Lesley and Jenna are a mother-daughter globetrotting force to be reckoned with. Hailing from New Zealand, they have always bonded over a shared love of horses and recently took this passion to the palm-lined beaches of Indonesia on The Sumba Ride. Lesley and Jenna have some truly beautiful stories to share from their lives with horses and their horse riding holiday in Sumba; read on to be amazed.
What are your day jobs?
Jenna: I am a field operator at an oil and gas production station in South Taranaki, NZ.
Lesley: I work for a New Zealand owned oil and gas company in an administrative role dealing with purchasing, logistics and finance.
How have horses influenced or changed your life?
Jenna: Both my parents ride, so riding has always been a way of bonding with them. From a young age my parents not only taught me to ride, but they instilled in me the responsibility required to own my own horse, how to respect such a large, beautiful animal and the confidence to be a capable rider. Adopting these qualities when I was young helped shape me into the capable and compassionate person I am now.
Lesley: I have always had a love of all animals, but horses in particular. Over the years they have taught me many things including patience, compassion, responsibility and humility; I’m sure I am a better person for having horses in my life.
What are your earliest memories of horses?
Jenna: My earliest memory is being perched up on the saddle in front of Mum. We would ride her Thoroughbred, Maggy, together over the dairy farm to get the cows in. One of the first memories I have of my first horse, Spuddy, is holding onto the pommel crying while my dad lunged him at a canter. I was terrified at the idea of cantering for the first time, but once I was riding at a canter, I had to confess (between sobs) that cantering was in fact fun. Nothing like a bit of tough love to get you out of your comfort zone.
Lesley: My earliest memory would be when I was eight on my cousins farm in Scotland. They had an old pony called Charlie and they let me have a ride. I was hooked from then on, but as we were living in a city I doubted I would ever be able to have a horse of my own – it became an obsession, until I bullied my Mum into allowing me to have a horse.
What were your childhood ponies called?
Jenna: My parents bought me a bay quarter horse when I was seven. His registered name is Rhapsody in Red. That was too difficult for me to say, so I shortened it to Spuddy. He is an incredibly personable, animated and patient gelding, and I don’t think I will ever love another horse as much as I love that boy. We are both now 26 so he is retired, and he still affectionately gets called Spuddy, Spud or Mr Potato Head.
Lesley: I learnt to ride on a friend’s pony called Weetbix – she was a pure white Welsh/Arab cross who had all the patience in the world. We would all practice leap frogging onto her back among other things – she was an amazingly patient, tolerant pony.
What does riding or being with horses mean to you both?
Jenna: Riding is good for the soul in so many ways. It can be time for quiet, reflection and healing, or it can mean time with like-minded friends, adventure and adrenaline.
Lesley: Riding and being with horses is an integral part of my life. I can’t imagine not having them in my life. In times of sadness they can lift you up, they are happy to just hang out, they ask for nothing and give so much. I have always had a very close relationship with my daughter but our common love of horses has bonded us more and our holidays together are cherished lifetime memories.
What have horses taught you the most?
Jenna: I’d love to say it has taught me patience, but I am still quite an impatient person. I like to think I’d be far more impatient without my horse riding experiences. It has also taught me humility and compromise.
Lesley: To not sweat the little things, pick your battles, learn to adapt and change – there is always another day.
What was your first Globetrotting ride?
Jenna: Sumba – it was our first, but it won’t be the last.
What made you take the plunge and sign up for a Globetrotting holiday?
Jenna: Mum and I did a horse pack trip with Tsylos Lodge in Canada in 2013, in conjunction with visiting the Calgary Stampede. It was an incredible mother / daughter trip and we have been talking about doing another one ever since. So, when mum and I met the girls at the globetrotting booth at Equitana, it re-ignited that hankering to go on another horsey trip – the only tough decision was deciding which ride to book.
Lesley: We did a pack horse trip with Tsylos Lodge in Canada in 2013 and had the best time ever. We met the Globetrotting girls at Equitana in Auckland and saw a photo on their wall of our guide from our Tyslos Lodge trip – turns out that is one of their rides now. We were excited at the prospect of doing another horse riding holiday and chose the Sumba ride – it was great to have an organisation that has checked out the rides on your behalf and can advise you on everything from what to pack to how to get there.
Was this ride celebrating or marking a significant moment/milestone/achievement in your lives? If so, would you mind sharing?
Jenna: No special occasion. Mum and I are just fortunate to have the time and funds to travel, and blessed to share such a special mother-daughter bond.
Lesley: Nothing like an anniversary or anything, just a celebration of mum and daughter blessed to be able to travel to amazing places and do amazing things.
What Globetrotting rides have you since completed/planned/dreamed about?
Jenna: The Patagonia Trail is the next ride on my bucket list.
Lesley: We badly wanted to do the Patagonia Trail but the budget wouldn’t stretch that far – time to start saving!
What is your most memorable Globetrotting moment?
Jenna: Racing along Nihi beach. I’ve never been so fast on a horse, it was equally as terrifying as it was freeing, so incredibly fun.
Lesley: Racing after Jenna along Nihi beach – she had the fastest horse! Such an adrenaline rush – may have been enhanced by the floating champagne lunch we had before we went.
Why choose this type of travel? As in exploring a new country from the back of a horse?
Jenna: Horse riding immerses you in the beautiful and unspoiled parts of a country. I feel like you experience and see so much more from horseback, especially in countries where horseback riding is deeply ingrained in their culture.
Lesley: There is no better way to explore a place and its culture, you become a part of everything instead of being a tourist looking from the outside in.
A tip that every globetrotter should know before going on a ride?
Jenna: Don’t go with pre-conceived expectations of what your horse riding vacation should be. Approach it with an open mind. Take time to enjoy and learn a different style of horsemanship and culture.
Lesley: You are about to have the trip of a lifetime – judge not – enjoy every moment, embrace the differences in cultures, horses and horsemanship.
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without…
Jenna: An open mind.
Lesley: Your smile – you’re going to need it for all those great photo moments.
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