Before this summer, my only horseback riding experience involved being bucked off a one-eyed horse named Pal when I was eight years old. Some pal. After several years of steering clear of riding large animals, I finally got "back in the saddle" to take another stab at being a cowgirl. 

Blue Sky Ranch, located just ten minutes east of Park City, is a 3,300-acre ranch that is a true Western playground. I had the opportunity to participate in Blue Sky's Cowboy for a Day program that is available on weekends throughout the summer and fall. I was the youngest and most inexperienced rider in the group, but I was determined to keep a positive attitude and, most importantly, stay on my horse.
Amy and Powerhouse - Cowgirl for a Day
The day began with a hearty breakfast and a meet-and-greet with our horses. Lo and behold, my partner-in-crime for the day was a regal-looking black horse named Powerhouse. I was naïve enough to trust a horse named Pal when I was eight, and now I was being asked to throw all caution to the wind and mount a horse named Powerhouse. Sure, why not?

After a thorough brushing and cinching up the saddle, Powerhouse and I were starting to get acquainted. We began with some basic groundwork by leading our horses in different directions with a rope to build trust and respect before even taking our first ride. Once we were comfortable with each other, I hopped on Powerhouse with lots of excitement and plenty of nerves.

Once I mastered the crucial basics - starting and stopping - we headed out to the cattle pasture. The group split up on either side of the cow herd to gently guide them into the arena. After corralling them, we started moving the herd out to pasture. Powerhouse and I were still struggling a bit with how to go left or go right or to stop trotting in the opposite direction of the herd, but eventually we saw eye to eye and were able to catch up with everybody else.
Amy on horseback - Cowgirl for a Day
We continued meandering up the trail for about a two-hour ride. Powerhouse was well-versed on where the trail led and since our trust was intact, I was able to let him lead the way while I took in the beautiful panoramic views. It was an unusually hot day so the whole group, especially the horses who had been lugging us around in the heat, welcomed a brief respite at Blue Sky Tavern. This cozy log cabin in what seemed like the middle of nowhere was stocked with ice cold drinks and lunches catered by Park City's local whiskey distiller, High West.
Blue Sky Tavern
With the riders fed and the horses hydrated, we moseyed on back down to the arena. As I hopped off Powerhouse for the last time, I realized my whole demeanor had changed from that morning. I was speaking more slowly, walking with a hint of bowlegged cowgirl swagger, and sporting a grin I couldn't seem to shake. I'm sure I can thank the whiskey for some of that, but at the end of the day, I think I do have some cowgirl in me after all.

Please click here for more information about the Cowboy for a Day program at Blue Sky Ranch. To learn more about other summer activities available in Park City, please visit