Jamaica On Horseback – How To Test Your Marriage

How to test your marriage

Riding a horse to view the Jamaican countryside seemed like a brilliant idea. We love exploring countries by bicycle; why would this be any different? The equine adventure would give us an opportunity to see the true Jamaica, through the jungle, past old sugar cane factories and end with a horse swim in the ocean. Sounds fabulous don’t you think?

Jamaica sugar Cane Factory

Now I am no horse rider. Having grown up on a farm one might assume such skill would come on the resume. No it was cows and pigs for this rural girl. The horses I did ride were those of friends and truth be told I usually landed in the dirt off some unhappy pony. Well that was a long time ago and surely I would be more skilled now.

Hubby rode horses at kids camp. If you get the badge it’s good for life right? At no time in our married life have we saddled up. Perhaps that has been part of our success. Well we are in Jamaica celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary so let’s leave no stone unturned. Saint Dave grimaced at my suggestion of this adventure and squeaked out, “Sure we can do that.” Hubby does not like the reference to being angelic but truly the man goes along with a lot of my zany ideas.

Jamaica

Perhaps at this point I should add that his hip flexibility resembles that of an oak tree. The man can run like a gazelle however bends as well as a broomstick.

Much to my relief the horses were in good health and were part of a polo club. First red flag. Polo…oh is that the game where the horses have to run fast and make quick turns? Yes I think that is it.

Carl was the name of my beautiful glistening horse. Carl is a girl. Second red flag. Any female horse called Carl must have an attitude. Correct guess. Carl loved to play polo and had little interest in the boring walking done while gazing about at sugar plantations.

Jamaica

Hubby was perched upon Secret. Carl and Secret were not fond of seeing each other. This of course decreases the romantic notion of it all for Hubby and I.

Carl had a particularly competitive streak. Should Secret think about leading the happy troupe, Carl would jolt forward and a squeal would leap out of my mouth. The guide said my screaming was only going to make the horse go faster. Excellent. Thank you for that Mr Guide.

Jamaica

Behind me I could hear Mr Guide bellowing at Hubby “Squeeze with your legs, squeeze with your legs! Yah mon SQUEEZE!” This was followed by Hubby’s gritted teeth response, ” I AM SQUEEZING!” Secret was intent on losing Hubby and racing with Carl. I would have turned around to see how bad things were but I was busy holding on for dear life and squeezing like a madwoman.

The plot thickens in that Carl had been recently retired from the polo field, her flowing mane a tell tale sign of her being put out to pasture. As she jerked and tossed her head I hung on to the reins until my biceps burned. Carl intended to show Secret, with her cropped mane ready for game play, that there were still polo matches to be played. That I happened to be on her back was of little deterrent to her.

Jamaica

So the morning see sawed between Mr Guide rushing forward on horseback to grab my horse Carl who had decided to make a break for it with me in tow desperately squealing.

Then just as Hubby was about to fall off his mount Mr Guide would retreat and resume hollering at him, “Squeeze with your legs, squeeze with your legs! Yah mon SQUEEZE!” This was followed by Hubby’s increasingly irritated response, ” I AM SQUEEZING!”

Can anyone guess what the white box is? Here's a hint - they are easier to spot in Slovenia

Can anyone guess what the white box is? Here’s a hint – they are easier to spot in Slovenia

The worst points were when Carl would break free just enough to get Secret in chase up to a trot. Hubby behind me would mutter ” I @&?$!$& HATE trotting!” With everything I had I would pull back on Carl’s reins to slow up the show so my broomstick butt husband might survive, not to mention speak to me following the torture, I mean excursion.

So what happened you might ask? We did make it off those steeds. Hubby could barely walk for a day or two. I bought a Red Stripe beer for him immediately as a token of my gratitude. Then we do what we do best thirty years in….we laughed and laughed. Hubby said ” Well that’s great blog material.”

Yah mon.
Jamaica Red StripeHave you ever ridden a horse? Do you have laughter as a primary tool in building your relationship?

140 thoughts on “Jamaica On Horseback – How To Test Your Marriage

    • This adventure would definitely fit that line very well. One could see how the choice could be made to get into a terrible disagreement about the whole thing. Laughter wins every time. :)

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  1. Thanks for the warning – too funny! I think this falls into the realm of “never gonna happen” for us – Hubby got bitten by a horse decades ago and won’t go near them now. Probably for the best…

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    • Oh my heavens getting bitten would definitely be a deterrent to further riding! Yes I think one has to love horses and learn the skills of riding before being able to really enjoy the experience.

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    • Lynn I agree that in my minimal exposure to horses they really do seem to have their own likes, dislikes and moods. Yes Dave gets gold stars for this one for sure. :) Are you a horse rider?

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      • My daughter has been riding since she was 8 years old & has had her own horse for about 4 years now, so I am very comfortable around them. I rode with a group of Mom’s for a couple of years, managed to get to the level of managing a small jump (on purpose). They are truly a majestic animal.

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  2. It sounds like “Carl” was the one with a secret. Great story, Sue.

    I have a feeling hubby might not be so resistant to “Saint Dave” if the alternative is “Broomstick Butt”.

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    • Rob that has both of us laughing out loud. You are hilarious. Yes I had to push for the okay for that name label as well. He’s such a god sport although I believe the horse riding days have come to a final conclusion.

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    • Thank you Eric. We are really aiming that at the end of our days we won’t have any regrets of adventures left untried. I don’t think horse riding will need to be re-visited. :)
      We were transported to our much younger days with the stubby beer bottles of Red Stripe. Happy to share one with you.

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  3. Oh my gosh that’s hilarious! I’m glad you survived it! Sounds pretty scary. I had the opposite experience, where my horse was old and slow and got so behind the rest of the group, that it took us forever to complete the ride. And I was blowing dust out of my nose for a week! hehe. Old nag has a new meaning for me after that ride. Glad you survived! You may not think you knew what you were doing, but just staying on that horse sounds pretty skillful to me!

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    • We did see a slow horse like the one you were saddled on. It drove Carl completely berserk. She seemed absolutely outraged that any member of her species should go so slow. At one point i thought Carl might actually run her right over. Don’t think I could have hung on for that.
      Your line about the meaning of old nag made me chuckle.

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    • Oh now that would have been an interesting experience and likely some amazing blog post material. It was Red Stripe for this crew although had not thought of having a pre-horse ride sedative refreshment.

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  4. What an adventure. The scenery looks lovely and your description is hilarious. What the heck is going on in the first image? Looks like those horses also took you guys for a swim.

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    • Wendy that is how the ride ended with the horses taking you for a swim in the ocean! The photos is actually of a group that went right after us. Thankfully we were on different horses for the swim. I think Carl would have headed for Cuba :)

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  5. This is a hysterical post. Love every paragraph. What kind of saddle is a blanket? How did you manage to stay on with Carl and Secret egging each other on?
    Yes, I’ve ridden for the fun of it, possibly three times in my life at one of those horse farms that rent horses for an hour. That was many, many years ago though. One time I dated a guy who took me horseback riding. He was soooo smart. He wore blue jeans and ended up with blisters on his butt. Found out later he hadn’t also worn skivvies. Ha ha.

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  6. Oh I can so relate to this! Thanks for the laugh. Have done these horse treks a few times and it never gets any better! Once we had our two daughters with us and the youngest one -then about 10- got a horse the bolted down a different track with her clinging on for dear life. We still talk about that 15years later. Funny when it’s all over!

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  7. I rode a horse 1 time, also in the Caribbean, and it did not go well. I’d rather ride an elephant or a camel. This did make for great post material though! Kudos to your hubby for laughing it off.

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    • Oh I would LOVE to ride a camel and an elephant. It seems funny to hear that those adventures went better than the horse ride. Where did you get the opportunity?
      So glad you enjoyed our post and were able to share a laugh.

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  8. Our horseback riding skills are about on par with yours. We celebrated 30 years last year and like you it’s all about the laughter. Fun post and congrats on the anniversary :-)

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  9. I think I can safely say that you haven’t convinced me to have a go at this. I went on one of the mules at Santorini that take people from the harbour to the town – that was enough equine experience to last me a lifetime!

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    • Andrew I am afraid I would not be a very good sales person for the equine tour industry that’s for sure. We saw those mules in Santorini and I imagined that one could dump his load off a steep path quite easily.

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  10. Aha! Beehives! Now all you need to add is the beard ;) .

    Definitely great blog material (I love the picture at the end). Actually it still sounds good to me but I can imagine A having much the same reaction, especially when it comes to the trotting! He’d also appreciate the beer, though.

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  11. 30th wedding anniversary? Wow… that’s great and wish you all the best :)

    Loved this post and to answer your question, nope, I never ride a horse but admired people who does the Equestrian while watching Olympics. that looks so elegant :)

    Have a wonderful time in Jamaica…

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    • Sreejith I must say that the difference between what we experienced on the horses and the majestic events of the Olympics seem worlds apart. Nothing elegant about our skills that’s for sure.
      Thank you for your good wishes which we appreciate.

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  12. A great read! The scenario you created for what was going on with the horses was hilarious. I ride regularly and have had some good experiences in other countries. Really nice photos too… Some of us have just as much trouble with bike riding so good for you for embracing the adventure!

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    • Thank you for your generous comment and so glad you enjoyed it. I have a new admiration for anyone such as yourself who has the skills to ride well. What countries have you ridden in?
      Yes good point that cycling comes with its own set of challenges. Perhaps it is that in that case the bike doesn’t have a mind of its own. :)

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  13. Bwahahahahaha!! Reminds me of a similar incident with Husband a number of years ago after he had just finished Ironman Canada a few days earlier (as in – moving stiff as a board). His horse took an instant dislike to him and insisted on bolting off the path into the trees with Husband yelling with a slight hysteria to his voice and trying to dodge the random limbs of trees aimed at his head. Horses are no longer considered as appropriate activities for us – but I still secretly laugh when I think about it :)
    Your pictures are fabulous! Thanks for another breath of sunny warm weather!

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    • Joanne first of all congrats to your husband on Ironman Canada! Wow. That he got on a horse shortly after such an event shows he must be a good sport. I was chuckling at your description of the horse taking off with your husband yelling and ducking tree branches. Oh dear I hope it all turned out well. If nothing else it seems we learn what activities suit us best as couples. Good for all of us to at least try it our I say. :) Were you a seasoned horse rider or did your horse just behave better than his?

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      • LOL – no, neither of us had any experience riding before this adventure. My horse was just super laid back and I think quietly amused at the antics my husband’s horse was performing.
        I agree that the stuff we attempt as couples – whether they end well or not, define our relationships. I’m glad that my husband and I are both adventurous and willing to try new things – as I’m sure you are :)

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        • I think that willingness to try different activities help to keep a long standing relationship fueled and energized. there will be plenty of time for rocking in the chair in the nursing home. So for now on to the next adventure. Here’s hoping both of our husbands enjoy the next one a bit more. :)

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    • One of those things to try at least once. Seems a bit of luck as to whether you get a horse with an attitude or one who is content to take you touring. At any rate in this case a hilarious memory from the day. :)

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  14. Loved the vivid descriptions of galloping terror and anticipated trauma to self and spouse! Yes, I have been on a horse, sort of of? A new friend who was a multi-generational rancher located in the foothills of the Rockies invited us to help with an old fashioned cattle round-up. Our steeds were sure of foot, obedient and cattle sensitive. My interpretation after a morning of trotting up and down hills waving my rope at cattle was “I am a cowboy.” This self assessment suffered a fatal blow when the rancher’s teenage son dashed by me to retrieve a small group of cattle that I had been try to “herd.” The real cowboy in full gallop rode low in the saddle, his rope circling wildly above his head chasing my cattle. The image that has remained with me is of that young man hovering motionless in the saddle as the duo thundered up that hill. I just nudged my steed with my thighs, pulled on the reins of “Old Blue” and headed back to the ranch house.

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    • Allan I love the phrase ‘waving my rope at cattle’. either it conjures up a great lasso technique or a madman waving randomly. I will go with a very calm and debonaire image. The young cowboy was clearly just being a show off. You had things completely in hand I have no doubt. At least you weren’t squealing or falling off as we were!

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  15. I think you’ve just put paid to any thoughts I might have had of a horse riding trip for our Silver Wedding this year. Otherwise there is no possibility we would make it to 30 :( Many congrats! Enjoy the rest of your hol :)

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    • I will say that our cycling adventures, even up mountains, went smoother than the horse riding Jo. Congrats on your 25 years and may you find something wonderful to do to celebrate. I appreciate your good wishes.

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    • Sheryl I am delighted to have you share in the hilarity of it all. Sometimes one just has to laugh in life right? The ocean part of the ride was the best for sure. At least I felt that if I came off I wouldn’t risk breaking a hip. :)

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  16. I love the concept of your blog all the places you have traveled…I am planning to go Jamaica this summer so I was adding horse riding on the beach to my bucket list, I will definitely be taking it up on my travels!!! :)

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  17. Sounds like a fun trip!!! My own horse camp story sounds very similar to your experience, I was stuck with a “Carl” myself, one who liked to bike other horses to get ahead! I have retired from horse back riding now! Love your blog!

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    • Helen it sounds like your Carl was a bit more direct in her approach! Yikes. I think these horse outings are either a complete turn off or fall in love with the riding concept. Sounds like we share a similar attitude. Thanks so much for the visit and I am delighted to hear you are enjoying the blog.

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  18. Retired polo ponies? You must’ve been on the ganja Mon. Glad the tale worked out for the best … in the end (puns intended). Sue, when we lived in Khartoum, our Arabic tutor had horses, and he had this idea that it would be good language practice if we road through the small villages at the edge of town, and interacted with the villagers. As you said at the beginning of your story, this sounded fun. And how hard could it be (Terri had a bit of experience, I had zero.)? Also like your story, Terri’s horse was relatively docile, but my horse was another issue. His determination to run depended on how long he had been in the barn, and usually that was a few days too long. He’d bolt, and honestly, it was all I could do to stay aboard. As to squeezing, I wore shorts for the first ride (big mistake) and after the first day, I had blisters on the sides of my calves. After a few outings, and some adjustments, it was fun. But in the meantime, it about killed us … and we’re still married.

    BTW, on another issue. For some reason, we have mysteriously stopped receiving your posts in our reader, so we’ve re-followed. Not sure why this happened, but some of our followers have mentioned the same thing. It could be the WordPress “Ghost in the Machine”. ~James

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    • James you think I am making up the polo bit but truly the stable is right beside an active polo field. The British influence perhaps?
      Your story of learning Arabic words while horseback riding made me wonder at the tutor’s lesson plan. Perhaps besides conversation with villagers he was promoting a vocabulary of a more colorful variety? The blisters sounds nasty. Dave since unable to squeeze properly avoided that added bonus.
      I have two thoughts on the Issue with WordPress reader and yes I believe sometimes there are gremlins in the system. I have myself, by accident, unfollowed someone by accidentally hitting the button on the top of a post. I find this more of an issue when working off my iPad or iPhone with the WordPress app. At any rate I am glad to have you back! :)

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  19. This was absolutely hilarious, Sue. You had me in stitches. :D Your hubby is a great sport and deserved that beer. I haven’t ridden a horse, but I have ridden ponies, a camel, and an elephant. The camel was really scary. Now I know why. He must have been an ex Polo camel. :lol:

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    • There seems to be a large amount of unhappy horse riders after such excursions:) I give Hubby credit for the photos. No wonder he almost fell off. Mr Guide took the ones of us.

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  20. This sounds so much like the horse ride up to a chuck wagon dinner my husband took in Colorado. My house trotted up the side of a mountain, ahead of the guide and everyone else. I screamed the whole way. My husband wouldn’t stop squeezing his legs, so his horse never moved. Once we got to the dinner, I refused to get back on. We had to switch horses or I would have walked back down the mountain.

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    • You see this horse riding thing really is a test of marriage! I’m surprised the guide didn’t come to get your horse under control. Perhaps I just screamed louder than you :) My husband has squeezing envy at the vision of your husband being able to stop the horse in its tracks. Thanks for sharing that story. So funny…well now that is.

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  21. The like button is taking so long to appear…so I’ll just tell you how much I liked it. I used to work for a horse tour company in Bali – your post brought back some hilarious memories of how crazy it all was!

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    • Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I know sometimes the like button can take forever :) I imagine you have enough stories to write a book! Thank goodness for our guide who without we might have ended up in the middle of the Jamaican jungle.

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  22. Oh my goodness, what a hilarious post!! Happy 30th wedding anniversary to you two :) I’ve had a similar experience, my horse suddenly took off running and stopped for a quick snack while everyone else kept going.. He wouldn’t move until he was full! Haha

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  23. I can’t ride a horse. Something about the position of legs that brings intense pain to both knees.
    Funny post. You’ll both be laughing about it for years.

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  24. Hahahaha! I love this post! And horseback riding is on my bucket list (I’ve never done this before, such a shame!) and I shall remember to SQUEEZE it. I just hope somebody will remember to hand me a bottle of beer too when I can’t walk the following day. :)
    Found this at Bronwyn’s Neighbourhood Noticeboard. Have a great day!

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    • Thanks so much for visiting and for leaving a comment. Bronwyn is a gem and happy to meet folks through her board.
      Good luck with the horse riding. I believe our days of it are now done. :)

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  25. Brilliant! Loved the story, and quite often these situations might be a bit of pain in the bum at the time (literally!) but they are worth it for the laugh they provide afterwards! :D Also found you via Bronwyn! :)

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    • Glad to meet you via the lovely Bronwyn! I appreciate your kind comment. Totally with you on the adventures being worth the laugh in the end. I will look forward to checking out your blog too.

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  26. Hilarious! Only in other countries do you get to ride horses that aren’t specifically for tourists. In other words, definitely not boring. I can ride any day I want; I have a couple horses. But while they’re not tourist horses, they definitely don’t behave that way!

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    • We could have very much used your horse riding expertise in Jamaica! I am in awe of people such as yourself who can actually get a horse to move in the right direction. :) Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it!

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  27. Hahaha. I like your style of writing. And I’m so glad you were both alright from your horseback riding, or trot, or racing. :) Thanks for the laugh. :)

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  28. Happy belated anniversary! This was so very entertaining to read. I grew up in Jamaica, but my only encounter with a horse was once as a child and he was going at the slowest pace possible. I’d love to go back and try something like this, though with your tales of Carl and Secret, I might just think twice.. Hope you enjoyed the trip!

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    • Thank you for the anniversary wishes and the lovely comment. How interesting that you grew up in Jamaica! We loved our time there and the people we met so friendly. I think our horseback riding experience may not have been typical :) I encourage you to give it a try, especially in the ocean which was amazing.

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  29. What a hilarious post. I have ridden all my life and in some interesting locations – not in Jamaica though! My husband, a non-rider, has accompanied me twice; once because he thought he’d try it for the return leg of a long hike up a volcano in Java and the second time because he thought it might be fun to join me on a beach ride. That was his last and final attempt that I should blog about myself one day as it was almost as amusing as yours!

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