When there’s a pony involved, Suz is happy   2 comments

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So you can see what the highlight of MY Saturday was!

But we’re not there yet. Since these bloggedies are for me to enjoy when I forget I’ve written them and come back to re-read in ten years, let’s go back to the start of the day with yet another good night’s sleep (most of my Ireland sleeps were lovely) and woke to grey skies. Managed to get out t he door earlier, and lo and behold, for the the first time since we arrived at Gramarye Cottage the sun burst out as we drove off, and we left in sparkling sunshine, which was magnificent. It didn’t seem possible for our little slice of heaven to be even more magical, but Ireland keeps on giving in that department.

We drove to Leitrim Village and found the canal Eugene had suggested. He hinted that we might see otters, which we didn’t, but other than that it was wonderful, one of those little humble hidden gems that people aren’t going to divert to from doing the Big Attractions, but totally rings our weird little introverted chimes. We opted for the longer walk, the 10k, and set out still enjoying brilliant skies and wildflowers that positively seemed to glow.

There are paths on both sides of the canal, and in some places water on both sides of the paths so there were zebra stripes of water and path, splashing and chuckling and being all wet and lush and all shades of green and flowery and ripply and spectacular. Occasionally we’d pass stands of woods so dark they seemed to lead to another dimension, and which breathed out air 20 degrees colder than that on the warm sunny path. Ireland magic being what it is, few of the photos we took of the Dark Realms came out showing anything close to what they looked and felt like in the Outside World. But the legends of pookas and kelpies take on a new resonance when you stop and peer into one.

We were lucky enough to come upon a lock just as boat was waiting to go through. A lovely young man who had passed us in his car, presumably when he got the call from the boatman, was closing the water gates and opening the sluices, and we got to watch the whole shebang. Living on the C&O Canal, one of the world’s best, means we’re no strangers to towpaths and locks, but the ones by us are charmingly defunct (and I like them that way, don’t get me wrong) so it was nice to see one operating as locks have for lo these many years. A young man sat nearby in a silver Mercedes smoking cannabis.

By the time we got back it was, of course, raining lightly but still pleasant. We sat on a picnic bench in the parking lot and ate the wraps I’d packed for us, and chatted with an Irish couple who were vacationing in their Winnebago from County Meath, and whom we’d watched kayaking more or less on our route.

Weird Suz note- they offered us a ‘nice fresh cup of tea’ and I went into Unprepared Introvert Panic, stammering something about having to be somewhere and fleeing for the car. I asked David later if I’d been rude and he said yes and that it would have been nice to have tea and chat with them. And of course it would. But I shrieked that he needs to step in when he sees me making social faux pas and rescue us both, I just can’t be relied upon to behave rationally when People are involved, now, can I?

We WERE still in search of an internet cafe for our doomed quest to download our Baking Show, so after escaping the terrifying social situation I took a rare turn at the wheel and got us to Drumshanbo, where we indeed found a cafe, but no wifi. But we had really good coffee, and baked treats (David’s vanilla cupcake was great, my G/F S/F caramel square was super disappointing, what did I expect, duh?) We also tried to get some more euros from a bank machine which rejected us rather snidely, and surprisingly, since Capital One had told us we’d have no problem using it. And to be clear we never did have a problem buying stuff, but it never did give us cash. We were a little concerned as we still had several days ahead and our cash stash was dwindling.

But little woes were easy to put aside, because this took us up to the time for my much-anticipated trail ride. We got there early (how could I stay away when we were right there?) and my horse was being used in kid’s birthday party, so David settled in the car with my hotspot to have a nice technology catch-up. I picked out a helmet and sat in the office bouncing like a 7 year old, and when two girls like unto my Younger Self offered to show me around the barn I practically skipped after them. The talkative one had an accent my poor old ears just could NOT decipher (and possibly a speech impediment) so luckily for me the other one quietly translated when it became clear that I wasn’t going to get it. But the bottom line was that we all spoke Horse and it was just too fun. Lovely horses, but much like the Warwick Riding School of my childhood, standing on concrete with no bedding. The manure was mounded into astonishing hills, they must have trucks come cart it away. The school horses are mostly field kept, I gathered, so the only ones who live in are the boarders and the one school horse on ‘box rest’, which I suppose isn’t much of a treat. Finally it was time, and the very nice and kindly instructress got me mounted on my lovely piebald Gypsy horse, Curly. As it happened, both the girls who were showing me around said Curly was their favorite, but that he could be ‘a wee bit lazy’ and liked to eat grass a lot. Also that they had both ridden him in their lessons earlier that day, so while I did find the poor fellow pretty lazy, he was actually probably just plain worn out. But oh oh oh, how marvelous it was to sit in a saddle, fiddle with the stirrups, find the rhythm, and look at the world from the vantage point of a long neck and two ears.

After years on Nik I found it odd to have to use my legs that much, and a fair bit of the ‘tickle stick’ as the trainer called it too. He had a nice walk and trot, but died out as soon as he could possibly manage it, and no fault to the hardworking fellow either. I rode a little in the nice indoor under the watchful eye of the instructor, and was thrilled beyond measure that a) I hadn’t totally lost it and b) my knees and the rest of me too didn’t scream with pain. I’ve never forgotten how horrified I was to get on April after years of not riding and not being able to post, and I was pretty sure it would happen again, but no! The video David took of me didn’t even look half bad at all.

A somewhat sullen young woman called Amy got on a chestnut, and the two of us headed out. I was pretty thrilled to be the only one on the trail ride, and once Amy figured out that I could ride reasonably well she warmed up a little. We trotted along a small road and out onto the main road, and through a roundabout, all of which had my Little Girl squeeing with joy as this was the sort of trail ride I took so many, many times as a kid, with the traffic courteously letting us by, and me feeling like a queen, aboard a nice pony. We made our way through some new construction and then onto a lovely, lovely green path by a river, with the trees arching over us in leafy Irish bowers. There we bumped it up to a canter, which also felt comfortable, familiar and (under the circumstances) positively thrilling. Amy’s horse was slower than mine so old Curly kept dropping out into a trot, but I was still on Cloud 9.

Which was, incidentally, the name of *my* pony at WRS. So I wasn’t actually on my long lost and much beloved Cloud 9. But you get the picture.

Then we went back to the barn and past it to an upland trail through a nice field (muddy, but everything in Leitrim County is muddy) and had a few really nice canters, with the clouds skirling above us, the grass blowing around us, and mud flying up into my face, just like the Olden Days. I was in heaven. It was raining by the time we made it back to the barn, but I still had 10 minutes or so, so I joined in the kids’ lesson going on and did Round the World, to my own surprise and the amusement of the instructor. Then I tried to get Curly to give me a last canter around the ring, but he was so not into it and I didn’t have the heart to get after him, since he’d just given me a literal dream come true.

I dismounted and walked him back to the barn in the middle of the kids. The owner came out and asked how the ride was, and pointed out that my helmet being on backwards wasn’t a great sign. I was embarrassed, and so were Amy and the instructor for not picking up on it, but I tossed it off with ‘it started off right but the ride was so wild and wonderful it blew my helmet around!’

I was thrumming with delighted joy the whole way home, where I cooked us a splendid feast of roasted Irish potatoes and steamed broccoli with butter and cheese, and soda bread.

Then a night of writing by the fireside, a hot bubble bath and lots and lots of reading.

I’m not sure you can have a day much better than that.

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Posted June 29, 2017 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

2 responses to “When there’s a pony involved, Suz is happy

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  1. This is definitely HAPPY DANCE time for you! she’s such a pretty pony!

  2. ❤ i'm a huge sucker for paint and feather feets!

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