Horse riding in Centennial Park

Originally published on Mojito Mother

I love a good city park. They lift a city out of the hustle and bustle to restore calm and a sense of balance.

It was my saviour when living in London. Across the roundabout from our terraced house was the prettiest park with ponds and ducks and running tracks through the forest. It was my de-stress of an afternoon and where I would often go to sit and think.

I had a lot to think about those days.

I still love to go to a park to think and observe. There is not much else demanding of your time. I love to soak in the greenery, the trees, the animals joyfully bouncing and running around and people playing and ambling with smiles on their faces.

We were thinking and ambling on horseback through Centennial Park a couple of weeks ago on a Sydney RedBalloon adventure. We have seen and done so much in Sydney we wanted a taste of something different. We love horse riding and we had never been to Centennial Park.

I am not sure why. My parents grew up in the Surry Hills area and first lived on the park when they first were married. I had heard so much of it growing up, yet here I was mid-thirties experiencing it for the first time.

The rain which had paused during our ride romanticized the park in a misty haze. Christmas and I walked the track around the periphery of the fields, lakes, formal gardens, heritage buildings and rows of Norfolk Pine, Holm Oaks and Port Jackson figs. My beautiful white and grey speckled horse certainly looked like she would fit into a Christmas scene, but I chose to call her Princess instead.

There was no way this beautiful mare was going to get her feet dirty in the boggy puddles on the track. We spent the majority of the circle going out of our way to avoid them, which meant swiping me against tree trunks at times and creating new paths in the grass at the side of the track. I proved to be a terrible horse handler as she just would not pay attention to my commands to “Suck it up girl and get yourself dirty!”

Centennial Park is one of the few city parks in the world that offers horse riding facilities. It was named the people’s park when it was officially opened in 1888.  On 1 January 1901, Centennial Park became the focus of the nation as the site of the inauguration of Australian Federation (this event is commemorated today by the Federation Pavilion).

Riding on a wet Friday morning gave us an insight to how it must have looked when it was first opened in 1888 and deemed the people’s park. A handful of people were jogging, pushing prams, walking dogs or trotting past on horseback.

We past by a cafe that was filled with coffee lovers soaking up the miles of greenery from behind full paned glassed windows. Mental note: Must come back and do the same.

I really enjoyed the simplicity and peace of the horse ride through Centennial Park It was not without a little thrill though– crossing the road at the traffic lights. I was terrified Christmas would get skittish and bolt in front of the cars. Instead, she calmly waited until the sound of the walking man started and slowly walked to the other side.

Horses are beyond cool.

 

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