Thursday, March 8, 2012

Road Babe Dispatch From A Saddle

I hadn’t been riding since I was a kid. I used to ride English style, but that was so long ago my memories are hazy. Thus, the thought of mounting a horse, nearly twenty years later, then descending into a canyon filled with wildlife and history was exhilarating to say the least.

I went with Rodrigo of Coyote Canyon Adventure Tours, since my last trip with the anthropological encyclopedia (otherwise known as Albert Coffee) was so enjoyable. You know the old adage that opposites attract? These two partners were about as close as you can get.

When I asked Rodrigo how long he’d been riding, he said, “I’d never been on a horse until I started this business.” He wasn’t much for words. Nope, Rodrigo was more a man of action, but when it came time for the safety briefing, he explained clearly and fluidly in two languages exactly what we should and shouldn't do. I was grateful, considering I was supposed to forget everything I’d done as a kid. Still, we were free to decide what we did or didn’t wanna do.

I got a horse that loved to run. Of course, I didn’t know that until after we headed West and he got a chance to do it. His name was Orgullo (pride). Unfortunately, it’s one of the only Spanish words I can’t say properly. Instead, I called him Cassanova for all the butt-sniffing he got into.

As we descended into the canyon, I was startled by the abundance of trees covering the arid landscape. At the bottom, a creek flowed from recent rains, so our horses enjoyed dragging their legs thru it as we crossed. One opportunity to gallop had already passed and I initially didn’t think I wanted to, but Cassanova changed my mind. He wasn’t taking no for an answer (and maybe he sensed I was secretly ready.)

Rodrigo observed me riding past screaming. So, the next time they were preparing to gallop he said, “Mittie, come to the front.” I wondered if I’d have to read the note out loud to the class. “You’re ready to gallop.” I must have had a stupefied look on my face, because he reassured me. “You did fine. You’re ready.” I wasn't nearly so sure.

Off we went. It was absolutely exhilarating. I wasn’t sure if I was laughing or screaming, but I was having a hell of a lot of fun. As a gorgeous rocky landscape sped by me, I decided that Rodrigo had the right idea. More experiences with fewer words … and this coming from a writer. Now, if only I could figure out how to properly pad my booty. Bike shorts? What?

Mittie Babette Roger is from Louisiana but lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University and authored the book It's Better to Visit the Shaman Without Questions to Ask. She travels the world volunteering to help disadvantaged children and promoting Blue Iguana Tequila to empower serious drinkers.

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