Friday night our fantastic Warrnambool & Surrounds 12wbt crew (the girls that keep me sane whilst losing weight and getting fit) decided to face our fears. Nine very nervous girls decided to go ... horse riding!!!! You may scoff, pffffft, but each one of us were either scared of horses or had had a bad experience on a horse.
I haven't been horse riding in well over 30 years, and okay so, that was my first and last time, but it had left a lasting impression on me. I remember way back then as a nervous teenager being told to try to mount and get off a few times as practice and one of those times the fly of my jeans somehow got caught on the saddle as I was trying to slide off. Imagine if you will the world's biggest wedgie being given to me whilst hanging off the side of the saddle by nothing more than my trousers. OMG, the horse was getting restless, I was flailing trying to get myself loose, it wasn't pretty. I will say though with assistance I was able to dislodge and no one was harmed in the incident. But I've been a tad wary, well okay lets just say downright scared, since then.
Roll on to last Friday, with a sense of bravado my hand went up, I was ready to face my fears. We had booked for a twilight ride and were to meet at 6.30pm at the horse riding place in town. Must admit from about lunchtime onwards my knees started shaking every time I thought of what lay ahead.
So we signed our lives away, you think I should have read the indemnity word for word??? and got kitted out in riding helmet and boots. Funny thing about weight loss, it shouldn't be but it's all about the size right? Well I've got a big head, there, I'll say it out loud. I like to think it's because my hair is thick, but let's face it, there's a boof head on my shoulders. When a number of the girls were fitted to wearing a size 59 helmet, I made sure my darn head would squeeze into a 59, cause I didn't want to be the only one wearing boof head size 60, because they had the sizes marked clear on the front of the helmet.
Right, so looking the part, they asked us of our experience on horses. Errr next question! And then set about assigning different horses to us. Names like Shady, Cosmic, Maverick, Whiskey, who would I get?
Trying to look braver than I felt after kitting up. My knees were definitely knocking!
I love that they had a step to help us get up on the horses.
Here's Kellie letting Maverick her horse know what's what and who's the boss.
I can almost hear her say "now listen here!!"
Rach is just checking where the 'stop' button is, there's was one on there somewhere wasn't there??
Janelle I think was the most confident one of us, she looks quite the horsewoman there.
I was so glad to know that Kerrianne was as scared as I was!
And finally my horse's name was called. Huey. Don't you love it?
Beautiful gentle Huey.
With a sense of reckless abandon, I grabbed the camera from my pocket.
And then Huey decided to move. OMG!
So here's an action shot of us moving from one side of the yard to the other!
Daring aren't I?
Soon enough we were heading down towards the beach.
Sara's horse needed a bit of 12wbt intervention, it kept stopping for the munchies.
Actually they all did. We were meant to show them who was boss and lead them away
from the lush grass, yeah right, as if that was going to happen.
This is not a great photo by any stretch of the imagination,
but it was at this exact moment I was thinking of Pattie.
How amazing the twilight was, the beautiful sunbeams bouncing around,
how utterly serene everything was. This is going to sound corny
but it was like I was that close to heaven. Yep I told you corny, but true.
It was truly magnificent. Riding along the beach. We had split into two groups, those who wanted to canter, and the rest of us (me included) that were happy with walking and the occasional trot.
The wind was blowing, the surf was crashing, we were riding on the water's edge and every now and then
the wave would come up around the horses legs, and the sun was setting.
It was so utterly incredible, and quite surreal, I had to keep pinching myself.
By now we were so much more confident and knew we could trust these beautiful creatures.
The world wasn't really on that much of an angle, either was I.
I was just hanging on trying to snap and trying not to fall off :-)
I absolutely love this photograph, I'm so proud of myself,
happy, and incredibly blessed to really be living.
I love this photo too. How good are these horses standing in a line like that.
Okay so Huey had to line up twice because he decided to keep walking forward
the first time and I had to have help to get back into line!
What a terrific photo, we had mastered our fears!
Kellie took this photo and has made a by-line of it:
I overheard Carol say "Thanks tour leader, I will take it from here."
Huey decided it was time to lead the girls home! Follow me!
And all too soon, well a couple of hours later, it was done.
We got back to the farm just as it was getting dark, funny how the
horses picked up the pace as we got closer, they knew the end was nigh!!
So what do you think, does this look like I have mastered my fear of horses?
A blurry photo, but look what a new friend I had made in the big boy.
Saying goodbye to Huey before he turned in for the night.
What an experience to have with our local 12wbt girls. So lucky I got together with this group, they are challenging me like no other - climbing mountains, running races, chasing waterfalls, and now riding horses!
I got home late and as I sat eating my dinner at the kitchen table Mike surprised the bejingos out of me and says out of the blue "you've never looked more beautiful than you do right now". Well knock me over with a feather. Doesn't say much for how I look other times, I was sitting there with a serious case of helmet hair, my face was flushed, I was jibbering to the dozen telling him about our evening and eating a plate of baked beans (oh how romantic!!). But he went on to say that I looked alive and so happy and just full of exuberance. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder. So glad he's mine.