Sunday, 31 July 2011

Good humour restored (or: pony ride in Djety Oguz makes me happy)

I was quite glad to be in the second shift of riders. It has been quite some time since I rode last. I hoped the horses would be good and tired. 

The others returned from their ride and we got the run down on which were sleepy and which were peppy. The mother and daughter going with us had ridden a little and wanted the sleepy ones. I was going to be put on a sprightly little chestnut mare who had been voted best by the first group of riders. Imagine my delight when a new chap rode up on a chestnut stallion and our guide pointed to me and said 'Are you a good rider?' (I couldn't answer. My first instinct is to say 'No', because I know good riders)

I swung up into the saddle and was trembling with nerves. I'd never ridden a stallion before, let alone one you had to be a good rider for.

It turned out I needn't have worried. My boy was lazier even than my horse I had at school with me. We were warned to keep the two stallions apart. The other was a deep bay with a very handsome face. He did try and take a few chunks out of us, but my boy wasn't slightly interested in being a stallion. He was lazy and good natured and just a little bit clumsy. We understood each other perfectly. He also let me be the alpha mare.

We rode up the valley along the snow-melt swollen river towards the glacier. I have never felt more cross about forgetting to take my camera somewhere. Imagine towering blue skies and green hills reaching up, sprinkled with the darker green of the spruces. The sun was hot on our skin, but not burning. There were birds wheeling and herds of sheep and healthy fat mares and foals. Daisies grew in wild little flashes of purple and orange and gold. The river tumbled down beside us, foaming and grey-green.

I rode about half way with no stirrups because they were short enough to make my knees ache. I sauntered back into camp like that, well behind the others because my boy wasn't interested in picking up his pace just to keep up with them and I enjoyed riding alone for a little.

One of the girls who had stayed behind in camp commented that I looked very comfortable on a horse, which made me enormously happy. And I was quite useful on the ride when the bridle fell off one of the mares and I was the one who could get it back on.

I have now tried mare's milk.

After the sweaty horse riding, I went for a swim/wash in the snow melt with Tash. Freezing, but awesome and far more efficient than trying to wash out of a water bottle in the desert. We walked through the spruces and each step brought smells of earth and pine needles and moss and mushrooms. 

We got bak just before a massive storm hit and the cook group made an amazing stew and a cheesy, garlicky, herby mashed potato.

All in all, the perfect day.


BigMal said...

I'm enjoying your photos but I was almost pleased that you forgot your camera - to read your description of what you saw is such a delight. Thank you. Birgit

Ceels said...

Thanks, Birgit,

It is lovely to hear that!

Morag said...

And you do look so at home on that pony!