kid cowboysBy Tom Strayhorn – Are You Ready for a Cowboy Vacation?

Why not take a cowboy vacation on one of the many Texas dude ranches. Just think riding a horse western saddle over the plains, across the streams and over the mountains. If fresh air and wide open spaces is what you are hankering for a dude ranch may be just for you! Are you ready for the perfect experience? Let me tell you a tale,.

Jumping into my western wear pulling on my cowboy boots and putting on my hat, causes my blood to stir. Today is my first time in a bunk house but I’m not alone. There are fifteen other greenhorns or tender foots with me. Most of my comrades are city folk. Sure we’ve all seen a horse but it was on TV or at the parade.  The question that flashes through my mind is whether I am ready to learn to saddle that wild snorting beast.

The door opens and in steps the lead hand. He says “the first order of business today is to head of to the corral for a lesson on saddling our horses.” So off we go. I look for the smallest beast I can find who’s over in the far side of the corral. Yup that one’s for me. As I tip my hat and approach the small gray mare grazing at the feed trough I’m a little surprised.

Well actually it’s more like I’m shocked. That small gray mare stands over a foot taller than me. Wow! now what to do. After all who am I kidding, I’m no cowboy. But with some help I managed to saddle the monster. Swinging up into the saddle my mind drifts to a western movie with me as the trail boss setting off on a cattle drive.

Suddenly with the movement of my steed I instantly come back to my senses to realize this beautiful beast is walking out of the corral and I’m about to experience my first adventure. After many miles of riding along a cool grassy plain our group of tender foots comes upon a small steam. Perfect, it’s time for a rest.

I swing out of my saddle. My legs and rear end feel like they’ve had had the flesh peeled right off of them. The excruciating pain leaves me moving pretty slow. It seems to take an eternity to be able to sit down on the cool grass. Wow I must be a wuss I think. Even with my aching body I feel an exhilaration like I’ve not ever felt before.

Looking at the other riders it appeared that they too had suffered this same fate. Yet even with this new found pain there is a smile of contentment on all the tender foots faces. As we stretch out and relax we realize the power of nature that is forgotten in the city.

My wild snorting beast is down at the stream drinking water with the other horse. After the horses have a rest it’s time to get back on the trail. Mounting my horse was as pain full as the dismount was and I cringe as I struggle into place.

My gray mare refreshed from her break was ready to go. But with each step we took on the slow ride back I was reminded of the tremendous beating my back side was taking. The chaffing of the in side of the legs were almost as bad. I was certain I was going to be a raw piece of meat by the time we returned. Looking back at the old cowboy who was our guide I saw a relaxed toughen real cowboy. I wondered how it took him to toughen up.

Back at camp after a slow dismount and some slow stretches it was time to find some grub. Funny by the time we sat down to a heaty meal the soreness had began to pass and each of us was looking forward to the next days adventure. Perhaps it didn’t take that long to toughen us city folks up afterall.

Conversation was hearty and load at the table as we busily exchanged ideas about our first day as a cowboy on the trails. There was excitement, pride, and an over all feeling of accomplishment. So this is how the real cowboy’s felt after a day on the range. Perhaps there really was something missing in city life.

By the end of my vacation the gray wild snorting horse turned out to be my greatest companion on all our daily rides. The name of the gray is Calaway. If you ever get the chance to ride this horse you will be pleased with her steady but gentle manor. Even my red western wear shirt, tan boots and my large white hat never spooked her. After all she is used to carrying and caring for plenty of want to be cowboys and cowgirls giving each a story and adventure all of their own.

If you ever get a chance to take a cowboy vacation on a Texas Dude Ranch you should. I guarantee you will not be disappointed! It will be one of the best experiences you’ll ever have, leaving you with the memory of light blowing summer breezes, soft scented wild flowers, deep blue crystal clear water, and gently sloping mountain trails.

The life of a cowboy may be filled with hard work but it’s a lifestyle that no other can compete with. There are few cowboys that would be willing to give it up. For just a couple of weeks you too can enjoy the life of a cowboy.

 

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