Road Stories

How to be a Professional Horseman

Devils Tower

Devils Tower

by Katie Frank

With over seven billion people in the world, it seems as though horse people inevitably find each other. It’s as though an invisible string connects us all, vibrating when we’re close to one another.

A few months back, Western Horseman Editor Christine Hamilton and I traveled to South Dakota for work. Before embarking on interviews, we decided to take a detour and visit Devils Tower, a colossal geologic formation in the Black Hills. Composed mostly of long, vertical sedimentary rocks, the majority of the columns are perfectly hexagonal in shape, evident in rocks that had fallen and exposing their six-sided perimeter. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt recognized Devils Tower as America’s first national monument.

A walking trail winds around the massive rocky structure. The 45-minute hike among the ponderosa pine was just what we needed after a long day of airplanes and car rides. We grabbed our cameras and took off at a brisk pace (we joked it was our “horse-show walk,” the speed you walk between the barns and arena).

Devils Tower

After passing several other tourists, we were soon behind two women. One was pushing a stroller, and the other held hands with a young boy. They were walking at a leisurely pace, and as we slowed down, we couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.

“They say after you’ve been thrown seven times, you’re a professional,” one of the women said very seriously. We could only assume she was talking about horses. Chris and I exchanged glances, laughter beaming from our eyes. If falling off a horse seven times was the minimum requirement to go pro, then there would be a whole lot more professional horsemen in the industry, including the entire Western Horseman staff.


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