On Saturday night, after our White Sands National Monument, we were treated with beautiful views of the Organ Mountains as seen from my friend Latana’s home.
Latana and her husband have this huge picture window with gorgeous views east to the Organ Mountains.
The night before, we all spent a fun evening eating, drinking, laughing and sharing stories from our White Sands Trail Ride we had shared a few hours earlier.
(My riding buddies clockwise from left to right: Loeta, Vicki, Karen, Latana, Kendra, Dora and Me.)
But we decided that if the weather was nice and not too windy the next morning, we would all head out on a short trail ride before heading back home. The weather reports had said that a big storm was moving into New Mexico by Sunday afternoon, so we wanted to be on the road before the worst of it arrived.
Well, when morning came, there was just a gentle breeze, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. Temps were in the low 50’s and after feeding our ponies, we enjoyed some breakfast and finished packing up, so we’d be ready to go when we got back from our trail ride.
Karen’s, Vicki’s, Loeta’s, Kendra’s and my ponies in their stalls. Kendra’s Bailey and my Apache shared a stall and paddock together because they are BFFs.
Dora’s mare, Julie got to bunk in one of Latana’s comfy barn stalls.
After tacking up our ponies, we all mounted up and Latana’s husband, Tom took some photos of all of us, before we headed out to the trails.
(Cowgirls from left to right: Dora, Karen, Gayle, Vicki, Latana, Loeta, Me, and Kendra)
A close up: Latana, Loeta, Me (in my leopard print!), and my buddy Kendra.
And….off we went!
My buddy Kendra riding her Bailey boy in the shadow of the Organ Mountains.
Latana has access to hundreds of acres of Open Space all the way to the Organ Mountains, directly from her house. But we all thought the trails would be flat and featureless because that is the way it looked from Latana’s house. I think we were all surprised with the interesting terrain we had the pleasure of riding up, down, over, through and across. There were some lovely deep-walled arroyos to ride through.
And what goes down, must come back up.
I really love this kind of terrain. It’s so fun, interesting and challenging to ride. And such fun to explore, too!
We started off doing quite a bit of trotting, but sticking very close together as the trails were very faint and had many side trails going off in different directions.
It was a beautiful morning and we were all enjoying being out on our horses together.
And then we’d come upon another deep arroyo to fjord across.
I was so proud of my Apache as she was eager to explore whatever the terrain of the trail revealed to us. She never balked or said no to anything I asked her to do. And she never spooked. She is so brave, willing and has such a huge heart. I just adore her! And down we went into the arroyo!
At one point we crossed a shallow, narrow arroyo, basically a step-over for the horses. But Karen’s gelding, in front of me, Kendra and Gayle decided he wasn’t sure how to proceed across and refused to move forward. Karen dismounted and tried to get him to cross that way, but he still refused. Kendra and I and Gayle rode our horses across the little arroyo, hoping that Karen’s gelding would follow us so he wouldn’t be left behind. But he still refused. So we waited in a small group, while Gayle guided Karen to a location that was flat and didn’t have a small arroyo.
We didn’t mind waiting. It was nice to visit with one another. And our horses didn’t mind waiting either. They enjoyed their little rest.
But soon we were on our way down the trail again. Heading west with the city of Las Cruces off in the distance.
As we made our way back towards Latana’s house, we spread out and enjoyed a relaxing ride mostly walking. Apache and I both really enjoy when we aren’t riding nose to tail and can just focus on the beautiful trail and one another.
Gayle and her gelding were riding behind us, but stayed far enough back that my Apache didn’t feel crowded. And Kendra was riding her Bailey behind Gayle.
When we rode at White Sands National Monument the day before, Latana rode her lovely jenny mule, Lilly. But on Sunday she rode her handsome paint gelding Patriot. And she wore her Hide-a-Helmet, too!
Shadow Rider Self-Portrait of me and my Apache mare.
Apache and I in the shadow of the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Before we returned to Latana’s house we still had a few more arroyos to cross and some small hills to traverse.
We all did some trotting and a little cantering and just enjoyed the varied terrain.
The trails were very rocky in places, but most of our horses were barefoot, including my Apache mare. None of our horses had any trouble with the rocks or became sore or gimpy. I love having a horse with rock hard, strong, tough hooves so I can keep her barefoot.
We had a couple more steep downhill and uphill climbs, which were a lot of fun!
And then we arrived back at Latana’s house.
But Gayle gave us one last memento of our special weekend before it was over…..a group photo!
(From left to right: Loeta, Vicki, Dora, Kendra, Me, Karen, and Latana)
And I remembered to turn on my GPS when we got out on the trail. We rode for just over 4 miles. A perfect early morning ride before heading back home.
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