The first few days in Fort Worth Texas revolved around the Legacy of Legends event, something I have wanted to attend for years and I was not disappointed. Set up and organised by Carolyn Hunt and Buck Brannaman in an effort to preserve and continue the approach and teachings of the late Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt, this is an annual event which is also repeated in Australia from time to time. This years focus was on colt starting but not as a competition. All the riders were invited, having been students of Tom or Ray and in some cases the next generation who may not have had the direct opportunity. Groups of between 2 and 5 rotated through the round pens each morning while the others and the audience watched on with excellent commentary along the way. To me what shone through the most was how everyone worked together for the good of the horses. Riders sharing the same pens, and riders outside awaiting their turn, as well as Buck and Rays grandson Jaton who offered mounted support from their saddle horses. It all evolved seamlessly, nothing appeared pre-planned , it was just what was needed, when it was needed, and by whoever was in a position to support. I'm sure it wasn't just the audience who came away having learned something more. After The Legacy I waved goodbye to Dave Stuart who had been one of the colt starters and to my lovely friend Cat who had shared the hotel in Fort Worth and hit the road for 2 days driving through New Mexico into Arizona.
As I arrived at the Cobre Loma Ranch near Pearce in Cochise County I immediately felt that homecoming glow that I used to get when visiting Eve's guest ranch which has now been sold. I had no expectations to ride as the set up is now for the cattle business not for visitors but as well as being treated to a beautiful little home of my own I was also mounted up on one of the ranch's old favourites Sabino who had appeared on BBC1 a few years back as Martin Clunes horse when he tried his hand at becoming a cowboy. On day 1 we were off onto the flats in search of some bulls who needed to be wormed and brought back into a pasture ready to be released with their ladies in the coming weeks. On the other days we headed up into the mountains behind the ranch to check on the cows and their calves moving those who needed to be relocated or brought back for doctoring. One afternoon we spent painting the pen rails - more teamwork as with 5 of us we ran out of paint before we ran out of time.
The 2 week trip flew by but I have brought home memories and lessons to put to use now I'm home. Patrick has already had a rude awakening after 3 months in the field. He has been clipped out, bathed and had rides from home and with trips in the lorry. Mentally I feel ready to face whatever comes my way and dare I say that physically I feel better now than I have possibly for 2 years or more so he'd better watch out as I won't have an excuse not to start on some arena work! Buck arrives in the UK in less than 10 weeks for the clinic at Aintree then Dave will arrive from Oz a few weeks later for his 2 month visit. My back up "team" may need to be ready and willing to step in again soon - I thank them in advance!