Real Life Ranch Wife

Gentle Horses … And Other Reasons to Give Thanks

Kid leads horse

Despite an unsettling year, I’m thankful for simple things that have become big things.

‘Tis the season for falling leaves, ranch rodeo finals, election recounts and thankfulness. Despite unsettling national news reports, including too many headlines featuring the word “Kardashian,” I still count my blessings and give thanks for a few things in 2020.

Give thanks for young cowboys leading gentle horses
The bond between a boy and his faithful horse is something for which to give thanks.
Photo by Jolyn Young

Swinging Gates

Opening a man-tight wire gate with a kicking, squalling, 20-pound baby strapped to my chest was really hard. I was sure grateful when the first thing Jim did after his team won our local ranch rodeo was cash his check and head straight to the panel-gettin’ place in town. I still smile every time I unsnap the chain and watch five rails of aluminum awesomeness effortlessly glide open so I can throw hay or catch a horse.

Gentle Horses

My husband has ridden cranky horses more often than not during the course of his 22-year cowboy career. Sometimes broncos were included in his “welcome to the ranch” starter package. Other times, he picked up spoiled horses on the cheap with a goal of retraining for eventual resale. One time, a longtime friend gave his wife a bucking, kicking, biting mare as a wedding present because he thought it was funny. Regardless of the origin of these cranky horses, I watched Jim shoe a horse without a foot rope the other day and realized that we officially own more gentle horses than broncos. I’m beginning to understand what “adulting” is all about.

Bible Study

For 7 years I dreamed of living close enough to civilization to attend church regularly, maybe even join a weekly Bible study and make friends while deepening my knowledge of God’s word. At the very least, I longed for a female friend to chat with and take my mind off the fact that my social circle consisted of a broken windmill and whatever wildlife happened to wander through the yard. I briefly enjoyed the company of a pack of javelinas that explored our yard at one cow camp in Arizona, until I had to shoot them. Finally, at long last, I now have a home church in our small town and a Connect Group that meets every Thursday for potluck dinner and Bible study.

My Three Little Cowkids

They are all three years apart and look exactly like their dad, of course. The oldest one likes painting her nails, decorating cupcakes and riding her pony with the aggression of a 1920s prizefighter. She is all go with terrifyingly little whoa. The middle child is cautious and meticulous, with enough natural feel to make any wannabe horse trainer jealous. He can get the pony licking its lips on a loose rein in a matter of five minutes or less, much to the pony’s relief after a few laps around the arena with big sister, Grace “Golden Gloves” Young. The youngest child is an overgrown Mongoloid with a cranky streak big enough to hide a bachelor band of wild bulls for a decade, just like his dad. He glares and scowls all day long, but always returns to me for a kiss and a hug, just like his dad. And for all of this, I am a lucky woman.

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