We were sitting on the back porch of a friends home last night catching up. Every time someone got out of their chair to go grab something to eat, drink or whatever the reason .. there it was.

The jingling of spurs.


Never knew how comforting a sound that would be ..


I didn’t know much about spurs until I met the Cowboy. Never spent much time around any horse people that wore them. Perhaps a couple. I didn’t understand the value in them, especially when working with a stubborn horse. Not until recently, anyway. I often go to the arena to ride without them because I like to think that I can get a horse to mind because, well just because I want to be nice. And because I know they are good horses. The cowboy informed me the other night am to wear them whenever I ride, regardless. It came as I was increasingly frustrated one of the newest horses to the herd was definitely not going to do what I was asking her to do. And the Cowboy was frustrated with me.

“How many times have I told you to always have your spurs on,” he said .. in a stern tone of voice as the horse reared.

“You’ve got to wear them to help get their attention sometimes,” he says to me today, knowing this is today’s post. “You’ve got to have something to make them respect your legs or your leg cues. Horses often become desensitized to someone sitting on them for any length of time. They do what they want and often do as little as they have to when they can get away with it. It’s like a kid. if there’s no consequence to any of their behavior, ever .. pretty soon they’re always pushing boundaries and going their own way versus the way you want. And a 1200 pound horse pushing boundaries can be dangerous. Most horses don’t behave well just because they want to please you. That’s a rarity.”

My spurs now live on my riding boots. Right alongside the entire family’s ..


I’ve also learned that the piece that fell off my daughter’s spur earlier this summer that needs replacing .. is called a rowel. A much more technical term than the ‘back of the spur’ as I’ve been calling it until recently. Go ahead and laugh all you veteran cowboys out there. At least I’m trying. And admitting how much I know I have yet to understand about this life and lifestyle.

So far .. despite the setbacks, falls and challenges, it’s been a lovely ride.


The parts of a spur include (via Wikepedia):

  • The “yoke”, “branch”, or “heel band”, which wraps around the heel of the boot.
  • The “shank” or “neck”, which extends from the back of the yoke and is the area that touches the horse.
  • The rowel, seen on some spurs, a revolving wheel or disk with radiating “points” at the end attached to the shank.

Added benefit to come from 4H ..

This would be a follow up to my post yesterday about Annie Oakley and how I am intrigued by her story ..

In part because my daughter and step-daughter are thoroughly enjoying right now, learning to shoot.  And whether it’s personal determination ..

Wishing she could get there more often ..

Wishing she could get there more often ..

.. or friendly competition between the two of them, they’re determined to shoot well.  Annie’s name just keeps popping into my head when I think about it all.



We spent time again this weekend with 4H instructors who have not only incredible amounts of patience but also heart to work with what seems a growing number of kids coming in every Saturday.

Loading up.

Loading up.

And had the range been open longer, the girls would have stayed.  We were sincerely the last to leave.



Shooting sports isn’t something that we most likely would have ever gotten into back in Wisconsin.  While my brother is an avid hunter, I grew up surrounded by an entire community of sportsmen and women, had my own bb gun growing up I used to love to shoot, am comfortable around firearms and we have in the family one of the most accomplished women bowhunters in the nation .. shooting sports, bb gun/bow or otherwise, it isn’t something we ever gave much thought to doing.

“I think she’s a natural,” one of the instructors quietly said to me, of my daughter yesterday as she was firing off another shot.

“Seriously?” I asked.



“I really think so.  I told my son he’s got some pretty fierce competition this year in the junior division,” he added.

The fact she loves it on top of picking it up easily, has been a confidence booster for our 11 year old.  Our 8 year old too, as she gets in more practice.

Support system.

Support system.

That one element of all this, of 4H shooting sports, is something I am incredibly grateful for.  I imagine some I know would scoff at me for that, for being grateful our girls are finding strength in something that even remotely includes anything to do with a gun.  BB or otherwise.  But I’m thrilled they are finding ways to build themselves up that have nothing to do with body image, make-up, their appearance, boys, what others think of them or in putting other kids down.   At such a fragile age, they are building themselves up through some pretty neat life skills.  Focus.  Attention to detail.  Patience.  Math.  Teamwork.  And their own unique talents.

My Little Annie Oakley.

She woke early again this morning for school.

Got up.

Got ready.

“Where’s the bb gun again?” she asked the Cowboy?

Off she went with the dogs ..

Morning target practice.

Morning target practice.

I smiled as I had to call her in – twice – to grab a bite to eat quick and her things so that we could get her off in time to school.  And, as she was heading back toward the house, I realized this was a moment worth savoring and that I didn’t want to miss ..

I ran to grab my camera and sneak in this shot of my own.

My Little Annie Oakley, I though to myself.  (She’s really enjoying the BB gun Santa got her for Christmas last year, our three other littles have their own as well.  4H shooting sports, which she’s now been involved in the past couple months, has also become a wonderful resource for her.)  And then I realized I really didn’t know much about Annie or if that was at all a reference for her I should be using.


Living now in South Dakota, we see and hear a lot about the great heroes/heroines/outlaws of the old Wild West.  Phoebe Ann Moses, or Annie Oakley as most of us know her, didn’t live or work it seems, ever in South Dakota.  But I’ve been seeing a lot about her as I’ve traveled the area.  Especially during our time out in Wall.

- courtesy Wikipedia

courtesy Wikipedia

Her talents as a sharpshooter and for teaching women during that era how to use a gun are what apparently made her the First American Female Superstar, according to Wikipedia.  That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s all because of how she could shoot a gun.


Her aim might not be all that Annie’s was, but apparently I’m somewhat on the right track with my comparison.  We’ll have to see if her shot here at some point, is good enough for her to want to take on the road.