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One of the advantages about breaking my trip to the ranch in two was that I wasn’t jumping 8 hours in one go. OK it wasn’t as if there was much of a break, but jumping 5 and then 3 two days later and having the opportunity for a couple of cat naps during the second lot of travelling had been advantageous. I was waking up feeling quite refreshed and ready to meet the new day.

The first full day at the ranch is always about meeting your new horse. I’d probably been conservative with my riding ability again, but that’s not a bad thing in my books. Best to have a horse you know you can be fully in control of than to get a slightly more lively one that you’re not quite ready for. Although I don’t have to, being a regular at the ranch now, I always like to do the first slow ride to get to know the horse. It’s a good chance to lay down the ground rules as well and let them know that you do (hopefully) know a little bit of what you are doing. My horse for the week was to be Amigo.  It’s also a good chance to make new friends. I’ve said before that the ranch atmosphere lends itself to making friends and making them quickly and this trip was no exception. Again I was riding with people from around the globe, all with different stories to tell and for those who were on their first trip, excitement to share.

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Amigo – my horse for the week

In the UK, understandably, the focus on riding is on the English style. This isn’t a style of riding that is unique to England or the UK, it’s just the name of it. It’s common throughout Europe and further afield. However it is very different from the Western style of riding that you have in the US. Eventually I’ll find somewhere local that I can practice the Western style of writing but for the time being it’s important for me to have at least one lesson to get back into the swing of things at the start of the holiday. The lessons are great value ($20 for an hours group lesson) and it’s a wonderful way to remind yourself of the differences. I was also eager to avoid the issues I’d had last time by sitting in the wrong position. I’ve mentioned before how they are great at knowing your name at the ranch and this was really brought home to me in the lesson. You may think that they have a nice trick in terms of remember you. By the horse or a secret stash of photos, but this really isn’t the case. Neither of those would account for the wrangler giving me the lesson remembering that 6 months prior I was on one of the day long rides he did (and he would have done a lot since then) and was able to give details of the ride. This really did shock me. It’s one thing to remember a guest, but another to remember a single, fairly uneventful if long, ride. The lesson done, it was time to head out on my first fast ride of the holiday.

While I don’t necessarily do all the fast rides that are available due to other activities on offer, if there is nothing else to do, I’ll be signed up for it. One of the items that I have acquired from previous ranch trips are a good pair of riding gloves. The ranch gift shop has a wide range of useful items and these were one of the purchases I’d made having rubbed too much skin off my fingers in the past. (I tend not to anymore but keep them with me in case). If I’m not using one, or both, then I tend to put them into my back pockets. This was a mistake. Half way round one of the fast rides I lost a glove. The wrangler offered to go back and get it, but we’d had a delayed start and I didn’t want to delay things further. The wranglers knew which trail it was on and hopefully someone would spot it.

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Taken before I lost a glove, not that you can tell from the shadow!

Getting back to the ranch from the ride, I found I had some new neighbours. Until now I had no neighbours on either side (one side adjoining the other detatched) but now I was surrounded. They were part of a much larger group that tended to keep themselves to themselves, but that was fine. I just had to make sure that I turned the rock station the radio was tuned to down a little.

The evening, as so many before and so many to come would be a wonderful meal, good company and long chats about the ranch and home life. New friends and old merging quickly into one. Friends. The chatting would go on late into the night but eventually it wold be time to head to bed. After all, there would be riding tomorrow!

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My very spacious room for the week

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