NZ South Island - Abel Tasman National Park
19.09.2007 - 19.09.2007 15 °C
One generally is fulled with nothing but romantic ideas when thinking of horse riding along the beach - 2 newly weds, alone, galloping along a beautiful stretch of untouched pristine coastline...
This is clearly not the case when one signs up to go horseriding with Bryan - the village psycho, who comes across from the outset as being a few chocolates short of a chocolate box and disturbingly a bit too attached to his horses!
Bryan lives in a caravan in a paddock with his 4 horses looking out at the beautiful entrance to the abel tasman national park and its coastline - but he intends to move very soon due to the fact that he wants to settle high up on a hill somewhere due to the imminent threat of a flood. Also he is highly pissed off with how society screws every last cent out of everyone and charges people for electricity and water usage - he wants to build himself a well.
I tell him I am an engineer - which goes down like a wet fart. He then proceeds to tell us how his beautiful horses will only play up when they can sense if someone doesnt know what they are doing. Enter novice riders Dee and Drew... I can see my horse hates me already and I haven't even gotten on him yet. Dee is looking like she wants to run for the hills.
Nevertheless we get a brief 1 minute speel about how to ride these precious horses interspersed with plenty of rantings about government and corruption and the end of the world stuff. Charming! I think he mentioned somewhere in there George Bush but I am not concentrating on him now as I am merely trying to send happy thoughts to my horse who looks ready to bolt at any second.
We manage to get on our horses without falling and off we trot - luckily Dee's and my horse are quite used to just following Bryans horse so we dont have to do anything - except hold on and act like we know what the hell we are doing. The kicker to our romantic ride is that Dee's horse hates my horse even more than my horse hates me - so we are separated by at least 20m at all times - very romantic! Any infringement on this causes both horses to rear up and buck madly - which is great news for us as we have no clue how to control or hold on to our horses.
My horse luckily for me fancies Bryans horse and sticks to him like glue, so I get to have a 1hr lecture on how screwed up the world is and how armageddon is coming (Nostradamos predicted it after all) - all the while my horse is continually thrashing his head up and down covering me in spit! Bryan seems unphased by this and by the fact that Dee is doing her own thing 20 odd metres behind us.
I tell you romance doesnt get any better. The hour lesson seems to drag on for days and at the end of it all we scuffle off our horses , thank crazy Bryan for his lovely horses and scintilating commentary and bolt off as quickly as possible to our campervan, aches and pains all over from trying to sit correctly on the horse without having a clue how to do so.
"Hurry up love - we r leaving NOW!" as we speed off as quickly as possible in our clapped out combi - all too keen to get the hell outta there - which is a pity as it was a really beautiful neck of the woods - as shown in the photo below.
Hint to fellow travellers - GO HIKING IN ABEL TASMAN! Far more enjoyable - unless you know how to ride skittish horses that is...