Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wild Hearts

Photo from here.

I wish I could say that was me on the horse up there, but it's Giselle. The model. But I can see how some people might get us confused ;)

There's so much more to horseback riding than simply Yee-haw. For a novice rider like myself, you need to know logistics: what makes the horse go, stop, turn right, turn left. Be assertive, but gentle and kind to your horse. Then, of course, you slowly move into the territory where how you ride your horse is similar to how you live your life. (Note: for a refresher on this topic, view the recently released film documentary Buck).

The challenge is tending to that fine balance between give and take. Just as you don't want your life to live you, you can't let the horse control you. You've got to be strong-willed, deliberate and confident in your relationship - as with all relationships, there should be mutuality. Once you've established these ground rules however, you have to let go. You've got to give your horse some reign.

My friend Caitlyn is getting married in the fall and as part of her Bachelorette weekend, we went out to Chanslor Ranch in Bodega Bay for a trail ride. I hadn't been on horse since a lovely coastal ride I went on a few years ago in Big Sur. It's kind of like riding a bike: if it's been a while, your first inclination is fear. However, once you're on, it's like you never were off. And once the horse starts trotting along, bouncing you up and down, you've never felt more free.

That's me. Bottom right corner. I didn't get the gallop like Giselle, but I did get the hair flow.

Caitlyn all saddled up. The bride-to-be rode Tinkerbell, the snow white horse, of course. Her cowboy boots were her Mom's, from the seventies.

Something borrowed...

T.B. (short for Taco Bell) was the tallest horse. I obviously wouldn't be riding T.B.

Caitlyn snuggling up with Goofy (one of the smallest), who I rode. More my speed.

Even horses, with their regal boldness, can be dainty.

Saddles are so complex, intricate and, up-close, quite beautiful.

Speaking of up-close and beautiful, our guide David (who wore a feather in his hat) took this picture of a small cluster of orchids on the trail. Their pink popped amidst the greenery. He was very adamant about our taking notice of the orchids.

The Bachelorette group posing (post-ride, mid-inner thigh strain) with the horses. Not sure if it's obvious, but Goofy was snuggling into my neck pretty cozily. We were best buds.

All of this horseback riding reminded me of some of my favorite horse movie moments:

Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet. A true love story.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. Another true love story (possibly the best, and most heartbreaking, ever).

Gabrielle Anwar in Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. I loved this movie when I was younger! Just thinking about it now makes me want to get back on that horse. It's a special thing, riding a horse. Feeling free, wild and connected - all at the same time.

Does anyone have any magical horse stories to share?


  1. I have a few things to say: 1. Giselle's body is SICK. 2. I love you. 3. I love National Velvet. 4. I love Brokeback. 5. Remember Mocha?

  2. @ Heather: I have a few things to respond with: 1. Yes, it's sick. 2. I love you more. 3. You look like Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet and I've always thought so. 4. Brokeback is my life. 5. Mocha was your horse and I rode Misty, so yes, of course I remember, sissy!

  3. Someday I will tell you my horseback riding tale and you will be traumatized! (Though I did love Wild Hearts Can't be Broken...)

  4. you captured the experience beautifully! I want to go back immediately....my bum might not agree with me though!

  5. I have zero magical stories to tell that include horses. Sorrry! Xo!

  6. LOVE this post, beautiful m. Wild Hearts was my absolute fave growing up.