The Last Ride of the Season

Sterling and I returned from Moab yesterday, where one of his horses earned a “best condition” award at the last ride of the season—a great way to end the year!

This Moab ride is one of my favorites, partly because the lady who runs it does such a great job and partly because, while the riders are off riding, I get to hike and sightsee. Moab has such gorgeous scenery . . . the red rocks and red cliffs are magical. They remind me of Kanab, one of my favorite places in the world, so I’ve been looking forward to this ride for weeks!

One thing that set this ride apart for me is that we went down there with a group of all women. Sterling has been riding for years, and because he is retired and often rides during the day, his regular riding buddies are mostly women. Through the years as we’ve attended these endurance rides, I’ve gotten to know these women quite well, and they’ve become good friends.

Sometimes husbands come along on the rides, but for various reasons, this time Sterling was the lone man in the group. I watched him be such a gentleman, offering to help the other women in our group, leveling their rigs and doing what he could whenever he saw a need. Of course, they’re all absolutely capable women, who didn’t necessarily need Sterling’s help, but I think it was reassuring to have him there—I know I felt more comfortable with him around! And I also was reminded what a true gentleman I married; I love my sweetheart!

As I mentioned, a highlight for Sterling was that his horse, Tess, received a best condition award. This was her first 50-mile race, so that’s quite an accomplishment.  After the race is finished, the riders have one hour to clean up their horses, washing them down, unbraiding and combing their tails and manes, and doing as much as they can in that short time to make their horses look as nice and fresh as possible after 50 miles of riding. Congrats!

I did miss being in Louisville—it was our last regional this weekend as well. It was hard to choose which “last” event to attend, but last year I was scheduled to do the regional (I actually ended up cancelling at the last minute because Sage had emergency surgery), so I had promised Sterling I’d make Moab this year. I’ve heard Louisville was great though . . . I hope our demonstrators there know I was thinking of them!

So I guess these events signify the inevitable. . . fall is ending! (It definitely ended on the East Coast this weekend—thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by that historic winter storm!) It’s been a wonderful fall, and now, despite the cold, I’m looking forward to a great winter. Well, to be honest, I’m not actually looking forward to winter, but I am looking forward to what happens during winter. . . Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the time we get to spend with family.