A Horsey Honeymoon – Part V

This is the last post about our honeymoon and it’s all about our last day on the ranch.  It was that cool.  We started the day as usual; delicious hot breakfast at 8:30, and then down to the coral for a ride.  This wasn’t just any ride though, it was the cattle drive.  The first part of a cattle drive is finding the cattle.  We got to ride through natural mountain bluffs and through the woods without a trail.  Our wrangler encouraged us to spread out, and look for cattle. If something looked interesting I could go take a look.  Clay thought it was fun to get behind our wrangle and moo, and I found some logs to hop over.  I could have done that all day.  Eventually another group found the cattle and we all met up with them for the big drive back to the farm.

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The whole herd waiting to head back to the ranch. Not very exciting except for when the bull kept trying to get busy. Down boy, down!

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That’s Clay on Brutis.

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The actual drive. I’m in the pink with the straw hat. Cattle drives would be much easier if all the cows would just stay on the road. (I totally wanted to bring that buckskin draft cross home)

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Once we got back to the ranch the real work began: tagging and branding the calves. It was hard to watch much less participate in but Clay was great at it. Once again revealing his true cowboy nature.

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This didn’t hurt the babies, although he did lift him a little too high.

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One of the best pics of the week…imo

 

After the calves were taken care of we had the choice of driving them back out again or taking a nap.  We took a nap.  Then we got all dressed up for a cocktail party at the owners house.  The house was gorgeous, the booze free and we’d already drunk our complementary bottle of champagne while getting ready.  After cocktail hour we headed to the saloon for dancing (mostly on the bar) and to play pool.  I drank too much and told the owner I was going to come back and work for him.  And truly I was less homesick as I was ready to ship my animals out to the ranch.  Ranch living is definitely a style that suited us.

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Our besties for the week. Kyle and Alisha…best wranglers ever!

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Um yeah…I mentioned the free booze right??

stuffed cat

This gigantic stuffed cat was the first thing you see in the owners house.

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View from the owners house.

 

Boot Scooting Boogie

Boot Scootin’ Boogie

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Totally sober dancing on the bar.

 

saying goodbye

Saying goodbye to Banjo

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I was so sad to leave the ranch I cried. I wish I could magically go back for an hour or two every week to get my fix.

 

 

A Horsey Honeymoon – Part IV

Although riding was the main attraction, we had fun doing other things.  We got to raft down the Colorado river.  That was pretty cool.  The rapids were pretty weak, I don’t think anything got to even a 3, but it was still beautiful.  And cold.  Apparently water that was snow the day before feels like ice water…duh.  I think this is a good time to mention that it was pretty cold on our honeymoon.  June in Colorado is definitely not summer, and after the winter we had I was not happy to see snow.  Also, 60 & 70s feels way colder in the semi-desert, high altitude climate of the Rockies than it does in the Ohio River Valley.  On the plus side I got to wear all of my cute jean jackets.

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rafting 1

 

Friday evening found us in Steamboat Springs, a gorgeous little ski town that hosts a weekly rodeo.  We ate, we drank and we watched crazy cowboys get bucked off.

Steamboat by river

I really do miss wearing my cowgirl get up….it’s way more comfy than my office skirts and dresses.

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First you get bucked off…

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Then you get chased.

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I’m glad Savy doesn’t throw out bucks like that!

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Just found this pic and had to share…hilarious!!

A Horsey Honeymoon – Part III

We did a lot of cool things on our honeymoon, but the coolest was the trail riding.  We rode to the top of a mountain.  Seriously.  To the top of a mountain.  We were fairly vertical near the top and surprisingly I was never afraid.  Banjo took care of me.  Clay seemed totally comfortable horseback.  He also got to experience trotting, cantering, and spooking for the first time.  He’s a regular cowboy now.

We shot shotguns…I want to say a 20 & 22 gage.  I shot whichever had the smallest kickback and a rifle.  Both were fun, but I liked the rifle better.  Speaking of kickbacks, I sported a nice bruise on my arm for about two weeks.  I didn’t hold the gun right the first shot, but it’s not the kind of mistake you make twice.

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I actually hit a clay pigeon on my second try!

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He looks an awful lot like a cowboy here!

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I had no idea Clay could shoot, but he hit most of his clay pigeons.

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I look pretty good holding a shotgun 🙂

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Heading up the mountain

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Cute butts!!

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Dork. The photographer was a fan of jump shots.

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Top of the mountain!

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Pack camp. Roughing it luxury dude ranch style.

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It was freezing! And we had a wind storm with winds up to 40mph. Pack came was on a beautiful natural bluff, and we got served dinner from and open fire. Not too shabby.

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Us with one of the owners. By the end of the week we felt like one of the family.

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Yes those are winter jackets and wool hats. In June. But I do miss that hot breakfast every morning.

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Bacon. We ate obscene amounts of bacon.

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Our first day we took an 1 1/2 hour ride to Jakes Lake, where we had steaks cooked on the fire and cold beers. Clay ended up spending a lot of time fishing there with our wrangler throughout the week.

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Yes there was live music.

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Our wrangler and us in yet another jump shot. I really like this one though.

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Double butt 🙂

A Horsey Honeymoon – Part II

The ranch was all at once enchanting, charming and vastly stunning.  A wildflower lined bubbling brook (it really bubbled, I’m not just using a cliché here) meandered through the property leading to an almost shocking view of the mountains and valley below.  Our trail rides consisted of rugged, rocky, steep and curvy sections followed suddenly by a natural mountain meadow.  Wildflowers were everywhere.  I seriously wouldn’t have been surprised to see fairies flitting from bloom to bloom trailing pixie dust.  It was that kind of magical.

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Bubbling Brook

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This little bridge actually got ice on it one night….but it was my favorite spot on the way to our room.

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Our view 🙂

 

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The first morning we woke up to the sound of this little guy mooing outside our door. Apparently he got lost.

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There were cute places to sit and enjoy the scenery all over the ranch.

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Picnic area and mess hall…aka food.

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Coral and barn. The horses hung out in the coral during the day and were turned out in a 40 acre pasture at night.

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Steer head for practicing roping. A skill which surprisingly would have come in handy.

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Hugo the donkey saying hi and getting scratches. He also followed us on our first trail ride of the week. Donkeys are now a must for when we get a farm.

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Baby goats! We got to bottle feed them and it was all fun and games until I got pooped on.

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Adorable miniature horses that my horse Banjo was terrified of. Actually the only two things that scared Banjo wasapples and miniature horses.

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When we were lucky we got to watch actual cattle ropers practicing in the arena. This is an equestrian sport I have no experience what-so-ever with so it was really interesting to me.  Oh, and the footing in the arena is made from volcanic rock.  How cool is that??!  I was really nice too.

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Don’t worry. They use little helmet type things to prevent the cattle from getting sore from the ropes.

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Now for the backend…This seemed to be the hardest part. Just love those mountains in the background.

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The cattle had surprisingly cute little trots. Cattle dressage anyone…?

 

A Horsey Honeymoon – Black Mountain Ranch – Part 1

It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I posted on the blog. I wanted to blog, but I simply had nothing really horsey to blog about. I’ve been totally consumed with planning my wedding. The wedding I decided to have at my house which was awesome but turned out to be a lot of work. I’ve barely been riding the past few months, and since my trainer got married a week after me, she hasn’t had time to ride either. We were both in wedding planning hell.

Meanwhile, Savy has been living the highlife getting fat on green spring grass and partying with her girls. I’ve heard rumors she’s been flirting with the boys for hours each morning and then taking 3-4 naps a day. The girl knows how to live it up.

My honeymoon was very befitting for a horse obsessed girl (and her slightly less horse obsessed husband).  We honeymooned at Black Mountain Dude Ranch.  Black Mountain Ranch (BMR) is nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains at a lofty altitude of 8,200ft.  And it’s literally nestled in the mountains, the trek to our room left us gasping for air and sweating (or we would have if the dry air didn’t suck every ounce of moisture out of us).   Speaking of dry air, my skin and hair behaved perfectly at 8,200ft…hmm.  Anyway, aside from the gorgeous mountain views the main attraction of our honeymoon was unlimited horseback riding.  And the saloon.  Which we frequented quiet often.  Clay actually closed it down 5 out of our 7 nights.

 

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The saloon at dusk. Right about drinking time!

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Clay kicked ass at pool in the Rocky Mountains. I suspect the wranglers were taking it easy on him lol. JK!

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My cute little dress and boots learning a new country line dance.

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The wranglers showing us how it’s done right!

The riding was fantastic.  I truly didn’t know what to expect.  I’m a bit of a horse snob and I hate seeing horses treated improperly or ridden incorrectly.  I didn’t need to worry.  The horses were gorgeous; happy, fit and the perfect weight.  The first wrangler I talked to ended up being a hunter/jumper rider from Boston, with some Dressage experience, so we clicked immediately.  My horse for the week was a blood bay quarter horse named Banjo (although I think he really wanted to be called Pirate).  Banjo was by far the best trail horse I’ve ever ridden.  He was surefooted and brave.  Two very desirable traits in a horse traveling up and down mountains on a daily basis.  I fell in love with him on our second trial ride when we emerged from the woods onto a ridge with a very steep drop of about 1,000ft.  I am terrified of heights and I know he could feel my fear.  He hesitated but didn’t spook and continued to follow the horse in front of us.  I know he carried me through that and I will always appreciate him for it.  Aside from being a stellar trail horse, Banjo had little interest in people.  I tried to snuggle up to him but he resisted.  So I decided to try and bribe him with an apple.  Treats always work with my horse.  Apparently ranch horses are not spoiled, and most haven’t ever been given treats.  Banjo bravely smelled the apple and even tried a bite, but then he spooked.  He actually spooked at an apple!  Like it was poison!

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This is the scary ridge! I’m the last rider on the right.

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My hat flew off on the ridge because the wind was crazy. My first thought was leave it lets get out of here! But our wrangler rescued it.

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Me trying to smile through the fear…Clay loving life.

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We had to ride across the ridge and then UP the ridge.

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One foot in front of the other!

 

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Clay and our wrangler (Kyle) on the ridge.

 

Once I started writing this post I realized a recap of our entire honeymoon would never fit in one post…it would be more like a book.  I’ll post part II in a couple of days so check back or follow me 🙂