by Julia Greider
High: I was able to go on a lot of great horseback rides this month.
I’ve been taking lessons in Exeter since the beginning of February, but more recently I had the opportunity to go on quite a few hacks (riding out of the ring, in the countryside). First I went on a beach ride with the university riding club. Riding on the beach is something I had always wanted to do, and I was so happy to get the opportunity to do it! I believe it was also my first time actually riding at a full-out gallop, which was quite thrilling. The next week I went on a mock hunt with the riding club. Rather than having hounds following a fox scent, we followed a trail of crepe paper tied on the bushes at junctions and took on ourselves the role of the howling hounds. Probably the best ride, though, happened when my friend Anna, from the Smith equestrian team, came to visit. Along with an American friend whom I met here and take riding lessons with, we took a train and a bus to northern Devon and went on a long ride in Exmoor National Park. It was quite chilly, wet, and windy, but we were all up for the adventure of it. I loved the pony I got to ride – besides his confident and enthusiastic temperament, his name was Squire, which seems to me like the perfect horse name. We got to see some incredible moorland and multiple groups of adorable wild Exmoor ponies!
Low: Although joining the riding club has given me many more opportunities to go riding than I would have had otherwise, the people haven’t been terribly welcoming.
In fact, the majority of them have ignored me to an almost ridiculous extent at all the events I’ve attended. However, at some point I decided to just enjoy the horses and not let the people get to me, which has more or less worked. And it was great to get to go riding on Exmoor with my actual friends!
Glitter: I went to London twice this month without planning much beforehand, and both times turned out to be lots of fun.
The first was on the way back from Budapest (which was quite an excellent adventure in itself, but unfortunately I can’t include everything in this post). My flight came into London, so it made sense to spend the afternoon with my friend who’s studying there. We went to the British Library on a bit of a whim and were completely overwhelmed by what we found in the exhibition – da Vinci’s notebooks, the Gutenberg Bible, and original manuscripts of Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen novels, to give just a few examples. We then wandered to the impressive St. Pancras Station and a few bookshops, to complete our literary afternoon. When my friend Anna came to visit, we stayed overnight in London. We ended up seeing the musical Book of Mormon as well as exploring the National Gallery, Kensington Gardens, and Covent Garden and touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which was something I really wanted to do before I left. To make it even better, we unexpectedly got to see actors rehearsing Merchant of Venice for the summer season, and our tour guide was an extremely theatrical woman doing a literature Ph.D. on werewolves! These experiences only reinforced my earlier sense that London can offer up treasures no matter how much or little planning goes into the experience.
Julia Greider is a junior at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, double majoring in English and the Study of Women and Gender. She is studying abroad at the University of Exeter in England for five months. She loves reading and being outside, but there are few things she would rather do in her free time than go horseback riding!