Searching, far and wide…
As a girl, I was always one for fairytales. At a young age it was the dream of living in a castle, locks of blonde hair down to my waist, the perfect complexion with no freckles, pretty pink flowing dresses, and a Cinderella-style horse and carriage as my favoured mode of transport.
I soon grew up. But with this, the dream never really went away.
My mother was born and brought up in Africa, and upon moving to England at an early age, soon became obsessed with the horse. She used to spend hours showing me how to check their feet; ways of running ones hand down their legs to feel for any lingering trouble, and always to avoid ragwort! These have stuck with me, somehow, and by puberty my interest was huge, among other aspects.
When it was time to leave home and ‘find myself’, and I decided to combine my Mother’s favourite things; Africa and horses. I knew that I had to go to the Masai Mara, to experience that life, and to try to see what my mother loved.
It was booked, my mosquito repellent was packed, and I was away!
What first struck me was the heat, and I marvelled how these beautiful, healthy horses could bear it as they whisked at the flies with their tails. They moved so elegantly, and the sound of their hooves on the famously red African soil was enchanting. As we rode over the Masai plains, dust flew up behind us, in a dream world that was such bliss and could not be further away from the world I lived.
In the evenings, the Masai would dance to us as we sat around a large log fire, watching the embers crackle as their feet hit the ground to the rhythm of the beat. The horses took no notice, and went about their grazing business nonchalantly.
At sunrise we prepared our horses and set out at a gallop to watch the sun come up and slowly touch the landscape with her white light. The beauty was utterly enthralling, and the sheen on my horse was breathtaking.
My Mother was right. Her fairytale had come alive before me.
I became obsessed with my experience, and addicted to finding such beauty again. I rode out in Peru, New Zealand, Ireland, Tuscany and even The Road of Bones in Far East Russia, but nothing met my expectations.
It was not until I found Equestrian Escapes and their Cheshire Horse Riding Holidays that I was satisfied. The horses gleamed, and their friendly faces shone out from the pristine stables that were their home. Who would have thought I would find what I was looking for almost on my front door step? A UK riding holiday! I was amazed, and entirely impressed. Never had I seen such care given to these beautiful animals and from this a kind of mutual respect between the horse and the rider united us together. The rolling green hills and wonderful sounds of the birds made me feel like I was in a bubble, like Africa, and so far away from everyday life.