September 23rd, 2012 | Tags:

There are many different kinds of hobbies, that a person can take up, one of which is horseback riding. Riding can be scary to many people, but it is a fear that can be overcome after getting on one and taking that first ride, even if it’s at a circus. That is not much of a ride but can be the influence that makes some of us want to ride. That is how I rode my first horse, with my dad walking beside me the whole time afraid I would fall off. Soon as it was time to get off I of course would say more and would go around again. I think they could see me coming.

As I got older, I discovered that there was a lot more to riding that going in a circle. Friends had horses and we would ride all day. Not just trails like at most places that you go to ride and have to stay on a train that the horse knows so well it sleeps through most of it. No really riding, a friend taught me how to barrel ride and that is one fun sport. The horse and rider have to know exactly what to do and when. Its like being part of one another. Trusting the horse to make the right moves at just the right time was very exciting. However, it was not really, what I wanted when I ride.

When I ride, I like to feel the fresh air on my face, the sun on my skin and the rush of running full out in a field. Taking care of a horse is a lot of work that is a given. But the rewards that they give you back is well worth the work involved in taking good care of not just an animal but a friend or companion. The first time to go into a tack shop and buy your first bridle and saddle, there are so many to look at and options. I never liked the idea of using a hackamore on a horse they seem cruel to me. However, I have seen many on horses. Of course, I had to buy boots to because really riding in flip-flops is not really a great idea.

Another thing about riding is you can ride double with a friend or little kid and just walk through the countryside and enjoy the day. I will sometimes ride with little kids that are having trouble learning to talk its funny how fast they learn when they are with me. Once they are on the horse and we are walking, they open up and for some reason feel relaxed enough just to start talking. This is something that I believe could be helpful to many people that have children that are having a hard time.

Other than that, I think that I have the prettiest place to ride in the summer there are lakes all around, and in the fall the beautiful colors of the trees. There are so many places in the country to ride, and many of the riding clubs offer special events and races of many kinds. Endurance runs, shows and so much more. I guess to be honest that I love to ride horses just to get some alone time, and I do not take a cell phone with me! This is time just to reflect on life and the day.

One thing that I have always wanted to do was an old-fashioned cattle drive just like in the old movies. Living outdoors until the job is done. I am not sure they even take place at all anymore but would love to get in one. I did ride at a friend’s ranch onetime and we did have to bring the cows all in, I am guessing it would be a lot like that but for a much extended period of time. Its funny how far a cow can get from the place it needs to be on a ranch like that. Even calves that have just been born and having to put them across your lap and ride them back. It may sound corny but it is kind of fun.

Well I guess living in the country by the lake is just a great place to be able to ride. I have always lived in the country except when I was a kid in town growing up we would take trips to the lake and finally ended up buying a place to build on. My first time to try to ride a horse into the water did not go very well, turned out he was afraid of it and jumped straight up in the air. Talk about scared, I had no idea what he was going to do, but he just backed out and we went a different direction. I hope someday to have a ranch of my own where there are many horses and I can offer real riding to others like me. Not just a trail ride!

September 11th, 2012 | Tags: , , ,

Every year without fail, my parents would take us on vacation. They would coordinate holiday time off from work, and we would spend a week at Trinity Lakes Ranch. This tradition started because at the time I wanted to be a cowgirl. This was between the time I wanted to be a bus driver and when I wanted to be a nurse. The idea appealed to my father, who I think secretly wanted to be a cowboy himself, and with the two of us on board, my mother and sister had no other choice but to go along for the experience.

The Trinity Lakes Ranch had everything a potential cowgirl could want in a ranch vacation. To educate those who might not know what the appeal is for a ranch, let me tell you, a ranch vacation is where you can learn to ride a horse, rough it in the great outdoors during overnight trail rides and see how an actual ranch with actual cowboys operates. It basically shows you what can be experienced in an actual ranch environment but without all the actual tension of having to do the job in reality. My sister wanted nothing to do with riding a horse at first, so she spent the first few days just walking the horses. Any skill level or interest was accommodated at the ranch.

Cowboy Grant-Kohrs ranch, Montana, USA, around...

Cowboy Grant-Kohrs ranch, Montana, USA, around 1910 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best thing I experienced on our yearly vacations were the riding lessons. Once I felt comfortable riding, I would take to some of the many dozens of trails available. There were also organized rides to scenic locations. While on these rides it was hard to imagine a cowgirl life, but on the rides that I experienced alone, I could imagine being out on the open plains alone struggling to survive in the wilderness. There were plenty of nature hikes with guided tours that explained local plant and wild life. I started to learn what I would need to eat to survive.

While I didn’t often get tired of riding the horses, the whole family did not enjoy the riding as much as I did. My mother insisted that we do other more family oriented activities that my sister could enjoy too. I might have moaned and groaned a little, but once I got past the fact that I had to spend any of my vacation with my little sister, I was able to enjoy many of the activities they had available. The hiking was one of the group activities we participated in together.

Another activity we enjoyed as a family were the fishing trips to one of the many lakes that were the basis for the name of the ranch and surrounded it on three sides. The lakes were especially good for swimming. My sister and I learned to swim at Trinity Lakes Ranch. There were lifeguards and a special beach area that many families would use for picnics and long days spent relaxing near the water.

I always suspected my father wanted a boy; a son that he could pass on his love for football. He got stuck with us, and I drew a line at football. He did teach us many things that might not be considered all that girly though. Fortunately, I was a tomboy at the time, so fishing was one of the things that he passed along to us and that I loved. I could bait my own hook, and if the fish weren’t too large or wiggly, I could release the fish from the hook by myself by the time I was seven years old.

We would have our own cabin on the ranch. Family cabins dotted the outside of the ranch’s land. There was a large main cabin for single guests to stay in and a small restaurant area that catered to large meals eaten together. We would often spend our nights in the lodge playing or eating with other children. Oftentimes, though, we would spend our nights in our own cabin. As the sun would go down, we would light a fire outside and eat food my mother cooked over the open flame. After our meal, my parents, my sister and I would sit around, tell stories or talk about anything that crossed our minds. My sister and I would fight more than share when we were younger, but in our later vacations as we got older, that would be the time we would share stories we would not share in other circumstances. In the morning, my mother would often cook us bacon and eggs over our campfire. From morning until our evening meal, we freely roamed and delighted in our own activities.

As the years flew by, we would see the same families over and over. They would spend the same week a year at the ranch as we did. Outside of our vacation time, we did not keep in contact, but as the time rolled around for our next visit, I’d be looking forward to seeing my summer friends.
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