Horseback riding on the beach at sunset? Why, yes, please!
When presented with a fun idea, I rarely stop to think through the logistics. Such as, when was the last time I was on a horse? Ummmmm… maybe 35 years ago? What shape is my body in? Somewhat bruised and battered after a week of surfing. And the guide? Monolingual Spanish speaker. I tend to overrate my non-English language abilities. Something one might want to consider when engaging in a new activity with a large animal.
Nonetheless, it was fun. Our guide presented me with a very beautiful, very large horse. I petted it, hoping to create a bond before our ride. “Como te llama?” I asked our guide. “Mo.”
The guide then spoke to me very rapidly. I caught maybe every fifth or sixth word. I asked him to slow down, and he asked me, “Do you understand?” I paraphrased what I thought he said and he repeated that the most important thing was not to pull back hard on the reins. If I did that, Mo would rear, throwing me off him. I consider myself pretty solid, but I was no match for Mo.
I mounted Mo and we started off down the beach at a nice slow trot. Until the dogs gathered round, barking and baring their teeth. Seems like Mo isn’t really a fan of dogs. He took off at (what I considered) full speed down the beach.
As I bounced around in the saddle (one important piece of information that I did not understand from the guide was that I should squeeze my legs tightly around the horse in order not to fall off), Mo continued gaining speed.
Interior voice: Okay, Lori. Don’t be afraid. Don’t panic. Animals can smell panic. Calm down. Stay in the saddle. Don’t fall off. Be gentle with Mo. No rearing.
Exterior voice: Hey, Mo? Think we could slow down a bit? Just a little?
Interior voice: He’s not slowing down. Hm. Ah! Maybe he doesn’t speak English either. Let’s try in Spanish. Hm. I don’t know those words in Spanish. What do I know?
Exterior voice: Bueno, Mo. Bueno, bueno, bueno. Bajo, por favor?
Interior voice: That’s not the word for stop. How do you say stop? Maybe if I pull just slightly on the reins he’ll slow down. Oh, my, I’m high up here. I wonder how many bones I would break if I were tossed?
Exterior voice: Mas despacio, por favor. Bueno, Mo, bueno.
And he slowed down. And it was a lovely ride down the beach, at sunset, me and Mo.