet up in the air later there I was on the ground thinking I did a Christopher Reeve. I couldn’t breathe and saw an entire replay of Million Dollar Baby where the paralyzed Hillary Swank tries to end it all by biting her tongue. The “idiot guide” (yes she has moved up to idiot status now) is screaming “DON’T MOVE! DON’T MOVE!” Well how am I going to know if I’m paralyzed if I don’t try to move?And if I am paralyzed I probably don't need to be screamed at to stay still. So fortunately I moved and started to breathe. My landing knocked the wind out of me and it was slowly coming back. After laying in the mud for what seemed like hours I slooooooowly stood up and did an assessment. I was covered in mud and dirt but no bones sticking out so yippee for me, a bonus I didn’t have after my last major fall. I didn’t see any blood and I knew I didn’t land on my head or neck so I figured I was beat up but not 911 call worthy.  For those that are genuinely concerned, or just looking for some helicopter evacuation drama, sorry, I do not even have a bruise or a scratch on me. Go figure. Of course I can barely walk and Advil stock prices are on the rise, but I don’t look like I took a flying leap. The topper of all this was now I could either get back on the horse that just threw me or walk all the way back. I will save the “Long Walk Back” entertainment for tomorrow. Right now I need to go wash all the mud out of my clothes. Before I go I thought I would end with a little gem of knowledge that I have picked up on this trip. Get ready for it . You know it's coming.....Without a doubt, horseback riding is a pain in the ass.

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