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Horseback riding in Baguio.

Baguio, the City of Pines, is like one open air-conditioned megamall. The FX taxies keep their windows open. The people do not rush. They walk gracefully, and leisurely. It is a great place for a relaxing vacation. But I spent one afternoon gripped with fear.

Well, no one should blame me. Anyone who remembers their first time on a horse would understand my speeding fearful chaotic thoughts. I’ve never been on a horse and before climbing to get on one, I was lulled by a fuzzy good feeling that at that time of my life, I could face anything. I wanted a white horse. Why? Because it will look grand on the picture. But there’s no white horse available. All I got is dark brown one with its left face colored light, like a dirty white patch. I guess it will have to do. Besides, what’s one non-speaking horse could do to vanquish my soaring confidence? Apparently, the horse didn’t have to be anything except act like a horse.

I didn’t realize that a horse would be this awfully high. Like I have shrinked to the size of a hobbit. And I didn’t expect a horse would be this fast. I mean, I have seen a few horse races. But those are in a television. Not within my sphere of reality. I keep saying “slow down” in varying degrees of voice pitch. I squeaked it, I demanded it, and I whispered it. At the back of my mind I knew that the guide was trying to reassure me that I would be safe. But who says that a silently screaming novice could hear anything?

For the whole ride, I never let go of the guide’s hand. I have terrible visions of myself being thrown and kicked. The horse could probably feel my tension in big waves, but it remained at a steady slow trot. It was probably accustomed to having freak customers like me. After the paid one hour horse ride, I begged the guide to hurriedly get me off the horse. Once I stood on the ground on shaky legs, I heard the horse snorted. That riveted my attention.

I tried the nightmare again. Only, it wasn’t scary the second time. I was still conscious of the fast pounding of my heart, but I was able to control my fear. Most important of all, I was able to let go of the guide’s hands. As I was going to back to my friend’s house, (the place where we all stayed) I swore that no non-speaking horse is going to call me a coward again.

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