Class of 2018 alumna Daisy Johnson saddled up and joined the Cherokee Park Ranch in Colorado as a horse wrangler this past summer.
Following college graduation this past spring, Daisy packed up her belongings and her horse to work at the ranch. She has been riding horses since she was 3 and owns her own horse. Her current horse Flicka has been by her side since she was 7 and has traveled with her everywhere.
“Working as a wrangler at Cherokee Park Ranch was one of the best experiences I have had in my life,” said Daisy. “Being in nature with no phone surrounded by horses and like-minded people was a breath of fresh air for me. I was also able to bring my own horse to the ranch, which really elevated this whole experience.”
Daisy’s day at the ranch started around 6 a.m. when she and other wranglers would bring the herd in from their night pastures to the corral. Checking the list of what horses would be ridden that day, she helped move those horses to a separate pen. The horses not being ridden would be let into a pasture for the day. Her other responsibilities included cleaning out the pens, performing medical checks to assess and treat any wounds before feeding, brushing, and tacking up the horses.
“There were about 120 horses on the ranch so watching them run in for breakfast was such a beautiful experience,” said Daisy.
Each wrangler would be assigned a trail and group of people for both morning and afternoon rides, which each lasted about two hours. The rides were versatile as some trails moved through the mountains and rivers while others moved to the wide-open fields. After the last ride of the day, the horses were untacked and guided back to the nighttime pasture. Daisy and the other wranglers enjoyed night activities, which included movie nights, square dancing, and bonfires.
Daisy noted how she always wanted to be a wrangler and was inspired by her mother, Molly Johnson, who worked a few summers at the Grand Teton Lodge in Wyoming. Working at the ranch taught her customer service skills and she said she enjoyed meeting new people.
Daisy graduated from Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Currently, she lives in Denver, Colo., and works at Leprino Foods as a microbiology lab technician involved with quality control of the products.