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Archive for July, 2012

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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a new place to ride.  My husband, Steve, granddaughter, Austin, daughter, Heather, and I enjoyed our trip to Running R Ranch in Bandera, TX in 2008 and hope to return soon.  Here are some snapshots for your enjoyment and to see if it is a place you might want to visit, as well.

You will know you’re at the right place when you see the boots!

Guests leave their boots on the fence as      a souvenir of their adventure.   We decided not

to participate, cause we need them when we

get back home!

Three generation, Grandma Linda (me) in back, Aunt Heather (center) and Austin (front)

Heather drove down from Round Rock, near Austin to join us riding for the day.  You might remember her from the end of my previous post where she is now an actress  in a current film.  This was taken 4 years prior.

Friendly and helpful wranglers.

We appreciated our guide (center) who proved welcoming, friendly,and very knowledgeable about horses.  You can see from the snapshots below that they are well trained and taken care of.

Horses at dawn.

Patient horses waiting to hit the trails.

Quiet and patient, our horses

for us on this beautiful

morning.

Informative wrangle chatting on trail with us.

Heather on Copenhagen.  This horse can gallop!

Our snap shots do not show fast movement, but that doesn’t mean we can’t canter.  It just means

the photographer, my husband, Steve, prefers stay in the saddle the whole ride, which might not happen if he is zooming in and out with his camera at a gallop!

Some more days of riding, then pictures back at the range….

  Then pool time… rocking chairs… campfire rings.. and… more horses, of course!

Ever go riding where there is not a lot of trees and realize the coffee you drank is giving you that funny fealing? Oh no! I thought no way was I going to make it back to the barn and few trees here to hide. I said a little prayer for help, and lo and behold, there was a real restroom right over the hill!!!

Heather and Austin back in the barn after a fun day of riding… now time for pool, rocking chairs, and campfire rings!

Every day after riding we enjoyed the amenities back at the range, such as sight seeing, swimming in the pool, and chatting at the campfire ring.

Austin’s running man dive.

Water’s great!

Pretty areas around the ranch.

Campfire ring

My horse for the next day.

And then more riding!

Did I mention these horses were well trained and gentle for the young/inexperienced rider. Austin was 10 this year.

Here’s the BIG horse for nice tall riders.

Wow! and 5’3 me gets to ride him!

Copenhagen curious about the camera.

I hope you enjoyed these snapshots.  If you would like more information about Running R Ranch, their website is www.rrranch.com or www.facebook.com/runningr .  They are located at 9059 Bandera Creek Rd, Bandera, TX 78003 or call 830.796.3984.  I called them for

permission to include them in my blog, but I am not compensated in any way for this.

Please remember that if you or anyone you know is planning to buy or sell horse property, I would love to help. Actually, as a Texas Realtor, I’m able to help with any property, not just horse property, even though that is my specialty.

Linda Fath, Realtor

Coldwell Banker United, Realtors

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Happy Trails!

Hi Readers,

Thanks for hitching up here!

How’s your horses?  Do you have a favorite trail to ride?  Are you planning to buy or sell horse property?  This blog will be about my experience on the trail and with our horses.  Also, in order to spend more time with my family and horses, I changed careers about 5 years ago from being an accountant to a Realtor specializing in horse property.  If you need help finding an agent in your neck of the woods, I will be happy to help you with that.  If you happen to be looking or selling in the greater Houston area, I will be happy to show you myself.

MY FIRST PONY

Then came the happiest day of my life thus far.  It was 1965 and I was 10 years old.

When did I get the fever for horses?  Not sure where it came from because we lived in the suburbs and neither of my parents or grandparents ever had horses.  But every year I would ask, beg, and plead, to wake up to a horse in my backyard for my birthday and Christmas.  Never mind that 6 of us lived in a tiny 3 bedroom house with only one bath and our backyard had about 500 sq. ft. of grass not already covered with a swingset, sandbox, and merry-go-round built by my loving father.  I saved my allowance faithfully, and when I had ten dollars I asked again.  My mom laughed and said that wasn’t even enough for the tack.  I was 5 or 6  by then.  I tried guilting my parents into it by saying I was the only one in my school without a horse.  Somehow they didn’t fall for that.

So, after starting elementary school, I would ride the bus home to my friends homes who lived in the country.  I would egg them on to go looking for horses in pastures.  Then we would crawl over the fence and jump on their backs and ride around until we got tired of falling off or we had to go home.  We even had one house where we would get a bridle out of the tack room and put in on a cute black pony who loved the attention.  Sometimes we would get caught and get shooed away.  But back then, in the 60s, people weren’t worried about theft or vandalism where I lived.  We wouldn’t think of that.  We just wanted to love and play with horses since we couldn’t have our own.

One day our family moved to a somewhat bigger house on about an acre and a half.  I was about 10 and still pleading and begging for the horse I knew I would never really have.  My parents never even took me riding.  Neither of them had ever ridden a horse and couldn’t understand why my nice bicycle wasn’t good enough.  It had shiny chrome and even racoon tails on the banana handlebars.  Oh well, I had horses in walking distance then (walking distance could be 5 miles if there was a horse at the destination) and would ride often with my friends.  We thought nothing of galloping with no saddle or even halter.  I learned to roll at touching the ground and never got seriously hurt when bucked off.

Then came the best day of my life thus far.  My parents asked me if I would like to go to one of their friends homes who had ponies and maybe I could ride one.  Wow!  That was so exciting.  I pictured riding through the woods for hours.  We went to the farm and there were dozens of pretty ponies in a pasture.  No woods and no trails.  The pasture had lots of obstacles in it, like piles of boards, etc.  The man asked me to pick out a pony to ride. Now I realize he meant for me to point to one so he could saddle her for me.  But I took off running towards a Palomino.  She watched me approach and didn’t run away from me.  I grabbed her long white mane and jumped on her back.  She seemed a bit surprised and started running around.  I was all smiles when I looked over at my parents and the owners who had their jaws dropped.  The pony ran a long time and even jumped over a pile of logs.  Finally I could hear the adults calling me, so I relaxed my posture and the pony stopped.  I jumped down and ran over to the adults.

“Wow, little girl, you are a great rider!  That pony wasn’t broke and was never ridden before,” the man said.

“How did you learn to ride like that???” my parents asked.  Well, back in the 60s it was perfectly acceptable to receive spankings and even the occassional whipping with a belt for unacceptable behavior.  There was no way I was going to tell them about playing cowgirl with my friends.

I just said, “Thank you, sir, for letting me ride your pony!  I love her!”

Later that night my parents called me into the room.  I wondered if they figured out how I knew how to ride.  Instead, they asked if I would object to them bringing that pony home to live at our house.  I jumped so high in excitement, I’m surprised I didn’t hit the ceiling.  I was truly overjoyed and could hardly control my emotion.  Not my typical behavior as an almost preteen who showed little emotion to my parents.

Cindy, my Palomino Sheltland pony, was my constant companion for the next few years.  The very first day I had her, I taught her to laugh on command for food.  She would curl her lip when I said “laugh” and then search my pockets for treats.  For the first couple years I had no saddle.  I rode bareback every day.  Picture above was taken a couple years after I brought Cindy home.

Soon Cindy would be jumping her height as a 3 year old, not even broke to a saddle.  I was a gangly 11 year old with no instructor or even mentor. But Cindy and I loved our time together and she would do anything for attention.

In 1968 I was 13 and awkward.  Starting to get too big for my pony, but still riding her all the time.  I joined the local 4-H and finally had other people around me who knew about horses.  Up until that time, everything I knew came from trial and error and reading library books. I’d never even been to the fair grounds to a show before, but our group was going to compete in events.  My leader told me I had to wear a saddle on my horse to compete.  We didn’t have one and I had never ridden in one before.  I bought one from my savings (I used to babysit twin 7 year old girls and their 2 year old little brother every day for an hour or so after school until their parents got home).  I practiced riding with it until it was easy, but I still preferred bareback because I could feel her muscles better that way and knew what she was going to do next.  And she would know from my leg commands what I wanted her to do.

The first even I competed in was trail riding.  We had to go over a bridge, jump, back through bales of hay with aluminum foil stuck to them and flapping in the wind and run and then do a sliding stop.  I had never seen any of this done before.  But I went riding in the trails around my house every day and was always looking for some fun obstacle to tackle, so it didn’t seem like it would be hard to do.  Cindy and I competed and then all of the kids with the big horsed competed.  I already had Cindy unsaddled and waited to see if anyone in my 4-H club would win a ribbon.  I was so amazed when they called my name for first place.  My first fair (even as a spectator) and my first event.  That’s how I got addicted to competing.

First Fair

Pretty soon I realized I was just too big for my pony, but would never sell her.  My three younger siblings were very willing to adopt her when I got my first big horse.  And big he was!  At 17 hands, I often rode triple bareback with two of my girlfriends.  The boys were so impressed.  I was even the mascot at my high school with him where we were the Central Crusaders.  I had a suit of armor made up for him and for me and I carried a fake sword.  At half time, we would gallop down the sidelines.  He was a Tennessee Walker/Morgon cross and I got him off the race track.  He was very fast! Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of April that I can find right now.  She was a very smart and talented Arabian mare.  There was a short time in college when I had to give up my horses to go away to school.  It was as sad a day as I was happy when I first got my pony.  But in not too many years I was married and starting a family of my own.  When my two daughters were very young, I bought them their first pony, Bob, also a Palomino.  When they got older, we bought two quarter horses, a mare out of Jet Deck named Patsy and another one named TJ who had been neglected and I bought him out of sympathy.  My best years with my daughters growing up was galloping through trails with them.  We rode together quite often, even when they were teenagers.  We also took jumping lessons and other lessons.  Now my kids are grown and we moved from Ohio to Texas.  My oldest, Heather Graham, is married with two children of her own.  Her husband, Geoff owns a successful company that builds commercial buildings, http://www.cavcontx.com . My daughter is an aspiring actress as Harper Graham http://www.facebook.com/harpergrahamfilm .  I hope to teach their two children, Parker and Preston, how to ride in a couple years.

Heather is in the blonde in the white T-shirt in center.

Heather on set with the horse she is riding in the film.

Geoff center with Preston left and Parker right, waiting to shoot a Chrysler commercial. My other daughter, Holly, lives in The Woodlands with her husband, Chris, who owns a landscaping company http://www.affordablesurroundings.com/About.html.  Holly is studying to be a nurse.  I will have many blogs of her kids, as my husband and I have been taking their oldest daughter Austin, on horseback riding vacations.  Her son, Devon and other daughter, Alexis, also accompany my husband and I on our travels.  Holly is calling me now to go meet her, so enough of this blog today.  Stay tuned for pictures of riding vacations!  And local trails around the greater Houston area.

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