This the first of an ongoing series to introduce you to our guides – those incredible folk that work hard to make your vacation the best week of your year.
Bobbi & Mike Wade
Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures
Welcome to the land of vast views, iridescent sunsets, wild mustangs, the chance to disconnect, unplug and get back to the things that move your soul. This is the magical place the Wades call home and that they love sharing with folks.
How long have you been running horse riding holidays?
Blue Sky Sage has been in operation for 18 seasons, though our careers in the horseback riding vacation industry in Wyoming have spanned the last 39 years. We worked for other backcountry wilderness outfitters for several years, then created our first company, High Wild & Lonesome LLC in 1988, offering backcountry hunting and pack trip excursions. When we sold that portion of the company in 2000, Blue Sky Sage was born.
And what was the background, history, reason for starting?
Well, we wanted to change course professionally, and identified a new market niche: women only riding weeks. Our company was one of the very first horse riding holiday companies to recognize the women’s market. And, after 23+ years of guiding hunters and riding horses with inexperienced riders, we wanted to get back to the kind of riding we did on the ranch when we were kids, with more action and freedom to move out and not be confined to a single-file trail.
How many guest horses do you have?
We maintain a seasonal cavvy of 20-22 head of horses. We lease most of our herd, and the really good horses return to us every season. Each spring we spend a week with our horse lease vendor right at his ranch, where he has a corral of about 100 head of new horses for us to go through and evaluate to see if they can make it onto the Blue Sky Sage team. The interview process and qualifications to become a Blue Sky Sage horse are pretty stringent!
Describe your herd of horses in 5 words or less.
Well-mannered, well cared for, FORGIVING.
What is the philosophy or ethos behind your horse riding experiences?
There are a lot of things you can’t get out here (Egyptian cotton sheets, spa treatments, wine-tasting tours, posh luxury accommodations) – there are a few things here you can get nowhere else (the opportunity to ride free in Wyoming’s wide-open spaces, being personally guided every day by one or both of us, small groups of only SIX RIDERS PER WEEK, hands-on horsemanship, “off the grid” simple luxury in a full-service camp that has everything you need to be comfortable, without the distractions of smart devices, cell phones, television, tennis courts, I could go on . . . ) If you are willing to open yourself up to the possibilities, and a little bit of challenge, these good horses, the wild country, and yes, us and our staff will set things up for you to do have fun, learn, and grow.
What do you love most about your job (guiding/instructing)?
When we are riding back to camp late in the afternoon, or when we’re on a good lope, and I hear people behind me laughing out loud in pure joy, that just makes me smile. It’s also rewarding when the light goes on with someone regarding a little aspect of horsemanship that we’ve been able to help them learn.
What is the most challenging part?
The occasional person who shows up with an agenda that doesn’t mesh with what we are trying to offer here. Someone who was not honest about their true motives for wanting to participate makes it difficult for the staff and the other guests. Fortunately we have not had too many people like that. And I will say too, if people are not physically fit and skilled enough, yet they want to trot or lope, we have to tell them the hard truth and protect our horses.
Why should people sign up for this ride?
First of all, it’s the “real deal”. We have spent our entire lives riding in Wyoming, and our entire career has been dedicated to sharing an authentic, safe, and fun experience to our guests. Secondly, this adventure offers every guest the chance to be challenged a little bit, to ride good, solid, well-mannered horses that offer themselves up to the rider to learn from them. And you can retreat from your day-to-day life and reconnect with your spirit out here, away from the distractions.
A tip that every rider must know before signing up for this ride is……
If you cannot CORRECTLY post a trot for a few hundred yards (meaning you are in rhythm with the horse and not bouncing on the back at all) you will not be trotting or loping (cantering).
Finish this sentence – Don’t leave home without…
A good pair of riding boots that are broken in, and have a genuine riding heel at least 1” tall. Those combination riding/walking shoes are not very safe in the stirrup
What has been the most memorable or significant moment of your guiding/teaching career?
There have been so many – one woman told us that after she returned home from her week, she was able to summon up the courage to leave a verbally abusive relationship that was headed to physical violence for her and her young son. Other women have shared later that the chance to move out at a lope across the country was the most exciting and fulfilling thing they had ever accomplished. And there have been so many tears of joy and awe shed when people have experienced the wild horses coming up with just a hundred yards of our saddle horses out in the high desert, well it is both satisfying and humbling for us.
Anything else you would like to add?
The fences are few and far between, civilization is a long way off, and the freedom to ride is limited only by your desire. We ride good horses, we have a lot of fun, and no one ever leaves thinking they have not had enough time in the saddle – at least until they come back!
We’d love for you to come join us! See dates and prices here.