Diamond P Ranch

7/31/19 – Wednesday

Many of us were sun burned and generally exhausted from all our excursions in the park Tuesday so we decided to relax this day. Everyone but myself visited the stores in town (West Yellowstone) while I napped and read. The kids swam in the afternoon while some of us adults napped. We had supper early at 4 pm (grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, the fixings and grilling provided by both families) because we needed to be at the Diamond P Ranch for our horse rides. Justin/Jamie, John and I as well as Lily went to the Ranch for our ride while Joe stayed at the condo with Gabe.

Our rides began with instructions and raindrops. Justin, John and I put our raincoats on while Jamie and Lily figured their sweatshirts would do. My feet didn’t reach the stirrups in the beginning, so my sit bones were really hurting at first. I wasn’t sure how I’d manage the whole 2 hour ride. Our group rode across a highway (our guide stopped the traffic) to a meadow where our guide helped anyone with issues. Yay. When she got to me she noted that if your bottom was sore that meant your stirrups weren’t set high enough for you to put your weight on them. If your knees were sore that meant the stirrups were too high. John also noted that you should have the ball of your foot set against the stirrup. As all of us were getting straightened out, their photographer took photos. Diamond P Ranch horse ride – Photos John took before we left the corral for the road and some in the meadow as we all got adjusted.

Trish sitting very straight on “Smitty”.
Lily with Justin nearby near the corral and barn/office.
Lily in the meadow.

Jamie and Justin. Their photographer is near Jamie’s horse.

The following are photos taken by their photographer:

Trish on Smitty
John on Scout.
Jamie on Opera
Lily on Boo
Group photo in meadow. Notice Smitty trying to get some grass.
Moments later I’m pulling his head up.

As we got going along the trail into the Gallatin National Forest my rear started to feel decent. “Smitty”, my horse, kept trying to eat grass but we weren’t to allow them that because they had to focus on this time as their job. Thus I had to pull his head up often. He also insisted on walking really close to the tail of the horse in front of him. So I kept pulling back and saying “Whoa” to keep him more distant from the horse ahead. We were both stubborn regarding this matter the entire trip. Most of our trail was in the Gallatin National Forest so no sweeping views as I’d expected. Only one, sort of, from a clearing we stopped at in the midst of our ride, where John took a photo of the view and our guide took some photos of our group. I was very glad I didn’t bring my camera because of the chance of rain. John brought his so he could take picture of us all when we stopped for a break in a clearing in the forest. Naturally the mosquitoes had a field day on the horses and us riders as we all were rather still for the photos, deep in that forest.

John’s photo of our view in the forest meadow.
Group shot taken by our guide in the forest clearing.

As we traveled onward it seemed the storm was growing and by the time we reached the meadow near the road it was really raining, along with lightening and thunder. At that point the horses weren’t too frightened but they did try walking faster. Once we crossed the road Smitty was trotting and putting himself parallel to our “horse line”. So I kept reining his head back into the line but his rear/feet didn’t follow. Justin yelled “You’re not riding a show horse Mom” because of how Smitty was walking at an angle. At this point the storm let loose with drenching rain and hail. Our guide and helpers were assisting others off their horses with boxes to step onto. Smitty tried heading fast towards the corral so I yelled “Whoa” while pulling back his head. He stopped but tried going again. Finally our guide got to me and said Smitty would not, at this point, work with a box at this side so I got to get off without one. Man, just getting my rain drenched right leg up and over the saddle was a huge struggle, but then I was able to slowly, smoothly, descend that foot to the ground, then get my left out of the stirrup. Boy did I skedaddle to the office. We managed to pay our bill but I forgot my water bottle as we dashed to our car. Poor Lily and Jamie were truly drenched.

Yes, we were all saddle sore for several days later. I will say that Lily, even now, is eager to go on another horseback ride.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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