Friday, February 5, 2016

Show jumping Frank in the DR

My husband, daughter, and I are spending a few days in the Dominican Republic. My daughter had a four-day weekend and my husband had a yearning to play a specific couple of golf courses down here, and it seemed like an excellent place to be in February, and it is.

Our resort is enormous--only partially hotel rooms, mostly private homes--literally miles from one end to the other. They issue all hotel guests golf carts, and it takes 15 minutes by golf cart to get to the beach, 20 minutes to the tennis courts or Marina. But only 5 minutes to the stables.

Polo is the thing here. My daughter and I are taking a polo lesson this afternoon, just for grins. Yesterday, however, we opted for showjumping lessons. Between the bad weather and my recent illness I've barely been riding, let alone jumping, and I missed it, body and soul.

My only previous experiences with horses in the Carribean have been entirely sketchy. This place, though--not fancy, but so well done. Over 300 horses, all fit, all well-shod, all happy. They're predominantly a local breed described as a Thoroughbred/Morgan cross, and they're small, well-built, and athletic. Yesterday's mount was a chestnut gelding named Armani, who I immediately and  privately rechristened Frank. Frank like to hang out with all his weight on his right shoulder, but he as a sweet guy, and he clearly knew and liked his job. The instructor, a black man named Jose, was a horseman through and through--he watched my daughter and I warm up, told her to get out of her chair seat, and told me to quit flapping my elbows. The first time we went through some ground poles Frank barged through his shoulder, I overcorrected, and we went through diagonally. Jose said nothing. The second time I straightened Frank in the corner, and we were fine."Better," said Jose.

Better. Brilliant. Loads of fun. Thanks, Frank!

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