It’s mighty cold outside this morning as I hastily pull my gloves on before jumping in my car. I can see my breath; winter is settling in here in Ohio. Driving straight east, I have to strategically position my car's visor to keep the brilliant rising sun out of my eyes though it still causes me to squint at traffic lights.
It reminds me of mornings at Latigo waking before the sun, my breath making clouds around me as I mounted my horse with day breaking all around. I had to use my helmet visor to keep from being blinded by the sun rising over the valley below as I rode out with another wrangler to bring in the entire herd for the day’s work. I'm reminiscing about those morning as I drive into the city today. My hands feel the same cold as they felt this summer in the brisk mountain air at 9,000 feet. Except now I’m surrounded by speeding cars instead of running horses.
The hard work of a demanding summer job can be overwhelming at times, and our focus can become narrow. But during those crisp Colorado mornings, surrounded by 80 sets of thundering hooves, I pondered with awe that these majestic creatures let us sit atop their backs to see the world. Memories of those mornings remind me of why I drove 1,500 miles to Latigo to spend my summer.
I traversed the country to Latigo because I wanted to play a part in allowing each and every guest to experience that very same awe. To watch children as they gingerly pulled themselves atop their mount for the first time, their faces slowly transforming from apprehension to sheer joy as the horse begins putting one hoof in front of another carrying them steadily across the barnyard. To watch an adult experience the power of a loping horse for the first time, the strides eating up the ground beneath them. To watch a seasoned rider get to know a new horse while taking in the breathtakingly spectacular views on the creatures they love so much.
(Morning Mist and a Glorious Sunrise from the Barn)
I believe there’s no better way to get to know someone than to share in the same awe together. I had the honor of doing that week after week at Latigo: gazing together at the glory of a sunset, reveling in the thrill of a mountaintop lope, sitting together atop our horses marveling as a bald eagle soared above.
I miss the simple yet extraordinary wonder of Latigo. Greeting guests as strangers on the first day; saying farewell as friends linked together by a week of magical moments.