Yury Rybakov hadn’t ridden a horse before. Nor had he herded cattle or thrown a lariat. But he had the cowboy bug and wanted me to teach him a thing or two.
I was spending the week on Angus Shestakovo Ranch, where Yury worked. I agreed to help, but warned that learning the cowboy trade doesn’t happen overnight. In the American West, old cowboys who’ve honed their skills for a lifetime still say they’ve only scratched the surface. But if Yury was committed to learning, I would give him a crash course in Cowboy 101.
"When I'm ridin', I'm right. I'm a happy cowpoke. Wind in my face, And my pony at a lope. My reins are loose And my cinch is tight. I'm on top of the world, When I'm ridin', I'm right." — Wylie and The Wild West #saddleup #cowpoke #cowboyup #saddletramp #comradecowboys #spring2016 #russia #fulbright #natgeo #westernhorseman #wildwest #wildeast #eastmeetswest
Ryan Bell is a Fulbright-National Geographic Fellow traveling through Russia and Kazakhstan. He’s reporting about food topics for The Plate, and his travel adventures for Voices. You can also follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Storify.