2 August 2010
These were the first words I heard at the stable after we arrived from the Fairmount hotel in Whistler. And then our notably cheery guide Sarah pointed me out and called me over. He was indeed a cheeky horse, like riding a 1600-pound toddler, but we came to an understanding and he was a fine ride. The rest of my family and the other tourists saddled up and our two guides led us out across the field of blooming seed potatoes toward the mountains. It was a grand ride with just enough steep hills, hairy turns, and great views at the top to make it fun. As it turns out S. mounts a horse and becomes the young Elizabeth Taylor in “National Velvet”! She has an enviable seat and rides like she was born on a horse.
There was a lovely lady named Loraine in our group and we discovered that the guide Sarah is her daughter, and there is a story there – Sarah came out to Whistler to train for the Olympics – snowboarding was her sport, and she broke her back. She has been in Vancouver the past year and a half, only recently returning to Whistler, at which point coming over the mountain and looking down she said to herself, “Why did I leave?” She is very happy once again and now leading the trail rides and training in dressage. She is one of those people who you can only look upon with admiration and wonder how you would have done faced with such challenges.
Dandy, even when he was being good was ready to be back at the barn and spent half the ride down the mountain nipping at Lucky’s butt (Magnus was riding Lucky) who was very placid about the intrusion – made you think it wasn’t the first time. Later down the trail, given any chance he would break ahead in the line, and one of the four Russians had not secured his cash – it went flying out of his pocket and down the line, fortunately we were out of the mountains by this time and riding across a field so it didn’t spook any of the horses. As he dismounted and ran back to secure his cash, Dandy, very smoothly I thought, slid himself right into his slot scaring the Russian who was now riding in front of us as Dandy nicked the butt of his horse who did not take it well and kicked back to nail Dandy in the right shoulder. I was sure this was not the first time as Dandy simply and very smoothly maneuvered himself to avoid the blow. I fear I was more amused than annoyed and that did not sit well with the frightened young man on the now skittish horse. We also had along one of those Americans that no doubt inspired the phrase and book, “The Ugly American”.
Our driver from and back to the hotel was a lovely young man named Roberts from Australia who informed me that none of the British ski resorts could run without Aussie staff. Apparently they set aside a certain number of slots for Aussies from the beginning of planning. So there U.K.!
I had a lovely and delicious Afternoon Tea for one in our lovely room as himself entertained the teenagers – there are many advantages to being the wicked stepmother.
Leers and cheers: on my shopping trip to tourists-r-us in Whistler Village to pick up a couple of shirts for my missing child who was somewhere underwater in the Caribbean I noticed myself keeping count of the leers – I think that must be an age thing as I cannot remember doing that when I was younger. I was simply happy they were there to be counted!
In a shop where I found a talking shirt (which normally I abhor) for the adorable husband that I could not resist (“Old guys rule” in a discreet circle on the left side of the front, and “aged well” (on the back). The young woman checking my ID said, “You are sixty?”
“You look fantastic.” What does that mean when you are 60? You look good to have lasted this long? With me it’s not the years, it’s the mileage – which I realize every time after a hard climb or a day with a cheeky horse named Dandy!
As I exited the shopping I came upon the village Firehouse, Police Station, municipal building, and a nice shiny fire engine sitting outside. I love fire trucks and engines and am very fond of firemen. As I was getting my shot a young man who should never wear a shirt, I mean really – even to a formal affair he should just wear the jacket. His chest was an advertisement for trips to the gym and his abdominal muscles reminded me of that waterfall we saw on the train ride…”May I help you?”
Once I could get my voice to work, my mouth went dry for a moment there …. “Oh no thank you. I’m just getting a photograph of your fire engine.”
“You like fire trucks?”
“Yes, I always have.”
“Well you know firemen have a real fondness for redheads.” Cocky young thing he was.
“That’s nice. I have to go. My husband is waiting for me.” I was, as Magnus pointed out upon hearing the story – flustered! Um hmmm..
There was a Farmer’s Market with much fresh produce and many local products lining the walk next to the Fairmount, and a wonderful children’s play area. I managed to get a couple of great shots of future risk takers in the making.
A wonderful day.