Santa Ynez Vaquero Days.

Its now two days since I have returned home to the Great Frozen North after a simply perfect weekend in California at the Santa Ynez Vaquero Show and Sale with Bruce Sandifer being the Honored Vaquero this year and all my “Colorado” sistahs  in attendance as well made for the perfect reason for jumping on a  plane and heading south for a few days…

And what a brilliant time it was! Friday was spent ogling all the trade show vendors with everything from 18th century bits and spurs, turquoise and silver jewelry, hats, new gear and saddle makers, books, music and laughter by the bucket load. Add to that a glass of California wine, great friends and sunshine, the day sped by. The evening gala dinner and auction celebrated Bruce’s enormous contribution to preserving the traditions and passing on Classical Californio Bridle Horsemanship. Truly one of the great ones, and yet humble, humorous and inspiring. 

Saturday was an eclectic mixture of wine tasting in one of the seemingly endless venues for this favored pastime in the picturesque town of Santa Ynez, more shopping, Bruce’s presentation on the gear and its use in the balance/signal system, and then a BIG treat. We were permitted to tour a private collection of Vaquero tack and art and to say it was completely overwhelming was an understatement! Every millimeter of hanging space, standing space, wall space, air space was filled with silver bits, spurs, saddles, artifacts, books and artwork that would fit! To see and touch the beauty and memories held in each of the many thousand pieces was an experience I’ll cherish for ever!

Sunday was back at the show, and I ordered a new felt hat (yay), visited with Bruce about reatas( preferably ones not chewed into seven pieces:), shopped, more wine tasting, and by now it was getting bad! When you are wine tasting in Albertson’s Food Stores, its getting bad…….and then over for dinner to Karen and Wally’s new place for supper. It was Karen and Wally’s place I have ridden with Bruce the last two years and they  recently moved from Colorado to California (the winters are better…or more wine, not sure which) and imagine my surprise when we drive up to a gorgeous property with log homes on it! and Canadian flags on the gate! It was Pioneer Log Homes out of Williams Lake. What a place! Simply stunning and perfectly suited for entertaining all their very cool friends.

Monday. Monday was lesson day. Overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara. 

Under swaying palm trees and blooming bougainvilleas we once again were treated to Bruce sharing his knowledge and humor with us. I LOVE one of his statements. “Do less, WAAAAAY less. Just do more of it.” Just another piece of subtly, refinement, feel, and awareness. So breathtaking when its right…what a treat! this journey of immersing myself in the exploration of this fine old Art has been so intensely rewarding and never have I felt so at peace and excited to be riding and being with my horses. It just flat feels GOOD!

Linda’s “Magic”, 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Saphiro and the reason Espada is bred…

Then, hugs all around and it was scuttle of to the airport ( even their airport was beautiful!) for the journey home. And even that was very cool, having had an unexpected and thought provoking conversation with another passenger on the joys of this brilliant woven tapestry we call life. I stumbled off the plane full onto midnight West Coast fog and rain, and pointed my faithful Dodge home thru the Canyon and home, home again to my very welcoming Sage and Griffy and horses all. What a trip………….Thank you:)

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