Before I left Texas, I had a summer job. I worked as a wrangler, or horse caretaker, at Pine Cove Silverado over in Columbus. Wrangling is one of the toughest jobs staff can have, and I soon found out why. A typical day involves getting up at 5:00 am to get to the barn by 5:30 (tardiness is not tolerated) We set out feed buckets for the horses, have a quick devo, then catch the horses out in the pasture with rope halters and lead ropes, and tie them up at their assigned buckets. We then brush and pick them as they eat, and then saddle them up just as dawn breaks. Hopefully we’d get a little time afterward devoted to quiet time (or spiritual discipline) before walking up to breakfast. Even at meals your expected to serve the campers and councilors, sitting at a table, and making sure everyone has enough to eat, drink, and the kids don’t get too rambunctious.
After breakfast, we head back to the barn to bridle and tighten cinches. We’ll then have our first activity class, either taking kids on trail-rides, an obstacle course, or some simple trick riding. (also, large, skittish, animals combined with loud, sudden-moving little children really did not do any favors to my overall peace of mind during this
) We do two activity classes before and after lunch. Afterward, we unsaddle and hose down the horses before turning them loose in the pasture. We pick up any manure, rake the barn, sweep the tack-room, and make sure everything is put away. We then have a few minutes to clean ourselves up for the theme night before helping out with that. By the time we get back to our cabin, it’s 9:30 pm. We shower, lay out our clothes for tomorrow, set our alarms, and sleep like the dead until we get at 5 to do it again.
The job was tremendously challenging on a physical, metal, emotional, and spiritual level. Time off was limited to 24 hours on the weekend, and we were always in motion unless we were sleeping. But I grew in more ways than I can count, and learned some new things about myself. While the challenge was exhausting, it was also exciting, and I want to go back next summer.
There was also a time I rode a steer, and the time I packed for a globe-trotting adventure in a single day. But those are stories for another time….