I truly believe that when you move somewhere new it’s important to blend in a little. To really experience a place you need to do what the locals do, go where the locals go, and eat what the locals eat. That’s why when I lived in Montreal I bought a black leather coat and went to bars where you had to wait outside in long lines and then pay ridiculous amounts to check said coat. In Vancouver, I traded leather for a windbreaker, started eating homemade granola, and battled bears on the hiking trails. Now in Toronto, I walk fast down the street with my head down and think I’m superior to the rest of Canada (just kidding!).
From what I’ve read about Wyoming, it embodies all the myths and truths of the “Wild West.” Wyoming is of course the state from which Butch Cassidy hailed! There, the buffalo roam free (well, sort of – in a protected wildlife park in Grand Teton) and, in the southwest where we’ll be living there are herds of antelope. This is the land of cowboys (cowpeople?!) and horses and I fully intend to do my darndest to make the most of it!
Now, my experience with horses is pretty limited. I’ve always loved patting the ponies at petting zoos and horse movies are great: who doesn’t love Black Beauty? The actual riding of them is a little more complicated, though. When I was in elementary school I attended a 2-week horseback riding camp outside Ottawa, ON. I wasn’t particularly athletic and I remember being a slightly chubby, easily sunburned bookworm who had a lot of trouble swinging her stumpy leg over a huge horse.
Fast-forward a few years and I had my next horseback riding experience: I was 15 years old on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We went on one of those tourist trail rides and the horse I was supposed to ride was so small and hungry-looking I felt like I should be carrying it up the hill!
Now at 26 I am bound and determined to get back in the saddle, so to speak, and Doug seems keen to try it out as well. There is one small problem: Doug is allergic to horses. Now, he says that if he brings his puffers along and takes allergy meds beforehand he won’t actually die, which is very reassuring. Somehow the thought of riding along with him madly sneezing, tears streaming out of his red-rimmed eyes, doesn’t really conjure up the romantic image of the west, though. Still, I think he’d be mighty cute in jeans, boots and a cowboy hat.