There are horses, and there are horses. These are the latter.

Dallas and Fort Worth – Texas

People have asked us if we are spending much time visiting friends on our way around the world, and we have had to say no. It’s not that we are friendless, it’s just that not many of them live in North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Antarctica or any other of the slightly out-of-the-way places that we have chosen to spend our time. It was therefore a special treat for us to be able to pass through Dallas, where our good friend Julia lives with her family. We actually spent two days in the Dallas / Forth Worth area, and ended up experiencing both ends of the Texan horse, so to speak.

Let me explain: Julie breeds, trains and rides beautiful, elegant (and champion) Arabian dressage horses, like this:

Julie and Lee

Julie and Lee

And Dallas is in striking distance of the world famous FORT WORTH RODEO!

Lasso cowboy

Apparently, tripping over your own lasso is considered something of a faux pas in Texas

The two experiences couldn’t have been further apart:

  • At Julie’s we drank chilled white wine in her beautiful garden at sunset; at RODEO! we drank Miller Lite from an aluminium bottle
  • At Julie’s we had a high tea of pistachio ice cream and fruit scones; at RODEO! we had a cookie-flavoured milk shake that I made myself out of a vanilla milkshake and a cookie
  • We visited Julie’s horses on the outskirts of Dallas and saw her future world champion filly; while at RODEO! we saw a sheep being chased around the arena by a crowd of four year olds (and were laughing so hard we couldn’t take any pictures)
Future champion

Future champion. Pretty cute for a four month old.

Ah, RODEO! It was fantastically cheesy. It was absolutely awesome. They had thirteen year old proto-country singers twanging the Star Spangled banner. They had real life cowboys trussing steers against the clock. They had real life cowgirls racing around the arena with diamante bridles on their horses. They had displays of the kind of secret love that a Texan can only have for his tractor.

Tractor love

As a Zamboni is to ice skating, the beloved tractor is to rodeo

And, of course, they actually rode bulls. Very big, very angry bulls.


Bull riding

More camera love - high speed, telephoto, in the dark

We promised Julie that we wouldn’t think that Texas is full of cowboys riding horses (and we don’t, in no small part because of her wonderful hospitality and all round gracious awesomeness). But hey, go see the cowboys if you are in town.