Posts Tagged With: horses

Tuscan Vineyard Trailride

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I don’t think I can count the number of hours I’ve spent in the saddle. I can, however, remember every single destination trail ride. Riding a few miles up from our starting point at a barn in Colorado comes to mind. This trail ride kinda tops them all in terms of scenery.

I booked Kate and I a ride through Fun in Tuscany. It included pick up and drop off in the center of Florence, as well as a wine tasting/food pairing lunch (after the ride, of course).

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Our trail guide

The stable was located a little over 30 minutes from our pickup point and surrounded by some of the most breathtaking countryside I’ve ever seen. We drank a few cappuccini as we waited on a patio, and sampled different kinds of honey. I never thought a honey tasting could be all that interesting… but the group we were with discussed in-depth the differences in each type… the hazelnut honey was my favorite. yum.

The previous tour was late getting back, so we hung out in the barn area, saying hi to the old goat. Just from the barn, the view was amazing. The tour guide helped the less experienced people up into their saddles first, and gave them brief instructions on steering, stopping, going, etc.

Kate and I, as we had the most experience, were at the back of the line. When I mounted from the ground and comfortably picked up my reins, he just blinked at me and said, “You’re good.”

Even though I was slightly bummed I wouldn’t be close enough to the tour guide to test 20160614_122018any of my Italian horse-related vocabulary… there’s something to be said for being at the back of the line on a trail ride. You don’t have to be nose-to-tail. We got to walk around a farm, through a slightly wooded area, and right down into a vineyard, going between rows of grapevines. It was sunny with a slight mist, which made the temperature PERFECT.

Of course, Kate and I would have been happy with a 5-hour trail ride, but it was so relaxing to sit in a saddle, in a quiet vineyard, after we’d been averaging 7 miles of walking a day through crowds of tourists. Instead of our feet being sore, now it was our riding muscles.

I’ve never spent this much time in a vineyard, but I definitely didn’t get tired of our tranquil surroundings! By the end, Kate and I were scheming of ways to get hired as the next trail guides. I wouldn’t mind riding that trail every day.

The wine-pairing lunch was just icing on the cake at the end. I now know how to look like a snob at my next wine tasting, as well… And I’m still dreaming about the lasagne they served us. Overall? On a scale of 1 to 10, the day was about a 15. Definitely recommended!

 

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Holy vineyard view, Batman!

 

 

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Longines Global Champions Tour

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The things I would do to be able to ride in that arena…

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook is most likely well aware of the fact that I got to see the Longines Global Champions Tour one Thursday. I think I uploaded a picture every 10 minutes for most of the day – and I was there for 13 hours!

The weather was actually quite nice at the start, and the classes started at a relatively low height with riders I had never heard of. (One of the USA riders was named Tara Couch – the coincidence made me laugh.) It was all held at the Horseguards Parade in Westminster – where Henry VIII used to have jousting tournaments… and there I was watching one of the largest global showjumping competitions. The arena also had the gorgeous backdrop of the surrounding Westminster buildings and a view of the top of the London Eye.IMG_1561

Of course, I was really there to see Beezie Madden ride. I think I’ve had a Beezie poster since I was still subscribed to Young Rider magazine at 12 or 13. I was sitting – for the first part of the day – on one of the short sides of the arena right in front of the combination, which is where most rails were dropped and about 80% of the falls happened. (It was a very exciting place to sit. haha.)

IMG_1539And since it was London… the skies opened up and dumped buckets of water on us all. I pulled out my cap and pushed the hood of my jacket up and huddled in my seat until the rain got so bad I could feel it seeping into my boots. The things we do for horses….

Once we got up to the Grand Prix riders (Beezie, Eric Lamaze, Reed Kessler, Jessica Springsteen, etc.) it got more exciting. There was rain, people were running for cover, horses were a bit more spooky… Unfortunately Beezie knocked too many rails to get into the jump off, but the jump off was fantastic.

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Ireland v Wales

Throughout the day, I was also one of the few people who cheered and clapped for all the Team USA riders… And I did so loudly. I felt proud and patriotic during the awards ceremony for the class where USA got gold and silver. Towards the end of the day, as the jumps got higher and the riders were more well known, Team GBR got loud cheers from the entire audience… so I felt I should try to make up for the lack of Americans in the stands. haha.

Then, I got to enjoy some polo! Ireland v Wales and then England v Bangkok. At that point I was soaked all the way through because no matter what I did… the rain had been falling sideways. It got under my coat and down in my boots… But it was one of the best days I’ve had in London! If any of the dappled grays go missing….. (It won’t be me, but that’s just because I don’t currently have anywhere to put one…)

 

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I was cold and wet and happy about the ponies

A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.  ~Pam Brown

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