Tayla and I woke up early on Monday morning despite our busy weekend and lack of sleep the previous night. The boys had an early start to go fishing, whilst we had pretty decent horse show hangovers – they thoughtfully popped back home with deliciously carb-filled breakfast supplies to help ease us into the day though.
We thanked them between mouthfuls of food, from our position curled up on the sofa where we were planning what to do with the free Monday that stretched ahead of us. Our horses were grazing peacefully outside Tayla’s kitchen window – or rather, Tayla’s mare (Zari) grazed peacefully whilst Oscar rested a leg and dozed off not too far away from her – with Mount Taranaki in the background watching over us, wearing the smallest of snowy hats to hint that the seasons are just about ready to change. It was a blissful start to the day and although I love a Manawatu sunset, Taranaki mornings are pretty magical.
Tayla and I feel like we are totally in sync and so of course, it wasn’t long before both our needs for caffeine started to creep in and we decided to get up and make our way to a local swimming hole, stopping to fill our cups with them super beans en route. The day was mild with no sign of a breeze and we figured the swim would wake the horses up; us too if the coffee didn’t get there first!
Before we knew it we were en route with horses in tow, chattering away over our takeaway coffees and discussing the future (when we’ll live close enough to each other for horsey outings every week). Through the float window, Oscar and Zari were sharing a haynet. The drive took ~40 minutes, culminating with a long, winding and pothole-ridden driveway and a carpark that required me to execute a three point turn by a steep slope just so we could unload the horses. It was a good job the morning had been so perfect or I would have been frazzled at the thought of making a mistake here!
Once we did get unloaded, it took all of 5 minutes to throw bridles on and clamber aboard our horses. Kudos to Oscar for standing like a champ by a suspicious looking boulder whilst I dragged myself up the side of his showsheened ass– the ride down to the waterhole was slippery to say the least!! Had I not almost slid off my horse’s back on the journey through the bush to the clearing, I just about did so in awe when we saw our destination!
Thick, pale golden sand piled up high before a glassy river. Ferns climbing high on the opposite bank, the swooping leaves waving at their reflections on the water below whilst birds chattered and sung to each other as they went about their business. The best thing? Not another person in sight. We had this spot completely to ourselves for all the splashing, shrieking and swimming we could want.
And splash and shriek we did!
It took a minute to adjust to the water temperature..
.. before we were away!
We especially shrieked when Oscar took to his back legs and started walking(!!!)..
As a side note – is there a better feeling than the moment your horse’s hooves leave the surface beneath, and they lurch forwards? You become weightless, legs wrapped loosely around the warm body of your horse, fingers entwined in reins and mane with the cool water lapping up around your ribs.. the best! It’s impossible not to shriek with joy and tempting to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
It’s tricky to stay with your horse at first, the instant shift to weightlessness and the force of the animal moving through the water kind of sucks you backwards. If your horse is showsheened up to the nines, it makes your job sticking on even harder. The best bet is to just spider monkey and hold on tight…
I wasn’t the only one experiencing difficulties though… someone wasn’t sure how to go about the whole swimming thing:
He opted to submerge his head 75% of the time in the deep, but was loving it!
Oh Oscar, you are truly unique..
A Monday well spent making incredible memories with a horse of a lifetime, and friends that make the sun shine a little brighter.
Taranaki.. we’re not done with you yet (though next time I’ll leave the pyjama bottoms behind)!