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Cowboy John

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Wednesday July 23 2008

"I'm not going to show up in one of your stories am I?"

Well what else you think is going to happen when you come to the Owyhee Riding Spa?

Connie's friend John from Seattle came to visit for a few days. He came more for the company and the scenery and the surroundings, but got as a bonus: great food, red wine ("wow, you guys really eat well out here!"); a great porch to sit on and watch the birds go by or sleep on with the dogs; evening serenades by screech owls and early morning serenades (not so welcome) by LOUD Eurasian collared doves; an inside fascinating view of a trip to the vet (Connie's horse Finneas is mysteriously lame); and what could be better, and more lucky for John, than a short road trip to the historic mining ghost town of Silver City in the Owyhee Mountains with the Raven?

Well - maybe a scenic horseback ride in the evening with 3 women. On a scenic trail that we only take people we like on.

John's a biker but had only been on horseback a few times in his life. We put him on Mac, Steph's Rushcreek ranch horse. We took him on the Rim Trail, which never fails to impress people (if you won't be impressed, we won't waste it on you). He was impressed. I am impressed, every single time I ride this trail. Even Jose likes to admire the scenery. (One day I'm going to see a cougar from this rim.)

We'd thought we would be walking the whole time, since John claimed to be a novice rider, but he looked quite balanced, with a good seat, and seemed to be comfortable - or at least he wasn't outwardly exhibiting any clenched jaws or a tight grip on the reins. So pretty soon, we got him trotting. He didn't bounce off, so we trotted quite a bit on the ride, and he even cantered on Mac! Unintentionally, but he cantered! We said we'd slow down for him if he screamed. "Why would I scream?"

"I don't know, pain? Fear? Falling off? Extreme pleasure?"

It was a great ride, and we all made it back - even coming down our little Tevis trail in a Big Wind that had suddenly whipped up - with nothing even close to a mishap. "We waited till you got back safely to tell you how many people Mac's bucked off." (Which was nobody here in Idaho.) The horses had a good ride too - Mac sure enjoyed taking John for a ride because he got to graze quite a lot on the way.

John wasn't limping or walking bowlegged when he got off back at the ranch, and he SAID, next day, that he wasn't sore. His biking muscles must have helped prepare him for riding.

Although we were all wondering how he'd look getting out of his car after a 10-hour drive back to Seattle.


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