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“A Summer's Awakening” — Episode 4

by Barbara H. Callihan

As I crested the short but challenging entrance grade to Bolender Horse Park I was surrounded by mature pines, and my eyes feasted on green pastures, beautiful rustic wood buildings, a fire pit in a mature pine grove with seating perfect for campfire stories, and an outdoor arena. As I slowly approached what appeared to be the barn area, my eyes darted and scanned everywhere looking anxiously for the Mountain Trail obstacles. There were none within sight, and yet I could feel the excitement and joy building inside. I felt like a child filled wonderment and anticipation of FUN!

I was met by the welcoming smiles of three Bolender Park staff; Val an intern from Italy, Rebecca an intern from Missouri and Tonya the Barn Manager. Tonya directed me around the barn and the ladies helped me to locate Chunky’s stall and unload items needed for her care.

Ears did her yoga stretch ritual before she slowly jumped from the truck. Her posture and ears showed that she was not sure if the three excited, wiggling, jumping dogs were going to accept her. She landed on the ground and everyone engaged in the appropriate sniffing and circling. I was very relieved to see the Bolender Ranch pups accept Ears—as exhibited in the confidence of her happy tail.

After I led Chunky to her freshly bedded stall — right next to the Indoor arena — which would be her home for the next three weeks, I unloaded her misc. items, and cleaned out the traveling poop. The staff showed me several turnout paddocks available for Chunky, and directed me where to park my traveling bunk house. Comfort amenities on the property include hook-up utilities, and an incredible Great Room! The Great Room includes a full kitchen with dining tables, a view of the indoor arena, a large sitting area for reading, studying, and watching TV, a library of videos and books, as well as restrooms with showers.

With all this happening, my mind was racing! My eyes were impressed and overwhelmed with the beautiful facilities! And yet, where were the Obstacles!!!!

After I got settled in, the Bolender team casually pointed towards the area behind the large outdoor arena and said, “Obstacles are located over there and at each end of the arena is entrance. Mark and Linda are off property at an RFD TV shooting and will be back tomorrow. You are welcome to walk the course but no riding until you have your first lesson with Mark.”

I felt the small flame in my belly leap to my throat!!! My whole body felt alive. I so wanted to do an all out run as a child running to their favorite playground. However, feeling my body’s creaks and groans I opted for a quick jog.

As I approached the obstacles I stopped, gulped, and let my eyes feast on the unbelievable Mountain Trail Obstacle Challenge Park. I was NOT disappointed!!! For the next hour and one-half, I walked over, under, through, between, and around while marveling at the course design, which featured complex challenges surrounded by a stunning, creative mountain theme!

I felt the adrenaline feed the belly fire!!!! Soon I would be able to experience what I now only imagined!

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