We ride together, we die together
Bad Boys for Life? Bad girls - maybe. This image was taken four months after my knee surgery. I had fallen off a horse (of course) and made a mess of my knee, including a snapped ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Blessings and gratitude for a brilliant surgeon, magic worker nurses, physio's and carers, and friends who helped me through six weeks of non-weight bearing recovery.
Riding on the farm is pretty extreme in places - particularly on the "wild side" across the river. We ride up and down mountains, over some pretty precarious places. The going is mostly rocky or stony. Along the sandy canter stretches, we are on a constant lookout for holes made by moles or porcupines. If we ride alone we always give the heads up that we are leaving, where we are heading, and give the all-clear when we get back. Fortunately, we both have brilliant safe horses, and I for one would ride mine "through the valley of the shadow of death."
The golden rule is Safety First!
Never go anywhere without this non-negotiable piece of equipment.
Although reception is dodgy in places, we carry our mobile phones with handy emergency numbers. Win-win for photos along the way too.
Don't mess about with tack, whether riding in the safety of a riding school or trail riding. Always check that the horse's tack fits properly. My choice is a trail saddle. I don't particularly like the bulky pommel, but I feel safe in it, and I like that it distributes weight evenly across the horse's back. I also always use a neck strap.
We generally ride early morning or late afternoon. The temperature here can get to +45 degrees in summer. During the day, not only is the heat unpleasant for horses and riders but there are flies and midges that contribute to the misery. Snakes are also more active in the heat of the day. There are three snakes to be aware of in this area - Cape Cobra, Boomslang, and Puff Adder (which are lazy snakes and generally don't move until stood on). We also avoid riding when it's very windy, as it makes the horses spooky. The dogs only come along with us if we do a short, early ride to make sure nobody gets heat stroke.