Ranching / Real Life Ranch Wife

Perks of Raising a Cowgirl

Young cowgirl, Grace Young rides on the ranch

My little cowgirl is becoming self-sufficient and trains a handy pony that she calls a “1D rocket donkey.”

In addition to the two little cowboys I wrote about last month, I’m also raising a little cowgirl. I’m not sure I can describe Grace as “little” anymore, since the top of her head is level with my shoulders. She’s only 8, but like her 6-foot-2-inch dad says, “That’s what happens when you cross a Thoroughbred with a Shetland.”

At least she’ll soon be able to retrieve things off high shelves for me while her dad is at work. Here are a few other benefits of raising a cowgirl.

She can tune up her brothers’ horses.

Grace’s next youngest brother is 5 years old and a bit more on the timid side than she is. Our skinny blonde daughter is all go and no whoa. Her natural instinct is to stomp on the gas, slam on the brakes, and never touch the clutch. When the pony started taking the bit and getting too strong for little brother, Dad made a pair of draw reins and put big sister back in the saddle. The pony doesn’t run off anymore. She lopes a perfect circle and drags her rear all through the stop. It makes her daddy’s chest swell with pride and draws a sigh of relief from her brothers, who will one day be tasked with riding the pony again.

Young cowgirl Grace Young rides with her little brother.
Grace, now age 8, is all go and no whoa.
Photo by Jolyn Young

She’s learning to be self-sufficient.

Through her work with the horses and helping her dad with his wild cow catching contracts, Grace can tighten her own cinches, spook a wild cow into the trailer, break up a dog fight, and make a mean ham sandwich. Dad won’t have to sit up with a shotgun when she starts dating, because his girl knows how to run a hot shot. And she isn’t scared to stand on the button until the batteries run out, either.

She says fun things like, “I have a 1D rocket donkey.”

Grace’s dad taught her this phrase, and she likes repeating it to get a laugh from her listeners. She’s definitely a blend of both her parents. I like when she gets mixed up and calls her pony a “1D donkey rocket.” Because with both burners firing full force, I bet a burro really could scoot around the barrel pattern. Maybe that will be the next animal she trains, once she gets the pony clocking in the sub-30 second range. 

The horses have someone to lay on them bareback and read a book.

It’s good to see someone in the family pick up the torch Mom laid down years ago and carry a paperback out to the horse pen to lounge between the sun’s rays and warm horsehide with tails swishing all around. It’s even better when she comes into the house telling me about how Pa played the fiddle every night for Laura, Mary, and baby Carrie Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie series. I don’t even mind that her jeans are covered in horsehair while she’s sitting on the sofa. Stray horsehairs in the house have been part of my life since childhood, and I’m so glad it looks like they’re in her life to stay, too.

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