We had planned to go horseback riding since it wasn't as far as the volcano or hot springs. We had a reservation for 9:30 a.m., but it rained all morning. The stables were about 10 minutes from our house and the owners seemed pretty laid back. We couldn't cough up enough money for the deposit, but they let us set up the reservation anyway. It seemed it was up to us when we wanted to go, as long as it was in the morning. We decided to show up around 10 thinking it would be postponed, but they said no problem. Instead of wasting the day, we went riding.
The weather cleared up nicely as we got settled on our horses. We were given instructions on how to direct the horses. Liam and Maeve had never ridden before. The number one rule was 'Don't let go of the reigns.' I was riding Marlboro, Liam was on Colossal, Maeve was on Cheena and Michael can't remember the name of his.
The rain had made the trail quite muddy and I was a bit nervous going up and down steep hills. My horse slid a bit early on, but he regained his footing quickly. I became more nervous for the kids, but they handled it all beautifully. It began to rain just a bit. About half way through the trip, our guide Carlos asked if we wanted to go further, or turn back. Liam was excited on his new favorite mode of transportation and he enthusiastically wanted to go on - so we did.
We arrived at our scenic turn around spot and Carlos took a few pictures for us. Right after that, the sky opened up and it started to pour. We didn't stick around to take in more of the view. We were drenched. Of course, we didn't bring our rain jackets. We did get some coverage by the trees in part of the path.
At one point, Carlos was behind us. I saw his horse slip backwards. He seemed to have it managed, but I couldn't completely turn around to see what was going on. Our horses began to gallop further down the trail. I told the rest of the family to stop because we no longer had our guide with us. We all stopped to wait. This is when Liam felt comfortable enough to break the number one rule. He put down the reigns to clean the rain from his glasses. Just as he did this, Carlos came clipping along on his horse. Once the other horses heard him moving along, they all did the same and Liam didn't have his reigns....except we didn't know that. His horse took off. We were all screaming, "Pull back the reigns!!" He quickly disappeared from our line of vision. Carlos bolted after him and we galloped along as fast as we were comfortable.
It happened so fast, I wasn't able to think the worst. I was pretty confident that Carlos would catch up to Liam and he did. He stopped Colossal and scolded him. He found out that Liam had let go of the reigns. Then he scolded Liam. Liam was on the verge of tears, but he handled it well. Carlos apologized for being harsh, but he needed to clearly express the importance of holding on to the reigns. It is how we communicate with the horse. The horse doesn't know to stop if you don't pull the reigns.
So with that drama behind us Carlos led the way back to the stables and informed us there would be no more galloping. Fine by me.