By Adelina Badea, Career Advancement Program Ambassador Scholar from Romania

I don’t know if you remember, but in my pre-departure video I said that one of my dreams is to ride a horse in the desert, and thank God my dream came true!

It is not the first time that I have seen and pet a horse. When I was a child, my grandpa had a horse and her name was Mona. I remember how much I loved that horse. Mona was used to pull a cart and not for horseback riding. Ever since I was a little child, my dream has been to ride a horse. When I found out that I would be coming to Arizona, I knew that my dream would become a reality.

My friends and I drove 45 minutes from Tucson, AZ before we arrived to this small village called Sonoita. Sonoita is one of the most scenic parts of southern Arizona. In Sonoita, there is the ranch where our guide and our horses were waiting for us. There, we met Marge and Ron who showed us our horses, and they helped us to get accustomed with them.

My horse was Zeke. He is a pinto horse and is very friendly. Before we began our ride, our guide gave us basic riding instructions. To be fair, I never thought it was that hard to ride a horse. When I climbed onto the saddle I realized that Zeke is a huge animal, and I really didn’t know how to control him. I was a little bit scared at the beginning because I felt like I couldn’t lead him.  In the end, I felt more comfortable because I realized that he is trained. He knows what to do better than I do, so I trusted him. Zeke was a little bit clumsy and he tripped a few times. When he went down on his knees he nearly scared me to death. But again, he knew what he was doing, so I calmed myself down.

The 3 hour trail ride was amazing. Rolling hills, lush grasslands, oak trees and canyons made this a great ride. I cannot express in words what a wonderful experience we had. It exceeded all of my expectations!