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I try to take a similar approach to my riding as I do with my skiing. Now that doesn’t mean that I put on skis or where goggles and a warm jacket, but more that I know the importance of pacing oneself for the whole week. While I do ride back at home, its normally for an hour a week at most. Understandably a ranch holiday will have you riding much more in both duration and frequency. To ensure that I’m able to enjoy the whole week it’s important to ease oneself in and not over do things on the first two days. So, despite the ability to do so, I opted for a slow ride day rather than go for a lot of rides including fast ones.

So, rather than a slow ride and a fast mountain, it was a slow amble out to movie pass. A location famed not just for its wonderful views, but as the title of the pass suggests, a location that sees a lot of filming taking place. The most famous film show there was Winchester 73 and the location is recognisable, even if not quite accurately depicted in the film. (Though lets me honest, films often play fast and loose with geography hoping that people won’t notice!) A slow ride was good as well as if I was honest, I did have a few aches and pains from the riding already and to ease them a bit and be able to enjoy the rest of the week, I needed to be sensible.


Movie Pass

Sometime the easier pace of life on a slow ride means you get to see a lot more. There is also the advantage of being able to take a better camera with me. Because the horses never pick up any speed I can have the SLR either around my neck on in the saddle bag with no problems. On a fast ride, the loping through the desert would have a a detrimental effect on the camera, and, if slung round my neck, my chest, so it’s a point and press that can sit in a closed saddle bag for them. The other advantage is that you’re able to see more wildlife that way. With the horses approaching slowly you have more chance to spot the wildlife and get a photo before it scarpers. You don’t always see something, but there is plenty out there, including jack rabbits, ground squirrels, road runners and a variety of snakes and spiders. Sadly you don’t often get to see any of these, but if you do, it will be a slow ride that is the better bet.

With a higher likelihood of critters on a slow ride, then you might think there is more chance of the horse spooking, but this doesn’t seem to be the case and that may be just because they are used to it. What is always amazing is what does spook a horse. With the slow mountain ride all but done, we arrived back to the ranch, with only the walk back along the dirt track to the corral left. At this point, the wrangler’s horse spooked and when I say spooked, I really do mean that. This wasn’t a short sudden movement but a full on ‘battle’ for control. You know the wranglers are good riders, they wouldn’t be doing the job they do if they weren’t, but what I witnessed was a true demonstration of just how skilled they are on a horse. With their horse twisting and turning and bucking at speed, at no point did the wrangler look at all concerned. Focused yes, but also determined in terms of getting the horse to behave properly. This was achieved, but it wasn’t quick. The question though was what had spooked the horse. Not an animal, not some sudden movement that it caught. It was a generator, a generator that had been on as we approached, so even in that respect not something sudden. It clearly didn’t like the sound it made. And this fact says a lot about how all horses are different in the same way that other animals are all different, as are we. None of the other horses were phased at all by the generator being on, which was obviously just as well!

Middle of the week also mean that before lunch our time with the horses wasn’t done, even though we wouldn’t be riding them. Arriving back at the ranch from the mountain ride, some of the horses were being linked up to the hay carts which would be our transport out to the cook out site for lunch. This is always a sedentary ride with only a few bumps on the track out there to be aware of and it’s a good chance to chat with the others on the cart and catch up on the days news.


The Gated Entrance to the Cook Out Site with the ranches initials on display.

After lunch I changed my plans, still aching a little and with 4 days of riding still to go I opted for some pool time. There would only be one ride I’d be missing as all the rides were stopping at well before 4. This meant a couple of hours relaxing, reading and cooling off with a quick swim every now and again. I chose a different location this time around and thankfully, having eaten well earlier, was not then something else’s main course. This turned out to also be a good call as friends who opted for the ride in the afternoon found they had a delayed start with one of the groups of older riders taking quite some time and delaying the starts of some of the other rides.

Nicely chilled in terms of mood if not from the temperature I headed over to the rodeo. While this wasn’t the first time I’d been to this, those who have read my other posts about the previous visits, this was the first time that I had been to the rearranged rodeo with it now taking place on the Wednesday rather than the Saturday. I think for most people it doesn’t make a difference, but what is nice is that anyone who is doing a more traditional Saturday to Saturday doesn’t miss out. A few of the usual riders that take part in the rodeo weren’t there due to some national finals taking place, and while that was a shame, it was still a good show and knowing that there were people at the national finals was a good reminder of how good some of those who would normally take part were.  Sadly due to a camera malfuntion none of the photos came out properly.

Dinner was the usual fun of chatting and eating and such was the fun and laughter that as a group that, not for the first time, the evening entertainment passed us by. We didn’t mind too much. It was the last night for some, so enjoying the environment and spending time with new friends was more important. Probably later than we should have, it was time to call it a night.