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She Works Hard For the Money

… so her horses can have a good life.

Photo by Mary Sue Kunz

I have three jobs: a restaurant job, a wrangler job and the Horse Nation job. I do a lot of driving for the first two. The Horse Nation job is the fun one that I get to do in my PJs. All of these jobs make sure my horses and mules can continue to live the good life, and I know there are plenty of readers out there like me. Here’s a little look into my working world.

I work at a restaurant on the Las Vegas strip, 57 miles from home. I work Monday to Friday nights there, and love it because no matter how bad the traffic is, or how rude the customers are, the coworkers and money outweigh all the negatives of the job. To be honest, it’s a great job and really fun, but like any job, not every day is full of daisies and unicorn farts. Most people are awesome to wait on, but sometimes people just can be downright horrible to deal with, especially when they’re hangry… I mean, hungry.

When I was little did I ever say “when I grow up, I want to be a waitress”? Nope, that never happened. But I’ve been very lucky to find a job I enjoy doing with fun coworkers and managers which affords me the ability to do what I love and have my days and weekends free also. (Oh and I forgot to mention that when you work in a restaurant, you never go hungry.)

When I dropped out of college I told myself I’d wait tables until I could find something else I enjoyed doing that pays the same or more and requires the same amount of hours. And here I am, 20 years later.

I also started this past winter working most Saturdays or when needed as a wrangler for a local trail riding company. This job is 60 miles from home, but thankfully I don’t have to go anywhere near the Las Vegas strip and deal with the disaster that you call traffic.

While this job’s pay is nowhere near my restaurant job, it’s a job I truly enjoy. It can be totally chaotic at times, like when your string of horses pulls back and breaks the halter on the lead horse so the whole string decides to walk up the road to the barn without you. Or when the wind is blowing 80 mph and you’re riding a young mule, trying to get your guests back safely, and said mule is spooking at every little thing plus things that aren’t even there, but you’ve got to keep looking back to make sure your guests haven’t been blown off their horses, and smile and give them a good time. Oh, and the 14-hour days and the heavy saddles and bales of hay, that all adds up.

But the smiles on someone’s face after they get done going on a ride and you know they just made a memory they’ll never forget,  especially for someone before the ride was scared to death but they get through the ride and are smiling ear-to-ear and want to ride again — that’s what it’s all about, for someone to experience a love for horses, someone that before that ride has never even been around a horse and they can leave with now with wanting to own a horse. Every time I see it, it reminds me of how I felt the first time I got to ride.

To be honest, I just do this job for fun. This is my dream job.

And the third job is my Horse Nation writing gig. I get to sit in my PJs at home and think up stuff to write as I pound back coffee after coffee. It’s an awesome job because my editor Kristen thinks everything I write is great. I even wrote an article about horse turds at one time, and she published that.

You’re probably wondering why I live so far from work? Well, I live in the middle of no where, so when I’m done working I can get away from humanity and retreat to my own little world of horses and kitties. I have trails right outside my door and my mules can bray their little hearts out without anyone complaining. When I’m up here away from everyone, I eventually miss humans and want to get back to work so I don’t turn into a hermit; when I’m at work and have an unruly customer, I know I’ll be far, far away from said person when I clock out.

Three jobs might be a lot, but it’s worth it to lead this kind of horse life.

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