My Arizona Trail Ride Explained

So I went to visit my family for Christmas as I do every year. My family is not located anywhere near where I live. For one week a year I trade in green rolling hills for the vastness of the Southern Arizona desert. Even though I am Mexican I do not speak Spanish. I am a very bad Mexican. This can create some family tension at times so I am not particularly close to any of my relatives down there. My Uncle and his wife have horses, but we don’t talk a lot about them. This year I decided that I would really make the effort to get to know more their horsey side (they do have 5 after all).

I was not sure how to break the ice, but my uncle (for the first time ever mind you) asked about my horses. They saw a picture of Phoenix and I at a show which peaked their interest. We got to talking and they kept wanting to see more pictures so I showed my flickr account slide show to my Aunt after Christmas dinner. Poor thing sat through 200+ pictures of everything ranging from the sores on Gen’s legs to my competition photos. At some point during the slide show she asked me if I wanted to come to the barn with her and go for a ride! It was tough for me to contain my excitement. They have never even offered for me to go look at their horses let alone go for a ride! I am not sure what changed, but whatever it was I loved it!

That is my Aunt (who is also a gringo like me) riding her 7 year old quarter horse mare. As you saw from the pictures yesterday it was a totally different kind of trail ride then I am used to and it was WONDERFUL. I was riding my uncles (as Michelle called him “the cute chestnut”) horse who is a good egg. I mean, a horse named Gary had to be good right? The horse doesn’t spook at anything and is a smooth and easy ride. I loved the feel of a western saddle beneath me. It felt like I was riding a couch. The horn did get in my way a few times when we went up the hills. I am ashamed to admit that I did indeed take a saddle horn in the chest on more than one occasion. I am not used to leaning to the side, normally I just lean down! My Aunt got a kick out of that. What can I say, I am a Greenhorn out west! I have ridden western many times before but nothing recently. In fact, I would say it has been a good 10 years since I rode western so it was a great change of pace. So much so that I want a western saddle now 😛

What I loved about the trail ride was how calm it was. We rode mostly at the walk, although we did jog a little bit. We also rode on a flat rode so it was easy to see where we would be going next, not like how I am used to with a trail that zig zags all over the place and has tons of trails coming on and off of it at all times. It was just a totally different world out there. So peaceful. It honestly felt like a dream, especially since my trail rides with Phoenix as of late have had a lot of extra excitement (bad baby horse). We were out for about an hour and a half and I felt like I could have ridden for another 4 hours. Between the comfyness of the saddle, the easy gait of the horse, and the good company of my aunt it was just a wonderful time.

Now you noticed yesterday that there are no pictures of me on the horse on this trail ride and there is a reason why. My Aunt and Uncle do not ride with helmets. Not only that, but there was not even a helmet to be found at the barn for me to borrow. I pride myself in always riding with a helmet, even though it is not a very DQ (dressage queen) thing to do. I am ashamed that I rode without a helmet and did not want any record of it. The trail ride was wonderful though and so I am glad that I went and that nothing bad happened.

The funny thing was that when I got off I almost fell over. Why? Because the stocky Quarter Horse I was riding, Gary, was much closer to the ground then I am used to! My Aunt got a good laugh out of that also. It was like I took my feet out of the stirrups and swung off straight to the ground. I had no hang time like I do on my dressage Appy. Even with my few moments of being “special” it was still a wonderful trail ride and I am going to cherish my moments on the open range for a long time to come.

Oh, and if anyone is looking for a place to board in Southern Arizona this is where my aunt and uncle keep their horses. If anyone does cutting in southern Arizona I am sure you know where this is. The horses all looked like they were taken care of very well and we ran into some other boarders who were also very nice. I had a WONDEFUL time pretending to be a cowgirl for a day.

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6 thoughts on “My Arizona Trail Ride Explained

  1. Riding out west is a blast. My cousin had some horses and riding in the desert was lots of fun. Wish I was there now out of this miserable weather. I’m so glad you had a good time. And you should have taken a picture, even without the helmet, we would have loved to see you having so much fun. I know what you mean about getting off a short horse too, it’s happened to me and the ground is a real surprise.

  2. WhooHoo! Cowgirl UP! 😉

    Looks like you had a blast out there. And Gary! He is toooo cute!! Love his name too- he totally looks like a Gary!

    Glad you were able to connect on a more equine level with your Aunt. Horse folks is horse folks the world around, so I am sure she had fun seeing the pix of your babies too!!

    Belated birthday kisses to Genny too! 🙂

  3. Well thank you soooo much for answering my 100 questions from yesterday! 🙂

    I think it’s wonderful that you were able to finally connect with your aunt and find some common ground. No doubt she loved having you along for a nice Christmas ride like that.

    Those darn horns on a western saddle are dangerous! I’ve gotten my coat or sweatshirt hung up on it more than once and know plenty of people that have been left dangling off the side of their horse when they got hung up getting off. Even my daughter did it once and I had to run over to rescue her.

    Phoenix’s owner might not be too thrilled but he would make a great Western Pleasure horse for that Western saddle you are going to buy!!

  4. What fun! You should definitely get a western saddle for Gen! Axe goes much slower and “western-y” when my daughter tacks her western. I don’t know if it’s the weight or how it fits, but her gait definitely slows down and she carries her head lower . Maybe Gen will be the same and you could do walking trail rides with him?

  5. I have a very comfy Circle Y western saddle you can borrow that would fit you and Gen both. Although, riding “western pleasure” is an ATTITUDE… not just a saddle. But if the saddle helps, go for it! And I think he would absolutely love the bling! Check out some of those western show catalogs… you’ll go nuts!

    And besides… western and dressage are more alike than you may think. And when Te and I ride the trails, our dressage training comes in very handy.
    Happy trails!

  6. What fun! I totally feel you on the helmet thing. I’m a stickler for always wearing one anytime I’m on a horse. But I’m not sure I’d resist the temptation either (shh, don’t tell my hubby!). I’ve always wanted to ride a horse out west; it’s awesome you got that opportunity … and on such a handsome boy and with your aunt.

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