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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Cowgirl" is an Attitude

I didn't grow up with horses, cows or long trips to Walmart over rural roads.  Even after I was married and moved to the West I spent a good 17 years having a baby every other year which was no small task but disqualified me from doing much riding.  I was always sending kids out to the barn for the chores while I worked in the house.  Cooking and cleaning and bossing little people around are skills that are now second nature to me.

 Recently I decided to invest more of my time to the saddle.  We are lucky enough to live in a place that you can climb on your horse and just ride up the mountain.  I ride with a young friend of mine named Emilie.  Recently, while she was throwing a saddle on her horse that had been to pasture all winter she smiled at me and said, "This is the only horse that scares me."  I asked her how she handles the fear.  She said, "I don't focus on the fear.  I focus on the purpose."  I smiled as I thought of all the brave women I know who throw their leg over whatever fear they may have and stay in the saddle because they have a purpose bigger than their fears.

 Emilie has been competing on horseback in long, grueling endurance races since she was eight.  If you ask her if she is a cowgirl, she would say smile and say, "no."  I think she perceives that the term "cowgirl" technically should only apply to a girl who herds cows. I've spent the last few years traveling the West and meeting amazing men and women who may or may not work in the cattle industry but who I would definitely define as "cowboy" or "cowgirl."

To clear things I up, I'll refer to Dale Evans, the Queen of the Cowgirls, who defines a cowgirl in this way,

"Cowgirl is an attitude, really;  a pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head-on, lives by her own lights and makes no excuses.  Cowgirls take stands; they speak up.  They defend things they hold dear.  A cowgirl might be a rancher, or a barrel racer, or a bull-rider, or an actress.  But she is just as likely to be a checker at the local Winn-Dixie, a full-time mother, a banker, and attorney, or an astronaut."

If you are a cowgirl, you already know it in your heart.  If you are a cowboy, you walk tall whether you work at  the ranch, the mine or the state capital.  My music is for you.  I want to spend the rest of my life celebrating the western way of life and honoring the men and women who have purpose bigger than their fears.

So...Emilie, my friend, you ARE a cowgirl because COWGIRL IS AN ATTITUDE.