|Howard, Willis and Alden Eaton. Photo courtesy Eatons Ranch.|
|Dudes in the saddle at Eatons. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
Debi and I each had a grand time but for very different reasons. I'll start out and she will follow with the next post.
Cross over the cattle guard and under the Eatons Ranch sign with its Arrowhead and Bar-11 brands and enter a different type and pace of life. You are a dude, dude, and denims are the attire du jour.
|Mellon cabin. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
You see, I adore horses. Read everything equestrian I could find, spent as much time as I could on horseback, showed English and Western, even rodeoed a bit and grew up with several horses of my own. In my late 30s, I took jumping lessons.
Since then work, life, knees replacements and an artificial hip have kept me out of the saddle. A fall, especially from horseback height, could severely limit any mobility. I had decided not to ride and left my socks and boots at home.
|Beginners become comfortable in the saddle.|
|Saddle fitting comes first. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Evening ride time at Eatons. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Maybe just once? Photo by Judy Wells.|
|Slow and level to begin. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Crossing Wolf Creek. That's Debi in the pink jacket. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
Caution wasn't totally thrown away. There were a few dicey times crossing creeks and climbing up high ridges - my horse was a stumbler - but the views were worth it.
|Follow the wrangler. Photo © by judy Wells.|
In between I got to know Peggy, the bartender, with whom I had friends in common. Her late husband had been a lion tamer with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus and I had met and written about several of his colleagues.
|Out to pasture. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|The day's remuda. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
|Not today, please. Photo © by Judy Wells.|
Best of all, though, as dudes rather than ranchers, we had wranglers to ride out at 5 a.m. to herd the horses in and do all of the other work from mucking manure to taking the herd back out at night.
|Best view of all. Photo © by Judy Wells.|