Interesting family vacations are no stranger to my family and I. We have traveled all around the United States, Maine to Florida to Wyoming, and accumulated many great stories and memories along the way. Like when we spent hours in the gift shop to avoid the 90 degree heat when we camped in the Badlands, South Dakota. Or when my sister and I made up our own language so we didn’t feel left out among the Spanish speaking visitors at a campground in Pennsylvania. Yes, we have had some laughable moments, but none that have scarred me quite so much as on our most recent trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan.
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The trip was in early June 2010. It was a great time to go as it was not too hot but hot enough that a refreshing swim in Lake Michigan was very reasonable. We stayed in a little wooden cabin in a campground just outside of Mackinaw City, but took the ferry over to the island for two of the days we stayed. The first day on the island we rode our bikes around the island — all 8.2 miles. I almost died. I’m not exactly the person who exercises a lot, so needless to say I was the caboose in our train. Not to mention my bottom was so sore from the most uncomfortable bike seat in Michigan that I didn’t even want to sit in my chair when we went out to lunch. Which is also the reason why I did NOT want to go horse back riding the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I love horses. I love kind, lazy, slow horses but not when my tush is throbbing with pain. But I gave in and we went off to rent some horses.
As I filled out the information sheet about which type of horse I preferred, I made sure to check gentle and every word associated with it. As I hopped up on my horse I even asked the man helping me, “Is this horse gentle?” His response, “Are you?” “…That’s helpful,” I thought sarcastically. So we got pointed in the right direction and started riding. It was quite peaceful as we rode down the street past the Grand Hotel and up towards our trail through the wooded area. Every once in a while my horse, Ginger, would be naughty and take a bite of some leaves or grass but I would just pull on the reins and say no. I didn’t think much of it. That was until we were on the street heading back towards the horse’s barn. That was when the trouble began.
Ginger was going right along letting me enjoy my family and my surroundings when all of a sudden she broke out in a trot. It doesn’t seem all that horrible, but when you’ve unexpectedly doubled your speed and have started flopping around on top of a big animal, it’s a little disconcerting. Especially when in this shocked stage your horse decides to then run you into multiple branches full of wet leaves that encompass you in an insant, all so she can get a tasty green treat, well let’s just say I wasn’t pleased. Of course my family was laughing hysterically, I’m sure it was quite a scene, but I had never been happier to get back on solid ground. After which I told the owner that he should feed his “gentle” horses before sending them out for rides.
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