Riding Holly

Yesterday was yet another stunning spring day, so when friend Jacquie (who owns the castle-like house and runs fabulous homestays, where I wrote about picking daffodils for the Cancer Society’s fundraising) phoned to ask if I wanted to go to her place and accompany her on a long ride over the hills, I said, “Kapai!”

She had Holly (born on Christmas Day) all brushed and ready for me to put my saddle on her, climb on board (aided by a small stool, us elderly ladies) and kick her into action. Isn’t she just the kindest looking mare?

She’s bomb-proof too, but still a good ride. Her Dad was a thoroughbred and her mum a station hack (or maybe the other way round, can’t remember). There’s just something about a horse’s eyes that is impossible to fathom – looking into them is amazing, I think, it’s like all the centuries of horse-experience is deep in those liquid, intelligent pools. Someone famous, I can’t remember who it was, once said that the best thing for the inside of a man, is the outside of a horse. I couldn’t agree more. When I was little, and yelled at by my father or mother for misbehaviour, I used to bury my head in my horse’s neck and cry. They just stand there, and listen, and silently give you their sympathy and support. Wonderful creatures, horses, I just wish everyone could have the opportunity to own and care for one, because they can teach us so much.

Heather (who owns Lily, who will be coming here to live with Smitty soon) came on her boundy, bouncy horse. She’s a very good rider, as is Jacquie, so they humoured old me. I used to be fearless, but as I’ve aged I’ve lost my nerve a bit, so prefer to be careful.

So much for the government trying to pass this ‘Right to Roam’ Access Bill, if you ask nicely, farmers already let you ride over their properties. All they ask is you respect in-lamb ewes, leave gates how you found them – in other words, treat other people’s property the way you would wish your property to be treated. But no, the MPs think they should order us to let anyone wander over the farm.

Looking down from one of the hills, you could see Lake Wairarapa (that’s Jacquie in the foreground).

Then we passed a paddock of stroppy young bulls – I was very pleased a four-wire electric fence separated them from me and my slow horse.

Climbing higher, you could see out to the coast, Whangaimoana Beach then across Cook Strait to the South Island.

Then we stopped to eat our sandwiches among these benevolent cows and their calves. The reason this photo’s a bit wonky is because Holly kept trying to eat while I was taking it, and pulling one side of the camera down.

And so home, having gone about 16 kilometres, and here’s Holly longing to get out into the paddock and have a nice roll.

Watched over by one of Jacquie’s naughty donkeys.

A great outing, and today I’m not even sore.


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