We spent almost a week in Bend, OR on this trip. We fell in love with Bend a few years ago over a Fourth of July weekend. The historic old town area has a some really nice restaurants to choose from and it’s just a couple of blocks from beautiful Drake Park which overlooks the Deschutes River. We are seriously considering moving to Bend after this trip so we wanted to spend a bit more time there. As an added bonus we will see our old friends John & Emily who who moved from the Bay Area to Bend this past year. What I didn’t realize is just how popular horse ownership is in the area. I did a little bit of research and found Flyspur Ranch which offered trail riding and lessons. I booked a lesson for the following day and a trail ride for the day after that.
Kevin and Therese are the owners of Flyspur Ranch. They moved to Bend from the East Coast around 10-15 years ago and haven’t regretted the move one bit. It was evident how much they love their work which isn’t a job for them but a lifestyle. We talked with them about the challenges of owning your own business and specifically what it’s like to own a horse business like theirs. It’s a dream of mine to own a horse or maybe a few horses but we also love to travel. After our conversations with Kevin and Therese I see that there will be some interesting choices to make regarding these two lifestyles. But on this day, the only choice I had to make was choosing a horse to ride! Therese’s horse is a Tennessee Walker and she offered to let me ride him to feel its gait. They have a unique gait that makes them ideal trail riding horses, nice and smooth on long trail rides and trail riding is what I expect to do with my future horse. I completely forgot to take any photos of Scout but you can see him here on their website: http://www.flyspur.com/ride.html. I was able to get a feel for his gait only a couple of times because the indoor arena didn’t give Scout the room he needs to really show off his smooth riding style. Plus my inexperience in riding didn’t help matters!
The following day I decided to take their Percheron Bullwinkle (Bull for short) out on the trail. This was a completely different ride and I was amazed at how gentle this giant of a horse was with me. He stands about 15 hands high at the withers which is 60 inches. I’m 5′ 10″ tall but Bull made me look small! There was a deep river crossing on our ride, the first I’ve ever done, but on Bull, I didn’t even have to pull my feet out of the stirrups to keep them out of the water which was over four feet deep. I loved how sweet and good natured Bull was with me during our ride. I can already see that when I eventually do buy a horse I will have a difficult time making a choice between these different breeds.
The next day we had a chance to catch up with our good friends John & Emily. We met for dinner at the Tumalo Feed Store. Good food, great company and entertaining stories were on the agenda for this evening and we hit four stars across all three. John shared his latest mountain climbing adventure in Nepal, Emily shared her tales of the first year as a new business owner of Call of the Wild; a guiding company that focuses on adventure travel for women, and Darryl and I caught them up on our adventures. There was a time when we saw each other every weekend but our lives have taken us in different directions so I cherish these moments when our travels allow us to cross paths with our friends from a former life.
We made it to the High Desert Museum to see the Raptor Show which we also saw on our last visit to Bend. It’s an amazing experience where they have trained raptors who have been rescued and cannot be released due to their injuries. These birds have been trained to fly from perch to perch with hand signals indicating which perch to fly to and find their food reward. On this day we saw a barn owl, turkey vulture, falcon and a two others but I forgot what species. My favorite was the barn owl. They also brought out a great horned owl for photos.
Check out this cool video of the barn owl flying over our heads. They tell parents at the beginning of the show that they should not have their children on their shoulders because the birds might accidentally strike them as they fly overhead. That’s how close they get to us!
The rest of our time in Bend was spent eating at our favorite lunch spot (Planks) and running along the beautiful Deschutes River. We spent many hours just walking along the river and watching the various water activities. They have the coolest little dog park on the bank where dogs can fetch tennis balls from the river for hours on end.
This is definitely a place that we could call home but there are a few more spots for us to see before we make this a final decision.