Paden is tough and he pays attention with quiet concentration – so I don’t recommend messing with him. He has been coming out to The Ranch since he was a baby, and this summer, at the ripe age of ten, he is helping to take care of the horses out at the barn. “What do you like about being here?” I ask. Paden takes a moment to consider the question before he answers, “I like how the ranch is so fun. I like meeting new people. I like all the fun stuff I get to do.” In terms of riding, his favorite thing is “enjoying the ride and the pretty country.” Paden has ridden calves and steers in rodeos too, but it isn’t the main thing that makes him a cowboy. No, the main thing that makes him a cowboy is his heart; he’s got that grounded gentleness about him that only the truest and best cowboys have.
Splash, Sport, and Gidget have been known to vanish into their sizable grazing area like giggling children – a bit to the dismay of our wranglers. But what can we do? They’re buddies. Splash is an Appaloosa. He is a fantastic kids' horse, slow and steady. Sport is also an ideal kids’ horse; he instinctively knows to be mellow with young kids especially. He is a little, white pony – small and spunky. Gidget, too, is a favorite with kids; in fact, there is a whole file in our office of valentines addressed to Gidget from some of her past riders.
Colonel is a Quarter Horse, steady and solid. His chestnut hair has been adding its hue to The Ranch for eight years. He is calm, surefooted, and easygoing. Colonel is perfect to help riders build confidence.
Our aptly named Preacher is majestic and gentle. He is a Percheron Quarter Horse mix and has a bit of a spark beneath his relaxed demeanor. He is so deeply black and big he looks like a piece of night sky. A few years ago, Preacher was the groom’s horse for a horseback wedding.
Juice, a Sorrel Gelding, is a wonderful kid and teen horse because he is well-behaved. He is a sweet boy and a pleasure to ride, especially at a trout or canter. He has polite ground manners too.
We often think of cowboys as riding off into the sunset; maybe it’s because true cowboys burn with a comparable flame. Nathan Brown certainly blazes with light from the soft amber of his eyes down to the sunshine that flashes from his spurs. But Nathan is more solid than a metaphor, and his commitment to being a cowboy is deeper than an image from a movie. If you ask him why he became a cowboy, he can’t answer you – it is, quite simply, what he is. Although he insists that being a cowboy means “a journey of learning,” and he does not claim to have arrived – nah, he’s having too much fun with the gettin’ there. He grew up riding in Eastern New Mexico and pursuing the facets of this lifestyle is his ambition. The benefits of his focus are obvious – he knows how to ride, rope, shoe horses, and brand – he is a craftsman of bits, spurs, buckles, moccasins, gun handles, medicine pouches, holsters, chaps, and more – he sketches landscapes, horses, and portraits – he is, in short, engaged with every aspect imaginable in his pursuit of excellence within this realm. Nathan is also a rodeo bronc rider, has worked on a number of big ranches throughout the West, and travels with his two superb horses – Cosby and Ben.
By, Jan Roberts
"Who was that masked man? The Lone Ranger rides again!"
Some of us still remember those lines from the earlier days of western movies, and especially recall "The Lone Ranger" and his faithful companion, "Tonto."
As I child, I would walk to the local theater in the small town where I was raised, pay my 12 cents, buy a box of Juji Fruits and slide into a world of horses, cowboys and the "bad guys." I captured this fantasy weekly, and my love for horses was instilled into my mind forever. Roy Rogers, Gene Autrey, Hopalong Cassidy, Rex Allen and the Cisco Kid were inspirations for this Minnesota gal, and I honestly feel that they were the reason I decided to move west.
Western movies have been relatively absent since the days of "City Slickers," "Three Amigos", "Blazing Saddles" and the John Wayne pictures. They have been replaced with the new generation of films that use more animation, special effects, 3-D, and technology that were unknown in my days of "going to the movies." We actually called it, "going to a show" and for me, that is what transpired on that small screen. The "shows" were an escape from my little corner of the north country. The mountains and deserts beckoned to me......." come explore new adventures in this unknown territory."
Therefore, I did venture into another world---I had never been to the mountains of Colorado, or the mountains of anywhere, other than a train ride when I was 13, from Minnesota, through North Dakota, into Montana (I did see the mountains in Glacier National Park, but only at a distance), Idaho, Washington (we went through the mountains there at night), Oregon and California. Mount Shasta (California) still holds a special place in my travel memories.
But within those special moments, I didn't have the opportunity to touch, feel, explore and experience the grandeur in which we now call "home." How fortunate and blessed we truly are! The mountains which surround Wilderness Trails Ranch and our little corner of southwestern Colorado, are enchanting and compelling, just as they were on the screen at the Rapids theatre.
Incidentally, I cannot wait to see Johnny Depp in a starring role (a lot of women feel the same!) when it hits the screen! And some of the locals here in Durango may be spotted among the "extras" as a "casting call" was held here recently. Word is, the movie will be staged in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Cheers to the producers, directors, actors and all who will be involved in the making of this movie! I anticipate again, seeing the Lone Ranger on Silver, Tonto on Scout, and other magnificent horses race into the corners of my mind once more!
"Hi Ho Silver....Away!"