ARTHAYASA : HORSES AND MORE by Vidya Giri
As my groom, Subur led my horse up the rocks, I flinched at the horses slightest movmements. Pak Subur smiled and asked, “You enjoy?”. I nodded slightly, still unsure on whether horse riding was enjoyable, or just terrifying. This was my first time riding a horse, so I guess it was natural that I was a bit scared. Now, I am proud to say that I am definitely not scared anymore, and it was an experience I will always remember.
Le!: A horse poking its head out of its stable. Above: Various pictures of the scenery at Arthayasa.
The horse I rode during the week was Shalimar, a chestnut horse with two white hooves. She had a velvety coat, which shined after she was brushed. Shalimar was a nervous horse, and you can’t blame her for that. She and many of the other riding school horses were not treated well in the past and still recoil at a slight
touch. Still, all of the horses were ecstatic about carrots, and became energized with just one whiff of the orange vegetable, even if it was buried deep in a pocket. Shalimar was so eager that she tried to nibble my hand for more, after gobbling up six whole carrot sticks, but this was not unusual, some of the horses would snap at anyone for the chance to devour this delectable ‘delicacy’. Each and every time I rode, I would attempt to put the horse’s saddle and bridle on, and every time, Pak Subur would just end up doing it for me. With the saddle, a rider has to pull the girth really hard and make it tight around the horse’s stomach, which I found really hard to do, because it felt like I was strangling poor Shalimar. However, Pak Subur, just slid the buckles and latches right through the
strap in a split-second. With the bridle, a rider has to put each part on in the right way, and fasten all the tiny buckles that most people’s hands cannot grasp. Thankfully, all of this preparation led up to moments I will cherish forever. I rode two times every day, learning how to sit and balance on a horse, controlling the horse with reins, and posting while the horse is trotting. Trotting was the most exhilarating experience because a rider has to keep rhythm with the horse’s thumping hooves by posting. Whenever the horse moves its legs, I had to stand up and sit down, shifting my weight to tell the horse to keep going. I felt connected to the horse as the air rushed though my face and the horse’s mane flickered in the breeze. Once I got rid of the tension in my arms and loosened my apprehension, I got into a state of relaxation which is really spectacular. For a different feeling, the Kampung 99 Pepohonan is an ideal place to visit . This organized community which means the 99 Trees Villages, stresses environmentally friendly living and self sufficiency. Here I saw how the villagers grow their own plants and raise animals like goats. We toured the kampung area and saw a herd of calves in an enclosure, their matted fur stuck together, clumped and caked with dirt. This combined with the overpowering smell of so many cows and so little space. As we watched the flies buzz around the teensy
Top le#: A horse taking a peek at us through the stable’s window Top right: A puppy, at the stables, taking a relaxing nap Right: The main arena and stables net to it Far le#: A sign on a tree and scenery
cows, the guide explained to us how they make so much profit selling them for Eid al-Adha, which is a Muslim holiday when cows are sacrificed. This was a little sad, because most of the animals raised in the kampung only ate and slept and ate and slept in a cage their whole life, including a few skeletal, maybe even emaciated, ponies. Still, the kampung did a great job of using their resources wisely and being so self sufficient. Next, we travelled down a teensy stream in a canoe, going through the prickly branches, where mosquito and spider seemed to be hiding, and ducking under low-lying bridges. This was soon forgotten after I zipped along the green lawns in a little motor bike, which proved to be very fun. With bare hands, mud squishing between toes, and the squirmy fish, fishing here is an experience that can never be matched. As lips touch the surface of the water, two hands hover over the water, waiting for the right moment. Muddy water spatters, hanging in the humid air, and the fish is caught, wriggling in the muddy hands. I was lucky to catch two, but that was nothing compared to the expert fishers who lived there, I guess practice does make perfect. We were joggled in the back of the white pickup truck, holding our catches of
Top le#: A grasshopper, part of the diverse wildlife at Arthayasa Bottom le#: Pony, with its resemblance to an unicorn (without the horn) Right: The horse that I rode during the week, Shalimar
From le# to right: Pond in Arthayasa, pineapple growing in the garden, stables near the arena, and a cozy bungalow.
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INFO T C A CONT Le!: Mrs. McKibben spoiling her horse ,Viori ,with some carrots.
Right: One of the many riding arenas at Arthayasa, this one being the main indoor arena.