In the past we have had parties with lots of little friends as a birthday celebration. We have had bouncy castle parties, soft play parties, treasure hunt parties, craft parties, movie parties. All of them have been fun but all of them have been hard work. As Ruby doesn’t have an established group of friends here we thought we would take the opportunity to do something a bit different.
After a little internet exploring I found a place that looked pretty fun – Ace Hi Ranch. It was couple of hours drive away but it looked like it would be just the ticket! Ruby has wanted to go horse riding for a while now and this place offered good, long rides for all abilities.
We didn’t tell Ruby where we were going but set off on a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ at 9.30 this morning after what was quite possibly the worst sleep we all had for MONTHS! I don’t know whether it was excitement or flu shots but Ruby was up and down like a yo-yo thinking that she heard voices in the night – at one day short of seven years old I thought we were done with disturbed nights!!
We drove down to the Mornington Peninsula – a really beautiful part of the country with rolling hills down to the coastline. It took just less than two hours but the scenery was so lovely we didn’t even notice. We got to the ranch which comprised of a dozen or so wooden cabins, a stone chapel which served as a meeting room and dining hall and a few other wooden buildings. At the far end of the driveway was a paddock containing about twenty horses and next to that, a circle of covered wagons. We went up to the chapel and we were booked into our rides straight away, then set off to the sheriff’s office to saddle up!
As it was Ruby’s birthday, it was just she and I who were going on the ride. Alexander and Michael would explore the rest of the ranch while we were gone. We have never done the ‘buy a present for the other child’ thing on their birthdays so they know and accept that the fuss is going to be made of the birthday child.
We got our helmets (I have to say I much prefer the old style velvet cap helmets, but these would have to do!) and waited to be called – I don’t know who was more excited, me or Ruby!The ranch staff saddled up our horses for us, ‘Saxon’ for Ruby and ‘Joker’ for me.
It has been YEARS since I have been riding and I didn’t realise how much I missed it! I loved being out there and would have loved to go for a really good run but as this was just a walking trail we settled back and let the horses do the work for us!
Except Ruby’s horse was a bit lazy and probably guessed she had a newbie on her back so stopped every now and again. Roo’s wee legs were too short to kick Saxon on properly but she did her best and got her going again!
When we came in Ruby was exhilarated from the experience and was really proud of herself for being nervous but doing it anyway (I am always banging on to them about how you have to push nerves to the side or you miss great experiences).
(Just in case you were in any doubt as to which birthday is being celebrated!)
And then it was time to drive home. We will definitely be back on the ranch soon. We may look into the cabin accommodation for a long weekend as there are loads of different attractions down that way and it would be fun to do more exploring. For today though, we had a great day out and Ruby had a lovely birthday treat.