Last weekend, my husband and I along with friends visited Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park is the home of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park. I would have to say that Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are two of my most favorite places to visit in Colorado. The town has a population of about 6,000 and it is a popular place for visitors during the summer. It is probably popular because of the park, which is a great place to camp and admire nature. I have been there many times to do both. Although we did not camp this time, we did visit Bear Lake in the park. In addition, we strolled along main street and visited many of the specialty shops Estes Park has to offer. We also planned a little horseback riding expedition on Sunday morning. We had an excellent dinner Saturday evening at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse with our friends.
Sunday morning, as we were waiting for everyone in the group to arrive at the ranch where we planned on riding, I happened to mention to the woman in charge of the event that I was always a little nervous when I rode a horse. To be honest, horses frighten me. They are bigger and stronger than I am, and what frightens me is that I might lose control of the horse. I told her that I had ridden several times before. I mentioned I always felt a little frightened of the horses. As a matter of fact, one of the times I went horseback riding when I was younger, it was at night and my horse got a little frightened by something and took off running, or galloping and I was knocked off the horse when it ran under a tree and I was struck by a low hanging branch. I told her I was not hurt, but I was frightened to death. Just as an aside, in my life whenever I have enjoyed doing things, it seems something has always happened to take just a little bit of the joy out of it. Falling off that horse took some of the joy out of riding. I know when you fall off you are supposed to get right back on, and I did. Nevertheless, it still scares the bejesus out of me. As I was showering that morning I was wondering why I agreed to horseback riding this weekend in the first place.
While conversing with this woman, the wranglers start bringing the horses to the corral. I comment on one of the horses being pretty and she says, “That’s Pearl. She has been with us about 20 years.” I could see over Pearl. She was light chocolate-brown in color and petite and about four hands tall. That would be 4 feet in regular language because one hand is equal to four inches. One measures a horse’s height from the ground to the top of its shoulder. I said, “That’s what I need. A horse that’s small, and old, and slow…just like me!” We had a good laugh together. I am 5 feet tall and you could say…older. J Notice I did not say old. Ninety is old, and I have a way to go before I am 90!
Finally, the wrangler in charge of our party starts assigning horses. He mentions we needed to remember our horse’s name because that would be the one we would be riding. My friend Karen, about my height, gets a horse first. The wrangler says, “Karen, you will be riding Pearl.”
“Okay,” I am thinking, “I am cool with that. There are other small horses.”
Everyone has a horse when he finally looks at my husband and me. If you know my husband, you know he has a slight physical handicap, but nothing that keeps him from being active. It does make it difficult for him do some things, but it does not stop him from trying. My husband is about 5’10” and he gets Dillon, a big horse. My husband and I exchange quick glances.
The head wrangler looks as me and says, “Ma’am, you will be riding Oleo.”
“Okay.” All the smaller horses assigned, I ask, “Which one is Oleo?” .
“This is Oleo, Ma’am,” says another wrangler. “He is my horse.” I could tell by the way he said, “He is my horse” that this man truly loved this creature.” I almost felt guilty for having to ride him. Who was I to come between a man and his horse?
I look at Oleo who is a beautiful golden brown color and bigger than a house! My husband says teasingly, “Oh, Josie. Oleo? Smooth like butter. You are going to slide off!”
“Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, sweetie.” He knew I was a little nervous because I had told him so earlier.
Oleo stood about 17.75 hands tall. That is taller than I am! I mentioned earlier that I am only 15 hands tall (60” or 5’). I am not exaggerating when I say I COULD NOT see over Oleo!
The wrangler asks, “Can you put your left foot into the stirrup, and I will help you mount?”
Seriously? I respond, “Ahhhh, No!” I have not been able to elevate my leg so my foot would be even with my head since I taught aerobics when I was in my 30’s. Even then, I was not able to do that without any kind of trouble. I have never really been THAT flexible.
He says, “Let’s go over to the steps then.”
HELLO! I am assessing the situation to myself, “If I have to climb a stepladder to get onto this mount, then that is a horse of a different color!”
I climb to the top step, and I mention to the wrangler that I am a little scared and concerned. He says, “Don’t be scared, Ma’am. If you are scared, Oleo will sense it, and he will think he has reason to be scared.”
Well, that reassured me. NOT! No matter how much I tried, I now was even more anxious. I had visions of this horse being petrified of me and doing menacing things as I rode him. I put my left foot into the stirrup, grabbed onto the saddle with both hands, and heaved myself up whirling my right leg around back to the other side.
“You’re kidding, right? “ Oleo’s back was about as wide as the Grand Canyon. It smarted to sit with my legs spanning such a wide expanse.
“You know what? I think I am not going to do this,” I said to the wrangler. “My feet don’t even reach the stirrups.”
“We can adjust them, Ma’am. It’s gonna be just fine. Oleo is a good horse.”
“I’m sure he is.” I know I offended him, but I insisted, “No, that’s okay…I don’t really have to do this. My gut tells me not to do this today. It’s not as if I have never ridden before.” And I am thinking to myself, “Not no how! Not no way! This ain’t happenin’ today!”
I have learned to follow my gut. Had I learned to do so earlier in life, it would have saved me a great deal of trouble.
Getting off a high horse is just as difficult as getting on it.
Another Christmas card is posted here. It is a simple one. Sometimes the simpler the better as far as I am concerned. In other words, less is more.
When I made this card, I punched the tree image out of the white card stock before I ran it through the Texture Boutique Machine. I then stamped the tree image on another smaller piece of Whisper White card stock and lined it up with the cut out. I then adhered it to the card base. I used Stampin’ Dimensionals to adhere the embossed card stock to the Garden Green base.
Hope you enjoyed your visit here today. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time…