New Experiences

Here I am waiting to mount up on 8-Ball and drive some cattle. | Photo by Juli Thorson

This past weekend was full of great experiences–many of which were a first.

I’d never been to a guest ranch, worked cattle, or ridden through an obstacle course.

In one weekend, all of that changed.

Juli’s and my trip to Vista Verde Ranch was a first for both of us, and we absolutely loved our time there.

It was a weekend filled with good horses, fun rides, great people, and amazing food (I’m fairly certain my waistline expanded a bit while I was there!).

Saturday morning, I had my first opportunity to work cattle. While I’ve moved and worked with cows on foot, I have no experience with them on horseback.

I have to say, those animal science courses at Purdue really came in handy (thanks Dr. Neary for teaching me the flight zone of cattle!).

Now, I feel like I’ve been missing out on a lot of fun!

It’s not always easy work, but what a great way to have fun with your horse–improving your riding along the way.

After we moved the cattle to the right corral, a few of the riders followed on-staff VVR trainer Terry Wegener to the inside arena. He’d set up an obstacle course that featured two barrel turns, a pole pattern, a stop, and a rollback.

While I did work through some barrel and pole patterns in high school, an obstacle course with many different features was new to me. (I grew up in an area where showing wasn’t a major part of horse ownership.)

What a blast!

We divided into two teams, and did the course as a contest. While I went off pattern the first try (sorry Juli, Julie, Shea, and Betty!), my second go-round was much better. It’s amazing how much fun you can have while becoming a better rider. (It really is hard to always look up isn’t it?)

My time at the ranch has really spurred (please forgive the pun) my desire to find a trainer in the Denver/Boulder area. I’m on the hunt, and I can’t wait to get horseback again!

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