When Carolina invited me to her finca I did not know she had lots of horses and absolutely no inkling that we would be riding! When Carolina’s father asked me if I could ride, I hesitated in answering. Could I ride? Well I used to be able to ride but that was over 30 years ago (good grief – was it really that long ago?). I used to go regularly to the Darlington Pony Club and ride my horse every day except Monday’s when I had concert band. I even used to compete in various things. The local show, cross country events, some show jumping and a wee bit of dressage when pushed. But I really did not know if I could actually ride NOW? Well maybe its like riding a bike…. …..
Next thought — OH NO!! – – I am wearing jeans! OH double NO!! – I am wearing trainers! Mrs Spatcher would kill me! Hah! Mrs Spatcher was my riding instructor and one thing she would not abide was jeans and trainers. She was pretty clear about why – telling us horror stories of chafing and also people being dragged for miles after being thrown because their trainers got stuck in the stirrups. Amusing really because Pippa, (Mrs Spatcher’s daughter and my long time buddy) recently responded to a comment about this on Facebook. ”I seem to recall galloping down terraces at breakneck speed and jumping from one horse to another… I don’t think jeans and trainers will be much of an issue……. till u fall off” oops – Mrs Spatcher didn’t know about that!
Anyway – I was pretty excited but also damn nervous. Was not too sure my body could handle a fall – could be disastrous……. However it didn’t stop me! Just going into the tack room was exciting – the smell of the gear, the ribbons on the wall. Carolina’s dad is an endurance rider – an event I am not familiar with so was quite interested to find out more. The event is 100 miles! Can you believe it? That is 160 km, my dear friends – ouch! The event includes stops for veterinary checks to make sure the horse is fit enough to continue. It is actually a fairly new sport, first organised in USA in 1955 and only recognised by the International Federation of Equestrian Events in 1982.
I was a little surprised when I saw the size of Mauricio’s horses – they were all only about 14.5 hands – (do we still use hands?) — but Arabians, (or a mix of), are usually the best breed due to their better endurance than other breeds. And why is that? Well here is an interesting piece of trivia – they have greater bone density than other breeds, making them strong for their size.
Mauricio is a bit of a star in the world of endurance riding. He has a large silver trophy for 1st place in a 120km race in Trinidad in 2010. In 2008 he represented Colombia in The World Equestrian Games in Malaysia. His tack room is covered in ribbons. I felt very privileged to be on his finca and riding one of his horses. AND I did not fall off! We went riding for a couple of hours and never left his property. The family have a large farm (finca) with much of it being bushland on hilly terrain that provides magnificent views.
Here is a video I made to thank the family for such a wonderful day.