Friday, July 22, 2016

Horse Riding

After an incredible night at the Jackson Hole Rodeo, we rested up so we could go for a two hour horseback ride the next morning.

I haven't been on the back of a horse for many a moon, and for my daddy, who is much older than me, it has been even longer!  Now, in fairness, my daddy did grow up on the back of a horse, so it didn't take him long to remember how to make it go.  In his words you just need to know "Giddup!" and "Whoa!"

When we got to Teton Village Trail Rides, they sized us up and asked questions about our various equestrian experience.  My daddy grew up on the back of a horse, but it had been a while, my hubby and daughter were very limited, and I worked on a ranch with horses and also grew up with horses, but I don't like to go fast.  (This is actually a good thing cuz the trail horses don't do anything faster than a slow plod while munching their way back to the stable).  

The next step was to match us up with our rides for the day.  My hubby was on Mae, my daddy was put on Sneezy, and they had mounts for the other members of the group as well, there were seven of us in all.  
It took quite some time for them to place my daughter and I on a horse cuz, well, you see, our legs aren't exactly the longest things in the world.  Don't get me wrong, they touch the ground just the same as everyone else's legs, they just aren't long.  The head wrangler took one look at both of us and said, "Well, you both are short, and it all comes down to the legs anyway.  Well, let's go!"  My daughter was put on a sassy Little Blackie, and I got a beautiful horse that unfortunately I have forgotten the name of, but I will refer to lovingly as Bumps, which was the name of my granddaddy's horse when I was growing up.

When we were all saddled up, we were off for a grand adventure.  It was the most beautiful, quiet ride that I have had.  Our wrangler guide was Miranda, who was absolutely fantastic!  She kept us going, and she pointed out fun facts about the area around us.  She did have to get after a couple of the riders a time or two, but all in all we all had a great time.  

There was a time when we were so caught up in the atmosphere that my daughter and I started singing really old cowboy songs.  Ya know, songs that the cowboys would sing along the long and dusty cattle drive trails.  I'm sure that the other riders thought we were half crazy, and they wouldn't be too far off, but hey, we were having fun!

The mountains were majestic, the prairie was peaceful, the brook babbled....well, you get the general idea.  We came to a huge barn that was equipped with it's very own, state of the art, outdoor plumbing!  Seriously, this barn was amazing!  Miranda told us that this barn is actually used for many weddings.  I believe it too cuz it oozes of "Old West" charm.  

We even got to see a mamma owl and two baby owlets.  Even though they were babies, they were HUGE!  They just sat there on a fallen tree and stared at the passersby.


The time passed by quickly and without incident.  That is until we got back to the stable and had to then dismount said horses and say "goodbye, thanks for the ride."  Everyone was able to make a somewhat graceful dismount, without too much trouble in regaining their "land legs".  Everyone, that is, except for me.  If you will remember from way back in my earlier posts, I mentioned that I don't reach the 5 foot mark on the measuring stick.  This is good, and bad.  In this case, it wasn't the best!

You see, when you mount and dismount a horse, you do so from the left side of the horse.  I don't know why it is always the left side, that's just how it's done.  You place your left foot in the left stirrup then swing your right foot over, settle yourself into the saddle and place your right foot into the right stirrup.  Pretty slick on the mounting part, especially if you have a mounting block involved!  Not so slick on the dismount though when said mounting block is absent!  You dismount said horse the opposite of how you mounted.  Unless you are me.

When it was my turn to dismount "Bumps", I looked down at the young wrangler, swung my right leg over the saddle and asked "Ok, now what?"  I was literally stuck 6 feet in the air on top of a horse.  This young wrangler then looked at me with his sparkling baby blues and dimples and said, "Now you just reach around with your back leg and reach for the ground. Simple."  Yeah, right.

Here is where the problem lies.  I was stuck on top of a horse that stood at least 6 feet tall from the dirt to the top of its back.  I have SHORT legs, remember, I am LESS than 5 feet tall.  My left foot was sitting at chest level of this young wrangler, which just happened to be about 5 feet off the ground.  (If you need, just close your eyes and picture this situation.  Go ahead, laugh.  You won't hurt my feelings, cuz that is what I am doing right now, laughing!!)  

I took one look at this wrangler and said "OhhhKaaay" then proceeded to "reach" for the ground with my right foot.  Well, I couldn't let myself fall, and after all, the wrangler was assigned to help me off my horse, so I used him for support.  There was no other way around it!  I was reaching with my back leg for the ground while holding onto this poor wrangler's shoulder for support, all the while dragging him closer to the ground than I know he wanted to be.  I was literally doing the splits in midair, trying so hard not to fall on my backside, with my left foot in the stirrup and my right leg reaching for the ground.  I did feel a tiny bit bad, but what else was I gonna do?  Fall on my rear?  I think NOT!  

When I did finally make it safely to the ground, with both feet planted firmly there, the young wrangler straightened up, a broad smile on his face, and as diplomatically as possible said, "Wow, I didn't realize how, uh, short you really were."  (He even used hand jesters in an up and down motion to emphasize this point.)  We both had a great laugh, and I staggered toward the rest of the group that was trying like the dickens to not laugh and cause more of a scene than what I just caused.

This was a definite grand experience to remember.  It would have been funnier if we had got my dismount on video, but sometimes the imagination is better than any video you can watch. 

If you are ever in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area and want to go for an incredible ride, book a tour with Teton Village Trail Rides, you will not be disappointed!  We are already planning a trip back in two years for when my baby is old enough to ride!

To Be Continued......

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