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It’s nice having a later start than normal. For many the idea of a holiday would be to be able to lay in for a long time and I can totally understand that. I have holidays like that as well, though to be honest I’ve never been the best when it comes to the lay in. Having a ride that takes you out to breakfast gives you an earlier start to the riding but a later start over all and a slightly later breakfast. I’d slept well, not too surprising and thankfully when looking at the phone no one had tried to call me over night this time!

Despite the chance of a lay in I was up before most so popped across to the dining patio and grabbed a coffee while it was still quiet. Apart from the horses and cattle, there is a ranch of wildlife on offer to be seen. The jack rabbit from the previous post is just one of many. There are two types of squirrel, coyote, a variety of snakes, spiders and lizards that you can see, normally on horseback given they will tend to keep away from the areas that people frequent. On top of this there is also a pleather of bids flying around the ranch and while I thought I was alone, I had company for breakfast. Normally the birds only appear of the dining patio when there is food around, eager to pick up the scraps. I could hear some birds but I was stuck at first as to where they were. Upon closer investigation I noted that my breakfast companions were up above me at the next table. They had started to build a nest in the top section of one of the parasols. It was still early days as there wasn’t much of a nest and given that the parasols often get taken down I suspect it would be a fruitless endeavour, but for the moment they looked comfortable, as I was sipping an early morning coffee.

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The outdoor dining area

I’ve spoken about the breakfasts in the desert in previous holiday reviews. They are still great fun and a chance to have an alternative breakfast that isn’t normally available back at the ranch itself. The potatoes are, in my humble opinion, the best and I’m sure I say this every time I’m there, but I really must have a go at making them back home. The recipe is on their website and I’m pretty sure that I have all the ingredients I need. Maybe I fear that I won’t be able to do as good a job!

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The cookout, used for breakfast rides, wine and cheese and the hayride lunch

Route out and back for breakfast

Tuesday Breakfast outTuesday Morning Breakfast Ride Outbound Link

Tuesday Breakfast returnTuesday Morning Breakfast Ride Return Link

Doubling up on the morning ride, I opted for the fast ride after breakfast. The loping lesson had gone well and it would be a good test to see if the second all day ride later in the week would be a viable option. Having done one before, I knew the importance of having the right horse for it. So far things had been promising with a good walking speed, essential for the national park section of the ride where loping is not allowed. Having the chance to lope for longer distances than the arena would be the final test for me in this matter. Canyon was fast becoming my favourite horse with a good loping speed and rhythm that left me feeling very comfortable by the end of the ride.

Tuesday Morning Fast Ride

Tuesday Fast am

Tuesday Morning Fast Ride Link

Having already done two rides I wanted to ensure that I didn’t over do things and opted for the wine and cheese ride. A slow ride out and back with the insurance that you didn’t get back in time for any other riding, something that is always wise. There weren’t many of us there, but it was still a fun event and a good opportunity to talk with people that you might otherwise not.

Wine and Cheese Ride Routes Out and Back

Tuesday wine and cheese out

Wine and Cheese Ride Outbound Link

Tuesday wine and cheese return

Wine and Cheese Ride Return Link

I’d promised to take some pictures of the team penning that a friend was doing if I got back in time, and arriving back I noticed they were still in the arena. Having checked there was still at least one more round to go I sped back to my room to grab my camera and head back. Unfortunately there is no short cut that can be taken and I know that time was of the essence. There is a saying that you shouldn’t run on an empty stomach. I can assure you that running on a full one, especially full of cheese, biscuits and wine in the Arizona sun isn’t much fun either. Thankfully though it wasn’t all for nothing and I managed to get some photos that the riders were happy with.

There was time for some relaxing by the pool before dinner and the evening entertainment. I’ve seen Loop Rawlings just about every time I go to the ranch. He does a good show and was recently on America’s Got Talent, making it through to the quarter finals. Living in Tucson he’s a regular at the ranch and combines his skill with a sense of humour to provide an entertaining show. The show was excellent and a great opportunity to test out my new camera and flash in a more challenging environment. Neither the show nor the camera disappointed as I hope the pictures demonstrate.

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Jumping through the lasso

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In the middle of a firey lasso

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A fast spinning lasso on fire

With the show done, it wasn’t an early finish as the previous day, but nothing like a late one as tomorrow would be another full day.

Links and screen shots of actual rides courtseyof Sports Tracker

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