Cowgirl Gwen

Cowgirl Gwen

When most people think of ranching, their thoughts immediately turn to Montana, or Texas or even southern California. Rarely does one entertain the Pacific Northwest as a possible hot bed of cattle raising and horseback riding. But it most certainly is! When I was about six years old I begged my mother for horseback riding lessons, not realizing how expensive they were and how little money we actually had as a family.

Nonetheless, she called the neighbor to see if she could borrow a pair of her son’s jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and some outgrown boots. When they showed up, I felt like the luckiest little girl on the planet. I was going to ride a horse, just like the gals on my favorite television shows: My Friend Flicka, Fury, and the Adventures of Spin and Marty.

On the appointed Saturday morning my mom and I arrived at the dude ranch and stood in line with all the other excited little boys and girls waiting for their first lesson. When it was finally my turn, the instructor took my hand and led me to what looked like the largest horse in the pen. His head was bigger than my entire body! And he was sweaty and stank to high heaven!

“Momma!” I cried. “Don’t make me ride this scary horse!” Just then the monster lowered his head and nipped at my hat. I took off running and didn’t get even near a horse until I was a much older adult.

My poor mother! I thought she was going to disown me for good!

But she didn’t. I think somehow she realized that the horses in my mind were about the size of those on our 22 inch TV set and not those giants in the pen looking to eat me whole!

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