The Wild West and a Beautiful Bridle
I was touring the Western United States in a large motorhome and had just arrived at the stunning Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. I had never visited the area before but the drive to the park had been enough to convince me that I would have to return. The scenery was amazing and unlike anything I had seen before. To add to the excitement I was in cowboy country. In fact better than that, I was in Butch Cassidy country!
I had long been fascinated by the legend of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. Bryce Canyon isn’t far from the famous Outlaw Trail. This was the route used by many of the nineteenth century outlaws to evade capture by the authorities or the many posses that would pursue them. Naturally the movies have rather romanticised these characters who were essentially armed robbers, but hey!
I felt even more chuffed when I went for a look around Ruby’s Inn. I was camping in the grounds of the hotel and wanted to see what it had to offer. There were cowboys wondering around in the reception sporting rather magnificent spurs and leather chaps. Riding trips were available and were guided by the cowboys. I really wanted to go but nobody else in my party could ride. I had to content myself with a quick chat with the cowboys. I had been convinced that they would be students dressed up for the benefit of the tourists but it turned out that they were they real deal and acted as guides when they weren’t herding cattle.
The Chief and the Beautiful Horse Bridle
The next evening, after a wonderful day exploring the canyon, I realised that I needed to do some washing. I grabbed a load of dirty cloths and headed for the camp site laundry. This was an attractive log cabin near the hotel. As I approached the cabin I was stopped in my tracks by the most amazing sight. Sitting proudly on a large black horse was an Native American chief in full regalia. He was wearing a huge feather headdress and carrying a long spear. The horse bridle was colourfully decorated and I was sure that I had never seen anything so magnificent.
Example of a horse bridle decorated with beads and feathers[/caption]As I walked towards him the chief bid me good evening. He was clearly an authentic Native American. I decided to be nosy and to ask him what he was doing. He explained that a chuck wagon accompanied by cowboys would be travelling up the road shortly and that he was going to attack it. I enquired as to whether this was an act for the benefit of the tourists and he confirmed that it was. I don’t normally like touristy things but I was loving this! I introduced myself to his mount and examined the decorations on the horse bridle making a mental note of what I saw. Everything was handmade with real feathers and beautiful beading down the cheek pieces and across the browband; which made the British style of horse bridle seem rather plain in comparison.
After a couple of minutes I could hear the sound of the wagon’s wheels making their way up the road. The chief bid me farewell, gathered up his reins, let out a loud battle cry and charged off to attack the chuck wagon.
Gosh! For a moment I could have been in the old Wild West with 'Cowboys and Indians'! It doesn't get any better than that. But then again it does if you have your camera with you!