We took some time on Wednesday morning to take a carriage ride. Our hosts at the Fiakerhof have two Freiberger horses named Leo and Lantano. They work very hard carting tourists around Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the warmer months, and pulling them on sleighs during the winter. They are sweet boys, though, and love carrots. We learned this our first night there.
Mary was missing her horse, and was interested in their offer to teach guests to drive the horses. When I asked if Mary could take advantage of the offer, I was told that the driving instructor, Mr. Host, was not comfortable enough with his spoken English to do this for her. BUT she could ride along, and he put her in the front seat. After a few minutes, he handed her the reins and she drove for most of the next hour and a half. (And his spoken English was just lovely.)
She drove right through town, which meant stopping for stoplights and dealing with garbage trucks, cars and pedestrians.
Once, when the horses balked at the sound of the garbage truck, our host took the reins. When Mary balked at driving across the busy road after the stoplight, he took them again, although he said she would do just fine.
She drove out into the country, where he had her trot the horses for a bit.
Then our host had her turn the horses around, a 180 degree turn. When she finished, he said, "Perfect." She was thrilled. I was too busy watching the action to get a very good picture.
He took the reins for the last 15-20 minutes or so, when Mary realized her arms were really getting tired. He told some stories about growing up taking care of horses, learning to drive them, and a little about the horses they've had over the years. Leo and Lantano are 8 years old, so he hopes to have them around for a while.
Back at the stable, there was time for carrots and pictures.
It really was a fun morning.