He got his first horse when he was six, and since then, he’s spent most of his life on a horse. Estevan born, and raised out in the Prairies at the farm seven miles east of Bienfait Miles Kingdon has recently published a very authentic book Beyond the Next Ridge. A Cowboy’s Story.
“There are a lot of things happening that are interesting for people who don’t get to partake in this lifestyle. Our life is about going places; horseback covering rough country, moving cows, training horses,” Kingdon said.
Coming from a family of storytellers, in his book Kingdon shares moments that influenced him and shaped his life filled with adventures, hard work and integrity. His wife Possum Normand was the one who consistently supported his talent and helped Kingdon turn his short stories into the book.
“She rode with me and she always said, ‘You need to write a book. You need to write.’ So she kept on buying me those little books. And would write my stories in them. And I never thought that I actually would come to fruition. But I did,” Kingdon shared.
The first printing of the “Cowboy’s Story” was sold out within a month and the second – a bigger one – came in just in time to become a great Christmas present for those mesmerized by horses and the cowboys’ lifestyle. Although Kingdon always liked sharing his stories and experiences, this book turned out to be quite a challenge for him.
“I have to say there were a lot of things in the book that I have kept very close to my chest for a lot of years. As much as I have told stories over the years and was happy to tell stories, there were a lot of things that I was very private about,” Kingdon said. “It took a lot of courage to share them thoughts with people who I don’t know.”
A professional cowboy and horseman who dedicated 40 years of his life to the industry Kingdon opened up this world for those who, as himself, since childhood were fascinated by cowboys, but unlike him never got a chance to try this lifestyle.
“As a kid, seeing the cowboys in the government pastures, seeing them riding, chasing cattle in the summer time, this set my imagination on fire. I just couldn’t get enough of that. I would dream on going to the mountains. And I’d see them clouds building on the horizon and in my mind they were just like mountains,” Kingdon said.
The visions imagination painted in that little boy’s head eventually brought Kingdon to Merritt, B.C., which he now calls home. But it wouldn’t be his life, if not for his childhood here in southeast Saskatchewan.
“I’m very, very, very happy I grew up where I did, around the people I grew up around. The people are the farmers in that area, they never had a concept of what important people were. You are important to each other, wife is important to her husband, and the husband is important to the wife, and the children are important to you. And your land is important. They are the people of their land. It’s a great way for a kid to grow up,” Kingdon explained.
His memories about these times come out as another inspiring story, which could be a part of his new book, which he plans on putting together one day.
“You go down to the Prairies, and I used to love to walk out onto the Prairies when I was a boy, and just feel that energy. There wasn’t much of electronic entertainment. There was no X-box, no iPhone, no Facebook,” Kingdon said. “Just take your 22 rifle and walk out onto the Prairies and listen to the wind blow, and see the grass move as the wind blows though it, see the wildlife, the birds, the flowers in the spring time,” Kindgon says.
The Prairies were his first inspiration; here he learned life, gained skills, developed his passion and from here he moved on to exploring life.
“I moved away from Saskatchewan because I couldn’t wait to see the mountain country, and the creeks, and the streams, and vast cattle ranches. And I did find the place that I was looking for. But I would never have been able to fit in to this environment quite the way I did, if I wouldn’t have grown up where I did and have that imagination to go to work for me and help me get through them tough times. You have to be able to follow your visions,” Kingdon said.
After many years of learning, horsemanship and handling cattle at different large commercial ranches, Kingdon now shares his knowledge with others by offering clinics, workshops and customized training on horsemanship.
In 2017, Miles Kingdon was inducted into B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame. This professional recognition became a milestone in his life.
“When I was inducted into the B.C. Cowboy Hall of Fame I was, at first, numb, just numb. I didn’t know how to feel,” Kingdon shared. “There was so much support and so many people to think about that had helped me get to this point. That was very important to me. I was recognized by a group of people that I had looked up to all my life and now I was one of them. I felt very much honored.”
Part of Kingdon’s family still lives in Estevan, and every so often his wife and him come back to Prairies – land that taught him to use his imagination and follow his dreams.
“Your own imaginations become visions, and your own visions become your own dreams and your own dreams become your own reality,” Kingdon said.