One very warm summer's day, I was taken horse riding for the first time around the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. The ride, presented by Gunnamatta Trail Rides, took two hours and included some trotting through the bush as well as the coast of St Andrew's Beach.
The horses are trained to follow each other, thus after you are assigned a horse (mine was named Lil), it's not too hard. I was scared to start, but after they help you get on, and teach you how to control the reins to stop or slightly veer left/right, you get the hang of it.
You then proceed in single file along a trail, with instructors at the front and end of the line to help guide everyone through. You also get the hang of um, stopping every now and again, when a horse in the line needs to do some business on the path.
It can get a little scary when you're riding near the roads and cars drive past, but the instructors ensure that the cars stop and the horses can cross safely. You start off slowly along the trail, and then they slowly teach you how to trot.
The ride wasn't intense but after trotting here and there, your bottom can hurt a bit from bobbing up and down. You also begin to warm towards your horse and it's personality, after all it's enduring you on it's back for two hours. My horse, Lil, had that little bit of quirk that made me get annoyed at it but love it at the same time. For example, whilst everyone was walking in a straight line, she would veer ever so slightly to the right... so much that she would walk me into a branch.
The beach was beautiful though, and just being able to ride on the coast and feel some saltwater breeze on a horse, for the first time, proved a memorable experience. The staff also offered to take photos for everyone at that point.
The only slight downside, was that one person who was a little more scared and less confident in riding didn't really gain encouragement from the instructors, who were a little rough in their words. Besides that, the concept is a great idea for people who have never ridden before and want to start out with something simple.
And if you think you'll need somewhere to recover - you can purchase their trail ride and Peninsula Hot Springs package, as we did, and drop by for some relaxation afterwards.
Hi, I've done that ride! It was great fun... although when we got to the sea, my horse sank down on her knees in the water and was about to roll with me still on her!! Didn't hear about the offer for the hot springs though... how was it?