Thursday March 8 2007
OK, so I'm not riding in tomorrow night's official 120 km FEI Royal Kedah International Invitational Ride 2007, but I did get to ride a horse in Malaysia! I got to be Steph's jockey today. The Raven got to ride in Malaysia too! And OK, so it wasn't much of a ride, just a nice half hour trek to loosen the horses' muscles for tomorrow night's ride. I'm not really bent on competing internationally - I just want to ride, anywhere and everywhere (as does the Raven). And today we did just that!
We arrived at the stables in the morning, when it was, I have to admit, almost pleasant outside (i.e., not too swelteringly hot yet)! Grace was saddled up for me, and with Peter Toft's permission - Peter from Australia brought 6 horses for the ride, and Grace is one of them - I climbed aboard - with the Raven in my pack, of course.
Now what other horse sport can you go out for a nice ride in the countryside, like, say, Malaysia, and ride with 4 other instant friends from Australia, Malaysia, and Qatar, and enjoy yourself doing it! Amir and I discussed just that - he started riding only a year ago in Malaysia, and he really enjoys endurance. His wife Nadia started riding in London 8 years ago when she went to school there, she's got a really nice seat. Isi is here from Qatar for the ride. Peter is from Australia, has endurance horses in training and competition all over the world - I'll get to spend some time with his operation in Australia in April.
The riders here in Malaysia are naturally concerned about the heat and humidity. Arab horses are bred for heat and distance, yes, but not the humidity. I expect some horses will handle it well, and some may be like me - just don't function well in it. The trail is also different from the last ride in Terrenganu; there's some technical footing - plenty of rock and roots to be aware of, especially in the dark; and the horses will have to deal with encountering villages, road crossings, water buffaloes, paddy fields, canal ditches. Steph will be riding the entire ride with the Tofts. Their goal is to take it easy and complete, with an eye toward Malaysia's WEC in November 2008.
Our ride took us around a little lake - man-made, I expect, and on a little path that gave you a little glimpse of what some of the jungle will look like. The bugs were already greatly irritating Grace - they'll all get fly spray for the ride, before going out on every loop. Grace had a great big walk, was interested in moving on out. I think Steph will have a great ride tomorrow night/Saturday.
I'm not too disappointed I'm not riding in the Kedah International. Besides, I'd have a very hard time in the heat. I don't think fellow riders would want to listen to me whining all night and all day long.
Maybe we can come back in winter and do a ride! (Malaysia doesn't have a winter.)