To trot or not in the Megalong Valley
Big Red is a stubborn bugger.
He's also temperamental - one minute rushing past the eucalypt lining the bush trail, another coming to a back-jarring halt.
"No wonder he doesn't want to go; you're bouncing on his spine," says Lyn, our salt-of-the-earth horse riding guide.
"He's probably thinking 'aww me back, it hurts'," she adds from up ahead on the trail.
I join her in laughter as my husband remains baffled. You see, I'm not atop of Big Red, he is.
"What do you mean?" Lachlan replies. "I'm doing this," he says, proceeding to push his feet into the stirrups and lift his backside up and down on the polished leather saddle.
"You don't go all the way back down," Lyn yells again.
Hubby's shoulders slump. I can sense he's still baffled and although I don't admit it, I am too.
Still, my dark horse, Patty, is very responsive to instructions - a sign I eagerly take to indicate I'm doing something right.
We've both been horse riding a few times before but not for what feels like eons. Neither of us recall any actual instruction, aside from being told to show our steeds who is boss. That's the exact thing we're struggling with today at Megalong Horseriding Adventures in New South Wales.
"You see, we put you on Big Red 'cause we thought you could ride," Lyn says, adding insult to injury.
"If you can't ride he knows and he won't do anything," she adds, rubbing salt into the wound.
But hubby hasn't given up - we'll be trotting today even if it means we'll skip the picnic lunch planned to wrap up our little adventure.
Lyn's determined too, and during our ride she gives us numerous opportunities to increase our speed.
Patty doesn't need much encouragement to get trotting. A couple of kicks and she's off.
The problem, however, is she's loyal to Big Red. If he doesn't run, neither will she.
I attempt to manoeuvre her around Big Red so she can lead him but she's not having any of it. She's happy at the back of our trio.
Trot or not, it's a great feeling being on horseback in the beautiful Megalong Valley in the Blue Mountains.
It's a refreshing way to spend a Sunday and being a touch over two hour's west of Sydney it's readily accessible for a weekend getaway.
The Aboriginal word 'megalong' means valley below the cliffs, and it feels fitting as we ride up and down rolling hills.
Upon nearing the family homestead, we clumsily dismount from our horses, with thighs and backsides sore.
Greeted by the owners' loping dog, Lyn escorts us to one of a few gazebos that dot the sun-drenched property.
On a small table is a country-sized cane hamper filled to the brim with sparkling wine, strawberries, apple tarts, bread rolls and salad.
The perfect picnic to round out a day in the Megalong.
Megalong Horseriding Adventures is in the Megalong Valley in the NSW Blue Mountains.
Located at 993 Megalong Rd, it is easily accessible by car.
Megalong Valley is just over two hour's west of Sydney; to get there turn off the Great Western Highway at the Blackheath railway crossing. To find out more go to megalongcc.com.au.
The centre offers accommodation in its main lodge and allows camping across the property.
There are a number of horse rides to choose between, from a one-hour group ride costing $50 to a five-hour ride for $195. There are also pony rides for children from $10.
You can reserve a spot on a trail ride through online booking service GoDo by calling 1300 46 36 48 or visiting godo.com.au.
*The writer travelled courtesy of Megalong Horseriding Adventures.