Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Want To Be a Buckette, Too!

I was very excited to get the January issue of Western Horseman magazine and find Reata Brannaman on the cover! As many of you know, I attended my first Brannaman clinic recently and would now consider myself a wannabe "buckette" (as Liz over at Cowgirl Up calls them!)

This is a photo of Reata as a young child on her pony Savannah. I found this photo in Electic Horseman Magazine, which is dedicated to methods that Buck Brannaman and other horseman use.

Of course, at this rate, I may not be back in the saddle until...goodness, maybe June?

Anyway, it was interesting to read about Buck's 14 year old daughter, who has grown up following her dad to clinics. She just broke and trained her own 3 year old cold, Rollie (who dad has not been on once!) Reata sounds like a sweet and horse savvy teen (no surprise there) who spends a lot of time hanging out with her best friend Nevada Watt, daughter of saddle maker Jeremiah Watt. By the way, what do you think of those creative western names? Reata and Nevada? I won't give away any more of the article away, as many of you might want to read it yourselves.

Reata Brannaman (on left) riding with her friend Nevada Watt

Even more exciting to me is the future of horsemanship, with youth like Reata learning and holding onto the values and methods of natural horsemanship.

The cover of Western Horseman had a bright yellow blurb across the corner of it's cover reading, "Don't miss our All-New Youth Section." More good news! Young horseman are the future for our industry. With the economy these days, it will only become harder to bring young riders into the expensive sport and hobby or horse ownership. It often has the feel of an exclusive club. A club that many are having to hand over their memberships for because the costs are just too high.

One of my family's up and coming cowgirls!

It was my childhood in 4-H and riding ponies and horses that brought me full circle back to the horse industry. I was lost for a while, but have been a fairly healthy contributor to the equine economy the past two years (at $20 for a bale of hay, it's hard not to be!) We must encourage youth to become involved, and stay involved, in our world!

Let's not forget the other end of the spectrum. Many people like myself (in my late 30's) and even further along in their- well, er-let's just say, mid-life, are entering the horse world. Perhaps for the second time, or, the first time, as many members of my family have. I am still so pleasantly surprised at times when I think of my mom, aunts, and cousins, just now learning to ride horses, having not grown up riding. It is never too late to learn a new hobby. In mid-life, people are facing different issues. Kids are raised and out of the home. Some are retired. It often becomes time to find a new passion in life.

My cousin B enjoyed the few vacation trail rides she had so much that she signed herself up for lessons so she could become a better rider! She has already had her first "crash" off a horse during a lesson and subsequently dubbed herself "Bronco B."

My Aunt J, also a new rider, on Zoe, a Quarter horse friend of the family and guest horse during our summer rodeo and ranch trip. Please send well-wishes Zoe's way, as she just had surgery for malignant tumors and is recovering with an intense schedule of daily care. Zoe, we want to see you on the trail next summer!

Are you a newbie, a returnee, or a never-left 'em when it comes to horses and how has it affected your experience in the equine world?


  1. Isn't Reata such a lucky girl to be able to grow up following her dad around? What a dream! I love that your family is so horsey oriented! My sister saw a picture of an elk in our backyard and thought it was a horse with mange :D I'm 43 and this herd of 5 are my first horses...I've ridden on and off recreationally and wanted horses since I was born. It's an incredible gift to have them in my life now and I'm probably a much better horse mom having waited so long so that I really appreciate my girls. I love that picture of your little cute family member on a horse, by the way...so adorable!! Kisses to YourBoy!

  2. I grew up with horses and never got away from them , but age and injury have changed my perspective somewhat. I find I have let go of that "no guts no glory" attitude and I take a much more gradual approach choosing to take a little longer before I start a colt and often now leaving the first few rides up to someone else.

  3. I suppose I'm a "never-left-em". I did take a brief break for college ($$$!). My husband says horses were all I talked about on dates. He married me anyway.

    My perspective is also different now than in my teenaged years. I take a more calm, measured approach. I don't rely on guts as much either. But I think maturity can work well for me. Some horses appreciate calm, mature riders.

  4. Reata and Nevada. I love those names. What a life, huh? I'm jealous, I admit it.
    I have always been horse crazy, didn't have them for 7 yrs in my first marriage. Ditched the guy, bought some horses. Works for me :)
    Getting older changes everything though. I like the easier horses now, lol.

  5. I envy people who grew up with horses, and learned the right way, not just saddling up and being a passenger on a trail ride. It's harder to learn when you get older, since you're not "invincible." I was one of those horse-crazy girls reading books and playing with Breyers and Barbie horses. Didn't get my first horse until I was 20-something. Never going back. :)

  6. My first experience with riding was when I summered at my aunt & uncle's farm. They had a horse who was old as the hills and sway backed. Fury. Makes me smile everytime I think of her. Anyway, my one experience as a pre-teen was getting bucked off Fury as she nonchalantly continued to eat her grass as though nothing had happened.

    I've ridden on trail rides before and have always felt intimidated and out of control on horseback. They would always 'take me for a ride'.

    I took my first riding lesson about 2-3 years ago as a woman in my 40's. I knew in that moment that it was the 'sport' I'd been searching for my entire life.

    I've taken riding lessons once a week since then and vow that, no matter what happens, that will remain a priority in my life.

    I still have SO much to learn, but working at a stable part time, in addition to riding has really helped me overcome my fear of horses, in spite of some scary experiences I've had.

    Nice post, PG.

    Love the name Nevada and I really like their cowgirl hats. Very hip & contemporary styling.

  7. Although I had loved horses as a kid, I could never convince my parents to get me lessons. I had a few riding experiences with Girl Scouts and was told I was a natural. Did a trail ride every few years as an adult and was quite comfortable. And then my 7 year old daughter wanted to ride...yeeeha!!! Opportunity knocked when I was 42 years old!! We took lessons together for 2 years before we bought our first horse. We've continued to take lessons and are now showing together and loving every minute - and better yet my husband encourages it and supports us 100% in hauling the trailer around and lugging tack at shows for us!

  8. I'm a returneee. :-) Had 2 horses at home from 12-19, then moved away to university... (still not sure why I did that!). Rode a bit in my 20's on a friend's horse. I was convinced that the only way I could get back into horses was to buy a farm and go from there. Luckily a friend convinced me that boarding could work out well also and so here I am at 34 with my pal Rusty!

    My family then and now are not the slightest bit horsey. I envy Reata having a pro trainer parent to learn from! Lucky girl!

  9. Well it is the new year! Sounds like you need a "Buckette" list! lol
    I am sure one day you will make the cover of WH. I can see you now!
    "From Blog to Buckette!"
    JUMP Girl Jump!

  10. Great post...now I have to go buy the magazine! What a way for Reata to grow up. I always wished my parents showed interest in my love of horses...sigh...

    I'd had horses since I was 6, but when I graduated from HS, I sold my mare.

    Only after a short 2 years I needed horses back in my life and I went searching for my mare...but, I never found her. I've had horses ever since then. I never had children, so that really made a lot of difference...kids and horses are expensive.

    My kids are my horses~~

  11. I think it would have been sooooo cool to have had a dad like Reata's. She is one lucky cowgirl. I am the only one who rides horses in my family. It would have been really nice to have had other family members as excited about it as me. I think I eat sleep breath horses.

  12. I got my first horse when I was twelve and bought a yearling the next summer for $60.00. I worked with her a lot, ponying her with my gelding, and trained her to ride the following year. I even taught her how to kneel.
    Then we had to move across country (without horses!) the next year, so I bought a 2 year old gelding at the new place because I couldn't find a decently trained, sound, and healthy horse. I trained him from the ground up too.
    When I was 21, I sold my current horse because I wanted to be free and single.
    A couple of years later, I got married, and we eventually moved to a place in the country where I have had horses ever since.

  13. I got my first pony at age 6, sold my horse at age 17, then at age 47 was able to get my next horse, a Morgan named Bill. That 30 years of not being in the equine world was fun but something was always missing. I am glad that my daughter has the natural love of horses like myself.

  14. I couldn't put that article down. WHAT a life Reata has! Here's to "Buckettes" everywhere!

  15. I returned to horse owning 11 years ago when I bought my then 15 yr old daughter her first horse. I rode at rent horse stables for many years before getting back into horse ownership. I had a love of horses ever since I can remember and was so glad that my daughter inherited (or was coerced) into the same "disease". I put her up on the pony rides as soon as she could hold on and took her riding with me at the rental places. She took actual riding lessons before we bought her own horse for her and it paid off in teaching her how to care for along with ride a horse. It's such a pleasure for me to be able to ride the trails with my 26 year old girl now - wouldn't trade it for anything.

  16. I forgot to say that I had my first horse at 15 and sold her at 18 when boys were more important. (or so I thought) We bought her for $150 including tack back in the early 70's.

  17. Hi there PG!! Happy New Year!! Love your new look and happy to see my old favorite photo of you and My Boy at the bottom. Love that photo of you two. In answer to your question, I am somewhat of a returnee - having gotten less interested in horsey stuff for a few years in my mid 20's. I've always had a horse, but got preoccupied for a few years there. But, when it's in your blood it never really leaves. Good to have you back!! Hope your Christmas vacation was swell.

  18. I tried to give horse up once...it was the most miserable 6 months of my life. I always wondered what non-horse people did with their time...apparently not much that I was interested in-LOL.

    Growing up with horses and in a horse family is wonderful...and difficult. It is hard to learn new things when your family is pretty set in their ways and styles of riding. They all wondered why I thought I needed to go to college to learn more about horses. That 2 years was invaluable. I learned so much about feeding, breeding, history, training methods, judging and most importantly the business end of things(the number one reason trainers fail).

    Then I burned out. Riding 11-15 head of horses a day, cleaning, feeding, training time schedules, unrealistic expectations of owners and harsh training methods to achieve results took the joy out of it. I took my horse home, dumped her in the pasture and left the horse world for a bit. But I couldn't stay away. I need horses around me like I need air to breath.

    I've since trained horses for other people, on my terms, bought and fixed up horses for resale and dabbled back and forth between rodeoing and showing with my own horses. This is how I keep it enjoyable. After all...that is the whole point!!

  19. I am 50, I am a re-rider. I started riding on my own at 3 years old...or rather sitting on horses by myself. Bought my first horse when I was 8 years old, trained her with help. I lived and breathed horses until I went to college, then I would bum horses whenever I had a chance.
    Got back into is seriously several years ago and then decided I had to get my own horse again.
    I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I physically can't do some of the things I used to do(I am still 19 in my mind). I also discovered I have nothing to prove at my age...already been there and done that...now I just want to enjoy the partnership that I have with Jack.
    My horse is my sanity now.

  20. I was 54 when I got my horses. It took longer than I thought, but I'm having the time of my life.

  21. have had or been around horses most of my life except for about a 5 year stretch. I was in a severe accident (not horse related) that has left me with some major fear issues unlike the wild rider I was in my youth. I am just a trailrider, no want or need to compete in any way. My horse is a 16 year old foxtrotter. I am down to one, have owned up to 20+. One is good and so is 16 years old at this point in my life. I have broken and trained my own horses in the past but no longer. I can not imagine not having a horse in my life, but if it ever came to that I would survive and find other hobbies and my life would go on. I miss being young and fearless and it still surprises me everyday to realize I am not.

  22. Amanda - don't say "just a trail rider"..... I'm proud to be a trail rider or trail blazer. Just because we don't show, doesn't mean that our ponies aren't well trained. We go over bridges, up and down hills, through creeks, over uneven terrain, cross downed logs, push through tangled vines and brush, duck under trees, squeeze through tight places, dodge wildlife, cyclists and pedestrians...just to name a few!

  23. {KD} I once heard Ken McNabb say at a clinic that trail riding is the most dangerous form of horseback riding you can do. On a horse in the open range? Hazards, cliffs, creeks, bridges? Wild animals? Sounds like a place you'd only want to take a very well-trained prey animal to me! ;-)

  24. I am a "never left 'em" though my horsey-life has slowed down severely due to the birth of my daughter. But, she'll be 2 in July so there is beginning to be light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully my mom loves to babysit! :D I just can't wait until my baby can join me in the horsey world, much to her father's demise. :)


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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