Mr. Mickey's Dude Ranch Diary

by Mickey Boardman / photos by Diggy Lloyd
Mr. Mickey cozies up to some cowboy cuties

Despite getting most of my ideas of cowboy life from Randy Jones of The Village People I have to admit I was drooling in anticipation of my trip to the Rancho de los Caballeros dude ranch in Wickenberg, AZ. I'd never been to a dude ranch. I'd never even been to Arizona. Although I'd only ridden a horse a few times at kids' birthday parties, I'd spent a little time as an adult hanging out with horses and had come to the conclusion that really they're just giant dogs and if you aren't afraid of them you'll be all set. Yes, that's me. Mr. Mickey expert equestrian.

I was heading to Wickenberg to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the women's blue jean, which was invited by Levi's. With visions of the divorce ranch in the film The Women running through my brain, I headed to the desert with a pack of international female fashion editors (and one other man, the delightful Andrew Bevan of Teen Vogue). The minute we got to Wickenberg, which is famous for its dude ranches as well as its drug rehabs, I dropped my bag and headed to visit the horses. I was in heaven. Although a corral full of horses isn't necessarily the most fragrant of spots to spend a hot afternoon I was just excited to be making friends with these animals.

The gang roasts s'mores at the campfire

Later that day while we were nibbling on tacos and dancing to the musical stylings of a local mariachi band at our 'get to know you' Mexican dinner, a local cowboy came around to each of us and asked our height and weight so they could pair us up with an appropriate horse for the next day. The minute I was asked, I knew the horse I'd end up with. In the corral that day I'd seen horses of various shapes and sizes and one that stuck out was a mocha and white colored cutie that looked part-Palomino and part-Clydesdale. I mean, this guy looked like he could carry three of me and drag a plow at the same time. Hunter was his name. By the time I hauled my paunchy carcass up onto Hunter I felt like we were old friends. It was a hot day so I felt like a sparkle cardigan was out of the question so I wore some old sparkly Loulou de la Falaise for HSN necklaces to match my shiny blue Burberry eyeglasses and a straw cowboy hat.

Now sometimes I really think I should have been an actor because I'm a huge believer in the concept if you act like you know what you're doing, you'll look like you know what you're doing. So I just told myself to do what I'd seen people on TV and movies do when they rode horses and shockingly it worked. Obviously this wasn't Hunter's first time being ridden by a knucklehead.

Vogue's Kelly Connor saddles up!

Riding through the desert was gorgeous and although I would have liked to bust a move and do some galloping we were a big group and never really moved faster than a walk. Next time I'll bamboozle the cowboys into letting me get some speed. After we finished I went to my room to get some apples to go take to Hunter. I mean, I'm a fat American so I think every good thing should be rewarded with food! The horses were all tied to the fence and resting and when I came in with my apples I did cause a bit of a brouhaha because all the other horses wanted a treat. It took Hunter awhile to gobble down one apple so I gave the second apple to another horse and then tiptoed out of the corral as the cowboys yelled at me for creating a ruckus. Look at me! A city slicker from the Naked City and on my first day I rode through the desert on Hunter AND created a ruckus. I love dude ranch life!

Mr. Mickey and Kim Hastreiter

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