The final installment on my Florida vacation. If you’ve been following so far, we crammed two amusement parks and a day at the beach in the span of three days. The fourth and final day, our flight back to Ohio was scheduled for 8pm. That means we have plenty of time to make our last day in Florida a good one. The weather took a little dip from the previous days. When we first arrived, it was 80ºF. The last day, day before Halloween, it was a chilly 47ºF in Florida! I was quite surprised because coming from a state where it can snow one day and be scorching the next, I expected Florida to have stagnant hot weather all the time. Clearly I was wrong but you know what? Nothing could ruin my day, not even cold weather.
I should start by saying like many people, I have a bucket list. Visiting Japan is numero uno on that list for my husband and I because we are huge anime fans and we love Japanese cuisine. I also would like to go to New Zealand, Ireland and go back to Florence, Italy someday. Besides travel, I also have regular bucket list items. I want a home library someday, I want another dog, I want to be an author’s assistant and I absolutely wanted to not only pet a horse but go horseback riding.
Well, horseback riding got slashed off my bucket list on this last day of our Florida trip. You cannot imagine how insanely happy I was! We traveled to Kissimmee, Florida to the Lazy H Ranch to participate in the second best experience of my life (seeing a sea turtle in the ocean was the first). We pulled up and was greeted by some fairly loud chickens. One of which was very bold but I’ll come back to him in a second. Previously, we had to send our height and weights to the woman so she could match us with our horses. They were so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We told her we were from Ohio and my friends from Maryland and soon as she heard Ohio, she told us about the horse she wants to get that lives in Ohio. The horse was white with a blonde name and her name was Blondie. She said the horse was $8000 and she really, really wanted Blondie but was hesitant because, and we learned this, horses from the North sometimes have a hard time acclimated to Southern weather. Also, the insects are different so they may not be able to handle certain insect bites.
So anyway, my horse’s name was Briar. Briar was a rescue horse. She was abused and malnourished and this woman met her and fell in love because even though Briar had been through a lot, she was still the sweetest horse ever. She brought her back to health and now Briar is a happy horse. My husband rode a horse named Cash who was a retired show horse. Acrobatics would do tricks on his back! My best friend rode Ally and her husband rode Chevy. We used these stairs to get on the horses and she strapped us in. Then we got a basic lesson on how to control the reins and off we went. We walked to this conservation area across the street from her ranch and she told us about how Hurricane Irma devastated her land a little bit. Uprooted two trees on her property and she started off with 9 chickens but by the time hurricane Irma passed, she only had 4 chickens left. The conservation park we rode through was known as Twin Oaks and it was a nice hour and 15 minute ride.
I realized that horseback riding is very therapeutic. I could literally do that all day long. Oh! Another thing she told us was if our horses tried to eat grass or bushes to stop them from doing so. Apparently horses will eat until their stomachs explode and even then, they’d keep eating. She said that while we were riding them, they were working and when they were done, they would go out to pasture and eat to their hearts content. Cash actually got loose one time and got into the horse feed and 300 lbs of food. The vet had to come every day for a week and give him an IV to help flush his stomach of all that feed. Crazy! We rode past this lake, I forget the name of it, but she had us guess how many gators were in it. Since it was a lake, we guessed pretty low, about 3000 or less. Boy were we wrong! She said at last survey they counted 30,000 gators in that lake! Just wow. We also saw a lot of eagles soaring while we were riding through and we got to trot which I am so bad at and definitely felt every bit of that horse ride the next day but it was sooooo worth it! I want to horseback ride again!
Anyway, here is the gallery of pictures. Chevy was a super lovebug at the end! Horse noses are so freaking soft and fuzzy and I wanted to stay and cuddle him all day long! Cujo the chicken also wanted attention, to the point that I swear he posed for me for this picture. Such a special chicken:
That’s it for Florida. I hope you all enjoyed reading about the trip in these three posts. 🙂