I’ve never been the biggest fan of horses. There are multiple reasons for this, but namely it comes down to trust issues. Horses are big, smart animals and just looking in their eyes you can see that they’re sussing you out! Regardless of this fact there have been a few points in my life where I felt as though I’d give them another chance and, sure enough, just as things start to go well it quickly falls apart leaving me with a lower regard than I had previously.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like animals. Cats, check. Dogs, check. Snakes and spiders, check. It’s just horses that I have the problem with.
A few years ago now I had my latest encounter with a horse. It was 2010 and the horse was named Alfonso. The name “Alfonso” means noble, eager, brave and ready and my experience with this particular Alfonso didn’t confirm any of these. I met Alfonso during a horse trek in Australia. Before beginning the trek I was kindly asked if I was afraid of horses, “no” I said, as I’m not technically afraid of them. “Good” the lady replied, “you can take Alfonso”. Alarm bells should have began ringing at this point, afterall she had taken an apparent pleasure in finding someone to take on this particular horse.
Alfonso was a tall horse; I’m not sure how many hands tall though (that’s how they’re measured right?). He was white with brown splurges, a bit like an Ayrshire cattle, and was by far the best looking steed there according to all of the other riders! Having ridden Alfonso I think that I can safely say that these traits are about as far as Alfonso’s virtues extended.
We all saddled up and headed off. From the very beginning we ran into problems, with Alfonso doing exactly what he liked. It wasn’t so much that I was riding the horse, as being taken for a ride by Alfonso. He wanted to eat, and who could blame him, he just didn’t like not being able to eat when he wanted. He found it hard to follow in the line of horses, rushing up to the front of the group or dropping back to do his own thing. For an inexperienced rider like myself, perhaps Alfonso wasn’t the best horse for me, as he was clearly a stubborn horse.
Perhaps the most notable part of the whole trek was when Alfonso decided to lay down. My first thought was that he was unwell, a thought shared by our guides. The guide got me off, she got him up and rode him fast up a hill and back, he was fine, just stubborn by all accounts. Since that event I’ve looked up possible causes for this behaviour and they all come down to one thing – The horse feels like it’s in charge and has a complete lack of respect for the rider. This is evidence enough that I was going too easy on Alfonso that day!
The rest of the trek was marked by more disregard and disobedience. Alfonso took short cuts where possible, with me having to dodge branches and adjust to riding through trenches in woodland all while hanging on for grim death. Thankfully Alfonso didn’t repeat the laying down trick though, well at least whilst I was riding him. I just wonder if the next poor soul to ride him suffered the same experience with him as me, or worse.
All in all the time spent trekking reaffirmed what I already knew, I’m just not cut out for this equestrian stuff. Alfonso realised this fact early on and blatently took advantage. Needless to say, I won’t be venturing out again on horseback anytime soon and it’s all down to a horse named Alfonso.