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Why going riding is anything but "glam-a-horse"

Elizabeth Kesses
By Elizabeth Kesses Published on 17 October 2011

Riding a horse bareback through country wilderness was always a childhood romantic dream of mine.

Why going riding is anything but "glam-a-horse"

So during my first trip to Corsica my glam but completely impractical assistant booked me in for a riding lesson.

He thought I may one day need to know how to mount a horse with grace and ease - à la Reine. Preferably side saddle. He said it was a luxury equestrian centre. He is also prone to exaggeration.

That said before we arrived they asked all the right questions - not only my height/weight but also boot colour. So in my mind's eye I had a vision of me galloping through the surf of Porticcio beach wearing some fabulous black leather riding gear. A bit like Betty Draper in Mad Men - oodles of sexiness and elegance.

We arrived to see beautiful Black Beauties roaming in fields only to be led immediately to literally the shittiest stables I could have imagined. Flies everywhere and the stomach turning smell of manure. The teacher was also hugely disappointing. I had hoped for a broody Horse Whisperer - Hugh Jackman from Australia.

He was more Mr Bean than Mr Butch - with skinny legs, a droopy old man's bottom in effeminate tights and a whining high pitched voice.

I was handed a brush and told to 'get to know' my horse, Yaka. Now more fondly known as Fucka. Why on earth would I want to brush a horse to get to know them? You hardly a brush boyfriend? Caress his silky mane maybe.

Yaka was a beast of a horse stamping its feet flicking its tail in my face and glaring at me as I tiptoed through piles of his droppings in my new red Nike trainers. They are now forever scarred and may soon need shoe therapy. After an half hour of frankly doing their job I finally led my horse for a ride.

I was determined to tame this wild Corsican stallion. Within five mins he had nuzzled me - positive sign said our teacher - only to then nip my hand leaving an unsightly bruise. I complained profusely but was told it was a mistress/animal bonding experience and I needed to show who was boss.

Why going riding is anything but "glam-a-horse" Was he off his head? How could a 5 ft petite femme dominate a 10 ft beast! Mounting my horse at least got me above the towering presence. But frankly I would have felt more comfortable in my highest Dior heels on a slippery glass podium than on this skittish fellow.

He bolted at the slightest noise and nearly skidded down a hill when a nearby car honked a horn.

Oh yes the centre had cunningly failed to mention on their website that the countryside rides were next to a motorway.

As for the crotch pain on trotting I will not go into detail but it was certainly not a pleasurable pain. I hardly lifted my head from the dirt ridden track and despite the coach's shrieks of delight I couldn't enjoy the 'magnifigue' view.

After an endless hour I dismounted.

Only to be told I had to brush him again. And what part of 'no' was he not understanding?!! We left the yuck of Yaka behind in a hurry.

As I turned for one last glance at my vengeful opponent I was stunned to see him smugly nestling his nose into the shoulder of the saddo teacher and looking mournfully into his eyes.

Even after a huge shower and many layers of body cream I could still smell horse. Funny to think how horse was a French delicacy not long ago. I doubt Yaka would have made a tasty snack. More gristle than anything else.

Horse in any form is not my 'tasse de the'. I shall stick to the fashion side of horse world - Gucci Masters show jumping and the champagne filled racecourse at Ascot.

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by Elizabeth Kesses

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