Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Hot to Trot

Hello everyone!

I wanted to thank you for your very kind birthday wishes! It doesn’t feel so different being 28…mostly I still feel like I’m about 18. ;-)

I had a great time on my birthday. I had the day off, naturally, so I planned to do a horseriding lesson on trotting in the morning, take the afternoon off, and then make dinner for all the girls I live with and host a little slumber party in the King House.

Well, the horseback riding was awesome! Last time I was terrified out of my wits and spent the entire time clinging to the horn that’s on the front of the saddle. Of course, the wranglers will laugh in your face if you even MENTION the horn, because they’ve all been raised with the idea that you only use it to get on-*maybe*-and otherwise it’s just for your rope and stuff. Ideally, you’re supposed to get on and off the horse using only its mane to hold onto (apparently horses don’t have feeling in this area of their body, so they don’t feel you pulling on it). The head wrangler claims that a real cowboy doesn’t even need the saddle to be cinched onto the horse, that they can get on it so fast and balanced that the saddle never even moves. Whatever. That seems to fly in the face of physics to me, so I’ll believe it when I see it. When I demanded Randy give me a demonstration, he suddenly got very busy. ;-) Anyway, I’m still at the point where I require the fraidy cat’s platform to get on and off the horse, so I don’t know what I’m bitching about… However, this time when I was riding, I hardly held onto the horn at all. 95% of the time, I held onto just the reigns, and I was totally comfortable with that. So, huge progress for me! :-)

Instead of doing a lesson first, Lisa (the bartender from Minneapolis), Stacey (the wrangler), and I went on a short trail ride down to the lake. There were definitely a few scary moments of having to go down impossibly steep embankments, but I let the horse do his thing, and we both survived. It was really neat to go down right by the lake; Stacey even rode her horse right into the lake, which freaked the horse out a bit, I must say.

On our way back to the arena for my trotting lesson, Lisa decided to kick her horse up a notch into a trot. Well, my horse, JD, was like, “Hmmm…that looks great! Me too!” So, very suddenly, I was being tossed around on my horse like a rag doll. It was TERRIFYING!! When you see trotting on tv or in the movies, it certainly never looks so violent, but let me assure you that it is!

So, I started screaming and laughing at the same time; it was a very weird mix of terror and elation. And all the while I’m trying to remember how Stacey said I should sit when trotting, and she’s screaming directions and laughing at me as we all go along, me feeling wildly out of control (a fairly rare emotion for me, admittedly). Eventually, my brain started working again and I remembered to pull back on the reigns to make the horse slow down. I have never felt so relieved!! Of course, Lisa and Stacey thought it was the funniest thing they’ve seen in years.

As we got closer to the ranch, they convinced me that I should try it again, this time on purpose. So, hesitantly, but eager to try it under more controlled conditions, I kicked the horse, and it was the same feeling of crazy bouncing all over again! And, of course, it doesn’t help that no one told me to wear a sports bra for trotting, so I’m practically getting two black eyes in the bargain. Once back in the arena, I tried it for a third time, and that time wasn’t as terrifying, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again anytime soon!

Dinner was a much more subdued experience, thankfully. All the girls loved the dinner I made, especially the dessert (a tasty Pithivier). I was really surprised when they pulled out a couple presents and a card that had been signed by everyone on the ranch!! Balbir even had Tanja (his assistant) buy me a box of truffles!

After dinner, we watched “The Philadelphia Story”, and everyone promised to keep the talking to a minimum (that is one of my biggest pet peeves about the women I live with—Corky especially—they talk constantly about total bullshit while you’re trying to watch a movie or TV). We decided not to spend the night in the King House because it’s supposedly haunted and it's not like any of us have anything to prove. ;-)

Overall, it was a fantastic birthday! I’m attaching some pictures from the day so that you can follow along.

Anyway, I wish you could see out my office window right now. There’s a cloud out there that looks like a tornado is going to drop out of it at any second. Of course, here that means nothing. At home the sirens would be going off for sure. Here, it’s probably just going to rain for 10 minutes. Today we had a double rainbow, one of which ended right on our airstrip. It was really cool!

Well, it’s about that time. I hope all of you are doing well. Happy Birthday to all of my fellow Virgos!! Talk to you later!

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