The annual Christmas ride for 2010, held Dec 10-12 at Parrie Haynes Ranch, was one of the best rides I’ve experienced at the ranch and I will be sure to make time during the busy month of December next year to attend again. This was the first time my husband, Dan, and I have been able to make this ride and we, as well as a lot of other folks, from the looks of things, had a jolly old time.
Friday night’s atmosphere was pleasant and laid-back and soon after we arrived we found ourselves enjoying bowlfuls of Louise’s delicious stew alongside cornbread.
My fears that it would be unpleasantly cold weather for riding were laid to rest early saturday, when a sweatshirt with a long-sleeved shirt underneath were almost too warm at times. we were met with blue skies and sunshine and pastures of golden waving grasses. the ranch has it’s own beauty this time of year i noticed. the juniper-strewn landscape was dotted with crimson oaks and the stark white bark of sycamore trees. the air had just enough crispness to tingle my senses and keep the horses frisky.
After a delicious breakfast, we made sandwiches to take on the trail with us for lunch and headed toward Ivy Mountain. being fairly new to tetra, i had never been up on the mountain and was really looking forward to it. we had a good-sized group of riders, the most friendly folks as always, and it made for an enjoyable journey.
We arrived on the mountain, under Scotty’s skilled direction with Debby Alley riding drag, just in time for lunch. We all “pulled up a cedar” and sat down to our meals. A sandwich never tasted so good! Re-fueled and rested, I found it difficult to tear myself away from the spectacular view, but I was assured there was more to see.
Following our decent from Ivy Mountain, we headed over to Water Tower Mountain and a much smaller group decided that we must see the view from up there as well. Up, up, up the steep “hill” we went, and at the top, we were greeted by another beautiful view. click, click, click went the cameras. after descending to a more reasonable altitude, and sliding my saddle back down my horse’s neck, we headed back to camp, enjoying the rest of the gorgeous afternoon from the backs of our equine buddies.
Back at camp, after a little time to rest, the temperature began to drop and the evening festivities got underway. We had a delicious dinner entirely provided and prepared by wonderful TETRA members – I apologize that I can’t name them all – but THANK YOU to all who helped – it was thoroughly enjoyed!
After supper, Santa and Mrs. Claus, aka Richard and Louise Burney, got the party started by passing out gifts to children and adults alike. I think Santa’s knees held out alright after all of the sitting everyone was doing on them. Then came the gift exchange – which was great fun. And no Christmas party is complete without a few carols. Murray Price played his guitar and sang for us with a little backup from Mason and Megan.
Sunday morning, we enjoyed yet another hearty breakfast which was welcomed as we woke up to a breezy 35 degrees. A few brave souls were planning on riding out a little later in the morning, but we opted to head home with our gifts and memories of the warm, sunny ride of the previous day.
It takes so many volunteers to pull off such a fun and organized event and we are grateful to ALL – though I can’t name you all, you know who you are. And a special thanks goes out to Louise and Richard Burney who worked tirelessly to make it a joyful weekend for all of us!
Article written by: Paula Engelhardt. All Christmas Ride photos by: Paula Engelhardt.