Josée in Ottawa

I’m So Far Out of My Comfort Zone I think I’ve Left the Milky Way. On a Horse.

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I rode a horse in the rocky mountains. A horse. In the rockies. I have proof:

Me. On a horse.

After a traumatizing incident involving a runaway horse and a barbed wire fence when I was in high school I swore I would never ride a horse again. (I wasn’t hurt – but I could have been.) When I was planning our trip out west to visit my sister, I asked B.G. what she’d like to do. Her eyes lit up and she almost shouted, “Ride a horse!” How could I say no? We were heading to cowboy country, after all. But the idea terrified me.

(Total number of cowboys we saw on our trip, minus the one running the ranch we rode at: 1. His shirt was so red and his hat was so white that I still think he may have been a tourist, all gussied up. Guess all the cowboys went on vacation after the Calgary Stampede.)

At first my plan was to send my sister and B.G. riding without me. I was fine with this plan until my sister suggested we also go white water rafting during our trip. Suddenly that became my number one fear and riding a horse seemed totally feasible – I’m even more afraid of water than I am of horses. So when ranch day arrived I gamely saddled up, with a bit of a whole lot of effort. We meandered down the trail and things were going fine until I noticed the trail getting closer and closer to the edge of a rather steep cliff. Horses are surefooted, right? That’s what I kept telling myself as the space between the trail and the edge whittled down to less than an inch. Then our guide, Emma, told us to lean forward on the uphills and backwards on the downhills “to help the horse keep his balance”. Ummm, really? The horse needs my help to keep his balance? I can barely stay in the saddle! I’m gripping the horn so tightly my knuckles are white! This is too much responsibility! Help!

B.G. and my sister loved going uphill. All I could think about was that at some point we would have to come back down. And we did – on a forty-five degree incline covered in rocks. The guide told us to let our horse “have his head” so that he could pick the best route. Yikes! I actually asked her if I could close my eyes. She said yes.

I did open them in time to take in the amazing view:


PS – I went white water rafting too. 😮

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