Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jungle Ride

I normally don't go on commercial trail rides when I travel as I can ride just about whenever I want and I've been on many wonderful trails throughout the country. But this cruise excursion in Belize sounded a bit different. We could take a horseback ride through the jungle. I've never done that before! And, incredibly, my husband said he wanted to do it, too. I've known him to be on a horse's back 2 other times!
So, off we went on a bus with about 15 other cruise guests. We traveled for about an hour with a wonderful, cheery tour guide who told us a lot about Belize City and Belize. Our destination was a small resort that looks like it is clinging desperately to life, competing for participants from dozens of listed excursions on too few cruise ships. Belize City does not have a deep enough port or a pier for the large ships. Although one cruise line has offered to build a pier and dredge the harbor, the Belizian government will not allow it as those who bought and operate the tenders would lose out. But I digress....

We arrived at the resort, put our belongings in lockers, and headed for the picket area. The weather was moderately warm but can probably be unbearably hot in later months. There are areas where the horses can be picketed among some small trees and the day we were there, a nice breeze was blowing.

Just part of the herd. Our guide (I like to think of him as a Vaquero, but since Belize was formerly British, I guess a Mexican 'cowboy' title doesn't really work) said they had 60 horses that they use for trail rides and others that are in training, or perhaps retired.

My hubby getting settled on Smokey. Don't you just love the mounting ramps? They had created a series of them so several people could be  mounted at one time. The horses sported either Australian or Charro saddles. They had western shank bits and some of the reins, most made of webbing, had been fixed so the rider only had to hold one strap. This strap was attached to the two reins near the neck. We received brief training and a demonstration: pull your hand to the right to turn right,  to the left to turn left. Pull back to stop, move your hand forward to go. Gee, I never knew that riding could be that easy! Why, anyone can do it! We were offered the option of wearing helmets. They had several adjustable bicycle helmets. I wish it was mandatory, as it is with just one cruise line.


In the background you can see the horses that weren't used for the ride returning to the barn on their own.

Here I am on Einstein, next to my sweet hubby on Smokey.

Our guide gave us a lot of information about medicinal plants in the jungle. Here I think he is getting a leaf to let us smell it or taste it. We also had the opportunity to taste termites, which provide protein and have a fresh, minty taste (if you can get over the idea that wayward bugs that may be wandering around in your mouth). The termites build their nests in trees as the ground is too wet.

Do you see it?

Here's a close-up. This is a spiny-tailed iguana. I apologize for cutting his tail out of the photo, but it was a bit awkward shooting behind me and up into the tree!

 This is the only Howler monkey that we saw, and he wouldn't show us his good side! His mouth, smiling at us, is on the lower left. The guide was a bit perplexed as the monkeys usually are in large groups and this guy was all alone.

 Einstein grabs a bite to eat at the dismounting mound. The grass at the resort was very well manicured as they let the horses out to graze after their work is done.

4 comments:

  1. wow that would be fun!!! Not sure I could eat a bug though...

    The horses look to be in good condition.

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  2. I agree that the horses looked great. Some could have used a bit thicker blankets...a few of them are probably thinner or older than others, but all in all, they were a nice looking bunch.

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  3. Looks like you enjoyed a fun experience through the jungle on horseback. The spiny tail iguana had a fascinating tail. Looks very prehistoric.
    Did you get to hear the howler monkey's howl, too?

    Great pics!

    ~Lisa

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  4. What a fabulous opportunity you had to ride in the jungle. Thanks for sharing it. Looks amazing and I'm glad your hubby liked it too.

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