He agreed and I booked us the excursion. Surprisingly, this ended up being one of John's favorite parts of our trip. Definitely mine, too!
Anyway, we ended up getting a private ride. The other two riders who were supposed to come with us ended up turning back. We had the guide to ourselves, and since we were riding int he early morning, we had the beaches to ourselves, too. It was amazing!
I hopped on and rode around like a pro. The trainer asked if I had any riding experience. I said that I had not, and he clucked his tongue in approval. He said I should look into getting a horse "at home" to practice my posture on since I shouldn't let equestrian talent go to waste.
Maybe he says that to all the ladies. I don't know. I beamed with pride regardless, because I feel like I've imagined myself doing it for so long, it really WAS natural to me getting into that saddle!
The guide gave us a few brief instructions and we were on our way. I was last in line, so most of my photos look like this:
As we made our way through the trail, we trotted across a miltary complex where Bahemian marines were training. We saw them running down the street with their gear on their backs. I was surprised to see that! I just barely snagged this photo as we made our way across the complex.
We passed by fishermen as they prepared their lobster cages for the day. They all waved and greeted us as we passed. Again, all of the people we came across in Nassau were incredibly gracious and welcoming - even the busy fishermen who took a moment to stop and wave to us as we trotted by.
All the while, our wonderful guide, Wayne, entertained us with stories of previous riders he took out. Since his was the only ranch in the Bahamas, they got a lot of traffic from celebrities who vacationed there. It was fun to hear some of the stories he shared!
Soon, though, we were at the beach. The weather was PERFECT and we had a clear view of a few tiny islands dotting the horizon. It was magnificent.
Again, I beamed with pride! I felt comfortable and confident in the saddle. They obviously trained these horses really well, but I was still proud of myself for controlling her when I could feel her trying to go off her own way.
Finally, we had to go back. Again, I was in the back. I still had one more thing I wanted to do since it was unlikely I'd ever get the chance again. I wanted to run her. At least get a small gallop going.
So since I was in the back, I sort of pulled back the reigns to slow her down. I allowed a fairly good stretch of distance to pile up between John and myself. John was directly behind the guide, so Wayne didn't realize I was falling back that way. John was so focused on Wayne's story that he didn't notice, either. When I felt like I'd given myself a good distance, I gave Sunny a quick "Giddy-up" heel and boom - we took off galloping towards the boys.
It. Was. AWESOME.
My butt hurt like a sonofagun, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. :)
Wayne just looked back to make sure I was there, and I was. No one noticed a thing. Well, maybe John did, but he didn't rat me out. It was so much fun!
We finally rode our way back to the stables. We took the same trail back and hit the streets for the rest of the way.
So to top off the trip, we tipped Wayne and asked him to take a photo with us. Here was our last impression of this wonderful, incredible experience: