We have been receiving cowboy lessons from our good friend over at Los Solano Ranch in North Berwick, Maine.
We are even a bit taken back by the whole thing at times - at nearly 27, with a baby, we did not see ourselves starting something as rigorous as horseback riding.... I suppose it is always good to be a lifelong learner, and be open to trying new things!
Growing up, I spent some summers at Girl Scout camp, and I usually picked the horseback riding program. The Homestead Husband spent a summer mucking stalls on a mustang ranch after a little teenage traffic incident - and that was about the extent of our horse experience. We did go trail riding through Tennessee on our honeymoon, but that was a very structured, guided tour. Of course, it did solidify our interest in learning.
We befriended Double H Horsemanship trainer, Matt, by chance at a local event. There was no denying our "fan-girling" when the real life cowboy pulled up, leather fringe chaps, flat brimmed cowboy hat, spurs, and all. Both of us have always been a bit "cowboy-curious" if you will (like it's any secret). We ended up hitting it off well and as it turned out we were just a trot down the road from one another!
We've since began learning how to properly ride, groom, and communicate with the horses at the ranch - though we have a LONG way to go. I'm sure our amateur views on the whole thing provide some amusement for those with years of practice. The Homestead Husband has even begun working on some ropin' lessons! Seriously, I had no idea it was so complicated to throw a loop in a rope.
We have a serious new respect for horsemanship - the terminology alone is hard to keep track of. When you're riding, you have to be conscious of so many moving parts (literally and figuratively) at one time. It's a real challenge, but it's also very grounding. A sense of grass-roots nostalgia washes over us each time we have the opportunity to get in the saddle (it has not been frequent over the icy winter, but we're hoping for more as it warms up). This was how we got around before cars or public transportation. These animals were how we worked fields and cattle. Without them, we'd have struggled to survive as a society, I'm fairly certain - old ways, modern days.
If anything, these lessons are fulfilling childhood dreams of make-believe western shoot-outs, and prairie living. It truly makes us feel like a kid again, and being young at heart is one of the greatest things you can do in life.