The View Between a Horse’s Ears

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While the sightseeing has been grand, I was really looking forward to the trekking–there’s something uniquely thrilling about seeing fresh scenery between the ears of an unfamiliar horse.

Galloping on the river bankFor our first equestrian outing, Mount Juliet’s Equestrian Center split us into two mixed-experience groups of six. As it turns out I didn’t need the half-chaps I brought, as tall boots and helmets were provided. The boots were rubber but completely serviceable for the task at hand. If you’re going to ride more than once or prefer a bit more grip, bringing your own worn-in pair might be worthwhile. The helmets were a bit worrying in my opinion–we often repeat the recommendation that you replace your helmet after any fall and reassess every few years regardless, but I think some of these hats could legitimately be considered my elders. They’re old. Some of them appear to have been through wars. If you’re concerned and have the space, bring your own.

Luckily, none of us had to try our headgear out, as everyone was well-matched with mounts suitable to their ability. Instructors made a point to watch us all ride individually before tactfully separating the group.

I had the pleasure to ride Serena, a bay mare 20 years young. As it turns out, she’s something of a big deal. The favorite of one of our ride leaders, I hear she was quite the competitor in her younger days, showing at the RDS Horse Show in Dublin three years in the hunter chase division, a 4-rider relay race consisting of obstacles one might encounter on hunt field, such as brushy fences and a gate (and if one’s team is running behind, you may jump the gate rather than spend time getting off and on to ride through!). It’s sort of like pony club mounted games, with a hunting bend

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