Now that winter is at our heel, I must share with you my last bucket list item completed. I must admit I’ve been a very busy bee this past summer, and very fortunate to have been able to tick off so many items on my list. I didn’t think my items would take off so fast, but it seems that jumping out of an airplane has given me momentum. So it’s only fitting since fall is coming at an end, to save the best for last, before my next winter fun activity, which will involve a pair of socks…. hmmm?
For now, however, I do have, for your reading pleasure, another death defying stunt that involves me falling off a horse!!! Yeah, I know!
It all started with an article I read back in July, immediately thoughts were being formed, people were being gathered, phone calls were being made, and fast forward four months later into late October, and we are CATTLE HERDING!!! That’s right, cattle herding on a 300 acres of rolling emerald hills, and pastures bathed in a warm honeyed sun circumvent by a “Lord of the Ring” forest of painted trees of red, yellows, and greens. A valley of breathtaking landscapes that bring you back into a time of spaghetti westerns, and John Wayne flicks. Alright, maybe not, but incredible nonetheless.
My sister, two cousins, and good friend all set off to “La ferme Joual Vair” in Trois-Rivière. The first day was a five hour trek, I can’t emphasize five hours enough, up and down steep, very very steep hillsides, and swampy marshes, it was fantastic. Not for the faint of heart. Although this picture does not do it justice, it still depicts the scope of the land, and this is really just a fraction of it. Although our sore butts are a testament to this great achievement, the real joy of my weekend was the following day; cattle herding.
Cattle herding was for me a way to go off the beaten track, you know the one where the horse actually has to listen to you, and you are not following in file, but really manoeuvring through the valley, pushing your horse to go where he shouldn’t go, just to help a little calf that has wandered… oups wait, no that was just me trying to show off!! A lot of good it did me, cause I ended up capsizing, inches away from death!!! For real! Please note that nobody else risked their lives, if you are interested, it is a very safe, fun, although tricky and sometimes nerve-racking adventure, but if you follow the instructions you will stay safe. I’m just a nut! Anyway, on with my story.
So I had followed a calf into rough terrain, bordering a river, and an upper bank. As I push forward into the narrow space and egg the little calf along, and ultimately or rather hopefully onto the upper bank, I instead, and unfortunately drive him further along the confined path, and so follows my horse. Eeeessh! I’m stuck. I can’t back out, and the horse, luckily a light weight mare, decides she’s going back on the bank, turns, pushing her front legs onto the higher, steep bank, at this point I’m holding onto a branch with my hands, and with her hind legs gathers the strength needed to pull her weight up the encroachment. I fall back, without hurting myself inches away from the river, get back up, climb the bank, run to my horse that was patiently waiting for me to get back to her, and hop on, screaming, “I’m okay, I’m okay!” Two blessings here, my feet were not caught in the stirrups, and most obviously she did not keel over and crush me, at best a whopping 840lbs, at worst…well let’s not think about it.
God, Buddha or Allah was smiling on me that day, or perhaps my two grand-fathers, both horse whisperers, well maybe not whisperer but horse people, because even the proprietor told me never to do that again. I cannot lie, it was scary, and I was an idiot, he had warned us that cows can go where horses don’t and not to venture that the cows would find their way home. I ventured, but in retrospect it was still an awesome weekend, which I plan to try again, perhaps with my kids when they are older. If you are interested, and I’ve not discouraged you, this is the website. It was a great experience that I highly recommend.