TUSCANY: etruscan knights and brigands
MY FIRST REAL EQUESTRIAN TREKKING
First horse trekking … what a thrill!!!
Returned from the holiday in Cape Verde, where my passion for horses was born, I did not waste time looking for riding schools in order to ride properly and learn the technical bases. A friend of mine, who has worked for many years in the equestrian sector, recommended me a riding school, so I started instantly because, at my age, I absolutely wanted to dedicate myself to this wonderful sport.
A dozen hours of lessons, English riding, and my stability on the horse saddle began to improve. Taken by the enthusiasm and the desire to start my equestrian trekking, I could not hide my inner excitement while approaching the riding school by car … I am human …
The fear (reasonable) of not being at a level of riding technique that you could think to take part in a multi-day horse trekking, of getting yelled (at fifty years old …) by the instructor because you forgot everything that he had told you last time, of not reaching the goal.
Disbelief from the other more experienced riders… I can understand it, but at the same time, nothing could stop my desire to learn because inside of me it resurrects the beauty, the joy, the freedom, and the lightheartedness, of when I had been on the horse.
I booked the horse riding in Tuscany Introducing myself as a beginner, they accepted me and confirmed they have horses for my level too. My riding trainer was happy with this choice and sure of my success because of my great decisiveness shown during the training.
Hooray!!!! The closer the days are, the more excited I was. A turmoil of emotions that fueled my everyday life.
To prepare what it is necessary, I think I have read in 10 days all the existing on-line articles about how to organize and plan an equestrian trekking of several days, or how to pack.
My adventure begins!
I think I wrote and rewrote the list of things I need so many times.
Happy, agitated, incredulous, listening to music, I thought about and dreamed. My first sheer horse trekking after not even a month of training. I arrived the evening before the departure to relax and to be in good shape the following morning.
In the B&B where I spent the night, ten minutes’ drive from the riding school, I met a couple who attend the same horse trekking. We chat about this and that, and I found that they were “expert” riders. What a wonderful news !! Well … I said to myself inside … I start really well … I’ll do a one-day trial and then I’ll back home with “my tail between my legs”.
During the night, I was a little restless … thousands of thoughts, thousands of dreams, thousands of worries; briefly, a bit of everything.
In the morning, I had nice breakfast and I got ready.
I arrived at Riding School Belvedere , I parked, I looked around, I saw the horses ready, already saddled, and I met Andrea, our guide, and the owner of this school with his spouse, Brigitte.
Andrea has immediately noticed my anxiety and has tried to tranquillize me. According to him there is a horse compatible suitable for my level. He preferred to stay close to him, behind his horse. I did not worry about the others neither for them nor for their competences. I had to think only to myself and to realize my dream.
I saw my horse: Havana
Western Riding! I did not even know what it was, but it’s the easier style to start and be in the saddle for so many hours, according to Andrea. I believed his words with the same confidence of a first grader girl with the schoolteacher.
Let’s ride! It starts my dream, which is no longer a dream but a reality!
The horse trekking would last six days. I had only booked for three having fear of not succeeding. The cohesion created between the participants was unbelievable: sharing the same holiday and the same passion was extraordinary. I felt pampered by everyone since I was a “beginner”.
After the departure, we crossed fields, gravel roads, groves. The walk gait was our mainly way to move, but sometimes we went at the gallop. That’s a big deal for me!!! “Galloping”! I performed it a few times at the school riding, and I was a little worried. So, I had riding during the morning being conscious that sooner or later, once we left the stall, we would galloped and I didn’t want found unprepared. I was not ready, but certainly, I would never have stopped the group because of my inexperience.
Andrea says to stop and get ready…. For what? Everyone understood, but I did not.
At a gallop obviously! He looked at me. When he asked me if I feel ready, I replied with a definite ‘yes’. I could not have answered otherwise. I was there and I knew I would have to do it.
- He queues up us.
- Departure, speed and stop. Depends of the guide.
- Nobody can be outpace
Are you READY? AT A GALLOP!Just then, the adrenaline gets to pumping so hard … thrills, enthusiasm, joy, fear … that mix of emotions!
We start !!! LET’S GALLOP! Then WE STOP … AND I WAS THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!
THANKS TO HAVANA, my gorgeous horse, I had started to live the connection between rider and horse, to feel it, to enjoy the movement and the speed.
When we stopped, everyone rejoiced for my happiness and Andrea was almost touched, despite his image of “insensitive Tuscan buttero”.
The group joined because I would no longer be a problem for my inexperience. Finally, there was the peace for proceed and continue the program as scheduled.
We visit beautiful places during this horse trekking. I did not know them. I have traveled half the world but there are still parts of our beautiful Italy that I miss. Moreover, there was more than the beauty and the excitement of being on the horse saddle. The discovery of incredible places, full of history, breathtaking views, villages such as Pitigliano, Sovana – one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy, where it seemed to be in an enchanted world – for not to mention the Etruscan Excavated Roads (Vie Cave Etrusche) of Selva del Lamone, which are really amazing.
It was a well-organized horse trekking. I tell you about:
The morning begins with the horses’ preparation. First, they have to feed and water the horses, and then to rub and saddle them. Finally, when they are ready, it starts the horse trekking. The staff brings by car our luggage directly to the place where we will spend the night. They always stop for the lunch-brake in the middle of the nature and the guide’s wife prepares a dream picnic. After that, we relax on the hammocks .Then we ride for another 3 hours up to the place where we will rest overnight.
We ride, talk, laugh, joke, give confidence, share experiences, since most of path is a walk horse trekking alternated with a bit of adrenaline of a nice gallop. Therefore, there is the possibility to communicate and interact.
Arrived at the local where we take the dinner, we lodge the horses, give them to drink and eat, and relax ourselves drinking in company a good aperitif and having dinner. It creates a cohesion of the wonderful group, we exchange the emotions felt during the day, we talk about ourselves more or less … a bit of everything and then we go to sleep … Besides we prepare ourselves for the beauties of the next new day.
Wonderful experience, beautiful people, cohesion, group, mutual help, fun, direct relationship and confidence with your horse.
This is just a simple horse trekking but very interesting.
Even now I remember the people smiles, the jokes, the sharing moments, the obstacles, what remains is … a wonderful human store.