On 25 April, Jackie writes: My b'day treat
Well, it's not my birthday 'til December,
but after spending Christmas & Easter at home with only the dogs for company,
I decided the time has come to be a big grown-up girl.
I will not spend my 60th birthday at home,
sharing ginger nut biscuits with the dogs.
I decided I would have a holiday by myself, but what could I do?
Sit by a pool and read a book?
Pah! I can stay at home and do that for free.
No, it had to be something where I could join in a group activity
without having to have a partner.
I'd seen an open day advertised at the
local riding school just up the road from me.
It's a Western riding school and
quarter horse stud and training stables.
"That's the ticket," I thought.
I asked a girl at work for some advice on specialist holiday companies
and she put me in touch with "In The Saddle",
who offered me a week on a ranch in Arizona,
but I had to go in May or it would be too hot.
May was too near and two bank holidays pushed the price of flight up quite a bit.
I asked them to look at July.
So on 12 July I board a plane and head for Denver, Colorado, USA
where I will be picked up by one of the wranglers from the
COLORADO CATTLE COMPANY and be whisked off
to learn to be a cowboy for a week.
If I get on ok, then I can go to Arizona at Christmas
to celebrate my birthday,
as the weather should be nice then.
Or I can wait 'til April
when my new leave year starts.
I've signed up for six riding lessons in May & June
so I can actually ride before I get there and, I guess,
get over the "newbie-just-got-off-the-horse" walk.
Also, as I know, you don't bounce as well at my age,
so a bit of extra experience will not go amiss.
My first lesson is on 9 May,
so watch this space for my novice-to-cowgirl saga.
After I told the travel agent to book it
and wrote my email,
I suddenly thought, "EEK!
I don't like flying or heights
and cows scare me . . .
why did I book that holiday?"
Well, let's conquer all fears in one go.
I'm scared and excited all at the same time.
Tom always said that was good, then you only take calculated risks
and he jumped from a chopper into the Blue Hole at Belize;
that was his idea of calculated risk.
I'm going to love it; everyone tells me I will.
It may become a chapter in my next book, "Memoirs of a Nobody."
Well, I've done it! booked the holiday.
Will book the flights tomorrow, and now all I need to do is
become a proficient horsewoman. I'll settle for one who can stay on.
They have a professional photographer on hand;
I just hope he doesn't get any of me flying out of the saddle attached to a steer.
I assume that's what the spurs are for . . .
so you could dig into the dirt and the steer couldn't pull you
flat on your face like Airedales do/have done on seeing a rabbit.
They also take us to a night out country western dancing
and a rodeo on the Friday night before we go home.