International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: World Travel
Around in Jamaica
felt the cool, salty water soaking my pant legs and the level was
rising rapidly. Soon it would be up to my waist, and there was nothing
I could do about it. It would be soggy drawers all afternoon. The
words repeated in my head, "Why did I wear pants? What was
I thinking?" and decided then and there that this was something
I needed to add to my ever-growing "Note to Self" list.
Ah well, its
only water and what a great excuse to go shopping.
I didnt care; I was in Heaven. You see, one of my passions in
life, other than travel, is horseback riding. When I travel, I like
to research ranches beforehand, so that I can explore the region on
my favourite mode of travel. It's a great opportunity to see nature
in another part of the world. (By the way, being close to nature is
also near and dear to my heart).
This particular adventure took place about an hours drive outside
Ocho Rios, Jamaica, at Chukka Farms, a well-maintained ranch and polo
club just far enough away from the tourist area to make me feel that
I was away from the touristy area and somewhat connected to nature.
The horses are well-groomed and the riding pace is structured for all
levels of riders. After all, I was not there to tear up the turf or
pioneer new trails I was there to enjoy the hot sun, the astounding
scenery, the fresh air, the flowers and to get lost in the fantasy that
I was exploring some tropical island by myself.
After riding through trails and alongside the rolling surf, feeling
that all this just might be a dream, I arrived at the coolest little
half-way point where guests dismount and the English saddles are replaced
with a very intriguing canvas sheath. While this exchange is taking
place, the guests retreat to change rooms to put on bathing suits, shorts
and T's, or other appropriate water wear, and return ... barefoot.
A very simple climb up a few steps and I was back in the saddle again
to go headlong into the surf. It was, quite literally, the coolest experience
I have ever had I know, bad pun. But really, after riding in
the hot sun, it was quite soothing to go into the water, which was at
one point, up to my waist, and feeling the cool salty surf wash over
me. The canvas sheath/saddle had a loop handle to hold on to which came
in handy for the few times the surging surf tried to push me off.
Who enjoyed the swim more; me, or my horse? Im not entirely sure,
but I swear I saw the horse smiling. I loved every moment and refused
to think I would ever have to return to shore. Alas, our frolic in the
turquoise surf eventually came to an end, and we returned to the half-way
point, changed clothes and saddles, then enjoyed a cool beverage before
our leisurely ride back to the ranch.
There will always be a special place in my heart for Chukka Farms (and
yes, I bought the T-shirt), and I definitely plan to do it again, only
next time leaving the pants behind and going with shorts or bathing
I think it may be just as special as the moonlight ride in St. Maartin
that I also hold near and dear to my heart; the ebony sky, completely
encrusted with billions of stars from horizon to horizon, the gigantic
full moon punched into its centre, the sound of waves and the pounding
hooves of wild horses running in the fields, the roaring campfire ...
but I digress.
... Ill share that story another time.
© Cheryl Gregory Nov 2009
cherylgregorybiz at gmail.com
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.