Hi all, I’m back from ten days of heaven…I mean Montana – big sky, rugged mountains, cute cowboys, good food, harsh weather, heavenly horses! I spent yesterday afternoon stuck in that dang Seattle airport again – but that All Romance E-book award-winning author, Mia Watts, and I spent two hours texting each other – until the battery on my phone died.
We stayed a couple days at my daughter’s boyfriend’s cattle ranch. Eat more grass-fed beef! This coming from a vegetarian who has been desensitizing herself to meat in recent weeks after ages of avoiding it, because I’ve witnessed firsthand the kind way this family cares for their cattle and their responsible stewardship of the land. I figure if they come to Napa, they drink our wines…if they host me, I’ll taste their beef. These are real cowboys who cry if they lose a calf or a horse or a working dog. Seriously.
Then we moved on to the cattle ranch that was our initial introduction into this wild corner of Montana a number of years ago, Sweetgrass Ranch – heaven on a hoof! For three days, I rode my standby, Trinket, a blue roan. She’s great, transitions smoothly from the trot to the lope to the gallop, she’s sure-footed on the steep, rocky trails, but she doesn’t like cattle and after three days, she began coughing. I got to ride Garrett – a brilliant little horse – stole him from Janice, my Scottish friend! As she says, he explodes, but he’s so kind, he takes you with him! She’s right. Have you ever watched a cat rev his hind-quarters up and then spring forward as he’s stalking something? That’s Garrett. You can practically feel him revving his little hindquarters up just before he explodes across a meadow. Riding him is like blasting off on a rocket! He’s smooth as silk and so dang cute! But, Janet, damn her…wanted him back, so my daughter, head wrangler that she is, switched me to Josie, saying, you’ll love her, she’s very forward.
OMG! There are no words to describe the feel of Josie beneath me! Sigh and double sigh. Triple sigh. She’s tall, powerful and fast. She did everything I asked of her. While her trot is a bit high, when she lopes and gallops, you might as well be floating on a living cloud. If someone had been able to take a picture of me, you would have seen a big, shit-eating grin on my face – but of course that would have been impossible as I was past everyone in a flash, gone in a cloud of dust!
Josie and Garrett, Janice and I, became partners in crime, getting into trouble, racing across meadows of wildflowers, leaving the rest of the group far behind.
Me to my daughter: “I haven’t had this much fun on a horse since I was a kid!”
My daughter to me: “Yeah, I noticed! You’re acting like a little kid!”
Me to my daughter: “Aw, c’mon, can’t I lope some more??? Pleeeeeeease?”
My daughter (rolling eyes) to me: “I’m regretting my decision to give you Josie.”
Nah, at the end of the day, my daughter whispered in my ear…”I knew you would love her. She’s perfect for you. She’s just like the horse you lost.”
Perfect ending to a perfect week.