Cowboys and Cowgirls

Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, we got up early to visit my cousin Paige's house and all her horses.  She and her family live right next to their arena where they ride horses and even host ropings.  It's a place we love to visit any chance we get! Paige's husband, Roger, was stuck at work so he couldn't join us.  Sometimes he and Paige will show us how they rope's so much fun to watch.  I love seeing them in action!  I felt bad that we put Paige to work saddling horses for us, even though she swore she didn't mind.  When we first arrived, she set out on a four-wheeler and brought in a group of horses.

Parker climbed high so he could see the horses running into the arena.

And you know, once one boy climbs up on something, it's only a matter of time before another one follows him.

Bren climbed up on the railing, too.  She was "bigger" than me!

Aren't the horses all so pretty?

While Paige worked on getting horses saddled, we worked on warming up to the big horsies by petting them.

Some horses were hanging out in stalls, so we walked over to visit them too.

Paige and Roger had lots of hay stacked in the arena while we were there.  I guess that's food for the winter?  The kids all had so much fun climbing all over it...if you don't have a jungle gym or playset in your backyard, may I suggest just buying some hay?

It took a few minutes to get them to all climb down for a group photo.  I'm pleased to say that this is the first (and only) photo of what would be ALL of my grandmother's great grandchildren.  Eleven of them!  She was only able to meet seven of them before she passed away - she never met our two and Sevens and Ramer weren't born yet - but I have no doubt that she watches them from Heaven all the time.

Before Ramer was born, Sevens was the youngest.  You have to be careful with him - one look in those big green eyes and he'll steal your heart.

This is Carter and Roany.  They're both 3, just like Parker and Bren.  Yep, four cousins born within 6 months of each other.

Before too long, the horses were ready for riding.  These two cowboys were the first to hop on.

A few laps around the arena and then Parker was switched out for Wyatt.  Two dudes in one saddle was a pretty tight fit!

These three climbed up on another horse.  They are much more comfortable up there than our city kids!

I love their little hands holding onto each other!

Wyatt got brave and rode all by himself.  I wasn't expecting it, but I'm proud of him for doing it.

Most of us took a turn at riding a horse.  (Side note: my dad, pictured below, has a horse named after him.  Uncle Steve (the horse) was unfortunately not there so we didn't get to see him.  Rumor is that Uncle Steve is actually a pretty nice horse and might bring in some big bucks when they sell him!)

Yes, even I got on a horse.  It was a very short ride, but it still counts.

Here I am being nice to my horse (Jim Bob, or was it Chief?) so that he'll be nice to me.  I promise this was just an action shot, and not some kind of glamorous photo shoot.  There is not a big box fan off to the side blowing my hair for special effects.  That's just the real wind.

Parker was in love with riding the horses.  He rode with Doc, his Poppy, his Uncle Nick, and then even rode by himself!  This picture cracks me up.  Hello, bed-head.

This is the response I got when I asked "Who wants to be a cowboy?"  I guess his parents better start saving up for some horses.

Bren never worked up enough courage to get on a horse, but she did give them kisses!

Of Paige's three children, Roany is the one that loves being on a horse the most.  She is painfully shy around all of us, but around the horses, she's right in her element!

I loved watching her ride this horse.  Paige said that with the adult saddle, it's pretty much like she's riding bareback since her feet don't reach the stirrups.  She also said that with a kid-sized saddle, Roany flies!

Nick and Joel: cousins.

You would think our kids would be enamored with the horses, but guess who really stole the show?  Jingle the kitten.

I think there was more than one kid that wanted to take Jingle home with them.

I hate that we didn't have more time with the horses, but we had to get back for a delicious lunch before hitting the road back home.  Just for fun, I'll leave you with a branded horse's rump...