Monday, November 10, 2008

Trail Riding at Yarrabin

Even though our lives are getting more and more upside down (all will be revealed soon) and every weekend is full up until the start of January, we had to squeeze in a trail ride as Richard had gotten it for me for a present last anniversary and it was due to expire soon. So two weekends ago, we went to the sleepy village of O'Connell about 20 minutes drive from Bathurst and went for a trail ride. This was at a farmstay/ranch place called Yarrabin.

The people there were quite friendly and helpful but also laid back so you didn't feel hurried or rushed. I ticked a beginner level of riding as I have not done much at all, especially in the last 7 years so I got paired with an old horse, Cocoa. He was always much more interested in eating and drinking than trotting so I guess we were quite well matched.

You got a rock to stand on to help you get on your horse. Richard gets help adjusting his stirrups after getting on his horse, Dan.

The horses seemed to be a mixed type breed and all of them were pretty placid so we petted them before it was time to get on.
We went through some forests and I felt pretty challenged as the guides tried to encourage you to get to the next level. For me this was learning to trot. It was a tad bit scary and I kept having images of smashing into a low branch ala Hollywood movies. However, I got a bit more confident as the ride wore on. Our guides would watch and give us tips to help us get more comfortable. Richard even got to canter.

Some of the views were gorgeous and we got to see some kangaroos and of course cows on the property. Times like that make me feel really fortunate to be living out here and have all this fresh air and beautiful scenery so readily accessible. I wish I had taken more time to go out and engage in more activities like these when they are literally in my backyard. The other people on the ride were a bit more experienced but there were a few guides with us and they always made sure someone stayed with Richard and myself. While the trotting bits were pretty exciting, I sure was glad of the times it was just a walk!

Every muscle was aching in my body the next few days. No wonder most horse people are in shape. Trotting is good when you get in rhythm with your horse but when you're not ... you feel about as classy as a sack of potatoes bouncing along.

Speaking of which, these aren't the best photos but Richard got so excited about this dish that he made me take photos of it and write down what I did. It doesn't have a name but it is loosely a cross between a lagsane and a moussaka.

I made up a meat sauce with pasta sauce, mince and spinach. 225gms mince to a 375gm jar of sauce and small packet of frozen spinach. Then, I layered thin slices of eggplant (about half a large one) with cheese, the meat sauce and a small sweet potato sliced thin. I used a parmesan type cheese as well as cheddar for extra flavour.

Here is a picture of a slice. It was really flavoursome and the sweet potato really leant an extra dimension to the tomato sauce and all the cheesey and tomato flavours were absorbed by the eggplant. So this was a creation I was pretty happy about :) Any suggestion on a name?

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