I think it was a true blessing to ride in that place. Although it took us about 2 hours to drive from Prague to the small village on the way to Brno, that was an insignificant price to pay for these kinds of positive emotions.
Pan Ladislav, the owner of the stable, is over 70 years old, but you’d never put him at more than 50. And he is a real, not from the books, horse whisperer.
There are about 15 horses in his stable and every one of them has a sad or even tragic story behind them. Some were very sick or even dying when he took them to his stable and healed them; others were mistreated by their previous owners or injured during competitions. But now they’ve finally got the contented and tranquil life they deserve. All the horses there are full of energy but calm and relaxed and look very happy to be finally treated fairly by a man who not only knows all about horses, but seems to understand their language.
As I finished my work at the Prague office at about 5 PM, we got to the place in the late evening just an hour before sunset. The plan was to go on a 1.5-hour trail ride to the nearby forest, but hospitable pan Ladislav couldn’t just let me go. He invited me into his old-style wooden house and offered me a drink.
Those who’ve been to the Czech Republic know that it’s famous for all kinds of home-made alcoholic beverages produced from literally any plant possible. So I got a shot of a very strong maroon liquid :-) – I still have no idea what it was – but it’s not comilfo to turn down food or drink in any country of the world, so I had to swig it. I felt dizzy immediately, but pan Ladislav tried to fill the glass again, saying that the previous one was for the right leg, so the second one is for the left, and no one rides horses with only one leg. Good manners or not, this time I had to refuse :-)
We went out to the yard and I got introduced to the tallest horse in the stable – the former racer: Joy – but before we were let to the forest I, along with other members of our small group, was asked to demonstrate some acrobatic tricks.
Actually, it’s quite interesting, the variety of initial riding tests different schools have. (I should probably write a separate post about it one day.)
So here we were asked to trot without reins, walk sitting face to tail and side saddle on both sides and then trot again with our hands, well… Call it flying. So the purpose of this welcoming alcoholic drink became apparent – if a rider can balance pretty well after a shot or two – he/she is for sure ok to ride in the forest.
Once we’d passed our acceptance test, we were free to go. We rode through a tiny village and got into the woods. It was stunning. It felt like we were the first people ever to visit this place forgotten by civilization. Even numerous pheasants crossed our path without any signs of rush or anxiety.
We rode over a small river and galloped up to the hills. The autumn Czech forest was a pure feast for the eyes, and it’s so sad that I somehow changed the settings of my camera to the lowest resolution possible (maybe it happened when I was taking it in and out of my pocket), but these are the only two half-decent pictures I have from that trip. Yes, it’s a pity, but maybe it’s right – fairy-tales should be kept in our memories and hearts, not in photo albums or on hard drives. :-)
When we came back to the stables at twilight, Pan Ladislav invited me to join the Horse Party the next day, but unfortunately I already had my tickets booked for the following morning. ;-(
And regrettably I cannot share the link of the agency which organized the trip. I searched everywhere but I cannot find it again. So now I’m a bit unsure. Was I really riding a big grey mare called Joy in that forest or is that something I saw in my dreams? :-)