Tag Archives: riding horses

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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Day Five: Making Movies and “Hot Dogs” (and a Little Riding, Too)

So, I know I’m behind a day, but yesterday started early and ended late (which here, is a good thing). The good news is today you will get two posts complete with tons of pictures (to drool over, I should think).

We were up early Thursday morning…the sun was just rising when we all made our way out to a draw just a ways down from the lodge. We were there to see the horses brought in–or rather, to watch a film crew watch the horses brought in.

A French film crew creating a documentary about the West had requested Padlock provide a number of opportunities to obtain footage, and I have to say, I can’t imagine a better setting. With no outside distraction, breathtaking scenery, and the drama provided by the livestock, horses, and hands, what more could you really want? (A couple of curious greenhorn bystanders, perhaps?)

We were on the ground early in the day, and got a lesson in colt-starting from Steve Johnson and his son Isaac (a film crew request). The colt belonged to Padlock Assistant Operations Manager Les Nunn, and he was a bright, nice-looking colt that had obviously been started right. It was only his second time in the round pen, but he advanced through the lessons in a mannerly way, and before we all knew it, Isaac was on him. As many of you know, started right, a colt isn’t going to put on a bronc show the first time a rider gets in the saddle, and this morning’s demonstration was testament to that.

We rode out later to drive some cattle, again for the film crew (as well as to check for foot rot), and it was by far the most intense “ranch” experience I’ve had yet. We had to gallop up and down some steep hillsides and actually (no, really!) turn the cows, keep them together, and all the things you see on TV and wish you had the guts to do.

The Padlock’s hundreds-of-thousands of acres is actually made up of a number of smaller ranches that were acquired over the years by the ranch founders (as well as the original Padlock lands). One of these, the – V (umm, I think that’s the right way to spell what sounds like “Bar Vee”) has some older ranch buildings on it, so we took the wildest ride I’ve ever had in a golf cart over a rocky cross-country “road” (I guess you could call it) to have a look (and there Padlock CEO Wayne Fahsholtz saved us from a long walk back by filling up our tank with diesel). The property is truly lovely, and the terrain quite different than the valley in which the guest lodge is located. Perhaps this is what has impressed me most about this trip to Wyoming–the remarkably varied landscape, from lush green to arid dry to rocky mountaintop.

Our day again ended around a campfire, where I was introduced to the best “hot dog” I’ve ever tasted–they are actually huge and sausage-like, but filled with Country Natural Beef (yep, the very same from the Padlock program). I also was informed that a hot dog is also known as a “tube steak”…perhaps that makes it more palatable? Knowing that it is all-natural beef certainly does…

So, the moon came up, the doughies came out, and pretty soon we knew that this day, too, was done.

That it, in fact, was a “wrap.”

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