August 4, 2014

Books In Real Life, Episode 1: Racing Savannah

Books in Real Life is a new feature collaboration with Rachel, and it's basically self-explanatory. We’re taking some of the activities and places we’ve only read about in books we loved, and going to be doing them ourselves in real life! It’s a great way to make the books come alive, and to challenge us to be more active and do things.

(as inspired by Miranda Kenneally's Racing Savannah)

Since I was little, I've always been fascinated by horses. (Seriously, I had a major obsession with the Saddle Club series. Anyone else?) If I hadn't moved to the Philippines, I would have probably convinced my parents to let me take riding lessons in Virginia. But I did, and there aren't really a lot of horses over there, especially in my teeny hometown. I did get to ride a horse every now and then on vacations, but nothing as serious as a lesson.

Honestly, I was like a five year old when Rachel & I set off for the Garret Mountain Reserve on Saturday morning! We went through the registration process, before we were given helmets and introduced to our trail guide Lauren. She and the stable hands (I totally thought of Rory here!) helped us to mount our horses (Rachel was on Igor, and I was on Tilly), then gave us a short lesson on how to use the reins and our feet to guide the horses. Before we knew it, we were off for our trail ride!

The trail we took wound through the forested areas nearby, and meandering on it (atop these horses, of course) was quite lovely. Lauren chatted amiably with us about her experiences with riding, horses, the stables and the neighborhood (and I really loved this). Being surrounded by nature, and gifted with the perfect temperature (sunny, but cool), it was easy to relax.

Before we knew it, an hour had passed and the stables were in sight again... which meant our trail ride was coming to an end. I was sad because Lauren was such great company, the horses were wonderful and the trail felt like a whole other world. But end it did, and so we bid goodbye to the horses, Lauren & the stables... after the requisite photos, of course.

With every Books in Real Life post, we'll be including a short, three question survey about our experiences! You can see the first set of survey answers below:

1. Would I do this again? Most definitely! I loved my experience. I still think it's pretty crazy that Rachel & I were just briefed quickly, and then allowed free reign (hee, there's a horse pun in here somewhere) for the next hour. Granted, the horses knew what they were doing and were pretty tame. But they're still living creatures with minds of their own, so any number of things (getting thrown, going rogue, wandering off) could have happened! I felt very accomplished. We're totally plotting on going again in the fall when the foliage has changed colors.

2. What was your favorite part or a memorable moment? Tilly's antics were probably my favorite bit (if also slightly nerve-wracking). She was so playful, sometimes speeding up just to catch up to the other two horses, sometimes tossing her neck or rearing a little in an effort to displace the reins.

3. Anything you wish you'd known beforehand? I wish I'd realized how saddle sore I was going to be the next day! The muscle workout you are subject to when you go on horseback is pretty intense. (Still worth the experience though!)

And here are a few more titles I recommend that feature horseback riding:
Historical/regency romances (seriously, most of them have horses!)


  1. How fun! I have been riding for about 15 years now and I just love it. Horses are the best aren't they? Also, I was totally obsessed with the Saddle Club when I was kid! That and the Black Stallion and the Misty of Chincoteague books. Pretty much anything with horses. Lol So glad you had fun on your trail ride!

  2. This sounds like something I'd be terrible at but would still love to do! I've only ever seen police horses or the queen's horses, but have never actually been near one otherwise. I'm glad you had fun! I also really love the idea of this feature. :)

  3. This is so cute! I love this idea :D

    I used to ride horses quite a lot when I was little (I actually went to horse camp once, haha), but I haven't done it since I was maybe 16. I really like animals, though, so it's definitely always a fun experience for me. Glad that you liked it, too! It looks like you guys had a lot of fun. Going in the fall sounds like it would be really gorgeous...make sure to take pictures!

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS NEW FEATURE!!! So creative and fun. When I was a kid, I was totally scared of riding horses. I have a crying-my-eyeballs-out-while-riding-a-horse photo to prove it! Eventually, I got over it and now I look forward to riding horses when we visit Baguio or travel elsewhere! In fact, I've even ridden other riding animals (camels and donkeys) over the last two years! :D *end of ramble* Haha! Really looking forward to more of Books IRL!

  5. I love that you guys did this, what a great idea! I also loved the Saddle Club books as a kid, but I hated the Australian TV show (did you ever seen it?). It also came out when I was a little older though so maybe that's why.


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)