Yesterday was a public holiday here, some kind of Catholic celebration. No idea actually, but lots of people were visiting cemeteries and it gave me a day off. I took the opportunity and went and visited my ex-student at her parents place not far from here. The really cool part was that her parents breed Icelandic horses , so she took me out for a ride.
They have 13 horses at the moment and they are all just horrifically cute. Their backs are at about my shoulder height, perfect for someone like me who hasn´t been on a horse for 15 years and has all the balancing aptitude of a slumbering cow in a paddock full of drunk teenagers. I got to ride Phoenix, who was a champion and her Dad´s prize possession. Nicely enough he didn´t seem to mind having me on his back too much.
These horses have one of the weirdest runs, called the Tölt, which normal horses don´t do. It´s a really smooth gait between a trot and a canter. Apparently one of the competitions is to have a race where all the riders hold a glass of beer and whichever rider has the most left in the glass at the end has won. Phoenix and I did a bit of it, but, being the inexperienced rider that I am, I couldn´t actually keep him in it and he either sped up or slowed down, depending on what he felt like doing. In the end we had a great ride through the forest, where I pretty much sat like a lump on his back and he did whatever he wanted, but hey, he got the exercise and I got to sit on a horse: win-win is what I say.