It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Horses, Friends, Sunshine = Fabulous!

Yesterday was one of those fantastic days that you know will stick in your memory for years to come.

Many of you know that I ride several times a week at a barn about 15 minutes from home.  I ride a little German bred mare called Jeany, who I really enjoy, but she's a little bit challenging speed-wise (e.g. she's a small turbo charged rocket ship).  Through riding up there regularly, I've met some really lovely people (hi Andrea and Karin!) and one of my absolute favourites is the utterly gorgeous Elke.

She and her husband, HP, welcomed me to the barn with such warmth that I was blown away.  They are always so friendly and kind that it's great to spend time with them.

Elke has her own horse, Luna,  but HP doesn't ride so much anymore.  Elke and her friend Christian ride out into the forest on the weekends quite often and yesterday they invited me along.

The weather here has been very strange for summer, lots of grey skies, rain and cool temperatures.  Yesterday things just started to clear up and we had a largely rain-free day, with good amounts of sunshine.  

Elke rode Luna, Christian rode Sally and I had my old mate, Jeany, and we headed off into the forest around 11.30am yesterday morning.  There are a lot of forests around the area and we rode for around 4 hours and didn't see a car.  Only a few hikers and a some other riders.  There are many logging tracks and we keep to those where it's safe.

After a few hours we rode through a field to a small pub/cafe, Litz Bauernstube, in the middle of nowhere.  It was attached to a farmhouse and you had to ride down their driveway to get in.  Now, Jeany wasn't at all keen to go down the driveway, as there was a paddock with some donkeys and goats in it, and a barn with calves in it, all looking at her. 

I had to get off, as she wasn't going anywhere, and I tried to lead her in, but she absolutely refused.  Every muscle in her body was tense with terror and you could tell from her stance that she was trying to say "Are you serious?  There's no way I'm going in there!  Can you see those donkeys?  And the goats?  No waaaaaaaaay!  What on earth is that?  Cows?  Small cows?  They are making a strange noise!  Are you mad, seriously mad?  Everything is going to kill me."

Cows - Horses Only Known Predator (obviously)

Eventually Christian encouraged Sally to go down, and Elke and lovely brave Luna rode down, but then had to come back and get me.  Jeany decided she could walk through if Luna was with her, "Yay for the sisterhood!", and we were absolutely fine.

The place was amazing, they even had a small paddock for the horses, so we unsaddled and left them grazing whilst we went in.  None of us had any money, but Germany is such an honest place that they let us have food and drink without any payment, just with the promise that we'd bring the money back later (which, of course, we did).

So we sat and chatted, ate and drank, and watched the horses graze happily in the sunshine - just perfect.

After we'd had a break, we saddled up and headed back out into the sunshine to ride slowly back to the barn where we treated the horses with apples, carrots and grain.  The apple trees are laden right now, so you can ride under them and pull the apples off for your horses.

It was a seriously great day and I really enjoyed myself - so here's a big "THANK YOU" to Elke & Christian for including me in their adventures.

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