Friday, 29 December 2017

Dubai: A (Christmas Day) Sunset Desert Horse Ride

dubai desert horse ride

Riding through the Dubai desert at sunset has to be one of my most surreal and magical experience since I moved to Dubai. Oh, and this just happened to be on December 25 so it made for a rather good answer to the "what did you do for Christmas?" question...

The AlAli Stable is just a twenty minute drive from Downtown Dubai but twenty minutes is enough to already feel like you've left the city behind. The stables are quiet and peaceful; they smell like the countryside, the ground is muddy - such novelty for this City Girl.

http://ddhre.webs.com/

The sunrise and sunset rides are run every day - no previous horse-riding experience is needed and the rides cater to all levels. I used to horse ride at university but that was some...seven years ago and I've developed a lot more fear than I had in my early twenties. I'm not sure if watching YouTube videos on "how to ride a horse" made me more or less apprehensive as to whether this would turn out to be a good Christmas story or not...

http://ddhre.webs.com/

Once I was seated on "Chips" I felt less apprehensive. Maybe this horse riding lark is like riding a bike after all (although I can't remember the last time I did that, either). The stables loan out riding hats and the dress code specifically mentioned "yoga pants" so I dressed as if off to a yoga class and thanked my past self for buying a pair of Vans in the sale thinking they would be "useful" one day.

http://ddhre.webs.com/

Setting out into the dessert, our guide, Mudasser (red cap, Puma t-shirt), expertly kept our horses in line while providing instruction on technique, taking photos and casually smoking a cigarette on horseback. I felt proud of myself for just managing to take a couple of shaky one-handed photos without falling off or losing my phone to the desert sands...

http://ddhre.webs.com/

As the sun dipped below the horizon, I remembered why I liked riding at university - it is almost impossible to think of anything else in the world while fully concentrating on just not falling off. There's something about being on horseback that makes you feel really cool and capable, even if my horse didn't really listen to my commands and didn't really seem too keen on running (/trotting).

Maybe it was because it was Christmas Day, or that I hadn't fallen off, or that I'd just spent ninety minutes feeling as far away from my worries as I could possibly hope for, but the sunset on the way back to the stables might just have been the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. My phone stayed safely in the waistband of my leggings because some moments don't need to be captured anywhere other than in memory.

http://ddhre.webs.com/

Back at the stables, we thanked our horses with carrots and apples (the apples more gratefully received) and sat down to tea and dates. On the drive home, when the city lights came back into view it all felt like a dream but thankfully my trainers are still caked in mud and goodness knows what else so I know that it wasn't - Christmas Day really was spent riding horses through the desert in my adopted city.

  • The Dubai Desert Horse Ride Experience are here.
  • The sunset and sunrise desert rides are AED150 (approx. £30) per person for 90 minutes of riding.

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6 comments

  1. You look so happy Lily! What a way to spend Christmas Day!
    Sophie
    x
    A Story of a Girl

    ReplyDelete
  2. You look so happy Lily! What a way to spend Christmas Day!
    Sophie
    x
    A Story of a Girl

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like such a lovely experience and such a unique Christmas day! x

    ReplyDelete
  4. That looks so beautiful! Sounds like a nice way to spend Christmas. Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, looks like a fantastic way to spend a day- what a gorgeous sunset too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds much more fun than getting pissed and falling asleep in an armchair/arguing with a family member! x

    ReplyDelete

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