Yesterday, it looked like the weekend (or at least Saturday) would be shaping up to be a remarkably nice day.
Toni called, and wondered if we were up to taking the girls for a beach ride first thing in the morning.
Who am I to say "No"?
So we agreed to leave our house at 730 (don't want to be getting to the ranch when all the horses are already gone...), and Toni said that she and Carrie would be at our house around 720.
In my brain, I figured that I could get up at 710 if I had all my ducks in a row before I got to bed, because really, how much time does it take to get ready to go hike on the beach? And I would need all the extra minutes of sleep, as we had a house full of company last night. There were 17 of us for supper, and the last guests left close to 10:30.
So, imagine my surprise, when I was coming out of the bathroom at 712, and Kelly poked her head in to say that Toni and Carrie had shown up at 703.
Needless to say, we were able to leave early to head over to the beach.
We got there in plenty of time, and there were very few people there. In fact, there ended up being only 6 riders on the Early Bird ride. That's less than a third of what there was last week.
And the girls got to pick their horses.
No surprises with Kelly's choice...
Hello, Eddie. You have VERY dirty legs. Have you been rolling in the pasture again?
Such a shame that the girls don't like riding at all...
The girls went off down the trail, and Toni and i went to Starbucks, and Safeway (gotta get a big bag of carrots), and then went off to the beach to wait for them.
It was a gorgeous morning. Lots of spindrift.
(sorry for the drunken sailor angle on this photo. I don't think I can take a straight photo to save my hide)
And the waves were crashing!
Here come the girls:
Eddie is afraid of the water, so he makes sure that another horse is always between him and the water.
And here they are coming back up the beach, and you'll see that Eddie is still keeping Alex (the part-arabian horse) between himself and the waves.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Wrangler is the new Ranch Puppy. He's just young, and exuberant, and so full of energy. And he's got the softest coat ever. If he can survive all his ill-chosen dodging around the horse hooves, he will be a great addition to the ranch.
And here he is, playing with Lupita. Some of you may remember her from the summer. We called her Lupita the Poop-eatah, because she had a penchant for nibbling on the nuggets that the horses poop out.
She is teaching Wrangler her tricks, because we caught him sampling the wares...
Here come the girls back from the ride. They're helping the ranch hands get the horses back on the line.
Eddie is blowing bubbles in the water trough. It's pretty funny.
The horses all have their shaggy winter coats, and the extra insulation makes them work up a bit of a sweat on the long beach ride. Kelly and Carrie's horses are quite sweaty and dirty, and it is suggested that maybe their horses need baths.
Oh! The humanity! The girls have to give the horses baths? Is there anything more tragic?
Alex is not so happy about her bath.
Eddie seems to really enjoy his, though.
And he wants to help. Or maybe he just wants another drink in Kelly's carrot-flavored hands.
And to thank the girls for their work? Why, do they have time for another ride?
Oh man, you don't have to ask them twice.
Eddie and Alex were still pretty wet from their baths, so Kelly and Carrie picked other horses to ride.
And while they were on their second ride, Toni and I went into Half Moon Bay and picked up some special horse treat cookies, and snagged a tray of tamales for the ranch hands.
Gotta keep your benefactors happy, right?
So the ranch hands got lunch, we got to have a lovely day of exercise and fun, and Kelly and Carrie got more than their money's worth of horse-time.
Oh, and the horses got carrots and oatmeal-raisin horse cookies.