(Arabian) horse riding in Egypt, January 2009.

White mare and a young brown stallion, the bown one is a half-breed Arabian horse, known for its character, strength, speed and temper.

The white mare, Susma, is tall, and is more playful. Hamoud controlled it very well, riding it without a saddle. I wouldn't be able to do it, lack of sufficient horse riding experience.

The brown stallion is Amigo, 9 months old, some 50% Arabian and very slender. Thin legs but very strong; compact thighs, just like an Ethiopian or Kenyan marathon runner.

His mom, Flora, on the picture below will be my riding horse. It obeys commands very well and will slow down when not receiving guidance to run fast, an automatic safety break. Suits me well, horse riding remains tricky.

I first tried to just sit on it. One of the stable boys holding the reins, still very unsteady, the horse was waiting for my commands and ready to take off in an enthusiastic run. We took a picture with myself on the horse and that was it.

I waited for the horse trainer, too risky now if it would break loose in a gallop. An Arabian horse feels like an old Porsche 911, very good acceleration, but poor breaks to slow it down. At the first curve you may already go off the road as you miscalculate the speed.

Yesterday they broke loose, went far into the fields. After being turned back by a stable boy, they entered the stable area at full speed, some 50 or 60 km per hour. Impressive.

Horses, Flora (left) and Amigo (right, 9 months old) returning back to the stable at full speed

On Thursday the trainer arrived. He has a full breed male Arabian horse, used for breeding and a half-breed mare for dancing. He won several prizes with this horse.

I would ride Flora in circles in the stable area, trots and gallops of 50 meter only. Was fine, I did three sessions of some 20 minutes each.

Riding the brown mare.

After a while the white mare joined us, playing, running around us wildly, did not seem threatening, I felt at ease being on a horse myself, although it was at times very close and sometimes it was throwing its back hooves in the air, out of joy, running along.

Getting on for the third session, the start was a bit difficult. These horses have character but are nervous as well. Without my commands, it just went up de soil hill as they often do for fun and was about to go down on the steep side.

Would be a big mistake. I prevented it just in time. As it was tied down at the neck to prevent cavorting, it might have rolled over going down, but I would have gone first.

Wrong direction, going up the steep soil hill. Going down on the right would be a roll over.

The fourth session was a speed test on the 200 meter drive way.

Speed test.

I was not ready for it, the horse went too fast and I couldn't find the right rhythm for a gallop. I was still holding on to the saddle instead of moving up and down with the horse. It is not difficult.

The fifth session was a dancing act, the trainer making it to dance with me on top, see movie:

68 MByte movie (.mov format) for e.g. QuickTime player

The horse was a lot easier to handle than I expected, it was a bit nervous but it does force you to learn how to control it. Reigns down as much as possible, I confused it by holding on to the saddle and keeping the reigns too high. Without commands it would never go faster than a slow trot or just walking, always slowing down in time.

Next lesson would be not to hold the saddle and try a gallop. This may be in 2010.

Horses leaving the stable area. Villa on the right.



Foal, running back to the stable. Nine months old.

Hamoud, on his white mare.


Jean, getting lesson. Instructor watching in the back ground.

Jean and Ramadan.

Ramadan, the chief farm hand, looking surprised.

Egyptian pose, standing on the horse.

Wrong direction, too steep.

Wrong direction, too steep.

Wrong direction, too steep.

Back to safety, down the hill.