April has flown by, leaving behind a historical eclipse and beautiful weather. Spring storms have begun to kick up here in East Texas. The grass is green, the sunshine is warm and the allergies are real. It has been so nice getting back outdoors with the kids, and we have had a busy spring at Western Horseman. Here are a few highlights!

Highlights From Spring

Our May issue is on newsstands now, and between April and May, we have some really great stories for you to dig into.

April has flown by, leaving behind a historical eclipse and beautiful weather. Check out this letter from the Editor's Desk - April.
Art by Tim Cox 
May issue cover
Photography by Beau Simmons 

April is the health issue, and the cover is one of my favorites we have ever run. When I look at it, I recall spring storms and the way the cool air and wind kicking up can give your horse a playful energy that I think humans also feel in the springtime. Riding in the depth of winter can be miserable and unforgiving but in early spring, when the midday sun feels warm and the ground has thawed, you lean into the excitement of better weather and kick your horse into a lope because you’re both feeling optimistic for the first time in months.

The painting is called “Just For The Heck Of It” by Tim Cox. Also in the April issue is a helpful article by award-winning writer Hope Ellis-Ashburn entitled “Spring Maintenance Rituals” (page 62). It’s illustrated beautifully and is a great reminder to check in on your annual routines around the ranch. Other highlights from April include a rodeo column about world champion bull rider Ky Hamilton by our Rodeo columnist Matt Crossman, an informative Health article about sarcoids by Katie Navarra and 3 Questions with Justin Sportsmedicine Team Executive Director Mike Rich.

I was fortunate to be able to contribute two of my own stories to the May “tack and gear” issue. The first of which has been in the works since November 2023 and profiles singer-songwriter Wade Bowen. I distinctly remember being on an 8th grade field trip at Six Flags Over Texas when I heard “Who I Am” for the first time, and I have been a huge fan of Bowen’s ever since. The first time I drove my first truck anywhere besides school was to the Ballpark in Arlington to see Bowen live after a Texas Rangers baseball game. During the National Finals Rodeo, I spent a few hours in Las Vegas, Nevada, interviewing Bowen about his new album “Flyin.” He was as quiet and kind as I expected. His personality is exactly what comes through in his music. It was a pleasure to learn about his life, and I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s on page 19!

The second story I wrote for May is about the cowboy hat and all its nuances. I had a really great time speaking with some of the nation’s best hatmakers and hat shapers and learning about the process of creating a great cowboy hat, the materials that make up a hat’s value, what sets brands apart, and what trends are coming and going. You can find it on page 64.

Also in May, we ran a feature on Merrilee Morgan Doss, who is re-releasing her late-father Richie Morgan’s popular book, “One Man’s Opinion on Spade Bits,” in a new volume that includes new photos and never-seen anecdotes from the spade bit expert posthumously. The story, “Of Bits, Horses and Heritage,” by Jennifer Denison, turned out great, and I am so glad we locked it in to round out our May issue.

Something New

You may have noticed we’ve incorporated a crossword into the back of Western Horseman! Let us know what you think and be sure to pick up a print copy so you can try your hand at this pony-inspired puzzle.

Young Cowgirls

I recently received an email from a reader that made my heart swell.

“I have a granddaughter who will be 3 in May 2024. I gifted her a subscription of “Western Horseman” back in December 2023. She is getting the magazine and [her] mom reads it to her. As a grandpappy, I want to give her every opportunity to realize what is out there for her. We have a wide range of reading, music and activities for her. Yet, in looking at books for cowgirls, I wonder how much is out there and if I am looking in the wrong place. I am interested in cowgirl poetry (Western Folklife, Elko, NV), books and ranch women, cattle, range, rodeo about women. Thank you for time and any suggestions.” — Randy Michael Carpenter, Charlotte, MI

First, I LOVE that this sweet grandfather is committing to ensuring that his granddaughter knows what Western opportunities are out there for her. It is so hard as a young girl to see books and photos of big ranches and see mostly men doing the work you dream of doing. It can be a bit stifling to feel like you won’t be welcome in that space.

It’s exciting to know that your granddaughter loves this way of life so deeply at such a young age, and it sounds like, with your encouragement, she will be able to do anything she sets her mind to as an adult. Randy, here are a few suggestions for reading material your granddaughter might enjoy. No. 3 is a tried and true — my oldest son will also be 3 years old in May, and he LOVES this one.
1) “Cowgirl Up!: A History of Rodeo Women” by Heidi Thomas
2) Anything Temple Grandin has written on livestock and animals
3) “Vera Vaquera Gets a New Horse” by Kacy Burke

Equestrian Style, Western Spirit

You may have seen the recent Ariat collaboration with Milton Menasco, a fashion and home goods brand that exudes classic, elevated equestrian nostalgia combined with an edgy, Western spirit. It’s like the clothing embodiment of the “come and get me grin” before an old-school cowboy does something unexpected.

April has flown by, leaving behind a historical eclipse and beautiful weather. Check out this letter from the Editor's Desk - April.
The Wexford Milton Menasco Lug is the focal point of the Ariat x Milton Menasco collaboration. Photograph courtesy of Ariat

I have been a longtime fan of Milton Menasco as a brand. I think the clothes are so classic but still fun, interesting and functional. I was so excited when I heard about their collaboration with Ariat, a brand I also feel is so classically Western but not afraid to walk on the fringe of edgy fashion and collaborate with unexpected and unique creators.

While I was lucky enough to get my hands on the now-sold-out black Giddy Up cap and T-shirt, another favorite of mine from this collection are the Wexford Lugs. These boots easily transition from the barn to town and everywhere in between. They look like a high fashion runway Chelsea boot, but they function like a muck boot with all the durability and comfort Ariat is known for. The boot carries the signature cowpoke emoji that Milton Menasco weaves throughout its entire brand. That symbol brings a spikey youthfulness to this boot that would otherwise be old-money-classic. It’s the perfect combination of old school, new school and work boot. And if the Chelsea style isn’t YOUR style, and you go for something more versatile and casual, check out the Hilo instead. They are so fun, look great with jeans and are comfortable enough to wear all day long.

We are going to see a LOT more of Milton Menasco around the Western and English industries in the future. This is a great opportunity to grab an original, signature piece from two incredible brands!

At the very end of Exchange Avenue in the Fort Worth Stockyards sits a little store by the name of Old Gringo Boots. Old Gringo has some exceptional boots, but perhaps none are as widely loved and donned as the Mayra.

April has flown by, leaving behind a historical eclipse and beautiful weather. Check out this letter from the Editor's Desk - April.
The Old Gringo Mayra is celebrating her birthday and making a comeback! Photo courtesy Amanda Devan

March 2024 was Mayra’s 15th birthday, and Old Gringo is celebrating the rest of the year by rolling out new, limited-edition Mayra styles through the winter.

Mayra has been a bestseller for Old Gringo since she was first introduced. She was one of the first tall cowgirl boot styles, and everyone who wore her (and still wears her) loves that she comes with a zipper along the inside to make for an easy-on and a perfect fit. Then, Old Gringo rolled out a “relaxed fit” option as well, making the Mayra classic and inclusive of all shapes and sizes.

Old Gringo retailers have rolled out the Mayra in more than 100 different styles, so she’s going to be hard to miss as the weather warms up and cowgirls are stepping out with their boots on. I have the Mayra in a classic red, but I have my eyes on a pair of navy suede that I can’t stop thinking about.


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