Leaving my (relatively new) boyfriend for a week while I went off ranching with the girls was never going to be easy. Sure, I knew that once I got there that I’d be fine because I’d be doing what I love, in a place I love, but still, I struggled saying goodbye (and no I’m not 14!). Little did I know that I’d fall in love with someone else while I was away, well, I say some ‘one’ else, it wasn’t quite what you might think.
Being animal mad, I’m a long time horse lover, but never had the time, or the accessibility to horses to ride or spend time around them. I actually started riding a couple of years ago, pretty late really, but instantly loved it. I had read about ranching holidays and always wanted to go, but thought that I should at least have a bit of experience on horseback before I took the plunge. I finally did in 2010 and loved it so much that I returned to the same ranch this year and met the same group of people as last year. The very knowledgeable owner of the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, takes great care to match you up with a horse that suits you in every way, almost like the Cilla Black of the equine/human relationship.
Meeting the horse that’s going to be your best friend and companion for the next week is an exciting moment. One look at Packer and I was hooked. His big kind eyes and the way he looked back to check on me every time I climbed on his back or finished a lope made me feel very special and cared for. The way he nuzzled my pocket for horse cookies while I bathed him at the end of a long day on the trails never failed to make me smile and his unfailing willingness to run that little bit faster whenever I asked him were qualities that left me more than a little bit smitten. The way he slowly wandered into the Corral at the end of the day for a well deserved, roll, rest and a play with his friends, I could watch for hours.
At the end of the week, I was as sad to say goodbye to him as I was to my other love at home the previous week. We had a ‘moment’ while I gave him his last hosing down of the week and while I know he’ll be on to his next guest this week, taking just as good care of them as he did me, I’d like to think that he remembers me as fondly as I remember him.