The great success of the show, Yellowstone, tells us that millions of Americans still yearn for the great outdoors. For Kevin Costner it is the Dutton Ranch. For Ronald Reagan it was his Rancho del Cielo. It might be time for you to discover yours, because he beauty of the land and the mountains, the rivers and oceans, still resonates with our primal desire to be in touch with nature.
Rawhide! President Ronald Reagan loved working with his hands, and being outdoors. And, you can see from this photo, taken at Camp David in November of 1981, that he loved to ride horses.
Photo Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library
“I’ve often said, there’s nothing better for the inside of a man, than the outside of a horse.”
– Ronald Reagan on many occasions.
Rancho del Cielo
This picture of Reagan was taken 7 months after the 70-year old entered George Washington University Hospital to have a would-be-assassin’s bullet removed from his chest. Horseback riding at Camp David was therapeutic for Ronald Reagan. But, Rancho del Cielo was his true sanctuary.
He called it his “Cathedral in the Sky” (Rancho del Cielo is Spanish for Sky’s Ranch, or Heaven’s Ranch). It is where he could sort out problems while riding his favorite seventeen-hands-high
Imagine you’re Ronald Reagan when he was 65 years old. You have just dedicated the last 20 years of your life implementing a policy of political leadership you hope will help your country and the world. All of your efforts to touch hearts and garner support comes down to a single vote at the national convention in 1976. The vote is 1,187 to 1,070 … and you lose.
Ronald Reagan (at age 70) at Camp David with Nancy Reagan, Photo courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library
Losing the primary at 65
Reagan had just lost the convention vote to be the presidential nominee to Gerald Ford. Reagan was 65 years old and had the financial security to retire in style. He had a large family, lots of friends, good health and many interests. He loved to spend time on his beautiful Rancho del Cielo in California, riding horses and working chores. Ronald Reagan must have been tempted to ride off into the sunset and spend the rest of his days in well-earned retirement. Instead, he summoned the energy to put forth yet another campaign, and 4 years later became the oldest person elected President of the United States of America. Why did he keep leading? And why should we?
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