There’s a rumor going around that my next big adventure will be in Mongolia. Horse trekking in Mongolia. On the steppes. The steppes of Mongolia. On horseback. With horses. For two weeks. (And then some.)
Except it isn’t a rumor.
It’s tremendously exciting. The scenery should be amazing, the culture fascinating — and, oh, the adventure!
For me an added bonus is the experiential research a two-week horse trek (with camping, no electricity and no showers — eek) will give me. For someone who writes fantasy with horses, this is going to be the ultimate research expedition.
Of course, there are a few practicalities to consider… Am I an experienced rider? No. I’ve been on a horse several times, maybe as many as ten times in my life, but I definitely consider myself to be inexperienced. (But maybe I’ll have characters with as little experience — right?)
A great many people have looked worried and asked how much riding I’m going to do beforehand. A little, I say. I know I’m going to be sore. It’s all part of the experience.
Having said that, I’m not entirely averse to a little preparation…
So today I went on a two-hour trail ride
Yes, that’s two hours, not two weeks or even two days. And even so, I am a little, er, weary.
I rode a beautiful horse called Wilson at Hepburn Lagoon Trailrides, near Ballarat. He liked to be right up the front. He also liked to walk right up snug to the horse that was supposed to be leading. He was a good horse — trotted and cantered when he was supposed to, and most importantly stopped when I asked him to. Good horse.
We had two ‘dramatic’ incidents (almost). First, when he stumbled quite badly and I could have gone over his head. Second, when the horse next to him shied and we got shoved aside rather abruptly. I managed not to fall off both times. Yay me.
This ride was very much a trial run. I am expecting it to reveal which parts of me are going to hurt the most (presently I ache all over with weariness, but there is no real pain… yet). It’s also highlighted a few bits of gear that could be useful — such as riding gloves and elastic straps to keep my sunglasses on.
Over the course of two hours I made some progress with my trotting technique, although it’s still far from mastered, and managed most of the time to hold the reins correctly. But I figure after two weeks, I’ll be a pro!
When we got back to the yard and dismounted, Wilson scratched his head all over me, which was kind of funny. I choose to think this was his way of saying thank you. (Or maybe good bye and good riddance?)
We had fabulous weather and it made for a spectacular day. The people — both staff and other participants — were lovely and there’s a good chance we’ll return for a longer ride — all part of the preparation.
Meanwhile, I’m sure that tomorrow I will ache.