I didn’t grow up around animals. My Dad’s fairly allergic, and my sister is VERY allergic, so the idea of pets were a bit of a no-no. We had some fish, even upgraded to a hamster (little Ginger Jim, the absolute nutter!), but never went into cat or dog territory. And I definitely never spent any time anywhere near any horse stables, leading me to absolutely brick it whenever I was near horses.
When we all moved out of home, and my parents ended up with a dog, I realized how amazing animals were to be around. Poppy the Westie was a brilliant dog, my Mum’s closest ally in nosing and gossiping around the place, and without her I definitely wouldn’t have thought of getting Alfie, our very own Westie who, with the lack of any human children, is our little fur baby. Judge if you like, I don’t give a shit, he’s brilliant!
My attitude towards horses even took a shift, and then on a press trip to Pape Clement in Bordeaux (as you do) I bonded with one of the shire horses they’ve brought in to replace tractors on the property. What a majestic thing, and absolutely bloody massive. Still a bit scary, but he enjoyed a nose scratch, so I was getting there.
Then it hit me as we arranged recently to go to Argentina, with the Drinks Creative, that I’m not going to be able to put this off am I? They’re going to stick me on the back of a horse for the first time! Shit!
Of course it didn’t take long. Day two at Bodega Tapiz and up rocked Jose with his horses. I looked at the stirrup I needed to put my foot in before I vaulted up and my only thought was the jeans I was wearing were WAY too tight for this! But up I got and had a lovely hour or so on the back of my (mercifully) very gentle horse.
Ok, Jose was an absolute tinker, tricking me into a cheeky trot which left me with injuries meaning Alfie will struggle to have any human brothers and sisters, but overall how cool was that?
Next up, a trek across the Andes 😉
Massive thanks to the team at Bodega Tapiz for this opportunity, and to Jose who was an absolute gent throughout.
Picture by Colin Hampden-White