Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oh, the trails to travel!!!

Sam and I returned this morning from a quick trip to Georgia to see my nephew, Mat, graduate from high school. Wednesday we flew into Atlanta, rented a car for the drive to Lincolnton and arrived at my sister Chris' in time for fried chicken dinner with macaroni and cheese and brown crowder peas. I could get used to southern cookin! Spent Thursday catching up, Mathew graduated Friday night and the next thing I knew our departure was looming on us; we had to leave Saturday afternoon to make the drive back to Atlanta in order to catch an early Sunday morning flight. Leaving was hard for Chris and I, maybe more for was, as it always is, a tearful departure.

In Atlanta another reunion awaited us; several friends who moved from Idaho to Alabama made the trip to Atlanta to join us for dinner. After several drinks in the hotel lounge, we were headed downtown (thanks to our designated driver) to experience Fogo de Chao an authentic Brazilian steakhouse. Wow! What an experience, the food was amazing, the environment was warm and friendly--I can't believe we got a table on Saturday night! I've had what I thought were delicious steaks before, but nothing I ever had came close to the meats we sampled at Fogo de Chao. I wish we had one in the Seattle area...I'd make the trip for that reason alone!!!

Just over a week ago, on May 15th Duke and I entered our first competition together, a trail challenge organized by a local saddle club. For me the greatest challenge was getting there, then getting over my nerves. I haven't done any riding in front of an audience, and I was extremely nervous while Duke and I warmed up. He sensed it during the warm up and a couple of times I thought I wasn't ready for this, but remarkably when it was our turn we entered the arena and the nerves disappeared as I focused on Duke and the obstacles. Duke was awesome! Except when he pooped on the plants the club borrowed from a local greenhouse! Oops! There were 11 obstacles and we've only practiced 2, open/close a gate (not captured on video) and walk through 'L' then back through 'L'. Everything else was completely new to us. His personality came out through it all, from his snatching a bite of foilage from the brush obstacle, to playing peak-a-boo at the end of the tunnel. The last obstacle was a old spongy mattress covered with artificial grass obstacle many horses refused to cross; but my boy Duke never even hesitated. I am so proud of him, he really enjoyed it...although he wasn't too sure what to make of the miniture horse at first, lol! You can just see him thinking 'What the...?' All in all we had a blast!! It really ended too soon, but we will definitely do another trail challenge this fall, if not sooner. :)

This time, I handed my camera to a friend who was not riding. When she asked me if I wanted photos or videos without hesitating I responded 'Video!!!' It's been uploaded to You Tube (of course).

We're having fun now!!!