My Horseman and Me, The Beginning. Part One

We met in college in Mississippi. Clint was a friend of a friend and I thought he was pretty dreamy with his belt buckle and Wrangler jeans. Clint regaled me with tales of the West. Sage blooming, fly fishing, riding horses through the Rocky Mountains…I caught the bug and had to get out there!   Clint told me about these guest ranches in Colorado – the perfect job for a non-western gal like me. It would get me out west with room and board for the summer and I could explore on my days off. It was my last semester of school and ready for an adventure, I thumbed through the Colorado Guest Ranch Guide that I had requested to be mailed to me (before we just Googled everything), found the ones I that tickled my fancy, sent in applications (again, all through snail mail) and waited for replies.

My picture I submitted with my applications. I tried to look "outdoorsy" since I wasn't a cowgirl. Ha!

My picture I submitted with my applications. I tried to look “outdoorsy” since I wasn’t a cowgirl. Ha!

I settled on a waitress job at C Lazy U Guest Ranch in Granby, CO. I drove by myself from Mississippi to Colorado in May of 1995. I had never been west of Ft. Worth, Texas up until then. I drove through the sweltering Texas Panhandle and saw my first snow flurry in New Mexico. By the time I hit Colorado Springs and gazed up at Pike’s Peak, I was smitten with the mountains. Clint was going back to Bar Lazy J in Parshall, CO for another summer, about 20 minutes away from my ranch. He would be guiding horseback rides. For a Mississippi boy born with a love for horses and yet whose parents were custom jewelry designers, this was a dream job. I even jumped ship mid-summer and took an opening as a children’s counselor at Bar Lazy J. The summer months went by and soon it was September, Bar Lazy J prepared to shut down before the snow came. After midnight bareback rides under a full moon and Clint bringing me bouquets of Lupine and Indian Paintbrush that he picked while out for a ride I had fallen hard for that wrangler.

We both traveled back to Mississippi. Clint was riding horses for the public (training other people’s horses) and I worked in a couple of different offices. You know what I found out? I do not thrive in an office setting, especially when it comes to tasks requiring a detail oriented person, cause I’m not!  I drudged through my days in those offices, anxiously watching the clock; waiting for the end of the day when I could jump in my car and head across town to ride with Clint.

During that winter we got engaged and knew we wanted to somehow move back out west. Bar Lazy J was under new ownership and the new owners called and offered Clint the head position running the barn for the season. He went to back to Colorado and I stayed in Mississippi that next summer. Our plan was to get married out on the ranch when the season ended in September of 1996. While all this was happening, the owners offered us both year round positions to stay in the winter and look after the horses. And boom! God had opened a door and we were staying out west!

So, in early July of 1996, I packed up my little maroon Nissan Stanza with my belongings, my dog, Chief and as many wedding shower gifts as I could cram in that little car and headed out west again. I worked at Bar Lazy J for the remainder of the summer as a floater. I rode, I cleaned cabins, I washed dishes, whatever needed to be done and I planned our wedding.

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Wedding day on the ranch

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