Tag Archives: ranch horses

A New Year, A New Look, A New Website

We all reinvent ourselves from time to time. In my case, this usually involves hair color and heavy eyeliner. In the case of the Padlock Ranch, all it took was a fab new website to make what was really good look utterly amazing.

That’s right…the other day I clicked on over to see what was going on at the edge of the Bighorns, and wasn’t I just plain dazzled to see all new photos, an easy-to-navigate new layout, and all-in-all, a fresh new look that befits the place that captured my heart not so many months ago. I can promise you it is only a matter of finding the right time and I’m going back.

I urge you to find the right time, too.

Whether discovering it for the very first time or discovering it anew, the Padlock is where we can all find a little bit of peace and purpose in 2012.

Maybe I’ll see you there.


Last Day, Final Ride, Flight Home

To our surprise, we had time to go for one final ride before we caught our (very small) plane out on Saturday. It seemed appropriate to “wind down” and bid a final adieu to one of the views that had, frankly, become almost commonplace over the course of the week. We saddled up and climbed up through the horse pasture behind the guest lodge, and after a brisk canter brought us to the top of one of the Wolf Mountains (really, hills), we looked away toward the Bighorns, Sheridan, Dayton, and Ranchester.

It seems natural that on a last ride on a last day of a memorable and wonderful week one would spend time considering how best to revisit the adventure again in the future…it seems natural that one would go over and over the highest of the (many) high points and laugh again at the goofiest moments–smile at the touching or tender ones.

We did all that, I’m sure.

I write this now, just outside Boston, on a muggy night with the window open before my computer. I can see the chain link fence across the way glinting in the street light. I can hear the cars going by on McGrath Highway. It was only yesterday that I rode TJ  up a Wyoming hillside next to Martha and Steve…but it already feels like years ago.

I miss it.

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Pink Leopard-Skin Riding Gloves–Totally Tough or Nowhere Near Tough Enough?

To wear or not to wear? Will my fashionable riding gloves stand up to the rigors of REAL riding?

I am faced, for the first time since I left for my freshman year  of college, with a “What to Bring List.” If you have spent the last decade either composing such lists for others or avoiding events that involve them (at all costs), then you are likely unfamiliar with my current restive, stressed, and dare-I-say harried state. Do I have what I need? Is what I have good enough? Will what I wear label me and therefore ensure my week-long bliss or (far more likely) completely undo me at the outset?

I have various forms of the requisite riding gear. This includes britches, chaps, paddock boots, and hats. I have a raincoat (streetwear, but it will survive) and rain pants (my husband wears them while biking). I have the water bottle, the sunglasses, the sunscreen, the swimsuit (for the blessedly present hot tub).

All of this I feel comfortable will transition from East Coast to West, from occasional-use to intense-abuse. All of this I am prepared to lay out, roll up, and pack tightly into a duffel for the trip ahead.

But then there’s the gloves.

I love my riding gloves. They’ve always elicited (complimentary) comments whenever I wear them, and I (luckily) haven’t been in any riding situations where I felt completely out-of-control and therefore foolish flaunting them. They are pink, and they are “faux” leopard skin. And they are totally fabulous.

And something tells me they’re not quite right for working cattle.

As I ponder this possibility, faced with the need to acquire “real” riding gloves somewhere between now (after closing on a Sunday) and a week-from-now (when we leave) in a city not especially known for its rugged outdoors-wear (Boston has more of a prep-scene), I’m left wondering how what’s “tough” on the street ain’t nowhere near “tough” in the saddle.

Seriously–if you met a (thirty-something) woman in the grocery store in pink leopard-skin leggings, you’d look twice (well, depending on your neighborhood) and then either shake your head, raise your eyebrows, or walk briskly the other way (again, depending on your neighborhood). But regardless of your reaction, if you spend the time to ponder the woman’s choice of fashion, you’d likely think her daring, dangerous, or perhaps misguided…but on the edge nonetheless.

I might call such a woman just a little bit “tough.”

But the same color and print encasing your hands on a horse in Wyoming?

I’m willing to bet that’s nowhere NEAR tough enough.

My guess is I’ll take them, along with my pillow and my toothbrush and the hairdryer I will never use (ah, sweet memories of summer camp), and maybe by Friday I’ll feel comfortable enough amongst my peers and in the saddle to let my true colors–as daring, dangerous, and misguided as they are–show.

We’re getting close!

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor, Trafalgar Square Books

Ranch Horse Wishlist: A Feeble Attempt at Building the Perfect 8-Hour-Ride in the Vain Hope that Perhaps It Does Exist…

Despite the fact that Martha kindly offered the opportunity to hop aboard her Morgan earlier this week, I still haven’t ridden in preparation for our Wyoming riding adventure. In fact, as I alluded in my last post, DESTINATION PADLOCK RANCH has taken on a slightly forboding tone, primarily because I was kindly reminded that “chafing” isn’t always paired with the word “dish.”

Have I shown you where we are staying??? Yep, the guest lodge totally rocks.

Nonetheless, I remain confident (although perhaps falsely so) that my years of experience in the saddle and on different speeds-and-breeds will do me well. I have a hard time imagining giving up the dream of having nothing to do but “ride the range” (and, er, I guess whatever the boss hand tells me to do?) because my muscles hurt and the view from the guest lodge deck beckons (along with the hot tub).

So, with a nod to the “rules of attraction” and the “power of positive thinking,” I will set aside my warmup moans-and-groans and instead concoct a horsey cocktail that is sure to leave me feeling good about the world, swell about my riding skills, and certain that everyone I just met is indeed my best friend.

I give you my Ranch Horse Wishlist:

1. I wish that you will be smart. Not “S-M-R-T” smart. Not solving calculus equations with your hoof smart. But something comfortably in between so that I can count on you to save my sore butt when I choose the wrong dogie to wrangle.

2. I wish that you will be tall. But since you are a Quarter Horse (most likely), I’ll settle for big-barreled.

3. I wish that you will still have a sense of humor despite the fact you have worked the range for (probably) 20 years, through all seasons, all storms, and with all manner of imbeciles in the saddle. I hope you can laugh (with me…not at me) when I ask you dumb questions or forget which leg goes where.

4. I wish that you will have a nice eye that softens when you look at me (once I bribe you with the sugar that was meant for my six a.m. coffee) and brightens when I visit you in between rides.

5. I wish that you will be cuter and faster than Martha’s horse.

6. I wish that you will have a wild mane for me to rub and tussle when we do something fun (and that it is long enough for me to grab when I start to fall off…)

7. I wish for you to have an independent spirit and curiosity so we can venture away from the group, just the two of us, with neither of us feeling lonely.

Is my "wish horse" waiting for me? (Or running away??)

8. I wish for you to feel spunky in the morning and satisfied after a long day’s work (mostly to make up for my own sorry self).

9. I wish for you to have a smooth, sure-footed lope that covers miles without my noticing (fat chance, you say…and I know, I know…)

10. And finally, I wish for you to fall just a little bit in love with me, as I’m absolutely sure I’ll fall for you.