Friday, August 14, 2009

Horsepower. Now I get it.

"Kick him". "Kick him harder". "Kick him again". But here's the thing – I didn't want to kick him. I was in love with him.

Let me back track for a moment, as my hands have just now stopped shaking long enough to type after riding the Behemoth roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland. Let's just say I won't be standing in line to ride that son-of-a-bitch ever again. Oh, can I add, other than my reluctant, yet willing, co-Equinox Adventure pal Deb, I didn't see a whole lot of 40-something mothers begging to get on that colonoscopy of a joy ride.

In some sick way, I am glad I did it. Leaving the Behemoth and that mecca for teenage thrill seekers in my rear view mirror left me feeling somewhat placated, and happy to be alive. But never again. I was on the second leg of the journey, heading north on the 400 highway toward Muskoka, in a brand-spankin'-new 2010 Chevy Equinox. Jack was busy yapping at me about why we didn't have a cool car with XM radio and a Star Trek dashboard complete with a big screen navigation system. He'll never let me forget that we almost bought an Equinox, but to save the lining of my nostrils I opted for a pick-up, so his foul-smelling goalie gear could ride back in the fresh open air. After zipping around Southern Ontario in the newly-designed Equinox, I admit, I too have regrets. That little cross-dresser could fly.

I failed to mention to the good folks at GM that back home in Nova Scotia I was one point away from riding the bus. I have a heavy foot. Thankfully, I was in Ontario where people don't drive like hungover lobster fishermen in no rush to get to church, or the wharf for $2.95 a pound. The Behemoth was barely out of sight before I had the Equinox's peppy, 182-horsepower engine elevating my heart rate as we raced to my next fear-facing adventure – horseback riding.

The sexy, satellite navigation landed us practically in the paddock at Maple Lane Farm in Bracebridge, where the mere sight of Trigger and his buddies made me feel like I was going to vomit. The last horse I rode took me directly under a tree branch, knocking me flat on my fat ass. I swear that walking glue stick was chuckling as he trotted away.

Our arrival was expected by the kind folks at Maple Lane Farm, who were quick in directing us to the barn so we could change out of our city slicker clothes. I'm sure they were getting a big kick out of my tennis shoes and Deb's golf visor. We stood out like hemorrhoids.

The farm was a beehive of activity – little girls, teenage girls, and beautiful women were everywhere, walking around pushing wheelbarrows of shit, grooming horses and mucking stalls. A little blonde girl with braided pigtails, no older than eight or nine, walked by with a saddle thrown over her shoulder and a big grin on her face. They were all filthy and productive and deliriously happy. No iPods, no exposed belly buttons and no pre-teen nightmares demanding a ride to the mall. It felt like the Equinox had taken us to another planet where girls and women oozed confidence and self-esteem.

The only man in sight – the owner Ken – was young, (and hot) and the father of two little cowgirls in the barn. Ken assured us their trail horses were docile and would not take advantage of our fear and lack of skill. Muttering "bullshit", it wasn't long before I was looking at the back ass of my enormous, yet apparently trusty steed, "Kramer".

Our willowy trail guide Deanna, described Kramer as the stable's sofa. She was right. It took about five minutes for me to swing from fucking terrified to totally at ease. As we headed down the path, across a wooden bridge and into the rural Ontario I love, time and stress slipped away instantly. We were meandering through a wildflower-strewn pasture on a sunny day, and I was quickly slipping into 2-martini-mellow mode, when all of sudden it dawned on me. It was one of those light bulb moments. An epiphany of sorts.

Kramer was rocking my world.

That big, dumb hulk of a manly beast was taking me and my Levi's to a very happy place indeed. No wonder all those women back at the barn were smiling! Riding along, swaying back and forth with my thighs pressed against his back and my Hanes for Her jammed against the saddle doorknob, well, it was so earth moving I almost, well, never mind. Let's just say, if Jack and my fellow adventurers weren't along for my ride I would have taken Kramer back to the barn for a smoke. And, I swear, at one point just before he took me safely across the river, that handsome sack of brown-eyed dog food turned around and winked at me.

So ladies, listen to me. If you want horsepower, a sleek, roomy interior, and a hands-free door closing button for when your arms of full of liquor store bags and babies – then get yourself an Equinox. If you want a guilt-free, commitment-free, afternoon delight with a happy ending – pull on some tight jeans and get yourself a horse.

Giddy fucking up.

Maple Lane Farm (and Kramer a.k.a. Vin Diesel) are both worth the drive to Bracebridge, Ontario. If you really feel the need for steed while in Nova Scotia, head to Hatfield Farms.