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Y 7 Magnifico a Matthew Rhys

Y 7 Magnifico a Matthew Rhys

Seven Welsh celebrities, including opera star Shân Cothi and Gavin & Stacey actor Steffan Rhodri, try out life as cowboys on a working ranch in Arizona in a whip-cracking two-part special broadcast on S4C.

Viewers find whether they cut the mustard in Y 7 Magnifico a Matthew Rhys.

Presenter Alex Jones, author and TV presenter Bethan Gwanas, champion harness racer Megan Taff, Grand National-winning jockey Hywel Davies and actor and comedian, Iwan John join Shân and Steffan to make up S4C's ‘Magnificent Seven.'

The gang are also joined for part of the time by Welsh-born Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys, who stars in the American drama Brothers & Sisters. Matthew proves he's no mean horseman and is an inspiration to them in their challenge.

The Welsh novices join the Moore family at the busiest time of the year on their huge Price Canyon Ranch - which is the same size as Anglesey - in Tucson, Arizona.

The family, who breed longhorn cattle, are preparing to separate the calves from the cows, ready for sale. The series follows the ‘S4C Seven' as they learn how to ride Western-style, read a horse's body language, use a lasso, mend fences, brand calves and drive cattle.

Three of the seven are experienced horse riders: Cardigan jockey and Rasus presenter Hywel Davies is a former Grand National winner, Shân Cothi is a smithy's daughter from Ffarmers, Carmarthenshire and Megan Taff of Llangernyw, near Abergele is a stud owner and top harness racing driver. But even they found it tough going adapting to the Western-style of riding, controlling the horse with one hand via a neck rein.

The other four were far less experienced. Iwan John from Mynachlog-ddu, Pembrokeshire admits to having a love/hate relationship with horses, while Ammanford-bred Alex Jones hadn't ridden a horse for donkey's years. Bethan Gwanas from Rhydymain near Dolgellau and Swansea-born Steffan Rhodri could ride a horse, but learning to lasso and drive cattle was going to be a rough ride.

As we follow them over the two programmes, we see them both develop as horse riders and make new friendships. Alex Jones sums up their feelings:

"Taking part in the programmes was one of the best experiences of my life," she says. "As well as all the cowboy skills we learned, I made seven new friends who were great company and who encouraged me throughout the fortnight."

© 2012 S4C
O Gymru / Made in Wales