28 NOVEMBER 2015 | HorseIllustrated.com
capped peaks in the distance. The landscape varies from
cattle rangeland to forests, all with plenty of rugged
terrain to keep you busy actually riding your horse.
Before I knew it, time had whizzed by and we
headed back down the hill for lunch, where I devoured
an amazing grilled steak salad. Since I’d signed up
for riding again in the afternoon, I biked back to
the barn. This time I got to ride wrangler Joe’s own
horse, Skipper. He was a very stocky, sleek dark bay—
gorgeous. As we picked our way up a rocky slope on
the other side of the ranch, he was sure-footed and
perfectly behaved. Old logging roads wound around
the hills, providing the perfect means to get up the
steep terrain. The views and landscape were entirely
di;erent than where we rode in the morning, and after
a challenging climb, it was time to turn back.
That evening we had dinner and a hoedown at the
Buckle Barn. This enormous space is used to hold
events like wedding receptions, and has an indoor
grill and exhaust hood the size of a car that was fired
up cooking our food. Before dinner, we went outside
to play lawn games and practice roping dummy
calves. Dinner was served in a bu;et line, and once
again all of the food was fresh and fabulous. As the
sun set, a line-dancing lesson commenced, with
everyone laughing, stomping and clapping as we
learned di;erent dances to every song.
ON THE ROPES
On day two I couldn’t wait for my morning activity—
the ropes course! I’m a teeny bit of an adrenaline
junkie, and swinging and dangling 35 feet in the air
seemed like a good idea.
After a safety orientation, we scaled our way to the
first platform. Built just last year, there are six lower
elements and 13 at full height, making the course
suitable for kids or thrill-seeking adults.
After almost two hours of crossing logs, swings
and wires, it was time to zip line down to the
ground. Unlike other zip lines, this one didn’t have a
handlebar. Once the guide clips you onto the pulley,
you just jump o; the platform 40 feet above the
ground as auto-brakes above you slow your descent
along a 45-degree wire to the ground. This proved
too big a leap of faith for some in the group. Since
I went last, I had the advantage of watching for a
while, so when my turn came, I just ran to the edge
of the platform and took a flying leap o;. It was a
total blast, and I even managed to land on my feet
without falling down. ( We were told it was about
50/50 for first timers.) Mostly I just didn’t want to
get my pants dirty.
We concluded with a session on the outdoor rock-climbing wall for anyone who wanted to try it. I’d
never done one before, so I figured why not. I’m glad
A steep climb paid o; with spectacular
views of snow-capped mountains.
Lawn games and roping practice kicked o;
the hoedown at Buckle Barn.
Wranglers bring in the horses each morning at 7 a.m.
from the pastures to smaller pens.