Word Wrangling Woman, Stories, Novels, Blog, Writer

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Posted on | February 17, 2015 | No Comments

P.H. Garrett

I thought I’d meet the cowboy of my dreams when I bought my beautiful American Quarter Horse. It was official. I was a cowgirl in the making, ready to fall in love with a lean, lanky fellow who looked good in jeans and a proper cowboy hat. Since that fateful day, fifteen years ago, I’ve hardly seen a darn cowboy except for a trainer or two, several horseshoers, and one ranch owner.

Instead I discovered the Sisterhood of Horses. Drawn together by their fascination with thousand pound creatures that harbor wild DNA in their gene pools—women abound at ranches all over Northern California.

Lawyers, teachers, nurses, at-home-moms, doctors, writers, waitresses, cancer survivors, psychologists, grandmothers, great grandmothers, high school girls, realtors, chefs, trainers—women of all ages, own, ride, care for, and love their equine charges. Gals from 15 to 93 years are committed to spending hours with their horses just about every day. Some are ranch owners. Most are boarders at local barns.

Women, like horses, are social creatures. Hitching rails and cross ties are great places to safely anchor a thousand pounds of muscle, and exchange news of the day, or share a funny story, while brushing mud, shedding hair and other grievous things from your beastie, cleaning hoofs, and saddling up. Riding arenas are not only fine places to practice horsemanship and give your equine friend some exercise. Riding two or three abreast at the walk is a perfect time to catch up on good gossip, and trade riding tips with sister riders.

If you’ve got a problem you’ve always got knowledgeable people to talk to. Horsewomen willingly lend their expertise, medical supplies, equipment, time, and hands on assistance to help make things right with your horse. “Here, try this ointment. Use my saddle pad if you need it. Have you tried this? Let me give you a hand,” are familiar phrases around any barn.

We are a Sisterhood tied together by the power of the horse in our lives. Married or single, old or young, infirm or super fit, rich or poor, we come together on the level ground of horse barns and the responsibilities of caring for these magical animals.
Okay. Okay. Like sisters, we get angry, can be moody, but we hold out helping hands to one another and come to the rescue when needed. We share a love of truly, noble creatures, delight in the sweet hay fragrance clinging to soft muzzles, and the challenge of partnering with our thousand pound playmates.

“You cowgirls are tough,” my chiropractor always tells me. He’s right. We are opinionated, stubborn and strong-willed. How else would we cope with wrestling bales of shavings from truck beds to stalls? Mucking manure is no pastime for the weak at heart either.

Becoming a horsewoman surely takes courage. Handling a of recalcitrant horse is always a challenge that must be met and won. Over-exuberance can up tick your pulse rate too. When you allow a horse to outsmart you, get away with unpleasant behavior, or ignore commands, you are setting yourself up for grief and possibly physical injury.

Of course, you’d imagine at least some of the above traits might be attractive. Besides, we ladies clean up real nice. We’re smart, fun to hang around with, and like most females, enjoy dining, dancing and the company of good people. I am sure I speak for the Sisterhood when I say we love our horses. But, many of us wonder… where is the Brotherhood? When are the cowboys planning to come out of hiding?


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  • About

    My name is Patrice Garrett. I'm a writer harboring the soul of a cowgirl. I have a penchant for the Old West. I believe, as do many others, that I lived another life and experienced the California Gold Rush first hand. My first two novels reflect my connection with the era.
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