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Wild Horses & Wild Girls at the River


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9-19-10, San Luis Valley, CO - Last week, Melissa and I had such a good time on the Rio Grande River, we decided to return with the girls. We also brought Maggie’s friend Katelynn along, with her horse ‘Gold’. We had four main goals with the trip, to enjoy a nice horseback ride, to enjoy swimming in the river, to catch some fish, and to see some wild horses.  Well, we scored on three out of the four objectives.

After picking up Katelynn and her horse we headed for the Rio Grande.  Our direction back to the river was through a side canyon, a route that Melissa and the girls have used before.

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Trekking down an arroyo towards the river, which flows just beyond and to the left of the dome of an old lava vent in the center of the picture.

Not long after we started out, Hannah’s mare startled a small rattlesnake, that had crawled out of the brush to warm in the morning sun. The mare just stepped around the snake and kept on walking.

This was Katelynn’s first trail ride.  She was very excited, but did a great job.  The old horse she was mounted on was a real gentleman, and has probably forgotten more then any ten cowboys has ever known.

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‘Gold’ acted great until shortly after this picture of him walking in the river. He really enjoyed the water, but when passing a sandy bank on the other side of the river, he couldn’t resist the temptation of going down for a roll. Fortunately, Katelynn listened to advice and hopped off before he rolled over on his side.  Afterwards, she was a real trooper and climbed right back on to her horse!

Our first stop was about a mile up the river, where we stopped to swim, fish and have some lunch. The fish weren’t biting, but otherwise, we had a great time.

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Pete, investigating the girls clothes while they were hanging from a limb of a cottonwood.  Fortunately, he didn’t try to hide their clothes while they were swimming.  Last summer, while I was attending Horse Progress Days, a little Amish boy informed me that girls “Squeal” when you hide their clothes at the swimming hole.

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Maggie and Katelynn, not only enjoying the cool waters of the Rio Grande, but also the spa-like beauty properties of the river mud.

After our interlude at the first stop, we hit the saddles and headed up river. Rather than following the riverbank, we detoured inland about a half mile. Not long after we started out, we came upon two separate herds of wild horses.

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First, we spotted these two blacks up on a ridge to our front. There was another horse, a sorrel, just beyond the ridge line.

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Then, ‘Eagle-eyed Hannah’ saw another band, closer and to our right. The black stallion (front-right) and the lead mare (front-left) interposed themselves between us and the remainder of the herd at all times. They were fairly tolerant of our presence. At the time this picture was taken, they were about 500 yards off.

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500 yards was about as close as they allowed us to come. Then, they took off for the north and ran for about a mile or two. The old mare in the rear stayed with the rest, but always lagged a bit behind.

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When we got to our second stop on the river, the sight of the mustangs got to my wilder side, and I had to join the girls for a swim.

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Ever wonder how two girls could get into the river so fast on a hot day? - These strewn clothes on the riverbank leave a clue.

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After another swim, it was back on our mounts for the trek back to civilization. Katelynn, looking like quite the cowgirl on our way out.

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Back at the house, the girls had to get aquatinted with the team.  Bill likes to meet everyone, all at once.

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Unfortunately, Doc only got to meet three left boots.