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HOT AIR BALLOON EXPEDITIONS

I’m up early the next morning to take to the skies via balloon. We’re scheduled to take off just before 7:30 a.m., the calmest part of the day, which is comforting for those of us who are climbing into the oversized basket with hesitation. Our Captain Todd jokes that everyone should see a sunrise at least once in their life. We muster up a couple laughs as we wipe the sleep from our eyes. Within seconds, our balloon, an astounding 10 stories in height, floats off the ground, and we’ve begun our flight. Adrift at over 5,000 feet, we are graced with a majestic overlook of the city and a stillness only found among the heavens. My basket-mates and I savor this rare moment of complete serenity and are nearly awestruck for the remainder of the flight. As if right on cue, the sun reveals itself from behind the mountain silhouettes and the dark blue sky warms into a golden yellow. Surely, this Scottsdale sunrise will be one to remember.

ARIZONA COWBOY COLLEGE

I sense that this day holds the potential for another outdoor expedition so I enroll in a session at Arizona Cowboy

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As if right on cue, the sun begins to reveal itself from behind the dark mountain silhouettes and the blue-toyellow gradient of a Scottsdale sunrise greets us. Surely, it will be one to remember.

96 | JULY/AUGUST 2016

College, where I’m sure to walk the walk, talk the talk, and perhaps carry a piece of wheat in the corner of my mouth. My fellow cowgirls and I exit the van onto the front edge of the property when a beautiful black and white speckled horse heads in our direction with elegant steps, casually parading by as if being judged by a panel. “Oh she’s just showing off,” says Lori, one of the owners of the familyowned cattle ranch, who then introduces us to a couple of wobbly baby goats. We meet horses Lashes, Rocco and Gus, among others, and receive a guest appearance from Myron, the resident Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. We’re then taught how to groom, saddle and ride our horses (piece of wheat optional). Feeling completely empowered, my horse Rocco and I confidently prance around the show ring with a trot so steady that I legitimately consider the carefree cowgirl life. Fresh air, wide open spaces and a majestic horse as my trusty companion? I’ll take it. A neighboring donkey shrieks an enthusiastic “hee-haw” our way, and we’re then taught the appropriate wrist twist for a lasso wind-up and release. Armed with just a couple of practice twirls above my head, I release my rope with heightened anticipation and held breath. It’s far from being Gene Autry-approved but it somehow catches onto the horns of the iron cattle, and I’ve symbolically earned my badge here at Cowboy College. Then, along with my trusty sidekick Rocco, I ride off onto the unchartered desert highways of Scottsdale (or at least fully plan to on my next visit).

Santa Barbara Life & Style | July/August 2016  

Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine | Volume 4 Issue 6

Santa Barbara Life & Style | July/August 2016  

Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine | Volume 4 Issue 6

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