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[RC] River Run - First Ride Experience - Mel Cochran

Hey Ya'll!

I just wanted to share a little of my experience this past weekend at the River Run in Hahira.

I went to the ride by myself and was a little nervous in the beginning. I was going to get my feet wet with the 25 mile LD. The minute I pulled into the camp, I was shocked at how many trailers were there...and no place to picket in sight! Thankfully, someone directed me to Pam and she showed me where to park. She was so nice and answered all of my questions. Everyone that I encountered was very warm and polite. There were no strangers there. I parked next to a lovely family from Mississippi and they helped me with my picket line and were so nice to me. I can't say enough about the wonderful "big happy family" atmosphere. The food was great and Joe's newbie talk was very very informative. I loved the "big brain, little brain" explanation of things.

Things went great on the day of the ride. I am very lucky to have a nice calm horse that takes everything in stride. She really impressed me with her attitude and heart that day. Not bad for a 4 year old! I ended up hanging with Cowboy Ed and one of his friends. He took good care of us and made sure that things went smoothly. He knows my horse pretty well since he trained her so he helped me gauge how she was doing. It was nice to be able to have someone experienced to follow on the ride. The trails were good and the changes in scenery kept things fresh. I loved the house on the lake! It was neat to see the people that lived in the area getting into things. There were families in their yards waving to us as we went by. There were also a couple of people that put out water in addition to the troughs that were already available. It was neat.

The dinner and awards ceremony after the ride was wonderful. The food was amazing! It was nice to hear everyone's name called out in recognition of them completing the ride - the actual awards were also VERY nice. It was also a good way to put faces with names. The best part was that I never heard any jealous sniping or negative comments like I would at the shows that I have been to. Everything was very positive.

All in all, I have to say that this was hands down the very best equestrian experience that I have ever had. I still have a smile a mile wide when I think about it. I can't wait until I can go to another ride and get to know even more wonderful people.

A big thank you goes out to everyone that made the ride possible! You guys are the best!

Thanks!

Mel Cochran

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