Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Photos from Cache Creek Ranch July 2011

Thankfully, one of my friends and faithful blog followers reminded me that he is not on Facebook, so I will post the link to my photo album. Facebook at least provides a way for photo albums to be shared publicly with people who aren't on Facebook, so hopefully this link will work.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Canadian Sights

As much as I love travelling around the world, I do enjoy staying close to home and enjoying local sights and scenery. One thing I've learned over the years, I'm a Prairie girl through and through. I can enjoy the mountains or a beautiful beach, and I've seen some really exotic things on this planet, but there is nothing I love more than my pastoral, prairie scenes. It's the most impressive for me when the canola fields are in full bloom, their bright yellow blossoms a bright contrast against blue summer skies or when grain fields are golden at harvest time, and their sway in gentle winds is to me as soothing as ocean waves. It's so life-giving, too, knowing how these fields feed us and other people in the world.

When I went out to my aunt's ranch over the Canada Day long weekend, I didn't get to see these things as it's too early in the year yet, but it was still a relaxing drive about 2 hours northeast of where I live. It's Ukrainian country out that way, so you see several Orthodox churches dotting the landscape along the way. I posted a few pictures on Facebook, which I think anyone who follows my blog is on anyway, so I direct you to the photos there.

My other purpose, aside from visiting family, was to go horseback riding at my aunt's place. I started riding before I could walk and would ride every summer when I'd go to my grandparents' farm as a child, but once I wasn't able to spend my whole summers there, combined with my grandparents' aging process not allowing them to break horses anymore, there was a long hiatus where I barely rode. My uncle up north has great horses, but he lives about a 7 hour drive from me, which isn't really convenient to just pop by on a weekend. In any case, it's so great to have my aunt and her horses closer so I can go more often. So far, this has only resulted in my being able to go out once a year in the last 3 years, but it's more than I was doing in the past. I love the smell of saddle leather and of the horses. Riding in and of itself is great fun for me, but it also reminds me of my grandpa a lot because he loved horses so much, and I remember going to horse sales and rodeos with him all the time during those summers when I was little.

I definitely didn't become the horsewoman I sometimes dreamed I might. This became especially apparent through the events of my last ride! It always takes me a bit to get used to the horse I'm on. I usually don't ride the same horse twice when I go, so I just have to figure out what to do with the horse I have, and then once that comfortable relationship is established, it's smooth-going from there on in. I think I felt a little overconfident with that relationship when I let my horse run up a steep hill, not an uncommon thing to do as horses do like to run up as it seems to make it a bit easier for them. I've gone up that hill before without difficulty, but I didn't maintain control of the horse this time and let her go too fast. Before I knew it, it became a slow-motion moment in which one of my feet came out of the stirrup, I lost balance and was trying to figure out how to re-gain control. The horse started getting a bit jumpy, however, and before I knew it, I proceeded to be launched into the air and ended up flat on my back. Thankfully, we were in a grassy field and not on a gravel road, and I was not kicked or stomped on by the horse, so it was a best-case scenario if you're ever going to be bucked off a horse. I woke up really stiff the next day, but by today, I was already able to cycle to the gym and do a light workout there, so my recovery is also not going too slowly. I think I should just concede to the fact that I'm not an expert and don't have sufficient time to become so!