|Yesterday, we checked out of our wonderful cottage at the Alisal.|
|The room with the huge sycamore tree and...|
|...the stream outside our door.|
|Across from the retired horses pasture. Rusty, in the middle, was one of my favorites in past years.|
Or, maybe he was just eyeing the horses in front of him relaxing in one of the grassy paddocks.
The breakfast ride is very popular. Guests can opt to ride horseback to the old adobe for breakfast or to arrive by hay wagon. I don't think they used the wagon due to the rain. I did see quite a few people arrive via the ranch shuttle vans. (wimps). Riders are divided into three groups: beginner (walk), intermediate (walk & trot) or advanced (lope, trot, walk). We expected to be with a large group (at the Alisal, a large group is 4-5 riders plus a wrangler) but instead it was just Brett and I and a wrangler. I was on Wilbur again. It was cool out with a breeze in addition to the rain, so the horses were all feeling fresh. Wilbur was definitely awake.
When we arrived at the adobe, Brett tied Flash to a ring in one of the sycamore trees near the other horses and we went off to get breakfast. A small herd of cattle arrived and started milling around the area where the horses were tied. Then they started milling around Flash. He didn't seem to be worried so Brett went to get seconds on pancakes (the food was amazing). While he was gone, a little white faced heifer started sniffing Flash's tail. No reaction from Flash other than turning his head to watch her. Then she started sniffing his haunches. He cocked a hind foot and lifted it in warning. She obviously didn't speak horse because she started licking his hind end. He very calmly kicked her in the chest. She backed up and looked at him in an insulted manner and then they ambled over to pester the other horses.
After eating, we mounted back up and headed back to the barn. We took a long circuitous route so the ride was about an hour and a half. Each time we came to cattle, Brett and Flash would be in charge of moving them out of the way. At one point, our wrangler pointed to one just off the path and said "I think that one has your name on it. Try moving her around." To say they were in their element is an understatement. Flash put his eye on that heifer and he never let go. He anticipated her moves and jumped to head her off just like a real cow pony. When they were done playing, Flash lowered his head and starting licking and chewing. It was priceless.
And it had to end. Back to the barn we went. While Brett loaded Flash in the trailer, I checked us out (and made reservations for next year). Then we headed down the ranch driveway and began the long drive home.