Mounting a horse for the first time at Speke Resort Munyonyo was kind of scary for me but the preparation I got from the hostlers had me enjoy my very first ride; it was a life changing experience.
Speke Resort boasts of a fully fledged facility that can accommodate experienced and first-time riders. “Whether you are an avid and experienced horse rider, or just have an appreciation for nature’s gentle, fast creature, the fully-fledged Equestrian Centre at Speke Resort Munyonyo can accommodate,” reads in part a section on the resort’s website.
I sat down with the Equestrian Manager, Harrison Gikungu Waweru and he shared with me what to expect and how to prepare. Harrison, with his 13yrs experience with jumping horses, also doubles as the head of instructors.
“Most of the guests we get are people who want to ride or assume horse riding is as it is in movies,” started off Harrison when asked about what to expect as a first time rider. “Here we only have jumping horses and that is what we offer our guests,” he added.
The first and most important thing to quip yourself with is knowing why you want to ride; is it for fun, are you doing a photo-shoot or do you want to learn how to ride like a pro? This will help the hostlers pick out the best package for you.
From the horse’s mouth, if you are planning to visit Speke Resort Munyonyo and try out horse riding, here is what you should expect and how to prepare.
What to wear…
Given that the saddle is pure leather do not make the mistake of riding in jeans or shorts; get something soft like sweatpants or something light. “As the horse moves, it is very easy to bruise the inner knees and legs so go for something comfortable,” mentioned Harrison.
For safety reasons, you will have to put on a horse riding helmet and get shoes that have a heel. This is to prevent your feet slipping out of the stirrups. Also avoid sleeveless tops or vests as you will not have enough protection in case you fall off the horse.
Guests do not choose their horses; Harrison does. “We introduce our guests to their horses and for the first time, there is that intimidation someone gets but we encourage them to relax and trust their horse,” said Harrison. At this point, a guest is shown the basics of horse riding like how to hold the reins, communicating with the horse to walk and turn using the reins and how to use your legs to talk to the horse.
Your first ride…
Armed with the basics, you should be ready to mount your horse and make the first move; the trot. “You will feel like the ground is very distant from you but the trick is to focus on you and the horse. The first trots feel bumpy but this improves as you get into sync with the horse’s trot rhythm.
A horse makes four moves; walking, trotting, cantering and galloping. For those wishing to learn to ride like pros, you will gradually learn how to make the horse canter and gallop but it takes time.
Last but not least…
If you’re to take horse riding lessons, Speke Resort has them scheduled for 7am to 2pm and for one to fully get a grasp of horse riding, it will take you 10 rides for 45 minutes each and this will cost you just 400K.