October 27, 2005

Another Go at Horseback Riding

I'm not going to complain about the weather in Jamaica because the weather in New York is cold and miserable and my friends wouldn't appreciate that. With that said, there has been a red flag waving everyday we've been here indicating that all FUN WATER activities that take place at Jamaican resorts are cancelled. The water is not and has not been safe.

Such was the case AGAIN yesterday. We went horseback riding again. This time as part of our all-inclusive deal with the resort. We went to Pineapple Stables in the White River Valley high up into the surrounding Jamaican mountains. TRIBUTARY TO A RIVER: This was yet ANOTHER challenging taxi ride as the mountain roads have been reduced to rocks and dirt due to the torrential rains that seem to plague this country. Our driver was making hairpin turns on a one-lane two-way road which had mountain on one side and 300 foot drops on the other. While it was beautiful, I don't think there was one person in our van that wasn't struck silent by the sight of an oncoming semi with full load attached. Somehow, the drivers made it work. We both fit. This didn't happen only once.

Anyway once we got to the stable all was good. This stable provided better instruction and I think I learned more on our one hour ride up to the top of a mountain. This time our horses had better names. Jon's horse was named BRAVE DANCER and mine was named ONE DROP. When my instructor/tour guide (Jeremy) told me my horse's name was ONE DROP I asked "Why? Because he's only dropped one person?" Jeremy laughed and pointed out that one of my horse's ears dropped lower than the other and sat a little crooked on his big head.

Starting out, One Drop gave me the same problem as "SCREWFACE" by stopping and eating and stopping and eating but I was really mean to the horse (as instructed by my instructor) not letting the horse's head drop (which was very difficult) and I could feel the horse's strong will slipping as he gave me the respect I was earning by being so mean. Of course, I wasn't really being mean. I was just disciplining the horse and letting the horse know that someone decisive was on his back.

I felt a little more successful as a horse back rider. Jeremy gave me good and consistent critiquing which helped improve my form and increase my confidence. Of course the views were spectacular and I actually learned the name of some really beautiful tropical plants I've never before seen. Like the FLAME OF THE FOREST. This a beautiful and incredibly tall tree with beautiful orange flowers on the top. I also learned about the Wild Pine which is a small plant that grows on the top branches of very, very large trees. Its purpose - catching and providing rain water for the birds and small creatures that live in the canopy.

Today Jon and I are getting massages in the morning, going shopping in town around 4:30 and in between who knows? Perhaps we'll get lucky and water activities will be offered and we'll finally be able to go on the ever elusive snorkeling outing.

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