Well I got a chance to experience a little about a life with horses. Guess where? Right here in my own country Uganda (horses are not so common around here). And guess where in Uganda?
I’m sure you got that one wrong. It was far far away in Western Uganda, deep in Mbarara District in a town called Ruti and deeper into Ruti, around 5miles on a long dusty road from the highway, in a village called Rwekishokye. Right there in the midst of vast stretches of bare hills, is a small country club called Rwekishokye country club, complete with a tennis court, swimming pool, a bar and horses.
A horse ride around a demarcated area within the club is around 10,000 Uganda shillings (3 Us dollars). My friends and I definitely went for the horses first thing. There is a horse attendant who guides the horse so you just sit on the horse and peacefully enjoy the ride. But to me, that is quite boring. So, with a few tips from the attendant I actually managed to control the horse myself for the whole ride. And after that I was hooked. I wanted to learn everything that I could and luckily the horse attendant was friendly and enthusiastic to teach. He took me to where the horses were kept and even allowed me to feed them. But I was a bit scared and hesitant. Interestingly, the horses were also scared of me and they were walking away from me, which I found very weird considering they could easily just decide to chase me and kick me down and trample over me. So anyway it was I who had to befriend them. I was given a small bucket of very ripe bananas to feed them. And one by one they finally got the courage to get close enough to me to feed from the bucket. My fear of them also starting fading, and we bonded!.
I went back the following day and this time I got a real horse riding lesson. First I had to talk to the horse gently as I patted it before sitting on it. Horses are quite emotional apparently. Next after the caretaker saddled it properly, I was told that you have to get on from the left side. Get a firm grip on the reigns and then kick the horse on it’s belly with the heels of your feet to get it moving. Then to move right, you pull the right side of the reigns and to move it to the left, you pull the left side of the reigns. To go straight, you pull both sides together to make the horse face the front. And then to giddy up ( I heard this somewhere) the horse into a gallop, you kick it hard in the belly. But honestly this part did not work for me. Every time I would kick the horse to make it run, it would just continue strolling and even slow down! The caretaker said I wasn’t kicking hard enough but I really kicked and kicked and failed. But then I discovered another trick that works. In my frustration to get the horse to run, I slapped it on the butt and viola! The harder you smack it, the faster it runs. And then when it’s running, you have to bend forward slightly and keep going up and down to avoid falling off. It is actually a real physical exercise.
And that was my two days with the horses. All the way in the West.. of Uganda, deep in Mbarara district at a small country club called Rwekishokye.
p style=”text-align:center;”>Special Thanks to Joan who invited and hosted me with Helen who was also my tour advisor.
And above all thanks to God Almighty!