It may have begun in the 1950’s with two girl friends in high school. Or, it may have begun in the 1990’s with members of the Wyoming Arabian Horse Association, but what is important is what it has become.
Today, in Casper, Wyoming, there exists a vibrant group of horsewomen who love to get together and ride. Members of the group range from age twenty to those in their seventies. This group is known as The Wyoming Range Riders.
On any given Wednesday there is likely to be activity. From November through April the group rents a good sized indoor arena in which to ride. Group size can range from just a few to over 20. We come together to exercise our horses and visit with friends. We have fun dress up days such as “hat day” and this year “mask day.” We decorate our horses for Christmas, or St. Patrick’s Day and of course there are always pictures. There is a total lack of seriousness in this endeavor. Then we usually go out for lunch.
The real passion of this group is trailering our horses up onto Casper Mountain where we trail ride for a couple of hours, then eat lunch, again, on Wednesdays. The day’s pictures of the ride appear on Facebook to document our fun. Husbands and grandchildren sometimes accompany on our rides.
Once in a while members of the group may take this caravan on the road. Campgrounds in South Dakota are a popular place to go for a summer weekend. Other rides are closer to home such as Edness Kimball Wilkins State Park or Ayers Natural Bridge, which are in the next county over.
The ladies in this group love to celebrate each other. We used to have a birthday party each month to celebrate all of the women with birthdays during that month. The group got large enough that practicality dictated we had to modify the fun. Now we have secret sisters for whom we buy a few gifts throughout the year. At the end of the year we have a Christmas Party, reveal the secret sisters and have a wonderful slideshow of the year’s events.
We have also, in the past, contributed to the well-being of others. We have donated to families we do not know, dog and horse rescues and to our friends who just might need a helping hand. Each year members of the group donate to or raise money for the Jason’s Friends Foundation. This charity raises money for families who have a child with cancer. The money raised is used for house payments or electrical bills so the families have less worries about these things.
The trail rides began in 2008 when the Wyoming Arabian Horse Association sought to have a ride each Memorial Day. At first, there were just a few people. Then horses of other breeds were included. Then one of the members decided to have a pasture party, which was a really fun obstacle course for the horses. Of course, we had to eat, so there was a pot luck dinner. Soon people were having so much fun it was decided to have a ride every possible Wednesday.
The backbone of this group are the ladies who are in their 60’s and 70’s. One member arranges for us to lease the riding arena. Another loves to take pictures of us and our horses. She also organizes our social events and truly cares for the ladies in this group.
This group keeps us all young. Other groups of 60 and 70 year olds with whom I am familiar, may get together and have lunch. Some of them report their physical activity as chair aerobics and possibly crafting classes. Many in our group stay active by caring for our horses on a daily basis. That means feeding, cleaning up, and watering. Hay and sacks of feed may need to be hauled. Brushing, cleaning hooves and tacking keep one active. Handling thousand pound animals is not what one would picture a sixty or seventy year old woman doing. Perhaps it’s the fun that keeps us all young.
“I have ridden with some of the ladies in this group for almost forty years,” said one of the members in a recent text. I don’t believe many groups maintain that kind of longevity. As for our picture postings on Facebook, I am told people live vicariously through our adventures. Members in this group are indeed blessed. Our love of our horses, each other and an involvement in the community have made for a unique set of circumstances which, I hope will take us a long way into the future.
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