It’s Monday morning at Drowsy Water Ranch. Families gather at the barn, anxiously awaiting the assignment of their horse and the adventure of their first ride of the week. A simple trip down the ranch’s dirt road is the first outing with horse and saddle for some guests. This is our lesson ride. On this ride, riders learn to communicate with their horse and experience the first taste of the views.
Many guests on the ride down the road notice the boots that sit on fenceposts along the road. One of the most common questions asked during and after this initial ride down the road is,
“What is the story with the boots?”
This cowboy or cowgirl is referring to the overturned boots placed atop the fenceposts that line our dirt road. The fenceposts are the final resting place for boots of all sizes, shapes and colors. Ask the wranglers and you’ll hear a wide array of stories to explain the booted posts, “They’re just to honor the guests we’ve lost on the trail.”
Or, “We keep the boots from all the folks that try to steal their horses when they left.”
Or, “Those are Ken and Randy Sue’s old boots and they’ve been here quite some time!”
Traditionally, cowboys and cowgirls placed on fenceposts to prevent animals from impaling themselves. We’ve yet to hear any verification that fencepost impalement actually happened; that impaling theory probably developed from by some worrisome cowboy. His worries created some cowboy myth. Later, that myth that was busted by a smart cowgirl. That’s usually how the world works with worrisome cowboys and smart cowgirls.
The truth about the boots is simple. Each boot has it’s own story. Some boots are placed on a fencepost when the sole begins to wear through. Staff members leave boots after a summer of hard work and fun. Still others, like a pair of boots placed on a fencepost next to a hay meadow this summer, are placed after their owner moves to greener pastures.
The boots above have one of the best stories: A loving grandmother shared the ranch with her family for several years. Together, her family had adventures, created memories and grew closer during the annual ranch vacations. Sadly, the family returned without grandma for the first time this year. Her boots found a home on a fencepost in her honor. A part of her will always be here at Drowsy Water now. Her boots hold her shared memories.
All boots that come to Drowsy Water leave (or stay) with a story of their own. When the end of the week comes, cowgirls and cowboys that wondered about the boots on the fenceposts on Monday will leave with little dust on their boots and a story or two to fill them.