Monday, 25 April 2011

jelly legs and blue-black bum…

actually i have a lot of posts to write (i know, i’ve been lazy), but i’m just too excited about this that i’ve decided to let this jump the queue. so here goes…


when i went back for the cny recently, i caught the rerun of seabiscuit the movie. ah, i’ve always loved horses and this movie made me dig up the book from my bookshelf to bring back to sandland for a reread. dunno if it’s my failing memory or i’ve always been that forgetful, but i always learn something new from rereading a book. a new insight, a new info that i may have overlooked the first (or second, or third etc…) round. even a different emotion and feeling.

anyway, i digressed. so after rereading the seabiscuit book, i’ve started to have this yearning to get closer to horses. and there being so many horse clubs here in sandland definitely made things so much easier! so i began researching online, and found that there’s actually one quite near the place i stay! heck, it’s even in the same neighbourhood! but the website is a bit outdated and when i wrote in to enquire, there wasn’t any reply. so i kinda put the matter on the shelf for a while…

until one day, i spotted an offer in one of those internet deals site (like the milkadeal that you have in m’sia) that is offering 2 horse riding lessons for aed135 (abt rm108), with 45 min per lesson. it’s like someone heard my request and tailor-made that offer just for me! hehe, perasan habis (malay: something like thick-skinned), right? anyway, i bought the maximum 5 vouchers allowed per person (equivalent to 10 lessons) and went for my first lesson tonight! (actually i wanted to go over the weekend, but all the slots were fully booked)

so after work today, i took the bus to the club at the appointed time (15 min earlier to fill in the form for first timers), but i found out that i went to the wrong gate! and i had to walk quite far to the right gate (right across to the other side of a football stadium), which caused me to be late about 10 mins. then i had to fill in the form and then go choose a helmet that fits my head. so in the end, i started about 15 min later than the rest in my time slot.

once i got into the sand pit, the handlers just sort of placed a plastic platform next to a handsome white spotted horse (his name is oliver, by the way – the horse, not the handler!) for me to step on to climb up onto the horse. no briefing, no nothing! just, “put your leg here (pointing to the stirrup) and swing your other leg to the other side of the horse”. so that’s what i did. ok, first step was easy enough. then the handler adjusted the length of the stirrups and the position of my leg a bit and handed the rein to me with, “this is the rein”. duh!

P1080712 ain’t he handsome? but a bit on the small side hor? just hope he didn’t find me too heavy!

then, with just “sit with your back straight, head looking in front and your legs close to the horse’s body”, the handlers started to let the horses walk round the pit and gave instructions that we’re to sit and stand, sit and stand THE WHOLE FREAKING TIME our horses are moving! we practiced sitting and standing while holding onto the rein and the saddle for balance for one round. then the handlers shouted, “ok, trot!” the horses just started trotting without us doing anything! my goodness, it was such a bumpy ride that my bum was just hitting the saddle like nobody’s business, all the while holding onto the saddle for dear life! the handlers kept reminding us to “up, down!”, “up, down!”. it was hard to get a rhythm at first, coz i was so afraid of falling off oliver!! then after a while, i sorta got a hang of it and started to find my own rhythm of “up and down” in-line with oliver’s gait. and i found that the bum is not so painful if you sit and stand, compared to just sitting on the saddle and let the horse’s trot bump your bum. but man, it was HARD WORK!! i was sweating in no time and i can feel my face hot and flushing (as it tends to whenever i do any strenuous exercise).

P1080713 he moved when i was snapping this, but i wanna show everyone the black dot on his forehead. ain’t that just so cute?!

and the horses knew what they were doing. they knew that they had to trot in circles outside the red cones and to slow down if they get too close to the horse in front of them. they even know how to listen to instructions from the handlers. when they were slowing down, the handlers would just need to shout, “trot, trot!” and their speed would pick up. we the riders don’t have to do anything other than concentrating on hanging on for dear life sitting and standing on our saddle.

after a while, one of the handler asked me to let go of the saddle and hold my rein up a bit in front of me. at first i was terrified and shook my head vigorously, but the handler was quite firm and kept asking me to let go of the saddle. so i had to do it, tentatively at first. then i found that i have more balance if i don’t hold onto the saddle. hey, i’m good! :D

a few of the first timers stopped after a while, citing tiredness. and i can see that they’ve not been doing the “up and down” at all. so i guess their bums must’ve suffered some major bruises! and at one point, i heard one of the handlers telling another handler, “no. 2 (that’s me – i was the 2nd in the line of horses going around), first time”. there were lots of other first timers there, so i guess he must’ve noticed that i’m riding the right way. i know, perasan again, right? but why else would he wanna point me out to his colleagues? and i was really putting a lot of effort in making sure that i’m sitting and standing as much as i can! :P

so for my first lesson, i learnt how to mount a horse (with the help of a plastic platform), how to sit and stand, how to steer my horse to the direction i want him to go, how to make him go faster or slower, and how to dismount.

the riding part took about 30 min (coz i was late, remember?), but when i got off oliver, after giving him a good appreciative pat on his back, my legs were so jelly-like that they just collapsed and my right leg sort of kneeled down onto the sand. so embarrassing! but i stood up immediately, so hopefully no one saw. hehe…

and with wobbly legs, i went out to get my camera to take a photo of oliver as requested by N. now as i’m typing this, i can feel my back shoulder muscles starting to ache. i’m anticipating a full body ache tomorrow! ok, at least in my arms and legs… and a slightly blue-black bum. can’t wait for my next lesson! :D

P1080714oliver knew his session was up too and was walking out of the pit by himself when i pointed my camera at him. and he stopped right in front of me and stood very still until i’ve snapped the picture! cam-whoring horse, just like seabiscuit! :D


Biow said...

indian horse probably.. :P *dotted forehead*..

ok.. that's lame racist remark?!

but, i can really imagine you up for these.. why am i not surprise..

and, u know what, you should write a book. serious.. all your stories here so funny.

convert all these into short stories and get them published. I will buy your first printed copy.

stargal said...

lol @ the racist remark! :D

u're not surprised coz u know me so well! hehe... anyway, i'm not good enough a writer lar. there are better blog writers out there! but if u know a good book editor, you can recommend to me lah. then i can give u my first autographed copy! hehe...

CasariaCommunityCentre said...

I buy the 2nd copy if no one else beat me to it!

you gallop gurl!

stargal said...

aawww... thanks for the support! ok, if i ever get published, i'd present all my "original" readers here with a complimentary autographed copy from the 1st edition! (perasan habis!)