just another embarrassed horseman confession; no need to loiter, you Western riders, move along...

Okay, this is what it is; my 2014 confession ( i know, im starting early this year with confessions)....Im really not worthy to wear that cowboy hat I have on in that profile picture ...  Im not a cowgirl. Not even remotely close.  Its kinda like this -

I have chased cows out here, but only on foot or the truck to herd them. I do have friends who do this chasing on horseback though, because well, they are their cows...but some of them have also done rodeo...some even professional. Professional cow chasing...or whatever they call it...so I do however like western boots and I like western hats, but havent really been to too many rodeos in my lifetime (out here, uhmm, actually none. i did go to a polo match last year!...but no rodeo - I will report back when i do). However I do ride, and have owned horses for quite a few years now...but I was classically trained to ride Huntseat and Dressage. And so I rode hunters and I took dressage lessons to Level 1 for years (memorizing tests when you cant even memorize your social security number can be a challenge... to natural blondes. i know.)  I done clinics, have started colts and I have trained and catch ride and numerous other crazy things you can do in an english saddle, with careless impunity and fun especially during my younger years - however-

Living in Cowboy/Cowgirl Territory, I sometimes get the urge to ride in a western saddle. Especially if I see a pretty one all tooled up. BUT I AM NOT a buckle bunny, well, because I think those blingy shiny buckle belts would hurt my bladder and give out back pain like nobody's business but hey - tangent - sorry.... Anyway,  Mr. Foresterman wants to ride in a western saddle.  We even bought some nice used Circle Y western saddles. But the kicker is,  I really dont want to ride in them.  I must admit, in my mind, its like making me speak the chinese language so I can make wontons better...and i make a pretty dang good wonton...With that thought in mind, lets go back to the past...animal science major, minor in equine science - however, I only did IN college (only because it was required) one semester in basic western horsemanship... long ago... so lets start this sordid confession, shall we?

While in college many moons ago I had the opportunity to meet and train in a week long clinic with Jack Brainard - the one and only western clinic that I ever have done in my life -  I got to train with a legend in the Quarter Horse industry BUT I DIDNT KNOW IT AT THE TIME.


However, everyone else in the group that i rode with that week knew exactly who he was; thats why they signed up. Unfortunately for me being a Huntseat gal, and wanting to work on lead changes, I was like,"hey YAY! im going to finally sit right in this big barcalounger of saddle and Ill figure it out and oh look, hes as old as my grandpa, how nice! " But here is the kicker - it didnt matter to him that I didnt have a clue about all his accomplishments; he still treated me well and answered my silly questions that I was asking in all seriousness. And even when i complained (okay, whined) and called the western saddle a "barcalounger" frequently, about all that leather between my leg and my horse and how I didnt feel "connected" like i do in my huntseat saddle, how can I ride better in the Barcalounger...?" Jack understood.  He worked with me. And he understood.

OMGosh but Im blushing again now - stupid kid.  Picture a little gal on a huge off the track TB among all these little catty quarter horses - literally he was huge and tall and I was trying to make him do these tight cowy things and we tried not to get in everyones way... But i wanted to wiiiiiden my world...and so I asked questions, and questions, and why do you do it this way? and all sorts of questions... did I mention I asked lots of questions?

Mr. Brainard was very patiently nice though, and at one point actually trotted along the rail to watch me and give a semi private lesson while we were working lead changes -what he is known for  - I was in the center, cantering...or loping or whatever it is called in western language, but I couldnt shift my weight right to get a straight flying lead change... he was honest with me with what I needed to change ..wait for the propulsion of the left hip to shift...Yes, even though he was a senior citizen to me, he was a SMART senior citizen...FOR GAWDS SAKE THE MAN RODE WITH RAY HUNT.

*roll eyes I WAS SO YOUNG AND STUPID covers eyes*

He rode just as if he was part of his animal; he was someone to learn from, because he REALLY RODE WELL. It wasnt his name that impressed me, it was the way he sat in his saddle; in the way that I saw growing up - the Austrians guys on those big boy Lipizzaners, and how they went with the motion - they were one...the way i was taught it should be. He rode well, as he should have - Hes a reining and rope horse trainer for over 70 years, an accredited judge, helped organize the NRHA and the stock horse of Texas Program, and basically started the Quarter Horse breed in the upper midwest, and has been inducted in many halls of fame. But heres the best part - He's still going strong at age 92;  in 2007, he picked up the art of Dressage and applied it to western riding, in which he teaches now at a few clinics every year ; the concept of Western Dressage...barcalounger be darned...yesss! :)

What I learned from Jack was patience; that you are never too old or too young, or too entrenched in only one way to learn something new, and that as with all riding, it is basically all about the horse... and his bio goes on and on and on, but since this was "land" before time that they now call "google", I just thought he was the nice man who bred quarter horses who liked to do that spinny reining thing...

*AWKWARD cringe MOMENT  cringe again PAUSE*

So of course now you can start awkwardly blushing with me because it gets worse... it was after the last session of the 5 day clinic, where FINALLY, i knew something as it was on farrier care (that "minor in equine science" rears its ugly head oh yes yes pick me!!! ) so when the guest instructor/farrier man said, "anybody want to pull these shoes off?" on a jiggy Standardbred he brought specifically for this session, because well, jiggy - the quarter horse western riders I have been riding with all week smartly took two steps backwards and I stepped forward because i finally could look like i knew what i was doing and not ask all my stupid questions, yesssss! At that point after the week, Im pretty sure they basically thought "sure, let the little englishseat nutgirl get killed, this will be fun" ... Well i did pull all four shoes because "nut girl + napoleon complex + nutty horse + darn good luck = miracle" and I earned my stripes, because afterwards when I was putting away tack, the guest instructor/farrier man asked if I wanted to go out with a group of them with Jack to Canterbury Downs  - a side trip they were planning that night... I guess they figured at this point that I was pretty fun to laugh at and I took teasing well - but I TURNED THEM DOWN...I had a date...what the heck was I thinking...???  So, you young people out there, if a bunch of older horse people *ahem* LEGENDS (could even be your grandma!) ask you to go to a racetrack with them, google them, dump the date and go. PLEASE. and dont forget to blog about it!

Anyhow, it was a 5 day long clinic and by the end of it,  I was pretty burnt out anyhow - actually after the last day, when i went to sleep that night, I woke up sitting upright in my bed, in the dark, holding reins (bedsheet) thinking I was still in the saddle, still in the indoor and the lights were out and why were the lights out? (which did actually happen on the ground in the arena with a horse during a lightning storm while I went to school there - but thats another story, another time)...

So, Yes I like to wear the cowgirl hat and I have plenty of people who say "if i die I want my horses going to you" but I shall ever be known to a group of Western rider people somewhere out there as the englishseat nutgirl who didnt know who Jack Brainard was...


So Thanks Jack, even though I wont be riding in a western saddle any time soon, you taught me what i needed to know about flying lead changes, being patient with those who are different by your example, and never turning down an offer to go to a racetrack with a legend...

PS   Jack-Ive got a hat and boots and I could be ready to go at any time...



  1. I don't ride but wear a hat when we have bad weather because they really turn the rain. My draft horse just laughs at me but then I laugh at him as he isn't a cowboy horse anyway so there.

  2. Dang girl you are back:) I am pretty sure if 92 year old Legend Jack Brainard finds this post he will be surely calling you and would be flattered to know how much of an impression he had left on this not just a pretty face girl who wanted to learn her way but eventually figured out his way was something very special. I do not wear a Cowboy hat and I am around cows every single day does that make me a cow girl or not who knows. I do know I love to learn and listen to others and I am getting pretty good at this horse lingo stuff from listening and if I ever did get a horse I am sure we would work out just fine because I am not afraid to be taught a different ways and learn new things that right now seem like another language to me and I am not afraid of the hardwork any new thing takes to get where you are going just like you..
    So if your phone rings and it is him (Jack) tell Mr. Foresterman you have a date with a legend and ask him if he would like to come along because he likes to learn new things too and meeting a legend is something everyone needs at least one story to share with their friends..
    I think your hat is right where it should be my friend........... I need a hat, now that I have the boots maybe I will be thought of as cowgirl now:) It does not matter what we wear it is truly what is in our hearts:) xoxo B.

  3. You crack me up!! I loved your story, even if you do ride that funny saddle! :)

  4. Not knowing anything about horses... Yeah... That bad. I can't relate to the story.

    But I see the picture of Baby on your sidebar, and I think I am in love. Even if I'm scared to death of horses and never got really close to them. I could watch Baby run around, from afar, and take pictures all day, betcha'.


  5. sounds like a good man - in addition to a great horseman.

  6. Oh, yeah, don't we all have moments like that somehow!! I admire folks who ride like you say, but it won't ever be me. Heck, I'm afraid the horse is gonna step on me!!

  7. I ride in my dreams and I am swept away!! I am a wanna be farm girl!!

  8. Had to be a great experience.There was a reiner in this area who happened to go to my classical dressage instructor for lessons. Regardless of the discipline, dressage brings with it a great foundation, and he knew it. Once I did barrels in my dressage saddle just for fun. Goin' home was pretty exciting!

  9. I don't know much about staying on a horse except it's more fun than sitting at a desk. I've ridden both western and english saddles and my short legs prefer english stirrups I can reach even if I need a leg up to get on board. I love the feel of being close to the horse without all that leather in the way.

    I think you can be forgiven for not appreciating who your teacher was. He probably got a kick out of a student with plenty of questions, who was willing to pull shoes on a jiggy animal and so focused on learning that she was doing it in her dreams. You've earned your boots just loving and caring for those ponies in your pasture.

  10. Sheesh what is this, English confessions week ? Guess what- my post is about English riding too!
    I have a lot of respect for those who can ride those little saddles, especially over jumps!

  11. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading. I've never been to a rodeo!

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.


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