The ranch had wranglers to cater specifically to the attention span and skills of kids, and they hosted nightly special events: square dancing, game night.
In case you’re thinking “ho hum”, let me tell you that it was pretty thrilling the evening that a posse of wild Indians (aka the wranglers) wheeled around the cabin, in full body paint, and hooped and hollered through camp, bareback!
Every person, no matter their age, got their own horse – even Tom, my 2-year-old whose elderly steed, Spot, we feared had one hoof dangerously close to the glue pot. But between this older horse’s mellow temperament and the attentive wranglers, a young child was able to participate in the week’s riding, even in the rodeo where he came home with a ribbon from the egg-in-spoon races.
The older kids had a ball, spending hours exploring the dry pine forests of the high desert around Bend. They’d take short runs, stop to build debris shelters, and – their favorite – cross the many water canals on horseback!
My kids came home, with a taste of the West in their mouths. Yes, the carrots and apple slices that they fed their mounts came out of the ranch frig, but the scent of Oregon’s dry pine woods remains a touchstone to the real West!