FR : French horses

Jul 10, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Activities, France

First Horse Riding Experience was had here in Strasbourg

Hooray to the existence of groupons, especially for this one. It’s such a great discovery point to try some new random activities in the area. I don’t know when would I have ever thought to try riding a horse. Of course, thank the most to Guillaume who knew a thing or two about this having done it when he as younger. He organized this event with me, Sebastien, and joining us on the second trip Sebastien’s sister Marine. We got to go try out some horse riding lessons 2 Saturdays in a roll for  19€ per person. These lessons normally costs 30€ per each visit. We went for it this past couple of weekend. It’s July 2011. The weather was sunny and couldn’t be any more perfect.

Due to the common sense of a newbie rider on a horse, I couldn’t bring on me a camera. Pictures included are mostly limited when my feet were on the ground walking around surveying the horse’s den.

This was my first extensive visit near a horse. I had no idea what to expect. Of course, my first unreasonable ‘instinct’ was that I was going to get bitten, or kicked from behind one. Probably how I would die, the first ever on this ranch. I don’t know. They are big, full of muscles, and freaky looking to be honest. Their big eyes suggest a lot should go on in there. Every time they move, I kept wanting to let them ‘do what they want’. This kind of thought – apparently – wasn’t how you should deal with horses. I was instructed to recognize their ear signs, or their natural behaviors, which rely a lot on human control and queuing. Maybe not so “natural” behaviors as exist in the wild…perse, but more like as exist in this world where horse and people co-exist, I guess.

These horses get broken in, as taming and training normally are done with many animals that live with us humans….which has gone on for centuries. Riding on one, after overcoming the disorientation normal for doing something new, there was a rush the intrigue of everything that goes into it. Started from what I see, the saddle, the thing for the rider’s feet, the thing for the horse’s head, mouth, … All these accessories were invented and evolved through time for to be the most effective possible. How to control a horse, to turn left or right only needed very subtle pulling movement, and the stopping by pulling on both and up high. To how their feet were feeling, how their skinny legs are able to carry so much weights. I was almost overwhelmed though I made sure I remain externally calm and collected.

All these controls are the way it is probably for knowing the nature of the animal for all these centuries. I mean, you can make a cat stop walking by pulling on it’s tail, that’s the same thing, right? (That’s what I did to my cats). What I had the hardest time with was to get the horse to go faster by tapping my legs on her body. Well, that was the problem, I insisted on tapping when what was required was to slam my feet (back of legs for maximum strength assertion) on to her mid body. And from what I learned with my particular horse, Miss Pastel, she needed a lot more than that. It became clear that I was a bit too timid (เกรงใจ in Thai) to inconvenience the horse for my puny demands. She would have loved to run a lot more faster, probably. All that capability unfulfilled by having a newbie like me on her back who doesn’t know how to make her go faster. Then my reoccurring thought drifted on how fat I am and it probably doesn’t feel comfortable for the horse.. How the horse knows that I’m incompetence… How she might try funny things to let me know she doesn’t want to take shit from me…. And how I’d have no way to counter that… You know, when you don’t have information on something, your projections, and some insecurities come out. Great stuff.

So I learned how to (or supposed to) lift your butt up with your legs when the horse trots. This is to prevent your heavy butts on hurting the horse’s spine. Okay, so my thought went immediately for this issue thinking that I’m going to damage the horse if I don’t do it correctly. That sent me on an awkward forceful butt lifting. I didn’t have to see it but I know it must have looked very awkward. The second lesson when I was a little less freaked out, I tried better to find to get along with the horse’s rhythm. That seemed okay to prevent the possible injury. And obviously if you are going to be a dead weight on the horse as to hurt it, you’d have to be really really heavy and very sticky on their back. Geez. The bouncing is not a gentle thing. It sends you right up anyway, might as well learn to go with it correctly.. And for THAT, I want to tag this as an exercise post. Because I can think of NOTHING ELSE that gives you such a thigh exercise as much as this. Holy hell, I was quite impressed. That, and along with the slamming of the crotch that made me wonder the type of clothing designed for this. Now that I’m on the computer, I just googled and found the ‘secret’ underwears the pro looking people wear for cushioning the blow in this highly sensitive area of your body.. where some of peoples’ souls also reside.

A little bit about this place. Haras des Bussières, is set outside of Strasbourg to the North by about a half of an hour drive. The set up was impressive with the giant barn where there was an office right in the front in the middle. Both sides were where they house the horses. To the main barn’s left, there’s a jumping track for those skilled riders. This field is located next to another stand alone barn in the back where we new adult students learn to make the horse go in circle slowly. The indoor riding field for the kids are located right in the center of the main barn. You can see it from the tiny office area. That was my first impression of the horse riding, with these little girls on the little horses – super cute in the uppidy class kinda way. I mean, horse riding isn’t for the poor, sadly. Unless, as I discussed this with a friend, you were an indigenous Mongolian. But somehow, I hope that if I ever had kids, they will have to know how to ride a horse wherever it can be made possible. Maybe this place here. The people were extremely nice. The trainer we had was very kind and patient with us. And the best thing about this place, I think, is the more forestry trail you can take a walk on foot or on a horse. A different kind of leisure, I suppose… a beautiful place nonetheless. We will try to save some money aside to be able to go back there about once a month.


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