Thursday, April 28, 2016

Regrettable moments 4: 'Honeymoon horses'

I would not recommend horse riding on your honeymoon, especially when you’re allergic to horses. Unless, that is, you're in Nowra in February and have been warned off swimming in the sea and estuary by shark-alert signs posted at every waterway, even the taps. Then, you might want to risk it…

My husband had never ridden (a horse) before, and I had not ridden a horse since I was a child of eight or nine, before ballet took over my life and my younger sister seized the horse torch off of me and never gave it back. But that was before I was, or knew I was, allergic to horses – and most other animals. I would learn this, and a few other illuminating facts, on my honeymoon.

I would learn, for instance, that my husband was actually incapable of making a horse move, indeed of horse-riding. He was, however, quite good at horse sitting, which he proved admirably that day at Nowra's 'Adult Horse Riding' facility, sitting on his adult horse, with its head rooted firmly to the ground, while I ambled past, managing to move my adult horse a little, but not in any direction of my choosing.

The horseman in charge meanwhile looked on from over by the barn twenty metres away, an expression of we've got a right pair here visible on his face, even from that distance.

‘I have to get off!’ was the next thing that happened, as I suspected I was having some kind of reaction to my horse. My throat was itchy and constricted, my eyes stinging, and I was wheezing like one of the mosquitoes that had accosted us non-stop the previous night. We were having quite the honeymoon in Nowra!

By the time we got back to the car, my face was swollen to twice its normal size and my husband was thinking: this is not the woman I married – is it?

Unfortunately, it was.

Happily, food and distance from the adult horses reduced my face to near-normal size, leaving us to take our chances with the sharks. With any luck I was only allergic to animals with fur.

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