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Greener pastures August 11, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in personal, photography, younger son.
Tags: , grandmother, horses, medora,

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time figuring out how to celebrate birthdays.  Some years, you just go out to eat, or sit around the house, or hope someone makes your favorite meal.  This year has been rough because of everything I have on my plate right now.

Milestone birthdays are important in an odd sort of way, so I try to do something extra fun, and it’s important to take those opportunities when you have them.  On this occasion, I thought maybe riding a horse with my grandmother and the younger son would be a cool adventure.  I’d never been on a horse before.


The ride was an hour-long, guided trail ride in Medora, ND.  You can see Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the background, so the scenery was fantastic.  I found out that horses scare me a bit, and that you shouldn’t pat them on the rear flank the way your dogs like their people to do.  (Apparently I almost sent my horse over one of the guides while she was trying to remove his halter.)  After the ride, I found out that my grandmother had used to love riding horses in her younger years, but hadn’t been on one since my mom was a little girl.

It was a great way to celebrate my grandmother’s 85th birthday.  I hope we can keep having wonderful adventures together for a long time.  I just hope she doesn’t want to go sky-diving any time soon…


1. Anna - August 11, 2014

I love trail riding, just can’t afford it except extremely occasionally… I used to trail ride fairly often as a kid in Denmark. 2 friends and I were able to rent ponies in some fringe establishment on the edge of the forest. There were no guides, no supervision (once we told the owner we were “experienced”), and no saddles either (they didn’t have any for that size of horses). We had to bring our own brushes and prepare the horses ourselves before and after riding. We could then ride for 1 – 2 hours (depending what we paid) in the forest and on the beach. That was a great source of adventure!

Here in Australia, before you get on a horse in a riding establishments (trail rides – all the ones we’re tried) you first have to sign an elaborate contract where you accept full responsibility and awareness that the ride may cause severe injuries and/or disabilities as well as death, so that you or your family can not sue the establishment should it go wrong! Riding bareback is not allowed, because then their insurance doesn’t cover :-( Riding with no guide is of course not an option, usually the trail ride is together with lots of other people in a long line. And usually the horses are delivered already saddled up and ready to go (and given back fully saddled up after the ride, no work required from the customer). I think that limits the experience a lot, as well as makes it more dangerous to ride because the time of bonding and getting a feel of the horse’s personality (brushing and saddling up et.c) is cut out.

I am not advocating the policies of the Danish establishment I told about first! That was irresponsible (albeit I loved it at the time), with no supervision or advice at all. but somewhere i the middle ground would be great.

mareserinitatis - August 11, 2014

Your Australian experience is pretty much what we went through…and the contract did a pretty good job of scaring me. I can see how it would be frustrating if you’re an experienced rider, but I really appreciated the fact that it was so easy because it was very intimidating. Of course, I live in a part of the US where, if you really want to, it’s very easy to get more involved in horses and riding, so I know a lot of people who would’ve felt the same as you about the experience.

Anna - August 11, 2014

It doesn’t surprise me that the US has a somewhat similar approach to Australia (as is the case with many things).

Time could be a factor too. Much may have changed since I was a kid, companies all over the world being more stream lined and aware of risk mitigation now et.c.

The contract scared me too… even though what I did as a kid was a lot more dangerous, riding feels more dangerous with a contract that makes the danger official:-)

Anna - August 11, 2014

a similar approach as Australia, is what I meant.

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