Yahoo! National Day of the Cowboy (and Cowgirl) was July 28th this year (held on the fourth Saturday of July), and if you know me, you will know that I am the daughter of a cowboy who broke in wild mules in Montana during the 1930s as a youth when he was in the Conservation Corps and stationed there. Fast forward 40 years, and my dad moved my family out of the suburbs of Queens, New York to 10-acres of land atop a mountain in Upstate, New York, where he added a few head of horses, most he rescued, to our growing newbie country family! While my father passed away from a massive heart attack just three short years after we moved and while he was setting up our ranch, I was so fortunate to have him teach me not only to ride Western, but the love, care, and "whispering" that goes into forming deep bonds with our horses, as well as all our animals (and we had lots! If there was a homeless pet, it always found a home at our house)! He never had the chance to name our ranch and make an entrance sign, but I imagine it would look something like this:
Being a "cowgirl" helped get me through the darkest days of grief after my father passed, and then onto greener dreams from when I was 14 through my teens to my twenties. I worked on a horse farm, took advanced riding lessons, eventually taught riders myself, trained, and showed Western, bringing one of my horses to a reserve Champion. While my mother never rode (due to a riding accident when she was younger), she always got into the spirit of things and accompanied me many times to the barn for training and attended all my shows.
Growing up, I loved hearing all of my father's amazing stories, and together we spent many hours listening to his cowboy music, from the Sons of the Pioneers to Frankie Lane. The young horse-loving dreamer in me would be carried away with his deep story-telling voice to the old West with cowboys singing and cooking around the fires, while the horses were tied nearby. One Christmas, my parents gave me a battery-operated, ride-on Tony the Pony and a red western hat (see picture in above collage, 2nd pic down on right)! Oh, what a Christmas that was! (And yes, I do still have my Tony)!
According to the website NationalDayofTheCowboy.com, "The National Day of the Cowboy non-profit organization works to contribute to the preservation of America’s cowboy culture and pioneer heritage so that the history and culture which the National Day of the Cowboy bill honors, can be shared and perpetuated for the public good, through education, the arts, literature, celebrations, gatherings, rodeos, and other community activities."
In honor of the Day of the Cowboy, I tip my Stetson to my father, my mother, and all of our amazing horses (not all pictured above): Tennessee, Goldie, Dusty, Silver, Jubelo James, and my heart horse Sam, as well as our two ponies Blaze and Ginger, who all led me to loving all things horsey! May they be riding the great trail in the sky together...and may my Gibson be trotting right along next to them on their heavenly path!
And what cowgirl or cowboy doesn't love their cup o' joe? A favorite quote of mine from "The Duke" is on one of my favorite mugs! If you love the West and mugs, you can get one, too, from Amazon! And it hold a heck of a lot of coffee!