The more people (especially my colleagues) who know about my weirdest hobby, the easier it gets to find a riding place. This time, 2 days prior to my first trip to Beirut, my Lebanese colleague just booked me a lesson during a lunch break. So as usual I added an extra day to my business trip to look around (must-sees are: Jeita Grotto, Byblos, Harissa Teleferique) and to ride in Dbayeh Country Club.
When you travel north from central Beirut to Dbayeh area, you can’t help thinking that it’s not the right place for horses, as the streets look more like roller-coasters the closer you get to the mountains. As I learned later, the Dbayeh Country Club is on 2 levels, dug into the hill like shelves, about 15 meters apart. The lower arena has a stone wall on one side and the cliff on another, which of course makes it more exciting to ride there. I just don’t want to imagine what happens here during the rainy season.
Joe, the trainer, asked if it was my first time riding, and when he heard that I actually kept my own horse in Bahrain, he told me that he was going to give me a horse for a more experienced rider – a good one, but not the best one. I’m really curious what the best horses look like in this school, because DJ, a 15-year-old stallion, was one of the most comfortable, willing and forward going horses I’ve ever ridden. The only thing that maybe makes him not that suitable for beginners is the enormous level of energy – he was not very happy to walk or stop when I asked him to, but when asked him to canter he went into cruise control and cantered round and round at the same speed and with the same willingness, happily snorting every stride approving my choice of allure.
When Joe learned that it was a one-off visit, he told me to do whatever I wanted, so I spent an hour of my life enjoying a ‘fully automated’ horse, and later was even allowed to jump him. I call this kind of horses ‘Professors’. They are the horses that know everything a good horse should know and can take really good care of green(ish) rider.
At the end of the lesson the old
Murphy’s Horsey’s law got confirmed again: if you don’t occupy the mind of your horse with the actions you need, he will occupy his mind with something he thinks he needs. DJ still had too much energy by the time I was ready to finish the lesson, and I gave him a long rein hoping to walk calmly. So he thought that it would be nice to try some flowers growing in the pots around the arena and kiss his reflection in the long side mirror. Well… For this, I cannot blame him. He does indeed look gorgeous :-)
Dbayeh Country Club link: http://www.dbayehcountryclub.com
Dbayeh Country Club Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dbayehcountryclub/