I haven't been on a horse since Bible camp as a kid. Two friends of mine (both with significantly more riding experience) brought me along horseback riding north of Point Reyes. I was kind of excited to get back on the horse, so to speak (insert rimshot here). From memories of my childhood, "horseback riding," in my mind, meant "sitting on top of a horse as it walked along slowly." Today I learned that a horse has even more speeds.
I first learned to trot by being thrown in the metaphorical deep end. I learned to ride the trot as a matter of self preservation, or at least to prevent shattering my pelvis.
My trotting skills were to a tolerable level when we reached the beach. We brought the horses out in a line, and the leader took off. My horse, Nikki, had been waiting to tear off for a while and, when he saw the group ahead of us go, bolted down the beach.
Because of the up-and-down movement of the horse in a trot, it's actually harder to ride the trot comfortably than other gaits. My method of how to ride the gallop summarizes to "just hold on, for chrissake."
Anyway, during these fabulous sprints, flying along the shoreline, I was in an absolute rush, fascinated by the experience and simultaneously petrified by the speed and power of the animal. Stones thrown up by the horses in front of me were flying past, and the horse I was on was loving it—he seem to be very annoyed when we had to stop.
All in all, it was one of those memories I'll keep with me for a long time.