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Her name is ‘Boone’…

… and she lives in Thailand, somewhere around Chiang Mai…

I had gone for the typical elephant ‘encounter’.
You know; the typical touristy thing.
A little elephant watching, a little elephant feeding, a little elephant riding…

But Boone, being the largest animal present, as well as the momma of the smallest animal, was only going to have it so far, and no further.

The handlers wanted us ‘saddle tramps’ to get a feel for the fine art of elephant riding, and as I was by far the largest of the gringoes, they decided I should ride Boone.

Which I was fine with.
And Boone was fine with…
Until we crossed that invisible line, that Boone considered the limits of how far she was willing to wander away from her baby… a baby that was tied up and unable to follow mom, as was it’s want…

Once that line was crossed, all bets were off.
Rather than stay on the trail through the jungle, Boone decided off-road was the track she now wanted to try… in spite of the handlers repeated ‘urgings’ to continue on the regular path.

It was like she had a circumference traced out in her head and she wasn’t going outside that circle, no matter what anyone else thought.

Which in this case was the trio of herders at this little shindig…

Have you ever been atop a horse who didn’t want to go anywhere…?
I have…

The horse didn’t want to leave the barnyard area.
The stable boss had other ideas.
A whip-crack at the heels 0f the horse and it was (literally) hi-oh-Silver… away…

Complete with the rearing up on two legs, and the absolutely mad dash, from where we were, to where the whip wasn’t…

It was a long time ago, when the treatment of animals wasn’t as much of a concern for the people who owned them…
Apparently, the welfare of cash-paying customers wasn’t of as much concern to the owners of said animals…
After all, this was a riding farm for people who hadn’t, or couldn’t, ride on anything like a regular basis.

You pay your money, you takes your chances…

Well, this was like that…

 

Except…

 

There was no saddle, or reins to hold on…
And the animal who had decided to go her own way was really big… much bigger than that Trigger wanna-be from yester-year…

And you know how they say you should grip the horses sides with your knees…

Yeah… well…
My knees were currently not occupying the same area code together…
I’m not sure they were even on speaking terms, at this point…

Nothing to hold on to…
An outraged mama, plunging through jungle growth…
And little ol’ me thinking about all those stories of rogue elephants, and trying not fall off this animal…

I finally got off her, and the handlers assured me things would be fine, once baby was allowed to follow along…

I didn’t care.
I refused to ride her any further.

On the trip to their swimming hole, I walked, rather than ride.
I didn’t know that I deserved to ride, given the emotional display I’d just witnessed.

As a result I got both pictures above.

But what I got more of was the sense that these elephants were not being treated well.
They were hungry.
They wanted to get away from the mosquitos the size of aircraft carriers.
They wanted to to go bathing…

Did I mention they were hungry…?

All in all,  the outing had a rather chilling effect on my desire to ever ride any animal again.
And I now feel that to ride any animal for ‘entertainment’ is no longer justified…

But that’s just my opinion…

 

Your mileage may vary…

 

 

 

 

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