Monday, April 16, 2007

A Whole New Respect for Cowboys

My dad had us meet him in Tucson this weekend for a visit to Tanque Verde Ranch. It was a really awesome experience. It's an all-inclusive vacation. They feed you 3 (HEARTY!) meals a day and have a full schedule of activities for adults and kids. Most of the activities revolve around horses. So, we dropped each of the kids off in their respective groups and they were given tennis lessons, horseback-riding lessons, crafts to do, and playground time. Caleb, being in the older group, was able to go on trail rides too. Meagan, in the younger group, stayed in the arena. Don, dad & I went for horseback-riding lessons & then joined Caleb on his trail ride. We did some swimming at the pool & then went for the BBQ in the Cottonwood Grove, eating steak and listening to a cowboy sing. Meanwhile, the kids got to do some marshmallow roasting. Meagan was amazed that marshmallow roasting wasn't some new idea they just thought up no for her & that we had actually done that before too! The next day, dad had to leave for the airport, but we got up to do the trail ride up to the old homestead for a breakfast cooked by the owners of the ranch. We met the kids up there (Meagan had hiked it with her group) and ate with them. They both spent the rest of the day with their groups, while Don and I took the intermediate horseback-riding lesson and ate lunch. Don then went on to try for the loping lesson. A lope check is required before joining them on a loping trail ride, which he wanted to do. Alas, he did not pass, but instead did the intermediate lesson again, just for more saddle time. While he was doing that, I watched the kids doing their horseback-riding lessons and then I joined Caleb again for his trail ride.
Caleb on his first horse, Billy. Next, he had Kermit (as in, the frog) who spent the whole trail ride fighting Caleb. Kermit really wanted to eat along the trail and Caleb had the hardest time getting a handle on him. The 2nd day, Caleb had Pistol and Pistol was much better. Caleb had a good time with him. Pistol did have a slight case of flatulence, though!
Meagan on her first horse, Sunshine. Sunshine had a little tongue issue. His tongue hung perpetually out of his mouth. He had been kicked by another horse & lost his front teeth, so there was nothing to hold that tongue back. He looked a little silly. Meagan was frustrated that the horse never listened to her & told me she did NOT want Sunshine again. So, the next day, she had Gray Bell. Gray Bell was worse. Oh well. When you only weigh 40 something pounds, why would a horse listen??? She did look cute on horseback, though!
And, here is my cowboy. He's on Commanche right now, I think. We both had several different horses, but Don did ride one called Powder for all the lessons. Commanche was beautiful, a Paint Horse, I think. Doesn't Don look good? My dad took a picture of me on horseback, so hopefully he'll send that before too long. I was amazed at how much of a difference my confidence level made on getting the horses to do what I wanted. As the weekend progressed, they started to respond better to me. However, my last horse, Chester, was awesome. He responded to my slightest signals. If we had been staying longer, I would've requested him every time after that.

And now, we are home & I'm walking around like I've been hit by a truck. It really takes a whole new set of muscles to ride. But mostly, I'm just cringing every time I sit. Why, oh why, are saddles not padded? When the cowboy sang to us at the cottonwood grove, he added a new verse to Rawhide. Something about city-slickers & finding out the true meaning of RAW HIDE!

No comments: