Horseworks Wyoming Worked for Me!

One year ago today, Horseworks Wyoming came into my life. As I celebrate this one year anniversary with this special place, I can’t help but reflect on all the great, happy, and even, sometimes, challenging times that occurred over the past 365 days. I never thought what was supposed to be a three week visit on a ranch in Wyoming would turn into the best year of my life. There are so many people that I would like to thank for this experience, but the two people I owe it all to are MaeCile and Nate Brown.

Without MaeCile’s confidence in me, I don’t think I would ever be moving a herd of horses or cattle on my own, driving tractors or bobcats, teaching people how to ride, taking a stud colt to a reining/cutting clinic, or even believe in myself to do all this. She has given me the confidence that whatever I put my mind to, I can achieve. This is something that I have struggled with all my life. For a year, I was able to watch MaeCile overcome so many challenges, but also celebrate so many successes. I don’t think I have met someone that I have bonded so closely with in so long. We have shared so many laughs, tears, and unforgettable moments. I am in awe of her work ethic, and her ability to persevere. However, what I am most impressed with is her ability to work with any horse with such ease and patience. I think MaeCile and I connected so well because we both find comfort in horses and the ease they bring us. MaeCile gave me a home out here in the West, and I will never be able to express how grateful I am in words. I can only say how much I love her and thank her as much as I can.

There is so much I can say about Nate Brown. But first I would like to say he was the grandpa I never had growing up. Every morning, he would welcome me with a “hello beautiful” and that meant more than the world to me. He always knew how to flatter the girls and it brought joy to the whole room. I will never forget the stories and poems he would share at meal times. I will also never forget his amusement as Jess and I would have dance parties in the lodge. He would smile and tap his foot along to the music as we girls made fools of ourselves. The nights he would come out to dinner with us were the best, because you could see how happy he was to be out and about with everyone. On our long car rides to Cody, he would hold my hand and smile as a tried to sing along to the music. I would squeeze his hand and his hand would squeeze back and you could feel the love he had to share. Moments like those I will hold onto forever. On our walks with Nicole, he would zoom off and I tried to keep up with the oxygen tank in hand. Even at 94 years old, he was on the move. Nate has touched so many peoples’ hearts like my own, and we all can agree how great of a cowboy he was. He will be so greatly missed, but I know that whenever I am at Horseworks Wyoming he will be there too. I’m sure he’ll still be there on the rides, in the lodge at meal times, and be watching us working with his horses that he loved so much.

Horseworks Wyoming may not be glamorous, or the cliché dude ranch experience that everyone may want, but it’s real. You face real ranch challenges, you ride real horses that aren’t trained to follow head to tail, and you do real hard work. With every challenge though, there is a reward. This reward may be being able to ride a horse that you never thought you could, or it could be finding something in yourself that you never knew. For me, I became a much stronger person with a better understanding for hard work and a deeper appreciation for the small successes.

In the past year, I have become a better rider and horseman, I have extended the list of people who I call family, I made so many life long friends, I fell in love, I became a stronger independent person, I learned what I want out this life and what I don’t want, and I love myself more. For future interns, or any person that comes to HorseWorks Wyoming I hope your experience is as great as mine has been. I hope you cherish the time you spend with the horses and MaeCile because you are truly lucky to be there. But most importantly, I hope you leave feeling like you have grown in some way, that you have experienced something unforgettable, and you leave with more love in your heart than what you arrived with.

Hannah Hoffman, April to November 2015, Intern and Ranch Family Member