My goal is to ride all 50 states, but when I got the opportunity to ride in Jamaica, I had to take it!
They picked us up from our Resort (http://www.alfreds.com/) and drove us to the Rhodes Hall Plantation (http://www.rhodeshallplantation.net/). The Plantation is beautifully manicured and you feel as if you are walking in a National Geographic Magazine.
We got into the ‘pasture’ (and I use that term loosely) to saddle up and I’ll be honest, some of the horses looked shocking. Skin and Bones and it was hard looking at them. Thankfully, the horses that they gave us to ride looked healthy.
I am one of “Those Girls” when it comes to riding. I hate wearing helmets. Call me vain, call me conceited, I don’t care what you call me, I don’t like wearing them. I realize they save a lot of lives. I understand a lot of people find it stupid NOT to wear them; however, this cowgirl is just not a fan. If you wear helmets, I commend you. Unlike me, your head will not be smashed like a pumpkin if you fall off. I have even fractured my skull and yet I still don’t like wearing them. When I ride, I want to feel free and a helmet restricts that for me. However, before I get off my soapbox, I truly feel anyone under the age of 18 should have to wear one.
Ok, so I completely digressed and I apologize, however I had to say all of that because, as I’m sure you have figured out, they made me wear a helmet. At first, I was really offended by this, until, that is, they pulled out my horse wearing an ENGLISH SADDLE riding IN THE MOUNTAINS and his name you ask? BIG SURPRISE! So, I hoped on and made the mistake of asking, “Why is his name Big Surprise?” The Jamaican man LAUGHED at me and said “Oh you’ll see.” At this point, I’m tightening up my helmet and pulling at his mane to make sure the hair follicles are strong, just in case I need to hold on.
Off we go. The Mountain trail was pretty. It actually reminded me a lot of some of the trails I have been on in Wisconsin. The guides called it Ferngulley and I guess I could see the resemblance. They pointed out all of the fruit trees they had and were genuinely proud of their country.
We rode on the beach and the sea is just stunning. A beautiful turquoise color that is crystal clear! The brought us to a swamp and told us it was an alligator pond, but I wasn’t buying that. I found out later, they actually were being serious… Oops!
We go back and at this point, I think we are finished. They take the saddles off the horses and we’re ready to walk back when they ask if we want to go swimming.
“Nah, we can swim back at the resort” I told him.
“Wait, what? Swim with Horses?”
Ok, well, I’m in! I can’t even get Ray to look at water, much less swim in it! They put a bareback pad on and grabbed our reins and off to the water, which also happened to be a Mineral Spring with healing powers. The horses walked and as we got deeper and deeper they started to suddenly SWIM! Our guide told us to grab on to the mane and just “Let go”. I floated on top of the water, holding on to Big Surprises mane and I let go of everything. I let go of holding on to the horse with my legs, I let go of my doubts and fears and I let go of beating myself up over Him….