Who is Your Horseman and Who is Your Wrangler
I am going to be referring to the “Horseman” and the “Wrangler” throughout this webpage so I might as well explain the difference between the two.
The Horseman is indeed a Horseman/woman. They are your guide and the horse expert. They are with your cavalcade the entire trek and with cavalcades all summer. We got the same Horseman for both our treks. I can’t tell you enough how impressed I was by her. Not only did she have the horse skills but the personality and interpersonal skills. She was a huge asset to the Philmont program. From my observations, she was not an anomaly. I don’t know where Philmont finds these young adults, but fully expect the same level of competence for your own cavalcade trek. They may not do it “your way” but respect their method, competence and training.
Who are the Wranglers? I had a young lady on our first cavalcade that applied and got accepted as a Wrangler at Philmont the following summer. She had gone riding with me twice and had participated on one cavalcade. She is an incredibly smart and capable young lady, but she didn’t have a lot of experience with horses. Philmont will take these young, sometimes inexperienced adults and put them through some intense training before summer camp is open. Once the season begins, the Wranglers work in several areas at Philmont and they get to go out with the Horseman on one Cavalcade a summer. Expect the Wranglers to be friendly and sociable. That is their job. Respect their training. If you are lucky, your Wrangler will be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, competent and hard working. Both of the Wranglers we had on our two different treks were exceptional young ladies. Neither of them had as much experience as the Horseman but they had a strong work ethic and were quite good at their jobs. I was surprised to later find out that the Horseman is not only in charge of a bunch horses, and us knucklehead participants, but also a fresh Wrangler every week.
Neither the Horseman nor the Wrangler are Rangers but they do go through some Ranger training. They will teach you about bear bags, dining flys and Philmont procedure. However, they do not eat or sleep with you. Their job is to stay with the horses. They also tend to eat with the staff at staffed camps. They are in the back country most of the summer and a diet of trail food gets old pretty quick.
At the end of the trek, a tip/gift for both your Horseman and your Wrangler is always appreciated. Trying to come up with something unique is always a struggle but it doesn't need to be anything fancy. For our Crew, we gave them shirts the first year. The second year, since we knew that they would both be women, we gave them silver horse necklaces. I also hear that food/dinner is a good choice.