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Sometimes things go well, sometimes they don’t. So far for me the thing that wasn’t going wonderfully well was the jet lag. Previously I’d have been well past that, but this time, for whatever reason, this time I wasn’t adjusting well. I guess it just happens. So, as a result I was awake quite early again and struggling to get off to sleep. I did a little ‘digging’ on the tablet and managed to find a cricket commentary that wasn’t blocked by the fact that I wasn’t in the UK. I think I may have dozed a little during it, but at least there was now something to keep me company while I lay there thinking about sleeping.

Having been up that early I opted for a relatively lazy start of the day. It wasn’t going to affect the riding I was going to do, but I would make sure I took things at a leisurely pace first off. Having had breakfast I went to see off some friends who were doing a slow ride, and it gave a chance to take some photos for them. I would also see them arrive back, again using the opportunity for photos. The question was what to do in between.

When you’ve been to a place a number of times its easy to think that you have photographed most things. I suspect there may come a time when I feel that at the ranch (though I think the views and the sunsets etc may mean I’m never completed done), but at the moment there’s still lots to shoot. One of the areas I’d not photographed previously was one of the specific cactus gardens. There are two, and the one I hadn’t shot was the larger of the two. All of them are labelled as well, so you know what you are looking at. I’ll do a dedicated post for this later, one of photos rather than words, but it would prove a worthy distraction for the next hour and still leave me plenty of time to get ready for my fast ride.

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A cluster of barrel cacti

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Jumping Cholla cacti

The fast ride itself was fairly standard but helped me make up my decision about the next day’s riding. All was well, I felt comfortable with my horse and I would have another go at the all-day ride tomorrow. While I may not have covered a lot of distance on the horse compared with previous years, I felt I would be ok.

Route of Thursday Morning Fast Ride

Thursday am fast ride

Thursday Morning Fast Ride Link

The afternoon riding would be very stop and start as it would be the team penning. However the reduced amount of riding that you actually do during the penning is more than made up for with the fun that you have doing it. Again this would continue to be the case and it was pleasing to get a really quick time under my belt early on with 22 seconds. Obviously it’s not competitive and is just for fun, but it’s amazing how interested people get in other people’s scores. It also gave me an idea of what my horse was like in this situation, and I have to say he was really up for it, going at some speed down the side of the arena towards the cattle.

Resting up at the coral afterwards I got what I have to say is one of the luckier photo opportunities that I’ve had. On a previous visit I’d come across a couple of road runners. Just like the cartoon they were off as soon as they were disturbed before I had a chance to get close to the camera, leaving me looking a bit like the forlorn coyote in the cartoon. Incredibly, while I was just sitting down, phone in hand, along came a road runner who just stood there for a bit. Obviously as it was a phone camera the quality wasn’t great, but I was at least able to get a photo that lots of people try for and never succeed. I was, of course disappointed that they are less colourful than their cartoon likeness and when it did run off, there was no sticking out of the tongue or sound effects.

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Wild Roadrunner

After dinner, which was filled with the usual laughs, I decided to experiment with some night photos by adding one of the star filters that I had bought with me. The effect was quite amazing, totally transforming some of the areas at night time, giving them a whole new feeling.

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The Patio at Night with star filter

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Side lighting given star filter treatment

There was still time for a little evening banter before heading to bed, but then a few of us needed to as tomorrow would be a long day, but for different reasons to the sort of long day I had had when I flew out.

Links and screen shots of actual rides courtseyof Sports Tracker

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