Day 19 (8/1/16)

A beautiful, sunny and clear Wyoming morning, awakened by the sounds of horses moving about and campers heading out on trail rides.  We decided that our “arena” horses would probably do better on the ride called “The Mesa”–a flat plateau on the mountain top that extends as far as you can see 360 degrees.  As we were a bit slow getting going, as I looked out of our window, Dennis could see Mike leading his horse “Tuff” to a built up area and was proceeding to saddle his horse by himself!  Dennis’ immediate instinct was to go and help him, but instead took photos–so amazed with what he was witnessing.  It took him a while but he not only saddled his horse, but next time he peered out the RV, he was mounted and ready to ride!  Amazing!! We did our own ride on the Mesa, and our horses did fine–they seemed happy to be up high with such an amazing view all around–no boogey men hiding in the bushes.

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Breakfast, cooking outside–a far cry from our full gourmet breakfasts at Paradise–but the price unbeatable!

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This is what we had dreamed about for months–riding our own horses in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains.  Sly behaved perfectly!

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Even Lucky seemed less nervous, just look at the view!

Later that afternoon, when Mike and Patty McGowan returned from their ride we offered our help and they seemed willing to accept.  Later, they joined us for a sundowner and we heard more about their story.

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Mike and Patty have been camp hosts at the USFS Hunter Corrals for over 6 years–volunteering each August.  They are from Wisconsin.  A number of years ago, he offered to ride a 3 year old colt for training purposes and the colt spooked and pitched him off–landing awkwardly in a badger hole–a very unlikely scenario but with dire consequences–paralyzed for life.  But this has not stopped them from pursuing their passion for horses and riding.  As Mike said, he had to change the four letter word “can’t” to “can”–this was now his motto in life.  Mike was voted in 1991 as Wisconsin’s Horse Person of the Year and it was obvious why.  What an amazing couple with true grit and an abundance of kindness on top of that.  What a combination–what “unforgettable characters”!

 

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