From horseriding in the Arizona desert to caring for animals, cowgirl Lori Bridwell extols the virtues of a ranch holiday.
What is a typical day like for you?
We wake up, sometimes at the crack of dawn, sometimes a little later. I go out and check all the animals and feed the dogs, pig and chickens. Then we take care of the older horses – right now we’re bottle-feeding a calf and doctoring its mum. Then we begin riding horses that are in training and teaching lessons. Afterwards, we take care of the evening feeding of the animals along with turning the horses out. Usually, I get in at around 8.30pm, have a bite to eat and go to bed. Then I start all over again the next day.
What are the advantages of a ranch holiday?
Getting back to the cowboy lifestyle, getting away from 2018 and mobile phones and computers. Clients learn that our lifestyle is all about family and friends.
What do clients learn at cowboy college?
Clients think they’re coming to learn all about horses, cattle and ranch work, but really it’s about learning about themselves and how strong they can be. They go away with a much stronger character and a feeling of self-worth because the job is so demanding and a lot harder than they think it is.
What is the most popular activity at the college?
Horseback riding outdoors in the beautiful Arizona desert and working with the cattle.
Where do clients stay on the week-long camp?
In our bunkhouse for the first two days, then depending on the ranch, we work either in another bunkhouse or sleep on the ground in bedrolls.
Who is the week-long camp ideal for?
It’s ideal for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and anyone else adventurous.
And what about the day-long camp?
It’s suited to the same types of people as the week-long camp, as well as families who to come enjoy the horses and ranch life with each other for the day.
What else can clients do at the ranch?
We are a full training, boarding and teaching facility. We teach English Western (horsemanship skills and ranching techniques), and we’ve had companies come for team-building.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
I love caring for the animals, knowing they depend on me for everything – food, care and love. I also love the children I teach because I have such an impact on their lives. I need to be a good role model for them to grow up into strong adults.
What traits do you need to be a good cowboy?
Perseverance. Failure is not an option – you need a never-stop-trying attitude, and to be able to ride horses, learn about the land and leave everything better than you found it. You need to be kind, caring and understand that every animal has its own personality, and to treat everyone and everything with care.
And to be a good cowgirl? Is it tougher for women?
I don’t feel it’s tougher. In real ranch life, the women do everything the men do and they are well respected. It has always been a world of equal pay.
What’s the best thing about being a cowgirl?
I love the outdoor lifestyle, working with livestock and working hard. I look at every day as a good day until something goes wrong, which it often does, but we just take it all in our stride and deal with it.
How many pairs of cowboy boots do you have?
About 10. If they weren’t so expensive, I’d own more!