You can rent and ride retired racehorses on Batu Feringgi beach in Malaysia. They look well cared for and reminded her of the time she trained for the hunt back home. He was enthralled by her and her tales of jumping fences, of falling and getting back on.
It was the afternoon and they had ordered cold beers, sipping from iced glasses, looking out to sea. Earlier they had promised that they’d each rent a horse. The beach is long, sandy, curving into the water. The hotel was hidden by palm trees, making it easy to imagine they were on a primitive island.
He showed off by getting on the horse by himself, wearing only shorts with the camera strung around his neck. His beautiful wife was already steering her horse along the shore. With a little instruction from the owner he prodded the horse with his bare ankles to follow.
She looked wonderful. She was lithe and tanned, comfortable, her long blonde hair blowing in the breeze. He caught up and they chatted as they rode through the lapping wavelets. Deciding to take a photo, he fumbled and dropped the camera into the surf. Always an optimistic idiot he leaned down to pick it up without realising how impossible this was. She rode on and a passing tourist helped him, picking up and returning the camera. He took a few photos before riding on. Later the photos would be lost in development, never to be seen.
At the end of the beach there are boulders as big as houses peppering the sand down to the sea and here they turned back. The sun was starting to set and he could not have felt happier. As they neared the hotel he asked whether they should stop or carry on for a while.
He got his answer when her horse started galloping away along the water’s edge. He had stopped just at the hotel and, realising he could not catch up, he dismounted. He watched her wildly galloping that horse through the gentle surf. He thought she just wanted to feel again the excitement of the hunt.
As he dismounted the horse owners came to take back the reins, complimenting his wife. ‘She is a magnificent horsewoman!’ and he felt proud of marrying such a woman.
He sat down on the sun lounger and ordered a beer. He ordered another, watching the sunset and waiting for her return.
He waited. Worry began to creep into his mind just before he saw her walking, leading the horse by the reins and he stood to welcome her. He hugged her as she returned the reins to the effusive, congratulating owner.
He laughingly welcomed her back, hugging her tightly, kissing her cheeks.
Then she gasped whether he had seen the little terrier frightening her horse into an out of control gallop? Fighting for breath she told him how she’d clung on for life as the racehorse careered through surf, sand and sunbathers. It had taken her at least ten minutes to slow and stop the animal.
She was so shaken she’d had to lead the animal back on foot.
He did not see the dog. In his memory all he can see is her beauty as she galloped down the beach, and he can still feel the joy that she was now his wife. All that time she was fearfully grasping to control and stay on the galloping beast.