"loping" in the mountains

Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Most of the adults participated in the adult test – to see whether we could go on the adult horse ride. We all failed – it was hysterical. Ian and I were cantering English style on a western horse and it was utterly wrong. We couldn't understand the reaction of the horse and realised that the moves we were told to do in the UK gave out a different message. Additionally these horses are trail horses and hated being in the ring so they were quite stubborn to get going. The Wranglers took pity on us and we all went off on a tougher hack up and down the steepest slopes and then we all trotted and then loped through the forest.

As we are going to be in the Western saddle from here on Ian and I wanted to familiarise ourselves further and to build our confidence in riding fast so we booked a lesson with the head honcho wrangler, Alison.

After lunch Ian and I joined Jeannie, Marty and the kids for a kayak at Harrison Lake a few miles from the ranch. We raced with the children, Fynn was brilliant and loved every minute, jumping in and out of the lake for a swim and trying to persuade the girls to jump in. Edie joined in but Princess Lily swans along with her friend Rachel hooking their kayak onto Jeannie’s Kayak and created, as they called it, a limousine kayak.

Time for our lesson and we went to the ring first to learn the basics on how to ride the horses fast. I can honestly say I was really nervous as you tear around the ring with your reigns flapping and bottom wedged into the saddle creating a wave movement. After ten minutes of showing Alison what we could do and her correcting us she announced we were ready to hack and we had no idea what was about to happen.

This is a great time to ride, slightly cooler and a less glaring light. We started trotting and then loping which seems faster than a canter but not quite a gallop however for some exciting reason my horse was charged decided to race Alison’s horse and we were racing along the small mountain treks so close to Alison’s horse that I was being pelted with stone chips flying from her horse and ripping into the soft branches of the trees and bushes we flew along. Ian’s horse was struggling with a sore foot and was unable to run as fast but he too had a great time hacking just holding onto long reigns and flying around corners. A fabulous ride and from here on a mellow trek was out of the question.

That evening we were entertained around the campfire by a white bearded cowboy by the name of Tom Lamb. Born and bred in the area Tom’s talent was cowboy poetry and country songs. He silenced us all with an enchanting poem about two loyal friends who mined and one promised the other that should he die that he would cremate him so he finishes his day warm. It is funny how little country /western songs you know especially when our music library only has a few Johnny Cash cds so we are fairly green on Tom’s country/ blue grass music repertoire. Mind you he was good and we sang along when we could, thankfully the American contingent held their own.
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