I treated myself to an afternoon learning how to care for, tack and ride a horse today with these
fine ladies in Woodside, CA today. It was a total hoot.
I'd been jonesing to go riding for several months now. I was reminded that I enjoyed it last quarter at school during the "Life List" assignment we had to do for our career development class. You know, make a list of all the things-you'd-like-to-accomplish-before-you-die kind of thing. I'd actually made a similar list when I was in high school all on my own - something more along the lines of 30 Things to Accomplish by 30 - which I still have somewhere. Anyhow, even as a teenager I've wanted to go on a cattle drive/dude ranch (thank you, Billy Crystal,) and this class reminded me of that. So I started kind of half-heartedly poking around for places to ride horses in the area, but could only find the touristy trail rides with the animatronic horses. I didn't want to do that; I wanted to Ride a Horse. Not, you know, ride a horse.
Amazingly I found this place through the mom's club I'm on. Someone posted an email about these two women who have a women's only, remember when you were a little girl and loved horses kind of workshop going on, and they were having an end of season sale. Sign me up!
Now the last time I'd really been near a horse that wasn't a pony at the local petting zoo was probably, oh, back in Girl Scouts during grade school. And even then, they didn't really let a bunch of pre-teen girls do a ton by themselves. But these ladies - who may I mention were both as tall as I am - walk you through everything in the 5 hours you are there: how to approach a horse, put on a harness, tie the special knots, how brush a horse, which brushes to use in what order, how to pick rocks out of their hooves, and how to do basic riding. And by walk you through, I mean you do everything. This was very hands on. I was covered in dirt within an hour. The only thing you don't actually do, although they do walk you through everything, is saddle the horse (I'm guessing insurance reasons.)
(And in case you were wondering about the afore-mentioned boner, this is the part.)
There were four students in the class, which was just about perfect. We got paired off, and I got this great German woman named Ank3. Her daughter normally takes lessone at the stables, and was goaded into a lesson by said daughter. She and I had a blast. Early on in the lesson, each pair of women was given a horse to brush down. Our instructor P came by and was explaining some of our horse's body language as we were doing it. Turns out he was a bit uncertain about A and I, and was not entirely relaxed. This was in direct contrast to the horse across the aisle who was enjoying having his tummy being brushed so much, he was soon sporting enormous horse wood. We're talking the Trojan Horse, here, folks. Big, black; an equine porn star.
Now, apparently this is all fine and good and normal and whatever, butI started joking about how we had obviously been poor brushers and shouldn't give up our day jobs. We started snickering and giggling and joking back and forth about how our careers as horse fluffers was off to a poor start. More snickering and snorting came from our side of the barn. Soon everyone was giggling and guffawing. Needless to say it was a running joke for the rest of the day.
After lunch we were given two different horses that were actually going to be saddled and ridden, but still needed to be brushed down first. A and I were paired up again, and we each took a side of the horse. Everyone was kind of chatting and doing their thing when A exclaimed from the other side of the horse, "Hey, we did it!"
"He's got a boner!"
And in my usual completely dignified manner, I gasped, "Really?!?" and immediately doubled over to see. Sure enough, that was definitely an engorged horse penis, all but poking me in the eye.
There was much celebrating and subdued cheering about our newly acqured skill (don't actually want to scare the horses screaming and all,) and more extensive giggling. I had a great time riding this afternoon and learned a lot of other stuff, but yes, I will admit that this was probably the most memorable part of the day. I can't even really say that my second most memorable part was that much classier; I dropped the hoof pick we'd all been given to use and keep as a souvenir into my lunch bag full of left-overs after the lesson to have one less thing to carry. Forgot about the part where it was still crusty with horse shit I'd scraped off the bottom of the horse. Yeah. I'm a natural horse woman, all right.
At least I know where not to get my business cards made for my new horse fluffing career.