I recently got to meet my idol. Now she might be a famous person and I think that she has a pretty impressive horse show record but that’s not what made her my idol… When we took some horses to buck at a college practice I saw a lady that took me back to my days of showing horses in High School. When I asked her if she had been at the Colorado Reined Cowhorse Shows ten years back she confirmed that she had been. I then proceeded to introduce myself and tell her that she had been who I looked up to back then and even today. She was pretty shocked but she was kind enough not to make me feel too much like a creep. But it got me thinking back to a sign I saw that said something about be careful of what you do because some little kid is wanting to be just like you.
Now you might be thinking that if she was my hero she must have been a top competitor and winning all of the classes and while this might be true I honestly have no idea. I don’t think that I ever watched her show, I just saw her around when I was warming up and taking care of my horse.
When I first saw her she was riding a really pretty bay horse that you could tell she took really good care of. The horse was extremely well trained and they got the job of shagging cattle and moving sets of cows around done with ease. He was pretty fancy and something I would like to be riding one day. She also held herself like a lady, she wore makeup but not so much that you could tell that it took hours to do but just enough to highlight how pretty she was. She wore her long hair in a braid and wore nice clean button ups, a jean jacket and a really nice felt hat that you could tell she was comfortable in from wearing daily not just at the shows. Classy and girly but still able to get whatever cowboying job that she needed to get done. I also noticed that she had hauled herself to the shows and had a nice dog that was a constant companion when she wasn’t in the arena, that you could tell was a partner and friend. I was captivated with how she held herself with confidence and grace. You could tell that she was a hand but she wasn’t out there trying to show off or prove herself to anyone she just did what she needed to and got the jobs done.
Honestly looking back on it now, I can see how those few times I saw her at the shows rubbed off on me. I tend to wear my hair in a braid. I’m not the best with makeup so although I always have some on I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me of having too much makeup on. I love my horse and my dog and we have travelled many miles together going to shows by ourselves and enjoying being self sufficient. One day I hope that I’m as handy as she is and that one day I’ll be riding as fancy of a horse as she was but that’s something that I’m continually working towards.
Now maybe it’s weird that I had this image of someone that I had never talked to in my mind as someone that I wanted to be like when “I grew up.” But, I’m guessing that if most of you are honest you have seen someone too and thought I really like how they handle themselves and I want to be like that especially when you were little. It’s the same thing really as some little boy wanting to be like John Elway or a little girl wanting to be like Fallon Taylor. I was just as excited to get to meet her as I see people get over seeing movie stars. I was the definition of star struck!
If you want to still call it weird I’m okay with that. I think that seeing this lady at the shows when I was in High School gave me someone to want to be like and when faced with choices that yes my parents had taught me about it was easier to answer when it wasn’t just what my parents had told me. For example when the other girls on my Ranch Horse team in college were dipping snuff because they wanted to show that they were tough like the boys, I thought back to the lady and was pretty positive that she was not dipping snuff and she was respected just fine by the guys because she focused on her skills and animals not on trying to fit in with the guys. When I didn’t want to put on my makeup and contain my hair when I went to a branding because it was really early mornings and late nights I thought back to every time I saw the lady at the shows she was always put together, so I crawled out of my bedroll just a little bit earlier and boy was I glad when I saw that someone was taking pictures and people had come from the city to see what branding and cowboys were all about and I didn’t have to be embarrassed or feel like a slob. Because I saw her going to shows and taking care of her animals just fine all by herself I have been able to go to so many neat places and not missed out on things just because I didn’t have a hauling partner or my hubby was busy.
I was so happy that when I did finally get to meet my idol she was just as neat and inspiring in real life as she had been in my memories. I know that she was pretty taken aback that this crazy lady she was meeting while bucking horses of all places, that had remembered her from a show ten years earlier and had wanted to be just like her when she grew up. But I think that it is also a good lesson. You never know who might be watching you. She certainly didn’t think that she was becoming some ones idol. Where ever you go you should always put the best foot forward that you can. Sometimes a crazy kid like I was might think your someone they want to imitate and it has nothing to do with if you win or how much money you have it might be something simple. So just because you don’t think someone is watching you or looking up to you hold yourself like someone is, so ten years later when the crazy lady comes to meet you it’s to thank you not because they are disappointed.
Thanks punchy lady for being such a great influence on me so long ago!