It’s been a year since I was last able to get my butt on a horse, which is kinda sad considering I only started taking lessons last year (after a lifetime of wanting to). So this summer when we headed back to France, ‘land of equestrianism’, (I just made that bit up, yes, but horses are a Big Thing in the Fountainebleau/Normandy regions, apparently) – I was determined to go riding. My mother-in-law found a place (namely, yes, ‘Horse Dreams’) that offered reasonably-priced rides for 2 or 3 hours in the Fontainebleau Forest, and I pounced.
Nobody else did, though… until a few hours later we discovered my brother-in-law was interested in tagging along. Hooray! Trip saved!
(Say what you will about self-empowerment, I was more than a little nervous about riding alone in a forest with who knows how few people and in a language that wasn’t my own native tongue… Though there were a few people at the stables who spoke English. Now that I’ve been on the ride, it might not be an issue next time…)
Though marketed as a beginner ride, during the stretch of 2 hours we trotted maybe five times… I managed more or less well until the final two, at which point my calves started to protest… and, let me tell you, there’s an amusingly interesting challenge to focus on going up-down-up-down on your saddle without falling forward on a trotting horse while also trying to steer and avoid smacking your face on low branches. Somehow I managed. XD It hurt to walk for the next three days but wandering throughout the deep forest (the 5 of us riders were the only people there that morning) with it’s wonderful huge stone formations was sooooo peaceful, so uplifting and grounding an experience… So worth it. So worth it. I might make this a staple activity of mine whenever I’m in the region.
On top of that, I got to ride one of my favorite horse breeds. Yey! <3