As part of my New Year’s resolution to try new things this year, I decided I wanted to see places in a new way…on a horse. Last weekend I went out to beautiful Topanga Canyon for a day trip. I haven’t done too much hiking up there, but knew there was a stunning view. Normally I’d opt for the hike, or even (dare I say) drive in a car to the top, but instead I called up Los Angeles Horseback Riding and booked a ride. Let me start off by saying I can literally count the number of times I’ve ridden a horse in my life on one hand, so this was gonna be good.
The guide there was extremely reassuring, and due to my lack of experience, he put me on a trusty ol’ mare. I hopped on Tony (the horse) and away we went. Riding immediately put me at ease. My guide led us through the canyon and stopped to point out landmarks along the way. We rode silently for most of the way, and I learned something new with each step…
Take Time to Take it All In: I thought during the ride I’d be more concerned about actually riding the horse and wouldn’t pay too much attention until we stopped to rest, but it was the complete opposite. I had complete trust in him and felt like, if anything, I could enjoy it all even more. Sometimes, when I hike, I think I’m so eager to get to the top that I don’t necessarily stop to look around me. On a horse though, well let’s just say Tony was going to go as fast or slow as he wanted. I didn’t get too much say in that.
Familiar Places Can Seem Entirely New Just By Changing Your Vantage Point: This experience definitely took me out of my comfort zone, and showed me that you don’t always need to be dependent on the familiar — planes, trains, and cars. I was able to explore a familiar place in an incredibly new way, and connect with a beautiful animal at the same time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Explore On Your Own: One of the things about this experience that made it so fulfilling was that I did it on my own. Typically, this would be something I’d want to do with my family or friends, but going alone was part of what made it all worth while. I think I find trying new things like this alone challenges me to completely break away from comforts. I am much more open to conversation with strangers, and also take the moments of silence as time for meditation and reflection. I had so much fun that now I’d love to bring someone along, but I am more than happy I tried it out on my own first.
I’m pretty much sold on this and can’t wait to see where the next new adventure takes me. Dolphin riding in Hawaii? What is a new way you’ve experienced a place? I’d love to get some more ideas on what to do next.
Jaime Morrison Curtis is author of the bestselling book Prudent Advice: Lessons for My Baby Daughter (A Life List for Every Woman), follow up fill-in journal My Prudent Advice, and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family. Follow Jaime on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.