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Farewells are always hard at the ranch, none more so when you’ve made some excellent friends who aren’t doing a full week. The ranch doesn’t operate on a ‘stay for a week’ basis, you can stay as long or as short as you like. Some people just do a couple of nights, others, well I’ve known of someone do 15 weeks! (yes you read that correctly and before you wonder, there is a laundrette on site). Most of the time, people who are only staying a few nights are moving on elsewhere as part of a bigger trip. Most also wish they were staying longer! So it was that that two of our number were already saying their goodbyes at breakfast. They were heading off to LA, a short hop on the plane, but had lots of stuff planned and having been to LA myself; I knew they would still be having a good time. I suspect they will be back in due course.

For me, despite there being still 3 days of riding left, there was also a sense of the end fast approaching as I had a note left in my room about confirming my departure flights. I was flying back via Phoenix (the closest airport for a direct flight) and having confirmed with the front desk my flight time, I then was able to know what shuttle I should book to get to the airport. It was odd doing that so early. Previous trips I’d always flown from Tucson so not needed to do anything in advance. It was a timely reminder though that I needed to enjoy the remaining time I had left.

From now on, there would be far more time spent on the fast rides than the slow and after saying the goodbyes, it was time to put that into practice. It wasn’t a ‘special’ fast ride, just a standard one, out into the desert and back again. For the most part it was uneventful. I’d got myself a new set of gloves and these were now tucked away very carefully when I wasn’t using them. Knowing my luck if I was going to lose one, it would be the same hand again! As the week goes on I use the gloves less and less as I feel more comfortable with the horse and my own ability. I was, by now starting to get to know Amigo and his ways.

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Half way round the fast ride, by the cook out.

However I was about to get a shock. We’re always told that horses can sometimes be a bit keener on the way home and that we might need to rein them in a bit. Thus far it has never been an issue. Today though was going to test my skill a bit more. Half way through a canter and suddenly Amigo decided he was going to demonstrate that if he desired, he could go a little faster. They all can of course as we only get up to a lope speed, but I was glad of all the lessons I’d had. I was able to slow me down and there was no problems. It was a timely reminder though that you always have to be awake and focused when riding.

After lunch it was time for a bit of relaxing by the pool before heading out to the arena for some more team penning. With the people I had ridden with last time not there, it was time to find some new partners for the riding. As always, everyone just teams up to make up the groups and it wasn’t long before I was part of a team of 4 with 3 others from the same family. Friends that I had made earlier in the week.

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Team Penning Action

Again there weren’t a large number and we managed to get in an extra round, and with some complaint cattle we managed a best time of 21 seconds. It wasn’t the fasted time of the day, but we were all happy with it!

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Charging up to split the cattle.

Dinner was the normal fun event with lots of laughter and wonderful food, and tonight I wasn’t going to the entertainment as I had something else planned. Despite being UK based, I’m a big baseball fan and the team I follow was into the equivalent of the semi-finals and it was the first game in the best of 7 series. I couldn’t watch it, but I could follow it quite well through the internet, or at least I should have been able to. It was a bad time for the Wi-Fi to keep dropping. It was sorted later on, but I had some moments of anticipation when it was lost. Sadly the night didn’t work out quite how I would have wished as the result didn’t go in my favour. At least everything wasn’t lost on just one match. However, even in the USA it was getting late and Tomorrow there was lots of stuff planned and some new things to try out. It was time to call it a night.

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