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Day three arrived and for the second night in a row I had managed to sleep well. This was unusual and probably a sign of how tired I had been from the very long day of travelling. This time though I did feel genuinely rested and ready to meet the day. That said, the plastered part of my body was less keen on some aspects that the day would bring.

Thankfully the Tuesday started off at a nice easy pace with a leisurely walk (on horseback of course) out to the ranch’s cookout area where we would be served breakfast. I’ve been to these before and enjoy the communal aspect of this sort of breakfast, and will concede that I particularly like the potato they serve up. The recipe is on the ranch’s website so I really have no excuse to not try it. One of the things that I feel sums up the whole ethos of the ranch is how breakfast out here is cooked and served, not just by some of the regular waiting staff, but also by the wranglers, the owners and their family. I dare say they don’t have to do so, but they choose to, and choose to twice a week.

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Shadow Play on the way to Breakfast

After the issues that I had on the fast ride yesterday I decided that playing it safe (it was only day two after all) would be best and just took part in the slow ride (walk) back from breakfast rather than heading out on another fast ride. The ranch offers lessons with the wranglers after lunch and before the afternoon rides and I wanted to run through how I was riding and to check that my woes were more to do with a poorly placed wallet than anything else. It would also give me some chilling time by the pool.

After lunch I headed for the arena for my lesson with some friends who wanted to similarly ‘flatten out’ some of the wrinkles in their western style riding, and one who wanted to pass the fast ride test having missed out on the previous day’s fast ride. Reassuringly the lesson went well, for all of us, and was told that I was sitting correctly and I shouldn’t have any further issues. I always find it difficult to judge how I’m riding compared with others. I see people and they appear to barely move in the saddle while loping along the trails. Myself, I feel as if I’m on a set of super springs, bouncing up and down. People behind say that I look ok, but without seeing it myself, I get stuck on how it feels. I’m sure this is the case for most people and I know that I can often have the same feeling when it comes to other sports as well.

Reassured (and with extra padding) I set out for the afternoon ride. I had some choices and they fell between testing out the fast ride again or having a leisurely ride (again) out to the cook out for some wine and cheese. I chose the latter feeling that it might be an idea to give myself more time to heal. Those that I’d had the lesson with were also opting for this, and as I hadn’t done this ride last time I was at the ranch I felt it would be a nice change. Again this was at the cookout location and all the wine and cheese were put on (without charge) for us to indulge in. Again, showing the ranch’s commitment, there was no skimping with either the wine or the cheese and there was both quality and quantity of both in abundance. It was a slow walk back, but that was purposeful. Understandably it was important to ensure that the fast ride in the afternoon wasn’t an option!

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View from the cook out location

With some extra time in the afternoon, not having the fast ride I thought it would be a good opportunity to check the ranch file for my horse. Every horse at the ranch has a story and some are more interesting than others. For example they have a number of horses that were confiscated by the authorities and then passed onto the ranch. Ice didn’t have that sort of story, but wow was I surprised when I found out his history. I, much to my surprise and in all honesty, with now a little bit of fear, had a race horse! OK, so we’re not talking about a serious champion race horse, but in his day, Ice had not been a slouch. According to the records he used to run in California and won 6 races. After that he did some barrel racing before being sold to the ranch. After this revelation I was in no doubt as to who should be in charge in our pairing based on experience and it wasn’t me!!!

This being the case, it was time to chill by the pool for the second time that day. At the perfect temperature for cooling down and with plenty of shade when you wanted to just read, a pleasant hour was spent in and out of the pool before happy hour and dinner.

The previous day I mentioned how it was always amazing that despite travelling so far, there always seemed to be local connections at the ranch. Tonight that would be taken a step further. Chatting to one of the group at dinner, a lady from Atlanta, Georgia. Low and behold we have an acquaintance in common who moved to the US a number of years ago. I spent a lot of the rest of dinner time somewhat gobsmacked at the fact that the world was getting even smaller! Hopefully I would recover from my somewhat stunned state to be able to go on some fast rides the next day!

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