Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…

Horse Riding at Fort valley Ranch

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We came out of the adorable Luray caves after the spending a wonderful time there, We then spent half an hour at the entrance corridor and took rest. We were not sure about the next place to visit. We’d initially planned to visit White House on our way back to New Jersey, as we’re already in Virginia we’d planned to visit either Virginia beach or go for Skyline drive in Shenandoah national park. All of a sudden one of our friends suggested Horse riding.

Without second thought Ananth had called up fort valley people and inquired about the timing. The next batch was about to ride at 4 o clock. Before riding there will be a demonstration session for which we were required to be there exactly at 3:30 PM. But when we’d called the time was 3:15 and it was 10 miles away from where we’d stopped our car. Map showed that we could reach there only by 3:50 or so. But we didn’t want to miss this chance as it was the last ride for the day.

Ananth had started the car and all I could see him was nothing but Jason Statham in Transporter movie. He had bursted chuckles and gripped the steering firmly.

Though it was just 10 miles, since it was a valley, the roads had very sharp turns and if we go off the road, we’ll be down somewhere down the hill. So he was riding very carefully. On our way to the ride, it was already 3:30, I’d called them up and said ‘heyyyyy… hi…’ we’ve almost reached… We could see your place… yes the board’ (but we had no idea where we are and map showed 2 miles). The location outside was so beautiful , but we could barely enjoy it as we were in a hurry to make it to the place. Just when we thought we would reach the place after looking at the map that said ‘drive 1 mile straight and take right turn’ , it had said ‘drive for 800 meter and take left turn’ and so on… so every time it was like the crowd cheering the football player shouting ‘yeeeeeeeeeeeah’ to make it to goal, but when it is missed, they sit back shouting  ‘huuuuuuuu’ in chorus. Also there was a truck ahead of us going slowly without allowing us to pass through which slowed down us by few mins.

FInally we reached there at 3:45. Good job, Ananth. As soon as we entered the valley, a group of people who were waiting for us to arrive, so that they can go for ride breathed off like relieved, and the jockeys got ready and the front desk lady hurried up to enter and fill the disclaimer form. oh god! I was so happy until we reached there and when they gave the form to sign, I got scared reading at all the points. 1. If you fell off and broke your leg we’re not liable, 2. If you get hurt badly and lose life we’re not liable and all that which makes you scared. hmm… lets’s sign it, thought to myself and I’d signed.

She asked us to pick a helmet if we need and asked to keep our bag and my selfie stick 😦 there before getting to the Horse. She asked us to hurry up to the back of the office where the demonstration would take place, we went fast but the demonstration was almost complete and I heard only three points, 1. how to sit while climbing up the hill while sitting on the horse, 2. how to sit when climbing down 3. how to pull the horse up when it eats the grass and then said are you clear? We only got practiced to say yes, when this question was asked since childhood, so said yes clear in chorus and waited to see what’s next. 😀

There was a two steps stand to get on to the horse and he had picked us randomly and pulled horses from its stable. We missed to hear the first point itself! How to get on a horse, then how will we get on?!!! I was thinking in mind,,, dai don’t call me, don’t call me… let me see how others sit on the horse’… 😀  Everyone started getting horses and now I was thinking I should get a clean horse. Then came a white horse but faded off colors, I was thinking that he shouldn’t call me, and he turned to my side… (chaaa!!! I was thinking…) but he called Dhileep who was standing next to me 😀 😀 The next horse was wow!! Dark shining black Jersey horse (that’s how I have seen calling this kind of horse in Tamil movies and even my dad had said this Jersey horse name quite a few times). He called me and I looked at him and he gave the rope to control the horse and I sat on the saddle without any problem.


This was the Horse I rode!


Last time I went for a Horse ride was in 2006 I think. And it was in marina beach, That was my 4th or 5th time horse ride. Where the jockey use to hold the rope and walk for few meters and come back and that’s it, the horse ride is over and when I got down from the horse the last time, I got sprain on my right leg, yeah I remember it. Now I sat on this horse after a loooooooong years.

As it is Game of Thrones (GoT) season I sat on the horse with the GoTs theme music 😀 He walked with me and made the horse to stand in a line, I asked him, will you be coming with me? (I asked him this thinking, will he walk with my horse holding it’s rope) but he thought something else (will tell you what in next para) and said yes. Now I could smile as this ride will last for one hour and we’re going to ride on a mountain, I’d asked him that question.

He went back and helped other people to get on the horse and took them to the line. Now I was shocked to see him sit on a separate horse and he rode ahead of us and stood in front of the horses. Adapaavi!! (Exclaiming word in Tamil) I said to myself and looked at my friends, they were sitting happily! There was a jockey at front and there was a guy at back of the queue. So a 20 horses lined up and the horses started to move. Just when I started the GoT theme music fastly as it use to play, the horses walked slowly! The theme music faded down to slow phase in my mind 😀 😀

The horses are trained very well and it started to walk when the jockey at front started moving. He said it is going to be a slow walk on the mountain and we’ll climb off slowly after a while. I started looking around the places and when we just moved away from the back of office, we were beginning our horse ride. My first horse ride, without a jockey holding the rope and walking with me. We then entered at the bottom of a mountain and started climbing through the muddy pathway.

The trees had no leaves as it was fall season and climate was moderate. At the start of our ride was a small pond and a big landscape and behind these was a mountain! Wow! It was amazing as I use to watch it in documentaries and in cowboy movies! Wait it is just the beginning, something said to my heart and I’d smiled. 🙂 We then started moving towards the mountain and the horses followed one another gently. A horse at front had stopped so are the horses at the back till end. The jockey at front turned back and took a look, he said that horse is trying to pee, so it will move once it is done. As all the horses were stopped my horse moved forward… Ayayo!!! I was thinking to me wondering how to stop and I didn’t want to do anything with the rope other then turning left and right as I was afraid that might make the horse run fast. my horse chased Dhileep who was ahead of me in the line, while doing it my horse and his horse got fight!! Both were shouting in horse language 😀 We didn’t know what to do and my horse was trying to kick his horse… Luckily the first horse in the line had done with peeing and started moving! 😀 😀 So other horses started moving now and the fight got over abruptly.

We started moving further, the mountain was so calm place and all we could hear was chirps and tweets and singing of the birds. With the sunlight rays trying to enter the mountain through the tall giant trees with leaves off, the horses moved further walking and breaking the dried leaves that are on ground that had fell in that season.

We climbed few ups, the demonstration was absolutely helpful and I’d moved the horses left and right when it was needed. All of a sudden my horse stopped moving! And in this gap Dhileep’s horse tried to overtake me, but my horse’s kick kept him away from overtaking 😀 😀 The jockey said now my horse is peeing! 😀 I asked Ananth see if it spills on my shoe 😀 Luckily it wasn’t  😀 We then moved and only after half an hour or so I sat relaxed. There was small stream in the mountain and we got to cross that, It was very beautiful moment 🙂 The horses walked with ease in all ups and downs.

It was very quiet mountain and the tree shades made it very enjoyable though there were no leaves. I felt how important it is to plant trees and was smiling gladly thinking about more then ten trees that my dad and I’d planted in our house and thought to plant more trees further.

We then climbed down gradually and came out of the mountain, I was smiling so happily after reaching the starting point as nothing happened negatively as it was written in the forms we’d signed. It was a wonderful and best time ever. It was absolutely worth for the money we’d paid ($30/Person) & must enjoy. Thanks a lot to Ananth who decided to drive the ‘Transporter’ way, if he had thought we couldn’t make it to the place, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this ride until now and who knows I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anytime at all!

If you’re planning to visit Virginia, you must include this in your agenda. Tips: Don’t be afraid while riding, it is absolutely safe and enjoyable, unless you kick the horse in his sensitive area 😀

Here is the brochure I got from the Valley.


On our way back was a spectacular meadows, Microsoft should have taken picture from here for the wallpaper instead of California. It was beautiful grass meadows with cows eating grasses. Stopped our car for a while in roadside and enjoyed the place and started back home 🙂

Uncut video version of this trip below (04:09 minutes). Subscribe to my YouTube channel to enjoy more videos.

Author: bhargavkesavan

Blogger, Shutterbug, Software Engineer.

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