by: Kriss Costa
The Horsewomen By Grace, (HWBG), Retreat is a time for ladies, 21 and over, to get away from the wear and tear of everyday life, and experience the retreat’s motto, “The 6 R’s-Ride, Relax, Reflect, Renew, Rejoice, (Repeat as necessary)!” It’s the opportunity to ride the beautiful hills of Parkfield and play with cattle, while fellowshipping and studying scripture with amazing, supportive women.
Since 2013, HWBG has been held at the incredible V6 Ranch, (www.v6ranch.com), in Parkfield, CA, the second weekend of November. Some attendees camped in their trailers, while some stayed at the beautiful Parkfield Lodge, and others bunked in the darling rooms in the “bunk house” at the horse camp. Many of the attendees brought their own horses to ride, but others chose to lease a V6 ranch horse for the weekend. Although not all the ladies who attended the retreat were horse owners, they were all horse lovers!
The first rig pulled into the horse camp about 2:30 on Thursday afternoon, and by the time everyone gathered at 5:00 for appetizers, welcomes & introductions, 35 excited, talkative ladies filled the meeting hall. Laughter also filled the hall while the ladies competed in the first annual HWBG Team Triathlon, which consisted of a road apple toss, roping a dummy steer, and shooting at targets using a laser pistol while mounted on a stick horse.
This year’s theme was “Be Still.” Our guest speaker- wife, mother, author, and cattle and horsewoman, Whitney Cartrite-Huckaby shared several stories about how God has taught her many lessons, through her horses and cattle, on the importance of “Being Still” and “sitting the stop.”
Each day started with an inspirational video, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. After an amazing breakfast, prepared by the beautiful Barb Varian and her staff, we were blessed with rich scripture study. Then it was off to ride the picturesque hills of the V6, under the lead of John Varian and his fun and helpful wranglers, Matt, Clayton, Gary, and Colton. We gathered the cattle and tried our hand at team penning and cutting. A line dancing class led by Erlinda Sullivan was also on the agenda. This year’s recipient of the Cooper James Costa Memorial Scholarship, in memory of my grandson, was Dawn Diovera. Susan Wirgler was the winner of this year’s quilt raffle. The quilt was handmade and donated by Kim Austin, with all proceeds going to the scholarship fund.
Music worship, graciously led by Sue Carter, is a very important part of the retreat. We even have our own “sign” teacher, Fran Sands, who taught us how to sign the song, “In The Eye Of The Storm.” A truly moving experience!
The retreat ended on Sunday, with Whitney leading our church service, on top of a hill, on horseback. Holding with tradition, we closed our service with the song “God Is On The Move.” After church, attendees had the option of one last ride before heading home.
The weekend seemed to fly by. Reluctantly, friends, old and new, hugged and said good-byes. Most felt like they were ready to face the hectic holidays ahead. Surrounded by God’s beautiful creation, they were able to “Ride, Relax, Refresh, Renew & Rejoice.” For more information about Horsewomen By Grace, visit www.horsewomenbygrace.com