By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/5/2019
Occurred: 10/6/2019
Topics/Keywords: #HorsebackRiding Page Views: 282
Ride with us, ages 3 to 70, through the Sonoran Desert on horseback.

40 years ago, I rode a horse. It was part of a school outing. The moment I sat on him, he bucked, and, with me still on him, galloped to his stable, which he entered while I ducked, ran out again, and was finally contained long enough for me to be lifted off.

Nothing like that happened with the gentle, intelligent horses we rode this morning at Ponderosa Stables, at the foothills of South Mountain. At 68 I was not the oldest in our group; the youngest was my grandson, Dominic, who just turned 3.

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Michael and I arrived first, not only before the rest of our party, but before anyone. Ponderosa Stables is just at the entrance to South Mountain Park, and is fixed up to look like an old-timey TV show-style Western town.

Paul S Cilwa

However, the staff had arrived early and many of the horses were already saddled and waiting for the morning's crop of customers.

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My older granddaughter Cailey, my daughter Dottie, and my younger granddaughter (by another daughter, Jenny) Gianna, were among those in our group.

Jenny Rizzo
Jenny Rizzo

Gianna came ready to ride with her unicorn shirt and sparkly shoes.

John D Cilwa

Dominic, who we assumed would be fascinated by the horses, was at first more interested in his morning shadow.

Jenny Rizzo

But soon he had an opportunity to meet the horses at his own pace.

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Jenny Rizzo
Jenny Rizzo
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Jenny Rizzo
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Jenny Rizzo
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Paul S Cilwa
Paul S Cilwa

Finally it was time for our posse to get going. After someone else's little boy, Jenny got to mount her steed at the convenient, non-cowboy stepping platform.

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Paul S Cilwa
Paul S Cilwa
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John D Cilwa

John's horse had, I thought, unusually beautiful blue eyes.

Paul S Cilwa

Uncle John became Dominic's trusted horse whisperer.

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Jenny Rizzo
Jenny Rizzo
Jenny Rizzo

I'm embarassed to say I needed a little help getting onto my horse, Floyd. (It might actually have been easier to mount him cowboy-style.) When the wrangler asked if I'd ever ridden a horse before, I replied, "Yes—you hadn't been born yet."

Jenny Rizzo

And even Michael managed to look, if not comfortable, at least not in agony.

Jenny Rizzo

Lined up, off we went! To be honest, I didn't get a lot of photos of the scenery as it was too hard to get my phone out of my pocket, especially since I needed both hands to hold on.

Jenny Rizzo
Paul S Cilwa
Paul S Cilwa
Jenny Rizzo
Jenny Rizzo
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Jenny Rizzo
John D Cilwa

After riding just exactly the right amount of time—my hips couldn't have taken any more of it!—we returned to the stables. Dominic and Gianna wanted to say goodbye to a horse.

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Paul S Cilwa
John D Cilwa

And, as a last treat, Dominic treated us to a concert. His big brother, Zach, is a musician and Dominic has learned all the movements of a real pianist. He doesn't actually hit any particular notes but he has all the flourishes and showmanship down, pat!

Paul S Cilwa