I think I have spent more time in the saddle in the past two days than the past two years combined. It’s great.
In the past two days, I have done 4 treks – two on Saturday and two on Sunday. All together, it was about 7 hours of riding, which my tired muscles are telling me is quite a lot.
The first week I was here, I was mainly working the Holiday Program (Quick side note – I learned that New Zealand schools work in terms. There are 4 terms a year, and a two week break between each with a bit more off for Christmas). We would have different kids in each day, and I got to help them with their work and teach a few lessons. It was wonderful, but there is something even better about being up on a horse and out on a trail.
There are a few things in particular that makes riding out on treks great.
- The people. I’ve only done 5 treks total so far, and there have been some wonderful people. My first one was two young Christchurch women who came out despite the rain, to celebrate a birthday. The second was a couple, and one of them had decided to surprise the other with a fun adventure. Today, I led a trek for a woman who had been sent to Christchurch for the weekend by her magazine in Auckland to write an article on things to do in the area, and then there was a group of Korean men who came to learn about the sheep and cattle industry in New Zealand. We get to meet these people from all walks of life doing these rides.
- The views. When you think of New Zealand, you probably think of dramatic scenery. Let me tell you, it does not disappoint. Because the farm center sits on a low point in the land, I can’t see any views from the house or barn, but if I walk over to the stop bank across the street, it is breathtaking. Looking across the road, there is a swath of green field which are sharply edged by hedges, and met on the horizon by stark snow capped mountains. Seeing it the first time I thought “this is what I came for.” Then I saw the real mountains. Our treks take us a ways upstream, and about a mile up from the farm, you can see the mountains on a clear day. I thought I knew mountains until I saw these. Looking up the riverbed, they rise up as enormous white peaks that almost blend with the clouds. I only wish my iPhone camera could manage to capture them.
- And last, but not least: the riding itself. I’ve been riding horses ever since I was six years old – that’s 14 years. As hard as I try to avoid the horse girl stereotype, riding horses is as ingrained into who I am as walking is. There is something just so relaxing and soul-easing about the rhythmic swaying of being on horseback.
And that’s what I have for now! No epic stories of galloping across fields or standing up in the saddle while shooting a bow (my uncle always wanted me to do that). No, for now, life at the farm is just the gentle sway of daily rhythm. In and out. Wake up, work, and sleep.
That is, until the kids get here for camp tomorrow!