Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Riding in Thailand

...was tough. There really aren't horses there, and the only place I was able to ride in the two years that I lived in Thailand was at least a couple of hours away. In 1997 I signed a 2-year contract to teach elementary Art and P.E. at the New International School of Thailand, which was located in the heart of Bangkok. There was a little stable in a place called Khao Yai, and you could stay there and hike or rent horses.

Again, my friends, who did not ride horses were up for adventure and agreed to go on a few rides with me.
With sneakers and without helmets they were ready to set off into the jungle.

Even in the jungle there are things to jump!

My flatmate Linda and I on the second trip.

Living without horses for two years was really tough. I wouldn't do it again. In my second year there, I found out that the stable was having a jumping competition. A showjumping course, and then a cross country course that included getting off and shooting things. I decided to enter and was given a very lazy horse and a protective vest.

I had a choice of doing the little course or the big course. I chose the big one, how many opportunities did I get to ride? Might as well make the best of it. I now wonder if this horse had ever jumped this course. My friends overheard the locals saying that I was fearless. Now why would they say that? The horse was sluggish and backwards. I had to get off and shoot things at one point, which went well, but I think I fell off before the last jump because I was so exhausted trying to get him to go. The jumps were pretty big!

I think I actually got a second place ribbon for the showjumping phase. I took a tight turn that no one else tried and made up a lot of time but took a rail.

Luckily there were things to ride besides horses. Living in Thailand began my lifelong fascination and love of elephants. Linda and I going for a ride in Chaing Mai. I loved sitting on their necks even though their hair was like toothpicks sticking through my shorts.

Linda and I at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

A member of the Longneck tribe and I in Mae Hong Song.

Next country: South Africa. (A short one)


Anonymous said...

Another cool post! One of my brothers did something similar in Thailand. He taught English to Muslim kids at some school in Bangkok. He was contracted and they paid his room and board too. He loved it. He actually still hasn't come back to the U.S. He's in Cambodia now leading trips into the jungle or something and teaching kids.

allhorsestuff said...

WOW...I love how many places you have ridden..and some extremes too!

achieve1dream said...

Very cool!! I wish I could visit these places. I love reading about your adventures.

Andrea said...

Man do you want to trade lives sometime!? Seriously, all this worldly travel you do is making me so jealous!

Albigears said...

Oh all this traveling was done a long time ago. Between 1994-1999. I just really don't have anything to post because it's so muddy here there's nowhere to ride. So... a blast from the past! It's kind of fun to post all of these. Makes me miss traveling.

jacksonsgrrl said...

How cool! You got some balls doing that course on an unknown horse! :)
My cousin also has lived all over the world as an English teacher and loves it. I believe he lived in Thailand for a time too. I can't keep up anymore. I do remember Saudi b/c they had to go out into the desert to celebrate Christmas and drink booze... I wish I had done something similar in early 20's besides living in Key West and working on a dive boat. That's about the extent of how exciting I get. Which honestly, was AWESOME, I just wish I had made traveling more of a priority!

Michelle said...

I love following your adventures. How did you get inspired to travel so much and how did you end up in the places you did? I absolutely love that you seized the opportunity to ride everywhere you went.

manymisadventures said...

I love all these posts :) It is so cool to see all your adventures in different places. It's awesome!

Merri said...

I found a racetrack in Bangkok over the 4 days I was there, and went to the races one day. Lots of horses being transported there in the back up pickup trucks, etc. Some of the jockeys looked terrified - young boys with death grips on the reins as they were led out of the paddock!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

allhorsestuff said...

Yea...riding right now is pretty slickery icky for mee too...I am sticking to the service roads mainly, as Wa mare really hate to slide around.
The camera is a Cannon power shot. It has a "Macro" setting.
Be well, and hope you can ride soon!