Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My heroes have always been cowgirls

Everyone has a hero or two. Not a hero like Superman or Green Lantern, but true life people working and striving and trying to be successful. My heroes are cowgirls-and luckily for me- are very accessible.
These women are the heart and soul of the horse world as far as I am concerned, at least in the Western Arenas of California.

I have been known to say- I want to be Cynthia Cantleberry when I grow up. I mean it too!
photo by KC Montgomery
Cynthia is a beautiful woman working in California as a trainer. Her specialty is Trail and I have seen her show several horses in an afternoon. With the help of one hired man, she grooms, cleans feeds, tacks, untacks and shows in multiple classes. Never once have I heard her chastise publicly any of her students, horses or competition. As a matter of fact even though she doesn't know my name, she recognizes my face at the small shows I go to, and always has a big smile and  friendly words. Very recently she was in a bad wreck and could have died. Her calm demeanor and fighting spirit has kept her on this earthly plane and this month Horse and Rider Magazine has a very nice article (written by her) about the effects of that wreck.  Cynthia was also recently added to the  Cowgirl Hall of Fame. For fun Cynthia rides Cowhorses! She has been heard to say for her it is the equivalent of driving a fast sports car, and that she loves the rush of adrenalin she gets from going down the fence! When ever I get upset, scared or unsure I try to think about Cynthia and her get it done attitude. I try to put my self 'in her saddle' so to speak, and it usually helps.

Sandy Collier photo taken by Horse Trader Magazine Staff

Sandy Collier is a particular favorite cowgirl of mine. I've been very privileged to ride in more than one of her clinic's as she became a good friend of one of my friends- Deniserita. Staying together in the Ranch House we had a chance to let our hair down and laugh, tell some stories and have a fun time. Sandy is quite a wit! And one of the most focused and brave women I've ever met. When she had to have surgery on her shoulder, she taught one of her futurity horses how to bow so she could easily mount. She gave more than a few clinic's- one at the Horse Expo in Sacramento with her arm still in an immovable sling. The cow in that clinic actually was a real wild one and kept charging her green horse. Sandy just gutted up and rode through it to box the cow and circle it up. During a clinic Sandy will ask you to do something, wait while you work through it a few times and see if you 'get it' on your own. If not, she'll show and ask again, but she will not tolerate any excuses. She'll call you on your bullshit every time. I like that in a woman, and in a trainer.
As a matter of fact Sandy was the first and the only,woman to win the NRCHA title.(National Reined Cowhorse World Championship Futurity), as well as many other accolades. She is still available for clinics and works out of  Buellton. Did I mention she fly's her own plane? If you want to grow up to be a cowgirl, grow up to be this one.

Lynn Palm and Rugged Lark. Final Tour

Lynn Palm

I first Saw Lynn Palm when I went to the AQHA World Show in Oklahoma City. She was taking Rugged Lark around the country for his farewell tour. Everywhere they went Rugged Lark was a Star. I've never been more excited to see anyone or anything in my life. Rugged was charismatic and handsome and it seemed that there wasn't a thing he didn't do well. I had to know who the rider was of that horse- it was Lynn Palm. I began following her career about then and it was a lot harder than it is now. There was no internet,cell phones, Twitter or Facebook. I had to peruse all the breed publications and horse news letter for information. Then I got lucky and she came to my little corner of the world for a Mini Expo( the first of its kind!) and I was able to sit in the front row- right across the rail from her. She was beautiful and gracious even though she was asked some really basic questions. She answered everyone's  questions before she left for the day. She rides English or Western equally well and a few years ago she founded the Women Luv Horses clinic and as her first clinicians she had Cynthia Cantleberry and Sandy Collier as well as Sharon Camarillo.
This is a small exerp taken from  The Barn Mice Review
It expresses why Lynn Palm is a Hero to me~

NS: If you could pass on a piece of advice to fellow equestrians that you once heard from a mentor, what advice would that be?
LP: Be the Rider Your Horses Deserve! Be a Smart horse owner. Learn about heath & care, horse behaviours, Ground and Riding skills to bring out the best in your horse. Being realistic with goals and especially that the horse is suited for your personal life style, goals, and your riding skill level. If your horse is not suited for you, he may be for someone else. If this is the case, don’t let emotions overrule the best for the horse. Remember, we have a choice, and horses do not! Always follow your dreams!