On occasion I receive calls from prospective schools or employers wishing to verify the integrity of a current or previous student that has me listed as a personal reference. These calls are usually unremarkable, a few sentences verifying how long I’ve known the applicant and a couple of obligatory questions regarding their work ethic. Earlier this week I received one of these reference check calls regarding a student I have known for ten years, Lindsay Hildebrandt. The business owner calling me was Linda Miller from Elkhorn Ranch in Montana. Ms Miller’s warm sense of humor and sincere desire to hire the right person for her ranch made this call anything but unremarkable.
I have never been to Elkhorn Ranch but have many times thought I would like to take a summer off from teaching and spend it as a guide, or wrangler, taking people out on horseback treks through mountain passes, and enjoying horses without the pressures of daily commutes or the underlying intensity of competition training. Unfortunately, however, Ms. Miller didn’t call to ask me out to Montana to be a wrangler for the summer, but instead to find out if I thought Lindsay Hildebrandt might be right for the job. “You would be crazy not to hire her”, was my initial reaction, and I stand by it still.
I assured Linda that Lindsay was nothing if not determined and hard-working. Anyone that has ever met Lindsay’s horse, Prophet, can testify to that. As charming and talented as Prophet is, I have never met a more challenging or difficult horse to train and Lindsay has persevered on him through the years, training him as a showjumper. I’m sure there won’t be any horses at Elkhorn like Prophet, but if Linda needs any help with training horses for the trails, she’s getting her money’s worth with Lindsay.
A talented artist, Lindsay has designed logos for me, given me drawings and paintings that I cherish and created a beautiful wire sculpture of my horse, Wango Tango. Before the advent of blogs I recruited Lindsay and her best friend Amber to write and illustrate my first newsletter, Hot2Trot. It was a lot of work for the kids but they did a great job! If Linda is as sneaky as I am, Elkhorn may have some new signs and artwork before the summer is up!
I could go on and on about traits that make Lindsay a great candidate for Elkhorn Ranch but I’d rather let Lindsay update us herself. She’s leaving in June and staying for the summer. I have a great feeling about Linda, she seems like a genuine person that cares about her guests, her horses and her staff. One day Nickel (Wango Tango) and I hope to make it out to Montana to meet her and her horses.
Lindsay, good luck at your job and have a great time. You have been promoted from Hot2Trot illustrator to blogospondent for Tango Dressage! Send us updates and photos from your trip and put in a good word for me, I’ll be a wrangler one day soon!