In preparation for the steppes of Mongolia where there be horses

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.

horses1

The lovely horses at Hepburn Lagoon Trailrides

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!

horse-scratching

Wilson scratches his head

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.

10 comments

  1. You know? The nicest trail ride of my life was right in your neighborhood. When we were visiting my sister, we rode up through a couple vineyards, with a wine tasting in the middle. So much fun!
    Sounds like you should go on a couple more rides before your trip – not so much to get the skills down, but to get your buns in shape. It’s going to be such a fabulous time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. funny you should mention horse riding with wine tasting… that is an option for a possible longer ride we might do! But I’m not sure it’s possible to get these buns totally in shape… :-/

      Like

  2. Mongolia is an amazing place. Unlike anywhere you have ever been to. It’s a great country to travel to. I recently met Tim Cope, an Aussie who spent three years going by horseback from Kharakarin to the Danube. You can get his book “in the trail of Genghis Khan” and there’s also a DVD available – it might be in the ABC shop. Very worthwhile seeing to get a bit more understanding of the culture if you are planning on going there. Good luck! it will be the most amazing time of your life, I’m sure. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Funny you should mention Tim and his book – I’m supposed to be reading that for my reading group! However, I’m quite keen to go without much expectation or prior knowledge. May do some extra reading when I come back. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s