One of the few issues with riding in the Arizona heat twice a year is that it affects materials in a way that cooler climes won’t. I’m talking about some sticky stuff here. Glue. I know from books I’ve taken out there (yes I’m old fashioned when it comes to reading materials) that if I’m not careful the pages detached from the effect of the heat on the glue. The same happened on my last trip with the hat band on one of my riding hats with the glue failing. Re-gluing wasn’t really an option with this type of material, but I am fortunate that I have a mother who is truely gifted with a needle and thread. While this was a relatively small job it has none the less solved the problem permenantly.
Thanks to a chat with some new friends and a bit of good fotune I got to do something new for the first time, and what will be the last time. Every now and again the ranch would allow people to do a barrel racing lesson although they are stopping that option (hence it being the last time). This isn’t at any significant speed for most of the lesson as it is spent walking or trotting around the barrels. As with most things it’s a lot more complicated than it looks as it combines, changes in balance, direction, looking ahead in advance and reigning hands all while ensuring the horse is going in the direction you want, which isn’t actually towards the barrel, but just off of it so you can kick on at the exit point. Thankfully we had an excellent teacher and everyone came in completing the pattern at a time of around 30 seconds (much longer than she would take though!)
Having been busy riding I have got around to picking up my visit pin for this trip. I think its fair to say that 11 visits in 6 years makes me a regular and my 12th is already booked. Before the end of the visit, so will my 13th. Currently I see no reason to stop as I’m still enjoying it as much as ever.
Today I got to ride up and around what is called Lookout Point. It also has another name which is Movie Pass. I love the ride as its loping out (on the fast version) and you get to ride around the top of the viewpoint before coming back down. From the view it’s clear why it’s a look out as you can see for miles and the White Stallion Ranch is just off in the distance where the line of trees and buildings are just off centre. Its second name is due to the number of movies that have been shot there, two of the more famous ones being Winchester 73 and A Kiss Before Dying (the 1956 version).
I’m now back at the ranch that I have visited a number of time, White Stallion Ranch, and have been able to do what I consider one of the highlight activities of the week, team penning. In a group of 4 friends we had some wonderful runs and I was allowed to cut a number of times as others didn’t want to. We were lucky enough to have a totally blistering run and managed to pen the cattle in 14 seconds from the time we got to them. It’s not quite my fastest time, that being 13 seconds but everyone was delighted with such a wonderfully quick time. We don’t get to keep the trophy as it was donated by a guest for photo opportunities, but it was nice to have been winners.
Today hasn’t been a great day. Moving on from Rancho De La Osa to our next ranch, Tombstone Monument Ranch, near Tombstone unsurprisngly, I’ve had some sort of allergic reaction. I suspect that it has come as a result of the downpour a couple of days earlier that has suddenly put a load of plants in bloom all at the same time. My eyes have been stinging to the point that it’s been difficult to keep them open and even closed they have been weeping and are red from having to be regularly wiped clean. Thankfully there was a supermarket en route and I was able to pick up some medicines (eye bath and antihistamine) and that seems to have started to solve things. By tomorrow I should be back to normal based on progress so far. Thankfully although there has been discomfort it hasn’t stopped me taking part in the horse riding I came here for.
This ranch trip is a 3 ranch trip in one and the first ranch is a very old one with some buildings dating back to about 1720. It’s called Rancho De La Osa and it has had celebrity guests in the past including John Wayne, Zane Gray and the Rooservelts. My rooms was apparently used by Cesar Romero who I remember from the Batman TV series. The ranch is very near the border with Mexico and the border can be seen from the ranch grounds. One of the rides took us up to the border. There are various crossing points (as can been seen in the distance if you look carefully), though it is a relatively small town on the border with a populus reported to be less than 20. This part of the border is regularly patrolled. We saw several border patrol vechiles while out on horseback but none were an issue and we were free to continue riding. I suspect with this ranch reopening horseback riding in the area will increase.
Just as the riding group I was in was coming back from it’s fast ride the wrangler who was leading our ride spotted this on the ground and quickly picked it up and, being right behind her, very kindly she offered it to me. Its the feather from a Green Horned Owl, a couple of which have taken up residence at the ranch. It fitted nicely on the rim of my hat for the rest of the week.
So I’m back at the ranch (favourite holiday location) and I’m now officially into double figures for visits. First task on the first riding day is to collect my new pin badge for the visit. I’ve always felt it was a nice touch that the ranch did these for people to be able to track their visits. Not only is it useful at the ranch but it’s a nice added memento.
Well these ones are made for riding in reality and while they do get occasional outings on other occasions, they are used most often when I ride. These means that they get dirty in ways that most boots wouldn’t. Therefore every now and again I need to give them a proper clean and treat. As I’ll be riding a lot in the very near future it was time to make sure they were at least looking their best for the start even if the shine goes quite quickly.