I have been off the map this past week partici- pating in Women of the West at Bellota Ranch in the high desert of Arizona outside of Tucson. Bellota Ranch is a real working cattle ranch on over 60,000 acres in the Coronado National Forest. The area is rugged and wild, making trail riding (on and off the actual trails) challenging and views from the high peaks rewarding.
I was fortunate enough to be paired up with Marley for the week, a 13 year old Appendix horse. The experience was really unique as Marley was almost brand new to the ranch, having only been ridden once before I got there. Tom Chambers, who specializes in natural horsemanship, helped me learn about how to discover Marley's strengths and weaknesses during the week and get Marley used to his new setting at historic Bellota. Tom also helped me learn a lot more about myself.
Marley and I really bonded and by the end of the week, I didn't want to leave Marley. Marley, who began to follow me around everywhere, seemed to not want me to go either. With no cell phone, computer or access to the outside world, the trip was a wonderfully relaxing and special experience. We spent our days barrel racing, pole bending, trail riding, working with our horses in the round pen, eating great food and our nights under shooting stars in the hot tub. Ahhh!
I'll post more photos this week, but here are a few to start.
Diane, my step-mom, and her horse for the week Biggins (top)
Things to watch out for on and off the trails (middle, bottom)