So I stopped off here at Raising Hope Ranch about a week and a half ago thinking I was here for 2 weeks but looks like I wasn't counting right because I still have a little over a week to go until their Parent Workshop and Program and Play Day on June 7. It's been really good... relaxing for me which I say very carefully since I know the pressure the ranch staff has on them and their lives can be anything but relaxed. But for me... to be in charge of nothing... be around hilariously awesome friends... to be outside... It's just the best ever! I feel like I'm going to horse revivals and that's been really fun!
I'm staying at Sharla's trailer. She has one child living with her and then the ranch unit girl, Courtney Decker. I knew her a bit before but I'm re-figuring out how awesome she is! I think her and I together add maybe a little too much crazy to Sharla's life sometimes, so it's probably good the situation isn't permanent. I've had a lot of fun with Adri too... didn't know she had such strong fingers and could give such amazing back rubs! We cooked gumbo together this morning, hung out at McDonalds for a long time Monday, and I've just realized how much she's grown up.
Sharla goes to the ranch at 6:15 - 6:30 every morning... Courtney even earlier than that because she makes breakfast. So I usually go with Shar or sleep later and go at 7 for breakfast. After breakfast the girls usually read essays they've written, then we go around the table and say what we read for our devotions and what impressed us about it. As soon as the girls are finished with breakfast and chores, they do yoga with Miss Lora, and we journey down to the tack shed to get the horses up. Usually at least a couple girls come down there after yoga and we have about an hour with them before school starts. On Play Day, we're planning some cool stuff to do for the parents to watch, and I'm helping the girls that just have the horses on the ground on a lead rope. They've been practicing things like getting the horse to figure 8 and weave around barrels, go sideways, and stand on a pedestal made from a big tractor tire. The horses have been making a lot of progress even just since I've been here and the girls are getting more confident too. One horse, Lark, is kind of a shy, introverted horse that gets tense really fast, and her girl has such good timing and lots of patience. The other horse is Bravo, a mustang that Sharla got from us, and he's a lot to handle sometimes and his girl is getting a lot more confident being the leader and getting him to do what she asks. The kids go up for school next, while we try to get random stuff done... There's a lot of that! I've helped with bush hogging a little bit, trimmed some horses hooves, ran to town for stuff, cooked a bit, there's a lot to be done. Then it's lunch... the board wives and Sharla and Lora's moms do most of the cooking. After lunch, the girls have school till 2, then quiet time, then do yard work with Miss Lora a lot of times, and swim... they've got a nice pool but very murky water that Lora is trying to fix by dumping in clarifier and clorax. (Side note about Miss Lora... we are finding out how alike we are!!!! We are both always cold, sit the closest to the fire, get lost all the time, wing things and aren't extremely disturbed when they don't go as planned, love coffee... the list goes on... and a lot of the things we're the same in are opposite of Sharla. Truly weird!) Supper is at 6, and the kids are usually in bed by a little after 8.
We try to spend most of the afternoon with the horses... let me tell you about the drill team. I can't really describe a drill team to a non horse person, just google it and watch a video... and have respect for them because they worked harder than you think to get it done!!! The horses do various patterns and stuff, but in a line and in sync with each other, and weave in between each other... things like that. They're practicing one for Play Day... Adri on Chiquita, one of our mustangs from home, Courtney on Galaxy, a mustang she got from our place, another kid on Ranger, a mustang that they've taken from wild to ridable in the past 6 months, with the child doing almost everything, and Sharla on Chica... the one lonely quarter horse of the bunch. Anyway, as with anything if you go about it head on, it looks pretty big, so we've been riding a lot, but only practicing little pieces of it! It seems like we've trotted on those horses for quite a few miles since I've been here, partly because my behind was veerrrry sore for the first couple days since I haven't been riding much. But they've made so much progress and I think the drill team will be a huge success... Plus to top it off, the whole ranch is wearing matching dresses... 11 of us in florescent highlighter colored dresses and one boy in a highlighter shirt. Wish you all could see it!
Sounds like very structured days... but I wonder if there have been any that have completely followed the schedule since I've been here??? There is no normal... this place is about being flexible! Today was typical. Only one girl came down for horses... one was working on her life, and another was sick. So we changed gears, and had just put rust killer on all the gates, getting them ready to paint, and then it started pouring rain! The power went out, it hailed, and this evening we climbed over a down tree to get to the house!!! So ya... there is always something interesting going on! Keep these awesome people in your prayers over here! They're amazing!