We all are attracted to individual interests that are a bit unique, and maybe odd. I’m afraid I tend to geek out on bridles and color genetics.

I learned a phrase the other day. I’d say it’s new, but I believe it’s been in circulation for at least a decade, so new-to-me (the girl who doesn’t get out much) would be a more accurate description. 

The new phrase is to “geek out.” According to the online Cambridge English dictionary, the definition of “geeking out” is “to behave in a very enthusiastic way about something that you are interested in and know a lot about but that other people might find boring.” Which pretty much sums up everything I enjoy in life. 

I know each and every one of us has an odd draw to something. To the “rest of the world,” most of us Western Horseman followers all seem to have the same unexplained interests. Horses. Cattle. Cowboy stuff. The Western way of life. But underneath the umbrella of our multibillion-dollar equine industry, we each have our own pulls, draws, and geek outs that each of us feel compelled to pursue, educate ourselves on, and revel in the world within our world. 

Some people geek out over bridles.
Collecting bridles is one of my obsessions. Photo by Ross Hecox

I can’t tell you that I have just one. It would be dishonest. I’ve always loved bridles and have a knack for scraping together extra money —even when I can’t swing my electric bill—to buy a bridle I don’t think I can live without. I love knowing the styles, makers, eras, reasons and feel of different bridle bits. Luckily, I have lots of horses to test them out on (but that’s a whole other geek out that sort of goes without saying). 

 I’m also particularly infatuated with equine color genetics. Yes, I always pull hair to get it tested if I have any chance for something a little odd. When someone tells me what mare they are crossing with which stud, I often already know the probabilities (within reason) of what colors the future foal might be. I spend more hours than I’ve ever admitted reading, experimenting, questioning and learning about all the different color traits horses possess and what they mean scientifically. It doesn’t mean I’m an expert by any means, but it’s something I really love learning more about. 

And that’s the beauty of the life we all live and love. There are thousands of rabbit holes to dive into within the Western world. 

For some, it’s apparel. Boots and the makers behind them. Hats, straight off the shelf or custom-made after being on a list for two years. Someone in my immediate household has a real thing for spurs. And my daughter can’t get enough of performance breeding studs, who they are by and out of, what they’ve won and what their prodigy is doing in the show pen.   

Some love cattle breeds, and others, cowboy poetry. There are those who completely geek out on trading trailers, and others who know each and every rodeo stat for the last 10 years. Others might find a slight obsession with collectible saddles, equine clinicians, draft horse pulls and miniature horse liberty classes. I’m not naming any names, but I’m pretty sure that there are even grown adults who continue to add to their Breyer horse collection. 

Thinking back now, I should have been wiser when choosing my strange specific interest. If I had decided to spend that same time researching “put and call options” on stocks instead of fine-tuning the scientific makeup and probability of raising a silver bay, I’d own all the high-end bridles I could ever want and still keep the lights on. 

But alas, I can’t hide it, and nor should anyone else. Sometimes we’ve got to let those geek flags fly!

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