Monday, April 8, 2013

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch - riding lessons are back!

I love this place!  I always feel like I'm going to visit a whole bunch of family while I'm there.

Getting ready for their lessons starts the week before, as we discuss the upcoming events. As soon as I mention that we have "riding lessons" on the calendar, that's all I hear about for days.  "Is it time to go to the ranch, yet??"  Last night, the conversations continued as they discussed getting up early to milk goats, getting their schoolwork done, and their music practice.

This morning, I came into the kitchen to see the most dapper lads all decked out in their "cowboy outfits."  Lessons weren't until 2:30, which meant we needed to leave by 2:00, which meant we needed to get ready at 1:00.  [Yes, it takes us an hour to get ready.]  Boots, hats, "cowboy shirts" and "cowboy jeans" were donned ... and we were off.

We are always greeted so warmly when we get to the ranch and today was no exception.  We even got our picture taken out front by the sweet check-in gal - just to mark the event.  Kelsie met us in the store and after signing all my liability release paperwork for the year, off we went up the hill.  Jeff met us on the way and the boys took off with him.

I began to notice the improvements to the place already.  Each spring, we get to see what the crew has been working on all winter.  Last year, a new building went up by the round pen.  And this year, I noticed a new repair shop and a huge greenhouse in the making.  Plus, the store was moved up front.  New decking and custom railing was made as well. Fresh bark covered the place and there was a freshness about everything that makes me feel like I want to be a part of whatever is going on.

Once at the top of the hill, we get to see that breathtaking view of the place -- all the way to the mountains.  I love it!

Each boy gets their session leader and then heads off to do their chore.  Then, the exciting moment of getting to pick our their horse.  Burnell was especially excited to pick a horse that he could canter with - which is reserved for riders 8 and over.  They groom and saddle up and then head to the arena.
Chance with Jeff W... and Jacoby.  Chance says "Jacoby has a really good trot and he's almost the best horse - except for Buckshot."  Apparently Troy has the "coolest" horse - a big black -- that was his 1st pick.

Burnell with Jeff G... and Robby -- A good canterer.

Orin with Karen ... and Cassidy.  Orin wanted to ride Troy's horse, too, but he wasn't an option.
Ty, Quint, Vienna and I get to visit and play and watch in the meantime.  Nora sweetly got hot chocolates for them while I visit with her and Ashley.  Then off we went to the hot walker (their favorite place to play) for some super fast swinging.  Aimee came out to visit with us and gave the boys a swing, too.  She's so fun!

It was a momentous occasion! Burnell cantered like a pro - off lead.  Orin took his horse back and forth between the cones - mastering the process.  And Chance practiced directing his horse like a pro.  Mama took videos and pictures like crazy while Ty and Quint looked on from their perch.  We met Jesse (from Mississippi) and said Hi to Jolene.  Then I visited with Julie and Hannah and met Josie, the new staff volunteer coordinator.

Finally, after all is done, horses and tack put away, it's time to warm up in the meeting room with some hot chocolates and more visiting.  It's always hard to leave, but we finally get moving back down the path to our car.  Everyone has had a full and delightful time.  I even get to visit with Troy on the way, who reminds me that these little guys are growing up so fast!  So true!  I love this place!  We love the people and the memories we are making each time.  It is a joy to be a part of this place.


  1. I LOVED this post. :) I am so thankful that you all get to come out to the ranch. The best days of the ranch are when you and your family are there! You are a blessing to all of us... and we LOVE your kids. :) They are talked about before, while and after ya'll have been there. Love you friend.

  2. Wow! Already beginning sessions at the ranch! This is a glowing report and probably makes everyone want to take part. :) Thank God for Troy and Kim and their vision and hard work. They and their staff enrich the lives of so many people. May God continue to prosper their work.

    The boys look so authentic in their western wear! Next time, perhaps you can include a photo of Mama and Vienna! :) I love the boots/pink booties shot!

    Love, love, love you,