Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Snapshot - Smoky Mountain Stables

The family and I headed to the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg TN last week for a long family weekend.  We actually lived in TN for several years, and our first two daughters were even born there, but somehow we never made it to this popular tourist destination for many, especially Southerners.

If you've visited my blog or FB page for even 5 minutes, I don't have to tell you that I'm an animal lover.  If you go to Gatlinburg, there are many touristy things to do, go-kart rides, shows to see, shopping to be done, etc. but my husband planned some very natural things for us to do, including a ride through Cades Cove where we witnessed deer and BEARS in their natural habitats...yes, I said BEARS.

But, the most fabulous memorable experience of all was horseback riding at Smoky Mountain Stables!

Here we are before the ride


Me on my buddy Big Ben :) Truly he was the biggest of all the horses (6 ft. tall), and even though I'm not a new rider, I was a little intimidated when I realized he was mine for the next hour.  But, Ben was as gentle as could possibly be...such a smart fella too :)



The firstborn was the only one of us who had never ridden before and she was nervous...she's quite the thinker and tried to overthink the ride at times rather than just relaxing and moving with her horse.  I rode right behind her so she provided unexpected humor.




My middle daughter helped take care of a friend's horses in the pasture behind our house for over a year so she was very comfortable with her horse.  Here she's posing...what's with teenage girls these days and that crazy lean to, fake smile pose...have you seen it??

I like this one much better



My little cowpoke...cutest thing ever...was also very comfortable on her horse, Gravy.


And, of course, bringing up the rear...cause somebody has to...the old man...who, although not a horse ingenue by any stretch, seemed to be a little uncomfortable at times.  Ahem, I wonder if it's easier for women to ride horses than men..ahem. :/



At the last minute I grabbed my camera and slung it around my neck...5 minutes into the ride, the trail guide's horse got spooked by a BEAR right off the trail with my little cowpoke right behind him.  He quickly and professionally regained control of both horses and motioned for us to sit still and quiet...which, of course, we did.  We watched Mr. Bear lope along right beside the trail going in the opposite direction.
Can you say Gulp?
After Mr. Bear moved a little more into the bushes, my husband said, "Did you take a picture?"
"Um, was I supposed to? I was a little preoccupied."
Whoops.


Here we are after the ride with a few of the guys from the stables.  I'm gonna go ahead and tout the South for those of you who've never been here before.
All stereotypes put aside, you won't find a nicer bunch of folks.  And, sure we have the drawl thing going on for us...but it's so nice to be around just regular people sometimes.  People who aren't worried what others think of them and who honor and respect the beauty in the world around them.



I have lots of photos like this one bc I was taking them while Big Ben and I were making our way along the trail.

Great, Great Memories!!






Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce @ At Home with Books

29 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a fun time!

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  2. Great photos! We visited TN at the end of our honeymoon road trip last year and one of our regrets from the trip is that we only had time to visit Nashville and not the smoky mountains.

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    1. Nashville is a great city as well...we lived about 45 minutes from there for about 6 years and visited several times. You should definitely go back to the Smoky Mountains if you ever get a chance :)

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  3. What a fun adventure! I wouldn't have gotten a picture of that bear either!!

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    1. I was honestly frozen in that saddle...I couldn't believe what I was seeing! :p

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  4. Wonderful photos! It's terrific that your family rode together.

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    1. The youngest wanted to ride before we ever left the house...and we almost didn't get to bc the stables closed two afternoons before we got ther :( Finally, we planned to go as soon as they opened the day we left...and it was spectacular!

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  5. That looks like so much fun, and I'm sure I would have been too distract to take a photo of the bear too. :) I've always wanted to go horseback riding, but have to admit that I'm intimidated by how big horses are.

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    1. I am always intimidated by their size and power...they are beautiful animals though and so in tune to people :)

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  6. How fun! I went through my obligatory horse-phase as a kid, but never had much chance to actually ride any. What a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

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    1. I went through that phase as well :) but didn't learn to ride until I was in jr. high. I remember vividly the first time I was on a horse that started galloping...nothing like it!

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  7. This looks like a great vacation. We rented a cabin in the Smokies once when the kids were smaller. I agree with the whole southern charm idea. I had to call Customer Service a couple of time this week, and when I got guys who spoke with southern accents, I just knew they could solve my problems. And they did. Here's Mine

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    1. LOL! It's a comfort sound to me...like home. I like traveling but I really like coming home :)

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  8. Horses are way too big and intimidating for me to ride! They do look lovely, though. From a distance ;)

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    1. Big Ben was the biggest horse I've ever seen...I know my jaw dropped to the ground when the ranch hand brought him out :p

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  9. What fun! It has been years since I've been on a horse.

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  10. What a great time! I would love to go horseback riding again. It's been a long time since Girl Scout Camp. And I totally understand the not getting a picture thing. I don't know how many pictures I "could" have taken (the camera was right there), but I didn't think about it till it was too late.

    Here's my Snapshot.

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    1. I was comfortable enough most of the time to use one hand to take pics and hold on to the reins with the other. But, many of the pics are blurry...it's difficult to take pics on a horse that's moving of more horses and people moving :)

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  11. We LOVE to do horseback riding wherever we go. Inevitably, my son has issues. He just isn't very comfortable on a horse, and you bet the horse knows it. In Yosemite, he actually fell off his horse! OMG. But what an adventure! You will always remember.

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    1. My oldest daughter's horse knew it too! He walked over to a tree to scratch and I thought she was going to jump off! Then, he kept walking close to the edge of the trail just to hear her squeal I think. I was laughing so hard at times that I had to be careful not to lose my own balance! :):)

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  12. I've never been on a horse! It does look fun though, and the scenery looks fabulous - but the bear sounds scary. My Snapshots are at http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/parisian-pictures-take-two.html

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  13. I think I'd be scared to death if I saw a bear! Lovely memories for your family in these photos.

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  14. Except for the bear, sounds like a peaceful day with nature. I haven't been to the Smokey Mountains either and it's not that far a drive for me. One of those places I want to visist. Although... I haven't been on a horse for years and I'm sure the horse would know it and give me a difficult time!

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  15. I loved Nashville when I traveled there on business. Great photos.

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  16. Love that you share your fun times with us!

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