Surviving Small Stirrup Irons and Scary Cows
The first time I visited Slovenia I was shocked to discover the incredible beauty of this small country. There was something truly wonderful everywhere I looked. The Julian Alps were particularly stunning and I was delighted to discover just how many different ways there were to explore the mountains. I spent a lot of time hiking, I went white water rafting, I greatly enjoyed a paragliding trip and the quad biking was brilliant. Naturally I also felt the need to go riding.
I was staying near the and had not seen any riding stables in the area. A quick search on Google revealed that there were stables in the nearby village of Stara Fužina. I drove up to the village to take a look and found the stables but there was nobody around.
A note pinned to the office door directed all enquiries to a mobile number which I called. It was answered by someone who was clearly enjoying a drink in a local bar. I asked if my partner and I could ride the next day and was told that this would be fine and to arrive at 9am. I then had an interesting encounter with the stable's pet pig!
Big Horse, Small Stirrup Irons
I wasn't at all convinced that whoever I had spoken to had taken any notice of what I has said but when I arrived at the stables the next morning they were expecting us. I was introduced to my horse which turned out to be a sizeable grey. As I attempted to mount I noted that the stirrup irons were a little small for my hiking boots. The boots were not ideal but they were all I had with me that were vaguely appropriate for riding. Once in the saddle I tested the stirrups again and decided that I could get away with them. As my partner is not an experienced rider and I had explained this to the guide, I figured that we would only be walking.
The Need for Speed
We were soon on our way and followed a trail up into the mountains past an amazing gorge. The scenery was truly incredible and I was enjoying my leisurely ride.
Then the guide asked if we wanted to speed things up a bit. My partner said that was OK which I thought was rather daring. I had imagined that speeding things would mean trotting, so I was more than a little surprised when the guide broke into a gallop. There we were, my partner never having galloped and me with boots about to fly out of the stirrup irons, charging along a mountain trail after the guide.
I shouldn't have worried because my feet stayed put and my partner coped very well. I enjoyed the rest of the ride immensely and thought that the drama was over when we turned back towards the village. But I was wrong! As we walked along a county road the guide’s horse suddenly shied and the guide flew out the back door and onto the road. I asked her what had happened and she explained that her horse was terrified of cows! There were a few cows close to the gate of the adjacent field and they had spooked the horse. Weird!
I had a marvellous day in the mountains but I will mostly remember that ride because of that the incident with the cows. My partner was a complete novice and my stirrup irons were too small, we were both riding horses we didn't know and yet the only person to fall off was the guide! How ironic!