For the past 9 seasons we have been offering a week filled with yoga and horses to women. I was able to participate in a day and it became one of my favorite memories from the summer. After a delicious breakfast, we began our day with a yoga session led by Janice Baxter. Janice has been teaching yoga for over 40 years.
I am new to yoga and have enjoyed learning from new and amazing teachers this summer. We started out with self-love and intention setting for the day. We eased into standing and balancing poses before working on the pose Half Moon with a partner. Janice offers a safe environment to expand your yoga skills. We then moved into core related poses with bridge and wheel. (I was able to show off my ‘youth.’) You often hear Janice say ‘if you are laughing you are doing yoga.’ This couldn’t be truer in a room full of women. We ended class with Svasana and eye pillows filled with flax seed and lavender.
After yoga we loaded up the horses in the trailer for a lunch ride. We went to Murphy Larsen Ranch. This is another ranch that is owned by the Stranahan’s and is located directly across the valley from The Home Ranch. It gives you amazing views of the ranch and the breathtaking mountains behind it. The view is just layers of valleys, hills, and mountains, it seems you are in an outdoor art museum.
Our ride began in meadows that are home to Sand Mountain Cattle Company’s Red Angus calves and a view of Sand Mountain with the last aspen leaves of the fall clinging to their branches, shimmering like yellow disco balls. The smell of dirt, horse and crisp cool Colorado air fills your nose and makes you breathe slower. A sense of calm that goes from head to toes, takes over. We passed through a gate and suddenly found ourselves in the forest. We let the horses trot and lope up the trail surrounded by aspens. I must say even after a summer of riding in the same valley, this was breathtaking. It was movie worthy – loping on a horse through aspens with mountains surrounding you. I’m still learning to ride, and when Tammy is near, it makes you remember everything you have learned, it makes you want to become an even better rider.
We came out of the trees just as quickly as we entered them. This time were greeted with a view where we could see for miles with Sand Mountain to our back, Hahn’s Peak to our left, and the ranch and Zirkel Wilderness laid out in front of us.
We had lunch at Pete’s Cabin, a one room cabin with a wood burning stove, camp chairs and a deck with a view of the Elk River Valley. The chefs had packed us a gourmet lunch with sandwiches, fruit and homemade trail bars. After eating lunch we did a few yoga poses, tried to capture the beauty of the space to share with those that we had left at home and began our descent to the valley floor through the aspen forests and alpine meadows.
This is one of my favorite rides and days of the summer. I was able to practice yoga in the morning, learn a few new poses from Janice and then ride through the Elk River Valley with an amazing group of women led by cowgirl and horsewoman Tammy Pate. I got to learn from the best of the best in both areas. I hope you are able to join Tammy and Janice next year for a week of riding, yoga and relaxation.