The World of Riding

One thing is for sure, my feet were feeling itchy for some change. A year cooped up, working from home, masked in-person meet-ups, plenty of time for self-reflection, booking reading and mental gymnastics had me thinking “Hmmm”.

Before our premier announced today “Do not make any plans for Easter…, this is an announcement about an upcoming, unplanned announcement!”, before that, I decided to dip my toe into the world of Horseback riding.

After much googling and reading reviews, I decided upon a Stable / Barn / Ranch that would be adequate for safe, in-person, private lessons and a Store from which to buy suitable gear. I researched boots, helmets, pants and armed with all the information I could find, marched into an equestrian outfitters.

Before I go further, I want to point out that from the very beginning of this notion that this would be a good idea, I felt out of place. An interloper ready to give away my money to a sport that will most likely eat me up and spit me out. This really isn’t my game but I want to play.

So, in I marched, ready to talk gear and immediately I felt out of my depth. The lady was very helpful, asking me questions for which I should have and answer, such as “how much are you planning to spend?” and “What size of pant are you.” Easy questions and I just had a huge brain block.

“I am willing to spend as much as it means that I will be as safe as possible if I am thrown from the horse and / or if the horse decides to kick me in the head.” Why am I doing this? I can back out; I hadn’t bought the ticket and the train was still in the station. I stuck to my plan, buy gear no matter the cost!

I picked a helmet, boots and breeches. Now the breeches are really just fancy workout tights with rubbery designs across the buttocks and down the inner thighs – $170 please! The boots, a return from a lady who paid $$$$$ for custom footwear and for whatever reason decided against the purchase? On sale, but still steep. The helmet, for an extra $30 you can replace the front, decorative bezel. Decorative! $30! I bought the helmet, not because of the $30 interchangeable bezel, but IT’S ON SALE. Again, still steep but on sale.

I left the store a bit sheepish, still a bit unsure of the WHY I was doing this, and announced to the sales lady, “Well if all else fails, when I fall off the horse I will be doing so IN STYLE!”

She laughed and I dashed out to my car.

9 Days to go

9 Days to go

It’s the night of Day 5.

Luna spend the day at her real home. When we pulled up to her house this morning, she was bouncing around excitedly. Once out of the vehicle, she couldn’t run fast enough to the front door. Boy was she happy to be home!

It’d been a while since I’ve been to Buffalo for a little shopping get-away. My friend suggested that we take a day trip to which I whole-heartedly agreed.
Going to Buffalo is more than just shopping; it’s the camaderie, good conversation where we solve all the world’s problems and best of all coming back across the Canadian border – that by far is my favourite part :).

There is nothing quite like picking the right border crossing line.
I’ve had my share of interesting re-entries into Canada. Two stand out.
The first one, two friends and I went across for a “pre-wedding” escapade. We visited the usual shopping hotspots and also did quite a lot of random driving around. We discovered a few back roads and found ourselves a little lost which meant we came back using a different bridge than the one we had used to enter the States. By the time we pulled up to the guard house, we were all a little tired and giddy. This did not work in our favour and we were promptly asked to pull up to the border services. We didn’t quite get what was going on as we clambered out of the car. Standing around chatting and tottering in our high heels, the border services gentleman came doodling along and introduced himself. If I was to guess his height, I’d say he was 5’4″ and with our heels, the three of us were close to 5’8″, so we had a good 4 inches on him.

Just imagine our man standing in the middle of us trying to explain the reason we had been pulled over. It wasn’t that they thought we weren’t declaring purchased goods, no, they had decided that as Canadians we had crossed into the US, smoked pot and drove back into Canada high as kites!

As soon as we realized their gross-misunderstanding my two friends went into comedic mode (I guess with our towering height, we weren’t really taking our border services too seriously). One friend had her arm outstretched pointing sharply to her exposed wrist, forcefully saying “Test me, Test my blood, I have never smoked pot in MY LIFE!!!, Come on Test me!”, while the other friend was leaning slightly backwards using her arms to “waft” her scent towards him demanding “smell me, do I smell like pot? DO I?” and all I could do in my giddy state was stand there and laugh hysterically!

Looking back, thankfully someone had a sense of humour. We were marched into the Border Services office and asked to dutifully pay our 14% sales tax and sent on our way.

The crossing that takes second prize is the day a friend of mine and I decided on a whim to visit the US after hitting the gym earlier in the day. On our way back we managed to pick the dreaded Bilingual line. We’d had this border guard numerous times before at the same booth and each time it was a hassle. This particular border guard trusts no one, which I suppose is a good thing? We pulled up, declared our goods which came under $150. He asked us to open the trunk, we had nothing to hide.
The trunk was filled with our gym bags, an assortment of random household items along with my dry-cleaning, stuffed in a Sephora bag.

Sephora is a cosmetic’s chain that sells …. cosmetics! Well well well, when our friendly border guard got back up to the front of the car, there was steam coming from out of their ears! We were promptly accused of hiding expensive purses. I kindly mentioned to them that we had not purchased any purses and let them know that Sephora was a cosmetics company. That didn’t go over very well. We were asked again to clarify that our total to declare was $150 – we agreed and showed our receipts.

We were sternly informed the following, “I am sending you up to the Border Services.”

Me “Ok”

Border Guard “They are going to search your car and when they find what you are hiding they have the right to charge you sales tax on everything they find and they WILL impound your car and YOU WILL JUST HAVE TO WALK HOME!!”

I do not exaggerate when I capitalize the walking home. The border guard was so angry at the thought that we might be hiding something; they yelled the last part just to make sure we understood the severity of our suspected misbehaviour.

I smiled at the border guard, took back the passports thanked him kindly for his words of advice and pulled up to the border services.

We handed the new set of guards our receipts, gave them the paper that detailed we were to be searched and waited at the front of the car.

The two guards quickly went through the vehicle and when they got to our stinky workout clothes and my obviously soiled dry-cleaning, they handed us back the keys and told us to have a nice day.

This evening, there was nothing eventful to report, just that wonderful feeling of being back in Canada. We celebrated our return by stopping off at the delicious, greasy Hutch’s that sits along Lake Ontario!

I am home now, back in the great big smoke with Luna is sleeping soundly on her dog bed, no doubt dreaming of being at home.