Meet Katie, a Big Cedar and Dogwood Canyon wrangler. She'll take you through some of the ins and outs of working the stables at these two properties.
Well, I am privileged to have the task of giving you all a glimpse into the life of a wrangler at Dogwood Canyon and Big Cedar Lodge stables. How exciting, right?!
Our days can be long, starting around 5:30am and not ending until close to 9:00pm. We do all aspects of care for our geldings (and one little mare): feeding, grooming, maintaining, caring, riding, and driving our herd of between 60-70 head of horses. On some days, we are catching, grooming, and saddling 30 horses for trail rides, cattle drives, and advanced rides at Dogwood Canyon, then high-tailing it to Big Cedar to ready our horses for the wagons and carriages that evening – that’s a busy day! It’s a pretty common occurrence to have a trail ride in the morning and then a wagon ride in the evening with your same wrangler.
We have a big job, and it’s not one for those who are afraid of hard work. However, I guarantee that if you ask any one of my teammates if they enjoy their job, the answer is going to be a resounding “yes.” We have a running theme that when someone asks us how we are, we reply, “Livin’ the dream!” Though said in jest, there is such truth in that phrase. To me, it really is a dream to wake up in the morning (though horribly early!) and not dread where I have to go and what my day holds. I get to spend the long hours alongside my coworkers – friends, both human and equine – that I love, enjoy, and respect. Who wouldn’t want that? Sure, when the temperature hits 103* in the summer and 15* in the winter I’m thinking, “Why is it that I do this again?” But as soon as I see that light in a child’s eyes who has just discovered a life-long love of horses, I easily remember why I do what I do.
There’s a saying by Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” While our job is “work”, nothing could be more true. Yes, there will be days of exhaustion and tired, cranky horses, but at the end of a long day, just sitting at the barn listening to the horses happily munching on their hay reminds me of what a good life I have. I work for a company that allows me to do what I love and share that love with people from diverse, varied backgrounds. In my 7 years with Big Cedar and Dogwood Canyon, I’ve met people from Kansas City to Germany and Pensacola to Egypt. Every guest experience and interaction has taught me something new, something valuable, and I hope I have shared my love of Big Cedar, Dogwood Canyon, and the Ozarks with those people, as well.
Next time you’re in town, come by and visit with us at the stables. We’d love to see you and just visit with you about ourselves and our horses, or maybe take you for a ride through our beautiful Ozark hills. I guarantee that you’ll have a great experience riding with us and sharing in what we love. So come see us and keep on livin’ the dream!