Re-Re*s Re-United – Polo, Guns & Pirates

Grab some popcorn guys, this is gonna be a long one…
EJ flew in on Wednesday, I picked her up and we came home to hang out and catch up. Thursday night Ronny was looking for something to do so we decided to get dinner. There’s this really great Thai place up the street from my house, L’Thai, that I absolutely love so we decided to go there. Their food is excellent, prices are reasonable, wait staff is friendly and courteous- it’s really lovely.
Friday night the rest of The Sheep came in. Erik, EJ and I had gone to dinner to wait since Alyssa’s flight didn’t get in until 9pm and Sarah was landing an hour after that. We went to Nuevo Laredo which is this really awesome Mexican place where you have to wait forever for a table (about an hour and a half for us on a Friday night) but they give you free chips and salsa while you wait and the margaritas are strong. Finished up there just as Alyssa was landing and drove down t
o Hartsfield-Jackson to pick her up. She insisted we go to Sonic while we waited for Sarah, so that killed an appropriate amount of time. Retrieved Sarah and headed home so that we could wake up super early the next day.
Saturday was “The Big Day” – the day we had been waiting for for months: POLO! We had decided to take a polo lesson at Chukkar Farm in Alpharetta, GA with owner Jack Cashin, 83 (the oldest polo player in the country and one of the most amazing guys ever). We arrived at 9:30am to watch a video about the history of polo and learn interesting facts. We talked with Jack a lot about his past and how he’s played polo all over the world, including in Jordan with the crown prince and how he “got bombed” in Jamaica when he was younger. Hysterical!
After the video we went over to the practice cage to learn the basics on a wooden horse. It’s much safer if you screw up since you won’t whack the real horse with the mallet (which is surprisingly a hell of a lot heavier than I expected, and very difficult to maneuver!). We all made fools out of ourselves but had a ton of fun. Jack even invited Erik to take a few shots off the test-pony, which I thought was really nice of him since only us four girls had actually paid for the lesson. šŸ™‚
Tally Ho! Next it was time to play for real. They had sadd
led up four horses for us (ironically, a polo team has four players, how perfect!) and I rode a lovely pony named Tiku. All the ponies (technically they’re not ponies as they are all about ~15h) were super sleepy and tired until we walked out onto the field, when they instantly perked up and got excited. We practiced hitting the ball at a walk at first. Surprisingly, it was much easier to hit the ball off a real horse than off the wooden horse. After a bit I decided to try it at a trot and discovered that to be significantly easier than the walk, since now you’ve got the horse’s momentum to help you. I felt brave and tried at the canter several times, but found out that it’s pretty much impossible to hit the ball when you’re going that fast if you have no idea what you’re doing… But it was fun trying!
To end the day, Jack suggested we take a trail ride around the property. We headed out into the woods and explored his beautiful farm. At one point we got to a big clearing and he told us we could canter if we wanted to. I put my horse into a nice lope and felt that he really wanted to run so I let him go. We flew at a full-speed gallop and it was exhilarating. Alyssa was all smiles after and she explained that she had “always wanted to do that” her whole life. What fun!

Tallo Ho! Me on Tiku looking like I know what I’m doing. Ha!
All in all, we were there for 4.5 hours and had the most incredible time. Polo is a lot more challenging than I would have ever imagined, but definitely fun. I can see myself getting into this sport seriously, if only I had the money to support the habit. Oh well, one day.
After polo we stopped at a package store called E&J Liquors (because EJ is the “drinker” of our group, ha!) and got some Sweet Tea Vodka. Then we headed home to shower and get cleaned up before going out.
I had made reservations for us at a local pirate-themed fondue restaurant called Dante’s Down the Hatch. They have live crocodiles and turtles hanging out and a jazz band playing and a huge pirate ship right in the middle of the restaurant, which we got to sit on! (in?) The food itself was great and we didn’t stop laughing once all night.

Yar! Alyssa, me, EJ and Sarah at Dante’s Down the Hatch
We decided to go shooting at the range the next day so
we drove over to Walmart to pick up some ammo, while still “dressed up”. What do four incredibly silly girls (and one boy) in fancy clothes do at a Walmart on a Saturday night you might wonder? Well, good thing we had a camera! We played with pretty much everything and anything we could get our hands on and took tons of silly pictures. I’m surprised we didn’t get kicked out, it was hysterical!

EJ, me, Sarah and Alyssa playing dress-up at Walmart.
Sunday morning we slept in a bit and went to Waffle House for breakfast. Came home, lazy’ed around the house for a bit, then went to go shoot stuff.
We went to Bullseye in Lawrenceville and fitted the girls with eye and ear protection. Sarah has shot guns before, but EJ and Alyssa never had. Alyssa was terrified; she was practically shaking and almost chickened out. We shot Erik’s new Springfield XD-9 and they all did very well! After everyone had gotten comfortable with the gun, I decided we needed to rent a machine gun (yes, this place rents machine guns, including Tommy guns,
for $10 – awesome!). I got us an HK MP5 and was incredibly surprised at how easy it was to shoot! It had practically no recoil at all and was very smooth firing. I shot it on full auto and couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I love that gun! The girls all shot it too, and although Alyssa had said she didn’t want to, once she saw how much fun we were having she tried as well.

Me shooting the MP5 machine gun – you can see the muzzle fire and shell discharging! Cool!
What’s a good way to “relax” after an adrenaline-filled afternoon of target shooting? Mini golf! And what’s better than mini golf? Pirate mini golf! Again, the camera came out for tons of inappropriate pictures, but I’ve never had a more entertaining round of golf in my life.

When Mini Golf Goes Bad! Alyssa, me and Sarah.
I wanted to take the girls to Dominick’s since every time I’ve been there it’s been fantastic (their garlic bread is unreal). When we got there, however, they had this big celebration thing going on and when I asked for a table for five the woman laughed and told me it was their “Customer Appreciation Night” – they had a big buffet set out and it was all free! Including beer/wine/etc! Very cool! We grabbed a table and loaded up our plates and felt “appreciated”. I highly recommend Dominick’s if you’re in the Atlanta area, by the way.
Monday was pretty low-key compared to the weekend and also pretty sad since Alyssa and Sarah had to go back home to Philly. Bummer. EJ was staying until Tuesday and she had decided to take my riding lesson with me at Huntcliff. I rode this new Appaloosa pony named Cisco who was an absolute dream. I’m totally going to fall in love with that horse if I keep riding him. We worked on timing and counting strides, etc. Erik had his lesson and rode his Buttercup again and is making some serious progress. I’m so proud.

Alyssa, Sarah, EJ, Jack and me at Chukkar Farm in Alpharetta, GA.
Back to work the next day, and I dropped EJ off at the MARTA to catch he
r flight back to Utah. I spent the rest of the day catching up on workstuff and missing my girls terribly. Came home to a quiet, lonely house and did laundry. I want my girls back! I love you girls!!
You’d think after a crazy hectic weekend like that that I would want to just sit and relax this weekend. Nope! My mom’s coming in to visit tomorrow morning and we are going back to Rancho Loma Linda to visit Andrea & Angel and ride and have fun. Expect another (not as long) update about that sometime next week!

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