Travel: Albuquerque, New Mexico by horseback

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Yesterday I got a chance to go trail riding out at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Tamaya tribe is one of nineteen tribes that reside along the Rio Grande in New Mexico. They own a casino along with the Tamaya Resort, which is managed by the Hyatt Corporation. It’s a beautiful property that uniquely incorporates the culture of the Tamaya tribe with the hospitality of Hyatt. It’s an incredibly peaceful place that has a wide variety of activities right on the property. Aside from the standards such as spa, swimming (with a fantasy waterslide), tennis and golf, they also have bread making, pottery classes, hot air ballooning, Native American dancing, tribal story-telling around fire pits, rodeoing, trail riding and much, MUCH more.

I had the opportunity to go trail riding on the property and it was such a delight. I rode horses—hunter/jumper—all the way through college, but haven’t been on a horse in years. I was anxious to get back in the saddle. These trail horses weren’t your typical pokies, they had some real get up and go. Thank God!

This was my horse, Beauty. She was a regal and frisky mare with a gorgeously smooth gait. She took good care of me.

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This is Ernesto. He’s a bit of a ham. Turns out he lived on Oahu for 12 years running a horse property near the Polynesian Gardens. We had much to talk about. And did I mention he was a ham? He had me in stitches.

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This is Connie, the proprietor of the horse operation at the resort. She was like every young horse-crazy girl’s dream. She’s got a big, warm smile and she loves nothing better than to share and teach her passion for horses. She travels all over the U.S. with high school and college students on the rodeo circuit. She’s a kick.

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This is Angela. She’s a bonafide cowgirl. She’s 19 and won $200 at a rodeo last weekend. She had a smile as big as Texas when she talked about winning that rodeo. Isn’t she pretty? She’s a good lookin’ gal. And super sweet.

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And here’s Andy. He’s also 19 and in college. He’s also a rodeo nut. And super sweet. I think that’s how they breed them out here.

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Anyhow, they threw a bunch of us onto horses and we started heading out … where? we weren’t sure. Uhm, Connie? Where are we headed? Cause I see nothing but brush.

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Turns out we were headed towards the Rio Grande. See that little golden retriever waaaaaay off yonder? That little spec in the distance? Her name is Sugar and she was waiting, and waiting, and waiting for us to hurry up and get to the river so that she could go swimming.

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When we got to the river, which was moving at a pretty good pace, they gave us the option of crossing through the river or heading down to a bridge. Hector and I were the only ones who wanted to cross the river on horseback, the way they used to back in the cowboy days. Yo, Hector … whassup, dude? Hector is a photojournalist from New York City. Hector is hilarious.

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Hector showed up for horseback riding in shorts and Sperry docksiders. To cross the river he took off his shoes and socks cause he didn’t want to get them wet. Yeah. Okay. Whatever, man. You’re more worried about your feet getting wet than your legs chafing from the saddle leather? Uh huh.

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He got some great pictures of me, Ernesto and Andy in the middle of the river with water up to our knees. It was awesome!

We then headed for shallow waters and it was a relief.

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My horse, Beauty, had been pawing the water pretty vigorously with one hoof, which is a sign that she’s testing the water because she’s interested in rolling in it. I was not anxious for her to roll in the water while I was still on her back. The water was refreshing and cool, but I was happy to go on to the shallows and chat with Angela.

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Isn’t she a cutie? And did I mention she’s super sweet? But not single, sorry fellas.

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On the way back, entertainement abounded. Whether it was Ernesto … did I mention he’s a ham?

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Or the ranch dogs … here’s Sugar just after rolling in sage brush and sand …

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Oh, yeah. Sugar was having some kind of fun out there.

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And here’s the other cutie … I couldn’t remember her name. But I’ll tell you, this little dog has spunk. She was constantly going after stuff in the brush and digging holes.

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Whatever was in this hole caused her to yelp and yet she kept going back for more. Go figure.

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Man, she was a cutie.

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I fell a little in love with these happy-go-lucky dogs that roamed all over the place chasing lizards, playing in the sand, swimming in the river … oh, if life could be so idyllic for all of us!

Beauty took good care of me. She’s got a beautiful trot and cloud-like gallop. I let her have her head a time or two. We bonded.

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At the end of our two-hour ride I got off and went up to scratch her ears, between the eyes and down her neck to say thank you for such a great ride. She nuzzled me for a couple of minutes as if to say that she’d had a good time, too. And all felt right with the world.

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Life always look better by horseback.

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