Sunday, October 21, 2001

Riding horses seems to be a fun thing. Not that I really rode any horses this weekend. Oh, I sat on top of one, and was led around by the 17-year-old girl who owned the horse. I even wore one of those black velvet hats. But I wouldn't exactly call it riding. I felt like a little kid taking a pony ride as I was walked around the grounds of Steninge Palace in the far reaches of Stockholm. In fact, I couldn't quite meet the eyes of all the people wandering around the gardens. That stupid black hat didn't help. And then as I was walked on country roads outside the grounds and we met people who were really riding horses - by people, I mostly mean 15-year-old girls - horses that were moving fast because no one was leading them by a rope, I felt even more silly.

At least I didn't have to ride a pony, as crazy E. did.

Of course, we got to do some other fun things for our 500 kronor (each). For instance, we got to clean out the horses' stalls (you don't have to get every last little clump of shit out, apparently. Or maybe I just decided that myself about the time I started wondering why I had paid 500 kronor to clean up horseshit instead of someone paying me). We brushed the horses. We cleaned the dirt out from under their hooves. I even got to clean the shit out of one of the horse's tail with shampoo, water and a plastic brush.

And yet, it was completely satisfying and only made me feel that it could be fun to learn how to ride a horse. They seem to be high-strung, horses, but it sure looks like it's a thrill to ride them. I don't want to own one, no, but I wouldn't mind really knowing how to ride a horse.

(And of course it helped that the weather was perfect fall weather on Saturday, and Steninge Palace - which I seem to recall was built by some Swedish nobleman who was having an affair with Marie Antoinette and wanted a nice place to bring her for a little of the old in-out in-out, although the style seems a little old for that so maybe I'm wrong - is a charming spot with lovely lawns leading down to the water and typical Swedish baroque buildings, all painted yellow.)

The Swedish phrase for the day is jävla idioter, which means damn fools.

- by Francis S.

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