The itenerary went something like this:
Thursday: arrived after lunch. Check in. Go for a long ride around Alisal lake. Change for dinner and the evening meet and greet activities. Dinner was with a winemaker -- a different wine with every course. The winemaker also breeds QHs -- needless to say the conversation was lively at the table.
Our room was cozy and clean. We did have an unexpected visitor in the bathtub when we arrived.
When we returned to our room after dinner, he was gone and we never saw him again. Maybe the turn down ladies do frog relocation as a side business.
Friday: Morning ride to Alisal Lake where we had lunch, learned how to play with bows and arrows (Brett rocked. He hit the deer target which was far, far away dead center). Then we rode back to the barn taking a different route -- the ranch is a ba-zillion acres huge so every ride is different. We got back just in time to make it to the spa for our couples massage. Ahhhhh. I got teased at dinner... a few people from our group (there were five couples) saw us walking back to our room afterwards. I, apparently, resembled Gumby....drunk. Dinner, then line dancing, then sleep. Deep, heavy, solid sleep.
Saturday: Morning ride to the old adobe house for breakfast and cowboy music. Back to the barn... out to the rodeo arena where we learned how to rope. Well, they tried to teach us how to swing a rope and nab a plastic heifer. We both failed. Brett was grumpy. Box lunch. Brett didn't like his sandwich. He was really grumpy. Then back to the barn to get our sorting horse. Brett's horse was named Grouch. I thought that was hysterically appropriate given his mood. It turns out Grouch is an awesome sorting horse and a personal favorite of the head wrangler, Tony. I rode a little pony size QH named Teddy. He was a good little sorting pony. Spot on. We rocked. It was a BLAST. My favorite part of bootcamp -- even if it was 92F. Dinner was back at the adobe. We piled into the back of a truck and sat on hay bales. Tony's wife convinced Brett and a two of the other guys to take the taxidermy mountain lion out to the road so Tony would see it when we left. In all the years he has worked on the ranch, he has never seen a mountain lion. He's seen evidence and other wranglers have come across them but he's never seen a live one. I don't think the guys would have done it without the vast quantities of wine in their system... but they did. It went off great.
Sunday morning: We moved cattle from one pasture to another. It was interesting learning about how to move them, how to ride ahead and block "holes" so they stay on the right track, how to keep them at a leisurely walk and not create any stress... I have even greater respect and appreciation for the working mind of a QH now -- and I already thought that they are great (especially Paints, like my Jackson, of course). We got back around noontime and it was time to check out and drive home. We were not ready to leave. We've already reserved a spot for next year. We are hooked. Seriously.
...and I made a little movie to share with you guys...