Monday, March 12, 2012

Horse Trek

So Brett and I went on a 2-day, 1-night horse trek while we were in Morocco.  We rode Barb-Arabian stallions (they don’t ride mares in Morocco).  And because they were stallions and not familiar to me, and we were riding English saddles which I’ve never ridden in before, I was very nervous at first.  I didn’t take any pictures at all the first morning.  But here we are at lunchtime.  The horse on the left is Hidalgo and Brett and our guide, Najib is with Brett’s horse, whose name is Kenze.


And this was my horse, Chocolat.  :)


This is where were served lunch.  (A driver and cook came and made our meals that day.)


The latter part of that day I got more comfortable.  We came to this little tiny village which was built purely for tourists to surf.  Najib took our camera while we stopped and had a soda.  So the rest of the pictures are his.  He’s seriously a pro.  Pro rider, and pro picture-taker.

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Do I look like I’m enjoying myself?  I was.  But I was also terrified out of my mind.  Those horses were going FULL. OUT.  And Chocolat seemed to be competitive and always wanted to be in the lead, so while it was amazing, I also kindof felt like it was pretty certain that I was going fall off and die.  (Hey, there was no saddle horn to hold onto!)  Please forget you read this paragraph, and still think of me as awesome and daredevilish.  Thank you.  (And, by the next day I was a bit less scared when we ran.)

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Then we went and took the saddles off the horses and led them down to the beach so they could have a sand bath.

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Brett and I watched the sun set into the water and it was sooo beautiful.

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The other guys had already set up camp.


Our tent was really cool and way too big for just the two of us.


Najib had dinner with us and we had a good time chatting with him, although that’s easier said than done because he doesn’t speak much English, and while Brett speaks a tiny bit of French, it’s really only tiny.  But, with some charades, and a little French, some English, and some animal noises, we had a good conversation about wild pigs how the horse trek company got started and other things.  Brett was often surprised when I would understand something Najib said, and he would ask me, “Did you know that French word?”  and I would be like- No, but I know what topic we’re talking about and I can read his nonverbal cues.  It’s something I can sometimes do when people are speaking German and you can catch a word here or there and piece together a bit.  But Brett’s like, “Hmm, well I was trying to read the verbal cues.” 



The stars that night were AMAZINGly big and bright.  I have never ever seen stars like that.  Brett took this picture, but of course, it doesn’t even come close to capturing it.  We stayed out star-gazing for quite awhile, and it was really and truly awe-inspiring.


Brett in the morning in his Moroccan jelabba (hoodie) and shoes.  :)

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The morning of the second day was by far my favorite part of the ride, because I was much more relaxed on my horse, and while of course I was saddle-sore, by the end of the day I was just all-over tired—there were muscles in my back that were really aching.  Also, that morning was the most wonderful scenery.  We rode back a different way than we had come and we were along the beach the entire time.  It was GORGEOUS. 

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(The following picture is the one that Brett called ‘man-interesting’ because I was looking through the pictures Najib had taken and I saw it and said, “I wonder why he took a picture of that?” and Brett said, “It’s interesting.”  And I must have given him a skeptical look, because he insisted “It’s man-interesting.”)

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Najib didn’t take a picture of it, but there was this one place we rode by where there were a ton of rocks going out far into the water, and they were all covered with bright green moss and the waves were crashing up against them, so there was the gorgeous blue water, bright green moss, brilliant white waves, and beautiful sky.  It was so beautiful I took a mental picture because it was worth remembering.


And here you can’t really tell very well, but we climbed up high dunes, so we’re actually quite a ways up from the beach.

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You can kindof see in this picture how it’s steep.

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p.s. Going up and down the dunes made me think of this part of Phar Lap:

(Phar Lap is so awesome.  If you haven’t watched that movie, do it.)

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These are the horses hanging out while we ate lunch, and Najib had a nap on a rock, and Brett and I gathered a whole bunch of cool seashells for the kids.

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These are some cows.  When they were far far away they looked so weird—all shimmery, like a mirage.


We passed them later on.

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We made it back.  We had some orange juice at this Jimi Hendrix shrine.  I mean, cafe.  Apparently Jimi Hendrix spent some time in Essaouria.

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So anyway, here’s Brett with Najib.  There’s a picture of me with him too, but since I am red-faced and really really oily from all the sunscreen I smeared on, and look like I’ve been riding a horse for two days, I’ll just leave it out (because I don’t want my sister Megan to think that I could ever take a bad picture ;) ).  Oh, and I told Najib to give me a grade on my riding (I really do feel like I improved over the course of the trek, and that I could do even better if I were to do it again), and he said, “You’re a good rider.”  And then he kindof smiled a bit, because I was looking at him like I was waiting for him to qualify that statement.  But he said, “No, you are a good rider—you walk, trot, canter, you have good balance… you just need confidence.”  (Which is weird that he knew the word confidence, but there you go.)  I kindof really wish I could become really REALLY good at riding.


It was awesome.  It was Brett’s favorite part of our trip.  And mine, in some ways, but everything was my favorite in some ways.  We were sore.  The end.

p.s. I’m almost finished with Morocco posts.  Are you sick of them yet?


Tracy said...

I have loved looking at your pictures and hearing about your trip, BUT I am totally captured by you doing a horse trek. SO COOL!!! I would go just for that experience, and I can't imagine how saddle sore I would be. Yikes! The pictures of you riding are great, but I can totally see how tense you are on that horse, but I would have been too.

Alisha Erin said...

that was amazing.

Kris said...

Are you kidding me? This looks so amazing!!! That tent looks like an amazing way to spend a night on the beach. and you look great on a horse! I love those photos of the horses running on the beach with the sunset behind you. Your guide is a pretty darn good picture taker!

Bunch of Bradys said...

That is awesome!! I can feel the wind in my hair.

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