Jen Burn, one of our wranglers, is a fine writer. She wrote a little something to give insight to the hard work endured by our wranglers.

A day in the life of a wrangler:
“My alarm clock didn’t go off this morning, but I woke up before 6 on my own, anyway,” is muttered more often that it should be in the Drowsy Water barn during an early morning round-up. Dressed in well-insulated outwear (or multiple layers) a wrangler’s day begins with a brisk sunrise ride to round-up the herd of over 100 horses. If all goes according to plan, the entire herd is waiting at the gate to gallop back towards the ranch (and grain!). But if one or two horses are missing, then the wranglers fan out across the meadow, using their eagle-eyes to spot the telltale brown dots on a hillside (is that a horse or a bush?). Need a gift idea for a wrangler? Travel size binoculars will always come in handy.

Once back at the ranch, the other wranglers are working on their triceps by carrying around 30 pound buckets of grain to different feeding spots: about eight to the stall area, a few to the “skid row”, one to “back five” and one goes across the “log o’death” (a shaky log that spans a deep, raging creek) where the injured horses patiently wait. Once the buckets are in place, the horses paw at the stalls waiting for their breakfast. “Ready? Go!” yells Ryan as the wranglers hoist the heavy buckets and use their proficient skills to evenly divide the bucket into six different portions. Then Ryan counts the horses, while the round-up wranglers wait with baited breath for two magic words – “All here!” Otherwise, back out on round-up again until all the horses are in!

When breakfast is over, the wranglers wander through the herd, catching horses that are in-use that week. After brushing and saddling the guest horses (anywhere from 3-10 horses per wrangler), the wranglers saddle their own steeds for the day. Sunscreen is liberally applied and shirts are tucked in before the guests begin to arrive for their morning ride.

Once on the trail, the wrangler becomes an entertainer, leader, safety personnel, spotter of camouflaged wildlife, and landmark pointer-outer. Telling stories and spinning tall tales are a must, but if all else fails, “Do you guys want to lope?” is a go-to crowd pleaser that is guaranteed to get a smile.

Barn chores round out the day after a morning and afternoon trail ride (or an all day ride). Raking hay, scooping manure off the driveway and checking the tack in all the stalls are done daily. Dusty and sweaty, a wrangler works until all the chores are done before collapsing on a bucket in the barn to recap adventures from the day. Finally, the horses are pushed back out into the pasture, where they spend the night grazing on delicious grass and frolicking in the fields.

–Jen Burn