Let me just start by saying, I will never pretend to be a True Cowgirl.
cow·girl n. A hired woman, especially in the western United States, who tends cattle and performs many of her duties on horseback.
I love the life, the lifestyle and am incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to do more things considered Cowgirl since meeting the Cowboy. But despite the fact I’ve worn cowboy boots since earning enough to buy my first pair as a teen, love country music and all it stands for and have always wanted to live at the end of a dirt road .. I’ve never called myself a cowgirl and know it’ll take awhile to earn the stripes associated with the title, if ever.
Especially after the events of this week.
We have worked a lot around the Cowboy’s ranch this week.
We’ve also ridden each day. For hours. Down dirt roads, through fields, in arenas …
And unfortunately for me .. I also rode this week, into a barrel.
It’s happened only once out of all the runs we’ve ever taken. But I took a pretty good chunk of skin out of my shin.
(Apparently real cowgirls, some of them anyway.. the Cowboy says ones who have horses who like to ‘dive at the barrel’ wear shin guards because they have the gift of that experience. But I’m thinking most don’t, because true cowboys would most likely make fun of a cowgirl who wears shinguards.)
Anyway, days later the leg still smarts.
But not as much as it did before. Because I now have a few new aches and pains to help take my mind off a sore leg.
We no more than got Ol Joe saddled up yesterday (the Cowboy’s roping horse, who I have been riding all week and every time we’ve been to the ranch), and into the arena with the girls on their horses ..
And he threw me.
It was a valiant effort to stay on, mind you. I’m sure of it .. (lmao)
But I ended up on the ground.
While I have prepared mentally for that moment for years .. until it happens, I’m pretty sure you can’t really appreciate how little control you have over how you fall. Unless like bronc riders for instance, you practice .. A LOT.
Regardless, it was the first time I’ve ever been thrown. And as I lay there in the dirt having hit my tailbone a couple times on the saddle and then my head on the ground after bracing the fall with my arm .. I assessed just what really hurt.
And then the thoughts creeped in .. that a true cowgirl both would know how to ride through something like that .. and that she would also probably get up faster than I was.
I hear crying over to my left ..
I’m still laying there. “I’m fine,” I say.
The girls, both now standing nearby on their own horses, were upset and worried.
“Are you okay?” says the Cowboys daughter .. mine saying in unison, “Mom, are you okay?”
I hear more crying.
I start laughing to reassure them that I am, or will be shortly, just fine.
“Really,” I say. “Just give me a minute.”
I’m still laying in the dirt. I laugh some more. And think, that’s about how my own mother would have handled it. Laugh through the pain.
I got up .. slowly. Dusted myself off. And went to help them get Ol Joe back into the arena.
The Cowboy rode him for a few minutes.
And then I got back on. I wasn’t sure my body was ready for it. But the Cowboy made me. Which in hindsight, I appreciate.
“You haven’t ridden enough if you haven’t been bucked off at least once,” the Cowboy tells me.
So .. this was a good thing, I guess.
I may not be a true cowgirl. But I’m on my way perhaps to better understanding what it takes to be one ..
And as we talk this morning about saddling Joe and the other horses back up ..
I’m enjoying every painful step of walking around, getting ready to head back out again, to ride.