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Sunday, 16 November 2008

My Black Eye

I really wish I was one of those people that was consistent with their blogging but alas, I am not. I thought I would begin my come-back with the story behind my black eye. And this photo is taken days after the "incident" when the swelling and the colour had somewhat improved.

I did not have a good time during my recent trip to Victoria. I was quite ill with a head cold leading up to Debut but could not spare the time to fully recover and after a disappointing trade show, we decided to spend a few relaxing days in the Mornington Peninsular. It was anything but relaxing!

In my previous entry, I told you how wonderful the Welcome Riding School was here in Queensland. However, I cannot say the same about the lack of safety at Gunnamatta Trail Rides. Contrary to the statement on their home page that their horses are well-behaved, I can assure you that they are not. I will never forget Houdini, who gave me my first black eye in my life. I had a bad feeling from the moment I sat on him and I could sense that he was restless.

As a fairly new rider, I did not appreciate being forced to trot when I made it clear that I was uncomfortable doing so but the worse part was that these horses are trained to follow the horse in front of them, no matter WHAT! When I tried to slow mine down, I was told not to bother as they needed to keep up. My horse would constantly stop abruptly when the others did and literally land on the backside of the horse it followed. This is what happened when I felt the biggest blow to the right side of my face. He had suddenly stopped on the home-stretch trot and this forced his head back and whack! straight into my face. Do you know how hard a horse's head is? I am only grateful that it wasn't the centre of my face as I would have ended up with a broken nose or missing teeth.

Mine was not the only horse that was misbehaving either, One of the staff members who was riding behind us, was on a horse that was uncontrollable and quite frightening and had reduced her to tears as a result. When we reached the beach, she had to swap with another staff member.

What a contrast to the conditions at Welcome. They tell you to leave plenty of space between horses, don't force you to ride at a pace you are not comfortable with and you are actually able to slow down or stop your horse if you need to.

So I do NOT recommend Gunnamatta Trail Rides unless you are very experienced. I did not even get a courtesy call after my visit to see if I was all right. For the next 3 days, I spent my holiday with ice packs on my face and my husband was given a lot of dirty looks as I accompanied him looking like a victim. The horse story didn't seem too believable.

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Anonymous said...

1. if a staff member starts to cry, they shouldn't be on staff.

2. you shouldn't be riding nose-to-tail trail rides unless you are very experienced.

I have been riding for 6 years now, and when you are on a trail ride, you need to be prepared for anything. Once, my horse went from a walk, to a canter, and then reared. If i wasn't as experienced, and if I would've panicked, I would probably have a broken back.

the problem is that the horse follows the one in fro of it.

Word of advice: get some lessons ASAP. THEN go riding...


Thea said...

Thank you for your comments. Again, this place was allegedly catering for all - beginners and otherwise and they were aware of our level. Perhaps they should not allow riders with little or no experience?

I totally agree with you that the nose-to-tail trail ride was not a good idea and the other place I went to did not do that for beginners as I mentioned in my entry.

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