We’d climbed into a kiva at the ancient Indian ruins, fed the trout at the fish hatchery, and examined the silver jewelry for sale in front of the Palace of the Governors. We were running out of things to keep three very active little girls occupied. A horseback ride sounded like an excellent idea. I was relieved he had come up with a plan. “Great!”
Bacon hesitated. “Only one catch. Since they’re little, they need an adult to ride with them.”
“You mean one of us?” I said, “No thanks. I haven’t been on a horse since I was eight.”
“How about you, Cowgirl?” Bacon turned to my sister, Rascal’s grandma.
She shook her head. “Rascal’s grandpa does the wrangling for us. I only feed and pet the horses.”
Bacon walked over to BBC2’s trailer and knocked on the screen. “Cookie? Want to take the girls on a trail ride?”
My sister-in-law took the bait. An hour later, I was standing at the old store counter, filling out the appropriate forms. As an afterthought, I added Bacon’s name to the list. “You really want to do this.” I told him. “Why else would you have set this up?” He grimaced, but went along with it.
Cowgirl, Bacon, Cookie, and I walked out onto the porch to wait. Cherry, Coco, and Rascal had seized my camera and were shooting pictures of a pretty paint, saddled and ready to ride. That’s when Cowgirl had an epiphany. A few minutes later, I found her standing back at the counter, shelling out cash.
“You’re going to ride?”
“If Cookie can do it, so can I.”
“I don’t want to sit here alone waiting on you to get back.” I plunked down a twenty, a ten, and a five. Just like that, the wranglers were setting stirrups for three children and four adults. We were giggling like little girls.
The view of the New Mexico high country is amazing from horseback. The ride was bumpy and exhilarating. None of us were experienced, but the college-aged wranglers were patient, saying over and over, “Don’t let the horse put his head down.” Cowgirl’s mount was fond of oak leaves and Cherry’s liked to eat Mexican Hat (the wildflower not the head gear.) At the end of the trail as we headed back into the corral, Max, the Terrero Store dog, welcomed us home.
Why was I the last one to jump on horseback? Why did it take so long for me to decide to play too? Whatever the reason, riding goes along with the off-balanced path I’m traveling. It felt good to lean into the horse going up hill.