Tag Archives: Horseback Riding

The scariest thing so far…

9 Apr

Isn’t/aren’t:

  • the many cockroaches that invaded my bathroom (past-tense since I got my place sprayed!)
  • the lizards scurrying around my bathroom. In fact, they eat the cockroaches so I like ‘em
  • the spider that stung me as I finished taking a shower
  • the scorpions that have decided they like to hang out in my place
  • drinking creek water – I did it and am living to write about it
  • the fear of one big unexpected/unseen bump in the road that would throw me off the back of a motorcycle

The scariest thing I’ve experienced so far is…riding down a rocky mountain on a small horse.

The horses here are significantly smaller than the ones back home; this doesn’t inspire much confidence. Although I have a lot of experience with horses, nothing prepared me for a bush-trekking-mountain-climbing adventure on horseback.

Going up the mountain was no problem so I was ill prepared for the journey down…which was terrifying. Especially when your horse stumbles and you imagine yourself and the animal tumbling down the mountain side against all those jagged rocks.

But don’t worry. That didn’t happen. I survived (phew!) and will probably be climbing down the mountain on foot next time.

Don’t let my words convince you that the horses aren’t fit for the job though…they are actually quite good at navigating rocky mountain terrain and jumping over dried creek beds. I just felt like a terrible person who only added dead weight onto the horse’s back.

So why the adventure into “the Bush”? So I could put my big red boots to good use of course…oh and to see all this:

Worth the terrifying climb down the mountain, right?

Adventures in LA – Horseback Riding

30 Mar

Location: Zuma Canyon, Malibu – Los Angeles, California
Zuma Canyon

It’s a habit of mine to find horseback riding opportunities wherever I am – whether I’m in Cuba, Egypt, or Los Angeles. And if you’re traveling with me, I will try my best to convince you to join me. I always encourage people to try new things, especially things I love! :)

Malibu Riders provided us with some trusty steeds for our 3-mile ride through Zuma Canyon.

They have horses for all levels of riders from novice to advanced. I was assigned to a quick little bay mare named Honna (at least that’s how it was pronounced). My friend’s never been on a horse before so our guide gave him a really experienced gray mare, Nay-Nay.
Too bad she was the one horse who wanted to kick every other horse that tried to pass her that day (apparently she doesn’t usually do this). It’s a little scary trying to get your horse away from the one that kicks when you’re on a narrow mountain trail with a wall to your left and a cliff to your right. At least it made for an interesting ride.

Other than that, the ride went smoothly. Our guide made sure that the riders were doing okay during the entire ride and we got to do a little trot and canter at the end of it when everyone felt comfortable enough to try a faster pace. Oh, and the friend that’s never been on a horse before? He enjoyed it a lot! (I’d prefer he love it, but I won’t put words in his mouth)


Riding in Zuma CanyonMalibu View

Okay so I’m not a riding instructor or anything close to being qualified as one, but here are some things you might want to keep in mind before you decide to horseback ride and during the ride:

  • Don’t wear open-toed shoes.
  • Don’t wear shorts. You can get saddle burn, and it ain’t pretty.
  • Relax. Breathe. Try not to let fear or nerves get to you. Horses can feel if you’re tense through the saddle and may take advantage of this.
  • Make sure your stirrups (the things you put your feet in) are even in length or you’ll feel lopsided and off-balance.
  • Your horse WILL try to eat. Just pull your reins a bit and nudge your horse on by squeezing/kicking your legs.
  • If your horse tries to kick another horse, nudge him on. When they’re moving, they can’t kick out as effectively.
  • If another horse is going to kick yours, move your horse ASAP. You don’t want to be in the way of a kick because those suckers hurt!
  • Don’t worry about steering too much. Trail horses are trained to follow each other – nose to tail – but never let go of your reins; you need them for control.
  • You can always hold onto the pommel (front of the saddle) if you need something extra to grab.
  • If you don’t want to go faster than a walk, make sure to let your guide know so s/he sets a comfortable pace for everyone.
  • Relax, relax, and relax. Have fun!

Malibu Riders operates in Malibu (Zuma Canyon), and Agoura Hills (Paramount Ranch and Malibu Creek) in Los Angeles, CA. They also offer 2-person picnic rides and riding lessons.

Malibu Riders Promo Video:

Shukran (Thanks)

18 Dec

I met a lot of great Egyptians living in Cairo on my trip – and I will never forget the hospitality that I received from them.
When my backpack was temporarily ‘lost’ (but found a day later) and I had no extra clothes to wear, Shahira and Maged came through for me with a bag of clothes and shoes.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I only met Shahira once in Toronto before I went to Cairo? And that I had never met Maged at all before Egypt? I was introduced to them by some friends here in Toronto.
Both of them and their friends took me out for some fantastic late nights in Cairo.

Horseback riding by the pyramids at night was exhilarating – and a little scary because you didn’t really control your horse’s speed…that was the guide’s job and the horses only listen to him!

Felucca’ing on the Nile was relaxing, while the party boat with neon lights and music was a fun and very entertaining experience. The only awkward moment was when they made me get up and attempt bellydancing (I did a really poor job, and a little girl on the same boat put us all to shame!).

What would an Egyptian experience be without coffee and shisha? Well I had a lot of that…I’m pretty sure shisha goes with everything though. i.e. Sushi + Shisha: my most memorable meal was sitting by the Nile at Sequoia and eating some really great sushi (along with some shisha). The sushi there was better than the all-you-can-eat ones here, that’s for sure!

I didn’t get too many days/nights in Cairo, but the ones I did have were definitely not wasted. I don’t think I got much sleep while in Cairo, but it was well worth it!

Thank you: Maged, Shahira, Tony, Andrew, Asem, & friends for showing me around Cairo, entertaining me, feeding me, and driving me around. You are awesome and I will never forget my trip to Egypt – and yes, you can go ahead and take credit for that! :)

And let’s not forget my tour-mates and tour guide, Shady: you guys also made my trip super fun and unforgettable – I will have entertaining stories to tell for a long time. Special thanks to Matilda! For putting up with late room-arrivals or non-arrivals at times, and for checkin’ on me when I was sick.

My trip in one word: Incredible