Now that reality is about to form and swallow my dreams, I think it is wise to touch on a couple of things.
The number one lesson I learned in my time working as a dude wrangler is NOTHING is black and white. It’s a lesson I tend to need to re-learn on some level or another once in awhile, but it is safe to say that the fundamental understanding came from my experience there.
Also, this blog is about the lessons I’ve learned from horses. I feel like sharing a bunch of “people” stories would be an unnecessary tangent. Unless the people are directly part of a horse story, I don’t plan on bringing them up a whole lot.
Let’s face it. All horse people tend to be odd. Those who float in and out of the dude stable environment are especially unique. I know that each discipline seems to have it’s own stereotype and I am here to say the dude stable stereotype is pretty accurate. There are washed up race trackers, wanna-be cowboys, real cowboys who are too beat up to do anything else, drunks, druggies and ALWAYS a constantly flowing stream of young girls with big horsey dreams.
It does seem like the bottom of the barrel. It is a very easy environment to pull off being a wanna-be because USUALLY you’re surrounded by dude horses, not highly strung show horses, a bunch of colts, or any other super sensitive equine that is liable to pat you on the head while you pose for a picture in your fancy jingle bob spurs.
Still, there is plenty to learn. And while I still feel the repercussions of certain “holes” in my equine education, the lessons I did learn have made learning new lessons much easier. I’ve seen people who are much farther along in their horse careers than I, who lack some skills that, coming from where I started, I just assumed all horse people had.
Other horse people tend to scoff at dude wranglers and dude horses. It’s true, the wranglers can border on pompous and absurd. But who knows how many sparks of passion wanglers have fanned to create full grown equine enthusiasts? A good wrangler can manage to keep spoiled, screaming children from causing an all out stampede, reassure an NFL linebacker that Old Joe is not going to buck him off and get said NFL linebacker to stop crying, all while never skipping part of her story about the area’s history. If done well, it can be trickier than one may think.
As far as the horses go, I know now that there are some of them who are tuned out. However, a lot of them are way more tuned in than someone sitting a little higher up may think. I really hope there is a special place in heaven for dude horses. They earn every carrot and kiss that they get in this world and so much more.
They deserve to have their stories told. They are the ones who had the most profound and long lasting affect on me. They are what started me on my journey to who I am today and who I will be tomorrow.
So with that said, don’t expect a lot of philosophical lessons learned from my human interactions. Or a bunch of the lurid tales of what can happen whenever one combines horses, egos, alcohol, spurs, cowboy hats, and young girls. Maybe I’ll save them for another blog. Maybe I’ll keep them to myself. Except of course for the stories about the horse shoer. Don’t worry, you guys are going to get ALL the dirt on him!