Saturday, September 20, 2014

Not quite a pony

By Gayle Carline
Horse-crazy World Traveler

I don' t know how it happens, but 90% of the time that it's my day to post, I'm somewhere else. This weekend, I'm at the Southern California Writers Conference, teaching a workshop here and leading a critique session there. If you're a writer and want to know more about conferences and why you should go to them, I watched an interesting session with my friend Marla Miller and her friend Carla King. Check it out:

But what I really wanted to talk about this month was my trip to Scotland. It was glorious! We went so many places and saw so many things, but I'll give you the horsey-highlights.

1. We saw the Kelpies. They are stainless steel horse heads, designed to pay homage to the draft horses that pulled barges up and down the river at Falkirk. Here is the photo I took:

And here is a photo my hubby took of me, standing in the driving rain, in a pink jacket, under the horse's nose.

They are enormous!

2. I rode! My horse was not a pony. She was a Cob-Draft cross named Florrie and it was just me and my guide Julia riding through the Highlands. We did a little "trotting with a rise" which is how they refer to a posting trot. If you say "posting trot," they smile. Say it twice and they start laughing. Here I am, preparing to go out:

I'm still kicking myself for not asking what that flap of material is on her nose. It's not a grazing muzzle!

Here we are, with Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness in the background. What you can't see is that I'm looking at a field of heather blooming. Gorgeous.

This is most of the scenery. Green, luscious, rolling hills.

One  more picture of me and Florrie, as it started to rain.

Our travel agent had instructed hubby to drive to his golf game and me to take a taxi to the stables. This turned out to be an error on her part, but a fun one. My taxi driver, Robert, said at the hotel, "You know this is a half-hour drive. It's over 40 pounds one-way. You could have dropped your husband at the golf course on your way and taken the car."

I shrugged and told him, "Too late now."

He shook his head. "I can't do this. I'll drive you to the stable, wait for you, and drive you back, all for 60 pounds."

Still expensive, but he was so nice about everything. He worried that my jacket wasn't waterproof enough and wanted me to wear his coat. I told him about America and he confessed he wants to ride a horse like the cowboys do and shoot a gun. We talked about the target shooting competitions on horseback and he was jazzed.

"I want to do that!"

Too bad he doesn't know how to ride.

When I came back from riding, his car was in the parking lot and I had to ride Florrie around him. He told me, "You had the biggest bloody smile on your face when I saw you."

Well, yes. It felt like I could die happy in that moment.

(And no, I didn't get pictures of Julia or Robert. I was so busy living in the moment that I forgot about recording it.)

Have you ever had that moment, when you realized a dream and it was everything you thought it would be?


Linda Benson said...

Thank you for taking us along on your journey, Gayle. Great post! Love the Kelpies, and love Florrie.

Hmm, the interesting piece of tack she's wearing is truly a mystery. Maybe to keep her from grabbing a bite anyway? (You really need to email or write those folks back now and find out for us all!)

FD said...

It's a pollen net - it helps reduce head shaking in allergic horses!

Gayle Carline said...

Thank you, FD!

Laura Crum said...

What a wonderful trip!

White Horse Pilgrim said...

Some friends ride with nets like that. They say that the net keeps out small insects which would otherwise cause irritation and head-shaking. I'm not sure whether allergies are increasing, however several horses at our barn in Britain seem to need these nets.

It sounds as if you had a great trip.