The kids had been asking to go to Maryanne's farm all week, but I had things to do. Finally, I found a day to steal the truck away from Brad and get us out there. We arrived mid-morning, and the kids spent a couple of hours petting dogs, horses, goats, and in general, exploring and enjoying the outside. It was a beautiful day. Brian took a few photos of Honor as she relocated goats around the goat pen. She was having quite a conversation with the young animals - we're not sure about what, but it was good to see her feeling so comfortable and confident with them.
After a bit, Brian came up and said "I'm ready." Ready for what? To ride of course!
Maryanne's assistant suggested we take a short ride off the farm for fun. The kids, for safety, had to have their horses tied to an experienced rider, but they still rode on a bareback pad to give them the practice of staying balanced. I rode Brian's favorite horse, Lily, with a saddle. All the horses seemed happy to be going out for a walk and followed along happily. At first Honor wanted to go slower. During last week's riding, her horse took off trotting when Brian's did... even though she didn't want to trot(!).. and while she rode her at a trot quite naturally, but she wasn't ready to do so again - not yet! After a bit though, given a choice to take a short ride or a long ride, Honor chose the long path. We went out for an hour and the kids and we had a great time. I was feeling the saddle by the time we got back, and Honor said that her 'legs were dizzy' when she dismounted. The benefit of being little means she was lifted down, I had to climb. I guess I need to keep in mind a saying a friend used to throw around a lot: pain is just weakness leaving the body.
We went around a big loop on paths that wound through local farm land and beside the irrigation canals and ditches. We saw people working, animals resting, water pumps of all sorts transferring water. It was a bright, warm, and clear day and we could see for quite a distance. We saw the Great Pyramids of Giza off in the distance, and the closer Abu Sir Pyramids. We also saw a number of birds, including the oddly pretty hudhud, the ever-present white wading bird (of which Egypt seems to have a variety. I caught a photo of one of these guys, a little egret), the intelligent and full of character hooded crows, some little shiny black feathered water fowl, and a bird with stunning blue wings that may have been a bee eater, but it was too fast for me to get a good look.
Here is a slide show of photos I took while out on our ride. Pretty impressive that not only did I get some fairly nice photos, I managed to do so without falling off the horse into a canal somewhere! Hey... come on! Sitting on a moving animal with very little experience, snapping photos in all directions. I was impressed. Probably a good thing I was in a saddle and Lily is such a steady horse :)
It was after 3pm by the time we finished riding, so I called Brad and checked to see when he'd be done for the day. I told him if he would be willing to use some comp time, we'd come get him and we could go out to dinner. He was willing, so we headed downtown to find him. I was impressed with myself again - yes, twice in one day - that I remembered how to get from the Abu Sir area to downtown in a straight forward and relatively easy manner. Roads in Cairo aren't always as logical as they appear on a map. Sometimes you simply cannot get to point B from point A. We did it though, and hijacked Brad off to the Nile Bukhara Indian restaurant in Maadi for an early dinner. All in all, we had a very pleasant day.