I had driven quite a few hours the days preceding this trip to Claremore and battled heavy rainfall, flooding and nearly hitting a deer the night before. I was sore and achy from sitting in a car, tired from the late night before and early morning on the road, but driving up to conduct an interview in a place like A Bar Ranch never fails to give me a jolt of energy and I forget about the circumstances that plagued me previously.
I met the whole family and we sat down for an interview in the ranch office before making our way to the stable to get on our horses. Originally I had been asked if I would like to take pictures on horseback and I jumped at the opportunity. It’s not often ones finds themselves documenting a story like this from a saddle.
The morning of the trip I started to worry something would change and I would not be able to ride after all. It was a fear that was soon quelled when I was handed the reins of a quiet little grey gelding named Traveler, after Robert E. Lee’s horse.
I hopped on with my camera around my neck and we pranced off to the prairie. Our group included three Armitage family members, the ranch manager and myself. We talked while our horses meandered through the grass and they pushed a herd of Angus cattle across the pasture while I took photos. Traveler was a perfect mount and never missed a beat as the shutter on my camera went off and about 40 cows and calves were coming right at us, giving me the perfect shot.
All the while I was thinking, how lucky am I that this is just another day at the office? Everyone has their own idea of the job that checks all their boxes. For some, it might be granting wishes to terminally-ill children at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, maybe a broader dream, like building and running your own business or possibly becoming President of the United States.
Not everyone would consider writing as their dream job, in fact some people I know would deem it inhuman treatment, but for me it is all I ever wanted to do. Not everyone gets to see their dream realized, but I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have ridden Traveler on A Bar Ranch and doing what I love: telling the story of an honest, hard-working family to an agricultural reading base.