Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Riding in Portugal (on real live horses!)

This was such a cool trip. We went riding one morning on the beach!!!

One of those experiences that comes only once in a lifetime. Surely you'll do it again? you ask.

Considering Bart called it a "once in a lifetime experience" AND declared that "I don't think I'm ever getting on a horse again" - you can pretty much take the comment as is.

We had to be at the riding 'stable' (aka mud pueblo in the middle of a field) at 7:30 but we were a little late. If you are ever in Portugal and need directions - get them from an English person who has actually been there. I'm just sayin'....

Our guide, Paula, was very nice and had Kendra on a lead rope, Rachel followed, then myself and then Bart. Please pan down thru the pic's:

Rachel's been taking riding lessons and as her horse wanted to be closer to the front, really had to work it for about 2 1/2 hours of riding. Yeah, she looks a little crooked but she rides ponies and had to work at getting comfortable on this horse.
Kendra loved her horse.
And there's Bart. Far Away on a big horse. As we all started out, Paula asked that he please keep his horse about 3 metres (9-10 feet) away from mine - because they don't like each other. Turns out when they are loose in the pasture, Bart's horse likes to bite mine, Sarda. So when they are trail riding, Sarda likes to kick his horse.

Considering Bart had not been on a horse since he was 8 yrs old - he did great. He did a good job at keeping his distance. So did I as the last thing I wanted was to be on a kicking horse. I took a bad "flight" (was not a fall - I flew) last time I did any real riding. 20 years ago. Bruised ribcage for 3 weeks. Ah, and lifetime dependency on chiropractic adjustments. Name of the horse was Patrick - one doesn't forget these things.

But we got to go riding at the base of the cliffs, on the beach and thru the surf. It was really cool.

And then Kendra got stepped on by her horse. Fortunately just the big toe. Didn't break anything although it was really swollen and she'll lose that nail.

This is a child who falls apart when she gets a paper cut. Anything abnormal about her body freaks her out. She's already cried several times at the prospect of having to get braces someday. And her cry is the kind that makes you want to do anything to make it stop. It's a lot of work and energy - for us!

There was a big part of us as parents that felt and said "Well, you learned a lesson didn't you?"

She's been around horses a number of times in the past year and I feel I'm always saying "Watch where you're walking; don't stand so close; watch the feet; walk far enough behind..." It's the whole "in one ear and out the other" or "talk to the hand" feeling you get with your kids. Some things they just have to learn for themselves. Even when it hurts.

So we had much crying and drama and went to the medical clinic to make sure everything was OK because it was ugly at first. Everything is fine now - the swelling is almost all gone and she actually went to school today with no bandages on her foot. A milestone for her as it took a week before she could handle the sight of her own toe.

The hard part: it happened Tues. morning and we weren't leaving 'til Sat afternoon. The Dr. said "I'm sorry but she really needs to stay out of the water (swimming pool) for 4 -5 days while the skin heals around and under the nail." That was hard to hear as we were at a place with several pools plus on the coast with sandy beaches.

But - there are many things to do in Southern Portugal with your family that do not require immersion in water! Highly recommend it if you are ever contemplating a family vacation in a foreign land. We still had a lot of fun and by Fri. figured if she got it wet at the beach (she was bandaged and wore a sock) it wouldn't be a big deal as the salt water would be fine on it. It was. More later.

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