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Loping in Montana

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A wide range of people who have ridden a horse at least one time may have enjoyed the sport, but, of that number, how many would experience the real thrill of it? They wouldn’t all go through the adventure of galloping through the mountains, nor would all of them get the chance to truly enjoy themselves and lose all sense of time while riding. You may have ridden a horse before, but there’s a good chance that you haven’t discovered the joy of racing off into the western mountains that have been unchanged since early settlers’ times. I personally hadn’t experienced this level of enjoyment until my stay at a dude ranch in Montana this past summer. Before this particular experience, I loved horseback riding, but I certainly hadn’t gotten the a taste of its deeper thrills until I raced through the ancient mountains of Montana. In order to share with you more accurately the exhilaration of this experience, I invite you to step inside my mind as I recreate a particular moment that made me feel incredibly alive.
I feel the wind whipping through my hair and barreling into my face. It fills me with delight. Here in Montana we ride Western, not English; and, instead of calling this gait cantering, it’s called loping. We race up the hill through the mountain’s paths, and I feel as if I’m invincible. I can go anywhere, whenever I want to and however I want to. Riding is like racing in a car, only much better. Out of the corner of my eyes I watch the tall, green grass whip by on either side of me. Because we are moving so quickly, everything around me seems like a blur; and there is nothing in sharp focus but the course in front of us. These muddy-colored paths are great for trail rides, and they are the only option for transportation around here – just like they were centuries ago.
As I take in a deep breath, closing my eyes for an instant, I can smell the mountain fresh air, and when I open my mouth I can almost taste the sweetness of the flowers. My horse is named Mocha, and he pants and breathes heavily as he starts to stretch his legs and accelerate. There is nothing else but the sound of his pounding hooves on the dirt road, making everything seem like we’re moving even faster than we really are; and I can tell that he shares my love of speed. I clutch onto the reins tightly, laughing inside and actually tingling with joy. Horseback riding is so fun that I can’t bear to imagine ever getting off in the end.
Faster we dash up the mountain, finally halting near the top. Mocha catches his breath, and I pat his neck affectionately, telling him that he did a good job. The fifteen minute sprint to get to the peak was most definitely worth it. The view is amazing: we can see the whole dude ranch from up here. It sits farther down below us, and I can see the spacious stables that we left earlier this morning, now the size of my fingernails. The sky is a perfect light blue, and the sun beams down on us, adding its warmth to the glow of exhilaration already on my face. Around and above us the light, puffy clouds balance on top of the firmament. I could stay here for hours, simply enjoying the view of the mountains in the distance and the bundles of trees that sit on top of them.
My horse and I lope some of the way down the mountain. I feel like there is nothing else in the world that can ever make me happier; and I hope that someday you too will get the opportunity to experience this amazing feeling, as it will connect you emotionally to the natural elements of our past and the extraordinary promises of our fut



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Trees said...
Nov. 17, 2012 at 1:17 am
This is really good!!!  I live in Montana myself, and I always get asked if I own a horse.  Which I do....  
 
lucygirl26 replied...
Nov. 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm
Thanks so much! :) That's really cool that you have a horse, I've always wanted one but I know that it's probably a lot of work...
 
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