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  • So last summer I decided to get a destination job. I didn't want to sit at home, or get a normal job, or go to summer school, or be like everybody else. I wanted to go do something that I'd never done before, see things I've never seen before. Um, so I've had horses since I was a kid, I've worked on a ranch every summer for, basically since I can remember. Um, so I applied to a bunch of ranches uh throughout the US. And one in particular looked good, in Northern California. Um, they are organic farmers, and it's a guest ranch. So people come out and stay for a week and the wranglers take them on trail rides through the mountains on horseback. And then they do like whitewater rafting and stuff like that after, but my job would be taking them out on horseback. So I get the job over the phone, they fly me out there, I meet Heidi whose the mom, her husband uh and their grown kids and their grandkids run this whole ranch, so it's a family owned operation , except for me. I get there, they drive me three hours into the mountainside to this ranch and they show me my living accommodations, which is this hay barn with horses in it and everything. I climb up the ladder into this little attic and it's not insulated so it's like an oven in there. No power, so uh we had to have a 100 foot extension cord run down the ladder, out into the field to the outside bathroom where there is a plug. So we plugged in our little bitty fan at night so we could have some, um some airflow. Not what I'm used to. So in the mornings I'd get up at five in the morning, take people out on trail rides, have you know, it was the best time ever. I love horses and I love people. And then I'd go in for kitchen duty, to clean dishes after lunch, where I'd spend most of my time with Heidi. Now this is where I found out she was OCD, bipolar and a little crazy. One day she was talking about how her daughter-in-law doesn't love her because she'd never actually heard her say "I love you". Now I opened my big fat mouth and I said ya know that some people don't express love through words, um they express love through actions, of what they do for you and stuff like that. And I've met this woman, she's amazing and very loving. So she says, "Well, you work really hard for me um, do you love me?" I said, "Oh, um no Heidi I'm sorry I've been here for two weeks and you're my employer, ya know I don't love you." She said, "Good, I don't love you either." So the next day I go on my trail ride and I come in for lunch duty and she says, "Hey Danielle! How was your ride? How was your day? Oh, by the way, I don't love you." I don't love you, everyday. Now regardless of who says that to you, if you hear that everyday, it kinda messes with your head. Ya know, I'm a 20 year old kid, first time being really far away from home without a cell phone, without any home contact so it did, it messed with my head. One day she goes out, and she's all pissed off because we did something wrong, and there's this horse who needs disciplining, not acting right. So she goes out there, and she's about to get on this horse and horses can feel your energy, uh they can channel it so if you're scarred and anxious, they're going to be scared and anxious too. So she goes out there with all this negative attitude, ya know the horse channels that and throws her off instantly. She breaks her back. She's house bound for the next six months. No more kitchen time with Heidi. Now, it's awful that she got hurt, I'm not happy about that but I was happy that I wasn't spending anymore personal time with her. So I went home, and ya know I've never appreciated my parents more, than after this whole ordeal. Ya know, a lot of people have parents like Heidi that they live in constant chaos and stress, and that's not what I have at home, and I was so thankful that my parents aren't like that. And I'l never take them for granite ever again. Ya know, I went home and hugged them as tight as I possibly could so, I did really learn a lot on the ranch and from Heidi and her family. So it was overall a good experience. Leadership Stories UT
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