As the mountains slowly don their glamorous spring wardrobe of wildflowers and vibrant verge, our eyes are daily treated to our neighborhood’s most gorgeous aspect. Teetering, adorable newborn calves and foals, songbirds soloing, ravens winging past with bits for their nests, and bunnies chasing other bunnies are some of springtime’s charming sights. If we’re lucky we might see a tumble of bob-kittens or even a real life teddy bear. Or, galloping – or trotting, or just ambling along, a girl on a horse. When this happens to me it’s usually someone I know. It might be Longrider who used to ride Justin the Unstoppable over some rugged country, way the hell up and back just for a hoot. Nowadays you might see her on Jesse, a beautiful bay Arab that looks just like the stallion in “King of the Wind”.
It could be Lindy G., on Sassy or Ariel, or Dusty or Noble or Sport, all decked out, color-coordinated, practicing barrels or poles or trail. She’s been going to gymkhana winning some ribbons and even a buckle.
Or it could be Tami, and her crew (varies) just back from chasing cattle way up on the Breckenridge. Horses wet and tired, Tami with a big weary smile, from her well worn boots to her battered hat, she’s the real deal, a ranch owning, horse training, cowpunching Boss Lady. Her kid Aubree is shadowing her boot steps, starting colts, rescuing horses, gymkhana.
Or it could be Nicky’s girl Brandi, who is home-schooled, hip, smart as a whip and a contender in gymkhana too, and Team Penning Princess, and I have no idea what else.
If you’re over near Rankin Ranch it might be Taira, raising not just three but now four boys with so much love and laughter, and all summer, herding a hundred ranch guests on trail rides.
Over in Twin Oaks it could be Wendy and Tracy, who breed and train champion cutting horses and whose ranch is a horsewoman’s dream. Or Jeannie, who has ridden from Mexico to San Francisco – the ultimate trail ride! – and who represents trail riders all over California in her work lobbying to open and maintain access to our state’s trails.
It might be Jill, who by now has rescued, I think, more mustangs than any one else on earth, and whose huge heart and successful non-profit organization are leading the way to protect wild mustangs in their habitat and all equines from slaughter.
When I began adopting mustangs up here it had been a long time since owning horses and not having a trailer, trainer, obedient equines or much horse sense myself, over the years there have been times when I needed some help with my herd. Emergency evacuation from the Piute Fire, moving them, burying them when they died, bringing them back when they ran away, hoof work, vet work and training. Almost every time I have a horse emergency it has been the gals that have jumped in their trucks, cowgirled up, and bounced up the road to give me a hand.
“Why is it the best cowboys are always cowgirls?” I found myself wondering last week when the runaway mustangs were brought home by Carol. Ok, she had guy help, and there are the farriers and Rankin cowboys and Marvin… sure we have some fine cowboys around. But the horse gals with the big hearts are the ones who always find the time no matter that their lives are crammed full to bursting. They never want anything in return except friendship. They are teaching the little cowgals and cowboys how to man up, clean up, fess up, and mount up, even when you get bucked off. Life and even a good horse can land you in the dust but my girls, all the cowgirls, will be there to dust off your britches and give you a hug. They will help you chase your problems away like running down a crazy heifer and whoop with laughter while doing it. A shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, a strong margarita or a spare halter; if they can do it for you, they will. That’s why I’m singing the praises of all the cowgirls.
Love you, my girls! Ride on!
The Mountain Mouth
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“The Mountain Mouth” copyright 2011 Kate MacDonald
Originally Published in the Fence Post, Caliente CA March 2011
*The content of this column and the opinions herein are the sole issue of the author and intended as entertainment only. The Fence Post, its affiliates and assigns, the Rankin Ranch, the Ford Motor Corporation, the country of Scotland , the author, her relatives and contributors, and anyone mentioned or not mentioned will not be responsible for any use, non-use, or mis-use of any of the information or opinions contained herein. Always consult a doctor before adopting any new diet or exercise program.