Like most young boys, 10-year-old Brayden loves to embark in make-believe adventures with his little brother, Blake. Their exploits usually include Wild West show downs in their family’s living room, cowboy hats and silly country accents. When they aren’t at home playing, Brayden’s usually at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Clinic Inc. where he takes horseback riding lessons. No matter the day, there is nothing that can stop Brayden from saddling up for a day on the ranch, not even a rare nervous system disorder. After discovering that he was eligible for a wish, Brayden’s family knew that all he truly wanted was to be a cowboy, and a getaway to Dude Ranch Colorado was the perfect destination for his wish trip.
Dressed in all of his cowboy gear, Brayden and his family headed to Red Feathers Lakes, Colorado to take on the trails. There they found an authentic dude ranch nestled deep in the mountains where horses run as freely as the children do. Upon their arrival, Brayden and his family were greeted by wranglers and were taught all about proper horse handling at the ranch. After a quick lesson that night, the following days were filled with endless expeditions. “Brayden wasn’t use to riding on such tough terrain,” Tiffany, Brayden’s mom, shared, “yet he giggled the whole way up the mountain.” When he wasn’t riding, Brayden’s days were filled with square dance lessons, s’mores and hot dogs. “It was pretty sweet that he was able to be just one of the kids during our time there,” Tiffany claimed. On the last day of their trip, they went to 2 Below Zero where they experienced a real country show down between “Dirty Dog” and the sheriff. With the help of Brayden, the sheriff caught the mischievous bandit and was awarded his own authentic sheriff pin. His dream of being a real-life cowboy came true that day.
Brayden’s life prior to the ranch proved to be as bumpy as the riding terrain, but his week-long escape into the world of cowboys was just what he needed. “I think the wish trip made Brayden more confident,” Tiffany professed. “It was a perfect “coming into himself” journey that made him much more comfortable with who he is.” Brayden has adapted to his ever-changing life and has come to fully embrace the beautiful adventure that he is on. With a cowboy mentality, Brayden faces each new day with undeniable strength and a smile from ear-to-ear.