Me, Paul, Snipps and Thallis

Me, Paul, Snipps and Thallis

Over a year ago, for 2013 Christmas, Matt got me a day’s horse riding as a present. I’ve gone on horse walks a few times in the UK and enjoy it. I’ve been quite slack and not got around to going this time, waiting until it was cooler than summer, and then not wanting to go in winter and being busy. In January I had some time between jobs, so it seemed like a good time to go. Matt didn’t want to come with me (he doesn’t trust horses), but luckily my friend Paul was free and keen to go riding.

The plan was always to go in the Blue Mountains, and we chose to go to Centennial Glen stables in the Megalong Valley. You can read about them here. 

We went for the all day ride option (about 6 hours on the horses) with a stope for lunch at the Megalong Valley tea shop in the middle.

The weather had been a bit wet a few days before we were due to go, and the forecast was for a chance of showers, but we decided to head on up anyway and keep our fingers crossed. On the way up I learnt Paul was actually a pretty good rider, having spent a year working on a farm riding horses for part of his job! After a quick stop for some coffee and second breakfast, we headed down into the Megalong valley. Neither of us had been down fully into the valley before, and it was very scenic with bid cliff faces on each side. We appreciated it even more on the way back once all the low cloud over had cleared up and we could see properly.

When we got there we met our horses. Mine was called Snipps (or Mr Snipps or Snippsy) and Paul’s was called Thallis. It was just us on the ride which was great, along with Jim our guide riding Sam the horse. Jim was really friendly and talkative. The horses knew all the different routes they normally go on, and started to try and go on the shorter ones, but after some encouragement and direction we were well on our way.

Before we got to the first gate I had to try some trotting to get the hang of it. I had trotted once or twice before on purpose, and once when my horses decided to do it of his own accord! I found it quite tricky at first becasue you have to move up and down with the horse, whilst also leaning forward with the tops of your legs balanced against the front of the saddle and your arms out forward holding the reins, not grabbing the saddle. Mainly it was pretty painful for my bum which kept hitting the saddle and after some time my knees too, which didn’t like being bent all the time. Over the course of the long ride we trotted wuite a lot so I gradually got better at it. A few of the first time I could feel myself slipping to one side which was pretty disconcerting. After the ride Paul said to me something like “You got much better at trotting Elly. The first few times I really thought you were going to fall off!”

Horseriding in the Megalong Valley

Horseriding in the Megalong Valley

I like horses and the ones we had were generally pretty well behaved. We learned from Jim all about how they train them, what they cost to buy and all sorts of other things. Mr Snipps did have some character traits which made the trip interesting:

  • He didn’t like being behind Paul’s horse, so each time he got close Snipps would strt cantering to make sure he satayed ahead and i kept having to pull him back. He seemed to slow down when he wanted though, not when I told him!
  • A small part of the ride was on roads, but mainly we were on tracks and going through fields and countryside. On the downhill rocky and steep parts Snipps seemed to go faster to get them over with rather than slow down so it was nice for me!
  • Snipps kept trying to bite the bum of Sam the horse in front of us, including when he was trotting along. In the end Jim got  a big stick to whack him with when he got too close!

Along the ride we saw a lot of wildlife, including a lot of kangaroos hopping around, really bright crimson rosella parrots and lots of other brightly colours birds. We had dry-as-a-bone jackets like proper bush-people rolled up on the horses. I put mine on at one point when it got wet on the way back and it really was super warm. Going back along the valley was really scenic.

By the end of the ride we were both pretty worn out, even with the refreshment tea and pie stop at the tea shop! After the ride we went and saw the little ponies at the stable. My knees hurt during the ride but were OK the next day. The day after my bum was pretty painful though, and my legs and back from using all the different muscles I’m not used to. It was a great day out though, and probably good it wasn’t too hot and sunny or we would have been burnt. I think it would be really good to learn to canter properly, although luckily for our bank balance there aren’t any places to do it near where we live.

Horseriding in the Megalong Valley

Horseriding in the Megalong Valley

 

 

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