As you may or may not know, last year for Christmas I got the incredible gift of a voucher for a two night stay at Southern Cross Guest Ranch. This voucher was good for two people and included four horseback riding sessions per person. During my little writing sabbatical last month I finally packed my bags and redeemed my gift along with my best friend, Adina.
I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this Bed and Breakfast/Ranch was. It was all-inclusive and the food was amazing! Good old-fashioned, country cookin’. The rooms were big and cozy, there was a pool and hot tub, several different lounge rooms and game rooms, and, most importantly, free Wi-Fi. But, of course, the best part about this place were the horses.
Every morning and afternoon Adina and I would hop on two of the bicycles available for our use and ride down to the stables. We were assigned horses based on our previous riding experience and, as I’m sure you can imagine, I was thrilled when I was told my horse’s name was Luna – I just hoped there weren’t any wrackspurts around.
One of the really cool things about this place was that you got a real hands on experience of handling your horse. You were responsible for getting a lead rope and fetching your horse as well as taking it back once finished. We had to brush our horse before and after the ride, fetch and return the saddle and bridle, and squeegee off the water at the end of the afternoon when they were hosed off. It was really nice getting to do all of that and helped foster a relationship, no matter how brief, with the animal you were spending time with.
When I went to get Luna for the first time my heart skipped a beat. I had already been fantasizing about all of my favorite heroines who rode horses, which naturally includes Daenerys Targaryen, so when I saw that Luna was a silver color just like Dany’s horse I sort of floated off into nerd ecstasy. So it was that every time I rode Luna I pretended that I was the Khaleesi and she was my Silver. I tried explaining all of this to Adina and she just shook her head and smiled endearingly at her nerdy little friend.
As much as I wanted to ride a horse, I was still a little nervous. There was no need, the experience was even more enjoyable than I had imagined. Sure I had bruises on my bony bum from bouncing in the saddle, but it was so worth it. Getting to sit astride one of these magnificent animals and wander through the woods was one of the most peaceful and, simultaneously, exhilarating experiences of my life.
The other thing that was really cool about this place was the huge pasture area just behind the B&B. Each night after dinner, Adina and I would go out onto the pasture and walk in the midst of 60+ free ranging horses. There are no words to describe the awe that we felt while on that pasture. Absolutely remarkable.
We dubbed this gorgeous creature Black Beauty.
Needless to say, this was a perfect weekend getaway and I would love to go back. Maybe one day I will even get to shoot my bow from the back of a horse. ;)
Have you ever been horseback riding or even around horses? What kind of experience did you have? Let me know in the comments.