Whether it's the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Routt National Forest, Seedhouse Road, or the little town of Clark, this area is ripe with interesting facts and tidbits. And while I have plenty more to learn about our area's history and culture, I thought I'd go ahead and share with you some of the most intriguing aspects I've discovered as of late.
I receive many questions on the trail, at the supper table, and on the phone from guests about our area, the geography, the history, etc., and a few of the details below may just answer a few of your questions. I hope you enjoy learning new facts about the area as much as I do!
"Harry believed that there was a way to get along with any horse."
We had a horse jump a fence once. She was getting picked on by one of the big geldings in our herd, and from practically a stand still she leapt over. That wasn't a normal occurrence among our group of trail horses, so we took note. She didn't even brush the fence. Maybe one day, we'll be able to see if she has a gift for jumping like Snowman.
Elizabeth Lett's writing style in The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation, is perfectly suited for anyone interested in an emotional story wrought with historical references. As a reader that needs a more forward-moving story line than what Letts offers, I would put the book down and then pick it up a week later in order to get through areas that didn't seem completely relevant except to give background to the world of horses and jumping. And yet, while I might be bored in one area, I'd be straining to hold back tears by the end of the chapter. I do believe this is a strong indication that the story, itself, of Snowman and his owner, Harry, is so powerful that any reader could pick up this book and find it enjoyable.
Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant with big dreams and a hard start, bought an $80 Amish plow horse off a truck bound with a load of horses set for slaughter. Through a number of unpredictable circumstances, both the horse and rider found their calling and made history becoming the first horse in history to win the Professional Horseman's Association Championship and the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year awards along with numerous other national jumping awards.
"The big gray is long gone, but living on is the memory of the horse who was yoked to a plow yet wanted to soar. Snowman and Harry showed the world how extraordinary the most ordinary among us can be. Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us."
It’s 30 degrees and sunny at the ranch today according to Scott who is holding down the home front for me while I visit my parents in Tennessee this Christmas. I hate to mention to him that it’s supposed to be 70 degrees here tomorrow.
Winter for us means shoveling, plowing and hot fires in the wood stove. Scott has been busy with his Assess2Perform work, and I’ve been blogging, working on the website, getting use to snow running and cleaning cabins. I’ve also joined Leadership Steamboat, a group that meets once a month to learn more about the greater Steamboat Springs community and how to become more involved.
“This place is, perhaps, where I will end my days. Or so I think”
Annie Proulx’s Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place demonstrates a remarkable likeness to the experiences that I’ve lived at our ranch over the last couple of years just a three hour drive south of the setting of her book. In a heavily researched account, the author delves into her ancestry, the construction of her new home and the interactions of wildlife around her location to share more a memoir of person than a memoir of place.
Through an early life of almost constant change and moving, encouraged by her immigrant father’s ‘American Dream’ pursuit for bigger and better jobs, and a desire to seek out her vague family’s history, the author’s own perceived past impacts the design, location, and character of her home under construction in Wyoming. Ironically, just as her narrative ends, she too, like the eagles nesting above her home that adapted to new situations, endured loss, and survived the weather, had to realize her dream of creating her final home would have to be deferred.