One of my long standing dreams has always been to drive cattle long distances on horseback. Let’s face it we no longer live in the Wild West so chances of being able to do this authentically are pretty slim.
A great friend of mine found a wonderful place in the Cullinan where clients can go, saddle up and convert their dreams from city slicker to cowboy or cow girl. The outride took place at the Diamond X Cowboy Ranch which I think is truly a gem venue, location and experience just waiting to be discovered.
From the moment you enter the Diamond X Cowboy Ranch it truly feels as though you have stepped into the Wild West. Great attention to detail has been spent on getting all the ‘stage props’ perfectly correct in order to create the correct ambience.
Once all the guests had arrived we were able to help ourselves to hot beverages using an old fashioned tin pot with boiling water heated from a direct fire. We wrapped our hands around traditional tin mugs and warmed our hands before making our way outside to saddle up for our outride horseback adventure. Horses are chosen based on the riders experience and once we were comfortably on our steeds we preceded to the arena where we enjoyed a few laps of victory and practice before starting the outride.
As soon as the cattle saw us they started on their way and we spend the next four hours (apart from our breakfast break) rounding them up, moving them in all sorts of different directions and making sure that no heads of cattle went astray. The herd seemed to have quite a few cute babies so we had to keep an eye out on horseback ensuring that the entire herd stayed together. The best part of the outride experience would have to be when we used our skills to herd all the cattle through trees and bushes. It didn’t take long before the cowgirls were whistling and shouting like troopers to keep everyone in line. There was this epic part of the outride where we drove cattle through what felt like the Grand Canyon. It was quite steep in sections and I was amazed how the horses and cattle all kept their cool. The bunching up of horses is what stressed me out the most. One is always encouraged to maintain distance between each other but these horses seemed to be legends for walking almost up each other’s bottoms! The herd was moved off in one direction and so were we. As we turned the corner imagine our surprise as we saw this incredible bonfire and breakfast spread just waiting for our arrival. We all dismounted and helped ourselves to our own frying pans where we were able to prepare a salivating cow boy breakfast of eggs, bully beef, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, baked beans and toast. We were all so surprised and completely starved so enjoyed the fun of making our own hot brekkies. On the way back we continued to herd the cattle and were relieved at the end of 4 hours to slip out of the saddle and make our way to the Diamond X Cowboy Ranch bar for a recovery drink.
The entire experience was absolutely epic in every way. The only thing I would change would be to increase the amount of swift fast canters to crack open the lungs of a City Slickers chest encouraging the heart to race with exhilaration of fresh air and the feeling of being Jesse James at last!
Wikipedia describes a cattle drive in the USA as follows –
Cattle drives involved cowboys on horseback moving herds of cattle long distances to market. It was a major economic activity in the American west, particularly between the years 1866-95, when 10 million cattle were herded from Texas to railheads in Kansas for shipments to stockyards in Chicago and points east. Because of extensive treatment of cattle drives in fiction and film, the cowboy became the worldwide iconic image of the American West.
Written and experienced in person by Odette Butcher, Chief Experience Officer, Celestial Gift Experiences.
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