Riding off into the Sunset

9:00:00 AM

Our daughter was born with the "obsessed with horses" gene, and has ridden since she was 7 years old.  One of her favorite horse-related activities is trail-riding, and one of her life goals is to ride a horse on every vacation around the US and world.

With me.

Me.  The person that doesn't ride horses.

So what did I do on our fourth day in Las Vegas?

I rode a horse.

It was actually my idea.  I wanted to surprise her, so I took a couple of trail-riding lessons with a friend to help get me a little comfortable on a horse, and then started researching ranches that offered trail-rides around Las Vegas.

I decided to book a sunset trail ride with Wild West Horseback Adventures.  I perused their website, read many reviews online, both the good and the bad (the bad reviews were a collection of personal problems...I got sick two hours before we were to be picked up and they refused to refund my non-refundable payment), and decided that this would be the outfit to book with.  Having our own ponies, my number one priority is the health of the trail horses and safety, and they seemed to have very high marks in both categories, even from those that found the ride boring.

And since we didn't have our own rental car, it was very helpful that part of the package was hotel pick-up.

The day before our ride I got a confirmation call from James, the guy that would be picking us up from the hotel, letting us know when and where he would pick us up.  And he was right on time in a large white 15 passenger van with the company logo on it, and bottles of water.  After picking up another couple from another hotel, we were on our way.

James and our driver were extremely friendly and personable throughout the entire 45-minute drive to the ranch.  They both shared a lot of information about Las Vegas and the surrounding area.  I found it ironic that he mentioned Fremont Street being a vulgar area now, as we had just been there the night before and could only agree.

We arrived at the ranch and were given forms to fill out.  After that it was time to meet our guides and the horses.

One of the ranch dogs made a bee-line for my daughter.  She knows a dog-lover when she smells one!

Our trail guide, Cesar, was the best.  He gave a very comical explanation of the do's and don'ts of riding a horse, and I knew I would like him when he said if anyone fell off their horse because they did something stupid he would "laugh my ass off."  He clearly has a love and passion for horses and riding and was very easy to talk to and get along with.

After that everyone was given their horse and mounted up.  

And then we were off!  All that was missing was the soundtrack from an old western movie in the background.

Some of the negative reviews were about the speed of the trail ride, and my daughter concurred.  She wanted to be out cantering around.  But for me...a slow walk was perfect!  

Cesar's father led the group, and Cesar spent his time going back and forth between riders, talking and engaging everyone.  

And the scenery was breath-taking.  It was hard to believe just 5 months earlier I had been trail riding in the snow, and now I was riding a horse in the desert.

These circles were interesting, and I never got a chance to ask what made them.  We were near Area 51, so who knows?

Before turning around to make the loop back we took a little break, where Cesar talked a little more about the area we were riding through, and pointed out a herd of longhorn sheep.

Emma talked Cesar's ears off about riding horses.  It was interesting talking to him about the differences caring for horses in the desert compared to us here in Virginia where grass and water is plentiful.

She finally got the sunset picture she was after.

After the ride we were treated to a dinner of steak, baked potato, corn on the cob, baked beans, and apple pie.  It was all very tasty and a welcome meal after working up an appetite.

 Overall, I am very glad I booked this trip.  It gave my daughter and I some wonderful memories, and was a fantastic evening away from the Strip.  It was worth every penny, and then some.  And we definitely plan to do it again next time we are out in Vegas.

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