#180 Project Agape: Kashgar (Tagahma Valley)
Monday, 15 September 2014

I'm back! For more updates regarding my OCSP trip. This time, featuring photos from our horse riding adventures in Tagahma Valley. It was sort of a pit stop on our way down from Tashkurgan to Kashgar and we decided to incorporate this as part of our R&R. I don't know if you can tell from how bundled up we are, but it was the coldest temperature we experienced whilst in China. Maybe not below zero, but close enough for there to be frost on the ground.

Looking back, it was a fun experience on the whole, but a scary one as well. For starters, I don't think the horses are all that well trained? Either that or they mustn't be very used to having strangers on their backs. A friend and fellow team mate of mine actually fell off and got trampled on a little bit by one of the horses. Thankfully he didn't fracture or sprain anything, there was just some minor bruising that went down after a while.

Then, on our way back from our sightseeing, we were hit with a major sandstorm (see last photo).  I mean, we experienced some sandstorms back at Tashkurgan Secondary, but there were always buildings to run into or hide behind. Here, we were out on a vast open space, vulnerable. The horses were kind of spooked by it and were trying to seek shelter on their own. Fortunately, their handlers knew what to do and everyone made it back in one piece. Our vision became severely limited during the sandstorm so it was difficult to try and ascertain where everyone was. I had to quickly use my scarf as a make shift mask just to protect myself from the sand. Was also doing my best to try and calm my horse, constantly patting it gently and trying to regulate my heartbeat. My theory is that while we're on the back of the horse, they can probably feel our heartbeat? So if you're calm, they'll be calm. If they sense your nerves or tension, they'll freak out too.

At the end of the day, we all made it back safe and sound and I guess it makes for an interesting anecdote to share, ha-ha.


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written at 10:59