I started taking horseback riding lessons last year as a Christmas gift to myself. As a child, I dreamt of having a horse of my own. And having Orelia has definitely amplified my interest in and adoration of all animals.
I tried several stables around the Bay Area over the past year. Miwok Stables is great for trail rides with stunning views of the Marin Headlands, but I wasn’t really feeling the instructors and their style. At the time, I just wanted to enjoy a peaceful trail ride and soak up the beauty of my surroundings. I wasn’t interested in listening to my instructor blather on and on about how he used to work in the tech industry too. (Zzzzzzz. I’m sleeping and riding, sleeping and riding. My bad for not speaking up and asking him to cool the chatter.)
Redwood Ranch over in the Oakland Hills is a beautiful facility, but their rules and instructors were way too rigid for me. I spent the bulk of those lessons grooming the horse rather than learning how to ride the horse. And I really don’t need to be lectured when I accidently put the reigns back on the wrong storage hook.
It wasn’t until I discovered Suzie at Point Reyes Arabian Adventures that I found my horseback riding bliss. Suzie grew up in the English countryside and has one of the loveliest accents. By the time she was 12, her mom had over 35 horses. So she knows what she’s doing. And she’s incredibly down to earth and patient with novice riders like me.
There’s nothing more uplifting than going for a trail ride with her up in Pt. Reyes or taking a private lesson at her gorgeous barn in Petaluma. An afternoon spent riding followed by gnocchi in a creamy gorgonzola walnut sauce and a glass of white wine at Cucina Paradiso in historic downtown Petaluma puts me in a state of bliss that lasts for days. I’m counting the hours until I head back up there on Friday!