A frequently asked question from our guests is how we got into the “Dude Ranch” business. I don’t want to go into all the historical details at this point, except as it relates to my recently passed “Uncle Bud”. Uncle Bud (Calvin Cole) and Aunt Nola, were my first connection to ranches, farming, and horses. My father, seen here with his brother Bud, would appear to have been interested in horses, based on this photo from his early childhood. But this is the only image I have seen of my father even close enough to touch a horse.
As the two brothers made their life choices, Uncle Bud generally stuck to the simple ranch/ farm lifestyle while my father traveled the globe in the military, and in career paths that took him through several Western states. My Uncle Bud and Aunt Nola’s central Utah ranch home became my youthful summertime exposure to horses.
Aunt Nola’s charitable, giving persona made her a natural for sharing her love of horses with the local 4-H clubs, and with me, the ignorant city nephew who just wanted to jump from corral fence to horse back, and GO!
The horsemanship I gleaned from those early summer rides gave me more of a comfort zone around horses than a technically proficient riding skill. A typical riding adventure for me often included a LONG walk home with my cousin Gordon, while watching the back side of our horse as it galloped home with it’s saddle under it’s belly. Since I couldn’t figure out how “old red” could have a snugly fit saddle at the barn, and a loose girth cinch away from home, I just resorted to riding bare-back. Yes, I now know, horses can suck air to tighten up against the cinch and cleverly release the air once the ignorant rider (me) has mounted and cued the horse to move-out.
Nola and Bud were the epitome of loving, honest, good people. Here are some select Bud and Nola mantras:
1. “Remember Doug, Horses do Horse THINGS!” yep, I have come to learn the truth of this one.
2. “Ya know Doug, lots of folks know how to get up on a horse, but not too many people know when and how to get OFF a horse!” and yep, I have come to learn the truth of this one too.
3. “No riding today Doug, It’s the Sabbath, and horses deserve a day of rest too”. Well, as a sometimes defiant youth, I must confess that there were a few Sundays when I didn’t ride, but I did test the maximum distance I could jump from the corral fence while landing on the back of “old red”. Since the rides didn’t generally last too long, I figured it was not necessarily a breach of the Sabbath.
Uncle Bud passed this last month, and has rejoined his loving wife Nola. Uncle Bud and Aunt Nola were excited to come to help Heidi and I with the start-up of our stock program here in the first year of Marble Mountain Ranch, and my thoughts go to them on nearly every one of my rides. Here is one last parting shot of a great mentor and friend, my Uncle Bud. Bud and Nola took me to the basics, like learning how to return to the barn with the same number of horses the ride started with. This is good stuff.
Till next ride, Doug