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Of girls and ponies

I have never been on a serious horse riding experience before, so when I got the opportunity to engage in some, I was pleased. It’s not anything close to those rides we get at Uhuru Park for Sh100 then a photo is taken while you are at it.

No, this is different; even the horses look a tad bit different. I engaged in this incredible activity at Achis’ Ranch, along Mukinduri Lane in Karen, Nairobi.

Timothy “Tim” Simiyu owns the ranch. Tim came to Nairobi at the age of 16 after dropping out of school. While being a caretaker at the then Camel Sensation Ranch, he developed an interest in horses and camels. Soon the owner used to take him out for gigs and he learned the trade.

After the owner left the country, Tim was left to take care of the ranch, and much later, the owner sold the ranch to him. The ranch offers horse riding and lessons, picnic, wedding and camping grounds, camel rides and bike racing.

The ranch started off with four horses and two camels, but it currently has 38 horses and seven camels. If you are planning to go for a horse riding session, it’s good to put on light clothing like fitting jeggins with a tee. This is comfortable attire, especially for a beginner.

Equestrianism, which is also a horse riding affair, is the skill of riding, steeple chasing or vaulting with horses. John was my equestrian for the day and after the itineraries, he led me to the stables to have a pick at the horses. While walking to the stables I noticed how vast the land was.

“This land is about 100 acres. It accommodates the horse paths, all the other activities within the ranch and a restaurant. We have lots of horses, which in turn need lots of space,” John explained.

The ranch’s ambience is so serene, which makes horse riding quite an experience and one of the best ways to explore the bush landscapes. I was paired with Toli, a grey-silver horse.

John explained that it is important to be paired with an animal that you are comfortable with. Toli was friendly and I didn’t struggle with him. We seemed to pair well. I was also informed that horses are intelligent and they sense with their instincts. At times, they get feisty around people they dislike.

My horse riding experience was unparalleled. I was on the back of this majestic species, as I got to appreciate nature and the scenery around me.

The cold air blew past me and I was awed by the quietness as I rode into the landscapes of Ngong Forest forgetting the city’s backlog. I wasn’t going as fast, as this was my first time and I also wanted to enjoy the environment. It’s a great place to unwind after a long day.

The ride was revatilising. Normally, a ride goes for about one hour for Sh2,000. After close to half an hour, I had learned a thing or two on horse riding. Firstly, it’s important to remain calm and comfortable when riding a horse. I was getting tired and my feet hurt from the pressure of being apart for some time.

Achi’s Ranch accommodates, groups or families for ‘get togethers’ and team building. It is a rule that a person should be at least less than 100 kgs to ride a horse. Horse riding depends on the weather. For instance, when it is wet, it may be difficult to navigate one.

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