I went to a small beach party last night until about 03:00am. Was up at 07:30 this morning for my first Thai horse experience. The party was chill, hung out all night with friendly people from Zurich, Switzerland and of course Germany.
I was the only one riding this morning. I met the guide at the arranged place, as expected he barely speaks any English. I hop on the back of his motorcycle and we ride out to his farm. The whole operation was a bit sketchy to begin with, my suspicions were confirmed when I saw the equipment and farm. He put the small English saddle on the horse and up I went. The horse seemed like it was in a decent enough mood, but had little training at all. Everything was done via the bit…he kept telling me to get tough with it and would jerk the reins hard. there was no using your legs to squeeze or heels to make it go…he gave me a stick for touching its backside which was like hitting the gas pedal. It was obvious that they were tough on the horses. Everything was done via brute force.
I realized that he only pulled one horse from the barn. He planned on riding his motorcycle…”softer” than a saddle he told me grinning. So off we went, him driving in front of me and me on the horse down the busy road with motorcycles swerving around us over to the beach. Luckily it was not very far and next thing I knew I was on the sand. He told me, be back here at 10:00. The first thing that pops in my mind was WTF?! He was not coming with me as I was told. So there I was, alone, on a horse, on the beach. Experienced riders would have been in heaven but mind you this was my 2nd time on a horse, the first one tried to kill me back in the summer. I knew that I had to figure this out so my hacker mentallity kicked in and off we went. He told me to take the horse in the water, but it seemed to not like the area near the ocean…unsure footing? Sometimes we would slide in wet sand but I never went down. My feet were too wide to fit into the tiny stirrups so I just wrapped them around the horse as tight as I could. I eventually got decent control and aside from trying to bite me occasionally, we rode up and down the beach..me bouncing in the saddle like a total newbie. I even got brave enough to ride him up to a group of tourists so the kids could pet my horse. They were French and kept saying “cowboy”. A cowboy in Billabong swim trunks and no hat? Dont think so.
My horse’s temperament was great at first, but as we both got hotter and hotter, he got less patient with me. I knew that I was going to be in trouble the first time he bucked when I pulled on the reins. So I rode him back to the rendezvous point early and luckily the guide was there. The horse instantly perked up because he knew that it was time to go home. With the guide in front on his motorbike, we hit the street again…but this time the bastard, wanting to go home himself, took off and left me on the bike. All he said was “he know way”. He was right, the horse knew the way…and started running that direction with a vengance. We eventually hit a fast trot with me just holding on for dear life, the hard street 5 feet below me. I remember my Irish friend, a very experienced rider, telling me that her worst fall was a broken collarbone on the street. My heart was pounding with adrenaline but I didnt have to do anything, the horse knew how to get home for sure. People were honking horns at us as they drove by. I cant believe the first time I have ever had a horse at a light run was on the bloody street! We reached the barn and the horse stopped, literally looked at me like “its time to get off now” and I hopped down. Legs trembling but very happy….I definitely got my 600 Baht worth of adrenaline.