Life in the USA as Cowgirl on a Ranch today
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Ever thought of starting a new career as cowboy or cowgirl on a ranch in the USA? Find out what this kind of life has in stock for you today: We interviewed a real cowgirl named Natalie who is living her dream as cowgirl on Badger Creek Ranch in Colorado!
Catch a glimpse of one day in her daily routines on a ranch. The neighs of the horses, a howl of a coyote and somewhere in the distance you can hear a cowboy playing his harmonica. This is how many imagine the “Wild West”. But, what’s really happening in a Cowboy’s daily routine? Wild West romanticism and sweaty work…
This is her day living and working in the USA, as cowgirl on Badger Creek Ranch, in her own words:
Welcome to the wild, wild west
- “Winter is quiet here on the ranch, the snow insulates our world in a blanket of white. There’s a glow of pink and orange behind the ridge to the east, the sun will soon pop over bringing warmth and light. 5 am in the morning: Time to roll out and get the coffee started. I check the thermometer beside the kitchen window, -13° F. (- 25° C). No power, the generator must not have started this morning. We can wait for the sun to hit the solar panels, or I can start the generator manually. A strong desire for coffee sends me for my coat!
- Coffee brewed and one cup down. The temperature is rising almost up to 0° F. The truck should start a little easier now. Boo, our black lab jumps in the cab with my husband and they head to the barn to load up with hay. I head to the chicken coop to replace the frozen water with a fresh one filled with warm water. Ghost the old tabby cat is sitting in front of the barn, basking in the warmth of the morning sun. I fill his bowl with warm water before I go to the coop to take care of the “girls.” They burst down from their roost as I open the door, impatient for their fresh water and food, tired of being cooped up. I gather the eggs tucking them in the pockets of my down coat so they won’t freeze leaving the door to the coop open so the chickens can roam about picking through the hay for seeds and enjoying their freedom.
- I climb into the cab of the truck and we drive out into the meadow to feed the horses. My turn to drive this morning, my husband ride in the back forking the hay off as I inch slowly along doing my best not to unbalance him as I drive over the rough terrain. The horses head our way, they know the truck means breakfast! They also know there’s no need to hurry and most of them take it at an easy walk or jog. Except Bizmark! Young and enthusiastic, he trots then breaks into a lope behind the truck sending up a spray of snow and generally looking very “Hollywood.” With the hay distributed we head back across the meadow to the creek, time to break the ice off the hole we’ve been keeping open for the horses to drink. Using a metal “spud bar” we break the ice and shovel it out of the hole. A cold job to be sure, cold hand a feet encourage back to the house for another cup of coffee and breakfast. We each grab a couple arm loads of wood to stoke up the fire as we go in.
- After breakfast we’ll get down to business in the office. We’re a working cattle ranch and a guest ranch so winter is when we take guest reservations, answer questions, work on marketing and the many other tasks that come with running a ranch business. We also work on our livestock plan for the summer. How many cattle will we graze? When should we bring them up to the high country? There is a lot of planning that goes on behind the scenes of a working cattle ranch. Morning passes quickly and it mid-day, time to bring in a couple of our older horses that require extra calories.
- We’ll feed them and while they are eating we’ll work with some of the other horses. We practice and teach “natural” horsemanship here on our ranch and it is important to us to continue working with all of our horses on creating a relationship that develops a willing partnership. By the time we’ve finished feeding and working with the horses we have only a short time to do a little more office work and it will be time to load the truck up with hay and repeat the that routine so they will have full bellies for the cold night.
- Soon it will be spring and we’ll add checking and fixing fence to the routine. The cattle will arrive in May and we need to be sure the fencing is secure. The elk, deer and antelope run into the fence in the winter and there can be a lot of repair that needs done in the spring.
- We’ll shift our focus away from inside office tasks to outside livestock tasks. We have around 4,000 acres of pasture over rough terrain, that’s a lot of fence! Guests will also arrive here at the ranch at the end of May and our routine will become busier than ever.
- We’re out of bed by 5:00 am. We’ll start coffee in the bunkhouse kitchen and get to work on breakfast. While breakfast is cooking we’ll bring the horses in and get them fed and ready for the day. Breakfast is on the table by 7:30 and guests and ranch hands alike dig in, we’ll appreciate the hearty meal when we’re out on the trail. Out to the corrals to finish tacking up, we’ll mount up and be out the gate before 9:00 am.
- The rest of our day unfolds depending on the needs of the livestock. We’ll check the pasture they are in to make sure they are all there and all are healthy. We’ll check to be sure they have plenty of water and minerals and monitor the amount of grass so we can plan when to move them to the next pasture.
- We’ll check fences to be sure they are in good repair. We may ride fence in the next pasture we plan to use to make sure it is ready. If we have major repairs we may come back with the truck and a repair crew later in the day. Depending on where we ride we may have lunch on the trail, or if we are close enough to home we’ll go in for lunch. We may ride again after lunch depending on what is needed. If all is well with livestock and fence we may ride out with guests just for enjoyment and to show them the amazing landscape around the ranch. Or, we may work on horsemanship skills in the arena or round pen.
- Dinner is at 6:30 pm, a tired but happy crew gathers for another hearty meal. There’ll be stories and laughter around the day’s events but soon someone will yawn and stretch and head off to “turn in.” The sky is bright with stars but often guests are too tired to count them! We may build a campfire and sit around to play some music and sing some cowboy songs, but this too is usually shot lived as everyone is tired and tomorrow will be another busy day.”
Do we need to say more? It's time for you to live your dream! If you signed up for the Green Card lottery already, we wish you lots of luck! If not, now is the time to sign up for the current Green Card lottery with The American Dream! f you also want to saddle up and go West, take the chance to win a Green Card! Maybe you’ll be riding soon towards your American Dream! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from your The American Dream Team