Falling in love at 27
It turns out, you really never are too old to try new things. This much I’ve learned over the last few years of my life, where the theme has apparently been “scare yourself to death and then do it again.” Hell, I moved to NYC — a city that used to scare the crap out of me — then lived there for over a year. And then I left my career and my apartment and my friends and moved home to go to community college to achieve a new and old dream that I never realized I had. And then I started all over again and went to nursing school, back at the bottom of the undergraduates, to get a second bachelor’s degree and come closer to my goal career.
And then after all that crap I went to a Dude Ranch in Arizona with my family and scared myself again by riding—nay, galloping—on a horse. A lot.
Turns out? I’m pretty good at it, too. All the Sullivans are. (Go figure.) And now I find myself mindlessly Google searching “horseback riding + zip code” to find ways to do it again.
It’s safe to say that White Stallion Ranch really changed my life. Is that a crazy statement for a lowly vacation in Tucson, Arizona?
See, here’s the thing. When’s the last time you stayed in a resort that didn’t have a TV in the room? When is the last time you went somewhere that every meal was cooked for you (even you, little gluten-free one), hot, delicious, and easy, each day? When’s the last time you went somewhere so relaxing that you slept 10 hours a night, got color on your cheeks, and smiled all day long? When’s the last time you looked around and really saw nature, rode a giant, gentle animal, and spent ridiculous quality time with the people you love most in the world?
All while learning a new skill that is seriously just so much fun.
Imagine being deathly afraid of getting up on a horse and learning to gallop on that horse that same afternoon. Riding lessons that teach you to ground yourself in the saddle so you don’t flop all around; slow mountain rides through rocky trails in the Arizona mountains; and then fast rides through tiny trails, around quick curves so exhilarating that you laugh with delight while you hold your reins with one hand and your (new cowboy) hat with the other. Cactus, fresh air, warm sun, good people.
And more. Rope tricks, barrel racing, rodeos, and the nicest horses and wranglers around. A hot tub for aching muscles, cowboy singers in the lounge, and trick whips at night.
There aren’t really enough words for me to describe how much I loved my quick four days at White Stallion Ranch, but I can just say that I think about it (and my horse there) every day, and cannot wait to go back. There aren’t many places like WSR left in the United States and I’m lucky enough to have spent a truly magical four days there.
So what do you think? Have I gushed enough yet?
I’ll leave you with a video of four of us cattle penning. Yes, cattle penning. In teams of four we loped our horses down into a herd of cattle, separated out three cows and led them into a pen on horseback. We make it look REAL easy, too.