On the long passage, Cass would stay busy telling stories and playing Math Marbles. At one point, we heard music coming from the saloon. We looked down to find her rocking out to the Moana soundtrack. She was dancing and twirling around the boat. I thought about how strange this must be for her. Her parents tell her that she is leaving her home, her school, her friends, everything she knows….and a few weeks later she is out in the middle of the ocean for days at a time. And she took it all in stride. I wanted to do something special for her. So I searched for ranches in the areas we would visit over the next month or so.
I came across as small ranch, Horseshu Ranch, just outside the Friday Harbor downtown. The place got great reviews on Yelp. Better yet, their rates were amazing. After talking to the owner, I decided on a 45 minute private lesson for $50. With the private lesson, the activities with the horse could be based on Cassidys comfort level.
Cassidy and I hopped on the bikes and head over to the ranch. We arrived about an hour early. We were met by Alex in the feed shop. She would be Cassidys coach for the lesson. She showed us around the ranch. There were chickens and roosters wandering freely, ducks, goats, and horses. Alex filled up a feed trough and let Cassidy offer it to the goats. Inside the feed shop, we found dozens of baby chickens keeping warm in their crates. Finally, it was time to meet our horse.
Cassidy would be riding Cowboy. Everyone starts on Cowboy, Alex explained. Cowboy is a gentle, attentive horse. Alex showed Cass how to lead Cowboy, minding your feet so you dont get stomped on. They walked him over to the saddling area. Alex had Cassidy brush Cowboy and explained that you always brush a horse before putting on the saddle. Then, they went to the arena and Cass mounted the horse. Alex spent almost an hour teaching Cass to maneuver on the horse.
The lesson was over just as Annabelle, the owners granddaughter, returned home from school. She was delighted to see another girl on the ranch. Annabelle and Cassidy quickly became friends and they ran off to collect eggs from the chickens. The eggs were all different colors. Some looked like Easter eggs, pastel blue and pink. Others were brown, white, and spotted.
Finally, it was time to head back into town. The afternoon at the ranch far exceeded my expectations. We plan to make a stop at Horseshu Ranch again on our way back to visit Cowboy.