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[RC] Swanton Pacific - Melissa Margetts Ms. Kitty

I just arrived back home from my 2,800 mile round trip trailer ride to and from the Swanton Pacific ride. I wanted to write a thank you email before I do anything else. I haven't taken a shower in a week and I stink like a goat, uhh, I mean horse. I DO normally love the smell of "au de cabayo" and once I've washed my hair and scrubbed up real good, I'm still planning on going back outside and burying my nose in my brave paso finos mane and giving him another good-night hug for a job well done. The Swanton Pacific ride was one that I had wanted to do for a while and I am sooo happy that I was able to experience it before it came to an end. Barbara, Lud and her crew of volunteers, family and helpers did an AMAZING job. From the detailed trail description and markings to the warm, helpful and friendly and faces that greeted you at every stop with anything you could possibly need for yourself or your horse, it was all provided. The attention to every detail was something I hadn't experienced at very many rides. Lud even gave a little botany lesson at the ride meeting for those of us who had never seen poison oak or stinging nettles. He even had fresh picked visual examples that he was HOLDING up to show us. ( He was literally holding it up bare handed saying "Don't touch this!" I still didn't get that part. I guess that it's poison doesn't affect everyone or Luds decades of working in the stuff has rendered him impervious to its effects.) There were even gate openers sitting in their chairs under blankets out in the middle of nowhere on the trail all night just to open and close some of the gates. Communication in dead cell service areas didn't prevent the ATV and truck posse from getting to lost riders or ride-and-tie ers to get them found and back on the trails along with offerings of coffee and cookies no less. I was very impressed with it all. Listening to Barbara was impressive as well. I hadn't met her until then though we had exchanged emails before. Geeze Louise, she gave a downright scary declaration at the ride meeting about proper gate etiquette for those who might not know it. I doubt if there is a rider who attended that ride meeting who will EVER go through a gate and keep riding while leaving the dismounted gate opener behind ever again. I recognized a known violator or two flush to grey and then a fine shade of red during her "no-nonsense tolerated" warning. You KNEW that if she had heard that an offense like that happened, she would personally wrap the violators testicles around their ears. She reminded me of my long gone grandmother who could wup you upside the head faster than you could weave and duck if she heard you sass, forget your manners or not say "yes Ma am" or "No Ma am" when addressing an adult. I distinctly remember when she beaned me with dead-on accuracy with a crab apple from across the pasture, when she saw that there were three of us kids riding on her thirty two year old sway-backed horse named Penny. Riding double was fine, but she swiftly and effectively eliminated the third rider (me) with the arm of a Major League pitcher. She didn't tolerate complainers, whiners, or not following the rules. She expected you to pull up your "big girl panties", behave and always use your "God-given common sense". She was tougher than nails, no-nonsense but fair and expected the same out of others. Barbara is the same way. Anyway, I digress. The ride was tough, beautiful, well run and if you didn't get around to putting the Swanton ride on your bucket-list of things to do, It's your loss now. It will be sorely missed. Thank you again to Barbara and Lud for having put 2/3rds of their life into this ride for all of us to have experienced and enjoyed. Now go take a rest (HA!)
If you're not livin on the edge, you're takin up too much space!
/Melissa Margetts
Telluride Colorado


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