Are you tired of waiting to hear about our Hill Country adventure???
Well, I know I am tired. Tired because we had so much fun! I have a fun hangover. Seriously. Adulting is very hard today. Almost as hard as leaving the ranch on Monday morning.
It is hard to even know where to begin because I am so over the moon with my horse!
Let us just begin at the very beginning. This is going to be long, but at least there are good pictures!
On Thursday, I got to the farm after work at a fairly decent hour. R was able to leave work early and was ahead of her time frame for being able to make it to the farm with Ronan, aka Ro, before dark. When I got to the farm, I set directly to loading everything of R’s into the trailer and a few other things of mine that I had not loaded yet.
It then occurred to me that I might want to go check my horse to make sure he had all four shoes still securely attached to his hooves and that everything was as it should be. I could go on about how I was worried he would have pulled a shoe, which I was, and leave y’all hanging in suspense. Luckily for you, I do not have time for that! Too many other great things! He indeed did have all four shoes solidly in place and ready to go. I snapped a few pics of him because, well, why not. He is just so dang cute I had to.
How could anyone not love that face!?!? At this point, I knew that I could really get excited because all there was between us was one sleep and a drive and we were there.
After loading the trailer with everything I had, I spread shavings in the trailer and filled and hung the hay nets so all we had to do in the morning was load the horses. When I received word that R and Ro were going to be able to make it to the farm before dark (she was going to stay with a friend that lives near the farm where Ronan lives if it got too late so she would not have to haul in the dark), I set up the round pen with water and some hay for Ro.
I had all the horses up in their stalls finishing their evening feed before R pulled in. We unloaded Ro and got him settled in the round pen before introducing my Lito to him. I was pleasantly surprised how they immediately became fast friends. I was slightly worried Lito was going to be a turd since it was his home and herd, but they were like brothers from other mothers and have they same play styles…rambunctious and tough with a lot of bitey face. such boys! I can only imagine how they would be if we turned them out together! We kept Ro in the round pen (which is inside the arena) and let Lito loose in the arena so they could get acquainted over night. We kept the rest of our horses separate.
It the morning, it appeared Ro had won the night time bitey face game as Lito had the little hairless nicks of a looser all over his nose! After feeding them, they were feeling the chill in the morning air and ran around like crazies playing, causing the rest of the horses to do the same. We gave them a few more minutes to burn off some energy while we finished our coffee and got dressed.
It was an uneventful haul and we arrived around lunch time. Both horses unloaded well and stood quietly tied at the trailer while we got the pens set up for them. I was extremely happy when Lito stepped off the trailer like he did. He has always hauled well, but never anything over an hour. We drove over four hours, with a new horse, gained a little altitude, and ended up at a new place. He quietly backed up, stepped out, took a look around, and then cocked a back hoof and yawned.
Yes, I made him wear a helmet for the haul. I know. I’m crazy, but he is TALL. Our trailer is not small, but he does not have to try very hard to touch the ceiling. In fact, if he is just regularly looking at something with his ears forward, they are bent over by the top of the trailer!
We ate lunch, had a quick drive around, and then got ready to ride.
I longed Lito for a bit and he acted as he always does. He was looking around more than I would have ideally wanted since he was not fully focused on me, but he was relaxed and responded to everything I asked. I rode him around the barn/house for a little to make sure he was responsive and with me. He was pretty mouthy with the bit and ready to go, but again, responsive. R and Ro were ready and waiting so we started off.
Lito was a little sluggish at first, but he soon figured it out. He was looking at everything, taking it all in, and was pretty relaxed. Both horses had some quick spooks (mostly at deer blinds), but Lito was there and with me every time I asked him to come back and relax.
We went about 8 miles that afternoon/evening (Map My Ride was not working) in around 3 hours. My Uncle’s horse, Cisco, loved our horses and our horses loved him. That made my heart happy. He has had that horse for over 20 years and he is one of the best horses around. They acted like they have known each other for a long time and Lito chose to graze by Cisco after his hose down.
We made some cocktails and had a walk around before feeding the horses and cooking dinner. While the enchiladas cooked, we watched the sunset while listening to the frogs in the pond and feeding the fish before our enchilada dinner on the porch.
When we got back for lunch, we untacked, hosed the horses down, and gave them some hay before having a mimosa lunch with sandwiches by the pool. Then Darcy and I swam while R tanned. Darcy LOVED the pool because there is a large, shallow wading section. She eventually felt confident enough to swim after a ball and then across the pool with me. I was so happy and proud of her! If you remember, she is not much of a swimmer and this is a pretty big deal. She then proceeded to bound around in and out of the pool barking.
Darcy came with us for our afternoon ride and we saw a beautiful fox! I have seen a fox on this ranch before many years ago while riding Cisco. Truly special both times. By the end of the day, we had logged around 17 miles (yay for Map My Ride working!).
Sunday morning we again woke up early and had another great ride. I don’t think either of them spooked at all and they acted like they had been riding that ranch for years. We rode the furthest into the ranch on this ride. A little bit of the terrain and brush coverage got a little worrysome there for a bit, but both horses handled it. We covered almost 10 miles.
After lunch, we took naps and then took a drive around the ranch. We were going to go for another ride, but we got an invitation we just couldn’t refuse. The ranch foreman is also a pilot, I don’t think I mentioned that. He was going to go fly and offered to take us up in his plane to see the ranch from the air and enjoy the sunset. My initial response was, “**** YES!!!!!,” I excused myself for my language and told R we could do whatever she wanted. Her response was, “how often does someone offer you a ride in their plane without it being creepy or having any expectations?!” Needless to say, we went up in the plane and had a blast! I am so glad we did it and would not change it for the world! Well, really the whole weekend actually.
We cleaned a packed as much as possible Sunday night. We needed to leave in the morning by 7 because we had a meeting to get t by 5 PM back home. That meant an even earlier wake up call to get sheets washed and dried, beds made, stuff loaded, and horses loaded.
I may have cursed when my alarm went off in the morning. We got it done though and the horses loaded well, hauled well, and unloaded well. We got to our meeting in hauling clothes, but on time and happier than…I don’t even know what. A clam? I don’t really get that saying.
Each ride, we rode a different route, the weather was amazing, we flushed lots of wildlife (including pigs multiple times), rode through thick cover, and the horses got better and better. we saw each sunrise and sunset. By the end of the weekend we were not spooking at deer blinds anymore and we were walking with a purpose. Ro was made to climb mountains and really loves it. I think that really helped Lito. He really took to the hills and rocks. I am so incredibly proud of him and he really seemed to have a good time. We had a few sticky moments where he was unsure, but he was never unreasonable, just questioning and needed support. R and I took turns leading when we were not riding next to each other, both of us just enjoying the horses and nature. Every time I went out to check on Lito in the pen, I could have sworn we were at home by the way he acted and how relaxed he was. Each time, he nickered and walked up to me, ready to go ride.
People call the Hill Country God’s Country, and it truly is. His presence is palpable there and this trip was no different, especially to be there with this horse. I know this may sound crazy, but I could have cried several times while riding out there because of just feeling His presence, experiencing His gifts and creation, and all with my Lito.
We came home with even more confidence and trust. He is such a gift and I can not describe how grateful I am for him and to have this experience with him. I could not have asked for anything better!
Can we go back?! Today was extremely hard at work! I got through it with the memories gained, life lived, and lunch with my cousin.
Thanks to R for some of these photos!
I hope you enjoyed reliving our Hill Country adventure with me! On to the next!
Walk in love, dear readers!